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!"
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!