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.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Amethyst Writeup Done

I finished my writeup of the fairyland of Amethyst and all of my related fairylands.  It's over 11,000 words, and I've been working on it for a week, but I think I finally have everything I've created for any of these fairylands documented in one place.

And that's not an easy thing to do.  For example, I've known for a long time that the sisters Magical Midriff and Magical Manic Pixy Dreamgirl (she just goes by Pixy Dreamgirl these days) were transplants from a fairyland.  But what was it called?  What were their names there?  Why are they on earth now?  It turns out I know all of these things -- but I gave each answer at a different time, in different stories.  Pixy Dreamgirl explains that their father sold the fairyland kingdom to a developer, because he needed money and it was kind of a dump.  That's in a scene early in Oz On The Half Shell when they're talking to Kid Continuity and Wayback Boy.  In another scene, it's mentioned that they're from a place called Kadditha, and in yet a different scene they are introduced by their very embarrassing fairyland names Princess Butterbean and Princess Sugar Beet.

Or, as another example -- in my story Return to Amethyst, the wicked witch has a magic Ruby Bell on a necklace that can summon winged cats.  I've tossed in similar items at least three times now, all based on  the Golden Cap in the Wizard of Oz that controls the Winged Monkeys.  But I didn't have a name for this item other than "The Ruby Bell of the Winged Cats" -- except!  Buried in some dialog in the story Oz On The Half-Shell, a character mentions it as "Barthollo's Ruby Bell of the Winged Cats".  That name doesn't even appear in the story that actually deal with the item!

In similar fashion, I seem very fond of tossing out the names of people and mystic lands as off-handed comments in stories that don't directly deal with those people and places, so I had to read through my stories very carefully to make sure I had everything gathered in one place.  The cook at the Castle of Lialoshi is named Sandola, but I only know that because of an offhand comment the Princess makes when she's on earth and fixing strawberry pancakes, and notes that "Sandola is a fantastic cook, but she can't duplicate the taste of authentic strawberry pancakes".  It's important that I write these little tidbits down because who knows, I might write a story where I need to name that cook, and I'd probably forget that she already has a name.

All of this puts me in the mood to finally finish Oz On The Half-Shell, which is a novella-length story but is mostly done.  That's good timing, because Camp NaNo is about to start and finishing up several of my Grandpa Anarchy novel-length stories has been my basic plan for this April.  However, I was really hoping to finish one or two more short stories this week -- and I'm running out of time to do that.

I think my basic plan is to finish Oz On The Half Shell and, god willing, rewrite and finally finish World of Hero.  I'd also like to get my story X Factor from book 6 finished (I have 2 or 3 stories left to write for that book).   The other novella/novel length stories that I need to work on are Second Class and Serial Anarchy, but for now I'm going to ignore those.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Story That Isn't, and a Story That Had To Be

Last Tuesday I wound up plotting an entire story that I don't intend to actually write.

It was like this:  Having decided to place a version of Annie Two in the fairyland of Amethyst (named Annie Amethyst; she's an automaton rather than a computer program), and having decided to place a Steampunk version of a Society of Intergalactic Space Babes space station in orbit over the planet/fairyland, I realized by the next morning that I really need to know why these things exist.  There had to be a reason!  There was some big adventure involving Circuit Girl and F8Wasp that I knew nothing about.

So I wrote up several paragraphs about an invasion of the fairyland of Amethyst from space, by some kind of space troll-like creatures named Space Thralls.  The Necromancer King calls on Circuit Girl for help (she's the sister of Princess Amethyst after all).  She brings along several members of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice -- Geothermal Jenny, Sister Fryer, Girlbot 9000, Unpossible Girl, and Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick F8Wasp.  She also calls on the aid of Jennie Nova, Llahna and the Space Babes.  After they repell the invasion, they create Annie Amethyst to aid the Necromancer King, and Valerie 1895 (a Steampunk automaton version of Valerie 9000, the S.I.S.B. A.I.)   They leave a Steampunk space station in orbit over the planet, with six Steampunk space ships to patrol the air space for any new intruders or problems.

I also added a human girl named Sandra Dorsey to help run the spaceship.  She arrived in Amethyst by balloon and apparently stayed.

All of this was my "story that wasn't" although it could be argued that it's at least two stories -- one about the girl Sandra Dorsey.  In any event, this was even more world building for my story.  Naturally I sometimes reference events that I never actually write about, and this was one that I didn't intend to write (although having plotted out the whole thing, I kind of felt like maybe I should be writing about it).

