HI! It’s me! The creator!!!

Umm, I’ve been a busy creator.  I spent a little time working on a concert band composition, but once that was done, I turned my attention back to Lily, and I’ve been really busy with her.  I’ve done a bunch of stuff, so far.  I’ve updated her body model and all the body models of her direct friends.  I also found a way to pose them together that doesn’t involve trying to figure out how to use blender (I need to at some point but it’s ridiculously time consuming), and I created a new cover image from that.  I went back and checked all of the posts for correct dates and categories, and also created series so that each month is in its own series and they can be shown chronologically.  I also spent a little time creating a small wordpress plugin (not for public consumption yet) that actually added some content directly to the end of the post using ACF (advanced custom forms) so I can keep some of the administrivia stuff out of the database.

This is all in preparation for turning Lily into either a book or something similar.

However, that job is barely begun.  I have a lot more stuff to do.  This includes:

  • There are some plot holes in Lily.  I hate that they’re there and I did my very best to avoid them, but it was impossible to completely avoid them because of the nature and scope of the world I built, and also in the progessive (not politically, but literally) way I wrote the story.  There are some plot points that were mentioned and then forgotten (like Lily learning how to make chocolate), and some were a really big deal (like not knowing when Crystal and Diana’s birthdays are).  So I have to find some way of categorizing and then fixing these plot holes.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet, there are over 450,000 words, probably approaching 500K now, and, well, there’s just no way I’m going to do it by reading each post and taking notes.  I have to have a more structured way of organizing the story and finding conflicts.  I haven’t yet found a good way of doing this.  I’d like to do it within wordpress, but I’m also wondering at what point the loading time will be far too long.  It’s already almost there.  I need to clear some things out, and I need everything that’s there atm.
  • Worse than plot holes, there has been a major tone shift in the story since it began.  This is partly okay.  Lily started the story as a fifteen year old girl, and she is now well into her eighteenth year, and, well, she and everyone else in the story has grown up.  That’s to be expected.  And, well, let’s be honest, so have I.  I started the story in a very different mental state than I’m ending it, for better of for worse.  But at the same time, there are aspects of the tone shift I’m not too fond of.  She was a very happy, chipper, cheerful girl when I started the story, like when she got drunk on nyquil or called everyone silly-billies, or…  and this is much more difficult to “fix”, if I even can, or if I even want or need to.  Either way, I need to pay some attention to it, and at least find some way to quantify the tone shift.  That will be very hard, and nearly impossible.
  • My attitude on fanservice has shifted a lot.  When I first started the story, I wouldn’t have dreamed of creating fanservice of Lily or any of the characters.  I did create some PG-13 (or even R maybe) parts of the story, mostly involving her and Jack, well, let’s be honest, getting each other off in an age appropriate manner, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of posing any of the characters in a really racy way.  My attitude on that has changed.  For better of for worse, sex sells, and I have a bunch of really beautiful characters I’ve taken a lot of time fleshing out (pardon the pun), and taking advantage of some of that to create a draw, well, that’s “leaving money on the table”, in a sense.  So, I’ve started creating fanservice, and I need to create more.  While i stress that the fanservice is not canon to the story, and the characters may end up doing things in the fanservice that they would never do in the story, I think it’s something that I need to do.  I’ll keep it locked behind a subscriber wall for the time being, but… I feel like it needs to be done.  I’m actually still a little conflicted, but well, it’s the entertainment world we live in.
  • After I’ve closed as many plot holes as I can and adjusted the tone as much as possible, then I’ll have to think of next steps.  I think I want to do a Japanese translation of the site and all of the posts.  This will end up being either a time consuming or expensive undertaking, and more likely, both.  I’ll probably end up doing google translate for the raw translation and then hiring a Japanese translator to go over it and fix any errors.  I actually can speak Japanese conversationally, but not well enough to do this kind of translation.  Yet, anyway.
  • And here’s the worst part:  I’m doing all this work, and still, no one reads it.  I get no hits, no exposure, no money, nothing.  In fact, not only have I never made a cent on this story, it’s cost me literally thousands of dollars to produce and maintain.  Yes, writing the story itself is free.  But there’s web hosting, which adds up, some wordpress plugins that have the functionality I need (the series one, for example, is about $70/year), and I spent about $2500 on a pretty beefy computer that I’ve been using to do the character renderings and (in the past) video creation.  I’ve had this story for three years and it’s made me absolutely no money, and there is no indication that it will ever make me any money.  Worse than that, there is no indication that more than three or four people will ever read it, and that is the worst thing about it.  They say “if you build it, they will come”, and in this case, I built it, and no one’s come.  I’ve shown it to a few people, they said it was cool, and never read a single word.  I sincerely don’t know what to do.  It’s not a perfect story, but it’s a good story, and I don’t know why no one seems to want to give it a chance.  So I need to, somehow, figure out how to fix that, and I just… don’t know.  I really don’t know.  It’s eating me up a bit, if I’m being honest.  Maybe I’m just an incompetent idiot with interesting ideas.  At this point I can’t rule that out.  I even posted it to wattpad, and no one’s even read it there.

