Monday, December 11, 2017

December Story Month Update 12/11/17

My December Story Month is not going quite as well as I would have liked.  I went into the end of last week hoping to finish up Transformation Story (and give it a better title) and also one other shorter story.  By Sunday I hadn't really worked much on either, but I managed to complete a third scene for Transformation Story, so that's something.  I envision it being 5 or 6 scenes in total, so it's at least half written.

Monday I got to work on a story called Silent Spectre which I had listed as my story for day 2, and I managed to finish it.  Very short story, 718 words.  I renamed it Silence Is Golden.  I also did a bit more work on Transformation Story, and that led to a new story idea which I've currently titled My Little Catgirl.  I'm not sure I have a good ending/punchline for that one yet, but I wrote a bit on it.

I also was toying with the idea that my current sidekick raised the money to be transformed into a catgirl (Black Dahlia can do things such as this via magic, but charges a million dollars to keep the number of applicants down) via crowdfunding on the web.  That's the central idea in my new story, actually -- that you could actually raise that kind of money because of the number of fanboys (and fangirls) out there who would enjoy seeing an actual catgirl in action.  So I'm trying to work up what kind of prizes she would offer at various pledge levels, and I also was trying to decide whether I should mention a real/existing crowdfunding site, or make one up that is more superhero related.  I'd done something similar in the past, so I tracked down that story, Startup, and discovered that what I'd previously proposed was a villain-themed site called Lairbuildr that exists on the darkweb.

While that wasn't really helpful to my current story, I read through the story and realized I liked it quite a bit, so I decided to post it as my story of the week.  It's definitely one of those that is short and sweet and works really well in my opinion -- it has a good punchline.

I still want to finish up Transformation Story, and rewrite the ending of Enigma, but this week I need to work on my Christmas ghost story, which for now is the story I thought up last week called The Library of Dreams.  I also dug up another old story idea and called it my story idea for yesterday... I didn't write down any stories for Friday or Saturday and I'm not sure I'll go back and do that after the fact, so for now here's my list for the month:

December Story Month 2017

Day 1:  Arachnope
Day 2:  The Silent Spectre / Silence Is Golden(finished)
Day 3:  Enigma (finished, needs rewrite)
Day 4:  The Library of Dreams
Day 5:  Transformation Story  (half written)
Day 6:  The Tremors of the Earth
Day 7:  The Deal
Day 8:  
Day 9:
Day 10:  Top Hats and Bustiers
Day 11:  My Little Catgirl

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Story Month Update Dec 6 2017

Today is Day 6 of my "December Story Month 2017" which is where I try to do a lot more writing than I managed for NaNoWriMo.  My plan is to work on a new story each day, but also to finish at least some of these stories.  I'm being hampered a bit in that goal by the fact that I keep coming up with longer-than-normal stories, but I figure I'll just keep plugging away at them and see what I can accomplish.

So far here's what I've come up with:

Day 1:  Arachnope  This is an old story idea that I pulled up and started writing on.  I didn't get too far but I have an idea of how I want the story to go, if I can find the time to finish it.

Day 2:  The Silent Spectre  I didn't actually write Saturday but I've listed this story as my story for that day.  It's just a two-line idea right now about a villain who never speaks.

Day 3:  Enigma (finished, needs rewrite)  I sort of finished this story Sunday but I've already come up with two ideas for better endings.  One of them I saved to a file called The Deal since it seemed to better work as a separate story.  I still need to rewrite this so that it works better.

Day 4:  The Library of Dreams  This is a Christmas ghost story that I came up with Monday after watching an anime Sunday.  It's only about 1/4 written.

Day 5:  Transformation Story.  This is another old story idea which ultimately has nothing to do with the title.  I may rename it One of the Girls.  This introduces the niece of demonic lawyer Mal.  I've written part of this one in the last 24 hours, and I'm working on it today, but it's nowhere near finished.

