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.

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