Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Camp NaNoWriMo -- Update for July

 I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo for July, even though no one else I know is doing it (apparently) and even though for some reason I almost always fail July's Camp NaNoWriMo.  Writing in July seems hard for me.

Anyway, I started out working on a story I called Buttercup, which was meant to be an introduction story to the space adventures arc.  This is where we meet their spaceship, and introduce more properly the idea that we're going on a series of space adventures with these characters.  I'd been working on this story idea for much of June, but I finally managed to finish it this past week, after working on it a bit the first two days of July and then failing to write anything for several days.

After this, I managed to write another story called Chaos Theory which happens right after Buttercup, and I guess it works okay.  I had yet a third idea for a story called Baby Sat, but I don't think I will write that at this point.  I might come back to it as it seemed like a fun idea, but for now I figured the actual space adventures should follow.

I spent the other night reworking the order of all of my space stories -- I'd "filled in" gaps in the numbered order of stories several times and consequently my numbering order no longer made any sense, with two, three, even four stories sharing the same story number at different points.  Here's what I came up with:

423  All I Ever Wanted

424  My Clone Sleeps Alone

425  Buttercup

426  Chaos Theory

427  Girl Squared

428  Amaranthine Shores

429  The Spice of Life

430  Good Vibrations (unfinished)

431  Woofy (unfinished)

432  Wrong Number

433  Endorsement

434  Optimal Performance

435  Transformations

436  Doomscrolling

437  Frills and Bows

438  Mating Ritual

439  Marry Her  (unfinished)

440  Afterglow

441  My Own Daughter

442  Ambassador

443  Real Girl

444  Hate Crime

445  Academy

446  Revenge

447  Powerslave

Unfinished Stories that I still plan to write:

450  Ghost

450  Beauty Treatment

450  Becoming the Story

450  Kitten

450  Noticeable One

450  True Colors

Right now I'm working on Good Vibrations, which is a space adventure story that I should have no problems finishing by tomorrow or the next day.  I plan to finish Woofy after that, and then tackle one or two stories for which Marry Her is the current stand-in -- stories that help set up the marriage to Cat better.  Then, we'll see.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

June 2021


I've written very little this month, and I haven't been happy with what I've written.  In fact, I don't think I've completed a story in June.  That said, I'm still ahead of my goal for the year.  I've written 30 stories so far in 2021, and that's more than one a week.

Yesterday and today I was in a situation where computer problems prevented me from doing very much at work, and as a consequence, I read through a bunch of my stories from earlier in the year -- starting with story 410, It's Complicated, and reading through to story 424 My Clone Sleeps Alone, so 14 stories total.  These encompass some random tales of Grandpa Anarchy working with Glory Ashes as they confront various villains, and then I start stringing together stories that are related and clearly follow one after the other.  Mostly I think these stories hold up well, and tell a coherent story arc.  There's I, Gardener and Maid Ex Machina, which deal with two of the new robotic members of the Anarchy Mansion (I had always planned a third one which I still haven't written).  Then comes Infinite Dojo, Princess of Pluto, and The Return of Normal, all of which more or less work I think.  These cover  the new complex beneath the Anarchy Cave, Magical Girl Anne Arqui and the palace on Pluto, and the resurrection of St. Normal.

After that we have three more stories that lead to Miss Anarchy and her great-granddaughters winding up in space, and a series of stories that happen while they're in space.  Here is where I've had problems the last few months.

First, I felt that the stories at this point become less episodic and more random, even though they all happen in space.  I had wanted to write a series of space adventure stories, but I'd only managed one, Girl Squared, followed by a bunch of weirder and more esoteric stories (which, I like some of these stories but I felt like there wasn't a thread connecting them all together.)

Second, I had written a story in which Miss Anarchy gets married and decides to stay a girl, and it felt like I really hadn't set all of that up well at all, so it really didn't make sense.

Thus in May I first tried to backpedal and "fill in the blanks" a bit, and come up with one or more stories to help explain/set up where I was going with the marriage better... then I backpedalled further to pen a few simple space adventures to take place before things get weirder.  Ultimately I plotted some stories that never really got off the ground, and I managed to write two "space adventure" stories that I guess are okay, and I half-wrote three others -- Uncanny Valley, Woofy, and Good Vibrations.

My story numbering is out of whack because I want the space adventure stories (some of which I'm still trying to write) to take place at the start of their adventures in space, and then I want to write 1-2 stories that take place between Mating Ritual and Afterglow to help set that plotline up better.  Once I get those stories written, I can renumber all of my completed stories.

Anyway, here's what I've written in 2021:

413  I Swear

414  Collateral Damage

415  I, Gardener

416  Maid Ex Machina

417  Infinite Dojo

418  Princess of Pluto

419  The Return of Normal

042  Hot Stuff

420  Get Down Tonight

421  Free Advertising

422  Inevitable

423  All I Ever Wanted

424  My Clone Sleeps Alone

425  Girl Squared

426  Wrong Number

427  Doomscrolling

428  Endorsement

429  Transformations

430  Frills and Bows

431  Mating Ritual

432  Afterglow

433  My Own Daughter

434  Ambassador

435  Real Girl

436  Academy

437  Hate Crime

438  Revenge

440  Powerslave

426  Amaranthine Shores

427  The Spice of Life

"Space Adventure" stories that I'm currently trying to work on:  Good Vibrations, Woofy, Nova, and Uncanny Valley.  And then Becoming Anarchy/Marry Her.