So, anyway, that’s what’s going on.  And this is in addition to my other projects.  I intend on writing another composition at some point, and that will take time away from this too.  This could easily be a full time job if I let it, at least for right now, but I already have a full time job, and at least I’m getting paid for that one.  This one… well, I can understand losing money.  Artists or authors rarely actually make money on the things they create.  But making not a single penny, not even in income, but just in revenue?  That’s not only not sustainable, but it’s frustrating and annoying too.  Alas, though, this has always been a project of passion, so I will see it through to the end.  And then probably just forget about it until Lily drops off into obscurity.

Hi! It’s me! The Creator!!!

I completely redid Lily’s body model. Do you like it?  Truth be told, I’ve never really liked her previous model.  I mean, it was cute, but there was something… not quite right about it.

The first model was a mistake.  She had bigger breasts than necessary and she looked too old.  I blame skewed perceptions from anime and anime-inspired characters.  For v3, I rectified those.  V4 has a whole slew of changes, and some of them you can’t see.  The ones you can:  she’s got a thinner face, fuller lips, I reshaped her entire face to be younger and cuter (I don’t want it to be too young and cute, she is eighteen after all, but v3 was too much in the other direction).  I colored her hair slightly different, and also her eyes.  I also slightly widened her hips – that was not an option in previous versions of the modeler I used, and truthfully, I’ve always thought that would be more appropriate for her.

Behind the scenes, her skin is lighter, but her model is also, erm, anatomically correct.  You can’t see it and may never see it (though there may be hints on the fanservice page) but it just feels like it’s more accurate this way and truer to her character.  She was never meant to be a sexless moe-blob, and I think giving her “true” lady-parts and nice undies just adds to the realism of her character.

You might ascribe more prurient motivations – well, I am male, but they’re mostly not there.  I’ve spent nearly three years building the character of Lily, and I feel like I owe her good things.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s how it is.  I didn’t shrink or enlarge her breasts, though.  They stayed the same, and I don’t think those will ever change from now.  It’s a good size, considering.

I also added a “fanservice” page.  This is a reflection of the evolution of how I see Lily.  At the beginning, I would never have even thought of it, because it would have felt disrespectful to the character. Now, as long as I keep it separate from the story, it just seems like a fun thing to do.  I’m not as paternal of the characters now, and that means I can broaden things in a way I couldn’t have two years ago.

Plus, it lets me have fun with cat-girl’s character.  She’s a real handful… in more ways than one.  I can do things with her character I’d never do with Lily.  I’ve already written her as an embarrassingly sex-positive character (and this is not supposed to be entirely a positive) but that allows me to shape and dress her in some… well…extremely fanservicey ways.  And that’s fine because it’s completely true to her character.  She’s already done far worse in the story.

