Last year one of my goals was to self-publish a book of Grandpa Anarchy stories. I didn't work on this until July, but I came up with a list of the stories I'd place in the first book, and made sure my friends had access to the files, and edited all of the files myself, including rewriting several stories that didn't really work. I talked to someone about doing a color cover.
I haven't really progressed much beyond that. I suppose I'm not persistent in bugging friends to read/edit my stories, or my one friend abut the cover art. I know I need to assemble all of the stories into an In Design file and I haven't worked at that -- probably I could get friends to help copy edit once I'm at that stage.
However I've continued to plan for how my stories would fall into subsequent books, and I did some work on that today. Here's my plans at the moment:
Grandpa Anarchy's Tales of Two-Fisted Justice
1. Reading Comprehension
2. Garden Variety Hero
3. The Magic Knight
4. Kids These Days
6. Remember This
7. Simple Solution
8. The Silver Coin
12. Double Trouble
13. Supper Soldier
15. What You Should Know
17. Amethyst Road - Shadows
18. Amethyst Road - Princess Kiss
19. Amethyst Road - Who Do Voodoo
21. Sex Slaves of Sirix Alpha Six
22. There Be Whales
23. Space Kraken
24. Triple Aaar!
25. Shadows Over Scranton
26. Stone Temple Space Raiders
27. Soldiers Men
28. Mostless in Capertown
29. Dig My Grave
31. My Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal
32. Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story
This is my planned first book. This includes all of the stories I'd written before November 2012 (NaNoWriMo) and a bunch of the stories I wrote during that month of November. All of these stories have been edited and rewritten, and I'm fairly confident all of them work (to some degree).
Read At Writer's Night: Many of these stories have been read to my friends at writer's night, so I have had feedback on those. That's true of the first nine stories, and of Stone Temple Space Raiders, Shadows Over Scranton, Mostless In Capertown, and Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story. Of those, Stone Temple Space Raiders was the only one that was not well received and I've substantially rewritten (and shortened) it.
Order Of The First Nine: Remember This was the first Grandpa Anarchy story I wrote, and I've kind of written forward in time from there. But I felt that I couldn't start the book with that story. It was a more serious, non-comedy story (since rewritten to add a slight bit of comedy). In it, Grandpa's arch-nemesis, Carnival Act, has just killed several thousand people in a terrorist act, including Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick Circuit Girl. Given that Grandpa treats Carnival Act as kind of a chummy adversary in Kids These Days, I wanted to make sure that the second story appeared before the first. My stories are meant to read more-or-less in chronological order. Kids These Days is probably the weakest of my first nine stories, so I didn't want to lead with that one either. I wanted to lead with at least three strong stories before my "weak" story out of the first nine.
More recently it became important to me that Circuit Girl was a sidekick right after Kid Calculus -- for the purposes of the plot in Grandpa Anarchy the Musical, which spans Kid Calculus's entire career thus far -- so I had to make sure that Doomed took place before Remember This. Thus I rearranged the story order slightly again.
Oz-Inspired World: The Amethyst Road trilogy forms the first of my larger stories/story arcs. Most of my stories are one scene, maybe two, and about a thousand words to fifteen hundred or so. They don't have plots per se. Amethyst Road is a linked series of three stories, and the middle one has several scenes and an actual plot. This was my "Adventures in an Oz-Style Fairyland" idea. I had fun with it and revisited this idea (and this world) again.
The Assassin: Double Trouble and Contact both deal with an assassin known as Double Donkey Motel. I like him a lot, but I haven't used him very much since. I really need to. I think he appears in at least one other story, and is mentioned in a couple more.
Space Opera: Sex Slaves of Sirix Alpha Six, There Be Whales, Space Kraken, and Triple Aaar! form a quartet of space adventures with Jennie Nova -- great-granddaughter of an old friend of Grandpa's. Three of these stories were reworked from the shambles of an earlier story with too many different ideas crammed into it. Also, one of these stories contains a scene that occurs between the second and third Amethyst Road stories, which forced me to rewrite the third one a bit. So I've got a space opera that crosses with fairy tale fantasy!