Other stories I plan to write very soon:  Ghost, Kitten, possibly Frienemies, Becoming the Story and Noticeable One.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

May 2021 Writing Update

 Stories Written For April:

434  Ambassador

435  Real Girl

436  Academy

437  Hate Crime

438  Revenge

440  Powerslave

Stories I'm working on:

True Colors

Noticeable One


Becoming the Story

Beauty Treatment


I feel a sort of ennui about my writing the last few months, as if I don't really know where I'm taking my characters or whether any of it is worth reading.  Initially my plan was to greatly expand the number of robotic helpers that worked with Grandpa Anarchy -- and this seemed like an interesting direction to take things.  This was building on stories I'd already written -- The Emancipation of Philip Dos, Wilfred 2.0, and Miss Trinity.  I wrote I, Gardener, Maid Ex Machina, Infinite Dojo and Princess of Pluto.  Halfway through doing this, I came up with a plan to resurrect an old villain of Grandpa's named Victorian Honesty St. Normal, a mad scientist he'd fought in the early 1920's, and this became The Return of Normal.

In writing these stories, I decided that killing Grandpa Anarchy would be a fun way to end the above story -- and resurrecting him in the clone body of his sidekick would be funny.  This led to Grandpa posing as Miss Anarchy for a short time -- thus my stories Free Advertising and Inevitable.  But then things took a sharp right turn again when I decided to take Miss Anarchy and her two great-granddaughters into space, with All I Ever Wanted, My Clone Sleeps Alone, Girl Squared, Wrong Number, Doomscrolling, Endorsement, Transformations, and Frills and Bows.

My plan was always to have a series of pulp space adventures involving Miss Anarchy, Elsie, Kelli, and Miss Trinity.  But the actual stories I wrote did not always match what I'd envisioned -- and then things took another right turn when I wrote Mating Ritual, Afterglow, and My Own Daughter, which involved Miss Anarchy suddenly getting married and deciding to stay as she was for the time being.

This is where I was at the start of April.  I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for April, and I wrote 20,000 words.  Originally my plan was 25,000 but I reduced it when I felt I was too far behind to catch up.  20,000 words in a month is pretty easy for me to manage.

I managed to finish the above six stories, but I also wrote a bit on True Colors and Noticeable One.

True Colors is meant to come immediately after Revenge, which is why my numbering is a bit off.  In fact, Revenge was originally meant to be a part of True Colors, until I spun it off into its own story.  Dark Dr. Dark and other members of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice come to space to create a photo op in which they pose as members of the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice.  I had two ideas for what might happen here:  Dark Dr. Dark helps Miss Anarchy investigate the wizard who is trying to kill her, and Cat does a sort of proposal when she presents Miss Anarchy with a magical ring.  I spun the first part into its own story; the second part was based on the idea that Dark Dr. Dark has a magical ring made that allows him to easily become a girl for just long enough to pose for the photo; Cat takes the opportunity to have another ring made which she gives to Miss Anarchy which allows her to temporarily become Grandpa Anarchy again.  The theory behind this is that Grandpa Anarchy might need to travel into the past to warn his past self about something.

When I considered all of this, several different ideas popped into my head:

1.  The ending of the photo op story really needs to involve everyone having to fight a criminal or have an adventure as their Girls of Two-Fisted Justice alternate selves;

2.  The ending of the magic ring story would probably involve it's immediate use to warn some version of Grandpa Anarchy from the past about something -- for some reason which I forget now, I thought it would be hilarious if Grandpa had to warn a prehistoric / cave-man version of himself about the future;

3.  Now that I consider things, Grandpa (or Miss Anarchy) might have already warned Grandpa about a future in which he becomes Miss Anarchy and marries an actress.  And/or Grandpa may have been warned about the future from a young Miss Anarchy who has forgotten to put on the ring, and then does so halfway through the encounter, cluing him in to part of the future accidentally.

Some of this probably stems from the idea that I haven't handled the entire Grandpa Anarchy becomes Miss Anarchy and marries Cat change-of-direction as well as I'd like, so I feel like I should go back and write one or two more stories to flesh out the idea better.  (I also want to go back and write 1-2 stories that involve Miss Anarchy/Elsie/Kelli/Miss Trinity having more space adventures, before all of the other stuff happens.)

Noticeable One is the story I was working on at the beginning of April, but it was turning into a much longer story than my usual.  I wrote several scenes, and I want to finish it, but it's a bigger undertaking than my normal story so I set it aside for the moment.  It may actually be a 15,000 or 20,000 word story, by the time I finish it.

Also, the story Academy might possibly spawn several sequels.  Eternia the Watcher creates a specialized high school that has already existed a dozen years.  Miss Anarchy has attended several years, retroactively.  Possibly Elsie and Kelli have retroactively attended.  Miss Anarchy has friends and enemies that she's made during her time at the school, that she knows nothing about.  There are a lot of fun things I can do with this, which so far are just ideas, but that's what the file Frienimies is about.  But there are probably 2-3 stories to be written here.

Hate Crime is my long-anticipated third shaggy dog story from the Electric Bluejay.  (The other two were Hurricane Punch and Time Trip, both of which I wrote in 2017.)  I may write a fourth -- I at least jotted down an idea for another.  Powerslave is a silly story about travelling back in time to watch an Iron Maiden concert, which Cat wants to do.  I think both of these stories were things I came up with to avoid trying to figure out the next story in my more complicated series of interlocking stories -- these were both one-off stories that didn't really depend on What Has Come Before.

Anyway, that's about it.  Like usual I barely managed to finish my NaNoWriMo goals, and then I immediately took a break from writing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The End of Grandpa Anarchy!

 Stories that I have written since last week:

430  Frills and Bows

431  Mating Ritual

432  Afterglow

433  My Own Daughter

Stories that I still plan to write:

Noticeable One:  This has been my "next story that I write" for nearly a week now, and I keep thinking of other things to write instead.  This is the current version of my long-anticipated "Miss Anarchy in popular media / Miss Anarchy is insanely popular" story.  I have an opening written, which I probably need to cut down, and I have an idea for someone to assassinate Miss Anarchy (which... just means she's resurrected -- but it's during an interview so it's shocking).  Right now my problem is that I haven't figured out how this ends, where it's going, what is the central theme (other than Miss Anarchy is really popular and this also means many people hate her.)

