I finished Where's My Supersuit? this week -- Thursday I think. At the moment I'm not very happy with it. The joke or surprise is that things work the way Grandpa expects them to -- against all logic, but operating per super hero logic. I've used that schtick before and did it better, this time I don't think it's as effective. But eh. I finished the story, and I'll revisit it later and see if I can patch it up.
My sidekick for this story is Kid Metaphor, who I was excited to do something with. She likes to use really inane and badly-constructed metaphors. Unfortunately, the story structure didn't really allow for me to have her use very many of them. Because of this I placed her in Past Life Sister as well. That story is nearly done and again, the plot doesn't really involve her so I'm only able to squeeze in a couple of bad metaphors.
I've had sidekicks that I've used multiple times because the idea or joke they were designed around was too good to throw away on just one story. Kid Continuity suggested several stories to me at once, and her character wouldn't go away even after that so she's now in charge of her own supergroup. Non-Sequitur Lass was similarly too much fun to abandon in a single story, so I added her to four more (my "Amphibiad Trilogy" quartet). She also joined a supergroup, though I do think her joke has mostly run its course.
I still had ideas for Kid Metaphor -- in particular, I hadn't even discussed the difference between a metaphor and a simile -- so I decided to add her to a third story. Right now she's the sidekick in Gate Into Danger. I still don't know the actual plot of this story, but I now know that it happens right after Where's My Supersuit? and Past Life Sister.
Which is fun except the first story isn't very strong, the second is feeling like it won't have a strong punch ending either, and the third may also be weak if I can't come up with a great idea or ending to wrap it a round.
On the other hand, I finally finished Grandpa Anarchy The Musical Act Two on Friday, and I'm much happier with that trilogy of stories. These are not built around jokes, they are a dramatic retelling of events leading up to Kid Calculus's current attempts to become Grandpa Anarchy's number one arch villain. With musical numbers. And as I should have suspected, Kid Calculus hates Grandpa Anarchy so much because he once considered himself Grandpa's best sidekick and most ardent defender.
The best part of this middle section of the musical is the confrontation between Kid Calculus and Circuit Girl. This idea appealed to me so much that I rearranged the order of my first ten stories to make sure that Circuit Girl isn't mentioned until after Kid Calculus has had his turn as Grandpa's sidekick. These are very small parts from which a great deal has been developed -- in Doomed, Kid Calculus is initially the sidekick in a story in which Grandpa Anarchy is tasked with saving hundreds or perhaps thousands of different worlds at once, while Circuit Girl is merely mentioned as the sidekick who has just died in Remember This. But Circuit Girl's death takes on a special significance. Grandpa tries to kill Carnival Act, but is prevented from doing so by his future self. This drives him crazy, as Carnival Act is not just his arch nemesis but also a mass-murderer. Circuit Girl's younger brother becomes a sidekick in her footsteps, and appears in multiple stories. Meanwhile, Kid Calculus reappears as a member of the League of Former Sidekicks, and slowly evolves not only into one of their most talented members, but also the one that hates Grandpa Anarchy the most. In more recent stories, Carnival Act has finally died, and Kid Calculus has made the leap to independent villain with his goal to become Grandpa Anarchy's new arch-nemesis.
These two sidekicks are possibly the most important of Grandpa Anarchy's career. Certainly the period in which one followed the other was hugely significant. They were both apparently long-term sidekicks, both very talented, and one turned out to be a major villain (and likely Grandpa's new arch, despite what Grandpa thinks on the subject) while the other died tragically but her story is intertwined throughout Grandpa's recent history.
I had to be careful because I realized after setting up this confrontation that in What You Should Know, Kid Calculus faced Grandpa for the first time since they'd worked together. At that point Grandpa is surprised that Calculus is still alive. Of course, I could have gone the route where Grandpa is surprised that Kid Calculus is still alive several times over -- that would have involved some rewriting, but it would have been very funny and indicative of why Kid Calculus hates Grandpa so much. Instead I crafted my encounter with Circuit Girl so that Grandpa doesn't have to know or find out that Kid Calculus is still alive.
(But I wonder if the above idea is something I can use for another story? "Kid Dictionary! You're still alive?" "Yes, we've fought ten times now, how do you not remember?")