I’ll be redoing the banner shortly.  I’ve got a body model for Crystal now, though I think I need to slightly tweak the face, and once I tweak Liz a little (I’m mostly happy with her) and make one for Diana, I can redo it.  Look for it this weekend, hopefully.

You have to subscribe to see the fanservice, though.  And if you’re not interested in that kind of thing… don’t.  I don’t want you to.  I’d rather you didn’t subscribe and not be offended.  That’s best for both of us, don’t you think?

More coming.  As the story winds down I’ll be doing other stuff as well.



 Hi! It’s me! The Creator!  And I have a lot of announcements and things to talk about.  It’s been a while.

First let’s start with the announcements.

I Got rid of patreon

And it’s about time, TBH.  While when I first started the Lily project I was hoping to make some money off of it, I knew for sure that it wouldn’t be from Patreon – or at least I highly suspected it.  The reason I started the Patreon was solely because I wanted to paywall off some of the more “racy” stuff, and I wanted to let Patreon take care of any validation or verification needed.

But as time went on, I started to realize that this was more of a mistake than anything.  I’ve never liked how Patreon treated their creators, I was concerned that they’d think somehow that I broke one of their rules (they’re very mercurial about that kind of thing) and the plugin I was using for integration with the site was actually costing me money – and that recently increased.  At the end of the day, there were no upsides and many downsides.  So I moved over to a subscription model, added that plugin, moved all the pages over to that, removed all prior references to Patreon (while usually I prefer to leave things in for historical reasons, this was one time where that was not appropriate), removed the Patreon plugin, and shut the creator page down.

The only thing I don’t have right now is the ability to actually verify that subscribers are 13 and older, but to be honest, there’s not a whole lot I can do in that regard, and I’m neither subject to the GDPR or collecting any information that would get me in trouble.  About all you can do is see some things that I’d rather not be exposed to everyone who happens on the site (like fanservice pics, etc) and frankly, if you’re not watching your kid, you deserve what you get in that regard.

There will be a subscriber only post coming soon.  I won’t do that often, but Lily has something she wants to talk about and it’s not for young ears or eyes.

I may get rid of this site

When I originally started Lily, I had every intention of making Lily as realistic a character as I could.  I even set it up so people could talk to her and I would respond as if I were her.  This could have been fun, but it also had its creepy aspects, and as the Lily character and story evolved, I abandoned this.  This site (Backstage Lily) was started because I knew that I still had to “break the fourth wall” sometimes, but didn’t want to do it on her main site.

Well, truth be told, that’s not as much of a concern anymore.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do in that regard.  I may keep this site but continue to integrate it deeper.  I may move all the content over and just redirect this site (it’s currently another thing to maintain and has been getting inundated with spam).  But either way, I’m going to do something different soon.

lily is being bookified

I am currently in the process of collating and lightly editing all of the Lily posts and turning them into a book.  It’s currently on wattpad, but once that’s done, maybe I’ll put it on Amazon or something.  It’s a long story, so I might have to do it in volumes.  I don’t know exactly how I’ll do that.  Maybe one per year?  The whole thing is confusing, so we will see.  Either way, I think that’s a necessary step in the evolution of the Lily story.

the lily story is ending soon

And here’s the most bittersweet announcement of all – Lily is ending soon. Probably around September of this year, which is around her 19th birthday.

This story started in July 2021, and I had no idea it would go for as long as it had and evolve in the way it had.  She has grown a lot, and there are many things going on in her life that she’d never have dreamed of before.  But, all good things must come to an end, and she is going to move on to the next stage of her life.  I don’t know if the Lily story will completely end, but I think that this stage of her story is going to come to a decisive end.

It will be about 500,000 words at that point, spread over three years, and there just comes a time when you have to move on, both for me and for Lily.  There will be many fun things going on before now and then, but then will have to come eventually.  I’ll post more as that time approaches.