Becoming the Story:  Part of what I wrote two weeks ago for the opening of Noticeable One includes two newscasters joking about how much money it would take for the male newscaster to allow himself to be transformed into a young girl as has happened for Miss Anarchy.  It was mostly written as a scene to demonstrate that people are talking about Miss Anarchy and she's a big news item, but I struggled to figure out how to fit it into a story where it wasn't just filler that extended the story for no good purpose.  Then one day I thought, what if the male newscaster jokes about becoming a girl, in a way that makes it clear he would never want that, and then you immediately cut to a scene where he's begging Miss Anarchy for help in doing exactly that?  He tries to pitch it as a way to get an "inside scoop" on the Miss Anarchy story, a way for him to become a part of the story process -- but really, he'd just rather be a woman.  And maybe also his female cohost would rather be a man?

As you can see, this idea is kind of entwined with Noticeable One, since they'd take place at roughly the same time.

True Colors:  In this story, Dark Dr. Dark, Circuit Girl, Sister Fryer and Unpossible Girl show up on the space station where Miss Anarchy is in order to assemble a group Girls of Two-Fisted Justice photo.  With Miss Anarchy, it is nearly possible to assemble a full team of girl heroes like the ones in the cartoon.  Of course, not everyone is as young as fourteen, and Sister Fryer would have to cosplay as the girl equivalent of her dead uncle, but it mostly works.  The only exception being Dark Dr. Dark, who would use a magic ring to temporarily become Dark Sister Dark.  Also, they don't have a little girl to play Little Nina Ballerina, but there was a contest among fans and the winner will get transformed into Little Nina and will be part of the photo, and will probably wind up at many future promotional events should they opt to stay a little girl.

All of that is background material for the real story, which involves Dark Dr. Dark and Miss Anarchy trying to determine who the sorcerer is trying to capture and curse Grandpa Anarchy.

Beauty Treatment:  I have an idea where Elsie and Kelli's mothers show up.  These are Grandpa Anarchy's granddaughters, and they generally don't approve of all of this silly superhero business.  I still think I'll write this one but it's not an earthshattering idea.

Spirit Animal:  Earlier this week I had an idea for a body swap story.  This would be an adventure in space story, where my cast of characters encounters a kind of blink dog / blink beast animal who has a peculiar defensive trait whereby when it's trapped or scared it can swap bodies with people -- the idea being that it swaps through several bodies and then back to it's own, leaving behind a bunch of people (or predators) in different bodies and completely confused.

I wrote a little bit about the beast for this story, but I quickly realized that this would never work.  All of my characters at the moment are young women -- not very different from each other physically.  Most are related.  What makes a body swap story fun is taking people that are very different from each other and putting them in each other's shoes (and bodies) to see what happens.  In my version of the story, there seemed to be very little that could happen that would be funny or interesting.  I briefly considered having Miss Anarchy comment on why this entire body swap situation made for a bad story, but that alone did not make for a better story.  :P

Shadow:  Catherine McDowell spent several weeks following Grandpa Anarchy around, about two years ago, as preparation for playing Miss Anarchy in the movie.  Although Catherine is a lesbian, she grew very fond of Grandpa Anarchy and even surprised him with a kiss at the end.  All of this is backstory which sets up the events in stories I've written recently, Mating Ritual and Afterglow, but I realized actually crafting a story around that earlier time would be a very good idea.  If I write it, I will place it in an earlier book of stories so that it fits chronologically with when it happens.

Woofy:  Possibly titled Woofy Drumdik, this one is a silly idea.  Jennie Nova speaks in a nearly incoherent spacer slang (space surfer slang actually, which I originally used for the Bronze Beach Bum) which is composed of multiple slang words that I've borrowed from science fiction books, interspersed with slang terms that I created myself.  Elsie has been imitating her second cousin in using a lot of this slang, and when it gets to be too incomprehensible, Miss Anarchy tries to retaliate by overindulging in 1920's flapper slang.

Uncanny Valley:  I want to write another space adventure that involves a valley that is almost, but not quite, real.

A Better Tomorrow:  I don't really have an idea attached to this one, but I like it as a story title.

Real Girl:  I keep expecting to write this story soon.  When I planned it, I had just finished story # 419, The Return of Normal, and I envisioned a series of several stories, with Real Girl happening at maybe story 425.  Then I bumped it up to 428, 430, and finally designated it story # 437X, because I have no idea when I'll get it.  The basic idea of the story remains unchanged.

Entourage:  Since this story was viewed as one of the "end" stories for this long arc I've been working on -- the point which the movie Girls of Two-Fisted Justice gets its premier -- I have yet to be on the verge of writing it -- it's always some distance in the future.  But I had originally planned to write it after a series of maybe six other stories, and instead I've written 13 so far with several more planned.

Stories that I will likely never write:

Just Like Miss Anarchy:  This was meant to document the rise in popularity of Miss Anarchy as the real-life version continues to fight crime and have adventures.  Ultimately, all of the ideas I had for this story are elements that appear in the other stories I've written; there's no story at the center of this idea that needs to be told.

We Meet Again:  This was never more than an idea, and it wasn't a good one.  I don't plan to ever write this.

Custody Battle:  Yeah, I won't be writing this one either.  It was an idea whose time never actually came.

Trust Mother:  This was a "Miss Anarchy gets kidnapped and adopted against her will by Julia Judas, in an attempt to control the Anarchy estate/Anarchy fortune" story.  The timeline of events that I wrote instead made this entire idea obsolete.

