Monday, June 19, 2017

Writer's Night June 2017


Saturday June 17th 2017 -- the third Saturday of the month -- was Writer's Night, and this month I hosted at my apartment in Federal Way.  I made tacos and homemade salsa.  Three people showed up -- Gene, Chuck, and Matt.  Everybody but Matt had something to read.

Chuck read two different stories.  Both were essentially opening chapters to longer stories.  Both were set in the Felicia universe but involved other characters -- one a couple of characters in the Dogonian army, another involving two characters in the enemy Banalian army.  Both were interesting and well-written, but it's hard to comment too much on either since they weren't complete stories or even revealed that much of the plot.

Gene's story was similar, a short piece from the early years of a character who will later become the Mathemagician.  It was a nice piece of writing, but it was only the opening scene of a larger story -- or possibly needs a rewrite to turn it into a stand-alone story, Gene wasn't sure which.  Again it was interesting and well-written, but there wasn't a plot per se so you didn't have too much to comment on.

I read an older story that I wrote last July during Camp NaNoWriMo, but which is set very early in my series of Grandpa Anarchy stories.  I had decided that Circuit Girl has been built up to be such an important character in my universe, but the first story she appears in, she's already dead, so I wanted to write a story or two that involved her before she's killed.  I plotted three of these and wrote two of them, and still intend to write the third at some point.

Other than that it's a time travel Jack the Ripper story, which is a subgenre all it's own I think.  I still like the story as written but people suggested a different ending that I might use, although the more I think about it, some of those suggestions don't make a lot of sense, as they suggest multiple timelines coexisting in the same timeline or something.  But I do think I'll  rework the ending a bit.  The first part of the story alludes to the fact that multiple people have tried to go back in time to solve the Jack the Ripper case, and I don't deal with that very obviously at the end, which was the main suggestion.  There's a way to do it, I just need to work on it a bit.

Anyway it was a fun night.  ^_^

Monday, June 12, 2017

Magical Girl Death Match!


Back in March it seemed like I'd be able to finish up Oz On The Half-Shell really easily if I just concentrated on in it for a couple of weeks.  This is a novella-length story involving someone trying to replace Grandpa Anarchy, and it seemed to me that it was more than 3/4ths done.  I liked what I'd written so far and I knew where the story was supposed to go.  What could be easier?

This, mind you, is just one of several novella or novel-length stories in the Grandpa Anarchy universe that I have started and failed to finish.  There's World of Hero, which I wrote back in 2012 and then rewrote a couple of years later, and which still needs a radical rewrite.  There's Second Class, a story about the Black Moon Maidens, that I wrote a couple of chapters into but never finished.  There's also Serial Anarchy, a novel I attempted to write one year for NaNoWriMo.  I only got a couple of chapters into that one too.

Serial Anarchy is one of those stories that I'm sure I could completely rework at a later point, but as for the others, they involve world-changing details that I've made reference to, and therefore the stories HAVE to be written at some point.  The further into the future I push my narrative with new stories, the more vital it is that I go back and finish these old stories which shape the future so that I'm certain to not get any details wrong.  My big plan for this year, for Camp NaNoWriMo in April especially, was to finish up Oz On The Half-Shell quickly and then concentrate on finally writing World of Hero.

So here I am in June, and I've only managed a few new scenes.  I started April by writing a bunch of shorter stories so that I wouldn't fall behind on my goal of publishing one story a week on my blog.  Then I got bogged down on Oz On The Half-Shell, and through most of May I wrote very little.  I've even worked up several new story ideas that I haven't worked on because I really want to get my novella done.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I've struggled to finish a very long story -- my Return to Amethyst story is novella-length, and took about a year and a half or two years before I actually finished it.  I also wrote Secret Crisis Wars last summer, and that is a novella-length story that I'd planned for quite a while.  So I know I can successfully finish these other stories, but it has been a struggle.

So of course it doesn't help when I come up with new ideas for very long stories.  ^_^

I've been reading a light novel (and watching the anime based on it) called Magical Girl Raising Project.  I liked the concept right away -- an MMO game about magical girls where one in ten thousand players is granted the ability to become a real magical girl.  Of course we exist in a post-Madoka Magica world, and therefore this series quickly turns dark, as the game's mascot who is in charge of things first decides that there are too many magical girls in the same town and some must be eliminated, and then later reveals that if you cease being a magical girl, you also cease living.  Then it devolves into magical girls killing each other.

