Saturday, August 31, 2013

X Marks the Spot


I've finally completed my little body-swap arc.  I think my goal for today is to try and write A Glitch in Time and Unpossible, both of which are fully sketched in, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

At the end of Vows, all the members of a wedding party had been transported to another world.  This meant that I could decide to write a sequel explaining what happened next, or just leave them there because, after all, a lot of Grandpa Anarchy stories end in the middle of quests or fights or in places where you just have to assume that things got resolved in the end.  And I was feeling like I'd already written more than enough on this particular arc, and I didn't really need to explain how it got resolved.

But then, earlier in the month I had decided to write stories beginning with letters that I hadn't used for stories yet.  This is how I came to write Zero Hour, Questionable Judgment, and Your Stupid, Stupid Minds.  I still had Unpossible to write, for the letter U, and I had a file simply titled "X" so that I would remember to come up with a story beginning with that letter.

There aren't a lot of words that begin with the letter X.  I got out a dictionary Thursday night and looked through all the words that began with X, hoping an idea would occur to me.  When I came to X Chromosome, something clicked.  I had Grandpa in the body of a girl.  I had a group of people summoned to another world by a sorceress who was only trying to summon two girls.  I knew this was another Oz-like magical world, and the thing about Oz is that the protagonists are always girls.  Frank Baum's wife was a prominent feminist; he very purposefully made girls the protagonists of his stories.  I'd always wanted to push that idea a step further, and write about a world where girls were sort of pre-ordained to be adventurers and soldiers, and it was considered unusual for boys or men to do anything of the sort.

I finished X Chromosome last night, and revised it a bit this morning.  After the revision, my entire body-swap arc has been completely resolved -- with a twist, of course, but Grandpa Anarchy is back to his old body and so is Nina Ballerina, so I actually do explain how things got fixed.  And I think I wrote a decent enough little story too, even though I still had doubts about whether I've stretched the joke too far.  But mostly, I wanted a story that begins with the letter X.  Once I've finished Unpossible, I'll have a story for every letter of the alphabet.  Heh.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vows

When I wrote my body-swap story I Was a Teenage Ballerina last night, my plan was to resolve the body swap at the end.  But when I got there it turned out to be more funny to go a different direction.  Thus, the body-swap remained unresolved.  I finished the story and went to bed, unsure if I was going to leave it at that or write anything to explain how things were later resolved.  I figured I might work on Vows or A Glitch in Time the next day, if nothing else occurred to me.

In the morning I woke up knowing exactly how Vows should start.  I wrote part of it before heading to work, and finished it off on my break (by which point I'd figured out an ending.)

My idea was to make Vows a follow-up story to I Was a Teenage Ballerina.  Vows is a story about two weddings, but I realized I could have fun if Grandpa was still stuck in the young body of Nina.

Given her current incarnation as a young girl, Paulina had been chosen as one of the flower girls, along with her own current sidekick, Spirit Summoner Shaman Sally.  Paulina wasn't very happy with this.  For weeks she'd avoided wearing anything resembling a dress.  The flower girl dress was uncomfortable and itchy.  But as with everything she tried to take it in stride.  She knew things would be sorted out eventually, she just hadn't expected it to take several weeks.
She looked over the crowd.  She noted where all the cameramen were.  She studied the ceiling.  She stared at the large stained glass window high above the alter.
"What are you looking for?" asked Sally.
"Dunno," said Paulina.  "Something.  You can't have a high-profile double wedding of superheroes without something interrupting it.  I don't know what it will be, but some villain is going to attack, someone's going to get kidnapped, some assassin's going to try and shoot one of the brides -- something."

I think it works fairly well.  The story is about the wedding, not specifically about Grandpa's predicament, but I still get to have fun with that too.

Given the way this story ends, I was again wondering if any sort of sequel is needed or would work, and/or if I need to have the resolution to the body swap on-screen (most likely I don't).  But I was thinking about what else I could write, and a different story came to mind that would happen in between I Was A Teenage Ballerina and Vows.


A young girl with olive skin in a flowing white dress was tied to a rocket that belched thick black smoke.  An old man in a gray suit and fedora fought with a man dressed in World War I flight leathers and thick goggles.  Nearby, a Japanese girl in shamanistic face paint and an outfit that was part Japanese folk costume and part magical girl fought invisible smog monsters with the aid of ghostly creatures.
Baron Climate Change was the villain.  The magical girl was Spirit Summoner Shaman Sally, Grandpa Anarchy's current sidekick.  As for the identities of the other two....
"Uncle Nina, hurry up and save me already!" the girl in white called out.
The old man dodged a punch.  "I'm working on it, Darling."  The Baron pulled out a weapon that looked part brass pesticide sprayer and part blunderbuss.  He sprayed hot, oily soot at the old man.
"How can you safe your precious Paulina Ballerina," said the Baron, "when you haff me und mine smog monsters to deal vit?"
"Don't call me Darling," the girl complained, struggling in vain against the ropes.  "It's humiliating."
"Sure thing, Princess.  Just hang on a sec...."
Grandpa Anarchy had swapped bodies with the teenage Nina Ballerina a week ago.  But as Grandpa was fond of saying, crime marched on.  There were evil plots to foil and villains to fight, and the two fought under the names Paulina Ballerina and Uncle Nina, respectively.
"May I remind you," said the girl, "if this rocket blasts off I'm going to be street pizza in downtown Ontario?  We wouldn't want that, would we?"
Baron Climate Change slashed at Uncle Nina with a rusty knife.  Nina grabbed the villain's arm.  The knife hovered inches from his face.  "One... thing... at a time," he said.
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" the girl exclaimed.  "Being the damsel in distress sucks!  This is humiliating."
"We've all been there, princess," said Uncle Nina.  He twisted the villain's arm.  The knife clattered on the ground.  "Funny you're only finding that out now..."


I like how this story ends too.  I titled this one Damsel in Distress.  I considered calling it The Perils of Paulina, but apparently that's a XXX movie (according to Google).

Anyway this story doesn't resolve anything, it's just a bit of fun at Grandpa Anarchy's expense based on the situation he finds himself in.

This puts me just 3 stories away from my yearly goal, and  gives me 26 stories for the month of August, with two days left to go.  I've actually written 10 stories in the last 6 days.  Some of them, at least, are good, I think....

Goal 1 - Write a Grandpa Anarchy Story a Week:

January 2013

Jan 19:  DarkFireDragonNinja  (begun several years ago)
Jan 24:  OmniGen Again  (begun Jan 23)
Jan 25:  Veteran of the Bone Wars  (begun Dec 30)
Jan 29:  Nemesis  (begun Dec 10)

February 2013

Jan 31:  Turncoats (begun Dec 8)
Feb 3:  There Ain't No Justice  (begun Nov 29)
Feb 5:  City of the Monkey God  (begun Nov 26)
Feb 7:  Future Me  (begun Jan 31)

March 2013

Feb 10:  Roll of the Die  (begun Feb 10)
Feb 11:  Trouble Focusing  (begun, Nov 21, in theory)
Feb 19:  Dead Again  (begun Feb 18)
Apr 24:  Most Dangerous  (begun Feb 09)

April 2013

Apr 27:  The Thing in the Suitcase  (begun Feb 16)
June 24:  An Inconvenient Airship
June 25:  Continuity Error
June 27:  The Devil in the Details

May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken

June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life

July 2013

Aug 6:  Endangered Species
Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters
Aug 12:  Self-Made Man

Aug 2013

Aug 13:  Hackernaut
Aug 15:  Gutbucket Magic
Aug 17:  Questionable Judgment
Aug 17:  Zero Hour

Sept 2013

Aug 18:  Your Stupid, Stupid Minds
Aug 20:  The Statue Got Me High
Aug 22:  Black Moon Rising
Aug 24:  Pick of the Litter

Oct 2013

Aug 24:  Pandora's Closet
Aug 25:  Magic is a Bitch
Aug 26:  Transformation Station
Aug 26:  Youth is Wasted on the Young

Nov 2013

Aug 27:  Historically Accurate
Aug 28:  Teenage Curse
Aug 28:  I Was a Teenage Ballerina
Aug 29:  Vows

Dec 2013

Aug 29:  Damsel in Distress

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Was A Teenage Ballerina...


I didn't write much last night.  I created a file for A Glitch in Time, the story idea I wrote about yesterday, but then I spent time updating my Anarchy World Background folder instead, and I went to bed early.