Day 6:  The Tremors of the Earth.  This is also an old story, this and Enigma and Transformation Story are sort of a trilogy about a certain group of characters.  I have ideas about how this story will work, but not very much of it is written down.  I'm also writing them in reverse order, for some reason.

I will probably wind up listing The Deal as my story for tomorrow.  It's something I've worked on a bit this week already.

So basically I have six or seven stories partially written, one of them "complete" except that I immediately began tearing it apart again.  A reasonable goal would be to finish my rewrite of Enigma, and maybe also finish up Transformation Story and at least one other by the end of the week.  I do need to be working on the Christmas Ghost story.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Post NaNo 2017 Report

Last month I planned to jump into NaNoWriMo, and I posted to my blog on the 2nd day with plans to chronicle my journey throughout the month.  This would mean more writing on top of trying to write 50,000 words, but I didn't see a problem with it.  I wrote that I was working on a novella-length story called The Companions:  Body Snatchers of Ator (Io, Yan, the title has changed a few times).

Well... I didn't finish that story, and I didn't write any more blog posts.  I ultimately failed my NaNoWriMo goals.  I didn't really keep track but I may have written 10,000 to 12,000 words during the month.  I finished four stories -- which has been about my average over the last year plus.

The more detailed rundown is this:  I worked on Body Snatchers of Ator, but I got bogged down and wasn't feeling inspired.  After several days of this I started working on a different Kid Anarchy story called The Companions:  All In Good Time, about Kid Anarchy's first meeting with Happy Jack.  In theory this was going to be a shorter story, but once I got into it it transformed into a longer one and I got bogged down again.

I switched up and wrote a short story, Gadda Da Vida.  (I may also have written As High As the Falcon in early November -- at this point I can't remember.)  After another week I managed to turn out Return of the Holy Terror and Edgewise, and over Thanksgiving weekend I wrote Black Friday.

That was it for my month -- four completed short stories, work done on two longer stories.

I decided for December that I was going to at least start a new story each day, but so far that hasn't really gone well.  On Friday Dec 1st, I began work on an old story idea called Arachnope, but I didn't really get that far on it.  I was still thinking about it on Saturday when I began working on another old story idea called Enigma.  I actually wrote quite a bit on Enigma Sunday night -- really my first writing of the month -- but what I got was a story with little conflict.  But I think I know how to fix it, and sometimes you have to write a bad story before you know how to write a good one.

That's been it so far.  I have potentially one or two other stories that are connected to the ideas in Enigma, so I may get at least two stories out of that, but so far I've only "began" two stories this month and neither are complete yet.  But at least I'm writing.

I'm supposed to write a Christmas ghost story as well, and I had some ideas for one this morning based on an anime I was watching over the weekend.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

2017 NaNoWriMo Journal Day 1

I'm not the sort who stays up until midnight so that I can get an early jump on National Novel Writer's Month.  I've done this a number of years and I'm quite confident in my ability to keep up the pace with my writing, so I'm very content to write starting in the daytime after a good night's sleep.

This year NaNoWriMo found me in the middle of a long, possibly novella-length Grandpa Anarchy story.  I had been planning to write more stories about the companions that Kid Anarchy fought with in the 1920's, and I wanted at least one of these stories to be set in outer space.  Originally I was planning to write a story based on a Pulp-O-Meter title, Secrets of the Shrieking Forrest, which I envisioned as an adventure on another world with Lady Prometheus and Elias Nova.  But checking my timeline, Elias Nova was born in 1923, while Lady Prometheus worked with Kid Anarchy from 1920 to 1921.

I decided instead to write a story involving Dr. Thomas Nova (father of Elias) and to set it in 1922, a year before the birth of Elias.  This meant that the companion at the time was Machine Gun Molly, someone I hadn't written about yet.  I also had a sudden strong desire to tell a brain-swap / body-snatcher story in the mold of Edgar Rice Burrough's A Mastermind of Mars, possibly the first story of that sort I evere read, and one of the earliest in the genre in any case.  I dug out my copy and started rereading it, but when I got around to writing my story, quite a lot of what I came up with was nothing like the Burroughs novel.

