Monday, December 5, 2016

The Devil's In the Details

When I first started writing Grandpa Anarchy stories, I would have him swear however I chose to whenever it seemed appropriate.  I wasn't too concerned about it -- I mean, I don't recall ever using the 'F' word, but most other things seemed fair game.

Later when I considered that I would one day publish these stories (something I need to work on, I know!) and that my family might read them, I decided to go back and try to clean things up a bit.  But then it became more of a question of what kind of swearing is okay, and what kind isn't?  Damn sounds worse than Hell to my ears, in general, and it was easy to have Grandpa say Danged instead.  But saying Hell, that's somewhat shocking but that appears in movies a lot right?  In particular I'm thinking of John Wayne in McLintock! (which I don't think I've ever actually watched -- but I know about this scene):

I'm sure the phrase was somewhat shocking back in the day, but probably not quite like Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."  Although that might just be my perception... putting "Like Hell I won't" in a 1939 movie (when Gone With the Wind was released) would have been more shocking than in 1963 (when McLintock! came out).

But the actual thing is, in order to avoid using words like Hell and Damn, you have to get more creative -- and naturally there's a long history of more creative ways to swear.  At several points I've done research in order to come up with things Grandpa can say instead of the obvious swear word, and I almost always find something  more archaic and satisfying.  Grandpa Anarchy is over 100 years old -- he should swear like a man from 1915 or 1925.  (Mind you, he was a Sargent in World War II, so swearing up a blue streak would not necessarily be out of place, but...)

So we come to today's story that I just posted, A Bug's Life.  In this story I deliberately borrowed from the McLintock! scene for the ending, with Grandpa saying, "Sure, we'll help them -- Like Hell we will!"  Except when I wrote it, I decided to insert the word Hades for Hell.  But that -- Like Hades we will! -- just doesn't sound very forceful.  I was about to switch back to the original phrase Like Hell (because really, saying hell in this manner isn't all that shocking these days) when I decided to do some research on the phrase itself.  And I came across a bit on the Straight Dope message boards here: where the poster reminds us that a similar English phrase is the Devil I will!

I liked that much better.  Once again, more forceful than the obvious word-swapped Hades for Hell, but less shocking to sensitive ears, and also a somewhat more archaic way to put it, which is right in Grandpa's wheelhouse.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Writer's Night for November 2016

Writer's Night this month was at Sheryl and Shan's place in Federal Way.  Chuck was there, Matt, and Quinn.

We did a reading of a short play that Quinn wrote.  Very absurdist, kind of like a Monty Python sketch.  I liked it but I'm not sure about the ending.  In any case, he's going to work on it and try it on us again at a later point I think.

I was checking my recent Grandpa Anarchy stories before picking one to read -- I still have five that I haven't posted yet, even though I haven't written a new one since November 1st.  I've been working on Nerima All-Stars, an old fanfic story that I was hoping I could finish by the end of NaNoWriMo, but I'm now suspecting ls at least twice the 50,000 word limit to finish up.  I kind of want to finish it before publishing any of it, so that I can publish all of it at once -- but if I don't finish it this month I'm not sure when I will.  I still have plans to do at least two Christmas ghost stories for December, so that I can publish one or both on my Grandpa Anarchy story blog.

Anyway, I have five unpublished stories, and I could barely remember what happens in any of them.  I pulled them up and after looking them over decided to read Annie Two, which is about the new computer that replaced the venerable Anarchy Computer.  People seemed to like it.  I've actually written two stories involving Annie Two, and had one more planned, but people suggested a direction to take the new AI that sounds like a lot of fun so I'll probably have one or two more stories figured out based on that line of thought soon.

Sheryl read a short story that's not quite finished, except that it's the second version of the story so she was able to read the end of the first version to give us a pretty good idea of how the second story will also end.  It's a fairytale-based story and I liked the premise quite a bit.  We gave her a few suggestions.  She has some other stories in a similar vein, I don't think I've heard any of them until I heard this one though.

Over all it was another good Writer's Night, but I didn't get any writing done for NaNoWriMo today, and I'm already behind.  :/

Monday, October 31, 2016

NaNoWriMo: What To Do?

NaNoWriMo starts at midnight tonight, and I haven't actually figured out what I'm going to work on.  Last week I came up with a list of things I can do for NaNoWriMo:

Option One - Grandpa Anarchy:  write more Grandpa Anarchy short stories.  Eh, I did this in July and I've been writing 1-2 stories a week since August.  I'm up to 235 short stories written, more or less, and I'm publishing 1 new story a week on my web site.  I don't really need to force myself to write even more.

Option Two - Grandpa Anarchy:  specifically finish longer Grandpa Anarchy stories:  Second Class, Oz on the Half Shell, Unpossible, Patron of the Arts, World of Hero, or the novel I tried to write 2 years ago, Serial Anarchy.  I do want to get all of this done, and some of these stories will take a significant amount of time and work (Oz on the Half Shell is mostly written however), but at the same time... I kind of want to do something other than Grandpa Anarchy.

Option Three - Fanfiction:  work on Girl's School.  This is my default option that I usually choose.  Last year I was supposed to finish the long adventure arc I've been on for years, but I didn't quite manage it.  Plus I've written more stuff beyond that arc that I want to complete.  Plus I stopped posting to again, and I need to finish things off.  I've been struggling for years to get at least the three big magical girl adventures arc done.  At the same time, I worked on this last year and I kind of want to do something different.

Option Four - Fanfiction:  finish my other fanfiction stories, specifically A Goddess In Oz, but also I Can See Clearly Now, or that superhero crossover story I plotted and partially wrote years ago, Nerima All-Stars.  Actually I'm pretty interested in working on Nerima All-Stars and maybe A Goddess In Oz.  I Can See Clearly Now is a five-chapter story that I never finished chapter five of.  It wouldn't be hard to complete, but I just haven't done it.

Option Five - Original Fantasy:  work on my fantasy story Otherworld Blues, which I tried to work on over a year ago for Camp NaNo in July.  I have a lot of ideas in my head and some stories plotted out, but I really struggled to get going on it the last time.

Option Six - Original Oz story:  work on Jubbei in Oz, an Oz story I plotted and partially wrote years ago.  I still like the idea and characters, and would like to complete and publish at least one of my own Oz stories at some point.

Option Seven - Original Fantasy:  I have several old fantasy stories that I wouldn't mind actually working on and finishing.  Land of Nottodd is one (I had to look up  the title -- it needs a better title).  Like a lot of my old stuff, this is a beginning with some fun characters and dialog but not a great deal of plot, that manages to roll along for a couple of chapters before I quit.  Quite possibly it needs to stay buried and unfinished, but I still remember laughing at some of what I wrote.  There are several other fantasy stories like this that have less to recommend them.

Option Eight - Original Fantasy:  Come up with something entirely new.  At this point, with so many unfinished stories waiting to be worked on, and less than 24 hours before NaNo begins, this is not the best option.

I'm leaning towards working on my "other" fanfiction stories.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Construction of a Story

How to construct a story:

I get the idea sometime in August or September to write a story about an entire supergroup of bug-themed characters.  I create the file, name it A Bug's Life, and then let it sit.  Meanwhile, sometime in September when the phrase "Number One Is Insane!" is trending on twitter (as far as I can tell, just because people are posting a particular clickbait link over and over, possibly as part of an ad moneymaking scheme, and not for any more ironic reason), I decide that this should be a story title.  After thinking on it a bit, I also decide  that it involves a sidekick named the Clickbait Cockroach.

In late September or early October I begin working on A Bug's Life.  The first step is to figure out who the group of bug-themed heroes are.  I come up with a B-grade hero group called the Brookhaven Bug Brigade, consisting of Ladybird Beetle Man, the Schoolbus Yellow Scarab, Termite Woman, the Happy Hornet and the Pirate Spider.  While I'm at it, it seems like a good idea to fold my other idea into this story, since the Clickbait Cockroach is also a bug-themed hero.

After some thought I come up with a villain named the Porkin Man, and a scenario in which Grandpa and his sidekick are helping out this group of heroes who are being overwhelmed by their arch nemesis.  I manage to get the first half of the story written -- setting the scene, describing the characters and the situation.  The characters themselves are kind of funny so that carries me for several paragraphs, but now I have to figure out what happens next and how the story ends.

This is pretty typical of how I write these stories.  Sometimes I have a funny ending in mind already, but a lot of the time I just have characters and/or a situation, but I'm not sure where the story's going just yet.  Then I think about it and try to come up with a good, funny ending.

Option 1:  I come up with one joke about the Porkin Man's previous name, the XXXterminator.  But  I decide that this is a separate villain named the Wilmington XXXterminator (from nearby Wilmington) and that he shows up to help -- or maybe after a very tough fight, the bug heroes want help taking on this other villain, and Grandpa's worn out and doesn't want to help anymore.  I could try to sell the idea by involving Grandpa in a knock-down, drag-out fight.  I keep going back and forth on this idea but it doesn't seem to add up to a really funny ending.

Option 2:  Maybe the Clickbait Cockroach defeats Porkin Man by compromising his computer systems (he's a villain in pig-shaped armor, with robot pigs under his command).  Maybe he falls for a clickbait ad!  I keep toying with this idea, which I kind of like since it justifies the sidekick being in the story and he doesn't really have much else to contribute, but I still have a hard time imagining a really solid ending based on this idea.  It seems like a very straightforward ending, no surprises and the "he clicked on the clickbait link!" joke is not that funny or surprising.

Option 3:  Trying to imagine a more unusual and surprising ending, I wonder if the Brookhaven Bug Brigade can summon a giant bug or maybe combine to form some sort of giant robot bug.  This is certainly more like my usual ending -- something a bit more out of left field, but still related to what's come before.  But then one wonders why they didn't do that to start with, or why they needed Grandpa at all.  Perhaps there's a joke in that very question -- why did they need Grandpa's help to defeat this villain?