Mother's Treasure:  I actually did write this one, and it sucked, and I went in a completely different direction that meant I didn't even bother to rewrite this.

Orphan White:  I think this one was replaced by All I Ever Wanted, but it's another story that I wrote completely and then immediately discarded.

The End of Grandpa Anarchy?

All of these stories revolve around a central premise.  The wildly popular cartoon show Girls of Two-Fisted Justice has been around for several years.  It features Grandpa Anarchy and his companions in the League of Two-Fisted Justice as a team of fourteen-year-old girl heroes.

I wrote the original story Girls of Two-Fisted Justice in 2015, so we can imagine that Girls of Two-Fisted Justice came out in 2016 and has been running for five years.  It was story # 169, and I'm up over 430 stories now.  A lot of things have changed since I wrote that story.  Nina Ballerina had already quit the group, but was included anyway (that part is in the story).  Deep Fat Fryer is dead -- his niece Sister Fryer took his place.  Unpossible Man is now Unpossible Girl (she asked a godlike being to transform her into her Girls of Two-Fisted Justice counterpart).  The League of Two-Fisted Justice was replaced by the much larger New League of Two-Fisted Justice, with multiple new members including Circuit Girl, Geothermal Jenny, Guy Shadow, and Girlbot 9000.  They all join in the story No Surprises, and it's strongly suggested that they will all be given counterparts in the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice cartoon.

The central premise of my current stories is that Grandpa Anarchy winds up as a girl by accident, but decides to spend the time fighting crime as Miss Anarchy, the character from the cartoon.  The live-action movie is due to release in a month and Mal is keen on getting any extra advertising in that he can.  Over a series of stories, Miss Anarchy is transformed into a more accurate version of her cartoon counterpart; she complains a bit but also decides to stick with it until the movie premier; she adventures with her two great granddaughters, who are now 15 and 16 respectively (while Miss Anarchy is meant to be 14, so she is kind of the junior member of the trio).

I had planned to write a series of six or so stories along these lines, but as I went along I began to accept that it would be a longer series of stories, all featuring Miss Anarchy instead of Grandpa Anarchy.  At various times I had plans to magically create a version of Grandpa Anarchy that was separate from Miss Anarchy, so that both could exist at the same time -- or maybe I wouldn't do that, and Miss Anarchy would go back to  being Grandpa in the end.

Then I wrote several stories where Miss Anarchy falls in love and decides to remain a girl, and the question becomes can I continue to write Grandpa Anarchy stories without a Grandpa Anarchy?

Mind you, another Grandpa Anarchy might still appear.   At the moment we have a stand-in robot named Grandpa Anarchy II.  But I am contemplating writing an extended series of stories focused on Miss Anarchy and her companions, with little or no involvement of an actual Grandpa Anarchy.  I don't think there's anything that says I can't pull that off at least as well as everything I've written up to this point, and technically Miss Anarchy is still the oldest active hero around, even if she's also a teenager.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mid March Update

Stories I've written in 2021:

413 I Swear

414 Collateral Damage

415  I, Gardener

416  Maid Ex Machina

417  Infinite Dojo

418  Princess of Pluto

419  The Return of Normal

042  Hot Stuff

420  Get Down Tonight

421  Free Advertising

422  Inevitable

423  All I Ever Wanted

424  My Clone Sleeps Alone

425  Girl Squared

426  Wrong Number

427  Doomscrolling

428  Endorsement

429  Transformations

430  Frills and Bows

Stories that I think I am working on:

431  Noticeable One

432  Beauty Treatment

433  True Colors

???  Just Like Miss Anarchy

???  Trust Mother

???  Real Girl

So obviously, I'm doing much better than my goal of one story a week.  I wrote a lot of stories at the end of February -- at least 5 or 6 in the span of about two weeks.  I didn't exactly follow the "Bolt from the Blue" vision I had last month where I plotted an entire group of stories in my sleep -- but that's okay, the whole experience still sparked me into writing a bunch of new stories anyway.  Sometimes the ideas I have for stories don't actually work out, but I manage to come up with something else that does work.

I rewrote The Return of Normal and Free Advertising and Inevitable, and then I came up with the stories All I Ever Wanted, My Clone Sleeps Alone, Girl Squared, Wrong Number, Doomscrolling, and Endorsement.  The first three fit into my plan for Miss Anarchy to go out in space and have adventures with her two great granddaughters Elsie and Kelli.  Wrong Number was a spontaneous idea I had that started with Miss Anarchy complaining to Mal about still being Miss Anarchy.  Doomscrolling evolved from a half-finished story involving the Holy Terror, which I adapted for an outer space adventure.  I had plans to do this for two or three existing story ideas, but this is the one that I managed to write.

Endorsement was a new random idea that popped into my head, but stemmed from more stuff I'd written about Miss Anarchy becoming more popular and getting new advertising offers.

At this point, I had plans to write: 

* A story about the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice fan club and how popular Miss Anarchy suddenly is.  This was my Just Like Miss Anarchy story idea.

* A story where the mothers of Elsie and Kelli show up in space.  This was Beauty Treatment, which I still plan to write.

 * A story in which several members of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice arrive for a Girls of Two-Fisted Justice photo shoot (possibly with a group of journalists from earth).  This might be Noticeable One, or maybe True Colors, or I don't know yet.  I have a lot of things in my head that I want to happen, but what makes a good story may be something entirely different.

* Possibly one more adventures in space story involving Miss Anarchy, Elsie, and Kelli.  I had plans to adapt one or two old story ideas/prompts called Uncanny Valley and Every Alien Loves Shakespeare, and Transhumanist.