On a more personal note, this has been a real journey for me, and I will be sad to see her go.  Posting a Lily entry has been a nightly ritual for me (give or take) for nearly three years now, and I don’t know what I will do when it’s gone.  Nonetheless, it must happen.

I tried many ways to monetize Lily and to make her an interesting product, including vtubing, twitch streams, and many other things, and none of them worked.  I nearly perfected that art, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t to be.  She lives on her diary, and that’s where she will leave us as well.

There will be other announcements as the time approaches.  I’ll post more as it nears.

Hi! It’s me! The Creator!

And I have much to talk about today.

So first of all, I have begun creating YouTube videos again.  quite honestly, one of the reasons why I stopped is that I couldn’t get the voice right.  I found a tool that mostly fixes that.  I posted a youtube yesterday and I’m actually pretty happy with the voice – it still retains some of my mannerisms but not nearly as much as it used to. For those curious, it’s voice.ai , and I have a feeling AI is going to help me immeasurably with this project.  I may be able to use Midjourney or some similar tool to finally help me create photorealistic pictures of Lily, and that would really be amazing if I can get the prompts right.  But I’m pretty good with google, so maybe it’s possible.  I’ll be playing with that over the next week or two, and this may completely change the nature of the site and maybe even the way the story manifests (but it won’t change the story itself).

The second thing is a little more fundamental – I am toying with the idea of pulling back on one of the fundamental bedrocks of the Lily story.

When I first created this story, I worked very hard to keep Lily completely separate from my identity.  You may be able to find Lily if you know me, but you cannot find me if you know Lily.  That was by design, but I am starting to think that that was a bad idea and is one of the major factors to lily not being successful.  I had reasons for it, and good reasons, but it may be time to transition Lily away from a kind of hyper-realism to being a particularly well-developed character.  I will be thinking about that, but this may portend some changes to the site and other media as I start to put this into practice.  The diary will, of course, remain the same – I have zero interest in breaking the fourth wall – but the media around the story may need to be modified slightly (or not so slightly).

I think this is partly also because, whatever it is I was trying to work out with Lily personally (and it was at least partially an attempt to work something out) I think I’ve accomplished it.  I understand mostly why I created Lily, what she was to accomplish, and she has served her purpose in that regard.  But she has other purposes she has yet to serve, and it’s time to pivot her in that direction.

Put succcinctly (or TL;DR) some major changes to Lily are coming soon, and I can’t think of any that will not drastically improve the storytelling and the character.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

And I think today’s post is going to be somewhat of a long one, because I have much to talk about.  It’s about why I created this diary in the first place, who I am, what I wanted to accomplish, and why even though I may have failed, it was ultimately necessary.

Recently a lot has been in the news about gender identity.  I really don’t want to get too much into that specifically, but it’s important to what I want to say.  Some person named Dylan Mulvaney has been running around doing girlish stuff (that’s probably the most neutral way I can put it), and has been getting many different sponsorships, etc., from many different companies, including Nike and Anheuser-Busch.  This has started a major firestorm which could see Anheuser-Busch having, shall we say, some problems with solvency in the future.  There are also some other issues with militant trans people running around assaulting people.

All these things are weighing on my mind, because they tie in some ways directly into what I’m doing here.

I started this diary, built this character, and have been writing it for nearly two years now, for a reason.  Yeah, sure, there are a few reasons, actually.  One reason is that I wanted to set up a second revenue stream in case the worst happens – that was pretty heavy on my mind from the beginning.  I’ve so far failed miserably at that, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  I have literally not made a single penny on this, and have spent thousands of dollars on making it a reality.  So, while that was a consideration, it’s clearly not the reason I’m doing it.