Option 4:  It occurs to me that the Pirate Spider may be a computer hacking sort of pirate.  In this scenario it's not the Clickbait Cockroach who hacks the villain's electronic systems, but the Pirate Spider.  This possible ending is similar to option 3, in that you wonder why they would need Grandpa in the first place.  But I'm starting to sense a possible ending for this story now, after a week of puzzling over it.  Option 4 is the solution, and the actual joke becomes the answer to the question of why they need Grandpa's help at all -- but in the end, all of the other options are mentioned in passing as well.  I quickly finish the story, and when I'm done, I'm fairly satisfied with how the story ends.  ^_^

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Bug's Life, and Halloween Stories

Once again last week I wrote two stories early in the week, then failed to finish anything the rest of the week.  I was working on a story called A Bug's Life and intended to finish it over the weekend but that didn't happen.  Hopefully I'll manage to finish it today -- I've got more work done on it in any case, and it's nearly done.

The good news is that I've plotted/started three more stories today.  One is about the replacement of the Anarchy Computer, an idea that I thought of over the weekend.  I'm calling that one Annie, which will be the name of the new AI.  The second is an idea I had yesterday about a sidekick who is being kept in stasis in some corner of the Anarchy cave until science advances far enough to fix whatever's wrong with him or her... but as usual Grandpa's simply forgotten all about why the person was there.  That one's called Until the Day.

The third story idea continues in a line from the first idea -- an efficient and self-aware computer decides to try and fix things that Grandpa never wanted to fix, so it replaces the old Anarchy Mobile with something sleek and modern and sophisticated, with lots of special abilities.  But Grandpa loves his old AMC station wagon.  I called that one New Car, for obvious reasons.

I have to admit, upgrading the Anarchy Computer makes me a little sad.  It's been a fun recurring joke that Grandpa has a crime computer like the one Batman had in the 60's tv show, only it's still there after 55 years, upgraded a bit but still a giant computer terminal desk with lots of reel to reel tape.  On the other hand, there's a lot of mileage to be had in giving Grandpa a futuristic computer with an AI.  I suspect I'll get several stories out of it, and who knows, maybe I'll figure out what happens to the old computer.  Is there a Grandpa Anarchy museum?  There ought to be.

In the meantime I posted my second Halloween story of the week this morning, Buckets of Blood.  I read through it and decided that the things I was somewhat worried about a week ago weren't real problems.  I was afraid that the conversation about the rock band was too much of a sidetrack, but it didn't bother me that much on a new read-through.

The other thing I was worried about was the side joke about the former sidekick Princess of Purple Prose.  It wasn't necessary, and I'm not sure it adds much to the story but I decided it didn't really detract too much either.  This is a story without a big surprise ending, but on the whole I think it works so I left it as is.  All in all not my best story but I think it works well enough.

My original plan was to write three Halloween stories in a row so I'd have a third one to publish next Monday, which is actually Halloween.  But I haven't written a third story, and I have several spooky-related stories I can use instead.  One of my favorites is Abjure the Realm, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, so I'll probably post that one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Oct 12 - 2 New Stories Written

I'm in a much better mood this week.  All last week I struggled to come up with a Halloween story.  Towards the end of the week I strung together the part of the story where Grandpa explains all of the weird things in his hidden room in the basement, but I still wasn't exactly sure of the ending.  By Friday I had decided on how to end it but I still didn't manage to finish the story off, and then I didn't work on it all weekend.

Monday morning I finally finished the story, and I'm pretty happy with it.  Tuesday I finished off an old story called Sisterly Love, about Grandpa visiting a city in Japan that is the sister city of Frosthaven NJ.  This was a story I started in 2015 and was never able to finish, and so I'm really happy that I finally went back anc completed it.  It was pretty much the only unfinished story from book 5.  I still have 3-5 unfinished stories from books 2-4 though, and several from book 6.  I was going to work on another of those called Gate Into Danger today (a kind of homage/parody of Stargate), but instead I've started in on a different idea I had last night.

I was thinking about how some of the archvillains in the old City of Heroes game that I played for years would shout things at you as you fought them, and I wondered, what if they weren't supervillains you were trying to stop from taking over the world, but just your next-door neighbor?  Who are Grandpa Anarchy's neighbors anyway?  What if there's that one house that always seems to be occupied by villains?  I just like the idea of some of Grandpa's confrontations with Supervillains being over the usual neighbor squabbles like don't let your dog crap on my lawn, you need to mow your lawn and get rid of the weeds they're spreading onto my property, stop playing music at all hours of the night, etc.  ^_^  I titled the story Good Fences Make Good Neighbors but so far it's just a jumble of one-liners and a list of who might have been Grandpa's neighbors in the past.  But this one has potential and is an angle I haven't written before, so I'll probably have something done soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ideas For a Halloween Story

My goal for the week has been to write a Halloween-themed Grandpa Anarchy story.  I do have one old story that is accidentally Halloween-themed -- it takes place on Halloween, and involves zombies.  As far as I can remember I didn't specifically intend to write a Halloween-themed story when I wrote it.  Maybe that's a good choice for my October "Classic Anarchy" story though.

Anyway I have this story idea/fragment called Buckets of Blood that contains some dialog about a speed metal band that only writes songs about buckets.  Apparently I was amused by this at the time, but I can't figure out any way to work it into a story -- but I used the file as a starting point for a story in which some of Grandpa's former sidekicks were hosting a Halloween party in the Anarchy Cave.

The question was, where do I go with this?  My first idea was that Grandpa would not mind having a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings hosting a party in his basement because he knows mass murders, zombies, and otherworldly evil entities will show up, and he's prepared to fight all of them.  I imagine him with a whole closet of weapons to fight demons and undead -- everything you'd need to fend off a Halloween terror.  That seemed like a funny idea but I kept tossing it around in my head and I wasn't coming up with an actual story based on it.  So I started doing research on horror tropes -- if it's a trope then it's something Grandpa's seen over and over.

I read up on a trope called "And I must scream", from the Harlan Ellison story I have No Mouth And I Must Scream.  This trope is about people frozen or trapped for all eternity with no ability to move or communicate, but who are fully conscious.  It's a common horror trope.  When I thought about it, it seemed very likely that Grandpa had some former villains in the mansion like this.  I mean, I've already written about the demon trapped in a kewpie doll, although it can apparently talk.  But surely there's a former villain who's stuck as a stone statue, but still aware.  Maybe even the eyes can move about, that would be creepy.

After I thought bout it, I decided that Grandpa probably has a room full of things like this -- living brains in jars, rusted sentient robots, people turned into statues and dolls, evil spirits trapped in gems and crosses.  All stuffed into a dusty room and left there.

All of this was interesting but still didn't really suggest a story.  I imagined the former sidekicks using at least one statue with moving eyes as a prop for their Halloween party.  That was creepy, but again, I didn't see a story.

So I read a bit more on haunted houses.  Surely the Anarchy Mansion is haunted -- Grandpa probably is very familiar with all of the ghosts, although in a very real sense, it's not a situation where he's trapped in the mansion with the ghosts, but they're trapped in it with him.  That seemed promising.  There's also the fact that haunted houses always have a creepy old man as caretaker.  Grandpa isn't a creepy old man, is he?  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like he really was, in a way.  If you set the story up to say that haunted houses are supposed to have creepy curators, but clearly Grandpa isn't one, and then you reveal things like the room full of people frozen forever but still conscious, well, that's proof that he really is creepy, yes?

Speaking of creepy -- a friend told me about a real event near a school that her daughter goes to.  There's been a person (or more?) dressing up as a clown and trying to lure children down a nearby trail into the woods.  At least, that's the story -- it sounds like one of those urban legends, but they've supposedly found three clown costumes near the school, and police are patrolling the area looking for the person responsible.  So -- that's neither here nor there, but it led me back to the idea that Grandpa was hoping creepy killers would show up.  "You haven't seen any creepy clowns in the area, trying to lure children into the woods?  No?  Just checking.  What about zombies?  Any zombie activity lately?  No?"

Currently I'm still running ideas through my head, trying to find at least one good punchline for a story.  I have one now that's completely unrelated to the above ideas, but I kind of have an idea in the back of my head that I can write two or three stories set around the same Halloween party, if I play with these ideas long enough.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Weds Sept 29 2016 -- Short Update

I finished off another story last night.  This one felt like some that I write, where I was able to take an idea and turn it into a story even though I wasn't very inspired.  The end result is a story that I'm not sure I like -- but the other takeaway is that it's my 3rd story since last Friday, so that's good.  I would like to add one more story today or tomorrow, four in a week's time to get me back on target.  Come Monday I'll be publishing the last story I had in my queue before the three I've just written, so I need to have a few publishable stories done by a week from Monday.

The new story I ultimately titled Rock On.  I'm not really happy with that title, but I didn't have a title for it previously, it was just "Butt Rock Boy", which was the sidekick concept.  I imagined a robust debate between Butt Rock Boy and Death Medal over the merits of and the definition of butt rock, preferably during a battle, but that's not a plot in and of itself, and when I came up with a plot it ultimately felt a bit disjointed... as if the story goes one way and then sidetracks into a discussion on music for too long, and then comes back to an ending that is a little bit out of left field.  I tried to tweak it a bit to make the ending seem more organic and to tie in the rock conversation -- I'm not sure I succeeded.

But as I said, that's three new stories in the queue, at least one of which needs more work.  ^_^  One or two more would be ideal, so my goal today is another new story.  Also I want to try a Halloween themed story, I've never really done that and now would be the time to get it written.  ^_^

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Stories This Week

I wrote a story last Friday called Bump.  It was one of those ideas that I had when I was half-asleep, and I got up and jotted it down and then didn't work on it for a couple of weeks.  I was certain at the time that it was a sure-fire story idea with a killer punch line -- but when I got around to actually writing it, it seemed very weak.  Still, I hadn't written anything in more than a week so I was glad to get something written at least, even if it's probably not publishable in its current form.

Two weeks ago I had a nice backlog of four stories, and I thought I was getting ahead of the game here.  Then I got lazy and as of this morning I had a backlog of just one story and the thing I wrote on Friday that isn't publishable.  So I wrote another story this morning, and I like that one so I've got a backlog of at least 2 stories now, and one that maybe I can fix.  But I really need to write one or two more of my ideas into actual stories this week.

