I haven't written anything in more than a week and a half. I was hoping to write 1-2 stories each week after the end of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, but I've fallen into a bit of a rut. I still haven't finished Motivational Poser, the story I was ostensibly trying to write all of July. I took a lot at some of my earlier ideas from June and decided to work on a story titled Enigma, which may be two completely unrelated stories, and the one I'm actually working on -- about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to -- probably needs a completely different name.
I've been thinking about this story for days without knowing exactly how to begin it or what the plot is. Every plot I considered was a much longer story than I wanted to write, but it may be that this is a subject that can't be fit into a 1,500 word story. I think I finally hit upon something when I decided that not only would the Gentleman Brawler be given a new life, but also his nemesis the Boston Breaker, who originally killed him.
But then -- the Boston Breaker was not really his nemesis. That was Madman Judas. He also fought other villains, sometimes with the aid of friends. The only one I definitively have written into my history is that he teamed up with Nikola Tesla and fought Rasputin on June 30, 1908 -- and that Tesla used a Death Ray that was responsible for the Tunguska event. But I also know another mad scientist named Professor Honestly St. Normal was his next door neighbor, so he probably fought that guy too.
The point is, the Boston Breaker was a no-name strikebreaker thug in a costume, who probably had never met the Gentleman Brawler before the encounter in which the Breaker killed the Brawler. The Boston Brawler's only claim to fame is that incident -- he'd have been forgotten by history if not for that. So calling him the Gentleman Brawler's nemesis his a huge stretch.
I still want to bring him back and have them face off, because from the view of history, it makes sense that the person who killed you is some sort of nemesis. I just don't think it makes sense from the Gentleman Brawler's point of view. He has zero respect for this guy.
Anyway, I've written a bit on that. It gives me an angle to work from.
This past week Twitter has been filled with talk of Nazi's and fascists, and many call-backs to what people like Stan Lee have said on the subject in the past, or what cartoon characters did to fight Nazi Germany during World War II. I even bought a book from Amazon on the subject -- Take That, Adolf! The Fighting Comic Books of the Second World War. Take That, Adolph!
My hope is that I can get some ideas for a couple of Grandpa Anarchy stories from this book, but I've already written part of a story based on things I've read on Twitter. Grandpa Anarchy has a long history of fighting Nazi supervillains -- but to date I haven't actually explored that as much as I could. His first big nemesis was a Nazi superscientist named Doctor Zero Hour. I've also established in a couple of stories that he fought a female supervillain named Frauline Hatra, who has a secret Hatra organization (I wanted something similar to Captain America's Hydra). There ought to be several more, I just have never figured out who they were.
I've also used them several times in stories, but I've never had them argue their Nazi philosophy with Grandpa. That's what I'm trying to do with what I wrote today -- although I haven't figured out exactly how to build a story around it, or what the punchline would be. I titled it "Nazi Hunter" for now, because I like the idea of a Nazi Hunter. One of the things I read on Twitter this week was about Arnold Schwartzenegger donating 100,000 dollars to a charity that teaches tolerance, and was named after a famous Nazi Hunter who was Arnold's friend. That seems like something that needs to be in a story somewhere.
I've mostly tried to avoid making direct reference to recent world events or people in my stories. Grandpa has met the president before, and it was someone other than any actual real president we've had. So I don't want to suddenly establish in my Grandpa universe that Donald Trump is president -- but maybe someone similar could be a stand-in for him. I'll have to figure that part out. Actually, if the president were to turn out to be a super villain, that could be a lot of fun. ^_^ But that's something that just occurred to me -- that would take a lot of work to set up and deal with.
I might want to have one of Grandpa's sidekicks turn out to be a right-wing nut who buys in to Nazi ideals and becomes a villain. He's had sidekicks become villains before, but mostly because they decided they didn't like him.
Anyway, if I'm lucky I'll be able to craft at least one of these ideas into an actual story by tomorrow or on the weekend.
Monday, August 7, 2017
Over the weekend I stumbled across something that I had no idea existed although I probably should have known. I read lots of translated online manga, and I was aware that some of them came from light novels, and I've even read some translated light novels online so I knew that those existed... and logically a light novel (which does not require great writing skill -- or any at all) is much easier to create than a manga or comic -- and yet it hadn't occurred to me that there might be thousands upon thousands of translated light novels available on the web. I mean, they're basically fan fiction stories without the benefit of being based on a novel/manga/anime/game. In this case Sturgeon's Law probably doesn't go nearly far enough, but... well, let's discuss just one weird sub-genre.