* Eventually, the story Trust Mother, which involves an attempt by Julia Judas to kidnap/adopt Miss Anarchy and gain control of the Anarchy estate

* Followed by Real Girl, in which the robot Magical Girl Anne is transformed into a human girl

* And finally, Entourage, which happens at the opening of the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice movie

* Oh, and I never wrote I Think Therefor.  I have plans to write that one too.

Plus I feel like I should mention, March is Magical March, the month where people on the internet draw magical girls with a theme for each day of the month.  In 2018 I wrote a story for each day of the month, using the theme for that day, and I had fun doing that.  I tried to do this again last year and I only managed the first three stories, but I had plans to try and finish that project this year.  Obviously, I blew that idea off this month because I'm in the middle of a different group of stories at the moment.

I really felt like I needed to write Just Like Miss Anarchy next -- the story about the growing popularity of Miss Anarchy and how the fan club was reacting to daily videos of her exploits.  Only, the more I tried to turn this into a story, the more obvious it became that there was no story there to work with.  Where's the surprise?  Where's the twist?  We already know Miss Anarchy is becoming incredibly popular and the fans are growing more rabid.  At this point, this idea may never turn into a story.

I thought, what else could they do?  Maybe there's a convention coming up -- one being held virtually.  Maybe they want Miss Anarchy to appear at the con, virtually, from many light years away.  Maybe they use magic to make that work.

I came up with a list of things that might happen at a con or that they might give away to fans, and... none of it really sparked any actual story ideas.  Meanwhile, other ideas were going through my head, so I eventually tried to assemble them into a story called Noticeable One.  I had some scenes of news reporters talking about Miss Anarchy, I had some dialog between Miss Anarchy and Mal where Miss Anarchy complains about being stuck as a girl again.  But it also seemed to me that I'd played on this idea too much, so I also wrote a bit where she explains to her great granddaughters that she just likes to complain, she isn't trapped, she's doing this of her own free will, etc.

Somewhere in the middle of this I had a new idea to have the actress that plays Miss Anarchy in the upcoming movie to show up at the space station they're at.  They've already greenlit a sequel, and she wants to follow the "real" Miss Anarchy around for a while.  And I thought, what if she shows up and immediately kisses Miss Anarchy?  I liked that idea, and I tried to make it a surprise ending for my story, but even as I assembled the story I realized that there was no central thread or idea to the story, nothing to hold it together, just some scenes strung together with a random ending that really had nothing to do with what came before and didn't really count as a surprise or twist ending, because it just comes out of left field and isn't all that shocking.

I finished the story anyway, but then almost immediately after, I began to tear it apart.  I'd also come up with the idea partway through this story that Elsie, as Hellfire Lass, is essentially a demon, and might be able to possess Miss Anarchy and transform her back into Grandpa Anarchy.  I'd even written that into the story, but didn't actually have her do it, because if Grandpa Anarchy appears again, based on the events in Wrong Number he'd be summoned by a wizard who is searching for him to curse him.

But I realized I can't bring that idea up and not do it.  The entire idea that Miss Anarchy might want to become Grandpa Anarchy again, but is afraid of this wizard, and hasn't told this to Elsie and Kelli, and Elsie might spontaneously decide to demonstrate that she can transform Miss Anarchy in this way if she chooses to -- that was the story.  Of course, this meant the wizard would locate Grandpa, and I had to figure out how Grandpa Anarchy would avoid being cursed, and I realized, what if the wizard summons Grandpa while the demon still possesses his body?  Does he have Grandpa, or a powerful demon?

So I rewrote the entire story the same day.  I removed the news reporter bits, and the ending with the actress showing up, and focused the story entirely on whether Miss Anarchy wants to become Grandpa Anarchy again or not.  I think this time the story works.  I called this Transformations.

This thing -- where I have an idea but I'm afraid to pursue it -- is kind of a theme with me sometimes.  I was planning to write Noticeable One next, or whatever story I can come up with involving Miss Anarchy in the news / the actress portraying her showing up / several members of the New League showing up for a photo shoot.  I had no idea which of these would make a  great story, but I do know that one story ought to involve Miss Anarchy and Dark Dr. Dark discussing who this wizard is who is seeking revenge on Grandpa Anarchy, and what can be done about him.

But I also thought, what are Glory Ashes and Magical Girl Anne doing back on earth while Miss Anarchy is gone?  I had an idea for Death Medal complaining that kidnapping them just wasn't the same as kidnapping Grandpa Anarchy, so like always, I wrote the thing that was already in my head.  And once again I came up with an idea and then was too shy to go with it at first.  Magical Girl Anne has transformed several demons into articles of clothing that she wears.  Her dress was a demon, her boots were two different demons, her staff was a powerful demon.  At the end of Princess of Pluto she'd transformed a demon into some bloomers.  I thought, she'll threaten to transform Death Medal into something -- he's a demon, after all.  But I can't actually let her do it, can I?  Death Medal is a recurring villain.  Nor can I allow her to transform Death Medal's girlfriend Miss Kid Gloves, nor his best henchman Private Growley Monster.

So!  I wrote my story with the idea that she'd threaten to transform them, and be told that she couldn't, and would pick some random other demon and say something like, "You'll do!"  And that would be my ending.  But as I wrote the story, I had trouble figuring out why an unknown demon would show up randomly at the end.  So I added an accountant demon at the beginning who is following Death Medal around and taking notes, and he was going to be my target.  But this presented it's own set of problems -- there wasn't really any surprise in Anne deciding to transform the unnamed demon who only existed so she could have someone to transform.