The story I wrote this morning needed a sidekick, and I went looking in my story ideas folder, which I haven't visited in more than a year I think, thanks to having worked on an entire book of linked stories.  What I'm writing now for the web site are mostly random stories (after the first six, which wound up being kind of linked).  My story ideas folder is crammed full of random story ideas from the past several years, and in most cases I don't remember what those ideas were, so opening them up is kind of fun.  I was looking for a sidekick idea for my story, and I found a story idea about a sidekick named Capsaicin Kid, and that fit perfectly with what I was writing, so I kind of combined two ideas into one story.  I renamed the story Code Habanero.

My goal for the rest of the week is to write at least one or two more stories.  I have a lot of ideas to work with, but turning them into actual stories is always the tricky part.  ^_^

Right now I'm trying to figure out a story for a bug-related supergroup, and I have another story idea about a cockroach-based sidekick  and that's another situation where two different but related ideas can probably dovetail into one single story -- if I can just figure out the setting/plot and punch line.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Writer's Night September 2016

So this month's writer's night was at my place -- and it could possibly be the last time I host writer's night in this apartment since my rent is up in December and I have yet to know by how much they want to raise the rent.  On the other hand, I don't want to move and rent is going up everywhere so the odds that I could find a cheaper place may be slim and none.  I'll stay put another year if I can possibly afford to.

Anyway Jeff showed up a bit early and we talked while I straightened up the room.  I bought pizza at Papa John's, and I bought way more than was needed but I never know what people are going to want, so I end up getting one of what I want (gourmet vegetarian) and one or two others.  This time around I knew at least that Chuck likes basic cheese with pepperoni, and as it happens Papa Johns has a deal for a $5.00 cheese and pepperoni pizza, so that was easy.  Chuck and Quinn showed up right at 7 PM, so we had four people total... and 3 pizzas.  Like I said, way too much.

Chuck didn't have anything new but he read several sections of his current Felicia story that Jeff and I hadn't heard yet -- he read them two months ago at Sheryl's place but I forgot about writer's night in July, so I missed that one.  he has some really interesting characters in this story and it's moving along very nicely -- I'd heard the opening scenes several times before, so it was nice to hear some of the newer stuff.

I read The Eagle Has Landed, one of my older Grandpa Anarchy stories (#107 out of at least 220) .  This one introduces the Russian Eagle, a hero who is possibly related to Grandpa Anarchy.  It's a fun story that back in July I said I needed to read at a writer's night at some point, and people liked it.

As I might have suspected, Jeff and Chuck didn't know about my Grandpa Anarchy Tales site that I started three weeks ago.  That's a disadvantage of me only being on Twitter... probably other people like Keith & Juli also don't know about it, since they also mostly do Facebook instead.  I suppose I could get a Facebook account just to announce when I've put a new story up but... nah.  I'm never going to have a Facebook account.

Things broke up right after that, so it was a surprisingly short meeting, but a good one I think.  ^_^

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Excitement Ebb and Flow

This time last week I was super excited about my new project:  the Grandpa Anarchy website, where I proposed to publish one new Grandpa Anarchy story online each week.  I had published a new story on Sunday and then written two more stories in the next two days.  In the back of my mind I knew I needed a good backlog of stories -- despite my best efforts I don't actually write a story every week, and sometimes I've gone for months without writing anything -- but I really wanted to publish another story right away.  Having just one story up on the site was bugging me -- I was impatient to reach the point where the blog had a good backlog of stories.

I convinced myself that I could publish one "classic" Grandpa Anarchy story a month.  I didn't want to burn through my backlog of stories -- I want to publish most of those in actual books rather than online, and force myself to write new stories for the blog -- but one story a month seemed fair enough.  I published a second story on Thursday, taken from my earliest collection of stories, and that satisfied my urge to publish more.

And then... I got stuck on my fourth story, and didn't write on the weekend.  Sunday came before I knew it and I wasn't ready to even think about what to put up on the blog.  By Monday I'd written next to nothing, just a few extra lines on the story I was in theory working on, and I was having doubts about the two stories I'd actually written.  I mean, I wrote them a week ago, nobody else had seen them, were they even worth putting up?  One in particular called Write Your Way Out seemed very weak.  Eventually I published the other one late Monday -- after reading through it again and editing slightly, I decided  I liked it fairly well -- but I was worried again that I could really manage to do this, and feeling like I had no backlog.

I don't really get depressed as a rule.  But I was certainly feeling a lot less excited about my new blog, and worried that I might eventually stop working on it.  That had always been a concern and that's what I initially wasn't going to launch it until I had an already-written backlog of stories.

Today I finally broke through on Presentation, the story I'd been trying to write for a week.  I think it works pretty well.  Of course, I usually think stories I've just finished writing work pretty well, but  I may have also thought of a better way to go back and fix Write Your Way Out, and I have more ideas for stories.  If I can get one or two more written before Sunday, I'll be in a pretty good position, with almost a month's worth of stories waiting for the site.

It's amazing how much finishing a story improves my mood.  ^_^

I think ultimately I should try to maintain a backlog of about a dozen stories -- three months worth.  But if I can manage two more stories this week, that'll be a start.  In the meantime I'm feeling much more optimistic about getting more writing done.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I'm really excited about my new project -- my plan to publish a new Grandpa Anarchy story online each week at Grandpa Anarchy Tales.  I've thought about doing this for a couple of years at least, and then I just took the jump over the weekend, before I'd really even finished a new story to put up on the site.  I was excited about it on Monday and reworked the story I'd published on Sunday a bit, and then I wrote a new second story called Teddy's Bear.  I think I like that story a lot, it delves into an event that happened when Grandpa Anarchy was really young.  I started some other story ideas -- going back to Saturday when I jotted down a funny riff on the Magnificent Seven that I think I can turn into a fun tale, and continuing with story ideas titled Bump and Presentation and Bug's Life, and a completely content-free story title:  My Gun Is Sharp, which if I manage to develop it into something will likely be a kind of Mike Hammer riff, maybe.

Today I finished a third story for the week, Write Your Way Out.  These first three stories involve a sidekick I named the Princess of Purple Prose, and from the start I wasn't sure about the name and I hadn't figured out exactly what she was like, how she looked, how she talked.  I think now that I'm getting a better handle on that I may go back and rework the first story again.  I can see how publishing online has that as a downside (or upside?) -- I can go back and change things if I want.  Quite possibly this means nothing is ever set in stone, but we'll see.  Clearly I can't revise every story constantly.  After you've been doing this a few years that would become really difficult to manage.  ^_^  But I reworked Just A Story slightly, and even added a new line to the end, changing the ending a bit.  Usually that means I don't have a really solid ending in place, which I guess I probably don't.  But eh.

The plan is to write at least a couple more stories with the Princess of Purple Prose as a sidekick, before branching out a bit.  She's also supposed to be crafting stories based on Grandpa's past history, and I find that part very interesting and so the more I can work stories from that angle, the better.

I've been very tempted to publish more stories this week on the site.  It seems lonely with just the one story there.  Maybe I can justify publishing one extra story a month pulled from my 200+ completed Grandpa Anarchy stories -- on the first of the month or the first Thursday of the new month, for example (which conveniently is tomorrow in both cases this month).  ^_^  I just feel that not all of my stories are perfect, but there's something to be said for what I've accomplished on the whole, and I can't wait for my Grandpa Anarchy Tales website to start to develop that same kind of -- whatever you call it -- by building up a backlog of published stories.

So anyway.  Three stories written, one published, and the plan is to try and write another tomorrow!  ^_^  I think I should plan on a Halloween story and a Christmas Ghost story -- and not the one I'll be writing for our Tai-Pan Christmas writer's night.  I'd like to push myself and write a separate Christmas Ghost story for the web site.  Anyway, that's the plan for now.

Of course, in all of this I've forgotten to rewrite Gutbucket Blues even though I had this brilliant new idea on how to do it.  In fact on Saturday when I went to the board meeting and was a bit early, my plan was to work on that rewrite.  That didn't happen, and I've been busy with this new project since.  I need to go back and do that rewrite while the ideas are still somewhat fresh in my mind.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Grandpa Anarchy Tales

Saturday night was an editorial board night for our Tales of the Taipan project.  We've just published our last new issue, and when I found out that we actually have stories left in the editing file, Ed made a joke about, "We have to publish a new issue!"  Of course, we haven't ruled out any more publishing -- I know we're still working on the second Omnibus, and Gene has talked about another adult supplement -- but for the most part we're done with publishing zines that you can hold in your hand.  Gene said we'd be publishing stuff online instead.

This made me immediately think:  why can't I publish Grandpa Anarchy stories online?  I mean, I've thought about it before, of course, but the stories I've written so far were intended to be published in a book (well... as many as seven books and counting, if I ever get around to it).  Publishing those stories online as well seemed kind of counterproductive to me and kind of a betrayal of the idea of putting them into a book.

A second consideration has always been:  should I publish prose online, or try to do a comic?  If I do a comic, could I possibly get someone else to draw it?  Personally I wouldn't want to draw someone else's project, and it always seemed like a big and complicated task to find someone willing to put that much time and effort into a project that wasn't really theirs.  On top of which, the stories work really well as prose stories, it would be difficult to adapt them to a comics medium.  But I do think an online comic would get more attention than prose stories published online.

Still.  The idea was there to just publish some stories online.  At this point I've written more than 200 Grandpa Anarchy short stories, and I'm confident I can keep writing them.  It may seem difficult to keep coming up with story ideas and jokes that work, but then again, anyone that does a newspaper strip has to come up with a new joke every day.  It can be done.  I've written enough of them to know I can keep doing it.

So I thought:  why not?  I could maybe work up a backlog of new stories written just for the purpose of placing them online.  I don't have to put any of the old stories online if I don't want to -- but surely one or two out of every ten or twenty wouldn't hurt -- select stories from each book, assuming I fall behind my schedule at any point.

