Before I fell asleep last night I had to get back up and jot down a bunch of lines that popped into my head for the story Diary of an Anarchist. Then at work today I started working on Stronger, and everything fell together. Really, I've had this entire story plotted out and rough-sketched for a long while now, but suddenly this morning I knew exactly how everything fit together and I kept working on it until it was done.
Stronger is a story set in Butte Montana in 1920. Grandpa is given the chance to go back to the day that his mentor, the Gentleman Brawler, was killed by a union-busting vigilante named the Boston Breaker. But is getting revenge for something that happened nearly a hundred years ago really something Grandpa wants to pursue?
Meanwhile, Diary of an Anarchist starts out with Kid Continuity and the Continuity Crusaders visiting the same town on the same day, because Grandpa doesn't actually talk about what happened that day much, and Kid Continuity's best avenue of research is to watch events as they unfold. But can they do that without interfering? And what really happened to the Boston Breaker after he killed the Gentleman Brawler? Kid Continuity is going to find out.
I only got one scene for the second story written, but it's fun to compare:
Grandpa found himself on a dusty road in the middle of a mining town. He knew this by the people he saw -- men in work clothes. They were African Americans, Chinese, Russians, men from every corner of the earth. Their clothing was caked in the dust of the streets and the grime from the mines. Grandpa knew these people. They worked hard, drank hard, played hard. He also knew this town. He'd been here before.A tumbleweed rolled slowly across the road. A crow cawed overhead."Where are we, Grandpa?" a voice asked.Grandpa glanced to his left. Here was his sidekick -- a young boy named Sparky. He was unfortunately dressed in blue tights decorated with yellow electricity bolts."This is Butte, Montana, 1920," said Grandpa. "Home of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, and the largest collection of Industrial Workers of the World. It's an ugly place, full of strikes and back-alley union busting...."Grandpa paused. A cart pulled by four horses was barreling down the street. A young boy -- not much older than Sparky -- was crossing in front of it, unaware.Grandpa acted on instinct. He charged forward. He scooped the boy into his arms and rolled. Hooves and wheels passed within a foot of where they lay in the dirt.Grandpa got slowly to his feet. "Got to watch where you're walking, kid," he said."Thanks, mister!" the boy replied, and ran off. Grandpa stared after him."That was quick thinking," said Sparky. When Grandpa didn't respond, he added, "Is something wrong?""Nah," Grandpa finally replied. "That is, it's exactly what I suspected. And why not? Damned guardian probably does this on purpose -- sends you back to the most momentous day of your life."That kid I just rescued?" Grandpa said. "That was me."
That's the second scene in Stronger. I had fun with this scene, because I wrote it again in my first scene for Diary of an Anarchist. Or did I?
In a narrow alleyway, five people appeared from nowhere. There were three women and two men. Despite apparent attempts to dress like the locals, the group looked more like members of a Steampunk fantasy club than locals of a mining town. This was especially true for the man wearing flight leathers, goggles, and a large electronic machine of some sort as a backpack."Where are we?" asked a dark-skinned woman dressed like a well-off gambler. She had long black braided hair."Butte, Montana, 1920," replied the man with the backpack.The dark-skinnned woman frowned. "One day, you're going to tell us where we're headed before we go there.""Ravella, Wayback Lad," said a second woman, "This is where and when the Gentleman Brawler died." She wore a blue dress and a hat with a strange symbol in silver on it -- a sort of squared-off infinte knot. She appeared to be the leader.The largest of the group -- a massive man dressed like a 1920's Chicago mobster -- gave a low whistle. He said, "Kid Continuty's going for the whole shebang, is that it?""I don't get it," said the last member of the group -- a woman with mousy hair and glasses, who was dressed like a Steampunk spelunker who expected to battle subterranean creatures. Her outfit includes makeshift armor plates and several weapons."Of course you don't, Natural Twenty," said Kid Continuity. "You never pay attention in our briefings. Mighty Tim is correct -- this is ground zero for Grandpa Anarchy. This is one day before he became Grandpa Anarchy." She grinned. "Today he's just a sidekick named Little Pauley Pugilist. Tell me, do any of you know why he named himself Anarchy?"Nobody answered. Kid Continuity said, "Butte was the "Gibraltar of Unionism" around this time. There's one company that runs the town -- the Anaconda Mining Company. This was a hotbed of activity for the Wobblies -- the Industrial Workers of the World, who were anarchists to some. They opposed war, which made them very unpopular during World War I, but they were also very egalitarian, accepting African Americans, Asians, women, immigrants of all types. If you were an industrial worker, you were welcome."Grandpa had a soft spot for these people," said Kid Continuity. "Especially after he saw several of them gunned down in cold blood.""I always thought it was because he's a devil-may-care, ignore-the-rules, lead-with-the-fist kind of brawler," said Mighty Tim."That's too simple and you know it," said Kid Continuity. "Grandpa never talks about it, so the exact details have been hard to pin down."That's why we're here.""So we're not fixing a continuity glitch?" asked Natural Twenty."Nope," Kid Continuity replied. "We're here to observe and record. That's it."The quartet stepped out into the street. There was a commotion to the right. A cart pulled by four horses barreled towards them. A young boy wearing a newsboy hat was at that moment crossing the street, oblivious.There was no time to think. Natural Twenty darted forward. She grabbed the boy and rolled. Hooves and wheels passed within inches of where the two lay in the dirt.The two stood. "Wow," the boy said. "Thanks, lady!" He retrieved his hat and placed it on his head, then glanced at her. His eyes widened. "Hey, you're dressed funny," he exclaimed. "Are you a hero?"Natural Twenty glanced back at the others, but they had blended into the background. "Uh... yeah, sorta," she said."Just like me and Gentleman Brawler," said the kid. "And that other guy, the Boston Breaker. Are you hear to stop the union violence too?"U