After that I went back to the story I've been working on for two weeks about Hellfire Lass's magic ring.  Thursday and Friday I got one or two more scenes written.  The following Monday I wrote a lot more, and by Tuesday I had a completed story that involved quite an adventure in Amethyst, which was nothing like what I had originally set out to write.  The Ring of Hanubatum is over 8,000 words, and I probably wrote twice that much in backstory and scenes that I didn't use.  Hopefully all of that helped make the story feel more solid/grounded/detailed, whatever.  A lot of things didn't get explained even though I'd worked out what the explanation was.

Wednesday I set out to fix up my world building notes and save them as a separate file that I could consult later.  However, this morphed into a brand new project, to do a complete writeup on everything I know so far about the fairyland of Amethyst.  (And while we're at it, I would include any other related fairyland worlds I've created or mentioned).

There's a lot to cover -- a  three-part story Amethyst Road, a novella-length sequel in three parts, Return to Amethyst, a short story Space Kraken, another short side story Fairyland Physics, the new story The Ring of Hanubatum, and side stories involving other fantasy fairyland worlds -- Vows, X Chromosome, Fate Maid to Order, and the novella-length Oz on the Half-Shell (which is not quite finished).

As part of the process of detailing the world, I happened to think:  doesn't Princess Amethyst need a maid to care for him?  The palace is run by zombies, and the only other humans are the king, his musicians, and the fry cook.  A young boy princess would get lonely, and having zombies dress you and launder your clothing can't really work that well.

So I wrote up a treatment for Millie the Maid, the human who serves the princess.  But by the time I was done, I realized that this, too, was an unwritten story -- and one that wasn't too ambitious so I could actually write it.  So that's what I did today (Thursday).  I worked most of the day on a short story called Secret Millicent.  It's nearly done, and it occurs to me that it's not the sort of story most people might be interested in, as it deals with characters rarely seen.  But I think I like it, even though it's not quite done yet.  ^_^

This will be my second story of the week, but I'm not sure that helps me -- it may be a story I don't want to publish on the web.  Meanwhile, my writeup on the fairylands needs to be finished...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Writer's Night March 2017


Writer's Night for March 2017 was held at Edd and Amy's place in West Seattle.  I suspected there wouldn't be very many people there, because Michael was recovering from surgery and Gene wasn't planning to come, and Quinn had theater and Chuck didn't have a ride or plan to come (no David or Kristin either).  The people from Bellingham rarely come down except when it's held at Matt's place in Woodinville, and Matt hadn't said anything, and Sheryl hasn't shown up for a while.  I wasn't actually sure who would show up!

Gene sent a short story ahead that I printed out before I left.  I drove up and for once didn't get lost on the way there.  ^_^  It turned out Jeff was already there, so we had four people total -- and four stories!  Jeff read Gene's story, I read one, Edd read a complete version of his fantasy story that he'd read at an earlier writer's night, and Amy read chapter two of the book she's currently working on, which is a sequel to one that hasn't been published (has been sitting at a publisher for six months, after sitting at a different publisher for something like 2 years before being returned).

Amy's story was a bit confusing at first, given that she skipped chapter one, but other than that was interesting.  Kind of hard to critique chapter 2 of a novel, but she was just looking for whether it held interest and wasn't too detail oriented, since there's a lot of stuff she's trying to explain or set up near the beginning of the story, but doesn't want to slow it down too much.  It was a first draft, I don't think we noticed anything major, just stuff that she's bound to fix in a rewrite anyway.

Gene's story was a one-off set in his fantasy world, and we all liked it but felt like it didn't reach the actual ending.  Edd was going to send comments back in a return e-mail.  That was about our only criticism, the  teacher in the story sets out to teach a lesson, but the lesson hasn't been taught/learned when the story ends, so it feels like the central plot or premise hasn't been resolved.  (Jeff thought it worked as is though.)

My story was a Grandpa Anarchy tale that I'll probably publish tomorrow, Raw Justice.  It's very short and everyone thought it worked, there were only a couple of minor corrections which I already fixed.

Edd's story was a fantasy story, a kind of spin on a duo like Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, something I picked up on even before Amy pointed out that Edd has been rereading those stories recently.  It ended about halfway through the last time he read it, so he read it from the beginning.  We liked the story -- like any Edd story it has some true weirdness in it -- but there was a scene at the end where Edd kind of assumed we knew what a particular creature looked like without describing it, and it confused all of us, so he's going to fix that bit.  As far as I remember that was the only major quibble, it's a fun story.

Amy and Edd cooked a turkey, and made angel-hair pasta with marinara sauce, and had salad and cheese and crackers... way more food than four people could eat, but they sent some turkey home with Jeff and I.




Monday, March 13, 2017

More World Building



So I'm still working away on my story About A Ring.  I thought I had done enough world building to cover everything I needed for the story, but this turned out to be far from the case.

