Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Performance Review

Saturday I finally managed to finish Return to Amethyst 3:  Spirits of Stone.  I think I'm fairly happy with how the story wraps up.  Part 3 is about 12,000 words, and parts 1 and 2 are about 6,000 words each, so all told it's a novella of around 24,000 words.  I'm pretty sure that makes it my longest complete Grandpa Anarchy story.  The original Amethyst Road story was not that long, and while World of Hero and Second Class may wind up being longer, neither is finished yet.

My original goal was to finish Return to Amethyst and World of Hero, and then work on something else (a Tai-Pan story), but instead I've given up on World of Hero for the moment and decided to write a few shorter stories.  To that end on Monday I wrote Performance Review.  I feel like I actually wrote this story at least twice -- when I was in Longview I made some minor changes to the story file in preparation for writing it out, and then failed to transfer this from my laptop to my thumb drive.  So when I got home Sunday night, I just made the changes again on the file that's on my desktop computer.  I again failed to transfer the altered file to my thumb drive, so when I got to work on Monday I had to start over again.  I wrote a good chunk of the story at work that day -- about 60% of it -- and then at the end of the day I managed to copy it over with the unaltered version that was on my thumb drive.  I've done that before, and as usual I remembered most of what I'd written and was able to rewrite it at home and finish the story (and now it's saved in several places).

This story is one of my earliest ideas, an idea I had way back when I'd only written 8 stories and was just planning to try and write a new story a day for NaNoWriMo 2012.  Since then I've written nearly 150 Grandpa Anarchy stories.  It's also a story that kind of got co-opted by a different story.  Performance Review is about Grandpa Anarchy getting a job performance review at the Department of Superhero Licensing, but I'd since written The R Word in which the same department tries to force Grandpa to retire.  Still, the ideas weren't exactly the same, and I'd wanted to actually write Performance Review for a good long while.

I'm not sure how successful the finished product is, but at least I can say I finally did it.

"Nevertheless," said Agent Morrison, "our department is understandably concerned about what seems to be a trend...."
"A few isolated incidents can hardly be declared a trend," the lawyer said.
"Mr. Brimstone, from where I'm sitting it very much is a trend."  Agent Morrison held up a manilla folder.  He opened it up.  "Let's start with Four-Legged Octopus Lad, eaten by a giant shark with head-mounted lasers...."
"I warned him," Grandpa said.  "I told him, sharks with lasers, you don't get that in the wild, that's clearly a villain thing.  And an octopus with four legs ain't an octopus.  It's a quadropus.  Kid didn't have a lick of sense."
Agent Morrison held up a second folder.  "Pine Saul, sucked into a engine aboard Baron Biohazard's rocket-powered dirigible...."
"It was the cape," Grandpa said.  "I thought everyone knew about capes by now."
"Nellie the Technicolor Eliphant," said Agent Morrison, picking up another folder.
Mal stood.  "Gentlemen, I object most strongly to this line of questioning," he said.  "We are all aware of these unfortunate incidents -- none moreso than my client Mr. Anarchy.  He feels very bad for each of these terrible events.  What does dredging up this past accomplish?  I must insist that you stop this line of inquiry, or we will be forced to terminate this meeting and request a new review with a fresh  review board...."
"Very well," said Agent Chen.  "We will table the discussion of deceased sidekicks, and move on to an equally troubling trend -- that of the large number of sidekicks who have become villains after working with Grandpa Anarchy...."
"Large number?" Grandpa exclaimed.  "What the heck are you talking about?  One or two, maybe...."
"Seventeen," said Agent Chen, "within the last two years.  That's fully twelve percent of all sidekicks who have worked for you in that time frame."
"There!  See?" Grandpa crowed.  "Twelve percent ain't a large number!"
"Mr. Anarchy," Agent Morrison exclaimed, "the government pays you to deal with existing supervillain threats, not to create new ones!"
"Hey," said Grandpa, "I instill good old American values into those snot-nosed punks!  Is it my fault if they're too twisted inside to see the light?"

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