The series has some major flaws, not the least of which is that there are too many characters and they all start dying before you even learn much about them.  They fall into the trap of giving you a character's full back story in the episode where they die, so that there's not much mystery about who's going to get offed next.  You also never get much of a story about who's behind all of this or what their actual motivations are.  But dark magical girl stories are popular, and the series is a hit, even though it's clearly not nearly as good as the classic that it's patterned after.  And I don't mean it's terrible -- but Madoka Magica was an instant classic anime series.  It's hard to equal it, especially when you're taking so many clues from it.

But I can see that there will be more stories like this one, and it got me thinking:  first, that we should just be forthright and honest about what we're actually doing, and call it something like Magical Girl Death Match.  Second, that someone should be trying to figure out who really is responsible for all of this.  If the magical girls aren't going to do this themselves, then certainly someone from the outside is going to be curious why all of these people are winding up dead.  Also, why can't the app store just pull the app from the store?  I mean, you can easily explain that magic is involved and that while the app appears in the store when you look, it's not actually listed there by the people that control the store and they have no way to remove it.  But in the anime they simply don't address this.

So this got me thinking:  a story where a young person dies of apparently natural causes (heart attack), but their family is convinced that something sinister involving the game they were playing is involved.  They hire an investigator because the police think they're crazy.  The investigator does too, but then he uncovers more deaths from people who have been using the app, and that the app isn't actually supposed to be in the store at all.  Realizing he's in over his head, he turns to a super hero for help -- Grandpa Anarchy.

And Grandpa Anarchy has an idea of who or what might be behind such a game -- because it's very similar to what happened in the Secret Crisis Wars, where heroes and villains were pitted against each other for the amusement of a powerful otherworldly being.

So this weekend I wrote up a treatment for Grandpa Anarchy and the Magical Girl Death Match Tournament.  My problem is, I can't start writing this.  I need to get my other stories done first.  ^_^  If nothing else I need to rewrite The Ring of Hanubatum so that I can put it on the web site (probably in 2 parts since it's so long).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Writer's Night for May 2017


General writing update:  I've been theoretically working on Oz on the Half-Shell since late April.  I may have managed about 1 scene a week -- which technically is about as much writing as one new story a week, but feels like way less than that.  I should be able to do one scene every 1-2 days.

This morning I did a little work on an old story called Unpossible, which I might try to write finally.  I also plotted another story I'm calling Them Bones.

Saturday was writer's night and was held in Woodinville at Matt's place.  I have to admit that I forgot to Google it or verify the directions needed to drive there, but this is the third or forth time I've been there and I was able to remember the route well enough to figure it all out without getting lost.  Turns out Chuck tried to come but got all the way to Woodinville and got lost, and wasn't able to call anyone I guess.  :/  Anyway we had Gene and Jeff and Jeri-Lynn and Matt and myself.

Gene read a short story that he'd written a very long time ago, which Mike found while they were in the process of moving.  He only had a printed paper copy, no electronic copy, that's how old the story was.  But it was a nice short story about a cat (a lynx I think?) raised by wolves who meets an otter, nothing too fancy but well worth keeping.  I liked it.

I dug through all of the Grandpa Anarchy stories I wrote in the first part of April (most of them are not as terrible as I remembered) and I picked out one that includes the sidekick Glass Cannon.  I posted it to my blog today; it's called By Any Other Name.  People only had a few minor suggestions/corrections which I managed to fix before the evening was done.

Matt made a cake and had fried chicken and side dishes.  Several of us took extra chicken and things home.  It was a fun evening.  ^_^

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Collecting Oz

I've been working on my collection of Oz books the past week or two.  It's such a mess.  There are books that are "officially canon" that deviate from much of what L. Frank Baum wrote.  Mind you, Baum himself didn't care much if he contradicted himself from one book to the next, but he clearly had some core values and ideas for Oz that subsequent authors did not consider important.  Then there are books by much later authors who work very hard to adhere to the Oz of L. Frank Baum, and yet those books will never be considered canon.