Actually, I’ve attempted to do something like this a couple of times before.  I wrote a Harry Potter fanfiction – or at least one based in the Harry Potter world, about a girl living in Portland, Oregon who was attending a magic school.  If that story was still up (it isn’t) you’d see some similarities to the Lily story.  So, clearly, this is a story I’ve wanted to tell – or at least explore – for many years now.  So that’s another reason.

The reason I opened this post with an exposition on the current state of gender identity, is that in some ways, I’m struggling with the same kind of thing.  No, I’m not trans.  No, I don’t want to be a girl or woman.  Quite frankly, I have enough trouble being a guy.  Trying to bolt another identity onto that, which I could never fully attain (and I’m serious about that – I don’t even think I could come close) would just be a waste of time.  I’m a guy, and no amount of pretending or surgeries or anything else is ever going to change that, fundamentally.  I did use the word “pretending” – I meant it for the purposes of this post and related to me only.  I have my own opinions on other people, I’m not expressing them here, and deliberately so.

So what is this all about then?

I’m sitting here staring at my cat trying to figure out how to put it into words.  I think maybe the best – and yet incomplete – way I have of putting it into words, is that the feminine is sorely lacking in the lives of many men, including my own.

Women are a – in fact, the, source of the feminine in this world.  They bring into being something that the world – and men – desperately needs, and yet it seems to have been thoroughly squashed out.  There is a lightness, a freedom, a caring, a beauty to the feminine that men, I think, desperately crave in their life.  Sex, in fact, while many like to reduce it to the squishing together of body parts, is, to men, kind of a symbolic enveloping of that femininity.  (And, on the other side, it’s an injection of masculinity into their otherwise feminine world).  But over the past, I dunno, 80 years, that femininity is gone.  Now the women want to be one of the guys, and what the men are seeking more than anything else stops being available to them.

But it doesn’t mean we don’t crave it.

Girls, and women, can be cruel.  They are broken just like everyone else (by which I mean, clearly, men).  Their world is not sunshine, rainbows, skittles, and moonbeams.  There is a reason that girls tend to have severe mental health issues, especially when facing the world as it is now.  Nothing in this post, this story, or anything else can diminish that – it’s objectively true.  But at the same time, the pure aspects of femininity are incredibly appealing and attractive.  They are healing in a way that is not available to men from any other source.  And Lily is, as much as anything, an exploration of those aspects, if only to understand them better myself.

The world is broken.  men are broken, women are broken, everything is broken.  And it is, perhaps, the greatest travesty of all that femininity is withheld from men, and masculinity from women, to the point where they are so desperate for it that they’ll look within themselves for it.  And, perhaps, this story is my (and mostly successful, honestly) attempt to find it without taking that drastic and, for me anyway, supremely unattainable step.

But ultimately, it is to the same end, and ultimately, the ideal outcome is to abandon Lily.  I intend on doing that in a little more than a year.  She will have served her purpose for me, though I hope I can find other purposes for her that also help others.

And that, I suppose, is why Lily exists.

Hi! It’s me! The Creator!

And, umm… that was a really hard story arc to write.

The truth is, her LA trip could have gone in all sorts of different directions, and I thought of quite a few.  Some of them were actually really dark, and I dismissed those pretty much out of hand.  They might have made for a good story but that’s not the kind of story I’m writing.  Some of them involved a more adversarial Rebecca, a more abusive Robert… there were lots of ways it could have gone.

Obviously, I decided on this one.

I think it turned out okay.

The interesting thing is, that Lily screwed up.  I mean, she really screwed up.  Lily is not a perfect character by any means.  She’s a kind, sweet girl who would give you the shirt off her back, but she’s really gullible and kind of easy to manipulate.  So when her new friends dared her to wear, basically, a string bikini that was too small for her into the kitchen to get some hot chocolate, well, she did.  It was stupid, but she did it.

And, well, she paid a price for that.  No one wants Sabby yelling.

