Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Writing Goals -- End Of March Update

Tomorrow is the first day of April, and the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo.  My goals for April are to start a new Grandpa Anarchy story each day, to finish as many of them as possible, and to write 50,000 words total.

With that said, the year is already 1/4 gone so it's about time I went over my New Year's goals, which I've sadly been ignoring:

1.  Write a Grandpa Anarchy Story a week.

This is looking a little better after this past weekend in which I finished two stories.  Hopefully I finish another today and can update this.  In any case:


Feb 07:  Revealing
March 29:  About A Hell Boy
March 30:  If Books Could Kill
March 31:  Out Of Cheese Error

2.  Write a Tai-Pan story every 2 months (6 in the year).

No progress.

3.  Finish the third "magical girl" arc for Girl's School, and try to wrap things up.

No progress.

4.  Write 4 short stories set in my Otherworld Blues universe.

No progress.

5.  Draw a picture each month.

No progress.

5.  Publish Book One of my Grandpa Anarchy stories, edit 2nd book, assemble stories for 3rd book.

No progress.

6.  One-off story/pamphlet thing for Emerald City Comicon/Some other con.

The con was this past weekend so... yeah.

List of stories I intend to work on:

Grandpa Anarchy Stories

Return to Amethyst Part 3 (needs title):  No progress.
World of Hero:  No progress.
Stronger:  No progress.
Second Class (working title):  I did a lot of work on this in eary January, nothing since.
Unpossible:  No progress.
Performance Review:  No progress.
The Eagle Has Landed:  No progress.

Fan Fiction

Girl's School, Third Magical Girl Arc (Kahotep Adventure):  No progress.
I Can See Clearly Now:  No progress.
A Goddess In Oz:  No progress.

Other Original Fiction

Otherworld Blues Stories:  No progress.
Jubel In Oz:  No progress.

Tai-Pan Stories

Bitch, Chance Encounter, Blanking the Lady (variations), Zesh and the Bitted Throug:  No progress.

To sum up:  before this weekend I'd written one short story, and did some work on a longer story (Second Class), and that was everything I managed to do in the first three months of the year (though I did do a lot of prep work on all of my story ideas -- which will hopefully help with my April Camp NaNo goals).  But this weekend I finished two more stories, and hope to have a third done today, so things are looking up.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo

For April I've decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, in an attempt to jump-start my writing again for 2014.  My goal is the same as I had for NaNoWriMo in November 2012 -- start a new Grandpa Anarchy story each day, try to write 50,000 words total and finish as many of these stories as I can.

I of course have a huge file of "story ideas" which I won't be too proud to use, so in most cases I will be grabbing a file with a tile and brief idea for a story and trying to flesh it out into an actual story.  Still, I'm sure once I get started I'll have some new ideas to add to the pile.

In the lead up to this I've been trying to finish some of the stories I've recently started, but so far I have only mostly written one of them, About A Hell Boy.  Still working on it, but here's a chunk of the beginning:

About a Hell Boy
Mark Allen Davis

It was Midnight, and Grandpa Anarchy was tied to a stake.  Beneath the stars on a bare hilltop, he and his sidekick Luftballoon Lad were positioned at the center of a magical circle.  Chalk runes glittered on stone in the flickering torchlight.  In the shadows beyond, soldiers with automatic rifles waited.
One light burned brighter than the rest -- the flaming skull of Death Medal, demonic villain.  His black military uniform owed much to the legacy of the Schutzstaffel, the paramilitary organization of Nazi Germany.  Silver skulls and crossbones glittered, but it was the medals which caught the eye.  There were hundreds of them.  They covered the chest like scale mail, so thick that no patch of uniform could be seen.
"Gentlemen," said Death Medal.  "Grandpa Anarchy, and -- what was it again?  Hot Air Kid?  Bluster Boy?  You are my special guests for an event unparallelled in human history.  For you see, the world ends tonight."
"That's what they all say," Grandpa replied.  "It ain't happened yet."
"Previous attempts by others have been lacking," said the skull-headed villain.  "Mine shall be different.  Can you not feel it in the air?  The world groans in pain this night.  It begs for an end to this farce we call existence.  I shall give it release!"
"You'll never get away with it!" exclaimed Luftballoon Lad.  He wore a costume made of multi-colored nylon that could be inflated like a balloon.
"Oh," said the villain, "but I already have.  I've defeated you two in battle.  Nothing remains but to recite the spell that will summon armageddon."
"Magic spells?  Really?" asked Grandpa.  "I figured you for the uber-science doomsday weapon type."
"You are speaking to a burning skull," said Death Medal.
"Point taken," said Grandpa.  "But..."
"Armageddon?" Luftballoon Lad interrupted.  "Shouldn't a metalhead Germanophile be looking for Ragnarok?"
Death Medal's skull radiated anger, a real trick considering his lack of facial features.  "What I want," he said forcefully, "is for you to die!  Along with everything else in existence!  I want it to explode in one glorious fireball!  It will be the most beautiful thing ever witnessed!"
"You're witnessing this from what safe location?" Grandpa asked.
"Never you mind!" The villain snapped.  "Private Growley Monster!  Bring the book!"
The thing that lurched forward was nearly seven feet tall and covered in fur -- like Chewbacca in Nazi uniform, or an overly-muscled demonic muppet.  In addition, the uniform had a severe case of chrome spikes.  The creature carried a black box of darkly stained wood.  He lifted the lid.  Clouds of vapor rolled forth.
Grandpa raised an eyebrow.  "Looks like you blew your dry ice budget for the month."
"Fool!" Death Medal snapped.  He lifted a heavy black book from the box.  "Do you have any idea what this is?"
"Generic Evil Tome?" asked Grandpa.  "The actual name ain't important.  Seen one of 'em, you've seen 'em all."
"Imbecile!  I hold in my hands the Nigrum Mysticus Grimoire de Daemoniacus Terribilis Apocalyptica...."
"Wow," said Luftballoon Lad.  "Say that three times fast."
"This," said the villain, "is no ordinary evil tome.  In fact, no copy of this exists on earth.  Only the library of foul hell itself holds a copy.  No mere human could have access to it."  he paused, radiating smugness from his flaming head.  "But I am not human...."