In between you have a huge swath of books that are sort-of canon, and since all of the early books are in public domain, you have every conceivable variety of continuation story and alternative Oz vision possible.  Many of Baum's children and grandchildren have written Oz books, and almost none of them feel any need to stick close to Baum's own vision.

For my part I set out originally to collect as many "original" Oz books as I could, and that's proven difficult -- both to decided which are "original" Oz books and to find some of them.  The latter Oz books and some of those that followed were only published once and not kept in print, so there may be no chance to own all of them without spending a lot more than I would like on a few.

The "canonical 40" are easy to define -- the first book, and the 39 that were subsequently published by Reilly & Lee.  These include 19 books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, 3 by John R. Neill, 2 by Jack Snow, and 1 each by Rachel Cosgrove and by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and her daughter Lauren Lynn (McGraw) Wagner.

There are 3 books written by Sherwood Smith that are officially recognized by the Baum Trust as canon.  The third of these was self-published on Lulu.

There are books that were published by the International Wizard of Oz Club, and some of these are from canonical authors so these can be considered deutero-canonical.  There are 2 books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, 1 by Eloise jarvis McGraw and Lauren McGraw-Wagner, and 1 by Rachel Cosgrove.  There is also 1 book by Dick Martin and 2 by Gina Wickwar that the club published; those would not be considered canon, but given their publication by the International Wizard of Oz Club, I include them in a subsequent list of important non-canonical books.

Hungry Tiger Press has published several books.  They published 1 book by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, which would be deutero-canonical, and several books that are not canonical but adhere very closely to Baum's original vision:  2 by Edward Einhorn, 2 by Eric Shanower (and five graphic novel stories by him).

Eric Shanower also illustrated the last book written by John R. Neill, which was scheduled to be published but he died before illustrating it.  That book is also deutero-canonical.

Beyond all of that, you have a massive collection of books, some of which are "Orthodox Oz" sequels and others of which are clearly "Alternative Oz" stories.  Confusingly, some of the alternative Oz books were written by Baum's son Frank Joseph Baum and great grandson Roger S. Baum.  Baum's youngest son Kenneth Gage Baum also wrote a book.  The most famous alternative Oz books are, of course, the Wicked book and its sequels by Gregory Maguire; the 6 Oz/Magic Land books by Alexander Volkov (which were hugely popular in the Soviet Union, and spawn their own set of Russian sequels by other authors); and the strange March Laumer books (March was brother to Keith Laumer, who co-authored one Oz book with him).  March Laumer wrote 21 books in his own divergent Oz series, which borrowed both from Oz and from Volkov's Russian books.  There is also a long list of books published by a non-profit fan club called Buckethead Enterprises of Oz and later Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends, and they published so many books (98 and counting), both orthodox Oz and alternative Oz, that it's almost too much to keep track of and certainly daunting to consider collecting.  There were 16 books published by Emerald CIty Press, a division of Books of Wonder.  There were 5 books published by Ozian Seahorse Press, which were by Ryan M. Atticus  Gannaway, later editor of The Baum Bugle.  Trying to collect or even keep track of everything is madness, but when I come across a known author like Phyllis Anne Karr, I mark that down as one I should pick up.  ^_^

But getting back to my own collection -- I was still missing 3 of the original 40 canon books, which have apparently never been reprinted.  This past week I ordered a copy of Lucky Bucky in Oz, book #36, for around $20.  It's a very old book of course, but at least I can say I have it now.  Book #35 the Scalawagons of Oz, and book #39 the Hidden Valley of Oz, apparently sell for much more than that, and I may find it difficult to buy both of those and complete my collection.

Collecting the deutero-canonical books and the apocryphal orthodox Oz books published by the International Wizard of Oz Club has been equally challenging, as many of those have been out of print since the 70's or 80's and probably did not have huge print runs to begin with.  I picked up the Ozmapolitan of Oz by Dick Martin and Yankee in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson this week, and was a little disappointed that both books are oversized volumes, about 12x9 roughly -- I really want all of my Oz books to be the same size, but naturally that's not possible with so many different publishers involved.  But there are other books from the Oz Club that are also too expensive for me to consider picking up, including several of the deutero-canonical books.  :/

Quite a few of these books have been listed for sale on Lulu.com, which is nice.  They're not cheap but not insanely priced collector's items either.  It's very difficult to search for them -- any search on Baum or Oz yields his own books over and over, since those are all in public domain and there are many versions available.  You have to know what you're searching for ahead of time in order to find what you want.  I've ordered one of Phyllis Anne Karr's books from Lulu Press; her other books are not listed there but some of the Buckethead/Tales of the Cowardly Lion and Friends books are there, March Laumer's books are there, and quite a few other independent Oz books are there.  So I have a lot left to work with if I want to keep extending my collection.  ^_^

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Camp NaNo Report April 25 2017


For a while there things were rolling along with Camp NaNoWriMo, and then they came to a screeching halt.  But in the last couple of days I think I've managed to put things back in order again.