As for a schedule -- many online comics update once a week.  Surely one short story a week is something I can manage.  That's four a month, and I've pretty much been writing more than that for the last three years.  When I'm really going at it I can manage one story every day and sometimes 3 or even 4 stories in a single day.  Four a month is a cinch, and I do have an emergency backlog of over 200 stories to pull from, as I said.

So I thought about it the rest of the evening and driving home I figured my plan was to A)  write 4-8 stories as a starting backlog before I did anything else, and B)  research into getting a website set up.  Should I got with one of those easy-to-build sites like Squarespace?  I checked them out, but you know, the more I looked at their template websites, the more I thought:  I can do this on blogger right now, without paying for a URL or anything.  A real web site with a real URL would be somewhat fancier but right now I'm not actually sure what more it would get me.  On the other hand, I don't even have to think to set up a blogger blog.

Before I even knew what I was doing I'd already set up a web site and written a short piece as a kind of holding story.  It went nowhere and wasn't meant to actually be seen -- although I got 17 visits before I went back the next day to update it.  By the end of Sunday I'd not only turned it into a pretty decent opening story (so I think anyway), but I'd also come up with about six other story ideas to work on.

So, you know, I guess I'm not waiting until I have any backlog... but maybe I can work up that backlog the rest of this week.  ^_^

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Mind Works In Wonderful Ways

As part of my project to update my Anarchy World Background files, I've been rereading old stories in order, and I've come across several problems.

The first one is a story order/continuity problem.  We have the story Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom, story# 42, in which our sidekick is Fire Maiden.  Then we have story #43, Idiot Ball, in which our sidekick is Most Common Girl.  Then we have story #44, Oceans of the Void, in which our sidekick is once again Fire Maiden.

This is easily fixed, just swap two stories around.  However, this is only the beginning of our continuity problems.  I removed a scene from Oceans of the Void in which Fire Maiden, Lady Lune, and Black Dahlia decide to form their own supergroup, and instead I wrote a new story called Black Moon Rising that covered this subject.  But  this is story #65.  I left it in book 3 because other stories in that volume are concerned with the Black Moon Maidens, but when the story starts, Fire Maiden is Grandpa's sidekick.  That's a continuity problem I can't overlook.

Then we have the story Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story, which is story #32.  In this story the Black Moon Maidens have already formed their group.  This is less of a problem for me because I've always known that this story was out of order, and that I placed it in book 1 so that I could end with a Christmas ghost story, and not because it made any chronological sense.  I'm okay with that.  But it does make the other continuity problems even more confusing, and the story also references events in World of Hero (multi-part story that takes place in volume 2) that may or may not actually happen in the way they're mentioned/described in Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story.  World of Hero is a story I've rewritten three times and it's still a jumbled mess, and I've decided that I need to rewrite it for the final time before I really try and resolve these other continuity problems.  I even started doing that this week, but then I stopped.  It's a big project and I'm not quite ready to tackle it.

I did rewrite Oceans of the Void this week to remove the scene mentioned above and try to tighten it up a bit.  Hopefully it works better now -- that's a rewrite I had been planning to do for a couple of years.

While rereading the stories in book 3 I came across two very big problems.  The first was a story called Gutbucket Magic.  This was, hands down, one of the weakest stories I've written.  It starts off with a nice little premise, Grandpa Anarchy and his sidekick are fighting a magical storm depression that actually makes people feel bad.  Grandpa's sidekick is a magical girl named Mahou Shoujo Blues Summoner Stella, and Grandpa is complaining about having a magical girl sidekick and how it results in enemies you have to fight with feelings instead of just punching them in the face.

So far so good.  Then Stella casts her magical girl summon spell -- a nifty little chant that calls upon the spirits of various blues musicians like Charlie Patton, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, Tommy Johnson and Robert Johnson -- and the spirit of the blues asks Grandpa to sing the blues.  At first he refuses, but then the spirit of a black companion from world war II appears, and Grandpa is ready.

And that's the end.  It's not surprising, you can see it coming from a mile away -- how else would a magical girl named Blues Summoner Stella fight a depressive storm except with the blues?  It's not interesting -- you don't even get to see what Grandpa sings.  And even the companion summoned is less than interesting and, to boot, kind of a stereotype.  He was a driver for Grandpa during the war.  I know I based that on the information that a lot of African-American soldiers were assigned as drivers and freight handlers and did a lot of the dirty work during the war, but that doesn't make it less disappointing that the one black guy who knows the blues and knows Grandpa was just his driver.  That's not a stereotype I want to convey.

So the story had several problems, but the first two I knew how to solve.  We needed to hear the song that Grandpa -- or perhaps his companion -- sings.  I needed the lyrics, and a description, because that was one of the more interesting parts and I'd completely left it out.  Second, Grandpa's black friend from the war needs to be more of an equal instead of the guy that ferried him around.  He needs to be another hero -- one that perhaps died in the war, but a full-fledged member of Grandpa's Roaring Rangers.  Because that was another thing -- elsewhere I'd established a list of people who were companions of Sgt. Anarchy during the war (mostly names I made up on the spot, I don't know much about them), and they were called Sgt. Anarchy's Roaring Rangers.  That information needed to be in this story, and this friend Larry Paige needed to be one of them.

I christened him the American Screech Owl.  Nice name for a blues musician, I thought.

I still didn't know how to fix the story though.  There was no surprise/twist ending.  I figured I'd think on it and a solution would come to me.

Most of the other stories seemed just fine.  A few of them I was really happy with -- they seemed to work really well, or had bits in them that made me smile or laugh.  Then I came across the story called Time of Your Life.  This one was another mess, and worse than being boring and unfunny, with no joke or twist ending, it instead had an ending that I found incomprehensible and bizarre.

Grandpa and Wayback Lad are trying to stop Hitler from winning World War II.  It's a time travel story in which they've messed up time and have to fix it.  A sort of self-styled time cop named Time's Swift Arrow shows up, and they travel through time in her time Travelall to fix the problem.  I have to say, I really like this character and her time Travelall, and she shows up again later so it helps to establish who she is in this story.  But  the way the story moves from a cafe in Germany to travelling through a time tunnel in the Travelall, to the encounter at the end, maybe doesn't serve the story so well.  I may need to skip the opening portion of the story.

But my real problem is the big reveal.  When they realize that the thing in time that's changed is something that it should never have been possible to change, Grandpa immediately says it's alien space bats.  Then they arrive at their destination, and there the space bats are, and Grandpa prepares to fight them.  End of story.  There's a rather lame Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas reference, "This is alien bat country",  but on the whole I couldn't figure out the joke.  Alien space bats, who go around changing time?  That seemed to come completely out of left field.  If the joke was that some random weirdness was responsible for everything, and that was supposed to be funny in and of itself -- well, it just wasn't.

I didn't know how to fix this one either, but I knew it needed a rewrite.  Again I figured I'd think on it and eventually a solution would come to me.

I guess I know my mind pretty well, because as I was trying to go to sleep I thought about this story, and it occurred to me to Google the phrase "Alien Space Bats" because surely I didn't just pull that out of nowhere and expect it to be funny.  And I was right:  it's a reference to time travel stories and alternate histories.  When the thing that created  the alternate history -- the one thing in time that went different -- is so implausible that it defies belief, then it's said that Alien Space Bats were to blame, because what else could have caused such a strange outcome?  It's a literary joke.  So actually, my story really was kind of funny if you understood the underlying concept -- something I'd completely forgotten in the meantime.  The joke is that, in Grandpa's universe, Alien Space Bats are a real thing and they really do go around messing up timelines.

The real problem with the story is that I just assumed everyone would get my very obscure reference.  Even I didn't get it when I reread the story two years later.  The solution, obviously, is to explain the reference ahead of time, and even emphasize that it's just a literary device, that Alien Space Bats don't really exist, before Grandpa proves that they do.  A rather easy fix, actually, and the story should work pretty well at that point.

My mind was just getting started.  I woke up later that night, and I thought about the story Gutbucket Magic.  When I read the story, and Stella's little summoning spell, I thought, oh, that's a neat little bit, but where's Skip James?  Skip James is my favorite bluesman, but maybe not quite as famous as the ones in the spell.  So I shrugged and went on.  But at 3 AM I realized that this is precisely something Grandpa should comment on:  Skip James is one of those bluesman who really sounded like he was in pain and despair.  A lot of blues is about pain and depression, but the music is often kind of happy or bouncy.  It was often a music for celebrations and dancing after all.  Skip James is one of the few blues artists who really does sound like he's at the end of his rope, and Grandpa Anarchy needed to say just that.  And because Skip James was a virtual unknown in the 40's and 50's, it needs to be something he learned from his friend the American Screech Owl -- and Grandpa needs to sing the blues in his best Skip James approximation.

As soon as that thought occurred to me, I had an ending in mind.  It may not be the best ending, but it's a fun little twist for a story that had no kind of surprise or twist ending at all before.  I think it will work.  ^_^

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Grandpa Anarchy World Background Files

Way back when -- over four years ago now -- I had expanded my Grandpa Anarchy universe from seven stories to nine, and then to forty, and then to nearly sixty.  I went back and read through the stories starting with the first one, and as I read I created a Grandpa Anarchy World Background file, which contained every character who had ever appeared in a story.  I listed a short description for them and which stories they appeared in.  (Except for Grandpa Anarchy -- I did not try to list every story he appears in, since it's nearly all of them.)

I believe I did this for the benefit of my friends, particularly Gene who was planning to write a Grandpa Anarchy story of his own.  But as I've continued to add new stories it's benefited me quite a bit.

For a while I kept updating this, but at some point my updates dropped off... and then I kept writing Grandpa Anarchy stories, and writing, and now there are well over 100 stories that are not a part of my background file.

I have added other things to the file on occasion -- a list of various supergroups, villain groups, and entities; a shortened version of the Grandpa Anarchy timeline; notes on how to write certain characters -- such as a glossary of the Bronze Beach Bum's space surfer slang, which borrows a lot from various science fiction slang lingos.  What I've fundamentally failed to do is add any new villains, sidekicks, or other characters to the data base.  This can be a big problem -- today I was rereading Unfinished Business, my 2013 Christmas ghost story, and at the end of it Grandpa Anarchy has a puppy named Jenny.  I'd completely forgotten about that, and Jenny never appears again.  I need to fix that.  It's not that Grandpa would have the dog with him wherever he goes, but when he's at home, the dog should be there.