I made decisions based on wanting to tweak or play with the idea that aliens could look just like humans -- and not only that, but like European Caucasian men.  You know, what kind of story would Superman have been if he were more African or Asian?  Suppose a brilliant inventor builds a starship in 1910, travels to another star (we'll just say the closes to earth, Proxima Centauri), and he finds aliens that can pass for human -- but of African descent?  That sounded like a fun twist.

I built up my story, adding in a brother of Machine Gun Molly, and a cripped boy who was the neighbor of Dr. Nova and was going to recieve a new, healthy body.  That's the purpose of the trip -- Dr. Nova has been to this planet once before and now has a much faster ship and a reason to go back.

I called this story The Bodysnatchers of Io at first, then came up with names for the planets they were visiting and renamed it The Bodysnatchers of Yan, but for some reason it was a planet called Ator where the bodysnatching happened, so I eventually renamed it again to The Bodysnatchers of Ator.  I kind of like Yan for the title more, but I was too lazy to go through the entire story swapping the names of the two planets.

I wrote a lot of half-scenes and bits of dialog as I fleshed out my idea and developed a plot, and by the time I was done I had a first scene mostly written, but a lot of incomplete and partial scenes after that.  Still, it was over 16,000 words, and probably less than half done.

I was going to try and get this story finished before NaNoWriMo but I failed the write anything most of the last five days of October.  So on November 1st I made note of how much was written on the story, and I set about writing the second scene.

I did a lot of research on starships of the 1920's.  There is a lot of art from the 20's and 30's so I created a Pinterest Pin named Starship 1920 and added anything I could find to it that seemed to fit.  I found more stuff searching for Steampunk starships and Steampunk blasters than I did trying to search for 1920's starships, but eventually I had a nice selection of stuff to look at as needed.  I downloaded E.E. Doc Smith's Galactic Patrol, since it was one of the earliest stories I could think of that definitely had starships in it.  I was curious how he would describe them.

Finally I committed a few lines to describing the ship as it landed at the alien planet, and proceeded to write about 1,000 words of the second scene.  I wanted this to be a classic rocket ship like people envisioned back then -- sleek, with wide fins that it would rest on when it landed.  I had fun with a description of the interior of the ship as well -- what would someone in the 1920's consider futuristic and modern?  Lots of brass dials and switches and levers, flashing lights, maybe space sonar, leather seats, inlaid wood dashboard.  Rivets and shiny steel.  Very modern indeed!

I'm not necessarily convinced that this story is worth writing at this point, but I'm going to have as much fun with it as I can.  If I finish, there's always Oz on the Half Shell to complete, and even World of Hero if I can get to it.

For now, I'm a bit behind thanks to wasting so much time researching things like what a 1920's starship should look like, and when were words like robot and cyborg first used.  But I can catch up quickly.  I'm planning to keep a journal here of how my NaNoWriMo challenge progresses -- and I'm not even counting any of this writing in my NaNoWriMo total.  ^_^

"Ator is also where I learned about body swapping," said the scientist.  "There are shops where you can peruse a selection of human and alien bodies and, once you've paid for your selection, your brain is removed and placed within the new body.  It's an ingenious operation, unlike anything possible on earth, or even by most races within the empire.  Only the Shoyuengo are able to manage it -- weird alien creatures, blue and green and purple, with dozens of thin, octopus-like tentacles with which they perform the most delicate of surgeries.  Every body shop has a family of them in their employ, and it's said that theirs is one of the richest species in the galaxy.
"I befriended the owner of one such shop.  His name is Ancel Arratamok, and his shop is called Body By Design.  He likes to give to charity and help out people in need.  One thing that he does is give out flesh and blood bodies to those who need them, in exchange for for a month's work for him and his shop.  He said he would donate a body for my friend Jason here, if I helped him with the body snatchers."
"Body snatchers?" Kid Anarchy asked.
"Indeed!   They're a big problem on Ator.  They remove your brain and place it in a box that allows for vision, sound and voice, and will keep you alive for up to thirty days.   Then they make off with your brainless body to sell on the black market."
"It's come to something when not even your body is safe from being stolen," Kid Anarchy said.
"The cost for a young, healthy body can be quite high," said Dr. Nova, "multiple times the average yearly salary, so I'm told.  I could never afford one.  That's why Ancel's offer is so generous.  Of course, he promises only one of the cheapest bodies in his shop, but still -- I had to take advantage of it."
"And you invited Kid Anarchy and I along for extra muscle," Molly said.  "Makes sense."  She cocked her tommy gun and added, "Don't you worry, Doc -- Kid Anarchy and I will bust those fluky gimlets in no time flat, just like we broke up that woofy Vizinni gang!  Am I right?"
"Danged straight," Kid Anarchy replied.  "You point us at them, Doc, and we'll mow 'em down."