Before Norwescon I managed to finish three stories -- New League of Two-Fisted Justice, Upgrade, and Ghost Cop (my Deathcop 2000 story).  While at Norwescon I finished Mummy Dearest on Thursday, Brain Salad and Second Law My Metal Ass on Friday, and then Lingua Franca Fractura on Saturday.  Sunday I didn't manage to write much, and I was wiped out by the con and didn't write for most of the following week, but I had three story ideas I was playing with, titled Dues Ex Machina, Grimdark, and Snopes and Larpers.

I managed to finish Dues Ex Machina and Grimdark Fantasy on Sunday the 23rd.  That made me feel better since it was the first thing I'd finished in a week, but they were both short and not very good.  On Monday, I decided that Grimdark Fantasy was so bad that I needed to start completely over and rewrite it.

My original idea for this story was just that Grimdark Oz is pretty pevailent.  I think it was triggered by a comment to that effect that Mike said at Norwescon, but anyway, it's true.  So I figured, I've done a Grandpa / Oz story, but I hadn't done a Grandpa / Grimdark Oz story.  But Grandpa would have a policy of "Not Under Any Circumstances" for Grimdark Fantasy in general and especially Grimdark Oz.

So that was the germ of the idea, but I wasn't sure how to put it into a story.  My first though was just that a bunch of twisted Oz characters show up on Grandpa's doorstep asking for help, and he slams the door on them.  That was the concept in a nutshell, but it didn't seem like I could work it into a funny story.  It was too direct, there was no real surprise.

While I thought about it I also realized that even though Grandpa says his number one rule is "No Grimdark Oz Adventures", in fact Grimdark Wonderland is much worse.  It's always darker and more twisted and more bloody -- and also more common.  So I thought I could work that into the story as well.  But then, you like to do things in threes, so if I'm going from Grimdark Oz to Grimdark Wonderland, what's next?  What's the big surprise?

I thought, you know, Grandpa's probably a huge fan of Windsor McKay's Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland.  He grew up in New Jersey around the time that comic was in print.  And nobody does Grimdark Slumberland.  Grandpa would see that as a refuge from the insanity.

My initial story Grimdark Fantasy begins in the middle of a fight in Oz.  Grandpa wakes up from having been knocked unconscious, and is brought up to speed on their adventures in a twisted version of Oz.  Their car had been brought her by a tornado, they'd already landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her, and now they were allied with some kind of resistance movement.  Grandpa wants to leave as fast as possible, and his sidekick has this world's equivalent of the silver shoes (ruby slippers), so he grabs the sidekick and has him activate the spell -- click heels together three times, say "I want to go home".  But the shoes fly off (which is something that happens in the book too) and in this case Grandpa and sidekick are tumbled into a twisted Wonderland, which Grandpa declares is even worse.  And then he makes a comment about if you see a walking bed let me know, that's Windsor McKay and nobody does Grimdark Slumberland.

It was... not a very good story.  There was no real punchline, and it tried to cover quite a bit of territory far too quickly to really establish anything.  I felt if I was going to visit twisted Oz and twisted Wonderland, I needed to take the time to explore both of them more.  Also, while I'd borrowed characters from the second Oz book, I hadn't included Jack Pumpkinhead or Tip, and I'd instead included a punk Dorothy with  tattoos, a half-shaved head, and a snarling pitbull Toto.  That image made me laugh, but I didn't like the way I threw some characters from one book together with some characters from another book, with no explanation.

Even more, it seemed to me that if you wanted a really twisted Grimdark Oz, then instead of having the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the West as evil ruler, why not have Queen Dorothy of Kansas?  After she defeats the Wicked Witch of the West she has control of the winged monkeys, and if she doesn't set them free, then she can use them to take down the Wizard of Oz and rule the land.