Anyway, I started in on this project today, rereading Stronger and Unfinished Business.  These are the two final stories in book two, and I have to say, both of them are very good.  I'm proud of them.  I've never read Stronger at writer's night, and I probably should.  It's a longer Grandpa Anarchy story, something like 2,500 words, but I think it works.  (I said something similar in July about The Eagle Has Landed -- it's a longer story that I like, and I think I should read it at writer's night.)

I was convinced that the end of book 2 was where I stopped transcribing stories into my files, but that's not actually true.  Quite a few stories in book 3 have been transcribed.  Stronger and Unfinished Business had not, because they were written at a later date, even though they're placed in book 2.  Stronger was something I plotted and then didn't write immediately, and Unfinished Business was my 2013 Christmas Ghost story, as I said.

Anyway, it's going to be a long project.  You don't read through 100 short stories in one evening, even if you're skim reading.  ^_^

By the way, I've tried to write a Grandpa Anarchy Christmas ghost story every year since 2012.  That year I wrote A Two-Fisted Christmas Ghost Story.  I placed this at the end of Book 1, and my plan ever since has been to include a Christmas ghost story at the end of each book.

In 2014 I wrote a story called Gin and Ginger, which I was still trying to write at the party just before I read it.  That's my least successful Christmas story so far, but I really liked the central idea of it and I had a plan to fix it, which I never put into practice.  I still need to rewrite it.

My 2015 Christmas Ghost story was Conspiracy Claus, which I liked, but there were some suggestions that the middle of the story dragged and needed to be shortened.  I haven't done that either.  That's slated as the end of book 4.

I have a book 5 and a book 6 now.  I have an idea for a 2016 Christmas ghost story, which would inevitably end book 5.  It's just a few lines and I don't know if I'll pursue it or come up with something else, but at least I have an idea to fall back on if I don't come up with something better.  If I actually do it, I'll have to rewatch It's A Wonderful Life a few times.  Or maybe I can watch A Miracle on 34th Street and get some kind of idea from that.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016 Logs

One of the fun things about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you have a message board where you can talk to the other people in your "cabin".  The last few times I've done this I've been in cabins with friends, so I've written a lot.  And one of the sad things about Camp NaNoWriMo is that, when the month is done, the cabin goes away and so does everything you wrote on the message board.

So this year, I copied everything I wrote to a file and saved it.  I was planning to post it to my blog, and then I let it slide... until today, when I realized the thing I'd written that I was trying to search for was not actually written in my blog, but in my cabin posts.  So now would be a good time to post all of that, so that I can search on it in the future.  ^_^

Long, rambling collections of posts incoming!  Some of this was duplicated in my blog here, and some wasn't.  It's much more stream-of-conscious writing than my normal blog posts.  Anyway, away we go!


I'm actually trying to do something very complicated... not only independent stories that link together in a chain, which is what I was working on in April, but now I've gone back to insert stories in between some of these other stories that involve a separate, concurrent plot against Grandpa Anarchy. I was just going to do them as short scenes but the first one is a complete story of its own. We'll see if I can keep doing it that way.

First story is "Opportunity of a Lifetime" and happens before the original first story of this collection, "Superpowered Self-Defense". Next up is, I think, a story that probably should have followed Superpowered Self-Defense, covering events that I kind of skipped over previously. There's no title or even a file on that one yet. Then comes Legal Eagle, and another of the concurrent interludes which also is untitled at the moment. Then Chaos and Order, which is a half-finished story I started in May.

I'm pretty happy with this one though. It involves the League of Former Sidekicks, who I haven't used in a long time, and I had to figure out some timeline stuff before I wrote it -- like exactly when Sam Solo, Two-Fisted Timmy, and Double Jester were sidekicks to Grandpa Anarchy.

And I think this is the very first time I've described Two-Fisted Timmy or had him appear on-screen. ^_^

Finished "Eclipsed In Time", the story that takes place directly between "Superpowered Self-Defense" and "Legal Eagle". Next up: the second interlude story involving the League of Former Sidekicks. Not sure I have an actual story for that one yet.


Finished "Status Report". Probably needs a better title. This is the second interlude story, and it's longer than I realized, but I *think* it works. Anyway that puts me nearly back on track for my goal.

Next up is Chaos and Order, which is partially written, but doesn't have an ending yet.


The problem with writing a Grandpa Anarchy story these days, especially when Kid Continuity is in it, is that I have her go off on a tangent about the writing quality of Grandpa Anarchy comics in the last ten years, and then I have to look up the history of Grandpa Anarchy comics, and I find several contradictions and errors, and then I have to locate the name of Grandpa's granddaughter from Russia who is not entered in the list of people, places and things....

So I have to find the story "The Eagle Has Landed" and I end up reading the whole thing again. I mean, I seriously could just spend the whole month documenting all the stories I already have written and correcting my timeline and history and master list of people to include everything....

I should read "The Eagle Has Landed" at writer's night sometime. It's a somewhat longer than usual story and doesn't have much of a twist ending, but I like it and I think it works.


Chaos and Order is coming along slowly. I may finish it today, but it's kind of long and I'm not sure the ending is that strong. I like parts of it. And I've started two more stories that take place after... and I think there probably should be at least one more, before we get to the next already written story.

Because the heroes are travelling through random dimensions, and three is a good number of stories to convey the sense that they've been through a lot of random dimensions. ^_^

Finished Chaos and Order. It's too long and I don't like it much, but there it is.


Finished a story called Above the Law. This one takes place after all of my dimensional adventures, but I had it in my head so I wanted to write it down. I like this one. ^_^

And now I'm working on three related stories at once that I plotted out a couple of months ago: Shadow Secrets, Complete, and X Factor. I've decided that Shadow Secrets can be moved up to the second or third story in this book, before all the adventures in other dimensions. But I need to write it then.

So today was payday, I went to the Southcenter Mall and ate a Chicken Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, and I was thinking about my stories and about the character Kid Continuity, and a whole scene in which she talks to her brother came into my head... and when I got home I wrote a story called Muse, that takes place right after Above the Law. It's very different from a typical Grandpa Anarchy story, but delves into Kid Continuity's past a bit.

I did write the first scene for Shadow Secrets as well, and parts of the last scene for X Factor. All of these are Kid Continuity stories that delve into some of the really big secrets of Grandpa Anarchy's past.

But I'm only counting words for my total for stories I've completed.

The sad thing about some of these stories is that I've thought about them for so long that sometimes I forget to actually write the things down that I've come up with. Case in point... Shadow Secrets is all about discovering the true identity of Guy Shadow, Grandpa's crime fighting partner in the 1960's. And I knew exactly who it was but I never actually wrote that part down. So I was planning to go a different direction, when A) a better idea popped into my head, and then B) I realized that there was a clue buried in the timeline that fit my "new" idea perfectly...

...because it wasn't a new idea at all, it was my original plan that I had never bothered to write down. :P

Another note: went to update my writing blog, and the last entry talked about a story called "Happy Jack" that I finished in May. And I'm like, "What the hell is "Happy Jack"? Because it turns out it's one of those stories that popped into my head, and I wrote the whole thing immediately, and then two month later I don't remember a thing about it. So I just pulled it up and read it. ^_^


I only finished one story over the weekend, and that counts Friday too, but it was a longer one. Shadow Secrets wound up being 2,347 words. I'm not sure how much I like it.

Right after that I started on Prison World, which wound up being 1,091 words. I wrote a bit on it before I went to bed Sunday night, but it wasn't until the morning that I figured out exactly how I wanted it to go. I finished it right before work.

Now that I've written Chaos and Order, I've decided that two other stories -- Happy Jack (finished) and Doom (unfinished) -- should happen right after, because they both involve dimensional travel. So I'm moving more stories around. This really messes with my numbering system, because I try to number them in order, especially for a book like this where the order of the stories is important and things happen chronologically. For the moment I've given up reworking the numbering of the stories until I have more of them written -- so I have a 179a, a 179b, a 179c and a 179d at the moment.

Yesterday I got an idea for a new story that could potentially be placed as the leadoff story for my first book. I imagined it would be a great introduction to Grandpa Anarchy, and contain a few easter eggs for things that wouldn't happen until much later. I finished the story this morning, and now I'm at that point where I don't really know if it works or makes a good intro story after all. But eh, I finished a new story. I called it Short Circuit. It came out at 959 words.

If I go chronologically I'll need to finish up Doom next. I have a story back in the first book called Doomed, so I may need a different title for this one -- but it's a reference to the Doom Patrol, as this story deals with my world's weirdedst super group ever.

So I was going to work on Gloom and Doom (new title). But Interlude (working title) should probably come before it so I turned to that first. This is a story without much plot at the moment, but ostensibly moving things forward for Geothermal Jenny and the bulk of the League of Former Sidekicks, who have traveled into space on Jenny's Interstellar Saucer in order to deal a more direct form of justice to Grandpa Anarchy.

Then I started thinking, what are Sam Solo and Two-Fisted Timmy up to? The two oldest members of the League stayed behind. What if they broke into the Anarchy Mansion while Grandpa was away? Who might they run into? What if the shadow creature returned to earth to look for Grandpa Anarchy, and ran into them instead?

Before I knew it I was writing a story about this titled Meanwhile In Frosthaven. And I imagined them entering the mansion, perhaps for the first time in fifty years, or at least for the first time in quite a while. Grandpa never changes anything. How long has that picture of him fighting Doctor Zero Hour and his giant Atomic Zombie been hanging on the wall in the entryway above the stairs? For fifty years, perhaps?

And immediately Two-Fisted Timmy starts talking about the man who painted it (has it always been a painting? I think so). Old Romany guy who lived in New York's East Village. Grandpa saved him long ago and he was so grateful that he painted not one giant picture -- but several, maybe ten. He would give a new one to Grandpa every year or two on Christmas.

