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

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