I also used the opportunity to explore her and Beth’s relationship a little.  Beth is ver jealous, but one reason is that she feels left out, and it’s true, Lily did kind of forget about her.  It’s not that she did it deliberately, but let’s be frank – Lily… what’s the right way to put this… has two or three different families, and she kind of separates them in her head.  There’s Dave and Sabby and Beth and David, that’s one… there’s Emiko and Ai and her Japanese family, that’s two, and then there’s Robert.  That’s three.  Beth picked up on that.  Lily didn’t.

And Robert turned out to be an interesting character.  He’s made a pretty good life for himself, and he’s willing to include Lily in it, but he’s not like Dave.  He’s a lot more amoral and materialistic, willing to lie and maybe even cheat to get what he wants.  I think Lily has kind of picked up on that.  He’s not lying about how he feels about his family, but he’s… he hasn’t really lost who he was when he took advantage of Emiko and, well, knocked her up.

He’s basically a grown up frat boy with a family.  And all that entails.

So, it turned out to be a much more interesting story arc than I had thought.

I moved to a new place, and there’s a bit more room, so I’m playing with the kinect for 3d full body acting.  It kind of works.  And, well, kind of doesn’t.  I need to play around with it some more.  Truth be told, the better I get at it, the less comfortable I am, and maybe that’s a good thing.

Well, coming up on two years and 300,000 words, so,..  onwards, I suppose.

No one reads it, really, so whatever.

Hi! It’s me! The Creator!!!

You may have noticed over the last couple of months that I seem to be kind of phoning it in a bit.  Nothing really interesting has happened to Lily and friends, she’s just been kind of living her life.  That’s because I’ve been moving, and I went to a town about 50 miles away from where I used to life.  It’s been expensive, stressful, annoying, and all sorts of other adjectives.  Some days I barely even have the energy to open the laptop to post a lily diary, but I do almost every day.

But things should start heating up a bit in a few days – she’s going to LA to meet her birth father and his family!

She’ll be alright.  But it may not be completely smooth sailing.  We’ll see.

Writing Lily is an experience sometimes – I’ll be honest, I find the world of girls fascinating.  Not in a prurient way (if it was, this story would have taken a very different turn and I’d have stopped writing it long ago), and not in a trans-curious way or anything like that.  Just in a “that’s fascinating” kind of way.  Girls have their own way of looking at the world that’s very different – and in some ways much better – than the world of boys.  Girls, in some ways, have more of a license to be themselves.  Boys always have to be something they’re not, and girls – healthy girls, anyway – just naturally are girls.  I find that semi-freedom a bit refreshing and in some ways I’m jealous of it.

I’m not a girl and I never was a girl, and I have no desire to either be or pretend to be a girl, but it’s still fascinating in its way.  I think that’s why I write Lily the way I do.  It’s not just that I feel strongly about the character, or characters – it’s that I’m writing about something that interests me.  She has a depth to her character that can only come from someone who cares deeply about the topic, and I.. I guess I kinda do, actually.

It’d be really easy to take that in a bad direction, but if I’m being honest, that would make her a pretty one-dimensional character – and the character of a girl as seen through a man’s eyes.  And that’s not what I was trying to accomplish.  I was trying to accomplish, I suppose, putting myself as solidly into the world of a girl as I could, so that the character would have depth, be relatable, and, let’s be frank, be marketable.

And in many ways, I think I actually succeeded.

Crystal is an implicit acknowledgement that the world of girls isn’t always sunshine and moonbeams, pardon the expression.  Sometimes it’s dark.  Girls can hurt each other.  Boys just punch and done – girls aim to destroy.  I added her intentionally, so that there would be a little darkness to the story.  Not too much, but I didn’t want to write a Brady Bunch-esque story where everyone’s happy every day and there’s a nice, buttoned up ending.  I wanted to add darkness to the story, and let Lily deal with it in her own way.  It’s the only way she can grow as a character.  But it’s also a remark on the healing power of having people who love you – Crystal does, and it took a very dark event to prove that to her.