Monday, October 30, 2017

NaNoWriMo Approaches

My big plan for last week, and then for the weekend, was to finish up a story I've been working on currently titled The Bodysnatchers of Yan.  This is one of my Companion stories, set in 1922, and it's also a space opera story of sorts involving Dr. Thomas Nova.  It's a pretty long story at this point, novella-length, and I wanted to finish it up before NaNoWriMo began on November 1st.  But I also wanted to write a Halloween-themed or spooky story of some sort to publish for Monday or Tuesday.

Anyway I was lazy and wrote nothing all weekend.

I reread what I wrote last year.  I worked hard on an old fanfic story of mine called Nerima All-Stars, which is sort of a Ranma/Ah My Goddess crossover, and sort of a superhero story.  I like the idea, and I really like much of what I wrote last year, but I'm not prepared to publish another unfinished fanfic story, I want to complete it first.  So working on that this year is an option, I might be able to finish it off with another 50,000 words.

But I also have several long-form Grandpa Anarchy stories that I'd like to complete.  There's the always-close-to-completion Oz On The Half-Shell that I've worked on a couple of times during previous NaNo events.  There's my old novella World of Hero that is supposed to take place in book two, that I would really like to finally finish.  Then there's this new story, Bodysnatchers of Yan, which I'd like to finish as well.  In fact I have a whole set of Companion stories in mind, and working on those could easily be my NaNo project.

There's also two other long stories that I've had on the back burner for a long time:  the Black Moon Maidens story Second Class, and the Serial Anarchy novel.

Right at the moment I'm leaning towards finishing up Bodysnatchers of Yan and Oz On The Half-Shell, and then maybe working on World of Hero.  That means leaving Nerima All-Stars for another day.

Of course, I need to work on my other fanfic Girl's School as well....

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Current Writing Projects

On Sunday I finished up a story called Hurricane Punch.  This was my second "tall tale" story in which Jay Medberry tells a shaggy dog story about Grandpa Anarchy's past.  I don't think it works as well as the first one, but eh, it's done, I can maybe rework it a bit later.

On Tuesday I managed to finish another story that I began on Sunday called As High As The Falcon.  I wrote this because I'd worked up a full back story for the sidekick known as HighSis, and although she'd appeared in 2-3 stories so far, I really hadn't been able to explain much of it.  So that was the focus of this story.  Again, it's finished, I'm not sure I liked it that much but eh, another story down.

At this point I'd finished every story that I've worked on recently -- I had no pressing in-progress stories to finish.  It felt like a clean slate -- like I'd cleared away other issues and it was time to focus on something else.  I thought, it's time to go back and write some of my older ideas finally.  I have a collection of stories that are kind of related because they deal with Kid Anarchy and that time period in Grandpa Anarchy's life, so these are the stories I want to complete in the next few weeks:

X-Factor:  I plotted this story for Book 6 and then never finished it.  It's my only incomplete story from that cycle.  Throughout Book 6 I had stories in which Continuitae and Saturnae and their group slowly piece together some of the riddles of Grandpa Anarchy's past, like who Guy Shadow actually was, and who they mysterious Miss X, his first sidekick, actually is.  This story was the one where they finally put it all together, and it's about half-written.  I fee like I need to finish it before moving on to these other projects.