It feels a bit too talky to me at the moment.  I think, for the sake of brevity, I need to trim it a little and wrap it up very quickly.  But I should also find a few ways to work in puns or references to heavy metal.

This and the two stories that follow -- If Books Could Kill and Out Of Cheese Error -- are all the same setup with different punchlines.  None of them should be very long.  If I can, I want to finish all of them before April 1st.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Number One With A Bullet

Number One With A Bullet is the story title for a second Death Medal story suggested to me at last writer's night.  It's a cool title.  This is the story I have theoretically been working on this week, in my so-called quest to write a new story each day.  For the record, I have written virtually nothing.  But at least I'm thinking about writing.

Actually I wasn't at all sure where I was going with this story -- it wasn't a story idea beyond "use Death Medal again!"  I envisioned him having captured Grandpa and sidekick (whoever it winds up being), having a grand entrance no a rock-arena stage with fireworks and thousands of screaming storm trooper-style hench soldiers.  After listening to this week's To The Best Of Our Knowledge I decided on a theme of the Apocalypse, which makes for a nice heavy metal meditation and a proper goal for a burning-skull villain.

The only question was, in what way was Death Medal planning to bring about the apocalypse, and what was the result/punchline?

I flailed about a bit writing dialogue that went nowhere, and I really didn't come up with a solution.  But in doing a little research on magic tropes and grimiores, I came up with several different story ideas.  At the moment I have three more story files that I envision as a series of "Death Medal tries to destroy everything via a magic spell book" stories.  The titles are:  About A Hell Boy, If Books Could Kill, and Out Of Cheese Error.  Each has the same general setup with a different ending/result, and possibly a different sidekick each time, I'm not sure.

I haven't written these stories yet either, but once I get going I suspect that all three will fall together rather quickly.  And then... maybe I'll figure out what the plot for Number One With A Bullet actually is.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Writer's Night, And Update

I read Crystal Weenie at Writer's Night on Saturday.  Actually, I had Chuck read it.  There were voices.  This is a story revolving around the idea of a maguffin -- the thing that moves the plot along, be it a coin, a can of film, a Maltese Falcon, an object of immense power or great wealth.  What it actually is or does is never that important to the plot.  Actress Pearl White of the Perils of Pauline silent film serials called these items "weenies" hence the title of my story.

Overall I think the story works pretty well, but there were two comments about how to improve it, which I've worked on.  The first was that, when Grandpa and his sidekick are about to leap from a helicopter onto the back of a truck loaded down with villains, the sidekick yells, "Who wants to live forever?" and Edd thought that this demanded a comeback line.  After considerable thought I finally came up with something workable:

"Spare me the details," Grandpa said.  "You ready, Sixteen Tons?"  Below them, an enemy soldier raised a rocket launcher.
"Who wants to live forever?" the sidekick asked.
"Not me!" Grandpa yelled.  "Immortality is for the young!"
Grandpa leaped.

The other suggestion was that my villain Death Medal needed more -- more lines, more puns involving metal music, just more.  In other words he's a good villain but he wasn't being given room to breath or fulfill the promise of the name and concept.

There's only so much I can squeeze in to this particular story -- clearly the villain himself needs to reappear in another story, and I was already given a good title for a sequel, Number One With A Bullet.  But for this story, I figured I could squeeze in something more:

Bullets flew.  Fists slammed into jaws.  A man in black military garb climbed from the passenger side of the truck and onto the bed.  His chest was decorated with medals and his head was a burning skull.
From a speaker mounted to the truck's roof, a guitar wailed.  The skull grinned.  "Symphony of Destruction," he yelled.  "The cover version by Norwegian band Zombie Crockpot.  A fitting soundtrack to your doom, no?"   He drew a service revolver.
"Death Medal!" Grandpa yelled.  "Give us the Crystal Widget, or I ain't gonna be responsible for how many of your bones get broken!"

The bit about the music is the new addition -- and it gave me the chance to come up with a goofy death metal band name.  :D  I might be able to toss in another metal reference somewhere, I have to see what I can wedge in.  As usual in Grandpa Anarchy stories,  the writing is meant to be fairly tight.  I don't want to dally too much before reaching the end.

Also I had the villain coughing blood after a crash -- but several had problems with a burning skull coughing blood.  I think it was Matt who suggested the alternative, but whoever it was, it's a great improvement (actually it was Chuck, I'm told!):

They found Death Medal in the plane's wreckage.  The villain's head sputtered like a spent matchstick.  "You're as persistent as I've heard," he rasped.

I've only written one story all year so far -- Revealing, which I wrote on Feb 7.  Now that I'm all moved I need to get back to writing.  I think my goal for this week should be to try to complete a new Grandpa Anarchy story each day.  If you're going to set a goal, go big!