I've been in a real writing funk lately, getting little accomplished over the last 7 to 10 days. So I came up with a new project today. I have a very large file of Grandpa Anarchy "story ideas" which range from partially-written stories that I am currently working on to simple ideas and mere story titles that I've jotted down and placed in this folder. Most of them sit there untouched month after month, and I forget what they were even about. So today I made it my goal to pull up each of my "unfinished" Grandpa Anarchy story ideas and add something to the file -- to "work on" each one, if only adding a single line.
I'm not sure what the point is -- I'm not exactly getting any "real" writing done here. But it's an interesting exercise, and justifies my having all of these files. It makes me think, makes me work my imagination a bit. And it familiarizes me with the story files I have again, and maybe gives me some ideas of which ones are worth working on at the moment.
Here's what I have so far:
story #59, Stronger
I know what this story is about already, I have a bit written, and I have it scheduled for my second book because I think it's one of the "important" stories that reveals more of Grandpa Anarchy's past (which is why it's numbered). Grandpa and a sidekick go back into the past to the point where the Gentleman Brawler died. Grandpa has a chance to save the Brawler, or get revenge -- or is all of this in his mind and they're not in the past at all?
What I did was add some bits of description for the scene in Butte MT in 1920. One of the parts I hadn't figured out was what sent them back -- I imagined a riff off of the portal guardian thing in City On The Edge Of Forever (Star Trek episode). But after considering it I decided a god or alien guarding a portal would be more fun -- someone who spoke casually and used goofy aphorisms and cultural references, like quoting from the song The Time Warp, and even knowingly paraphrasing from the Star Trek show. Some instant goofy dialogue came to me and I wrote half a scene. I think with a little work I could finish this story now.
A Clown In A Clown Store
This is a funny line from a customer at work several years ago. "Do I look like a clown in a clown store?" I didn't have anything on this yet, other than it involved a fight with a clown. Grandpa's arch nemesis was Carnival Act, a sort-of Joker villain, but he's dead. But an alternate female version of him exists in another universe and I had plans to bring her to this universe to replace the original. This could be that story -- so I added some dialog to that effect. Now I have something to work with.
Probably involves Carnival Act.
"Remember me, Grandpa? I'm the Carnival Act from the World of Hero. I'm the only Carnival Act there is, now!"
"Did you ever feel like a clown in a clown store?"
"What does that even mean?"
"Oh, nothing much. Pick a clown, what's your poison? Round and round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows! Except me of course!"
"Why thank you very much, I do try!"
"It wasn't a compliment."
As you can see, this isn't even sustained dialog, just some random lines to give me something to consider. That's what I'm doing with most of these files.
Based on a line I heard from someone somewhere that the phrase "A chance worth taking" only makes sense if it succeeds. If you failed, then maybe it wasn't worth the chance you took. Grandpa has a different view of things -- if you don't take a chance, then you've already failed. Of course, as the hero Grandpa usually succeeds at whatever chances he takes. I added some dialog along these lines, and the seed of an idea for an ending, maybe after taking several chances with various versions of the aphorism "you can't succeed if you don't try." Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Etc.
I don't know why, these two words combined in my head and were strange or funny enough to make a story file with that title. For this one I have no idea where I'm going, so I copied stuff from the internet into the file to think about -- the wiki entry for bologna, the urban dictionary definition of balony, the lyrics to "Baloney Again" by Mark Knopfler (which came up on a search for "baloney chord" -- ie tabs and chords for the song with that word in the title).
Banana Also Rises
I have my doubts that this story even needs to exist. I wanted to write a story about the Second Banana Society responding to aid a sidekick, which is their main mission after all. I wrote some stuff about a sidekick calling them, he's in the Andes facing a giant stone Inca god or something and Grandpa's dead and he doesn't know what to do. Some of the Second Banana members show up, maybe they assemble a giant money mecha with banana attacks, I don't know. I just jotted down some possible ideas of where to go with this.
Beneath The Skin
Basic idea: a villain unleashes the monster within Grandpa. Suddenly Grandpa needs to be stopped by his friends! The joke, of course, is that nearly all of them are really looking forward to it.
I added a few lines of dialog, nothing much.
This is a story about an explosivekinetic -- a guy that summons bombs with his brain. His name is Brainbomb. Silly premise. I added some possible dialog.
Based off the currently popular idea of a villain who allows himself to get captured so that he can manipulate the heroes and destroy them from within (seen in Avengers and several other recent movies). Wrote a little bit, still not sure exactly where I'm going with this but got some ideas.
