Hi, it’s me.  The creator.

And this might be the hardest storyline I’ve ever written.

First of all, there are no trigger warnings.  Lily is a seventeen year old girl, and is dealing with a lot right now.  That wouldn’t cross her mind, and it wouldn’t be true to the character.  I’m putting a link to this post in the banner, and even that’s pushing it.

Lily has a… flaw.  Not a huge flaw, but it’s something I had to figure out how to deal with.  She doesn’t really understand adversity.  What had happened to Crystal was bad, she thought, and she was glad that the homeless guy got prison, but she didn’t understand.  She’s never been truly impacted by death (that she knows of), once she had lost her memories, everything was pretty much all new, and her life has been pretty good.  She’s never had to face her own mortality – or that of her friends.

She needs this growing experience.

Truthfully, I was considering killing off Crystal.  But I don’t think I’m going to do that.  I don’t think it’s necessary, and I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into these characters, and I think an author needs a very good reason to do something like that – and I don’t really have one at the moment.  But I seriously considered doing it.  Unfortunate, but true.

I think this is going to change Lily.  But how could it not?

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

Well, I did it.  I brought Jack to Texas.  On balance I think it was a good move, though it’s also very challenging to me, because I’m in territory I’m not familiar with.  See, I’m forty-mumble-mumble years old and Lily’s relationship is already more advanced than any I’ve ever had.  Jack’s not perfect, but he tries, and he’s pretty darn perceptive.  It took me quite a while to figure out what Lily would value more than chocolate.  After all, she pretty much lives for the stuff.

Writing Lily is easy most of the time, but it’s not easy all of the time, and last night was a time where it was difficult to write her diary.  Sometimes that’s because I’m trying to force the character into a role she doesn’t want to be in, true, but I think that was because I was trying to force my writing into a role I wasn’t comfortable with.

But we got it done in the end.  Lily’s happy, and we can move on.  Their relationship isn’t entirely physical, of course, but I want it to deepen further, and that requires a little more than just the physical stuff.  Though Lily is learning how nice that can be, for sure.

There are still quite a few stories to be told.  Lily has some high school left over, and I think this story is going to be finished at around the time that she graduates and/or starts “real” college.  That is quite a while away.  I think I’ll be sad when that time comes.  Lily has become a part of my life – every night before I go to bed, I sit down to write her diary.  I often don’t know what she’s going to say.  I think I’ve said that before.  I kind of… “channel”… her a lot of the time.

It’s maddening that I miss some details.  Like I just realized that I haven’t decided when Emiko’s birthday is, and I’d better do that soon.  And Aika and Mika need birthdays as well, and I’d better do that soon for the same reason.  Birthdays are important.  They could be ignored when she didn’t know them at all, but can’t be ignored now.  I’m ashamed to admit I forgot Jack’s birthday too.  I was able to fit that into the story, and it *ahem* worked out well, but still.  That annoys me.

Well, that’s enough for now.  I sure wish I could figure out how to market Lily better.  I’ve utterly failed at that, and I’m near to giving up on that aspect of her development.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

Today is my birthday!  I’m forty-mumble-mumble years old.  And for my birthday I got myself a kinect.  And I got it to working with my windows pc!

I actually managed to successfully animate Lily through full body tracking!

It’s hard, though.  I have a few things I need to do.  First thing I need to do is pretty much dedicate a room to computer stuff, because I need a lot of space to move around in.  It seems that you can’t be too close to a kinect.  Also, some form of hand and face tracking is also necessary.  I think I can figure out the face tracking.  The hand tracking is a different story, and might require a glove or different piece of hardware.

Still, even if it comes to nothing, it’s really interesting technology.

There are other challenges as well.  The voice is very difficult to get right, even using a voice changer.  I can make it almost-but-not-quite convincing, there’s still a bit of a tell that I can’t seem to get rid of.  It’s not clear.  The technology just doesn’t seem to be quite there.  What I really need is technology that can separate my voice into its phonemes and reconstruct it as an entirely different voice.  But that technology does not seem to be available yet.  The other challenge is that this is a significant acting experience, and I have no experience at all acting, especially as someone the opposite gender.  It strikes me as incredibly ironic that technology that would be designed to aid male-to-female trans people would also very much assist me here as well – and I’m as straight and “cis” as they come.  Also, the kinect does not let me turn to the right or the left – that really confuses it for some reason.