Over the weekend I wrote a second scene, which will turn out to be the third scene.  Kelli McDaniel has been kidnapped by Krunklegunk the Uncivl, Warlock King of the Western Anger Mountains.  This is in a remote corner of the fairyland of Amethyst.

My original idea was for Elsie to show up and rescue her cousin, because she's a kind of magical girl princess heroine of Amethyst.  But I thought:  what if she went and got help?  Suppose she brought Unpossible Girl along.  That could be fun!  And I wanted them to visit a Space Babe space station orbiting earth and communicate with Annie Two before going home, locating the ring, and finally defeating Krunklegunk the troll king.

But as I thought of this, I began to wonder:  how can they travel from our world to Amethyst?  Previously I used a magic wind storm and the Necromancer King to do it, and a spell from the Warlock King to teleport Kelli.  But Elsie doesn't have the magic to travel there on her own, does she?  Circuit Girl has also visited her brother in Amethyst, but I assume that was with the Necromancer King's help.  But does she have another way to travel there?

Also, I couldn't have them talk to Annie Two while in a fantasy world, could I?  But what if Circuit Girl had worked with F8Wasp to place a version of Annie Two in Amethyst?

All of this lead to more world building.

So I decided that there's a version of Annie Two that has recently been installed in Amethyst.  We'll call her Annie Amethyst.  While we're at it, let's make her an automaton instead of a computer that can't move.  And why have the heroes travel to a space station over earth, when we can install a Steampunkesque space station high over the fairyland of Amethyst?  Maybe there's a gateway on the station that allows travel to the space station in our dimension.

Also if Annie Amethyst is like Annie Two in all but name, she may have a way to track Kelli and contact her through her phone.  Instead of having Kelli consult with Annie Two, I'd have her consult with Annie Amethyst.  But if Annie Amethyst knows that Kelli has been kidnapped and is in the land of Amethyst, then she's alerted Princess Amethyst and Princess Pistachio, and probably Circuit Girl.

Having written all of that up, I thought once again I was done world building, but I still needed to figure out how Circuit Girl communicated with her brother on an everyday basis, given that they are in different universes.  I had first decided to use a magic mirror, which is similar to what you find in the Oz books (they have a magic picture).  But when I began to write the scene, I realized there was a lot more I needed to figure out.  How long was Circuit Girl dead?  How old was her brother?  I knew Circuit Girl looked about sixteen, and her brother looked very young due to living in a magical fairyland where you don't age (unless you want to).  I needed to nail all of this down specifically, and figure out their last names, and while I was at it, maybe her brother and Prince Humperdink had had a second daughter by now.

I wrote my earliest Grandpa Anarchy stories somewhere around 2006-2009, and then didn't write more until 2012.  But I'd set some of the events in the earliest stories back further into the past.  Circuit Girl joins Grandpa Anarchy in 2004 and dies in 2005, but works for him "for almost two years" so that would be early 2004 and late 2005.  She's brought back to life in a story I wrote last summer, so we'll say that's 2016.  She looks about 16 when she's brought back to life -- so she must have been 16 when she died, and perhaps 14 when she first joined Grandpa Anarchy.

Thus Circuit Girl was dead for 11 years, and while she looks about 17 now (in 2017), she was actually born 28 years ago.

Next:  when did her brother become Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick?  I wrote the stories with him in 2012, but for argument's sake, let's say he joined Grandpa in 2009.  That's four years after his big sister died.  Let's say he's 13 when he joins Grandpa -- I always figured he was pretty young.  So he's seven years younger than his sister, and is 14 when he decides to remain in the fairyland of Amethyst.  You don't age in Amethyst unless you want to, so right now he looks about 15, but is actually 21.  He dresses like a princess and has long hair, and looks an awful lot like his sister at this point.

All of this lead to me rereading bits of previous stories so I could figure out timelines and what I'd written before -- and I discovered that I'd previously introduced a trollish villain into the Amethyst world named King Snatchgrabber, and his Snobgobble Army.  Was this a different name for Krunklegunk the Uncivil, or were they rivals?  (I decide I like both names, so they're rivals -- King Krunklegunk rules over the Snobgobbles in the Western Anger Mountains, King Snatchgrabber rules the Eastern Anger Mountains.)

Also, I had mentioned a communication device before, a magic easel that favored impressionism.  I really do like to re-invent the wheel when I write these stories!  But that sounded like a one-off item though, rather than something that could be placed in several locations, so I still have room for a magic mirror or magic amethyst crystal, or perhaps a part-magic, part-science device that Circuit Girl has invented, with a computer view screen and a magic amethyst crystal core.

At this point, my story has as much background documentation as actual story.  :/  I'm not going to get to explain most of this stuff, maybe mention some of it in passing, but at least I can mention just enough to indicate I've thought through everything!  But I do have nice writeups to add to my Anarchy World Background files.