I wrote the story anyway, and tried to make the real surprise that this demon accountant actually liked the idea of being transformed into clothing.  I finished the story, but it was a weak ending, and once again I almost immediately decided to rework it -- and it was the same thing as before, because I realized that the real story is that Anne is told she can't transform Death Medal into an item of clothing, and then she does it anyway.  I already had her complaining earlier in the story that even if Grandpa follows and exploits story beats (he allows himself to be captured, and waits until the villain explains his master plan, for example), Anne does not feel like she should be constrained by these ideals.  So why would she avoid  transforming Death Medal?  He's threatening to destroy the world, and this gets rid of him, and what does she care if he's a recurring character or not?

This story I called Frills and Bows.  I finished it twice today, and the second version is much more satisfying.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bolt from the Blue Update


According to Blogger, a whole 5 people read what I posted yesterday (or at least visited the page for a moment) even though I did nothing to promote it.  So, instead of changing anything in that post, here's an addendum as a new post.

Having pretty much worked out where I was going with these two stories, I rewrote Orphan Black (again) this morning, and renamed it All I Ever Wanted, a title I like better.  It's a reference to the song Vacation by the Go Go's -- calling my story Vacation was too obvious.  I think it works well now -- but I may rework it a bit later, we'll see.

I wrote the opening portion of My Clone Sleeps Alone and reworked a bit of the middle scene, and now that one's finished as well.

I had intended Trust Mother to happen not long after this, but instead I've plotted several new stories.

All I Ever Wanted sends Miss Anarchy into space, and My Clone Sleeps Alone deals with the illegal clone body problem, but I still wanted at least one story that actually involved an adventure in space.  I'd already created a file for it, called Girl Squared.  Miss Anarchy is in space with her two great granddaughters and with a teenaged version of Miss Trinity/Annie Two.  Four girls, Girl Squared.  I also came up with an ending for this that I think works, tied into one of the ideas I wrote about yesterday.

But then, I decided to write a story that involved the mounting fame Miss Anarchy is generating as all of her adventures in space are recorded and sent to earth.  She's becoming a sensation!  At first I called this Paparazzi Story, then considered Famous on Prokone 4, and then Space Famous.  But I'm thinking, with two previous stories based on songs that I like, possibly something like Noticeable One (a Missing Persons song) or possibly Celebrity Skin (Hole) or Pretty on the Outside (Dollyrots).

Aaaand... I decided I should address the issue of Elsie and Kelli's over-protective mothers, since their two daughters will be showing up on video all over the world getting shot at and and possibly even injured or killed.  At least, I know Miss Anarchy will be killed on video, then resurrected again of course.  But that just seemed like the sort of thing the girl's mothers would react negatively to -- and they probably are not too keen on the girls hanging out with "Miss Anarchy" who happens to be their grandfather as a girl.

I'm calling that story Beauty Treatment.

After that I should squeeze in the Just Like Miss Anarchy story, and maybe then I can write Trust  Mother, and after that will come Real Girl.

So my list of stories currently looks like:

415  I, Gardener

416  Maid Ex Machina

417  Infinite Dojo

418  Princess of Pluto

419  The Return of Normal

420  Free Advertising

421  Inevitable

422  All I Ever Wanted

423  My Clone Sleeps Alone

(the rest are not yet fully written, but are planned in this order)

424  Girl Squared

425  Beauty Treatment

426  Just Like Miss Anarchy

427  Noticeable One

428  Trust Mother

429  Real Girl

This also means I've written six stories this month, and may finish at least one or two more before Sunday night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Bolt from the Blue

 This will be a needlessly long description of my recent writing process, which probably interests no one but me.  I think I will publish it but not post to Twitter or anything.

In the beginning there was a story called The Return of Normal.  I had envisioned bringing one of Grandpa Anarchy's old enemies back to life, and this would be the story about that.  As I got closer to writing it, I decided that the spirit of Victorian Honesty St. Normal would possess a clone body in a resurrection station set up by Glory Ashes, making him a version of her that is only 10 years old, because the clones were not fully grown.

I wrote the story, and it involved a battle with a demon.  Almost immediately after it was done, I considered that the battle had been too easy.  Surely I could kill Miss St. Normal, and it would be okay because his/her spirit would claim another of the Glory Ashes clones?  (I figured there were at least four available).  My plan was that later, he would be adopted by Julia Judas, the mother of Glory Ashes and the CEO of Omnigen Inc, and a nominal enemy of Grandpa Anarchy.

Then I thought, what if I kill Grandpa Anarchy too?  The existence of resurrection chambers has led to Grandpa dying rather frequently.

Then I thought, what if Grandpa's spirit accidentally possesses another of the Glory clones?  Oops!  Grandpa's accidentally become a girl again!

Now, I have to admit that this is kind of a fetish of mine and therefore I've used this kind of ending as a joke far more than I need to -- it's not really a surprise anymore.  And yet, I was still mulling over the idea.

Second, there was the "next" story I was planning to write, which I'd titled Real Girl.  This was based around the idea that the robot known as Magical Girl Anne (another version of Annie Two) would be visited by a being known as Eternia the Watcher.  Eternia's thing is magical girls, so I thought, what if she shows up and offers to make Anne human?

At first this struck me as a great idea.  The new girl could be made a daughter of Grandpa Anarchy, whether he really wanted that or not.  Of course she's far more knowledgeable than a typical child but also possibly quite naieve about being a living creature.

The more I pondered this story in my head, however, the less it worked.  I mean, the basic idea is:  Goddess shows up, says Hey, want to be a real girl?  Robot girl says yes.  Boom!   She's a girl.

I couldn't come up with a version of this that included any surprise or twist ending.  Eventually I wrote a portion of the story in which Anne herself points out that there's no surprise involved, and therefore this does not make a good Grandpa Anarchy story.  It seemed to me that the A.I. that works with Grandpa Anarchy might be self-aware about how everything he does revolves around stories.  He can do what he does because he's the hero of the story.