Apparently in Japan and China, and possibly other parts of the world, it's very popular to write a story in which your character steps in front of a truck and gets reincarnated into a new world. Perhaps (almost certainly) this is a generic fantasy world, and perhaps (quite often) it's based on a fantasy MMO -- although being reincarnated into a dating simulation game is apparently also quite popular (and leads to some of the more X-rated stories I imagine). Another thing many of these stories include is the idea of "cheat codes" -- an apparently incompetent god or goddess gives our protagonist "cheats", basically giving you amazing powers so that you rule this new world as an overpowered individual.
These stories appear to be so common, in fact, that there appears to be a significant sub-sub-genre in which the overpowered hero or heroine does nothing with their abilities. They sleep all day, or run an inn. Everyone is shocked that they don't try to take over the world.
You can search on these subjects: reincarnated into another world, reincarnated into a game world, cheat code, reincarnated into a monster, reincarnated into an object. (Really!) There are hundreds of tags to search on to help you find the exact type of story you're looking for, and many of the titles are so helpful that the entire story plot is right there in the title. These are the ones that amuse me the most.
Because There Were 100 Goddesses in Charge of Reincarnation, I Received 100 Cheat Skills. Yes this is an actual story title, and you should not be surprised at what's coming. It's all there in the title.
Although I am Only Level 1, but with This Unique Skill, I Am the Strongest. Who needs 100 Cheat Skills when you have This One Unique Skill? (Sounds like a clickbait title).
I'm OP, but I Began an Inn. Well, not everyone wants to conquer the world.
Blessing from the Goddess and Transfer to Another World! ~No Thanks, I Don't Need a Special Ability~ Because this whole cheat code in the new life thing is done to death, apparently.
All of these are also actual story titles:
I Seemed to Be About to Be Considered to Be a Sacrifice, I Am Fine. But I Became a Woman.
I Reincarnated As a Girl in Another World, but it Was Okay Because I Was Together With a Girl
Charging Magic With a Smile ~ Infinite Magic Power After Being Reincarnated into a Different World
After Reincarnating into This Game World I Seemed to Have Taken Over the Controls of Status
I Decided to Not Compete and Quietly Create Dolls Instead
I Became the Villainess's Brother
I Reincarnated and Tried to Become a Genius Child Actor. I Want to Quit.
I Ended up as the Hero's Mother After Reincarnating?!
I Have Reincarnated into [Welcome to the __ Town!] Townsperson A, But the Last Dungeon Was Right Around the Corner
The last one strikes me as one of the oddest: reincarnated as the guy in the fantasy game who says, over and over, "Welcome to ___ Town!" I haven't actually read this story -- or rather, I often feel that by reading the title I've already read the whole story -- but I'd imagine it can't go on for too long without the protagonist breaking out of this role. Then again, you could be a vending machine:
I Was Reincarnated Into A Vending Machine. 51 chapters! Chapters are quite short mind you. Even so... 51 chapters on a guy who's a vending machine?
My Entire Class Has Been Reincarnated – I Became the Weakest Skeleton!
Evil Dragon Reincarnation ~Even If I Am Reincarnated into the Other World I Am I~
Reincarnated as a Dragon’s Egg ~Lets Aim to Be the Strongest~
Naturally if you're going to be a monster, then be a dragon. Hopefully "becoming a dragon's egg" is an euphemism for being reborn as a dragon -- otherwise your life is going to be quite short with a painful ending.
Anyway I don't know exactly where I was going with all of this, i just found it all amusing. ^_^
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2017 is over. I "won" in the sense that I managed to write 15,000 words, which was my eventual goal after I downgraded from an initial goal of 25,000 words. It feels like I failed to win however, due not only to my downgrade of my goal (15,000 words in a month is really not a lot) but also because the last story I was working on is unfinished. Normally I only count stories that I've completed, but eh, I actually had written 15,000 words, just barely.