The Companions:   This is a story I set up in a few other stories -- particularly in Tell Me A Story, in which The Princess of Purple Prose joins forces with Continuitae and Annie Two in order to work on a book about Kid Anarchy and the Companions that he worked with in the 1920's.  I'd been working my way up to this ever since I wrote Teddy's Bear, which included the companion Lady Prometheus, and Until That Day, in which the companion Miss Bloodraven is discovered to be alive.  I also wrote The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven and My Sister the Computer, both of which involved Miss Bloodraven.  Later I wrote Elixer, another story that included Lady Prometheus, and I believe I've written at least one story that featured Hellfire Lass, aside from The Ring of Hanubatum.

Anyway, I've clearly thought about this story a lot, but I've yet to write anything on it.

The Ring of Hanubatum:  I wrote this story for Book 8, and I've rewritten it once or twice since. I haven't published it yet because it's very long, but also because I feel it needs another rewrite, and I haven't managed that in the last half year.  Rewriting this story and finally publishing it is one of my goals.  This story deals tangentially with Hellfire Lass -- that is, Grandpa Anarchy and Hellfire Lass's great granddaughter discovers the ring that Hellfire Lass once used.

The Devil and Miss Elsie:   This is a story I plotted as a follow-up to The Ring of Hanubatum.  It is specifically meant to take place after a book on the Companions has been published, and news media begin to dig into the past of Grandpa Anarchy's family again -- especially now that they know that the woman he married had been Hellfire Lass.

The Cephalopod That Befriended The Wind:  I had plans to write at least one story about each of Kid Anarchy's Companions.  There are five that I've mentioned or figured out -- Lady Prometheus, Miss Bloodraven, Sub Zero Sadie, Hurricane Hazel, and Hellfire Lass.  When I was playing around with the Pulp-O-Meter pulp magazine cover generator last year, I came up with a few titles that might have been stories involving those companions.  This was one of them, and the only one I actually have written anything on -- I have a half-scene written, and some vague ideas of what direction the story should take.  I was hung up on making a comparison to the Superman story trope of an alien coming to earth who looked just like a white American, but that's a story that had not been invented yet in the 20's.  There are still ways I can make it work, but I got bogged down and never got anywhere with the story.  I'd like to finish it though -- it's my only story that involves Hurricane Hazel.

The Thing In The Ice:  This was going to be a Sub Zero Sadie story.  I only have vague ideas of what might happen, but one of them is that possibly Sadie is another of the Companions who lies sleeping in ice somewhere, waiting to be awoken.  I haven't even created a story file for this yet.

The Secrets of the Shrieking Forest:  This is another Pulp-O-Peter title that I imagined as a pulp space adventure featuring Miss Bloodraven and Grandpa Anarchy.  I don't even have a file on it yet.

All In Good Time:  This is a possibly related story set in Grandpa Anarchy's past, that tells of how he and Happy Jack first met.  It might be possible to work in a companion like Hellfire Lass into the story as well -- not much is written yet.

Those were my existing story ideas, but Ia couple of other possibilities came to me as I began thinking about all of this stuff.

First, I need to write a story that demonstrates Continuitae's power of Absolute Continuity and The Princess of Purple Prose's power of Dramatic Climax Pivot working in tandem.  I don't really know how I'd do that, but now that they're team mates I need to figure it out.  I might call this story Continuity Pivot.

Second, it seems to me that, once you publish a book about Kid Anarchy's Companions, the next step might be to assemble one or two volumes of the collected works of Evron Lempel, the author who wrote most of the pulp stories featuring Kid Anarchy.  There's a plot angle as well -- one of those stories was almost impossibly rare, and helped them figure out who Miss X was.  Miss X is a powerful sorceress who doesn't want people to know who she is.  They might be convinced to alter the story a bit to hide her identity.  Also, in Tell Me A Story I mentioned that there are several unpublished or unfinished stories of Lempel's, that they might try to include in a collected works.