Before I went to bed, I came up with at least two other story ideas:  one, I have two couples I've written about now, Fire Maiden and Lady Lune, and I've mentioned that Sun Wukong and Ravella the Traveler were dating as well.  It occurred to me that a double wedding would be a fun setting for another story... maybe villains show up to spoil it, maybe Grandpa's late because he's fighting someone, maybe he's been kidnapped by some deranged villain who wants to marry him, I dunno.  I figure if I write the story, the ending will come to me.

Second, I decided I needed to do a story about Nina Ballerina.  I've never actually done a story that predominantly features her.  In Dancepocalypse a magical clone of her is summoned to aid Grandpa, but it's not really Nina.  In World of Hero she's one of the heroes because the entire League of Two-Fisted Justice is there... so I don't really get to shine a spotlight on her.  But that story is in the middle of a major rewrite in any case.  She appears in the background of several other stories -- Anarchy Is Forever!, Brothers and Sisters, she gets mentioned in Dig My Grave.  Most recently I added her at the last minute to a story I wrote Monday, Youth Is Wasted on the Young.

That story desperately needs to be rewritten, but anyway, it involves the Archons of Excellence on a quest to find a fountain of youth for Popeye Khan.  Grandpa Anarchy is along for the ride, and I decided at the last minute that, if they're going to all that trouble, maybe one of my other heroes would want to be younger.  I decided on Nina.  In the story I state that she's nearly 48, not as old as some of my old-time heroes but old enough that she might really jump at a chance to dip in a fountain of youth.

Because she's younger, my idea was that she emerges from her dip really young -- like, possibly 13 years old.  Much younger than she suspected.  I didn't really have the opportunity to show that in my story because the focus is on Popeye Khan and what happens to him.  Sometimes that's how things go -- I know things that have happened off-camera, as it were.  So my other idea last night was to write a story about Nina Ballerina and her struggles with being 13 again.

I may have had another story idea too, I can't remember.  I wanted to get to bed and I didn't have any good titles so I wrote nothing down.  In the morning, these were the ideas I remembered.  For the double marriage idea I created a file called Vows, which allows me to also write about some other kind of vows in the same story if I want.  It's a good title.  For the Nina story I still didn't have a title, but in the shower I realized I should call it I Was a Teenage Ballerina.  I created that file before heading to work.

Or should I call it that?  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that a title of that sort should feature someone other than Nina becoming a teenage ballerina.  The obvious culprit would be Grandpa, of course.  I've kind of avoided doing any transformation or body swap stories on Grandpa, but after all, he's seen it all and done it all, so maybe it was time.  And then I hit upon a funny scene for how it would come about, and I was off and running.  My new Nina-as-a-teenager story was titled Teenage Curse, although I'm not sold on that (maybe Curse of the Teenager, or Teenage Rampage or something similar).  But I knew how the story should end, and I figured out over the course of the day how the rest of it should go.  I also saw that I Was a Teenage Ballerina should immediately follow it, and I saw how it should end.

Both stories are now complete.  I think I like both.  And I'm not entirely certain there shouldn't be another follow up to those two.

So yeah.  No shortage of things to write about just yet.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Continuity Crusaders


Today I finished Historically Accurate, just as I thought I would.  That makes 22 new stories for July, and this one is pretty solid (I think).

This story continues my exploration of former sidekicks who go on to become superheroes in their own right.  In this story, Kid Continuity forms a new hero group with a unique mission.  I kind of think Kid Continuity's obsession with making sense of Grandpa Anarchy's history (and superhero history in general) borders on the insane, but she's certainly an interesting character to write about.  I almost wanted to call her new group The Revisionist Historians, but I'm fairly certain Grandpa had fought the Revisionist Historian before, probably mentioned in one of my time travel stories written at the beginning of August.

Anyway, this completes the series of stories that I came up with last weekend, that I simply had to write, that all sort of connected together.  I went for a walk this afternoon, and I was thinking about what I should work on next.  I have a lot of story ideas lying around that I could work on, but none that are so clear-cut in my head or so vital that I must write them now.  I thought about going back and trying to rewrite World of Hero again, which is what I was attempting to do at the end of July when I set it aside to edit stories for my book and to start writing new stories.

I also thought about my characters, what their lives are like (trying to flesh them out a bit) and what new characters I should create.  I have to admit that two of my weak points are that I don't plan villains out in advance, and I don't typically plan sidekicks in advance either, which means I get a lot of villains and sidekicks with no particularly impressive powers.  I'd like to introduce a few villains and sidekicks that have serious power.

But I think of a lot of things on my walks that I don't actually write down.  I remember Sunday I thought of a conservative right-wing hero, because I decided I should have someone like that around.  I was going to call him the One Wing Knight (the picture on his chest or shield would be an eagle's right wing, of course).  But I haven't written that down yet.  I thought of some other things Sunday that I've already forgotten about.

Today I was thinking about Kid Continuity, and what kind of villains she should face, and I came up with a very inspired idea:  the GlitchKitten, a catgirl ninja who can travel through time and loves to mess things up, because that drives Kid Continuity crazy.  She would claim to be the twin sister of another catgirl ninja in my universe who was not born a catgirl (or even a girl) -- in other words, it's impossible for what GlitchKitten says to be true.  But that's the very nature of the character -- a glitch in continuity, a thing that doesn't make sense yet still exists.  And she exists exactly because Kid Continuity is trying to fix superhero history.  Kid Continuity's specific power is to invoke absolute continuity to make inconsistencies disappear, but this won't work on GlitchKitten (or more likely, works only temporarily) because Narrative Causality demands that GlitchKitten exist.  She is Kid Continuity's ultimate nemesis, and probably just popped into existence one day because, under the circumstances, she couldn't not exist.  Naturally she has no background, no back story, nothing to explain who she is or where she comes from.  She's exactly the sort of thing to drive Kid Continuity off the deep end.

And that's a new story waiting to be written, right there.  It gives me a second story to follow Historically Accurate with.  The only question is whether I'll finish it tonight or not.  ^_^



Monday, August 26, 2013

Two More Stories Written... Doubts About Their Quality

How I'm doing on my yearly writing goal:

May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken

June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life

July 2013

Aug 6:  Endangered Species
Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters
Aug 12:  Self-Made Man

Aug 2013

Aug 13:  Hackernaut
Aug 15:  Gutbucket Magic
Aug 17:  Questionable Judgment
Aug 17:  Zero Hour

Sept 2013

Aug 18:  Your Stupid, Stupid Minds
Aug 20:  The Statue Got Me High
Aug 22:  Black Moon Rising
Aug 24:  Pick of the Litter

Oct 2013

Aug 24:  Pandora's Closet
Aug 25:  Magic is a Bitch
Aug 26:  Transformation Station
Aug 26:  Youth is Wasted on the Young

I really don't know what to say about all of this.  Five stories in two days is excellent, except I feel I'm churning out very substandard work.  Especially after finishing that second story today, I was left with a feeling that I'm writing utter crap.  I mean, I want the stories to work, but...

Most of these recent stories (From Black Moon Rising forward) are longer stories with multiple scenes.  I know some of them work, but they're not my traditional style of Grandpa Anarchy story, a short setup with some sort of twist or punch line.  Together they form a sort of narrative though, mostly involving the Black Moon Maidens except for Youth Is Wasted On The Young, which is an Archons of Excellence story, but which leads directly into Transformation Station, another Black Moon Maidens story.

Black Moon Rising is a single-scene story, but without a really punchy ending, it feels to me.

Pandora's Closet is a two-scene story.  Actually this one I think has a better ending, but I'm not sure the middle works.  I think I need to work on the characterization more.

Magic is a Bitch  is a longer story with multiple scenes.  I think it works.  The ending is one of those "back where we started from" kind of endings, not a huge twist or surprise but funny enough, I think.

Pick of the Litter was a random idea I got while walking on Saturday.  It's a two-scene story, with a pretty good punch line, but I get the feeling I'm not presenting it in the best or most direct manner.  Also, the very idea that the story is based on kind of makes me wonder if it's something I really want to allow to happen to my characters....

Youth is Wasted on the Young is mostly a journey story with a punchline.  I think in this case, I'm having a hard time deciding how much of the journey I should show.  Although the story could almost certainly start and end right at the end goal of the journey, I wanted to give some sense of the epic quest needed to arrive at that end goal.  But as is, I think it might be too long and/or not accomplish the goal of "epic journeyness".

Transformation Station  is another multi-scene story that I know works pretty well and has a punchy ending, but again I'm not convinced I really want to take my characters where this story goes.

And then I still have Historically Accurate to finish, which I worked on today.  That's another one that is shaping up to be four scenes long, with a punchline that may be broadcast to the reader well before we actually get there.  I dunno.