On the other hand I completed eight stories in four weeks, as opposed to none in June, so that was an improvement. I'd like to average two stories a week for August as well. Since I have to publish one a week on my blog, it's important to keep a good backlog handy for when I go through another writing slump.
The stories I wrote in July are: My Clone Sleeps Alone, Feeling Wordy, Games People Play, Another Time, Another Place, Clownface, There Goes The Neighborhood, Splitting Hares, Clown With The Golden Mask and Motivational Poser (unfinished). I started a couple of other stories based on ideas, including one called The Summoning in which a college kid summons a demon and gets Death Medal.
Back in June I posted a list of 11 story ideas that I might work on for the month of July. Here's the results from that:
1. Enigma. A story about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to since the events of last summer's Secret Crisis Wars. Haven't worked on this.
2. Transformation Story. A story about lawyer Malevolent P. Brimstone's niece and Dahlia of the Black Moon Maidens. Haven't worked on this.
3. Them Bones. A story about a young Unpossible Man and a slayer known as Nathanial Slade. Haven't worked on this.
4. Tremor of the Earth. Haven't worked on this, it's not an idea yet.
5. Crystal Hart. Haven't worked on this, it's not an idea yet.
6. Snopes and Larpers. I finished this and retitled it The Games People Play.
7. Invictus. Haven't worked on this, it's not even an idea yet.
8. Motivational Poser. This one is mostly written, and should be finished this week.
9. My Clone Sleeps Alone. Finished.
10. The Dork Side of the Force. Haven't worked on this.
11. Another Time, Another Place. I wrote this. I didn't even have a title or story file for it in June.
What follows is a condensed version of what I posted for our Camp NaNoWriMo cabin for July 2017. The cabin was set up by Fontfolly, and he called it The Fools on the Hill. Other members were AmuseDreams, kliefox, MattCantWrite, Dolphins Sextant, and me. Dates are rough guesses since their cabin message system doesn't keep track of dates. (I also saved my posts from April Camp NaNo but haven't published them like this.)
Anyway I haven't written much in two months, but I've plotted about a half-dozen short stories this week... I think. "Plot" is a strong word for my story ideas mind you.
For what it's worth, I wrote some dialog for my story "My Clone Sleeps Alone". It's not even a coherent scene just yet, and I don't know what the ending will be, but it's a few hundred words so I updated my progress. ^_^ I also did some research on ocean depths, the Mariana Trench, and undersea colonization before deciding that my secret base would still be further below the surface than logic or physics should permit, but not anywhere near the depth of even the top of the Mariana Trench. :P Superscience and magic are probably involved!
Basically I'm trying to justify something that's ludicrous -- a secret base 2,000 meters beneath the ocean -- by pointing out how much more impossible it would be to consider building something even deeper. (Still not a full scene but I've written a description and the first part of the opening.)
Story is progressing very slowly, but I now have a full scene from the opening up to about 2/3rd of the way through, and I have a possible ending in mind. Not confident of the ending overall, but it's better than not having an ending in mind.
Finished "My Clone Sleeps Alone". I think it works, and I managed to squeeze in everything I wanted to -- the resurrection chamber and an explanation for it, Miss X, a reference to a new villain group... may need tweaking later; we'll see.
Struggling to write...
Working on a new Literate Lemur story that is kind of built around the word vellichor.
Finished a story I'm calling "Feeling Wordy" for now. Way behind on my goals, but at least that's something.
Was hoping to finish a second story today, but in any case I got a significant amount of writing done on a story that I originally called Snopes and Larpers (the name never actually made any sense) but which I am probably going to call Square One, or Games People Play. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow and maybe work on Motivational Poser as well.
I have another story I want to work on which would involve the return of Hairsplitter Man, a villain that I put in one of my first stories and then never used again.
Still struggling to get my Game story finished. I just don't think it's a great idea but I've written quite a bit of it and I want to finish something.
Meh. I finished "Games People Play" and in the end I kind of like it. Still haven't published a story for this week, either, but the good news is, 2nd story this week, so I'm making progress.
This is Grandpa Anarchy story #271 by the way. ^_^ Yesterday's was #270.
Did a bit of writing on Motivational Poser too. It's more than half done.
Did not finish anything today, but I got some work last night and today on Motivational Poser, and on Another Time, Another Place, which is a kind of spin-off story because I was pursuing two different conversations/ideas in one story.
