Monday, December 3, 2012

NaNoWriMo and the Grandpa Anarchy Tales

To begin with, I played City of Heroes for most of its 8 year existence.  I loved creating new characters.  The game really encouraged this -- 12 slots per server, something like 10 or 12 servers, an amazingly diverse  character creation system that let you look like whatever you wanted to look like right from level 1.

One of the characters that I created was an old man in a grey suit and fedora with an anarchy symbol over his breast.  I called him Grandpa Anarchy.  He was an extremely old hero who fought with his fists and said things like "That ain't the way we did it back in my day!" and "Mr. Fancy Pants wants to try a little fisticuffs?" and "I've been taking down punks like you since your father was in diapers!"  He was an old school, get-off-my-lawn hero.

Years later, sometime in 2008, I wrote a story about him.  The first story, "Remember This" is not especially funny.  After that though, I wrote a series of silly short-short stories all starring Grandpa Anarchy.  He had a different sidekick each time, his sidekick was often smarter than he was, and he faced off against a variety of strange and silly villains.  You can't write an actual plot in a short-short story, these were just silly setting or situation, silly characters, funny dialogue, and some sort of punch line.  I don't remember which story was my 2nd, but I know that "Reading Comprehension" and "Garden Variety Hero" were written as far back as 2008, and "Doomed", "Simple Solution", "Kids These Days" and "The Magic Knight were all written by 2009.

I didn't write anything new after that for a couple of years.  I'm a member of a once-a-month writer's group and I'd read all of these stories for my friends and they generally liked them, and I intended to write more, but it wasn't until September of 2012 that I wrote "Precisely" and "The Silver Coin".  I was spurred in part because City of Heroes was about to close, that convinced me that it was time to get off my butt and write some of those stories that I had intended to write for several years.  I read both of those at our October writer's night I think, or maybe one in September and one in October, I forget.  People liked them.

When November came around I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writer's Month.  I've done so before, and I never follow the rules completely, I never write a brand new novel, but I strive to write 50,000 words and in the past I've mostly written large sections of a very long and complicated Ranma 1/2 fan fiction story called Girls School.  I've struggled for several years to link some of these huge sections of story together so that I can publish all of it -- that was my goal for NaNoWriMo 2011, and I failed that year, I only wrote some 16,000 words.

This year I wanted to do something different.  This year I wanted to write more Grandpa Anarchy stories.  My friends have self-published fanzines and books and had asked why I had never done that with my Grandpa Anarchy stories, but I only had 8 very short stories.  I had more planned, and I wanted to increase the Grandpa Anarchy cannon a great deal.  So, for NaNoWriMo November 2012, I attempted to write a brand new Grandpa Anarchy story each day of the month.

I succeeded in writing 50,000 words for the month (I cheated a bit to reach that number).  I more than succeeded in writing a bunch of new Grandpa Anarchy stories.  Some of them may not be so good -- I was under pressure to finish each one so I could start on another.  But I can go back later and fix them, now that November is over.

Here's what I came up with:

Nov 1st:  Supper Soldier  (complete)
Nov 2nd:  What You Should Know (complete)
Nov 3rd:  Dancepocalypse (complete)
Nov 4th:  Double Trouble (complete)
Nov 5th:  Contract (complete)
Nov 6th:  Amethyst Road (complete)
Nov 7th:  Princess Kiss  (complete)
Nov 8th:  Who Do Voodoo  (complete)
Nov 9th:  Assassin  (complete)
Nov 10th:  World of Hero (complete)
Nov 11th:  Roasted  (complete)
Nov 12th:  There Be Whales  (complete)
Nov 13th:  Shadow over Scranton  (complete)
Nov 14th:  Sex Slaves of Sirix Alpha Six (complete)
Nov 15th:  Stone Temple Space Raiders  (complete)s
Nov 16th:  Soldiers Men  (complete)
Nov 17th:  Mostless in Capertown  (complete)
Nov 18th:  Dig My Grave  (complete)
Nov 19th:  My Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal (complete)
Nov 20th:  Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story  (in progress)
Nov 21st:  Trouble Focusing (in progress)
Nov 22nd:  Fryer Out of Time  (complete)
Nov 23rd:  Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom (complete)
Nov 24th:  Idiot Ball  (complete)
Nov 25th:  Oceans of the Void (in progress)
Nov 26th:  Jungle Opera  (in progress)
Nov 27th:  Justice Hangs In The Balance (complete)
Nov 28th:  Love and Justice (complete)
Nov 29th:  Planet Earth vs. World Devourer (just an idea at present)
Nov 30th:  Gravity of the Matter (just an idea atm)

So for better or worse, I managed to start 30 stories and complete 24 of them.  I've been working on Oceans of the Void yesterday and today, but I spent most of the weekend writing in my blog (at about City of Heroes and my characters, so I didn't get too much done.  But I want to complete all of the remaining stories.  I think after that I'll try and finish Trouble Focusing and Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story (our December writer's night is always a "Christmas Ghost Story" writer's night and combination Christmas party).

The really important stories are the ones that directly deal with Grandpa Anarchy and his history and back story.  Supper Soldier is one of those that I had plotted out previously -- it gives a lot of his back story and explains how he gained his powers.  What You Should Know is another, because it shows him introducing a new sidekick and showing him around the Anarchy mansion/estate and the "Anarchy cave" (a very alrge basement garage, actually).  Two-Fisted Ghost Story will of course reveal more about his past, and Trouble Focusing is a story that deals with the Society of Former Sidekicks, a villain group made up of former sidekicks to Grandpa Anarchy.  Many of the other stories are silly one-shot fluff stories, although "World of Hero" introduces you to the whole League of Two-Fisted Justice for the first time.

So far I've read one of the November stories -- Shadows Over Scranton -- at November's writer's night.  People seemed to like it, I didn't get any major critiques, but it's one of the simpler stories.  I posted "World of Hero" to my blog and to the City of Heroes message boards right after I wrote it, it involves the closing of a game like City of Heroes, but I got no comments back from that at all, which makes me think that it doesn't read especially well.  It's the longest Grandpa Anarchy story I've written, and probably it's just too long an needs to be trimmed.  Also, "Amethyst Road", "Princess Kiss" and "Who Do Voodoo" form a sort of trilogy, all part of the same adventure in an Oz-like fairy land.  I'm not sure how those will read.

But many of these stories work pretty well, I think.  ^_^  Once I've completed them and edited them, I think I'll start work on layout and format for a web-published book.

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