I don't have a title for that yet -- maybe something as simple as Collected Works.  Tangentially, some of the information they gathered on Kid Anarchy and Miss X came from an out-of-print and obscure autobiography called I Was A Monkey's Uncle.  Monkey's Uncle was one of the members of the probably short-lived supergroup The New Revised New World Heroic Society, which included Mr. Anarchy (as he was calling himself by then), Hellfire Lass, and someone known as Slay Belle.  Possibly one or two others were involved, and Dermota Avalon was mentioned as a kind of mentor for the group.  This happened in 1932, and Mr. Anarchy married Lucy in 1933 -- who had been Hellfire Lass, but gave up her hero identity at that point.

All of this is to say, our group of writers/publishers might next reprint the Monkey's Uncle autobiography, or just write a volume about the New Revised New World Heroic Society.  I might be able to spin that into another story.

Lastly, there's some interesting events that I've placed in my timeline in the early/mid 1920's:

1924 Edwin R. Scott invents a death ray, sells it to Mad Lord Hadrusal.
1924 Professor Victorian Honesty St. Normal, Mr. Anarchy's neighbor, suffers "that dimensional incident" and apparently dies.
1924 Birth of Evangeline Alexandria Avalon, daughter of Dermota Avalon.  May be Grandpa Anarchy's daughter.
1925 Kid Anarchy stops Mad Lord Hadrusal from conquering the world, destroyed death ray.  Scott can't make another.

None of these events have ever been directly written about, but there's at least three stories here.  The most interesting to me is that I decided to slip in a note about Evangeline Avalon possibly being Grandpa Anarchy's daughter?  I don't remember doing that.  Dermota Avalon is much older than Kid Anarchy at the time, but she's a powerful sorceress and probably looked much younger than she was.  Evangeline Avalon is Miss X, Grandpa's very first sidekick, and also a powerful sorceress who is still around.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Writer's Night for September, & A Tall Tale & Wish Fulfillment

I skipped Writer's Night for August, although I no longer remember why.  Writer's Night for September was in North Seattle at Gene and Mike's.  There were only a few of us there -- Gene, Mike, Jeff, myself, Matt and CD.

Gene read a scene that he'd just finished writing (he was still writing after I arrived).  It was quite good, especially considering that he'd just completed it.  ^_^

I read a story written in August, Monumental Error.  I don't think there were any major problems with it, other than it seems a bit long but there is no obvious section that I can just cut, so I'll have to try and edit and trim bits and pieces to whittle it down.

Although nobody else had anything to read, C.D. discussed an idea he had for a Tai-Pan story.  It would be a big undertaking but I'm hoping he can write it; it'd be a pretty exciting tale I think.

Gene made roast beef.  Or Mike did, probably.  It was good.


I finished a story today that I called Time Trip.  This was a story I began last week.  I just suddenly wanted to write a shaggy dog/tall tale kind of story about Grandpa Anarchy, with someone else telling the story.  I've written a few of these kind of stories for the Tai-Pan set on the Quantum Lady, usually with Bottles the bartender telling the story, and I thought it would be pretty easy to do a similar Grandpa Anarchy story.

Now, when I wrote these Tai-Pan stories, I normally found a shaggy dog story that I thought I could rewrite into something Bottles would tell, and worked from there.  But for my Grandpa Anarchy story the inspiration to do it just came to me very suddenly, and so I wrote down, "Did I ever tell you about the time Grandpa Anarchy sat in on a session with the Grateful Dead?"  I wanted to work in that he'd played bongo drums, so was considering changing this opening line, but after a day or two I decided to up the ante, first to "played drums for the Grateful Dead" and then later to "helped form the Grateful Dead".  Because if you're going to tell a tall tale, go big.