Another thing:  I'd given the Tin Man a gatling gun, and I'd tried to transform the Scarecrow into a kind of Frank 'n' Furter looking character, but that didn't really work too well in my head.  By bringing back Jack Pumpkinhead and Tip, I could make Tip  the one who dresses up like a mini Frank 'n' Furter -- and that made sense in a twisted way, because in the original story Tip turns out to be Princess Ozma, who'd been transformed into a boy as a child.  But my Tip isn't about to let anyone transform him back.  ^_^

Working from the Rocky Horror idea, I began my new story with Grandpa and his sidekick on the side of the road.  Their car has already smashed the Wicked Witch of the East, which infuriated the Munchkins who were loyal servants of the witch.  They've escaped, but now their car has finally died.  I was thinking of moving next to a mysterious castle or house a la Rocky Horror, but Old Mombi's cottage made more sense.

That gave me a chance to have a mirror handy for an escape to Oz.  Here they meet a much darker Alice, based a bit on American McGee's Alice and Alice:  The Madness Returns.  Things turn bad but Grandpa sees his walking bed and jumps on it, escaping into Slumberland, where he's very disappointed to realize that even this place has been hit with the Grimdark stick.

The resulting story is about 3,500 words.  I had fun with it, got to develop the characters and situations a little bit at least, and even managed to borrow some dialog directly from the Marvelous Land of Oz and directly from Alice In Wonderland.  So I think it's more entertaining, with a better ending, although still maybe not quite as good as I'd like.

I called the new version Say No to Grimdark.

I think maybe I'm finally in the right mood to go back and finish up Oz on the Half-Shell now.  Obviously if I want to rewrite World of Hero then that's going to happen after Camp NaNoWriMo is over.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Camp NaNo Report, April 11 2017


Ten days into Camp NaNoWriMo for April 2017, and I'm doing okay -- trying to average 1,000 words a day and I'm close to 10,000 as of Tuesday morning April 11th.  But my original goal of completing Oz On the Half Shell and World of Hero has gone nowhere -- instead I've written six other stories, which is good for my weblog queue I guess.

As for the blog, for the second week in a row I didn't publish a story until Tuesday.   This has less to do with not having stories ready to go, and more with the fact that every Friday I go home with plans to work on at least one story and finish it, and instead I do nothing all weekend, and by Monday I feel a lot of pressure to finish up what I was working on Friday, instead of figuring out which story I want to post to my blog.

So this week on Monday I finished up a story called Breakable, and then worked on another story called Upgrade.  When it came time to figure out what I wanted to put up on my blog, I had a problem.  The next story in the queue is Vigil, but I'm not quite satisfied with that story, I think it needs a complete rewrite.  The next story after that is The Ring of Hanubatum, which is a monster story of 8,300 words, and almost certainly needs a minor rewrite at least.  After that I have Secret Millicent, which is a story set completely in Amethyst and doesn't deal with Grandpa at all.  I'm not sure I even want to publish that one on the blog.

After those three, the next story in line would be Fist to the Face -- which is a good story but I wrote it after I'd already begun two others, Breakable and Deathcop 2000, and I reference both of these other stories as things that have already happened.  That means I really ought to publish those two stories first.  Deathcop 2000 isn't written yet, but having finished Breakable last night, it seemed like the obvious choice.  It's not one of my best stories but I polished it up a bit and published it this morning.  I think that's the second time I've published a story to the blog less than 24 hours after I wrote it.  I usually try to avoid doing that.

Things that I also need to be working on:  Deathcop 2000, obviously, which might be next Monday's blog story.  I also want to finish up:   The Cephalopod that Befriended the Wind, The Companions, and The Devil and Miss Elsie.  These three stories should close out Book 8 -- High Tech Fisticuffs.  I have a habit of trying to place one Christmas Ghost story at the end of each book, and as it happens  this volume already contains The Unfinished Painting and Rosario's Model, both of which fit the bill.  (Techincally I don't have Christmas ghost stories for books 5 and 6 yet -- and book 7 is a hypothetical novel that's only partially written.)

I have at least two stories unwritten from book 6 that I'd like to finish -- X Factor and Meanwhile in Zendeth Sector.