The good news?  I've written 21 stories this month.  That's nearly as many as I managed last November during NaNoWriMo, and I still have the rest of the week to write more.  And I will almost certainly finish Historically Accurate by tomorrow.  And ultimately, getting these stories out of my head and onto the page is only a good thing, even if they need massive rewrites later.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Stories


I spent a good portion of yesterday editing the stories for my book.  I'm through story 25 of 32, which means I have 7 stories left to edit.  Mostly I've been doing spell checks and then reading through them for anything else I notice, occasionally removing excess words or rewriting sentences, but no major editing.  Most of these stories work pretty well, I think -- maybe Supper Soldier is too long.  But the final stories include a couple that I haven't really edited since I first wrote them, and they may have problems, so that will slow me down.

But having done that, and also having read through a bunch of my newer stories and updating my Anarchy World Background file, I allowed myself to think about writing.

I took a long walk first.  On the walk I came up with a possible plot for my Pandora's Closet story.  I also thought of three more stories -- one involving the Black Moon Maidens recruiting another member, one involving Popeye Khan and the Archons of Excellence searching for a fountain of youth, and one in which Kid Continuity forms her own group with the specific goal of straightening out past continuity.

Like I need more stories to write.  All of these stories are non Grandpa Anarchy stories.  I've slowly begun to write stories that don't directly involve him, starting with Dead Again, which takes place while he's dead, and then Brothers and Sisters, which involves a secret society for sidekicks.  This week I wrote Black Moon Rising about the formation of the Black Moon Maidens.

Last night I finished two of my other Black Moon Maiden ideas -- the newly-plotted Pandora's Closet, and the recruitment story, Pick of the Litter.  This morning, I finished Magic is a Bitch, my newly-retitled story about what happens when the spell that turned Larry Morris into Fire Maiden wears off.  I'm honestly not sure if any of these are good stories, but at least I now have a quartet of stories involving the Black Moon Maidens.  I still have the Popeye Khan/Archons story and the Kid Continuity story to do, but I wrote a bit on the Popeye Khan story this morning.  I'm calling that Youth Is Wasted on the Young at the moment, and the Kid Continuity story is Historically Accurate.

I also made a roughly chronological list of all the sidekicks who've worked for Grandpa Anarchy, that I know of.  I was looking for those that might have life beyond the one story that they appear in -- those that actually have some talent.  Of course, many of those have become villains already, but there are a few that I like -- Natural Twenty is one, and Mighty Tim, and Wayback Lad, and of course Kid Continuity.  I have a  tendency to write silly sidekicks with no actually useful powers, which has pretty much prevented me from creating sidekicks who control storms or do other such interesting things.  But a few with real power have slipped through.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Progress


Last year during Rainfurrest I wrote two new Grandpa Anarchy stories, Precisely and The Silver Coin.  When I read them at Writer's Night in September and October, my friends encouraged me to put together a book of my Grandpa Anarchy stories.  (I'd sat with my friends behind the tables in the dealer's room that year, but I was the only person out of 8 or 9 that had nothing for sale.)  But I didn't want a book with only 8-9 short stories, I wanted something more substantial.  Thus, when NaNoWriMo rolled around in November, I spent the month writing as many new Grandpa Anarchy stories as I could.

What I managed was to begin a new story each day, and to finish 24 of them.  I finished three more in December.  By late January I had completed all thirty.  I continued to write new Grandpa Anarchy stories throughout 2013, and I made plans to publish a book of them... but as time passed and I did no actual work on assembling a book, I began to think that I wouldn't have one ready for Rainfurrest 2013.  I had to get my friends to help edit, and I hadn't prepared or asked anyone if they had the time.  Maybe by the end of the year, I thought.

At a Tai-Pan meeting in late July Chuck encouraged me to do the book before Rainfurrest.  "There's still time," he said.  On the spot, I gathered together the stories that I thought I could include in a book (about 30) and placed them in a special folder in my Dropbox, and placed them in the order they should appear.  Gene said I could rent the In Design program needed to assemble the book.  Chuck said he'd be willing to read through and edit the stories, and on the way home agreed to do a cover picture as well.

I spent the next two weeks reading through a bunch of these stories and trying to fix the ones that had the biggest problems.  I wound up creating a couple of new stories, and then went on another story-writing binge.  I've written 15+ stories in the last month.

I'm not sure how much time I'd need to get my book printed before the con, but I assumed that I should have an In-Design file assembled by the end of August.  Rainfurrest is at the end of September.  I was going to see if any of my friends had time to edit anything as well, but time has passed and I haven't asked.  I haven't even asked Chuck if he's looked at anything yet.

But this being less than two weeks before the end of the month, I started copy-editing stories this week.  All I'm really doing at the moment is reading through the stories in OpenOffice and correcting spelling errors, and fixing anything else that catches my eye.  I tend to write in WordPad, because it's simple, but that means nothing gets spell-checked.  Anyway, I've managed to work my way through the first ten stories so far.  I'm more convinced than ever that my early stories are solidly written, and my recent stories need a lot of work.

Despite my best efforts to concentrate on editing, I've been inspired to keep writing new stories.  I made a new list Wednesday night of all my recent story ideas, but by Thursday morning in the shower I had two brand new ideas.  The first was that I needed a story that demonstrated the sidekick's secret society in action, responding to a request for help.  I titled this Banana Also Rises.  The second idea was a story in which Fire Maiden, of the Black Moon Maidens, suddenly becomes a man again.  This is a character who purposely had a gender-swap spell cast on him solely because "Fire Maiden" was the very best sidekick name he could come up with.  She had since fallen into a relationship with Lady Lune (sidekick for Solar Sister) and the two had formed a new superhero group with Black Dahlia called the Black Moon Maidens.

All of this took place as kind of background information in other stories.  In Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom we meet Fire Maiden and Lady Lune for the first time, and Lady Lune falls for Fire Maiden.  In Oceans of the Void, the two met Black Dahlia (sidekick to Dark Dr. Dark at the time) and decided to form their own group.  In Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story, you get to see the three of them celebrating Christmas together.

Oceans of the Void is one of the stories I left out of my book because I knew it was too long and had problems.  One of those problems was trying to shoehorn the decision for these three girls to form a supergroup into a story that really had nothing to do with that.

So I came up with this idea that, after three years, Fire Maiden would revert to Fire Dude, which would be a problem all around, and maybe the wizard doesn't want to cast the same spell again or wants an exorbitant amount of money for it.  I titled this story Renewals Are A Bitch, and I wound up working on the story a bit at work.  But I knew that really, I needed to tell more of back story of the Black Moon Maidens in order to tell this story properly.

I have another story file called Pandora's Closet, which is about how Black Dahlia runs a Gothic clothing shop and how this is also a front for the operations of the Black Moon Maidens.  I didn't have a specific plot in mind for that story, but I knew I wanted to do something that dealt with that.

And it suddenly occurred to me, I needed to write a Black Moon Maiden trilogy -- their origin story, the middle story Pandora's Closet, and then the story about Fire Maiden, Renewals Are a Bitch.  I could pull that whole section about their formation out of Oceans of the Void, where it didn't belong, and write a new story just about how they came together.  I called this story Black Moon Rising, and I finished it last night, on the same day I came up with it.  (I reworked parts of it today -- I'm not entirely convinced it works, since there's no major twist or surprise at the end, but eh.)

I  tried looking at Pandora's Closet today as well, but so far I don't really have an idea of where to go with it.  Though I should probably try to introduce some sort of recurring villain for the group.

Anyway, that's what I've done the last two days.  As an aside, these are among the first stories I've written that are not centered on Grandpa Anarchy at all.  They do tie in to the story Brothers and Sisters, however (during which the three women are admitted to the sidekick secret society) and thus may also tie in to Banana Also Rises.

But I really need to edit and not write another story.