(I only know what two of the paintings are -- there's one of Grandpa and his former partner Guy Shadow fighting some villain.) Anyway, the moment I wrote "on Christmas" I suddenly realized that there's a Christmas ghost story hidden in this detail somewhere. ^_^

Aside from that I also plotted part of a story today involving the villain Death Medal and a sidekick named Butt Rock Boy, and during my walk an hour ago I listened to the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast and plotted another story in my head involving a weather-controlling undead creature called the Wuthering Wight. I haven't written that one down yet. ^_^

And I want to make a sidekick named the Pompadour'd Pamplemousse. But I don't have a story for that character yet.

But his powers come from his amazing hair, which is maintained with a grapefruit hair gel.


I finished Meanwhile In Frosthaven. I *think* it works....

I just want to add that my goal is 1/4 of the cabin's total goal, but I'm keeping up so far. The cabin's falling behind... >.>


I wrote a weird story with a pun ending. It's called "The Wight Stuff".

Did a little reworking on The Wight Stuff this morning, and also on Happy Jack, which I wrote before July but happens right before The Wight Stuff. Today's goal is probably to work on Gloom and Doom, or maybe try write a Circuit Girl story to happen before Remember This.

Started a new story called Meanwhile In Intersect, but while I have a jumble of things that happen, I'm not sure I've figured out an actual story yet. But it's a nice mirror to Meanwhile in Frosthaven, if I can just figure out what the plot is.

Also have in mind a Circuit Girl story that involves Happy Jack (John Haggard) but I don't know the plot to that one either.


I haven't written much this weekend. I have ideas but they aren't turning into stories in my head. :P

So I still haven't figured out how to make a story out of "Meanhwile In Intersect", but in the meantime I managed to turn my other idea I had over the weekend into a story. Originally I was calling this "Timing Is Everything" but I retitled it "Meanwhile On Planet Zorlthrax X9" which may not seem like such a great title but it follows "Meanwhile In Frosthaven" and "Meanwhile In Intersect" so I like it because the title itself works as a kind of joke. ^_^ You never actually know where the heroes are, except for what's in the title.


Finished up a second story called "Ripperology". It's a Jack the Ripper time travel story, and it involves Circuit Girl so it's designed to fit into the first book before she dies. Funny thing is, both stories I wrote today were brand new from scratch. I still haven't figured out what I'm doing in the two stories that I'd begun before this morning....

I lowered my goal because today was the last day I could do it, and I failed last time to make my goal because I didn't lower it in time. Still shooting for 30,000 words though.

I finally figured out the angle for writing Meanwhile in Intersect. See, I wrote about Grandpa and company hanging out at the bar in the dimensional city, and how the plan was to wait for others to show up so that they could use the portal in the bar to jump straight to the Anarchy mansion (because of course Grandpa has a gate to match the one that John Haggard has in his bar), and Grandpa's complaining that there aren't any strawberry pancakes, and his sidekick says, but you can just go home and get some mix, can't you? The portal's right there!

In my head they go home, and maybe just miss stopping Sam Solo and company stealing the Anarchy Saucer. Or they run into the Electric Bluejay and some of his helpers who are checking out the mansion because they got an alert that it was broken into. They talk, maybe Jay and company come back to Intersect... but that wasn't an interesting story. Nothing actually happens, and for days I couldn't figure out what *could* happen that would make it interesting.

And then I finally realized: the very fact that it's not an interesting story is why Grandpa would refuse to even try going home to get some pancake mix, because he knows something *different* would happen. He knows that something would happen that would turn it into an interesting story -- something horrible to him, no doubt. So he's not going to fall for that trick, no way: he ain't going.

After that the whole story fell together. ^_^ In the end still nothing happens, but it's funny now.

...and it's finished. I need to go back to bed.


Finished "Gloom and Doom" which is a more substantial story than I typically write for Grandpa Anarchy. It clocks in at 3,683 words. I've been plotting this story in my head for months but didn't really figure out how to write it until today. But I'm fairly satisfied with what I came up with....


After finishing "Gloom and Doom" I had one story left to write, the last of the "Meanwhile" stories, and then I also needed to make the connection from "Gloom and Doom" to "Strike the Worm" which is the start of the outer space adventures (as opposed to the earlier cross-dimension adventures). So today I came up with this bridge story, called "Blessed and Cursed". It's 1,696 words. I also renumbered all of the stories in book six, so now they're in order. ^_^


So today, while I have yet to finish up "Meanwhile In Zendeth Sector", I started reading through and tweaking/reworking the stories I wrote in April. The first of these was Strike the Worm, followed by The Nonhumans and Painted Into A Corner. The others were fully-formed ideas that I had not yet completed -- or so I thought.

One thing that I had changed was that in The Nonhumans, I had had The Split Second quit as Grandpa Anarchy's sidekick, and Grandpa then made Quantum Uncertainty Boy his new sidekick, and I'd referred to him that way in subsequent stories. But in July I'd decided from the beginning that The Split Second was a plant from the League of Former Sidekicks, so this is finally revealed in Prison World, and Grandpa fires her as his sidekick, and hires Suck It Up Buttercup instead. So I had to fix all the parts where Quantum was called the sidekick.

Another change was that Legal Briefs was no longer with the team, but instead Dog Is My Copilot is there. I had to go through and write Legal Briefs out, and Dog is My Copilot In.

As I was going through making these and other changes so that things made sense, I started working on Bombs Away, which I've mentioned in my writing blog as an unfinished story, although I knew I'd written a lot on it. In fact, I'd written so much on it that it was a complete story... I just didn't remember.

But I did so much rewriting of 4-5 stories that I decided I can count all of Bombs Away as a new story I wrote today, seeing as I apparently never counted it as a written story before.

I also managed to finish off The Intergalactic Order of Space Babes, which I retitled Daughters of Anarchy. First, because there is no Intergalactic Order of Space Babes, instead it's the S.I.B.S. - Society of Intergalactic Space Babes. Second, because the story isn't about them at all, it's about the Daughters of Anarchy, so that should be the title.

So that two stories finished today, more ore less.


Wrote nothing all weekend, then wrote two stories this morning, "When We Last Left Our Heroes..." and "Girl Gravity". :P

Finished another story, Green-Skinned Alien Babe.

I'm not sure how good these stories are but some of them are ones I plotted back in April, so it feels good to be finishing them finally. I still need to go back and write "Meanwhile in Zendeth Sector" but once I do I'll have an unbroken string of 23 stories for this book that kind of tell an overarching story, or at least happen in a clear sequence.

Not to mention the two stories I wrote to insert into book 1.

Also finished "The Further Adventures of Grandpa Anarchy" although I'm not sure I nailed the ending. But hey, four stories in one day! I think I've only done that maybe once before.


I already validated, but today I finished "Llahna's Girl" which clocks in at 1,552 words. I think I've also at least half-figured out how to approach the Secret Crisis story.


I've actually been writing a whole bunch the last 2 days. I'm working on my Infinite Secret Crisis Wars story, which now that I'm into it, is going to be a single story but quite long. I've got a few scenes left to write and stuff to clean up, and I'm already at about 8,500 words. So that puts me over 40,000 total. ^_^


I came soooooo close to wiping out everything I've written this weekend, which was a good 6,000 plus words...

(I was working on the file on the thumb driver rather than the file on my computer... and didn't realize it until I'd almost copied over it.)

Anyway for what it's worth, Infinite Secret Crisis Wars the novella (apparently) is nearly done. Not sure how great a story it makes, but it clocks in currently at 19,047 words, so I've added that to my total. Still need to finish a couple of scenes.

And even though I haven't finished the three stories that lead into it, I've already plotted three stories that follow it. :P

Aaaand... Infinite Secret Crisis Wars is finally done, although I'm sure it needs a lot of editing and rewriting. But the finished story is 20,645 words long.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August Writer's Night 2016

I feel as if I should write about writer's night.  It gives me something to put in this blog of mine, and it helps me remember when and where I read a given story.  I've read a lot of Grandpa Anarchy stories at writer's nights over the past few years, but I tend to forget when I read them after just a month or three.

We had writer's night for August on Saturday.  Since it was one of the hottest days of the year, we decided to hold it at Matt's place in Woodinville which has air conditioning, rather than the small apartment in Ballard where Mike and Gene live, which is a brick building with little shade and can get pretty hot inside.  My apartment is on the first floor and is surrounded by trees -- in fact I've been making "shade tea" lately since there's really no place on any side of my apartment where I can set a sun tea jar so that it's actually in the sun.  So my apartment has remained relatively cool even in hot weather.  But I went for a walk in the midle of the day on Saturday, and by the time I got back I really was not inclined to go anywhere.  I missed writer's night in July however, so I didn't want to miss it again, and my car was just repaired the day before so I could feel safe driving a distance of more than a mile.  Eventually I got myself together and drove all the way up to Woodinville.

We had a big crowd -- Jeff and Jeri-Lynn, Matt, C.D., Gene and Mike, Jared and Sky, Quinn, Chuck.  I think that was everyone.  Quinn read a poem that was quite interesting, and then I read the story "Happy Jack", which of those stories I wrote in July seemed more of a stand-alone with a decent ending.  People liked it, I got some feedback that improved bits of it, and I changed the name to "One Night In Happy Jack's" which was suggested by Chuck and definitely is a better title.  There were some other good suggestions as well.  Chuck read a full Felicia story that he's reworking to submit to an anthology of Fred's.  He said it was based on something he'd read before, but it wasn't until we got to the end that I recognized what was coming.  I think it's been quite a few years since he read the original version.  It was a story of about 14,000 words, and there was a lot of feedback.

Lastly, Gene read three new scenes from a revision of his first fantasy novel.  He also mentioned he's working on a story for a different anthology by Fred.  That made me think two things:  I really need to work on getting some of my stories published, even if it's only the self-published books I have planned, and I really want to work on my own fantasy stories that I've had in my head for years.  I tried to do that last year and didn't get very far.  Maybe that should be my project for NaNoWriMo in November.