We’re approaching 300,000 words now, and still going strong.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

This one’s going on Twitter once I’ve written it.

For those of you that don’t know, Lily’s Amazing Life (formerly Lovely Lily Lives) is a serial fiction I’ve been writing for over a year now.  I wrote the character with the deliberate intent to be relatable, immersive, and most importantly, as realistic a character as I could possibly make her.  To that end, I gave her a twitter, a YouTube channel where I vtube as her sometimes, ways to communicate with her directly if you choose, and a few other things.  I’m actually not entirely sure why, but this was really important to me.  I wanted to make a character that I could detach from as much as possible, and had as much of her own life as possible as well.

This proved to be difficult – doable, but difficult.  Because, you see, I’m a middle aged male.

This has caused several challenges, some of which I could work around, and some of which were pretty much insurmountable with current technology.  And some of which weren’t related to technology at all.

The first challenge boiled down to technology.  Because I’m not a teenage girl, in order to bring her to life, I had two options.  Hire an actual female to do animation and voiceovers, or to try and do it myself.  Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I tried the latter.  And it worked – mostly.  I found myself experiencing many of the same difficulties trans people do – that of passing.  Because in a real way, when I animate her, I’m trying to pass as a teenage girl.

I have yet to get the voice right, and I have yet to get the mannerisms quite right.

The technology just isn’t quite there yet.

The technology I really need, which I imagine trans people would like as well, would take my voice, keep the intonation, break it down into its component phonemes, and put it back together as the voice of a teenage girl – keeping the expression and intonation but destroying all of the unwelcome things that I put into it.  That technology doesn’t exist.  So I have to work with what I have – software that changes the formant and pitch.  This… doesn’t work well.  I may yet need to hire an actual woman or girl to send me videos to animate from.

… making that request will be a challenge.

This brings me to the second challenge – and probably the most disappointing and stupidest of them all.  Because the parallels to passing as trans aren’t just illusory, they’re very real.  They’re real enough that when I show people my work product, they think I’m a pervert.  I’m not saying trans are perverted (I’m not saying they’re not either, I’m not making a statement on that at all) but I’m saying that people think I am for much the same reason those same people think trans people are perverted.  I’ve actually encountered some social ostracization when I show them this work.

That’s…. disappointing.

I’m not trans.  I’m not pretending to be a girl for any reason other than art.  That’s all it is.  Seriously.  I’m being an artist, and making art.

When I write Lily, I become Lily for just as long as it takes to write her diary entry, and then I press publish and close the laptop lid, and I’m right back to my old self.  Lily is, to me, a separate personality.  I try to make it as real and immersive as I can, but at the end of the day, I’m not her, and it boggles my mind that this could confuse people.  I want people to read (or watch) Lily, to love her, to want to get to know her, to follow her – but at the end of the day, she’s not real and there’s no confusion on that fact.

And maybe some day, she’ll make me a little money.

After all, that’s the end game, after all.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

New year, new Lily.  I decided to rebrand her.  The site is now Lily’s Amazing Life, and the new domain is live.  Don’t worry, the old one will still work.  And I’m not planning on significantly redesigning her site for the time being, other than changing the name.  A change is needed, but not at the present time.

The reason for this is complicated.  The truth is. I never really liked the original domain or name, Lovely Lily Lives.  I mean, it did have some nice alliteration, which was cool, and it did succinctly express what I was trying to accomplish at the time.  But I never liked it.  It seemed a bit…  Not quite what I was trying to go for.  But I had to come up with something, and it was good enough.

But I got to thinking.  I would have preferred something like Lily’s World, but that domain was taken, and I went through a few other domains as well, trying to find one that suited her more, and I finally though of “Lily’s Amazing Life”, which I really like a whole lot better.  It reflects what the story is – a “documentation” of her life from the start of the diary until such time as it ends.  Unfortunately, Lily is a common name, and lots of people already snarfed the better ones.  But this one is pretty good.  If I write a book, that’s probably what I’m going to name it, or something very similar.