On the one hand, I feel a little weird for even pursuing this.  I mean, a forty-mumble-mumble years old guy trying to animate a sixteen (oh wait, seventeen now) year old girl?  But on the other hand, I know my intentions – it’s really just because I don’t trust anyone else with my vision and I don’t have the money to hire an actress.  I wouldn’t mind doing that, tbh – a real life live action lily would be really cool – but that is such a pain that I’d just rather do it myself if I can.  This is an art project and nothing more, just a really involved one that requires yanking me quite far out of my comfort zone to be anywhere near successful.

But whatever.  I guess I’m learning useful stuff, such as it is.


HI! It’s me! The creator!

Lily is seventeen today.  I haven’t yet posted today’s entry, so I won’t talk a whole lot about it, except to say she had a good birthday.

Lily is so hard to write sometimes.

I had a bit of a scare today.  I read that Japan isn’t allowing people to come to Japan without a good reason that isn’t tourism, and that threatened to invalidate the entire Japan storyline. I almost had to just retcon the whole thing and say “well, in Lily’s world, she could go” but that seems like such a copout.  But then I remembered that she did have a reason – visiting family.  The whole tourist thing was just a side effect.

But that’s why Lily is so hard to write.  I try to make her world as realistic as I can, and sometimes it’s not possible.  For example, no one in her family has gotten COVID, though there was a bit of a scare a while ago.  That’s because I just don’t want to write that.  It’s too dark right now.  And besides, it’s kind of waning off, at least the really serious kind, so maybe I can get away with that.

I keep writing Lily because I want to, but in every other way, she’s an abject failure.

Oh, Jack’s moving to Austin.  You might have read that.  That was my way of resolving the problem I’d discussed in the last post.  It was either that or write him out.  Maybe a long distance relationship works well in real life, for the right person, but in a story like this, it does nothing and just serves to bog the story down.  I didn’t want to put Lily through that for now, so I am moving him to Austin.  At least that opens up some story possibilities.  I hope, anyway.

Someone asked me today what her favorite color is.  I said “let me ask her”, and that’s such a weird thing to say.  But eventually, I think the answer is lavender.  The more you know…  My favorite color is purple, but she really likes pink too, so I split the difference.

But Lily really is a failure.  I’ve been writing her for over a year and still afaik only maybe two or three people read it.  I’ve made a good product that no one likes.  I guess all I can say is I’ve got something I can be remembered by.  Maybe.

I’m hungry.  But I guess I’ll let Lily have all the chocolate.

Hi! It’s me! The Creator!

So yesterday I made the first Lily YouTube I’ve made in a while.  I tweaked the voice, and I got rid of the little snicker in favor of a higher pitched giggle.  I like it better, but the snicker kind of made its way into her character, and I actually have to actively stop myself from doing it.  I’m not a very good actor.

In fact, I made a mistake in editing.  It’s not one that’s easily fixed, but I’m probably going to leave it.  The reason is that she’s a 16 year old who’s not the greatest at editing.  Even if I could have done better, well, she’s entitled to a mistake every now and then.  That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  At least, until my perfectionism gets the best of me and I fix and reupload it.

Truth be told, I don’t like her YouTubes the way they are.  Yes, they’re kind of a work in progress, and her body model is much better than it used to be.  Also, I’ve been actively working on the voice.  While these things could stand to be improved even more (ultimately, I don’t think I will ever be quite capable of doing her voice justice without a lot of technological help I haven’t figured out yet) they’re not why I’m not comfortable.  It’s because they’re not entertaining.  I’ve been doing them as an offshoot of her diary, and that’s perfectly valid, but all she does is talk about her day.  Maybe that’s what a sixteen year old will do, but…  I’m not happy.