And then I thought, well, in that case, maybe Eternia transforms Anne into twins -- or even triplets!  The prospect of Grandpa suddenly having three super-smart daughters amused me quite a bit.

So!  These things were in my head when last Saturday morning I woke up about 2:30 or 3 AM, and I not only had an idea for a story in my head, I had ideas for MULTIPLE stories in my head.  I had to jump out of bed and write them all down.  Even knowing that maybe most of this would turn out to be unworkable junk ideas formed while half-asleep, I was excited at how many stories I had spun out of my current proposed setup.  My ideas went like this:

What A Waste It Is:  Grandpa decides to remain in the 10-year-old clone body of Glory Ashes, on the theory that it's a waste to immediately destroy the body and he'll probably get killed soon enough, and resurrected in a clone of his old body.  But weeks go by without a single death.

Just Like Miss Anarchy:  Grandpa fights crime as Miss Anarchy.  Miss Anarchy is a fictional teenage female version of Grandpa Anarchy that appears in the cartoon series Girls of Two-Fisted Justice.  A REAL Miss Anarchy fighting crime would be a sensation for fans of the show.

Real Girl:  My proposed make-robot-girl-Anne-a-real-girl story.

My Own Daughter:  Julia Judas attempts to adopt not only Miss Normal, but also Miss Anarchy, in an attempt to take over the estate of her rival.  But she has Grandpa's demonic lawyer Mal to contend with, and Mal has already drawn up paperwork proving that Miss Anarchy is actually the daughter of Grandpa Anarchy, rather than Grandpa himself.  After some negotiation, it is established as "fact" (via paperwork trail at least) that Grandpa is the father of both Miss Anarchy and Miss Normal -- and that Julia Judas is the mother!  (This may not mean they slept together -- as the head of a genetics company it probably means that Julia "borrowed" Grandpa's DNA, or something.)

We Meet Again:  Kid Anarchy and Prof Victorian Honesty St. Normal once fought each other over the fate of the city and the world.  Now they have a fight over clothing, as sisters.

Entourage:  Miss Anarchy and all her relatives and siblings show up to the premier of the live-action movie version of Girls of Two-Fisted Justice and create a scene.  There's Miss Anarchy and Miss Normal, Glory Ashes, and also the three adopted Anne triplets, perhaps at least one version of Annie Two as a robot, possibly F8Wasp and Miss Bloodraven, Possibly Grandpa's great granddaughters Elsie and Kelli, possibly his granddaughter the Russian Eagle as well.  And then, Grandpa Anarchy himself shows up!  Is this some evil doppleganger assuming a disguise?  Miss Anarchy would know immediately.  Or perhaps Miss Anarchy has decided to remain who she currently is, and "resurrected" Grandpa as a separate person?

Custody Battle:  Now that Grandpa is back, he fights with Julia Judas over who is going to raise their two "daughters".  This would be an all-out war in the fashion of villains and heroes doing battle of course, not just some courtroom drama.


I began working on these stories immediately, starting with What a Waste.  The idea here was that Grandpa would decide to remain in the Glory Ashes clone body, on the theory that he was going to die sooner or later and it was a waste to just kill that body off before this happened.  I also wanted to deal with the aftermath of The Return of Normal, where the base gets partially destroyed, and where it's implied that Grandpa and St. Normal are now in clone bodies of Glory Ashes, but none of that was shown or confirmed.  So I wrote a section where they wake up the clones, figure out who's who, and then go back to the main base to get clothing for the two.

At this point I was referring to them both as girls and calling Grandpa "Miss Anarchy" which is the name of the cartoon character and a name that has been applied to Grandpa as a girl before.  I also thought it would be funny to have Grandpa complain about clothing made for girls, even if it's just jeans and tee shirts with Disney princesses or My Little Pony or whatever.  But it was here that I realized that if Grandpa is annoyed at being treated as a girl, he should say so, because optional gender identity is more of a thing these days.  Even Grandpa knows that now.

I rewrote parts of this story several times.  First, Grandpa declares his preference to be  treated as a boy.  I decided to call him "Master Anarchy" instead of Miss Anarchy.  Then, I rewrote it so that the other characters anticipated the gender identity question from the start, and even provided boy's clothing as well as girl's.  I struggled to figure out:  did I call Grandpa a girl, before he states his preference?  Did I just say "the child?"  It's not like I need worry about offending my own characters, but....

Eventually I settled for something in between the two approaches.  Glory Ashes and Miss Trinity (Annie Two) do not anticipate the gender issue, but quickly realize that Grandpa would prefer to be called a boy.  Grandpa is surprised he has the choice, but happy.  They send the maid back out to get boy clothing.

This was all well and good, but my story had little punch or direction.  It meandered, and I had no idea for a good ending, or how to Grandpa would decide to fight crime as Miss Anarchy.  In fact, the direction I took with gender identity moved him further away from that idea.

Instead I focused on a new story.  Forget conversations about clothes and gender -- I wanted an action story with Miss Anarchy!  I wrote this story fairly quickly, and came up with a good ending.  I called it Inevitable, because here is where Miss Anarchy swears she's destined to die soon, but it fails to happen.  This was the first of the stories I finished, and I knew it worked.

Next:  how did we get from "treat me as a boy" to "I'm Miss Anarchy, just like in the cartoon show!"?  I went back to the previous story and quickly realized that the sudden switch was the entire point of the story -- the surprise at the end would be Grandpa's sudden reversal.  And the reason for the reversal?  Grandpa's lawyer Mal shows up to remind him that the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice cartoon show is a half-billion dollar enterprise, with a live action movie about to come out, and it would be great if the real Miss Anarchy made a few public appearances.  I retitled the story Free Advertising.