As interesting as this opening line was, I had no idea where I was going with it -- I had no actual shaggy dog story in mind.  At first, I wasn't even sure I was telling a shaggy dog story -- I just wanted to tell a Grandpa Anarchy story in a new way that I hadn't done before.  I figured out the setting (a secret bar used by the the Eternal Order of the Second Banana, a secret organization of former sidekicks).  I knew the person speaking was Jay Medberry, aka the Electric Bluejay, one of Grandpa's earliest sidekicks, the man who built the original Anarchy Computer, and one of the founders (and the public face of) Temporary Superfriends, the sidekick temp agency that supplies Grandpa with most of his sidekicks.  Few people would be in a better position to tell tall stories from Grandpa's past than him.  The other people present would be other sidekicks that I've written a lot about, such as Black Dahlia and naturally Continuitae (formerly Kid Continuity), head of the Grandpa Anarchy fan club.

I hadn't figured out who the bartender was, yet.  I was still working out who the villain was, and who the sidekick was.  The setting for the actual tale would be in San Francisco in the sixties, of course.

At this point I had a lot of things written down and I finally decided that I really was writing a kind of shaggy dog story, so it needed a punch line.  Coming up with the punch line halfway through the story is not the ideal way to do it, but I considered for a bit and I actually came up with something that I thought would work.  Based on my punchline idea, I filled in the names and backgrounds for a villain, a hero whom Grandpa is helping, and a sidekick.

I finished it today.  It needs a bit of tightening up, but I think it works.  ^_^  I want to write at least two more stories in a similar vein, and I think I'm going to write them in the same manner -- outrageous opening line first, and then figure out what the story and punchline actually is after.  ^_^  So right now I'm trying to think of my next Did I ever tell you the story of when Grandpa Anarchy did ____ line.


On a side note, yesterday I watched 9 episode of an anime that comes straight out of the reincarnated into a new world genre that I was talking about a month ago.  This one is called In Another World With My Smartphone.  It's just about exactly what it sounds like -- boy dies, is reincarnated into a fantasy world, is allowed to keep his smartphone (slightly adapted for the new world, and powered by magic) and is granted nearly unlimited power.  A lot of these stories are pure wish-fulfillment but this one take it to lengths I have never seen.  From the start he is incredibly quick in a fight and knows how to use weapons.  Almost immediately he trades in his modern clothes to a crazy tailor for something more fantasy-oriented plus multiple gold coins, so he's flush with cash right off the bat.  He meets several cute girls, forms an adventure party, and discovers that he can practice every kind of magic known (something unheard of) and can pretty much learn any spell in any branch of magic just by hearing about it or reading about it.

So far so good.  By our second or third episode he's saved the daughter of a powerful duke, has been rewarded with multiple pieces of platinum (a king's ransom, in other words), and befriended the duke.  Everyone loves him, beautiful young girls flock to him.  He is, of course, a pure and selfless and extremely kind guy, if also a bit shy and dense because Japanese male protagonists always seem to be.

By episode 4 he's engaged to the daughter of another duke, the brother of the first.  This places him in line to the throne.

He learns to teleport anywhere with his magic.  He summons the most powerful creature possible -- a white tiger king -- as his pet.  He defeats a dragon that is terrifying a village, and donates all the valuable parts of the dragon to the village to help them recover -- but they are so overcome with happiness that they force him to take a tooth.  He uses this to craft a new weapon (his sword broke in the fight) and he makes a gun, which can transform into a sword and back with just a word.  The girls following him want guns too, so he makes guns for them.  He just waves his hand and things happen.

It was kind of interesting just to see what they would do next to make his life even better.  Everything he does is easy.  When he travels to a Japanese-like land that is involved in war, in which an evil sorcerer is controlling a massive undead army, he slays the army with one spell, and defeats the sorcerer with another very simple spell.  Basically he waves his hand at massive problems and they vanish.  He also invents all sorts of things people have never seen before -- ice cream, bicycles.  Aside from a couple of villains, everyone loves him and nobody is jealous or ever considers stealing from him or taking his powerful magic smartphone.