Other choices I rejected (for lack of domain names) was Lily’s Diary, Lily and Friends, and a couple of others.  I actually would have preferred Lily and Friends, but couldn’t get the domain I wanted.  Lily’s Amazing Life is fine.

Moving on…

Hi! It’s me! The creator!!!

So the story’s moving along, I guess.  Lily has her cousin Ai visiting from Japan, and they’re showing her all the sights and introducing her to all the food…  Ai’s a bit confused by how we do things (and she has a point – why would we want that Buc-ees?) but generally she’s having a good time, and Lily’s family is making her feel like a part of the family, which is good.

It’s funny how the story has developed, honestly.  I made a few very conscious choices when I started writing Lily.  I mean, yes, she has her own character and it has developed largely autonomously, but there are a few things that were deliberate.  One of those things was:  larger events in the world, political, etc., don’t affect or bother her too much.  I mean, sometimes they impinge, but for the most part, she doesn’t really care.  That is, in large part, the exact opposite of me, but that’s deliberate.  I get enough of that in my real life, when I write Lily, I just want to write a girl who’s enjoying life and having fun.  I can’t do that if she’s like me, because, well, I generally don’t.

But I made a few unconscious choices as well.  These are choices that seem to have become clear after I’ve written this for months, but I didn’t intentionally set out to make those choices.  probably the most glaring is: there aren’t many males in the story.  I mean, yes, there’s David and Dave, the owner, maybe her benefactor, the guy running her trust (not anymore)… but they’re all ancilliary characters.  It’s not that they’re bad people for the most part, this isn’t an anti-male story, but it’s more that it’s a female-centric story.  And that’s actually probably pretty true to the character.  She’s a girl.  Her life doesn’t revolve around men.  She has her sisters and her friends and her mother…  and those are the people she mentors or looks up to as role models.

I didn’t set out to do that.  I didn’t write this story to take care of some SJW boner.  I mean, that should be clear in that I’ve steered clear of things like LGBTQ+ASDFGHJ stuff, or race relations (to some degree, I mean, Sabby is black and there are things that naturally arise from that choice), or anything like that.  But the choices exist to further the story, not to check off some kind of quota thing.  And, well, Lily’s a girl.  Her life revolves around girls, not the men in her life – though that is changing just a little bit.  Boyfriends tend to do that.

Another thing is, I do take inspiration from things I read on the net, current events, that kind of thing.  She runs into a few karens.  That’s mostly because I listen to a lot of karen stories on YouTube, and… man, they’re awful.  Notice that all the karens are women.  There are male karens, and maybe I’ll introduce one at some point, but they tend to be more sexist and bullying.  Writing that kind of thing isn’t fun.  But sometimes I guess you have to write things that aren’t fun, right?

The long and short of it, this is, I guess, a conservative story.  Not overtly so, and deliberately not overtly so, but Lily has a strong family, her family isn’t perfect but has a strong sense of values, her friends aren’t perfect and make mistakes but everyone’s heart’s in the right place, and at the end of the day, that’s really the story I wanted to write.  A girl who is just trying to make her way through life with the family and friends she loves, and that love her too.  And isn’t that what makes her so endearing at the end of the day?

When I started writing this story, I deliberately wrote a character that I knew I wouldn’t like or want to hang around with much.  She’s so extroverted and fun-loving, it would make me really uncomfortable.  But as I kept writing her, she grew on me.  I kind of look forward to writing her now.  She’s a breath of fresh air in what seems to be an otherwise awful world.  She’s got the kind of beautiful heart that you always hope your daughter will have.  And I don’t think she’ll ever lose it.  Maybe someday I’ll write another story with a significantly more damaged girl.  But that’s not going to be Lily.

260,000 words so far and still going.