Anyway this is the only time Circuit Girl appears on-screen in all of my stories, and I wanted to make it a good one:
I like the musical numbers in this act as well -- I Don't Know How To Hate Him and Defying Anarchy.Circuit Girl strode up a stone path towards a fenced compound. She wore white tights and a skirted leotard of green with a circuit board pattern. Completing the costume were green go-go boots and a golden tiara that flashed with circuitry and LED lights. Behind her robots fanned out, weapons at the ready. Some hovered, some crawled on spider legs, some rolled about like self-aware bowling balls.A young man in a form-fitted suit of blue floated before the gate. Mathematical formulae in glowing silver script flowed. above the surface of his costume. A laptop hovered in the air beside him."I don't know who you are," Circuit Girl said, "but you'd better get out of my way our you're gonna get hurt."The young man grinned. "Circuit Girl, isn't it?" he said. "How very disappointing that you don't recognize me. After all, you're the one who stole my job."The young girl's eyes widened. "Kid Calculus? But that's not... Grandpa said you were dead!""Oh, he left me for dead, all right," Calculus replied. He slowly spun in midair. "As you can see, I got better.""You moron!" the girl exploded. "Where have you been? Jay Medberry spent weeks looking for you! They never found a body. Why didn't you contact us?""Contact Grandpa Anarchy?" the man replied. "The one who nearly got me killed? Why would I do that?"Circuit Girl's eyes narrowed."Whatever your beef is with Grandpa," she said, "it's got nothing to do with me. I'm here to do a job, Calculus. Step aside.""Oh, I'm afraid I can't do that, Circuit Girl," Calculus said. "You see, Double Jester is my friend.""He's holding innocent people hostage," she said. "If you try to stop me, you're an accessory to kidnapping.""Oh, but I'm much more than that," said Kid Calculus. "I'm his ally."The girl stared at him for a long moment. "So," she said, "you've joined this motley group -- the Legion of Former Sidekicks.""Indeed I have.""I would never have expected it from you," she said. "But no matter. I've studied you, Kid Calculus. You're a very smart man, but you're no warrior. If you fight me you'll get hurt."The man performed a mock bow. "You are no warrior either, Circuit GIrl.""True," she said. "But I don't have to be." Her tiara flashed. The robots around her attacked -- with gunfire, electricity, and streams of fire. Calculus shot high into the air. He tapped his keyboard. Two gateways in space opened before Circuit Girl, disgorging giant lizards twice the size of komodo dragons. The creatures spied the girl and lunged forward.Circuit Girl leaped into the air. She landed on two flying bots, who lifted her up to Kid Calculus. "Nice trick," she said. Spinning metal blades whizzed through the air. Kid Calculus tapped his keyboard and vanished through a hole in space. Moments later, gunfire erupted from behind Circuit Girl.She spun about, as bullets ricocheted around her."Magnetic shield?" Kid Calculus asked. He vanished through another wormhole. A split-second later he was next to the girl, swinging a weapon at her feet.Knocked from her robots, Circuit Girl tumbled towards the ground. Her tiara flashed and a larger bot flew beneath her. In moments she rose again to meet her adversary."You can fight!" she exclaimed."Oh," said Kid Calculus, "you'd be surprised at what I'm capable of."Gunfire erupted, and Calculus's floating keyboard exploded into fragments. "But how much can you do," Circuit Girl asked, "Without your little toy?"
Anyway I've had a productive first nine days of May:
May 3: There Is No Try
May 5: Distracted By The Sexy
May 6: Family Tree
May 8: Where's My Supersuit?
May 9: Grandpa Anarchy the Musical Act Two
I want to finish Past Life Sister this weekend, and possibly Gate Into Danger or maybe even work on Return To Amethyst, Part Three, but I also want to try and change gears and get some work done on a Tai-Pan story, something I completely failed to do last weekend. And actually, all of that by May 15 would fulfill my May Writing Goals for the first half of the month:
1. Finish my three remaining stories from Camp NaNo: All done save Past Life Sister, which is nearly finished.
2. Finish one of the following stories: Return to Amethyst Part Three (needs title), Unpossible, Performance Review, World of Hero.
3. One new Grandpa Anarchy story a week. Clearly I've done this.
4. First chapter of one of the following: Jubel in Oz, or Zesh and the Bitted Throug, or Chance Encounter.