Sky had something to read, a reworking of a comic script I think, but we ran out of time so he's going to read it next month.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Scenes From A Story

I've been trying to work my way through Second Class this week, but it's been slow going.

The original idea for this story was that the Black Moon Maidens, led by Black Dahlia, expand into two teams of superheroes.  Part of the story is that Nina Ballerina leaves the League of Two-Fisted Justice, and after some time wondering what to do next, she winds up heading a second team of Black Moon Maiden members.  Another part of the story was Dahlia's struggles to be an effective team leader.  I had envisioned her team having to deal with two major problems at once, which inspires her to form a second team with Nina as the lead.

I had a few scenes written and a lot of ideas.  It was kind of a mess.

I wrote a new first scene.  Originally I began with Dahlia talking to Jay in her office, and complaining about the types of villains they face, and how they're not treated as a serious supergroup.  And then at some point -- maybe in a different scene -- Jay asks her to investigate the murder of one of his superhero operatives.  This all seemed rather static and boring, so my new scene opens with the Black Moon Maidens fighting their arch nemesis Lord Ciprian Calimate, the Count of Calamity.  And then, on a ride back from the fight (provided by Jay and Dog Is My Copilot), Dahlia gets to complain about the quality of the villains her group faces, with Calimate as a prime example.

Now, all of this came about by accident, but I'd noticed a trend.  Early on I'd written the story Magic Is A Bitch, in which part of the joke was that a villain was trying to marry Fire Maiden, who had used a spell to become a woman strictly because he/she liked the name Fire Maiden and it was one of the few "fire" names available -- and the spell wears off.  This was the first time I'd come up with a villain for the Black Moon Maidens, and it made sense in the context of the story that he was trying to marry Fire Maiden.  I imagined him as a kind of Doctor Doom, a cybernetic-armored ruler of his own small European country.  And I decided that he would be their major nemesis -- there were no other candidates for the position, after all.

Later I wrote a story called Four Weddings And Nine Hundred Funerals.  This was one of those stories where the title was the original idea, and then I built a story around it.  I needed four weddings, and I needed enemies with lots of minions to crash each wedding.  Two of the weddings involved DarkFireNinjaCatgirl (she gets divorced after the first one).  I came up with two different rivals for her affection to crash the first wedding, and a crazy anti-gay preacher with an army to crash the other one.  So this gave me three more enemies of the Black Moon Maidens -- two of whom were interested in marrying DarkFireNinjaCatgirl.

Like I said, it was by accident -- the nature of a story about weddings led to me creating that kind of villain, because who is going to object to the wedding if not a romantic rival?  But it occurred to me that three of the four known villains of the group were people who wanted to marry members of the group.  That seemed excessively patriarchal, and something Dahlia would complain about.

So I wrote that scene.  So far, so good.  My next scene was where Jay hands information to Dahlia, but it seemed like I should write instead a scene where they investigate the scene of the murder.  So I did that.  So far so good.  They find an iPhone at the scene, but it's been in a fire because the villain would have tried to destroy evidence.  Ah, but Jay has a computer hacker expert in the form of The Ritsy Cracker, one of many former sidekicks to Grandpa Anarchy!  One of my ongoing themes in the original version of the story is that Dahlia is reluctant to add a new member who is not a tech expert, and the Ritsy Cracker almost counts -- but she's basically a super computer tech/hacker, not really good for anything else.  Still, this seemed like a great way to introduce the character.

I finally sat down to write the scene where Jay supplies Dahlia with vital information pulled from the nearly-destroyed iPhone -- and I began thinking.  What if the phone was too far gone for even a super-hacker to retrieve anything from?  That seems more believable, after all.  What if, instead, the Ritsy Cracker were keeping tabs on every one of Jay's operatives, and hacking their phones and online information?  She would then have all the information they need from the dead operative, but only because she was spying on everyone.  But that sounded like a much more plausible idea, and also a kind of insight into this character that I haven't explored very much.

So I rewrote the scene to have Jay explain how he got the information, but that wasn't interesting enough.  I realized that the moment Jay finds out what the Ritsy Cracker is up to, that's the scene I need to write.  The only important part of the subsequent scene is when Dahlia realizes what the villain is attempting to summon.

Anyway, this is why my writing is sometimes slow.  I write a scene where two people have a conversation, and it seems boring, and eventually I realize I'd much rather demonstrate the problem Dahlia is complaining about in a dynamic fight scene.  I write another scene where two people talk, and it's boring, and I realize I need to backtrack and show the most interesting bits as more dynamic scenes.  It doesn't always occur to me what makes a good scene until after I've written a bad scene.  ^_^

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Another Week of Writing Gone By

I've managed a new story each day this week.  After writing Funeral For A Friend on Monday, I finished Super Secretary on Tuesday, as well as No Surprises, a story that was originally titled What Comes Next, where I add several characters to the League of Two-Fisted Justice.  Wednesday I finished off Complete, and then by Friday I'd written a new story that I called Super Vacation.

All week I've been itching to start rewriting Second Class, my book 4 novella about the Black Moon Maidens.  At this point I only have two stories left to really finish off Book 6.  I haven't written Meanwhile on Zendeth Sector 9 yet, and I need to write X Factor, which is a story that contains several scenes so it's a bit longer than most.  But that feels really good -- I'll have completed everything that I set out (and failed) to do in April for Camp NaNoWriMo, and then set out to complete for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

This feels a bit like July-August-September 2014, which was one of my most creative periods ever.  During that time I wrote most of what's in Book 2 and 3, really expanding my Grandpa Anarchy universe and tripling the number of stories I had written.  So far July and this far into August, I've been at about the same level of productivity.  ^_^  

Nursery Rhymes  8/1  969 words
Punchathon 8/2 1,184 words
Time Waits For No Ninja  8/3  1,507 words
Fairytale Physics 8/5  1,447 words
Grandpa Anarchy 101  8/7  1,637 words
Funeral For A Friend  8/8  1,352 words
Super Secretary  8/9  884 words
No Surprises  8/9  1,691 words
Complete  8/10  710 words
Super Vacation  8/12  1,744 words

Monday, August 8, 2016

Still Writing!

I've got all of these ideas going in my head and I want to write them down.  Over the weekend I think I figured out how to plot and finish my oldest Grandpa Anarchy novella, World of Hero.  I jotted the ideas down because working on that story at this moment would be a huge undertaking, but it's something I need to do at some point.  Then I began thinking about another Grandpa Anarchy novella, Second Class, and now I have some ideas about how to make that one work, and I jotted those ideas down as well -- but again, working on the actual story would be a huge undertaking, even if I have scenes in my head right now and I want to write them down.

I reread a story this weekend titled Four Weddings and Nine Hundred Funerals.  This is one of those stories that began just with a funny title, but within the story I have:  a)  DarkFireNinjaCatgirl marries Popeye Khan  b)  later they divorce and then later still DarkFireNinjaCatgirl marries some Japanese samurai hero,  c)  Wayback Boy and Kid Continuity marry, and d)  Sixteen Tons and a hero called Copyright Infringement Boy marry.

Now all of these weddings are interrupted by armies of ninjas and various bad guy commando armies.  I used established characters the Glitch Kitten and DarkFireDragonNinja* for part of this, but I created new villains along the way -- a 19th century brain in a jar villain named the Clockwork Corsair, who is in love with DarkFireNinjaCatgirl, a villain named the Gentleman Monkey who opposed the wedding of Kid Continuity for some reason, and another villain named the Holy Hatemonger who despises the Black Moon Maidens.

The problem is that I wrote all of this and promptly forgot it.  There's never been any mention of DarkFireCatGirl being married, the Clockwork Corsair, Gentleman Monkey and Holy Hatemonger have never reappeared, and perhaps worst of all, I advanced a plotline where Wayback Boy and Kid Continuity are still at the dating stage and not married.  Some of this was a major problem -- but given that none of the weddings are shown being completed, it was easy to assume that some of the attacks had been successful in stopping them.  I decided that DarkFireNinjaCatgirl had not actually wed a second time, nor had Kid Continuity and Wayback Boy actually followed through with their vows.  I had to do a bit of quick rewriting to make that work, but I think I'm good now.  ^_^

The first thing that all of this brought to mind is that DarkFireNinjaCatgirl seems quite willing to jump into relationships head first.  That got me to wondering who she might be dating now, and I already have an answer.  I just need to figure out what story this news crops up in.

The second thing was that I really need to write about these villains again -- particularly the Holy Hatemonger.   There's a villain who needs to appear a few more times.  I thought about how to work him into my Second Class story, and I realized that maybe he could back off from actual villainy for a bit and just picket the headquarters of the Black Moon Maidens with hate signs.  But then I realized -- Second Class happens before Four Weddings and Nine Hundred Funerals, and in the second story he's a brand new villain that nobody's heard of.  Perhaps before that he was just a hateful pastor.  Perhaps he's already picketing Maiden headquarters, and because of the events in the story, decides at the end to become a villain.  So he's not really tied in to the main plot or subplot of the story, he appears to be just a distraction, but he's a growing threat that will appear later.  ^_^

Anyway, over the weekend I finished up Grandpa Anarchy 101, and then by this morning had also finished Funeral For A Friend.  So that makes six stories in the last seven days.  ^_^

Nursery Rhymes  8/1  969 words
Punchathon 8/2 1,184 words
Time Waits For No Ninja  8/3  1,507 words
Fairytale Physics 8/5  1,447 words
Grandpa Anarchy 101  8/7  1,637 words
Funeral For A Friend  8/8  1,352 words

Friday, August 5, 2016

Another Story Done!

When I was nearly done  with Infinite Secret Crisis Wars, I had a lot of things in the air.  I was changing characters around and adding or removing characters, and there was going to be a lot of fallout following the story -- so I began plotting new stories in my head.

I thought, "There needs to be a story where Circuit Girl and the other new characters join the League of Two-Fisted Justice."  I created a story file for that.

I thought, "Circuit Girl should visit her brother in the fairyland of Amethyst City."  I created a story file for that.

I thought, "Everyone in the Continuity Crusaders has changed or gotten something out of the whole event, save for Natural Twenty who got left behind on earth."  I created a story file about their return.