Finished "Another Time, Another Place", which was the spinoff from Motivational Poser (which is still not finished). But now I need to write a story about Insane Pies before tomorrow night.
Also I adjusted my target goal since it was looking like I wasn't going to come close to 25,000 words.
I've always asserted myself as a villain because villains are always the more interesting characters in any story I've read growing up, and because the villain in any walk of life is the person who refuses to follow blindly and always wants to question things. -- Marilyn Manson
I haven't finished Motivational Poser.
I haven't finished my Insane Pie story.
I haven't posted a story to my blog for this week.
However, I thought of a kind of prequel to my Insane Pie story, and then I wrote it. I started "Clownface" this morning and finished it a few minutes ago. So Yay for that!
Didn't really write over the weekend but I sketched out two new story ideas last night and wrote maybe a third of one of them today. I want to finish it because I already know the ending. Also, it's a Kid Anarchy story. ^_^
Finished a story I started last night called "There Goes the Neighborhood". It's a bit long but I think it works.
Have written little in the last two days. Figured I'd need 3 more stories to reach 15,000 words, but I'm not sure I'll manage it.
Also didn't post anything to my story site, which takes time and I really feel like I should be writing instead. :/
Wrote a few paragraphs on a story called "Splitting Hares". I have more faith that I will be able to get this story finished, but I've skipped playing my game two nights in a row to write instead, and I've gotten very little actual writing done.
Finished "Splitting Hares" for what it's worth.
Well I goofed off a lot all weekend, but the plan is to finish The Clown With The Golden Mask tonight and maybe get Motivational Poser half written. Finishing both should get me to 15,000 words.
I might have to post one of my July stories this week too. :/ Although if I ever rewrite the Ring of Hanubatum I can publish that, maybe in two parts.
Finished The Clown With the Golden Mask. So that leaves one story I need to finish by tomorrow at midnight.
One story... of at least 1,643 words. >.>
Actually Motivation Poser is over 1,300 words already, and I still need to flesh it out and stitch everything together.
Worked on Motivational Poser a bit. I am at that point where I keep adding cool bits of dialog that pop into my head, but none of it advances the plot so I will have to cut most of it back out later. Really, the entire story right now is a conversation in search of a setting and and ending. Not much of a plot although my short-shorts never really hing on plot. The central conceit of this one is that Kid Calculus is trying to claim that he's unique among Grandpa's enemies because he has a well-documented tragic back story, while most of the others, you don't know what their motivation is...
..but every time he brings up one of Grandpa's enemies with no apparent back story or motivation, Grandpa explains their back story and motivation.
I needed a setting and I decided that this time, Kid Calculus is in a Volcano Lair. I've used one of those before for Baron Climate Change, and it makes more sense for him. So I added a whole discussion about the lair itself, but it's a tangent that doesn't actually add much to the story or lead into the main conversation, at least right now. So I may need to cut most of it.
I'm half-tempted to take this whole discussion about the Volcano Lair (and the lair itself) and put it in a different story, because it's a fun thing for Grandpa and Kid Calculus to discuss. But that would be weird because this entire story is itself a bunch of dialog about back stories and motivation that I had to remove from a previous story (Another Time, Another Place) because it was interesting but didn't belong in that story.
Still not sure about the ending but I should be able to come up with something by tomorrow.
There's also a whole side conversation about Grandpa's enemies talking too much, and if he could just find a villain that never talked, he'd make THAT person his arch nemesis so he could get some peace and quiet. That feels like it should be in its own story as well. >.>
Monday, July 17, 2017
Saturday night was writer's night at Gene and Mike's new place. The theme was "Insane Pie Night" in honor of Mike and Gene discovering during their move that they had something in excess of 10 pie servers, which Mike said would only be required if you had an Insane Pie Night. So they did -- I'm pretty sure they had about 10 different pies. (To be fair, some were half-pies or quarter-pies, one was a shepherd's pie dinner, one was a lime tart that Kristin brought.)
It was one of our biggest nights in a very long time. Sky & Jwyl were there, Chuck was there, Kristin and Quinn, Edd, CD, Jeff, Keith, me and Gene and Mike of course. We had a lot of people with things to read too -- Chuck had something, Gene had something, Quinn had something, Keith had something, I always have something of course but since we had so much other stuff I didn't wind up reading anything.
