As I mentioned on Twitter a few days ago, a major update on WordPress made several plugins go out of whack and reduce the site to… basically a pink square. It would have been an easy enough fix; I could just scroll back to an earlier version of the site and then test out which plugins got all weird…

But! With my great talent for making an obstacle even bigger just because I insist on seeing it as an opportunity, I decided I might as well use the occasion to take a site that had become a little bloated and slow due to the number of plugins I was never using anyway. So I uninstalled all the plugins and then did a hopefully more lightweight version of the site. At the same time I fixed a couple of minor things I hadn’t been perfectly happy about, so you’ll see a couple of design tweaks here and there… mainly that there’s a new header and a new footer. Which of course I spent way too much time on designing and getting to work, but that’s me.

Content-wise, it’s the same site as ever. I only uninstalled the plugins, not the work. Well… a couple of single drawings may be gone since the galleries are new, but I think I got all the same pics up as before. The comics and the blog, which I’d argue are the heart of the site, haven’t changed, and neither has Genie Girl Chats… though I really need to get going with that fourth interview.

Speaking of getting going, chapter 12 of Holly Potter and the Witching World has been up for a while, and I’m about halfway through chapter 13. These last two chapters are mainly exposition… and I think I know why I have had such a hard time with them… I’ve been listening too much to fan discussions, particularly fan discussions about how evil and incompetent the adults of canon Harry Potter are, how awful it is that nobody ever tells Harry anything, and how Dumbledore should be thrown in jail for child abuse… so since chapters 10-12 are Holly’s first big excursion into the Witching World (think the Diagon Alley shopping trip in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s s Stone, but with less shopping and more characters) I wanted not only to showcase some of the differences between canon and my AU, as well as introduce some major players in the story, but also “fix” some of canon’s problems. The adults WOULD be more responsible, and Holly WOULD get answers more quickly. Besides, I was eager to reveal more backstory!

Yeah, that was a mistake. When you write a story and include entire chapters just to make your characters happy and not because they serve the plot, it ends up DRAGGING. I already knew my fic was more slow-paced than canon, and I was fine with that, but having two chapters in a row that’s mainly exposition REALLY doesn’t make for a fun time, especially not when you’re writing it. I did manage to insert some interest back into chapter 12 by swapping out a lengthy exposition scene with a Dean Thomas solo scene and a bit of creepy Narcissa… but I think all in all, this is the last time I try this big an infodump in a story.

The good news is, while chapter 13 is also mostly exposition and backstory, chapter 14 should have some action and drama, and chapter 15 will probably be the final one before we do a time skip and can finally get a slightly older Holly off to Hogwarts… and Albus and Hagrid will have their own mystery solving side-plot, which should be fun. There will also be more Bellatrix!

That’s it for now, I think. Hopefully the site works without a hitch again… it does seem to be slightly faster now, so that’s good. Ironically, one of the plugins I installed to speed it up and keep an eye on bloat seems to have been one of the main culprits in slowing it down. Figures,