Aug 22  Banana Also Rises
Aug 22  Renewals Are a Bitch
Aug 22  Black Moon Rising



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Story Ideas


I continue to come up with new story ideas, and by ideas I often mean titles and/or single lines, but for each I create a new file on the assumption that it might lead to a story one day.  Here's my current list of new story titles/ideas:

Updated Story Ideas List:

Dark Lord of Midnight
Lights Out
Lucky
Performance Review
Stepping Out
Dec 11  Troubador  Grandpa Anarchy faces a singing villain
Dec 12  Love, Grandma  Grandpa Anarchy vs. Grandma Chaos
Jan 15  Grandpa Anarchy and the Fiendishly Foul Fetid Frog
Jan 26  Toolbar Wizard
Jan 30  Thunderbird Blues
Jan 31  Hackernaut    (completed 8/13)
Feb 03  Miles to Go Before I Sleep
Feb 09  Gutbucket Magic  (completed 8/15)
Feb 12  Brothers and Sisters    (completed 8/8)
Feb 13  Stronger
Feb 16  Mister Buffalo
Feb 17  Pandora's Closet
Feb 19  Anarchy Is Forever   (completed 8/7)
Feb 24  Hero's Sacrifice
Feb 25  The Crystal Weenie
Feb 25  Alien Space Bats  (combined w/Time of Your Life) (completed 8/5)
Mar 09  Killer Asteroid
Apr 09  The Apocalypse Meme
Apr 24  Your Stupid, Stupid Minds    (completed 8/18)
Apri 24  Never Give Up, Never Surrender
Apr 29  Throw Me a Trope
Apr 30  Timey Wimey Ball
Apr 30  Time of Your Life    (completed 8/5)
May 05  Gone Again
May 25  Take Me Back to Constantinople    (completed 8/4)
June 05  The Chef That Time Forgot   (completed 8/4)
June 05  Maid Service
June 06  Endangered Species  (completed 8/6)
June 06  Patent Troll  (finished 6/27, retitled The Devil in the Details)
June 15  The Ferver and Furor of the F├╝hrer
June 15  Retirement   (The R Word)  (completed 7/1)
June 17  An Inconvenient Airship  (finished 6/24)
June 25  Continuity Error (finished same day)
June 25  Dark Anarchy  (finished 6/30)
June 28  Ruse  (finished 7/1)
July 10  Maps of Vampires that No Longer Exist
July 15  Mysterious Journal
July 17  Sanctum Sanitorium
July 24   A Clown In A Clown Store
Aug 3 Space Kraken (completed 8/3)
Aug 3 Triple Aaar!  (completed 8/3)
Aug 6  Spaghetti Monster Knows
Aug 10  Self-Made Man  (completed 8/12)
Aug 10  Rule of Three
Aug 14  Murder is Painless
Aug 14  Questionable Judgment  (comleted 8/17)
Aug 14  Unpossible
Aug 14  Zero Hour  (completed 8/17)
Aug 14   X
Aug 14  Death of a Mook
Aug 15  The Eagle Has Landed
Aug 19  Beneath the Skin
Aug 18  Spider Pope
Aug 19  The Statue Got Me High  (completed 8/21)
Aug 20  Revealing
Aug 21  Enter the Fury Fists of Death
Aug 21  Magnificent Bastardry
Aug 21  The Hundred Perfumes of the Wind

Notes:

The Hundred Perfumes of the Wind is a line from today's Writer's Almanac, a line from the poem Virgil's Bees by Carol Ann Duffy.  Magnificent Bastardry comes from the Order of the Stick comments section, someone describing Tarquin's latest maneuver (killing his own son!).  Enter the Fury Fists of Death is a temporary title to remind myself to do a Bruce Lee pastiche, in the manner of Almost Live's Billy Quan episodes with titles like Enter the Gardener, Rackets of Fury, Library of Death.

Revealing is also inspired directly from Order of the Stick, episode 911 in which Belkar describes Tarquin's army as "That's a lot of mooks," and then one of the 'mooks' demonstrates his ability to reveal important plot points, albeit badly timed.  One of the the readers referred to him as "Plot Reveal Mook" and I jotted that down as a villain for Grandpa Anarchy to face.

Spider Pope was just a line I saw somewhere that I liked.  Beneath the Skin is based on the idea of the monster beneath our skin that each of us have (I think I was listening to an episode of To The Best of Our Knowledge).  My plan for this story would be a villain brings out the monster hidden within Grandpa, and you get an evil Grandpa Anarchy that the sidekick has to fight.

The Eagle Has Landed is a more in-depth plot idea (a rarity for my story ideas).  I've been working on one story that involves Grandpa's great-granddaughter; he was married many years ago, before or during WWII I think.  For this story idea, I propose that he slept with a Russian hero of some sort right at the end of WWII, and now has a daughter (or more likely granddaughter) who is a Russian hero, and who comes to visit.

Death of a Mook is an idea to explore what happens to the family of a random, nameless mook / henchman when he dies.

Questionable Judgement/Unpossible/Zero Hour/X were just titles and quick ideas that I came up with so I could have stories that began with those letters.  I've finished two of them, and Unpossible would be an exploration of Unpossible Man's origins, so that one's a viable idea.

Murder is Painless explores the idea that killing monsters and even henchmen is so much easier than killing "real" people.  In this story Grandpa savagely kills a rather nice vampire.  It also explores the idea that Grandpa has never been averse to killing off his enemies before, so why stop with vampires?

Rule of Three  is just the idea that there are always three of something.  Not sure where to go with that yet, but there you go.  This is a file that I actually created much earlier than the given date, but it was hidden on my iPad for months I think.

Spaghetti Monster Knows and A Clown in a Clown Store are just funny lines/titles for the most part, but each contains the seed of what the story would be about.  Clown would be about Carnival Act, of course.

Mysterious Journal is from a misread line while I was playing Everquest.  (The actual line:  Fargoth's journal day 912:  Curly moustache -- goblin blood number 9 -- hairy toes -- is this home?)  It amused me.  Sanctum Sanitorium is an involved story from Unpossible Man about the building of a sanitorium in a third world country, and how he eventually moved it to the arctic, which wound up not being such a good deal because he can't fly so he never visits it.  It's potentially a section of my rewritten story World of Hero, but it doesn't advance any plot and might instead turn into a stand-alone story, who knows.

Maps of Vampires that No Longer Exist is another misread line.  I have no idea what I might do with it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Statue Mecha


I'm not getting any editing of the stories for my proposed book done, but I did finish another story tonight.  This is the one I came up with a couple of days ago, based on giant mecha designed after giant statues from around the world.  It's called The Statue Got Me High.

I think it works pretty well.  I think.  Anyway, here's the opening sentences:

Christ the Redeemer dropkicked Lady Liberty, sending her crashing to the sand.  His hand folded back, revealing spinning chainsaw blades.  He stabbed down viciously.  At the last moment Liberty's rockets engaged, shooting her across the sand and gouging a deep trench into the arena floor.
Gears whined as as Liberty got to her feet.  In the chest cockpit, Grandpa Anarchy said, "Hey, I think we're getting the hang of this!"
"Sir," said his sidekick, "we should be concentrating on how to resolve our current predicament...."  Grandpa Anarchy's current sidekick was Spinner Lad, a boy in blue spandex with a spinner on his chest.  At the moment the spinner was pointing to "Think Things Through".
"Hold onto that thought," said Grandpa.  "Here they come!  Right fist rocket punch on my mark!"
Christ the Redeemer charged, arms outspread.  Each ponderous footstep shook the ground.  At the last moment Grandpa yelled.  Rockets engaged.  Whiplash-quick, the fist swung and connected with the Redeemer's head, which went flying.
"Ha!  Down goes the Brazilian team!" Grandpa crowed.  "Just like rock 'em sock 'em robots!"
On the raised dais, their only spectator -- the giant blue alien known as Dr'ker'droha 781 -- waved its tentacles in appreciation.  "Multitudinous acclamations!" it exclaimed.  "Abounding supplications for extended belligerences!"
"Grandpa, I really must insist," said Spinner Lad.  "Fighting other Statue Mecha does not solve our central problem.  We need to know why we were brought here...."
"Godlike Alien," said Grandpa.  "They're always doing crap like this.  It's happened to me a dozen times, at least."
"But mecha that match famous giant statues from around the world exactly?  In a free-for-all battle royale?  it's ludicrous on the face of it," Spinner Lad said.  On the far side of the mile-wide stadium, China's Spring Temple Buddha was locked in mortal combat with Japan's Ushiku Daibutsu Buddha, while the Mongolian Ghengis Khan with Horse mecha circled them, having already dispatched Myanmar's Laykyn Stkyar Buddha.


 It was a weird idea, but that's kind of what my Grandpa Anarchy stories are designed for.  ^_^


Jeeves Gets A Rewrite



I've been listening to The Inimitable Jeeves on my iPod over the last few weeks, and also occasionally watching the 2nd season of the Jeeves and Wooster television show.  I came across one of those situations where a filmed version of a story sets out to make improvements on the story -- with mostly good results, I think.