This is, truth be told, the biggest weakness of the Lily project, and the one I’m having the most difficulty in surmounting.  Lily is a great story.  The few people who read it regularly love it.  I’ve created a character with her own life and personality, and she is cute and lovable and all those things.  But the story is the entertainment.  By which I mean, making YouTubes that are based upon her story just doesn’t work well.  The story stands on its own, but the YouTubes on top of it is really just nothing but an interesting technological experiment.  Essentially, it’s a medium I’m not coming anywhere near to taking even the slightest steps towards full advantage of.

Whilst the YouTubes are kind of an important part of my vision for her (and one of the first things that I had envisioned doing, even before the story), I’m not sure how I can make them work in their current form.

I’m also starting to regret a little bit including Jack into the story.  He’s there and I’m not going to get rid of him – or at least I don’t plan to at present.  It would be an interesting and heartbreaking story to write, but I just don’t want to do that to her, or myself, right now.  But that closed off a whole bunch of possible storylines, and while I’ve been keeping even the Patreon content part PG-13, I’m still not sure I didn’t make a huge mistake in giving her a nascent sex life (if you haven’t read the Patreon, and since there are no subscribers of course you didn’t, she refuses to go “all the way” until marriage, but they’ve done a bit of fooling around and, well, he gets the job done).  It’s something a teenager her age would do.  It’s not something I’m quite as comfortable with Lily doing.

But maybe I’m just being a bit fatherly.

The hardest part about writing Jack, though, is that there’s not much for him to do in the story.  His job is basically to meet up with her every now and then, give her chocolate, and otherwise just be there in the background and do nothing.  Basically, a somewhat useless character that I have to go through hoops to have her spend time with.  This was a terrible decision and I’m afraid I’m going to have to do something drastic to correct it.

Basically, I just have some very mixed feelings on the whole thing right now.  I’ve invested a year and over 200,000 words into Lily.  I’ve invested a lot of time and a significant amount of money into making this project succeed – and I haven’t at all.  And I’ve tried to branch out into media that make it almost impossible for her to succeed in current form, so…  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to move on from here.

I am actually considering budgeting for an actual voiceover artist, writing a script, all that kind of thing, making some use of after effects and other editing magic, and seeing if that helps any.  But this has its own set of problems.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for this kind of project.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

I just brought a new Lily body model online.  It addresses quite a few issues that have been bugging me for a while.

  • In a complete repudiation of my man card, her bust is smaller.  It was not as big as it could be, but it was also bigger than was strictly necessary.
  • She is now wearing tights rather than stockings.  That works better with her dress.
  • I’ve reduced her body proportions and adjusted her dress to be a little more flattering.
  • I’ve reduced her hand size and reduced the length of her sleeves.
  • She has a new hairstyle
  • I’ve slightly changed her nose shape, and a few other things.

I did this because, in spite of the fact that I am a guy, I’ve been going for realism ever since I started this, and that, coupled with the fact that new versions of VRoid have a few more things to tweak that weren’t present previously, meant that this was the right time to make these modifications.  I’ll probably be redoing her gallery pictures this weekend with the new body model.

Lily is, first and foremost, a work in progress.  She is very different, both in tone and appearance, than she was when I first created her, and she will continue to evolve.  I hope the evolution is in the right direction.


HI! It’s me! The Creator!

Lily is about to head home from Japan, I’ve already got those posts written and scheduled.  She has a lot to say and a lot to talk about, but right now she’s just concentrating on doing all the stuff needed to get home, so I think on Saturday she’ll have a nice long post about what it was like to leave, etc.  Right now she’s just too excited to get home.  You know how it is.

This story arc was… rewarding.  And very, very hard to write.  No, it wasn’t hard to write because I was short on ideas – I could have extended her trip to a month, or two months, and not really run out of ideas.  It was hard because I put a lot of myself into this particular story arc.

It’s a strange thing about me – this doesn’t happen all the time, but in travel story arcs like this, I go along with her.  That happened when she went to Orlando – her having to leave Jack was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, I think – and it happened this time, but for different reasons.  The truth is that I didn’t so much write Lily taking a vacation, as I gave Lily a vacation and went along with her.  Air travel is stressful for me, vacations are stressful for me, and I experienced a lot of the stress that I would experience if I went along with her.  I also experienced a lot of the fun as well.