Quinn had a short script for two people that he'd been working on that week. It was the second draft but we felt it still needed more work. I think he got some good ideas of how to improve it though.
Keith had a very long story that he's read part of before -- a kind of fantasy murder mystery. I really like the idea and the setting but there were definitely problems with it, especially with descriptive setting and descriptions of things in general, and in voices of different characters actually sounding different. That's something I struggle with sometimes too. I hope he works on this more though, it's a cool idea.
Gene read a story that was very good but was not finished. This was his story on the theme of "Insane Pie Night". I'd promised to write a story on the same theme but I'd failed to get much of anything done. Anyway, no real complaints about Gene's story aside from it not being finished.
Chuck read a new story that wasn't finished -- another of his stories relating to the war between Dogonia and Bananaland. I liked quite a bit of it but I kind of had to agree with Gene that the conflict, if any, wasn't clear from the beginning.
I didn't get any writing done on the weekend other than tweaking a couple of my stories from last week. I still want to write my Insane Pie story because I've got a clearer picture of where I want to go with it. I want to write at least 3-4 new stories this week. So far Camp NaNoWriMo for July has not been terribly productive for me -- I finished one story the first week, then three last week, but nothing since Thursday. I want to do better this week, and then maybe I'll feel like I'm accomplishing something.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
I've written very little in the last two months, but I've been working on story ideas for a couple of weeks now. I just need to sit down and write them up.
1. I want to write a story about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to since the events of last summer's Secret Crisis Wars, in which he was brought back to life but fooled everyone into thinking he had been "unmade" at the end of the story. He's somewhere on earth, in disguise, probably acting as a hero since that's in his nature. I also want to write a story about what Kid Enigma is up to. He was given the power to change people's gender, which he sort of asked for, with the knowledge that Black Dahlia had made millions of dollars from her use of a similar spell. Essentially Kid Enigma is ready to give up on being a villain bent on revenge, and instead wants to set up a magical gender reassignment clinic of some sort. Anyway I wrote down some of my ideas for all of this in a file I called Enigma.
2. Along with the above idea, I came up with a plan to have the demonic lawyer Malevolent P. Brimstone hand off his Black Dahlia / Black Moon Maidens account to his neice, a young, up-and-coming lawyer in the firm. I decided this was probably a separate story and I collected this into a second story file currently called Transformation Story.
3. I had an idea for a story that involved Unpossible Man as a young boy, working with a Solomon Kane-style hero / slayer of evil known as Nathanial Slade, who had unbreakable bones. I titled this story idea Them Bones.
4. I created a file called Tremor of the Earth, with just a quote in it: the human psyche cannot tell the difference between good events and bad events, it can only sense the tremor of the earth. Not sure where I'm going with that yet but I liked the quote/concept.
5. I also created a file called Crystal Hart, just because the idea of a Crystal Hart (a male deer) who gets confused with Sailor Moon stuff kind of amused me. Maybe the Crystal Hart is a future sidekick for Grandpa Anarchy.
6. Snopes and Larpers is a very dumb working title for a story that I've actually written several paragraphs on. The basic idea is that Grandpa and his sidekick or companions are trapped in a Jumanji-like game, but it's based on snakes and ladders. The game snakes and ladders has a very interesting history so I was trying to figure out how to work some of that in, but I don't have a good punch like yet.
7. I also created a story file called Invictus. This is based on the famous poem, and it sounds like something that Grandpa Anarchy would embrace, and it makes a nice story title, but as yet I don't actually have a story idea attached to this.
8. For the last two months I've been working on Oz On the Half-Shell, and in particular on a couple of scenes in which Death Medal attempts to summon the god of chaos to the heart of the Emerald City, with hopes of bringing about the utter destruction of the fairyland. As part of this I decided to address the idea that "every villain, in their own mind, is the hero", because this is certainly not true in Death Medal's case, and he wanted to expand on why that is. I wound up figuring out his entire back story in the process, although I still haven't actually finished the scene.