The story is variously known as Aunt Agatha Takes the Count, or Aunt Agatha Makes a Bloomer, or Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind, or in the case of the television show, Pearls Mean Tears.  (The tv show combines one story with another, I believe -- but we can ignore that part).

In the original tale Aunt Agatha sends for Bertie Wooster to come down to where she is staying (France, I believe) in order to be introduced to a woman and her clergyman brother.  The aunt is convinced that Bertie and this woman should be married (a recurring theme with Aunt Agatha).  After several days or a week, the woman and her brother come to Bertie with a tale of the brother having gotten involved in gambling and accidentally gambled away his parishioner's money.  They want a loan, and as collateral they insist that Bertie take the woman's pearls and write out a receipt.

Jeeves informs Bertie after they've left that the two are con artists, and that they had switched the case with the pearls with an identical empty case when he wasn't looking, but Jeeves had lifted the second case when he helped them with their coats.  He also explains that the pearls had been stolen from Aunt Agatha, who is at that moment berating the hotel staff about the burglary and accusing a maid of the theft.

The story ends with Bertie returning the pearls and then really laying into his aunt.  It really feels to me that he goes over the top; he's very sanctimonious and self-important, and I expected that he'd overstepped his bounds and was due for a fall, but that's where the story ends, with him getting to tell off his aunt on the harshest of terms.

Although it's always the way with these stories that Jeeves knows all, this one in particular has the danger and the resolution to the  danger all delivered by Jeeves after the fact.  It's a kind of Jeeves ex Machina.  In several ways the story fails to fully deliver -- one, there is little tension involved since only Jeeves knows a crime is being committed until after he's foiled it; two, the criminals get away; and three, Bertie's berating of his Aunt comes off as harsher and more self-righteous than the situation truly deserves.  We only have Bertie's word that she's a terrible person who is hard on everyone -- we really haven't seen much of that first-hand.

In the television series they  try to fix these problems.  First, we get to see Bertie and Jeeves at the race track and see Jeeves witness the clergyman selling tips, so the audience knows early that something is amiss with the couple.  When they come to Bertie for the loan, Jeeves is seen observing them with suspicion, but he does nothing.  This allows them to return later for the pearls, and when Bertie can not find them, demand to be reimbursed, since they have the receipt.  (In the story Jeeves explains how they would have done this, had he not lifted it from them).  Jeeves has Bertie delay the couple with small talk as he writes out a check -- meanwhile, Jeeves sneaks down the hall to their room, recovers the pearls, and reappears just in time to insist that they take the apparently empty case with them.  They think this is odd but take it, whereupon the police appear and demand to see what's in the case.  They laugh, thinking it empty, but open it to reveal the stolen pearls.

Meanwhile, prior to this we've seen Aunt Agatha's discovery of the stolen pearls and there's been a scene where she is verbally berating the hotel staff, calling the police and berating them, demanding that the maid be arrested for theft, etc.  This means that when Bertie returns the pearls and lays into his aunt, it feels far more justified to the viewer.  His speech is also a bit shorter and not so over-the-top.

All in all I like the improvements.  It certainly adds to the tension for the viewer to know ahead of time that something is up, and allow the con to carry out almost to the end where they appear to have extorted Bertie for another 3,000 lbs for the loss of their stolen pearls.  It's also very satisfying to see them arrested, and the setup for the verbal lashing of Aunt Agatha works much better and the payoff feels much more justified.  But one wonders why Jeeves would allow the initial re-theft of the pearls from Bertie to happen when he clearly suspects it, and also having him sneak into someone else's room to steal something -- even if it's to steal it back -- feels off.  Not to mention, it's very convenient that he can find the pearls so quickly.

Overall I think the television version is an improvement, but has its own problems.

Anyway, last night I didn't get a lot of writing done, but what I did work on was The Statue Got Me High.  I don't have a resolution in mind for this story yet, but I have a setting and a conflict now so that gives me somewhere to start and somewhere to go with the idea.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today's Story...


Today's story is Your Stupid, Stupid Minds.

This is, of course, a riff on the ending portion of Plan Nine From Outer Space.  I created the file months ago, borrowing the title from one of my favorite sections of dialog from the movie:

Colonel Tom Edwards: ...Why, a particle of sunlight can't even be seen or measured.
Eros: Can you see or measure an atom? Yet you can explode one. A ray of sunlight is made up of many atoms!
Jeff Trent: So what if we do develop this Solanite bomb? We'd be even a stronger nation than now.
Eros: [with disgust] Stronger. You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!
Jeff Trent: That's all I'm taking from you!  [pistol-whips Eros upside the head]

My initial idea was "Grandpa Anarchy and Unpossible Man are kidnapped by aliens, who try to warn them about something, but they punch the aliens, damage the space ship, and it crashes.  They never learn what they were being warned about."

This idea sat in my files for a long while.  I'd thought about working on it this past week because it's the only story file I have that starts with "Y", and I'm kind of working on having a Grandpa Anarchy Story for every letter of the alphabet (I completed Zero Hour and Questionable Judgment yesterday, so I'm closer to my goal).  But I really didn't know what to do with the file until I read today about an old hoax:

"The Case of Summerfield" by W.H. Rhodes: On May 13th, 1871, a piece appeared in the Sacramento Daily Union titled "The Case of Summerfield." It began with this note:
We are indebted to a correspondent at San Francisco for the particulars of the most interesting case that has ever come within our observation as public journalists—that of Gregory Summerfield, or, as he was called at the time, 'The Man With a Secret.'
What followed was a bizarre tale, bolstered by a reference to a fake news article from the Auburn Messenger that claimed that a man named Leonidas Parker had murdered one Gregory Summerfield by pushing him in front of a train, only to have his case dismissed by a judge. Parker's documents, the report continued, explained why the judge had let him go free: Summerfield, the report claimed, had invented a substance that could burn water. He then blackmailed the leaders of San Francisco, threatening to set the Pacific Ocean aflame and thus destroy the world unless he received his financial demands.
The story was quickly picked up by other California papers, and readers wondered if such a substance really existed. But it wasn't long before journalists at the Sacramento Reporter had identified the author of the piece from his initials—W.H.R., better known as San Francisco lawyer William Henry Rhodes. Even after he was found out, Rhodes kept up the joke, issuing a statement to the Sacramento Union that he would offer proof of the case to any "honest inquirer."
Then, a few weeks later, the Sacramento Daily Union published "The Summerfield Case Again." This article claimed that one Bartholomew Graham, a bandit known as "Black Bart," was believed to have in his possession a vial of Summerfield's deadly substance. According to Sam Moskowitz's book, Science Fiction in Old San Francisco: History of the Movement from 1854 to 1890, many found the notion of Summerfield's substance too plausible to be pure fiction and it was cause for a great deal of nervousness. Rhodes would continue to publish works of science fiction like these under the pen name Caxton. "The Case of Summerfield" inspired a pseudonym of its own; the outlaw Charles Earl Bowles is said to have taken the name "Black Bart" from Rhodes' bit of fiction.

(This is all quoted directly from an io9 article found here.)

I like borrowing things for my stories from real-life conspiracies and the like, and this Summerfield Substance sounded an awful lot like a 19th Century version of the Solaranite Bomb.  Lest we forget, here's how Eros described the bomb:

Colonel Tom Edwards: You speak of Solaranite. But just what is it?
Eros: Take a can of your gasoline. Say this can of gasoline is the sun. Now, you spread a thin line of it to a ball, representing the earth. Now, the gasoline represents the sunlight, the sun particles. Here we saturate the ball with the gasoline, the sunlight. Then we put a flame to the ball. The flame will speedily travel around the earth, back along the line of gasoline to the can, or the sun itself. It will explode this source and spread to every place that gasoline, our sunlight, touches. Explode the sunlight here, gentlemen, you explode the universe. Explode the sunlight here and a chain reaction will occur direct to the sun itself and to all the planets that sunlight touches, to every planet in the universe. This is why you must be stopped. This is why any means must be used to stop you. In a friendly manner or as (it seems) you want it.

So that gave me something for the aliens to warn the heroes about.  But of course, by the time I'd written myself to the actual warning, I realized that I couldn't just have Grandpa and Unpossible Man beat up the aliens and destroy the ship.  That would be expected by anyone familiar with Plan Nine From Outer Space.  So I had to come up with a different way to end it.