Former Sidekicks: Turncoats and Nemesis introduce the League of Former Sidekicks, which includes some very old Grandpa Anarchy sidekicks from long before any of the current stories, and also includes many of the sidekicks who appeared in the first nine stories -- Kid Calculus, Kid Enigma, Kid Gloves, Geothermal Jenny. Turncoats is their first group appearance, then Nemesis is the first big story involving them. It's two or three scenes long, bigger than my usual stories.
Christmas Ghost Story: Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story is an even longer story. Our Tai-Pan writer's group meets for writer's night once a month, but in December we always have a Christmas party and the theme (if you choose to participate) is Christmas ghost stories. This was my entry for December 2012. It's a little out-of-place here -- it references a past sidekick who hasn't actually appeared in one of the previous stories, and it also references a young supergroup who don't actually form until later stories. But otherwise I think it makes a really good ending for the book. It also involves the third appearance of the League of Former Sidekicks -- although I actually wrote it before Nemesis and Turncoats. That was one reason I worked hard to get those other two stories written, and why I have them placed earlier in the book.
Fists of the Anarchist
33. Dead Again
35. Trouble Focusing
36. OmniGen Again
37-40. World of Hero
41. Fryer Out of Time
42. Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom
43. Idiot Ball
44. Oceans of the Void
45. Justice Hangs In The Balance
46. Let Sleeping Gods Lie
47. Love and Justice
48. Veteran of the Bone Wars
49. City of the Monkey God
50. There Ain't No Justice
51. Future Me
52. Roll of the Die
53. Most Dangerous
54. The Thing in the Suitcase
55. The Devil In the Details
56. Questionable Judgment
57. Your Stupid, Stupid Minds
58. The R Word
60. Unfinished Business
This is my current plan for a possible second Grandpa Anarchy book. Things are subject to change. Few of these stories have been edited, and some are known to need rewrites -- World of Hero needs a complete rewrite from scratch, Oceans of the Void needs to be cut down and reworked, and Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom probably needs work too. And this may be true of several of the other stories -- most of them haven't been read since I wrote them.
Read At Writer's Night: Dead Again, Trouble Focusing, There Ain't No Justice, Most Dangerous, The Devil in the Details and Questionable Judgement have been read at Writers Night. Of those, the last was considered the weakest, though it probably still works.
Christmas Ghost Story: Unfinished Business was my Christmas ghost story for December 2013, so that one has been read as well. Like my previous Christmas story, it's a longer story that I felt would make a good end to the book. In fact I may try to end each book with a Christmas ghost story. Why not?
Grandpa's Demonic Lawyer: The Devil In The Details introduces us to Grandpa Anarchy's demonic Lawyer Malevolent P. Brimstone. He also appears in The R Word and Unfinished Business, and will probably be retroactively written in to There Ain't No Justice since that is also a courtroom drama.
Unconnected Stories: I don't think there are any other big themes running through this book, but of note, World of Hero is intended (once I rewrite it) to be a big story, or interconnected series of stories making up one story arc. It's hard to say since I have yet to figure out how I can make the story work, but that would be the only really large story in this book, or the only story arc. Otherwise we do not have recurring villains or sidekicks that last more than one story. I think Carnival Act appears twice, all of the members of the League of Two-Fisted Justice make appearances, and some other side characters from the first book reappear.
Black Moon Arc: Oh, but there's Solar Sister and her sidekick Lady Lune who appear in both Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom, and also in Oceans of the Void. Both stories feature Fire Maiden as Grandpa's sidekick, and the second features the return of Dark Dr. Dark with Black Dahlia as his sidekick, and also the return of the space pirate Captain Plasma, last seen in Triple Aaar! So there's a case to be made that Idiot Ball should not be placed between these two stories, since it involves a different sidekick, and there's a good case to be made that Black Moon Rising from book three should be placed here as well, since in it Fire Maiden is still Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick (and Black Dahlia is still sidekick to Dark Dr. Dark, and Lady Lune still sidekick to Solar Sister). I'll have to consider that.
Big Finish: Aside from the Christmas story, Stronger is also a longer story that I feel is very good, has more of a plot, and delves into Grandpa Anarchy's history a bit. That and the Christmas story should make a pretty powerful end to the book.