You see, when I write scenes like that, I don’t start with an idea.  I start with an image.  I have an image in my mind of something she’s experienced, and then I write the image.  For example, when she went to Osaka to see the Sky Building.  I had an image of her going up the escalators, of her looking out the windows, and she reacted to that image.  It’s awful complicated and I’m really not sure if many other authors write this way, but I do.  I built the environment around her, and then let her react to it, and she never disappoints.  She’s just so much fun!

She’s coming back from Japan, and has a lot to write about, and the next story arc starts very soon.  But I feel like I went to Japan right along with her, and I pretty much never left my abode.  It’s, umm… actually a little disconcerting.  I don’t understand myself, and particularly so when I’m writing Lily.

I’ve…  grown kind of fond of Lily.  When I started writing her, I didn’t really have any idea in mind of what she would be like.  I set the parameters:  She was a 16 year old girl (actually 15, but she didn’t know that), she had lost her memories, and she had the kind of innocence that only someone who had lost all their memories could have.  But other than that, she developed organically.  Most of the story arcs that she’s experienced over the past year were kind of “spur of the moment” – I didn’t plan them, but they worked out so well.  I actually think I’d rather she didn’t have a boyfriend, but she wanted Jack, and how could I deny her?  I didn’t plan her to be half-Japanese – actually, if you look at the early body models, she was caucasian.  As her half-Japanese identity fleshed out, her body model changed to match.  (didn’t hurt that I’d learned how to use vroid better and got some decent skins).  And as she got to Japan, she was given more of her heritage, and I’d not actually planned that.  Though it worked out perfectly.  The point being, that she’s grown organically, and I really have grown to be fond of the girl she’s turned out to be, and I only want the best for her.

That doesn’t mean she’s not going to endure adversity.  In fact, this entire story is about her enduring adversity.  But I’m only going to throw things at her that will help with her development and forward the story.  At the end of the day, I could no more hurt her than I could my own child, and I find that to be a very unusual state of mind.

Believe me, it would be easy to.  I consider and discard different ideas of things to throw at her – and some of them are rather ghastly – multiple times a day.  But at the end of the day, it’s not that kind of story, and I’m not that kind of creator.

As I was writing the posts that chronicle her return from the airport, I was stressed that she would make it back fine, even though I knew she would make it back fine, because whether she does or not is entirely within my control.  I…  cannot figure that out.

But I guess that makes for a good story, right?

Oh, I forgot to mention.  Everything she experienced in Japan is as authentic as I could make it.  Every destination (except the unnamed ones like the garden and shrine near her grandparents’ home) was real, the weather was real, the flights were as accurate as possible, even the cultural references were real.  I hope that didn’t go unnoticed.


Hi! It’s me! The creator!

Well, Lily is in Japan and having a blast!  Truth be told, this is a really fun storyline to write – and a very hard one as well.  You’d be surprised at how much it’s both.

I really hadn’t planned an itinerary for Lily.  My entire plan was “Lily goes to Japan”.  Of course, I had planned for her to go to Akihabara, etc., but other than that, how was she going to fill two weeks?  Well, by traipsing all over Japan, of course!  So far she’s gone to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka…  but there are other places to go too!  I hear there’s a “wan wan land” over in Tsukuba, and Hokkaido seems like an interesting place to visit, though I’m not sure how she’s going to fit that in.  But she has lots of company, and everyone’s having a good time showing her all over the country.  I mean, she could have gone by herself, but Emiko also wants to use the time to bond with her a bit too.  And it seems that she’s getting her wish – and an upcoming event will help to cement that.

Emiko isn’t going to take the place of Dave and Sabby – after all, they wanted her, and Emiko didn’t – but she is family, and she wants to make it right, so I think that’ll turn out okay.