Dark Lord Of Midnight
This was a very old file with some dialog about a super-powerful evil villain that Grandpa remembers as an annoying neighborhood kid. Not sure where I'm going with this but I added some more dialog.
Death Of A Mook
The idea here is to tell a story about the negative impact that comes from killing some random villain's henchman. But I added dialog that made it sound like the mooks son has returned for revenge. Not sure exactly where to take this idea but it still intrigues me.
Dues Ex Machina
This was an empty file, and either I misspelled the word Deus or I had some clever idea that I don't remember. I decided to leave it as dues and jotted some ideas about union dues from nothing, and unionized sidekicks or a union of mechanized sidekicks.
Enter The Fury Fists Of Death
This is just a reminder that I need to do a Bruce Lee riff at some point. I really need to do some research first, watch one of his movies for inspiration or something, so that's all I basically did was write that I needed to do that in the file.
All I had in this file was the line "Does the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier ever NOT fall and crash?" That's the joke, basically, but I'm not sure if I have a Grandpa Anarchy universe equivalent to S.H.I.E.L.D. or their helicarrier. I've written one story with such a giant ship (it crashed), but it was a heli platform of the villain Baron Climate Change. But maybe he has a lot of them, who knows. Another idea is that the Archons of Excellence have such a helicarrier, or maybe I need to invent a new government organization that has one.
I added some stupid dialog.
Another story title. I added some suggested directions -- rescuing a princess in a castle in an abandoned part of New York's subway system. Throw in a giant crocodile, whatever else you might expect to find in the sewers beneath New York. Let your mind wander.
Fear Of A Clown Planet
This suggests a world war z-style "clown apocalypse" event. I can envision a story that happens right in the middle of the event, with no real explanation for how we got there or how things are eventually resolved.
The conceit here is that if you call your wife or girlfriend that means you're about to crash and die. (As Iron Man attempted to do in the Avengers movie). Grandpa refuses to call anyone -- he doesn't have anyone to call per se anyway, but he knows it's the kiss of death.
What's sad about this is that it's essentially the same plot as "captured". I don't know if I need both, but this one has different stuff written in it. It's focused a bit more on the idea of the glass cage -- similar to the one Magneto was held in -- but in Grandpa's universe it's there to be shattered when the villain escapes, and nothing more.
Death takes a holiday. That's the joke -- death always takes a holiday. Grandpa takes his place for a night, or something. I added a bit of dialog.
Grandpa Anarchy And The Fiendishly Foul Fetid Frog
Here's an example of a story file that is only a title and nothing more -- and not even a title that suggests anything to me anymore. It's an old file. I'd written "No idea yet, just a title" and that was it. So I pulled it up and wrote a few bits of dialog:
"Giant frog demon in the middle of downtown Scranton. Tell me where I've heard that story before?"
"You've had this happen before?"
"Well, no. Not a giant frog per se. But giant things, yeah. Lots of them."
"It ain't easy being queasy."
"Is that a Kermit reference?"
"Don't know what would give you that idea. Come on, let's kill this thing."
So now I have the suggestion that this is a fight with a giant monster frog in the middle of Scranton NJ. I still don't really know where to go with it or what the punchline might be, but at least it suggests something now.
Grandpa Anarchy The Musical
Other than the idea that Grandpa doesn't want to sing or be in a musical, I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Maybe villains and sidekicks who deliver all of their lines in song?
Hundred Perfumes of the Wind
This is an interesting line from a poem, and it puts me in mind of a villain who spouts poetry. I imagine this is a high-minded, high-class villain, maybe Asian, Chinese even -- someone who appreciates art and beauty, and who thinks all else in life is meaningless and sees greed as an end goal in itself. Anyway, I wrote all of that down as I had no ideas for this story besides the title previously.
I added a couple of lines of dialog to this, but the basic idea is already there -- Grandpa's sidekick is Illegal Immigrant Boy, and they're supposed to be protecting congress from a terrorist. It kind of writes itself from there, I think (or I hope so).
This appears to be a very old story file that is an older version of the story I tried to tell in World of Hero (saving a virtual world from destruction). I'm not sure I need this one, but I added some lines to it.
This comes from a confluence of things in my head, including the pirate villain mom in Laputa Castle In The Sky, the mother of the two thugs in The Hogfather and a Radiolab story that included the line "Grandma means chaos". Grandma Chaos is a criminal and the mother of a clan of criminals. A note in the story suggests that one of Ma Chaos's daughters is the child of Grandpa Anarchy, which would make her his third child if I go ahead with that idea (which I probably will if I ever finish this story). Wrote a couple of lines.
That's everything A through L. That's all I managed today. Back at it tomorrow! I have a lot of titles left to work on.