I think I managed one that works.  Anyway, the story's done.  All that's left now is Unpossible and a story beginning with X and I'll have every letter of the alphabet covered.  I'm tempted to finish my mecha statue story idea and name it Xtreme Mecha or somesuch, but right now the title is The Statue Got Me High, and I rather like that one.  ^_^

Also, I have just realized that one of the stories I wrote in July hasn't been on my list.  So in reality I'm at 2 or 3 weeks ahead of my schedule now:


May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken

June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life

July 2013

Aug 6:  Endangered Species
Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters
Aug 12:  Self-Made Man

Aug 2013

Aug 13:  Hackernaut
Aug 15:  Gutbucket Magic
Aug 17:  Questionable Judgment
Aug 17:  Zero Hour

Sept 2013

Aug 18:  Your Stupid, Stupid Minds


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Zero Hour


For what it's worth, I managed to finish two stories today.  Once again I'm not entirely certain how well they work, but anyway, there you go.

I was working on Zero Hour Thursday night and Friday, and had planned to finish it today, but I was diverted by some dialog ideas that I thought might work for my Questionable Judgment story idea.  I managed to spin that into a complete story, then turned back to Zero Hour, which had a beginning that I liked, but I wasn't exactly sure where I was going or how to end it:

The ground shook.  Trees snapped like matchsticks.  Over the ground, lumbering slowly as only a 3,000 ton behemoth could, a massive machine crushed everything in its path.
It was black and made of thick plate steel.  It rolled on eight rows of steel tread.  It was more than 10 meters wide and 20 meters in height.   Guns bristled from the upper decks.  It wasn't so much a tank as a land-based battleship.
On the top deck rode a dozen storm troopers in modern versions of Nazi uniforms.  At the helm, face into the wind like an explorer of a bygone era, rode the young hereditary successor to Doctor Zero Hour, the greatest villain of the Third Reich.
The platform rocked and bucked beneath his feet.  He breathed deeply, savoring the scent of morning dew, crushed grass, and upturned earth.  "Such a lovely day for a drive, isn't it, Hans?" Doctor Zero Hour the Fourth asked.
"Yes, Sir!"  the soldier behind the wheel barked.
"A lovely day indeed.  A perfect day for a rampage." he said. "It's Zero Hour, Hans.  We will grind New York City it beneath our treads."
"A perfect plan Sir," said Hans, "with one fatal flaw.  New York City is to our left, and we can not steer."
Doctor Zero Hour the Fourth frowned.  "Well then, let's make for Washington D.C.," he said.  "The lawmakers of the land shall feel the wrath of the great-grandson of the Third Reich!"
"Very good plan, Sir," said Hans, "with one fatal flaw....."
The villain's frown deepened.  "Tell me, Hans.  What can we crush?"
The stormtrooper consulted his charts.  "Well, Sir, given our current trajectory, I can confidently say that we can crush Gilbertsville, PA," he said.  "Or at least wing it.  And after that, with luck, the Limerick Golf Course."
"Then onward to Gilbertsville!" exclaimed the villain.  "They shall feel the fury of my Mobile Terror Fortress!"
The machine rumbled and rolled through fields, belching smoke.  A voice called out, "Pull over in the name of the law!"
The villain glanced to his right.  A 1958 AMC Ambassador station wagon bounced alarmingly over the grass, shedding rust in great clouds.  An old man in a rumpled gray suit and fedora leaned out of the window.  "Doctor Zero Hour the Fourth!  I'm here to stop you!"

I liked the whole idea of a massive war machine, and as it turns out both the largest moving vehicle ever (the V Cat D8R rotating shovel mining machine) and the largest mobile artillery ever (the Schwerer Gustav) were both built by German company Krupp.  So I had to do it.

Where to go from there was the problem.  I also didn't have a sidekick in mind.  Combining both problems, I decided to introduce a sidekick with a name suggested by friends over a month ago:  Mechanical Advantage.  Obviously, this suggests a robot or possibly giant robot, or at least a person that uses a great many mechanical devices and machines.  But given the massive land fortress I'd created for the villain, I settled on giant robot.  ^_^

As I said, I'm not sure if the ending works or not.  But it is an ending, at least.

With this, I can finally say I'm back on schedule for my goal of one Grandpa Anarchy story a week for the year.  I've actually written thirteen stories in August.  Now it's time to get back to editing my potential book... except I got this idea for a story today involving Pacific Rim-style giant robot battles between giant statues from around the world, or perhaps giant statues versus kaiju.  I don't know why, but the idea appeals to me.


May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken

June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life

July 2013

Aug 6:  Endangered Species
Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters
Aug 12:  Self-Made Man

Aug 2013

Aug 13:  Hackernaut
Aug 15:  Gutbucket Magic
Aug 17:  Questionable Judgment
Aug 17:  Zero Hour

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gutbucket Blues


Today I finished Gutbucket Magic.  And then I rewrote it.  And then I rewrote it again.

I'm still not happy with the story -- it has no snap.  I like the general idea for the ending but I can't figure out how to get there quickly and in a manner that is more surprising.

My general idea is that Grandpa and his sidekick are fighting a thing that is insubstantial, and that radiates sorrow and pain.  You can't punch it.  The sidekick is some sort of blues-inspired magical girl, and wants Grandpa to "sing the blues" because that's naturally how you deal with being depressed.  But Grandpa doesn't wanna -- it's not his style.

So I had an old friend of Grandpa's from World War II appear in a summoning, and they talked, and hugged, and Grandpa explained how they knew each other and realized why the guy was there (because he used to play harmonica during the war, and Grandpa would sing along).  But that wasn't satisfying, it took too long and there were questions like wouldn't this guy pulled straight from a WWII battlefield (apparently) be confused about why Grandpa was so old and where he was?

So I went back and rewrote the beginning to make the danger more obvious, and rewrote the summoning in a more interesting manner, and shortened the appearance of the friend so it didn't drag out.  But that didn't seem to work either.

So I decided to have a mystical blues guitar appear first to explain why this friend was being summoned (without stating it explicitly) so that the guy could just show up and it would be more of a surprise when Grandpa recognized him, and I wouldn't give myself time to explain any of the other stuff or worry about if the guy was confused or anything.

But meh, still doesn't really work.  I think the whole guitar thing is kind of a weird distraction that doesn't need to be there.  I can just have the knowledge transferred magically into the magical girl sidekick's head, and she can explain what needs to be explained before the guy shows up.  Maybe.

Ah well.  I may just have to leave it alone for now and worry about fixing it some other day.

Hopefully I can complete a second story tonight.

In any case, here's my current progress on this writing goal (looking pretty good overall!):

Goal 1 - Write a Grandpa Anarchy Story a Week:

January 2013

Jan 19:  DarkFireDragonNinja  (begun several years ago)
Jan 24:  OmniGen Again  (begun Jan 23)
Jan 25:  Veteran of the Bone Wars  (begun Dec 30)
Jan 29:  Nemesis  (begun Dec 10)

February 2013

Jan 31:  Turncoats (begun Dec 8)
Feb 3:  There Ain't No Justice  (begun Nov 29)
Feb 5:  City of the Monkey God  (begun Nov 26)
Feb 7:  Future Me  (begun Jan 31)

March 2013

Feb 10:  Roll of the Die  (begun Feb 10)
Feb 11:  Trouble Focusing  (begun, Nov 21, in theory)
Feb 19:  Dead Again  (begun Feb 18)
Apr 24:  Most Dangerous  (begun Feb 09)

April 2013

Apr 27:  The Thing in the Suitcase  (begun Feb 16)
June 24:  An Inconvenient Airship
June 25:  Continuity Error
June 27:  The Devil in the Details

May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken


June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life

July 2013

Aug 6:  Endangered Species
Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters
Aug 12:  Self-Made Man

Aug 2013

Aug 13:  Hackernaut
Aug 15:  Gutbucket Magic

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hackernaut, And Five More Letters


Last night I managed to knock out another new story, Hackernaut.  I think it works, but it may not be one of my best.  But I've had the idea for the story for a while, so I was happy to be able to shape it into something, at least.

This puts me at 28 stories on the year, I think -- 4 a month through July.  It's 2 weeks into August so I'm still technically about 2 stories behind, 3 by the end of this week, so I should try to write  three more by Saturday at least.  I also need to start editing my stories for the book in earnest, but things are looking pretty good overall.

I've been working from my list of story ideas and slowly using them up, and I haven't really added a lot of new story ideas in a while.  This morning, I realized that Hackernaut was my first completed Grandpa Anarchy story with a title beginning with the letter H.  That left five letters which I haven't used:  Q, U, X, Y, and Z.