I have three stories unfinished or unwritten from book 5 -- Oz on the Half-Shell, Unpossible, and Patron of the Arts.  The last two are character pieces for Unpossible Man and Nina Ballerina, so I can move those to a different book, which I think I've done before.

Second Class is a long-form story from Book 4 that's not finished.  World of Hero is a long-form story from book 2.  Those are all the things I want to be working on -- but I think Deathcop 2000 is first on the agenda, even though I really don't have a plot figured out for it yet.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Grandpa's Dreamquest

Camp NaNoWriMo began on Saturday, but I didn't get much written.  So my plan for Monday was the same plan I'd had since last week -- to finish a couple of short stories.  One has the working title The Glass Cannon, the other is titled Deathcop 2000.  I managed to finally write the first half of Glass Cannon on Sunday, but then I was having trouble with the second half because I didn't have a very good ending in mind.  By Monday I had a slightly better idea for an ending, but still wasn't sure about it.  Meanwhile I don't really even have a setting for Deathcop 2000 yet, let alone a punchline/ending.

The plan was to finish those, so that I'd have enough stories in my queue for the rest of the month and beyond, and then work on finishing Oz On The Half-Shell.  But I wasn't very inspired.  So instead I started going through my Unfinished Story Ideas folder, which I haven't looked at in maybe two years.  An awful lot of the files in here do not even qualify as story ideas -- some are titles, some are bits of dialog that I thought were interesting at the time.  For example:

Deadly Rainbow -- this file consists of nothing but the title, which I apparently liked at the time.

Computer Is Alive -- consists of the following bits of dialog:

DANIEL GILBERT HARVARD SCIENTIST THE SENTENCE, THE HUMAN BEING IS THE ONLY ANIMAL THAT ____________.
Humans are the only animals foolish enough to ask that kind of question.
Grandpa, that's an amazing insight.
No it ain't.

Arachnope  -- consists of an actual idea and some dialog.  The setup is a villain named King Spider who has arachnophobia and thinks spiders are the most terrifying thing in existence.  This would be the sort of villain who threatens people with tarantulas, and would be too scared to actually use any spiders that are poisonous.


So as you can see it's a mixed bag, and there's a lot of files in there that I just need to delete and forget about.

However I pulled up a file named Dreamquest of Unknown Anarchy, and found that I'd actually written most of a first scene on a story that's obviously a take-off on Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath.  I really liked that scene too, so I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the scene and working out where to go next with the story.  The idea is to make fun of the original tale, but to not write something as long and boring as the original.  Just a few short scenes  taken from a much longer narrative, but we skip over the boring parts.

I read the plot synopsis of the story found on Wikipedia, then copied it to my file to reread.  But that's light on details.  I need details before I decide which parts of the story are most worth parodying.  I downloaded the full text of the story as well, and saved it to a file -- but I had no plans to read the whole thing.

When I got home Monday I downloaded the four episodes of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast that covered the book.  I listened to them over the next  three days.  Based on my notes in the story, I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do for the next couple of scenes, so by Tuesday I had three scenes written.  Then I had to decide how to wrap things up -- I only wanted maybe two more scenes at most.  But on reflection, it seemed best to just jump to the end and have Grandpa do a quick recap of all the things that had happened in between that didn't actually get written:

"Okay," said Grandpa, "we've started a couple of wars, we've negotiated a couple of treaties, we've been to hell and back -- and I mean that literally, we've been to the underworld kingdoms at least twice now -- we've visited a dozen weird places with weird names populated by weird creatures, and frankly most of those names felt made up -- and we've skipped over all of that because it's boring as heck.  In short, we've spent weeks and months in dreamland doing only the unknown gods know what.  Are we done with our quest yet?"

After listening to the final podcast and thinking about it for a day, I had an idea of how to  wrap up my story.  The actual Lovecraft story has a rather trippy and psychadelic ending, and it isn't at all clear what really happens.  My ending had to be different, and more funny.  I finished it this morning -- 4,050 words.  Combined with the first half of the Glass Cannon story that I worked on Sunday, that's 4,550 words written so far for April.  I'm suppposed to be averaging 5,000 words a day, and it's the 5th, so I'm not too far off my pace.  If I can find a way to finish Glass Cannon today, that will probably get me to 5,000 words.