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

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