I thought, "There would be a funeral for Deep Fat Fryer.  Maybe that's where we learn that his niece has inherited his powers."  I created a story file for that.

I thought, "The League of Two-Fisted Justice is growing!  They're also probably making good money from that new cartoon show and the movies.  Maybe they build a brand new headquarters and hire a secretary."  And I even thought of how that could make a good story, so I created a file for that.

Now that I've finished Infinite Secret Crisis Wars and the two stories that lead into it, I've been working on the above ideas.  The  third one became Time Waits For No Ninja.  The second one became Fairytale Physics which I wrote today.  The other three are in the wings, but probably "Funeral For a Friend" comes next.  There's probably at least one more story in there somewhere that I haven't thought of yet.

(As an aside:  the term fairytale physics is one which I believe was coined by Jim Baggott to describe some of the fancy ideas of modern theoretical physics, such as multiverse theory.  My original idea was to have one of the sidekicks try to argue with Grandpa that, even if multiple universes exist, it would be impossible by definition for someone in one universe to travel to another.  Of course, Grandpa does this all the time so the sidekick would be arguing that this is impossible even as they did exactly that.  A funny idea perhaps, but I never managed to find a way to fit it into a story.  Before I knew it I was already past my series of adventures in other dimensions, but I still had a file titled Fairytale Physics in my Book 6 folder.  And then I realized it made a nice title for a story that included discussion on how alternative pregnancy works in a fairytale world.  Actually, I like it as a title better in this context, because it sounds like it's going to be about one thing when really it's referring to something else.)

Just like my other stories, Fairytale Physics was initially a jumble of ideas until I figured out the right setting and order to put them in, and suddenly it became a story.  Circuit Girl visits her brother.  She gives him a copy of her power armor, designed to look exactly like hers from the outside but to fit his body on the inside.  She meets his daughter, and learns how children are born in a fairytale world.  There are a lot of things I managed to squeeze into the story -- cameo appearances from characters who appeared in my past Amethyst stories, for example -- but of course once you figure out the direction of the story, where it begins and where it ends, you can't wander too much, so I didn't get to do more than mention them.  This time around I solved my problem in this way:  my original idea was that the armor that Circuit Girl brings was the big surprise at the end -- the big  reveal (if you can call it that) is that Circuit Girl suspects that her brother will one day have to assume the role of Circuit Girl in her place -- thus the armor which fits him but looks exactly like hers.

This wasn't much of a reveal and the story leading up to that point was just a jumble of dialog on other subjects with no direction.  But I realized that the fun part of the story would be Princess Amethyst -- Circuit Girl's brother -- testing out the armor.  While that's going on, I can toss in the dialog between Prince Humperdink and Circuit Girl about their daughter and how she was born, and a few other things, and the reveal at the end is a situation in which Circuit Girl and Circuit Boy get to use their power armor together in an unexpected battle.  Still not a massive twist reveal, but I think it works okay, and the story flows much better now.  Starting the story with the testing of the armor gives me a setting and lets me explain why the armor has been gifted to her brother, and then leads into dialog with the prince.  It's a small, subtle thing, but suddenly it feels like a scene where everything flows together rather than a bunch of pointless dialog.

So that's another story finished.  I'm happy -- that's four stories since the end of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, so I'm managing to keep writing for the moment.

I was thinking about these things this afternoon and I realized that Circuit Girl has been dead for about 8 years, Guy Shadow has been dead 50 years, and the new Geothermal Jenny comes from a different universe.  They're not going to be familiar with a lot of Grandpa Anarchy's villains and their storylines, and who's been Grandpa's sidekick and where these new heroes come from.  They could use a refresher course... taught by the Electric Bluejay.  I'm quite certain I can spin that into another story.  ^_^  I think I'll call it Grandpa Anarchy 101.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

End of Camp NaNoWriMo Report

My final tally for Camp NaNoWriMo in July 2016 was 24 stories totalling 53,303 words.  Quite a nice result, considering halfway through the month I had cautiously revised my target from 30,000 words to 25,000.  Furthermore I had written 9 stories before this in 2016, and 3 since July 31st, and my goal was 2 a month, so at 36 stories on the year, I'm already at my goal.

Sometimes my stories come to me full-formed, and sometimes I seem to manufacture them out of thin air with no idea where I'm going or how I'll get there.

Case in point:  my story Punchathon, which I finished this week.  I had this general idea -- well, let's stop the and go back even further.

I wrote a story called The Shadow Out of Joe's Mouth.  The title is a play on H.P. Lovecraft titles like The Shadow Out of Time and the Shadow Over Innsmouth, of course -- but the actual idea for the story was that Grandpa would fight a shadow creature, a walking void, which was actually a creation by Grandpa Anarchy comic book writer Joseph Zuzarte, which has somehow come to life.  I never explain how, and by the end of the story Grandpa has not really defeated the creature.

Much later, during Norwescon 2016, I wrote a story in which Grandpa Anarchy is teaching some young heroes fighting techniques for the super-powered.  I literally had no idea where I was going with this or how to end  this story, so I wound up bringing the Shadow of Evil creature from the above story back.  Grandpa had lost the first fight, but now he got to demonstrate what he'd learned since.

I threw shadow creatures into more stories -- Legal Eagle, Happy Jack.  Then I went back and fleshed out an off-screen incident in which the original Shadow of Evil is killed, and wrote a story about it called Eclipsed In Time.

None of this really explained where the shadow creature(s) came from, although the latter stories seemed to suggest they weren't from the comic after all.  But I got an idea in my head about how the creatures could be accidentally unleashed from an interactive comic.  I eventually wrote this in The Further Adventures of Grandpa Anarchy.  And I imagined that  there should be at least two stories of our heroes dealing with the aftermath.  One morning when I was half-asleep, I got an idea where Grandpa Anarchy fights a bunch of weird aliens from a bad comic book story.   They were round creatures with multiple arms and fists, and they fought constantly.  I named them the Pugilists, then later I called them Brawlings.  I got up and wrote the idea down in a file titled Punchathon.

Of course, Punchathon really didn't have a plot.  But later I decided this would be the lead-in story to my Infinte Secret Crisis Wars story/arc, so having the heroes teleported to a distant planet to do battle right as they seem on the verge of finally going home seemed like a fun idea.  I added a bit to suggest that ending.

By the time I was getting ready to actually write the story, I had also decided that Unpossible Man was a big fan of the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice animated show, and I wanted to establish this in an earlier story.  Punchathon seemed like a good choice to do this, because I really had no idea what the story involved yet.  I added some more lines to the file so I would remember to include this idea.

When I went to write the story, I decided to start with Grandpa fighting the Brawlings.  That seemed like the core idea so I wanted to get that down.  I included Kid Continuity so that I could add in dialog explaining what these creatures were, where they came from, and establish that these were the last of the villains unleashed from the comic that they needed to round up.

Next I wanted to have Unpossible Man watching the cartoon show, so I added a different scene back on the space station.  Then I wanted to show the Painter aliens fixing the interactive comic book, so that everything was back to normal and our heroes could head home.

By this point I had 3-4 different scenes and even though I wasn't done yet, I could tell that this wasn't going to work.  Sometimes I can do short shorts with 2 or even 3 scenes, but most of the time you need to do it all in one go.  Everything needs to be bang-bang-bang-ending.  I wasn't even close on this story, and worse,  the scenes really didn't have anything unifying them other than they happened in sequential order.

I decided to start over.  I imagined Kid Continuity and Jennie Nova flying the transport ship down over the area where Grandpa Anarchy was fighting the creature.  In the back of the  transport, Unpossible Man was watching his cartoon.  In the meantime I'd realized  that I had to explain what he was doing there -- originally he wasn't in space with the others, and only showed up when all of the heroes and villains were summoned by the alien entity in the Infinite Secret Crisis Wars story -- so I added a few throwaway lines to cover that.

Suddenly the story came together.   There were still two scenes, but they flowed together much better than before.  By rearranging how I set the story and introduced my themes, I came up with something that I think works pretty well.

Anyway, I lot of my stories come together like that.  ^_^

I finished Infinite Secret Crisis Wars on Sunday, with a little bit of cleanup for the final scene on Monday.  I also wrote Nursery Rhymes on Monday, and then wrote Punchathon on Tuesday.  Those were the two unfinished lead-in stories to the Infinite Secret Crisis Wars story, so that seems pretty well set now.  I still need to  go back and write Meanwhile In Zendeth Sector 9, which is a bridge story that links Meanwhile In Frosthaven to Blessed and Cursed.  Other than that I'm now free to write all of the stories I plotted last week coming out of my big Infinite Secret Crisis Wars story.  The first of these, Busy Bees, retitled Time Waits For No Ninja, is written (mostly yesterday, finished this morning).

Opportunity of a Lifetime  7/3, 917 words
Eclipsed In Time  7/3, 822 words
Status Report  7/4, 1,424 words
Chaos and Order  7/5, 1,913 words
Above the Law   7/6, 1,160 words
Muse  7/7  1,017 words
Shadow Secrets  7/10  2,347 words
Prison World  7/11  1,091 words
Short Circuit  7/12  959 words
Meanwhile In Frosthaven  7/13  1,068 words
The Wight Stuff  7/14 1,647 words
Meanwhile On Planet Zorlthrax X9  7/18  1,176 words
Ripperology  7/18  1,304 words
Meanwhile In Intersect  7/19  1,063 words
Gloom and Doom  7/20  3,683 words
Blessed and Cursed 7/21  1,696 words
Bombs Away  7/22  1,784 words
Daughters of Anarchy  7/22  804 words
When We Last Left Our Heroes...  7/25  1,162 words
Girl Gravity  7/25  1,458 words
Green-Skinned Alien Babe  7/25  838 words
The Further Adventures of Grandpa Anarchy  7/25  1,490 words
Llahna's Girl  7/26  1,552 words
Infinite Secret Crisis Wars  7/31  20,645 words
Nursery Rhymes  8/1  969 words
Punchathon 8/2 1,184 words
Time Waits For No Ninja  8/3  1,507 words