Anarchy is Forever
61. An Inconvenient Airship
62. Continuity Error
63. Dark Anarchy
65. Black Moon Rising
67. Brothers and Sisters
68. Gutbucket Magic
69. Pandora's Closet
70. Take Me Back to Constantinople
71. The Chef that Time Forgot
72. The Time of Your Life
73. Endangered Species
74. Magic is a Bitch
75. Zero Hour
76. Anarchy Is Forever
77. Self-Made Man
78. The Statue Got Me High
79. Pick of the Litter
80. Historically Accurate
81. Youth is Wasted on the Young
82. Transformation Station
83. Curse of the Teenager
84. I Was a Teenage Ballerina
85. A Glitch in Time
86. Damsel in Distress
87. It's a Dirty Job
89. X Chromosome
90. Deep House of Horror
91. Crystal Weenie
92. Arbor of Pain
93. A Good Start
94. Hero's Sacrifice
95. That Sinking Feeling
96. Banana Also Rises
97. Fate Maid to Order
98-100. Return to Amethyst 1-3 (#3 unfinished)
101. Next Christmas Story? (not written)
This is my tentative third book. It contains more stories than the second book and there's a good chance I could move one or several of these stories into the second book.
Read At Writer's Night: Actually, I'm not sure if any of these stories have been read to my friends yet. Wait -- Crystal Weenie has been read, and was well-received. Now that I think of it, I may also have read Continuity Error sometime in the last year.
Black Moon Maidens Arc: Unlike the second book, which is mostly unrelated stories, this book would contain a number of themes and related stories. The first of these is the one that deals with the formation of the Black Moon Maidens -- the founding members of which are Black Dahlia, Fire Maiden, and Lady Lune. Although I may move Black Moon Rising to book two, we'd still have Brothers and Sisters, Pandora's Closet, Magic Is A Bitch, Pick of the Litter, Transformation Station, Curse of the Teenager, I Was A Teenage Ballerina, Vows, X Chromosome, and finally the three Return to Amethyst stories which all involve Black Dahlia and her Black Moon Maidens.
Continuity Crusaders Arc: The second big arc for this book deals with Kid Continuity, a new sidekick for Grandpa Anarchy who wound up in four consecutive stories, made a reappearance after she's finished being a sidekick, then went off to form her own secret supergroup. In fact much of this book revolves around either the Black Moon Maidens or the Continuity Crusaders. I was in a mood to expand on the lives of some of the sidekicks I'd invented! Kid Continuity's personal arc is covered in the first four stories and a later one: An Inconvenient Airship, Continuity Error, Dark Anarchy, Ruse, and Anarchy Is Forever. The arc continues with the formation of her group in Historically Accurate and A Glitch In Time. They appear again in two stories that will likely be placed in the fourth book, Serum Theorem and Diary of an Anarchist, although it might be nice to find a way to add those stories to this book.
The Second Banana Arc: I introduce the Order of the Second Banana in Brothers and Sisters. They appear again in Banana Also Rises. This story may require some juggling of other stories because of who appears in it. In any case, these stories can be seen as sequels of a sort to Nemesis since all of them deal with Jay Medberry, aka the Electric Bluejay, and his network of sidekicks and former sidekicks.
Superpowered Maids? In another story in this book I introduce a superpowered maid service. They make a repeat appearance in a more recent story that will probably appear in book four, but given that this book is so focused on super groups other than the one Grandpa Anarchy is in, it might be fun to move that story here. Also, although A Fate Maid To Order does not involve them, I could rewrite it to include a cameo....
The Archons of Excellence: Since we're noting the heavy focus on other super groups, I should note that the full team of the Archons of Excellence appear in two stories, Youth Is Wasted On The Young and Transformation Station. Oh -- also in Fate Maid To Order actually, and now that I think about it, Vows and X Chromosome. Most of the time they are a punch line rather than an active presence -- Grandpa never misses Pinocle Night on Thursdays with the Archons, and another running joke is that people only contact the League of Two-Fisted Justice for help because they can never get a hold of the Archons. In any case, they've appeared before but they get a lot more face time in this book.