However, that lead to me trying to figure out the back stories of some of my other villains, and this ultimately led to another story idea I created this week which I'm calling Motivational Poser, in which Kid Calculus tries to prove he's the better of Grandpa Anarchy's villains because he has a clear motivation and a back story. He, at least, fits the mold of a villain who is the hero of his own story. But every other villain he brings up that apparently has no motivation or back story or reason for existing -- such as Death Medal -- Grandpa can counter by explaining what their real back story and motivation are. I really liked this idea -- it was not only another funny way in which Kid Calculus fails to be different or exceptional, but it also gave me the chance to figure out and explain the back stories and motivations of several villains at once. Still not sure on the punch line but I have much of the story written in my head and sketched out in the file.
9. Another story idea I had last night involves how Grandpa is brought back to life after he dies. In my half-written novel Serial Anarchy, one of my ideas was that the members of the League of Two-Fisted Justice had clone bodies waiting in several secret bases hidden around the world. (Part of the plot involves Kid Calculus locating and destroying each of these bases before making an attempt to kill Grandpa Anarchy once and for all.) This was based on a setup that a friend and I had for our villains in Gene's old Super Heroes game, but I'd never fully fleshed out the idea anywhere else. It seemed like a good subject for a short story -- Grandpa dies, Dark Dr. Dark leads some of the new members of the team to one of the secret bases where Grandpa is revived. Because Dark Dr. Dark is a sorcerer, he knows it's not just a clone of Grandpa -- Grandpa's soul possesses the new body. They've done this maybe a half-dozen times before. He can reveal that clones of the new members have been prepared, and that they have X number of bases in remote areas of the world, and that the programming and technology involved is far beyond anything most people have ever seen, and was probably created by the Electric Bluejay with the help of Miss X. For now, I've titled this story idea My Clone Sleeps Alone.
10. While I was running through my head the scenes that involve villains and motivation, I decided that maybe Death Medal had more to say on the subject besides that which I was writing into my scene for Oz On the Half Shell. I may actually have two more stories here -- one in which Death Medal ponders the nature of evil itself, and one where he gets bogged down in trying to explain the Dark Side of the Force in Star Wars, or just explaining its inconsistent logic. At least, I think there's two different story ideas involved -- it may turn out that they are not both worthy of expanding into an actual story. But for now I've saved everything to a file titled The Dork Side of the Force.
11. I don't have a story file for this idea yet, but I just remembered it so I'm writing it down. As part of my Motivational Poser story I was trying to envision where the story takes place. I had an idea that maybe this time Kid Calculus had teleported them to as a remote a place as he could manage -- perhaps he's stranded them on a planet that is not simply in a different star system, but in a remote galaxy. This might be some new technology of his -- I've never really tried to figure out exactly where his dimensional gates can let him go, but on reflection the general idea was that he could port between realities. In the very first story in which he appears, he and Grandpa are proposing to save a bunch of other universes from destruction. At the time I did not give any indication how they would accomplish this, but later when he shows up again, I give him the ability to open gateways to other dimensions and to teleport people and dangerous creatures from one dimension to another. I think he also uses it for local teleportation, as a means of travel and escape. But does that mean he can travel to other stars in the same galaxy? Even if he can manage that, travel to a galaxy other than the milky way is probably something new that he hasn't attempted before. To reach a very distant galaxy may require multiple jumps using his improved gateway.
All of this, as a backdrop to a story that has nothing to do with being on a remote planet in a remote galaxy, is probably too much to cover in one short story. Also other ideas popped into my head based on this -- for example, an entire conversation about why he's not putting this amazing technology to better use for the betterment of mankind, or the idea that probably even if Grandpa Anarchy were abandoned on a planet hundreds of millions of light years from our own galaxy, Continuitae (Avatar of Continuity) and Saturnae (Avatar of Time) are now powerful enough to track him down and rescue him. That's not a story in and of itself, but it was another thing that said this was a different story idea from my Motivational Poser story idea.
Camp NaNoWriMo for July is almost upon us. I've skated by the last two months posting stories to my blog site that I wrote for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, and my story file is getting low. Once again I want to tackle 2 or 3 of my big novella-length stories and finish them, but I find that I have a lot of short story ideas and a need for a lot of short stories, so that's likely what I will do for the first couple weeks of July. Just based on the above, I've come up with roughly 10 story ideas in the last two to three weeks, and I of course always have other ideas lying about that I can work on. So I guess I have no excuse for not getting something done. ^_^
Monday, June 19, 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
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).