Or, maybe not so slight.
I said I'd explain what's happening with Shooting Stars, and I will. Honestly, it took me this long to entirely understand all of it myself.
Basically, my mind is weird. Which you had to have known, at some level. I mean, romantical story about a guy and an incubus that is, very technically, a spinoff from a series of ads for entirely unrelated items in which neither person appeared even once. There is nothing about that statement that does not contain the weird.
ANYWAY. My original plan for this segment of the story was to do a sort of drill-down aerial view of Serenity Falls itself, then drilling down to the college, then down to the library, then down to start the actual story part of things. And I was all set for this!
The set for Serenity Falls is, I kid you not, the oldest single file still extant and functional on my system. Somehow, it survived the Great EnDUFening Meltdown of ... whenever DUFs came out and trashed the .DAZ files. Which meant that the file is, at a minimum, at least three and maybe four years old. I have absolutely known what Serenity Falls looks like for that long.
So, started out with that file, transferred everything in it to Iray. Even though most of Shooting Stars is 3Delight, that sort of exterior seemed like it would work better in Iray, because it would make the city itself feel more real against the decidedly unreal action.
And ... the city wouldn't cooperate. Or, to be fair, parts of the city, and the falls themselves wouldn't cooperate. For reasons I wottest not, parts of the city that looked like they were actually on the terrain ground plane in 3Delight got all floaty in Iray. Casting shadows underneath and everything. That, however, was fixable. The falls themselves ... were problematic. No matter what water shader I used on the falls, they turned to plastic. Weird thing was, the rivers -- the Serene and the Little Serene ('cause I'm like, all original with names and stuff) -- looked exactly like they should.
The falls themselves, however, turned out to be a bigger issue than that. I know I've mentioned the improbable geography and geology of Serenity Falls. And that's all well and good ... but as I tried to work through the technical issues with that file, I realized the core issue with that, apart from the plastic was that ... nobody with even the tiniest bit of a brain in their head would put a town across from a set of major waterfalls. Or even minor ones. You just wouldn't do it. You'd put your town either way up-river or way WAY down river, but not THERE. It would make your town inaccessible by water.
(I will just note that it's part of Serenity Falls history that the town has been moved twice. The natives in the area tried to tell the settlers that they really really REALLY did not want to put their town where they were trying to put it, but what with lacking a common tongue and the whole "ignorant savages" ugly bit of manifest destiny, lessons had to be learned the hard way. Twice. Town got washed away twice by spring floods before they finally figured out the right place on the other side of the Little Serene from the "ignorant savages" -- at the juncture of the two rivers, but a bit inland.)
So ... ridiculous as it is, I got thrown really badly by trying to figure out how to relocate the town so that it was actually somewhere that would work
. Not just for the image, but for storytelling purposes. Partly because of Yet Another Story (that I'll probably never get to, because it's one of the Two Big Stories that were Too Big) that absolutely requires the city to be on the rivers, but close enough to the falls that the town takes its name from them. (I refuse to give up on my excessively ironical and wildly [in]appropriate city name, OK? Also, WAY too late for that at this point.)
It took me a really surprisingly long time to decide that, for what I'm working on now, it absolutely doesn't matter where the town is. It will matter, eventually, but now now and not for this story.
And the related issue is that the longer I put off working on things to try to figure out this core (to me) issue, the easier it was to put things off longer and longer and ... just not get to them. Especially because, as I'm pretty sure I've mentioned more than once, I have literally No Idea what happens after chapter 3/4. I know how it ends -- I think (not really happy with the ending, actually, but at least I know what it seems to want to be right now) -- but no idea how to get there. It may well be that this story doesn't have or need a middle, but I won't know until I get there. (This is, by the by, more or less what happened to "Every Last Inch". There's one scene after what's online that's partially rendered and scripted, even, but it ran very quickly into the "OK, now what?" issue. Also, I think Shooting Stars partially ate some of Inch's story. But we'll see.)
And, on top of that, there are So Many Other Things I want to do! So many of them! I would like my brain to slow down a little, frankly. (It is getting rather insistent about getting back to finish the honeymooners' story from the Phoenix Clan section
. (The short story that hasn't been touched in nearly 18 months, yes. Once again, my brain, it is a strange and wondrous and slightly annoying place.)
Anyway. I am, in fact, working on it now, but it'll be a bit longer before it's ready to post. Buffer, you know.
So, that's what's happening. Or not, as the case may be.