The Body Swap Arc: Curse of the Teenager, I Was A Teenage Ballerina, Damsel In Distress, Vows, and X Chromosome all form an arc during which two characters are body-swapped, and during which Spirit Summoner Sally is Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick. All of this gets revisited in Fate Maid to Order, which takes place quite a bit later. Sally appears again in Banana Also Rises.
Baron Climate Change Ascendant: Baron Climate Change was a throwaway villain in Simple Solution, but he reappeared in book two in Trouble Focusing. In this book he makes his claim as one of Grandpa's most-frequent recurring villains, appearing in An Inconvenient Airship, Damsel In Distress, A Glitch In Time, and Hero's Sacrifice. He's an over-the-top, larger-than-life kind of villain and is therefore fun to write, and I've retroactively given him a bad German accent (which I still need to go back and add to one or two stories I think).
Big Finish: Finally we have a very long story arc, Return to Amethyst, which I'm still finishing up, but it's much longer than the original. I think it will be a good read though. Then in theory we will have another Christmas ghost story to cap off the book, though I haven't even thought of writing that one yet.
Never Say Anarchy Again
102. Serum Theorem
103. Second Class (unfinished)
104. Tryout Trouble
105. Final Act
106: Villain Of The Weak
107: The Eagle Has Landed
109: About A Hellboy
110: Bombs Away
113: If Books Could Kill
114: Landmark Decision
115: Trick of the Trade
116: Out Of Cheese Error
117: Diary of an Anarchist
118: Blah Blah Blah
120: Grandpa Anarchy, The Musical Act 1
121: Grandpa Anarchy, The Musical Act 2
122: Grandpa Anarchy, The Musical Act 3
123: Four Weddings and Nine Hundred Funerals
124: Beneath the Skin
125: The Hand You're Dealt
126: The Bane of the Black Spork
127: Temple of the Dog
129: Grandpa Anarchy and the Fiendishly Foul Fetid Frog
130: Empathy For The Devil
131: Iron Maiden Surprise
132: Crack Squad of Misfits
133: The Pompatus of Love
134: No One Cries For Superman
135: The Archimedes Death Ray
This is the most in-flux book of them all, given that I wrote most of these stories within the last month and only assembled them in the above list today -- and I'm still writing stories that may appear in this book. But it helps to see what I might have already. This one would have several themes / arcs going for it:
The Rise of a New Arch-Nemesis: The book begins with the final chapter of Grandpa Anarchy's great nemesis, Carnival Act. But it quickly shifts focus as Kid Calculus makes his bid to become Grandpa's new arch-nemesis. He appears in Villain of the Weak, Disorientation, Grandpa Anarchy the Musical (a three-act story), Startup, The Archimedes Death Ray, and will most likely be the villain in another story I'm working on, There Is No Try. Grandpa dismisses his claims to being his number one enemy, but he's certainly trying very hard to earn that title.
A New Regular Villain Appears: When I read Crystal Weenie at Writer's Night people were a little disappointed that I hadn't done more with the villain Death Medal. I decided they were right, he's a fun villain, so I vowed to work him into another story or two. In fact, he quickly became another favorite recurring villain. He appears in About A Hell Boy, If Books Could Kill, Out Of Cheese Error, Reboot, and The Bane of the Black Spork. Like Baron Climate Change he's an over-the-top villain that's fun to write.
Roster Changes: Another theme is changing supergroup rosters. Second Class, if I managed to write it, is a big-arc story that deals in part with Nina Ballerina leaving the League of Two-Fisted Justice and eventually joining the Black Moon Maidens. Several others join as well, and Nina will end up as head of a second unit within the overall group. Then Tryout Trouble is about the League finding a replacement for Nina. That replacement appears in several more stories within the book.
Big Stories/Arcs: Aside from the very large Second Class and the three acts of Grandpa Anarchy The Musical, there's a four-story arc under the heading "The Amphibiad Trilogy" that begins with Grandpa Anarchy and the Fiendishly Foul Fetid Frog, and continues with Empathy For The Devil, Iron Maiden Surprise, and Crack Squad of Misfits. There are hints that all of this began with the story Temple of the Dog.
And, of course, there will probably be another Christmas ghost story, but that's pretty far into the future yet.