I have an unfinished story idea titled Your Stupid, Stupid Minds.  I decided to create four more story ideas for the other four letters.  I came up with Zero Hour (the return of Doctor Zero Hour, or the appearance of Doctor Zero Hour the Fourth actually -- he's a recurring Nazi villain that Grandpa keeps killing).  For U I created a file called Unpossible, which would likely be an exploration of Unpossible Man.  I don't really know his back story or who his major nemesis is -- he's kind of an oversized, amiable Superman type, very strong and virtually invulnerable.  I'm sure I can explore his story a bit.

I didn't have any particular ideas for X or Q.  A quick search through my Anarchy World Background file revealed a villain that I'd mentioned before but had never actually appeared in any story -- the Quantum Questioner.  I created a file called Questionable Judgment as a story involving him.

I was stuck on something beginning with the letter X, though.  Not that there aren't a lot of uses of the letter -- X-Men, X-Force, Planet X, Doctor X.  X-Games, Xtreme Sports.  X is one of those "cool" letters.  I just couldn't come up with a title and/or idea for a Grandpa Anarchy story that appealed to me.  The best I could imagine was a villain named X-Patriot, but I also considered a story involving an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend villain.  Ultimately I saved a file with various ideas under the title of "X", to be explored more fully at a later date.

Edit:  by late evening I'd written about 85% of Gutbucket Magic.  I have a general idea of how it ends, but I may not know exactly how to bring it about just yet.  I should be able to finish it tomorrow though, but it's getting late so I have to stop here.

I created a couple more files, Murder Is Painless based around the idea that killing a sentient vampire should theoretically be comparable to killing a normal human, or at least somewhat more of a moral quandry than simply killing a mindless beast, and Death of a Mook, which would be an examination of the real impact of the death of a lowly minion on his friends and family.

By morning I'd created yet another story idea file:  The Eagle Has Landed, based on the idea  that Grandpa slept with a Soviet superhero agent during the last days of the Third Reich, and now his Russian great-granddaughter has come to visit....

All of these files are no more than a title and a short idea or a few sentences... but this is how many of my stories began.  It gives me a place to start and usually a direction to head in.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Self-Made Man


I'm not really convinced that it works or is one of my better stories, but for what it's worth I finished a new Grandpa Anarchy story today, Self-Made Man.  This one sprung from an idea I got while listening to Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum.  Specifically this passage:

The castle gates swung open, and Count Magpyr stepped out, flanked by his soldiers.
This was not according to the proper narrative tradition.  Although the people of Lancre were technically new to all this, down at a genetic level they knew that when the mob is at the gate the mobee should be screaming defiance in a burning laboratory or engaged in a cliffhanger struggle with some hero on the battlements.

It occurred to me that I needed at least one Grandpa Anarchy story that began with such a struggle with a villain -- a vampire or mad scientist -- while the lab burns.

On Saturday I managed to sketch in a rough beginning for such a story, with a goofy sidekick courtesy of an idea from David, and with a possible twist based on a comment from Mike.  But I really didn't have a solid narrative for the story until I began to reflect on the nature of the relationship between the villain and his creation.

Anyway, it's probably not a great story and may need some reworking, but for now, I have a new story for the first time in four days.  I'd really written nothing much all weekend -- not Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

This puts me at three stories out of four for July.  We're two weeks into August now, so technically I'm three stories behind my overall goal.  I need at least two more stories this week to catch up.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Pretty Good Week


I finished Anarchy Is Forever Wednesday night, and Brothers and Sisters Thursday night.  I didn't manage anything on Friday, but that still adds up to 8 stories for the week, plus one major rewrite.

I don't know if I'll get anything written today, we're having a Tai-Pan barbeque.  But we may hold an impromptu writer's night so I might get to read something.


Goal 1 - Write a Grandpa Anarchy Story a Week:

January 2013

Jan 19:  DarkFireDragonNinja  (begun several years ago)
Jan 24:  OmniGen Again  (begun Jan 23)
Jan 25:  Veteran of the Bone Wars  (begun Dec 30)
Jan 29:  Nemesis  (begun Dec 10)

February 2013

Jan 31:  Turncoats (begun Dec 8)
Feb 3:  There Ain't No Justice  (begun Nov 29)
Feb 5:  City of the Monkey God  (begun Nov 26)
Feb 7:  Future Me  (begun Jan 31)

March 2013

Feb 10:  Roll of the Die  (begun Feb 10)
Feb 11:  Trouble Focusing  (begun, Nov 21, in theory)
Feb 19:  Dead Again  (begun Feb 18)
Apr 24:  Most Dangerous  (begun Feb 09)

April 2013

Apr 27:  The Thing in the Suitcase  (begun Feb 16)
June 24:  An Inconvenient Airship
June 25:  Continuity Error
June 27:  The Devil in the Details

May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
Aug 3:  Space Kraken
Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!

June 2013

Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot
Aug 5:  The Time of Your Life
Aug 6:  Endangered Species

July 2013

Aug 7:  Anarchy Is Forever
Aug 8:  Brothers and Sisters

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sometimes It Doesn't Come Together

(And sometimes it does!)

I think today I'll fail to finish a Grandpa Anarchy story for the first time in five days.

I got a lot written on Anarchy Is Forever, but at the moment I don't have a plot or a destination, so it just kind of meanders.  I like the general setup but I have to figure out what can happen that's funny or surprising.  The setting is the opening of a new Grandpa Anarchy blockbuster movie, so I have a lot of former sidekicks and other heroes showing up and some villains even (ones not on the FBI's Most Wanted anyway).  There's some nice jokes and references to the movie and comic book backstory... but no punchline, nothing it's leading up to right now.  So it's kind of pointless right now.  But eh.

I was thinking a villain shows up and fights Grandpa Anarchy.  Only then it turns out to be a promotional stunt.  Maybe his current sidekick is a doppleganger of some kind.  Or maybe it was supposed to be a stunt but the villain is really serious.  Or maybe a villain really shows up to attack Grandpa in full view of the cameras, but is flattened almost immediately thanks to the presence of over 100 former sidekicks and a good two dozen other heroes.   Or....

I don't know.  None of my ideas so far really sound workable, and they don't provide a compelling reason to read everything that comes before that, because none of it is being set up.  I have to think on it some more and see if my subconscious can produce something for me.

Edit:  Did some exercise, came back, and a pretty good ending popped into my head... along with a way to insert foreshadowing from the beginning to give the story a sense of direction.  I finished it, and I think it actually works pretty well all of a sudden.  ^_^


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Time Travel Ahoy!



I kind of referenced this indirectly in my writing goals update for July post, but I completed two stories on Sunday:  Take Me Back to Constantinople and The Chef That Time Forgot.  These two are semi-related stories given that they both involve the time-travel sidekick Wayback Boy.

I had a third time travel story planned, more directly related to The Chef That Time Forgot since it not only involved Wayback Boy but also Marianna Kidd, the time chef from that story... but along the way I came up with another idea and combined two story fragments into a story called The Time of Your Life last night.  Today I reworked that one a little bit to hopefully make it stronger, then I set to work on Endangered Species.  As is often the case, I had scene in mind for this story but no idea what the ending would be... but when the time came, I managed to produce what I think is a pretty good ending indeed.

This gives me a Time Travel Tetralogy of sorts.  The first story introduces Wayback Boy; the second introduces Marianna Kidd, the time chef, the third introduces Time's Swift Arrow, a sort of self-appointed time cop, and the last story has both Marianna and Time's Swift Arrow involved.  Wayback Boy is in all four of them, of course.

My plan for the evening was to finish off Endangered Species and immediately set to work on Anarchy Is Forever.  This was a story idea/fragment involving Grandpa Anarchy attending the opening of the latest Hollywood blockbuster movie based on his own life.  I didn't have much of an idea where to go beyond that, but a day or two ago I had an idea for some dialog involving the Grandpa Anarchy comic books, and the back story that I came up for all of that while I was working on the stories involving Kid Continuity.  Only... I'm not sure where that backstory information is at the moment.  I had written it at the bottom of one of those stories, but I would have removed it once the story was finished... and saved it somewhere else, if I'm not a complete idiot.  The most obvious thing would be to toss it into my Anarchy World Background file, but I can't seem to find it at the moment....

(Edit:  Ah, found it.  I'd forgotten that Dark Anarchy was also a Kid Continuity story!)

But the good news is that I'm now four stories behind my goal to write 4 Grandpa Anarchy stories a month for this year.  One month behind, that's it!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Alien Space Bats



Tonight I combined two of my fragmentary story ideas, Alien Space Bats and The Time of Your Life and wrote them into a single story under the title The Time of Your Life.  So for better or worse, I managed another story today.