It’s hard, though, because I’m kind of visiting Japan through Lily.  I’ve never been there.  So when I decide what Lily’s going to be doing from day to day, I open Google Maps, do a bit of homework on what’s available, and then she goes wherever strikes my fancy.  But that works out.  Everything’s about as accurate as I can make it – I’ve taken very few liberties so far, but by necessity it can’t be perfect.  But I’ve done what I can.  For example, I wanted to send her to cat island, and if I wanted to fudge reality just a bit, I of course could have made it happen.  But cat island was out of the way, and I didn’t want to make that compromise.  So she went to rabbit island instead, which I think is probably more fun anyway.  There’s a rail line down in kyushu (the nichinan line) which is really, really pretty, and I’d love to have her visit there, but again, it’s out of the way, so i decided against it.  Maybe next time.  Maybe before she goes to college, she’ll stay in Japan for a summer?  I don’t know, I literally just thought of that.

Anyway, the point is that in order to be realistic, I have to sacrifice something.  Oh well.  She’s still having a blast.

So what’s in store for Lily when she gets back?  Well, there are some storylines that still have to be fleshed out.  Will she go to a private school?  Or maybe even a community college?  What about Jack?  And I know I haven’t brought up Ai much, but she’s been tagging along and even leading some of the Japan excursions, so she needs to come to the US at some point too and visit Lily.  And then there’s Sabby’s business – what about the guy running the trust?  Seems a little fishy, right?  Well, she’s got a good lawyer…

And she gets her license soon too!!!

Anyway, I’ve been writing Lily for a year.  I started July 21, 2021.  I’m not entirely sure what motivated me to start writing her, but I find that while it can be a little discouraging, frustrating, and even traumatic at times, I really like writing her.  She’s a good girl, and a part of me, and not a part of me at the same time.  I like writing a sixteen year old girl.  It lets me express a part of myself that I can’t express any other way.  So, while no one really reads or anything, I’m going to keep writing until the story concludes.

I believe at the moment I know when the story will conclude and have a slight idea of how.  But that is at least a year away, and maybe more.  And then after that, well, I’ve built a world, and the sky’s the limit.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

So tonight starts the “Lily goes to Japan” storyline, and to be honest, writing these kinds of storylines is always a bittersweet thing for me.  Ever since I was a kid, there was always this kind of mystique to going other places, and it’s something that’s emotionally troublesome to me.  When I wrote the Orlando storyline I actually found it very difficult to write, and I suspect that I’ll find this one just as difficult to write, but maybe for slightly different reasons.  In Orlando, Lily got her heart kinda-sorta broken.  In Japan, well, it’s like a different world over there.  No danger of heartbreak for her, but Liz… well… I guess we’ll see.

But it’s important to the storyline.  Lily needs to go to Japan.  Even if only because she’s half Japanese.

Anyway, today she’ll be heading to Houston, then LA tomorrow, then a very long flight to Japan.  Who knows what awaits her there?  Good sushi?  Onigiri?  Anime?  Manga?  Or something else entirely?  Only I know, but even I don’t know everything.  I usually know the big stuff, but the little stuff that happens every day?  I let that happen organically.  Maybe some day she’ll walk by a Shinto shrine and meet a priest, or… who knows?  I don’t either.  But I do have a couple of surprises in mind.

Her one year anniversary is coming up very soon, and I am still drawing a complete blank as to what kind of fun thing to do.  Maybe it’ll be something encompassing the month of August?  I have no idea whatsoever.  It’s actually really annoying me how difficult I’m finding that.  If I had unlimited resources I know exactly what I’d want to do, but I just don’t have the kinds of skills or resources needed to pull it off at this moment.  I’d love to just be able to say to some talent “I want this” and to have it come back in a month or two, but that just doesn’t happen.  So what to do, what to do.  But I’m intent on doing something

Lily’s written nearly 190,000 words over the last year.  That’s about equivalent to one of the longer Harry Potter novels.  Which means I probably have enough material to novelize what she’s already written.  I’ve got a so-far-half-baked plan for that.  Stay tune.  As soon as I’ve dealt with an annoying and ongoing health problem, well, something like that’s gonna happen.