With those two stories sorted out, I started working on the idea of St. Normal and Miss Anarchy both becoming adoptive daughters of Julia Judas.  This story was called My Own Mother, and I soon realized that I had too many ideas for a single story.  I split this into My Own Mother 1, 2, and 3 -- the first ending with Miss Anarchy asking to be adopted, the second involving negotiations and formal acceptance, and the third one -- which might take place later -- is the court scene where everything is hammered out, Mal gets involved, and possibly Miss Anarchy is legally defined as the daughter of Grandpa Anarchy.

I tried writing the first two at the same time.  Neither came together, however.  The first I retitled Mother's Arms.  I wrote a bit where a robot burst into the complex to "invite" Miss St. Normal to become the daughter of Julia Judas, then I scrapped that scene.  Instead I wrote a scene where this had already happened while the others were out fighting crime (the story Inevitable).  My problem with this story was that it really didn't make sense for Miss Anarchy to ask to be adopted by her enemy, even as a temporary ruse that she didn't intend to follow through with.   I was trying to force the characters to do things that they wouldn't actually do, and I knew it.

In addition, not much was happening in the story.  "Something random and unexpected needs to happen!" I thought.  "What if the great granddaughters of Grandpa Anarchy suddenly show up?  They're dressed as Space Babes, and they want to take Miss Anarchy on a space adventure!  Maybe this is another idea from Mal, with an eye to a future Space Babes tie-in for the cartoon, or a spinoff series?"

I liked this idea.  Then I considered what might happen if Miss Anarchy, as she currently is, travels to the Eieio Empire in space.  They may very well have a genetic record of Glory Ashes already on file, and would then declare Miss Anarchy an illegal clone.  (Which, technically, she is!)

I liked this idea even more, and immediately wrote about two-thirds of it.  I titled it My Clone Sleeps Alone.  But at the same time I was trying to finish Mother's Arms, and I was writing a large chunk of My Own Daughter 2, which I retitled Mother's Treasure, and not only did both of them refuse to come together, but I also ran into a conflict between two stories.  My plots for Mother's Arms and the subsequent My Own Daughter hinged on Miss Anarchy being a clone of Glory, but My Clone Sleeps Alone ends with Miss Anarchy in a new body, because, you know, ILLEGAL CLONE BODY.  I even considered having the space adventure story take place after the big meeting with Julia Judas -- and I finished both Mother's Arms and Mother's Treasure with that in mind, but I knew as I wrote them that they didn't really work.  I had Elsie and  Kelli (Grandpa's granddaughters) show up in the first story, then hang around through the entire second story, waiting to drag Miss Anarchy off on their adventure -- and that was an additional problem for the story.  Basically Mother's Treasure wound up being a long, boring discussion without action, and with these two other girls just sitting around waiting for it to be over.

Sometimes you have to write the wrong story before you figure out which is the right one.

I had also come up with a possible idea for My Own Daughter.  My first thought was that Miss Anarchy could have Mal and/or Annie Two write up whatever paperwork was needed to prove that Miss Anarchy was not Grandpa Anarchy herself, but his daughter.  This was part of my original idea as listed above, of course.  But I realized a paternity test could disprove this easily, and we are talking about the CEO of a genetics company.  So then I thought:  what if Miss Anarchy has something which can summon Eternia the Watcher?  She probably owes Grandpa a favor for something in the past, so that's entirely plausible.  Then Miss Anarchy asks Eternia to "make her the daughter of Grandpa Anarchy" (so that the paternity test will show this), and in order to do that, Eternia has to separate Miss Anarchy into two people -- the father and the daughter.

Thus, Grandpa Anarchy reappears, but Miss Anarchy remains.  I really liked this idea, and it would explain why Eternia is around and offers to make Magical Girl Anne a real girl (I still plan to write that story),  but it also seemed to hinge on Miss Anarchy being in the clone body still, which she would not be after the events of My Clone Sleeps Alone.

Currently I'm still trying to figure out how these story ideas can work and coexist with each other.  I rewrote Mother's Arms and retitled it Orphan White (not really a good title) and one thing I did was rewrite the whole bit where Miss Anarchy is desperate to keep tabs on St. Normal,  to the point where she begs to be adopted herself, and changed it to an offhand comment, "She could just adopt me as well!"  Then they go off on their space adventure.

I re-plotted Mother's Treasure, and gave it the name Trust Mother.  My new idea is that Miss Anarchy doesn't even remember suggesting that she should be adopted, and Julia Judas convinces her somehow to sign a contract, without Mal's oversight, which includes numerous things designed to trap Miss Anarchy in the role of a Judas daughter forever, and grant control of the Anarchy estate to Julia Judas.  I really like this more sinister approach, with the villain being more manipulative and actively nasty, but... I'm still not sure how Miss Anarchy would ever agree to sign such a contract, unless she's blackmailed, mind-controlled, or mentally impaired somehow.

Part of this idea involves Julia getting rid of all the Grandpa Anarchy clone bodies stored on earth, to make it impossible for Miss Anarchy to become Grandpa Anarchy again.   (Which would be foiled of course if I introduce the idea involving Eternia.)

I had one other idea that came out of My Clone Sleeps Alone, and it was this:  if the Eieio Empire is concerned enough about the illegal clone created with their cloning technology, they might show up on earth and insist on shutting down or changing all of the  resurrection stations that Dark Dr. Dark has set up.  This could ALSO lead to all of the Grandpa Anarchy clones being removed, since at this point their records show that Grandpa Anarchy is now Miss Anarchy, and there should not be any clones based on who she was previously.

But I haven't decided to write that yet.

So... I've written five stories this week, but  three of them are being rewritten, and two of those have been completely written more than once.  ^_^