I say better or worse, because I'm not sure how good these last few stories have been.  But eh, I can go back and fix them later, I guess.

I still need to write Endangered Species, but this one seemed to flow nicely from the last story, so I did it first.




Sunday, August 4, 2013

Writing Goals -- July Update

Having finished several stories over the weekend (three on Saturday, although one counts as a rewrite, and two on Sunday), I figured now would be a good time to do my July update.

2013 Goals:

Goal 1 - Write a Grandpa Anarchy Story a Week:

January 2013

Jan 19:  DarkFireDragonNinja  (begun several years ago)
Jan 24:  OmniGen Again  (begun Jan 23)
Jan 25:  Veteran of the Bone Wars  (begun Dec 30)
Jan 29:  Nemesis  (begun Dec 10)

February 2013

Jan 31:  Turncoats (begun Dec 8)
Feb 3:  There Ain't No Justice  (begun Nov 29)
Feb 5:  City of the Monkey God  (begun Nov 26)
Feb 7:  Future Me  (begun Jan 31)

March 2013

Feb 10:  Roll of the Die  (begun Feb 10)
Feb 11:  Trouble Focusing  (begun, Nov 21, in theory)
Feb 19:  Dead Again  (begun Feb 18)
Apr 24:  Most Dangerous  (begun Feb 09)

April 2013

Apr 27:  The Thing in the Suitcase  (begun Feb 16)
June 24:  An Inconvenient Airship
June 25:  Continuity Error
June 27:  The Devil in the Details

May 2013

June 30:  Dark Anarchy
July 1:  Ruse
July 1:  The R Word
Aug 3:  Space Kraken


June 2013

Aug 3:  Triple Aaar!
Aug 4:  Take Me Back to Constantinople
Aug 4:  The Chef that Time Forgot

I am once again 6 stories behind my goal, which is where I was a month ago.

Goal 2 - Write a Tai-Pan Story a Month:

Feb 16  The Pilgrimage of Ian St. Ritz  (January Tai-Pan story, 10,000 words)
Feb 23:  Space Miner Blues
Feb 23:  Banker Blues
Mar 07:  Hair of the Throug that Bit Me
Mar 17:  Cursed Be Ye Who Moves These Bones

Nothing new to report.  I'm now two months behind my goal.


Goals 3 & 4

I did not draw anything or work on non-Tai-Pan non-Grandpa Anarchy stories.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Some Things You Should Not Google


Today I'm working on the rewrite of There Be Whales.  It's turning into a very different story, and sadly, one where I can't really seem to fit in the background details of how Nikko the winged monkey met Grandpa, or the whole joke about how their relationship works.  I'm uncertain if I can create a different story to place that stuff in, or whether it doesn't really matter that much.

But while working on the story (which involves Intergalactic Space Babes Jennie Nova and her friend Llahna), I decided to look up Princess Leia and see how her metal slave bikini was actually described.  I Googled "Princess Leia Slave", and I got links to a site called Leia's Metal Bikini.  It's a tame site I suppose -- includes many pictures of Leia in the bikini, and many, many, many pictures of fans cosplaying as slave Leia.  There are also instructions on how to make or buy your own slave metal bikini, and there's links to the "Slave Bikini Builder's Club -- the Definitive Star Wars Slave Girl Costuming Club, where every slave is a princess".

Yeah.  I shouldn't be surprised.  I also saw a link to the slaveleia wiki, which sounds like a much less innocent web site (there's a warning about graphic images before you proceed -- at that point I turned back, heh).

Anyway, my rewrite of There Be Whales is done.  In some ways it's a much less satisfying story for me because of what I've been forced to remove, but I think it is actually a solid, funny story now, which it wasn't before.  I have two new files to work on, Triple Aaar!, which is the portion of the original story that deals with space pirates, and a new file called Space Kraken in which I dumped all the parts about Nikko's back story and his arrangement with Grandpa.  But I'm not sure any of that constitutes a real story, or whether I want to write a story about a space kraken.

Actually the original funny ending for There Be Whales was that Nikko would not do anything Grandpa told him unless he wore the yellow hat/cap and said the magic words.  That can still be a funny story ending, but it really needs to be an ending to a story about their agreement.  For example, if I begin the story with their meeting and the making of the agreement, then I can jump straight to the dangerous encounter (with a space kraken, perhaps) where Grandpa has to use the magic words and hat to get the monkey to run.

Edit:  Aaaaaand... Space Kraken and Triple Aaar! are both completed.  I wrote three stories today, two of them brand new.  ^_^  Technically speaking Triple Aaar! is really the one that is a rewrite of There Be Whales, since it contains a good chunk of the original story.  But whatever!



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Amethyst Road


Today's project turned out to be the three-part fantasy world trilogy called Amethyst Road.  Specifically, I've recently retitled them:  Amethyst Road:  Shadows, Amethyst Road:  Princess Kiss, and Amethyst Road:  Who Do Vodoo, just to make it more obvious that they form a sort of trilogy or tell one overall story.

I decided to reread and edit these three stories because I'm working through a rewrite of There Be Whales (and a possible companion story Triple Aaar!), and the first story in particular features a winged monkey scientist called Scientifically Curious Nikko.  As mentioned yesterday, Nikko is one part sci fi horror movie scientist, one part winged monkey a la Wizard of Oz, and one part Curious George.  He's Grandpa's sidekick, and he's controlled by a yellow cap (controlled by the man with the yellow cap, in other words).  I hadn't really explained where Nikko came from or how he'd become Grandpa's sidekick, but the Amethyst Road stories form an adventure in an Oz-like land, so it's very likely he met Grandpa during those adventures, even if I doesn't specifically appear in those stories.  I was working out the back story for Nikko when I decided it was time to re-read the three Amethyst Road stories.

The real problem story of the trilogy was the first.  It didn't end well.  I thought I could get away with that since it was the opening salvo to a trilogy, but it was really an unsatisfactory ending in several respects.  The opening story has our heroes already in the magical fairy land, travelling the Amethyst Road to the Amethyst City to plead their case with the Necromancer King.  I introduce a large cast of characters, establish that the are travelling through a dangerous woods filled with nightmare shadow creatures, and then they're attacked by such creatures and cannot fight them, since they're fighting shadows.  The story originally ended with them all being smothered in shadows, Grandpa going down as he shouted his defiance.

Which would be okay as a cliffhanger ending in a multi-chapter story, maybe, but worked less well as a near stand-alone Grandpa Anarchy story.  And by worked less well, I mean didn't work at all.

Story two opened with them having already having been rescued from the shadows by a woodsman character with a magic axe.  That was a very unsatisfying way to resolve the problem, too, so I had at least two problems -- a weird, downbeat ending without any kind of punch or resolution (or point, really) and a rescue by a brand new character that happens almost entirely off-screen.

It occurred to me today to rewrite the ending of Amethyst Road:  Shadows in such a way that the shadows suddenly find common ground with Grandpa Anarchy and friends.  ("What?  You're Grandpa Anarchy?  I've read all your comic books!")  This seemed like a more satisfying ending, a sudden twist that was more humorous, but then I'd have to significantly rewrite the opening to the second story, as Wrandall the Woodcutter isn't just their off-screen savior, but also a new travelling companion and integral part of the second story.  If he didn't need to show up to save them, what then?

But the answer was obvious once I considered it.  First they're nearly swallowed up by the shadows, then one of them recognizes Grandpa and they make friends, and then the woodcutter shows up with his magic axe to "save" them from the shadows, by killing their new friends.

Ah!  Now that is a sufficiently twisted and satisfying ending in the Grandpa Anarchy tradition!  And it allowed some of the "rescue" to happen on-screen, so that solved my other problem.

Suddenly Amethyst Road:  Shadows seemed to work rather well.  I went on to read Amethyst Road:  Princess Kiss, and I concluded that this story actually works much better than I remembered.  It's much longer than the usual Grandpa Anarchy story, but it contains a fully fleshed-out plot in the form of a three-part quest that the heroes go on to undo the curse on the forest that they're in.  In that sense, it doesn't feel aimless or too long -- it's just long enough to tell the story, I think.  And it ends with a little twist of its own, so I'm pretty satisfied with the second part of my trilogy all around.

The third part works nominally well too, I think.  It's not the strongest story I've written, but I think it works well enough.  I am now convinced that all three stories are publishable as they are, so I've moved them fully back into my list of stories to go into the first book.

The real question is whether I can rewrite There Be Whales well enough to satisfy myself that it can be published -- not to mention writing the companion story Triple Aaar!  Those two stories are the more likely to be pulled at this point..