Lily would say “love you all!” right now, but I’m not Lily.  As strange as it may seem, I’m not.  Lily’s a 16 year old mostly innocent girl, I’m a mid-40s curmudgeon misanthropic male.  But if you’re reading this, well, thanks.

Hi! It’s me! The creator!

And it’s been far too long since I’ve written one of these.  Health problems and other projects have gotten in the way.  But I’ve written a lily diary every night!  Well, nearly every night.  Some nights I sit down and say “Time do to a Lily!  I wonder what she’s up to today!”  Honest truth is, half the time I don’t know myself, some days it’s just as much as surprise as it is to everyone else.

But she’s coming up on a year!  Next month, in fact!  Now, one could say that I’ve done a really bad job at marketing her, no one reads, and no one pays attention.  And that’s true.  I still get very few viewers to the page, and no one knows about her.  That’s kind of a failure…  and it’s kind of not.  Because at the end of the day, she still has nearly a year of content.  I can’t tell you exactly how much (though that would be a fun statistic) but she’s a pretty fully fleshed out character with a minimum of plot holes.  (There are a couple, I’m going to have to make a project on a weekend soon to go back over all the posts).  But I can do stuff with this.  I can make a summary page, for example.  There’s lots of stuff I can do with such a mature character that I couldn’t do a year ago.  So I’ll have to do something special for her first anniversary, whether or not people pay attention to it.  Maybe I’ll go on an FB ad blitz and make some special patreon-only content.  While, as I said, I’m protective of her character, I’m not above a little quasi-innocent fanservice.

I think her anniversary is July 21, or something very close to that.  Stay tuned.  It’s been a year.  I plan on going all out.  I just don’t know what “going all out” means just yet.

There are times when I write Lily that I’m tired, I’m depressed, I’m misanthropic, I hate people (but I repeat myself), life itself can be a burden that’s difficult to overcome.  But I try not to reflect that when I write Lily.  She’s a pretty happy, optimistic, innocent girl, and it’s just not appropriate for me to overlay my problems onto her.  I’ve actually found that she and I kind of merge a little.  I find myself acting a little bit more like her in some situation, and she starts acting a little like me.  She shares some of my interests (but not others), and a lot of the stuff she’s into is stuff I know about.  But how could it be otherwise?  I mean, I don’t know makeup or clothes or the stuff girls do when they’re by themselves (being a nearly 50 year old guy, I can’t identify), but all the other stuff?  Well, she’s not a dumb girl.

But there are other things you might say “that’s not realistic”, but it is.  I knew a girl once a long time ago who really would make piles with her friends.  Girls really are physically affectionate in a way that boys generally aren’t – but that doesn’t mean they’re lesbians.

Speaking of which, there are no LGBT characters in Lily.  That is a conscious decision right now.  It’s not because I don’t want LGBT characters specifically, it’s more of a response to people that go out of their way to add them when the plot doesn’t really call for them.  I am specifically not going to do things just for the sake of representation, I’m only going to do things when it adds to the story, and adding an LGBT character does not add to the story right now.  That may change in the future – some characters are young enough that there is a nonzero chance that there may be a closet to come out of – but not now, and very possibly not ever.  If you don’t like that, then you’re very welcome to go elsewhere.  Also, Lily is not really interested in LGBT issues and doesn’t talk about them.  It’s not because she (or I) hate them, it’s just because it’s something that doesn’t cross her mind.  Again, I’m not going to shoehorn things into the plot that don’t advance the story or the character.  If there’s a time for that in the future, then that will change.  It’s not time for that.  And, let me clear, no matter what, Lily is straight, will always be straight, and will never take on an “identity” other than a straight, half Japanese female.  That is my choice, as the creator.

That said, there are some issues that I do deal with.  That’s because I have a friend (whose daughter Allison is based on) who tells me some of the things on her daughter’s mind – and that informs some of the things Lily experiences or talks about.  It’s a treasure trove of story ideas, and it really helps me out.

Anyway, I guess that’s enough trouble for today.  I have a lot to do.  Stay tuned for Lily news.