I think I kept watching because I've really never come across a story that was so blatantly wish-fulfillment, even in fan fiction.  That this got made into an anime is kind of mind boggling.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

One Year of Stories!

A year ago in August 2016, I was in a Tai-Pan meeting where we were discussing the end of our regular zine publishing, and what we would do in the future with new stories (which... I always have intended to work on, but mostly haven't in the last couple of years.)  The answer was that we could just publish stories online, which is kind of how things are done these days anyway -- very few people in fandom produce printed zines.

Anyway, this kind of led to an epiphany for me:  why can't I just start publishing Grandpa Anarchy stories online?  Originally I had intended to assemble enough short stories to fill a book (which I still intend to publish), and I had never really intended to publish any of those stories online first -- but by 2016 I had enough short stories completed to fill about six books, and I was still writing more.  There was no reason I couldn't say, "From this moment forward, I'll publish any new stories I write online."

This was an idea I'd had in the back of my head for a long time, but on that day in August I realized that I should stop thinking about it and just do it.  I went home and researched what kind of web sites I could assemble easily with a service like Squarespace, and then I decided that, really, Google's Blogspot did just about everything I needed anyway.  It was simplicity itself to set up a new blog for my Grandpa Anarchy stories -- the hard part was making sure I had a new story written to publish every week.

I've mostly been really good at doing that.  I haven't always published on Monday as promised, but I've managed a new story every week for a full year.  At this point I've published 65 stories, and most of those (about 50 total) were newly written since I started.  I've published one "classic" story a month (although I forgot to do this for August 2017 -- or did I?  I published two stories last week, and they were both "classic" in the sense that I wrote them before August 2016.)  On a few other occasions I've published older stories that seemed to fit a theme:  a ghost story around Halloween, the two stories last week to coincide with the eclipse.

I'm happy that I've been able to keep publishing new stories every week.  It was a nice goal and it's kept me from getting too lazy about my writing.  Some stories are better than others, it's hard to make them all work really well when I'm under pressure to publish something each week.  The blog is pretty small in the grand scope of things -- recently I've been getting 25-30 views per post, with a high of 38.  When I started out I was lucky to get a dozen views.  ^_^  Mostly I enjoy the challenge to keep writing something new each week.

Currently I'm working on a story about a villain called the Malevolent Marketeer, and one about a washed-up villain that Grandpa decides to help out over the protests of his sidekick.  I've only written 1 or 2 stories for the month of August.  I have 7 stories in the queue not including the one I'm publishing for this week, so right now I'm looking okay -- not as far ahead as I'd like, but not in panic-mode either.  Hopefully I can get at least one of the two above stories finished this week and not fall further behind.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nazi Hunter & Other Story Ideas

I haven't written anything in more than a week and a half.  I was hoping to write 1-2 stories each week after the end of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, but I've fallen into a bit of a rut.  I still haven't finished Motivational Poser, the story I was ostensibly trying to write all of July.  I took a lot at some of my earlier ideas from June and decided to work on a story titled Enigma, which may be two completely unrelated stories, and the one I'm actually working on -- about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to -- probably needs a completely different name.

I've been thinking about this story for days without knowing exactly how to begin it or what the plot is.  Every plot I considered was a much longer story than I wanted to write, but it may be that this is a subject that can't be fit into a 1,500 word story.  I think I finally hit upon something when I decided that not only would the Gentleman Brawler be given a new life, but also his nemesis the Boston Breaker, who originally killed him.

But then -- the Boston Breaker was not really his nemesis.  That was Madman Judas.  He also fought other villains, sometimes with the aid of friends.  The only one I definitively have written into my history is that he teamed up with Nikola Tesla and fought Rasputin on June 30, 1908 -- and that Tesla used a Death Ray that was responsible for the Tunguska event.  But I also know another mad scientist named Professor Honestly St. Normal was his next door neighbor, so he probably fought that guy too.

The point is, the Boston Breaker was a no-name strikebreaker thug in a costume, who probably had never met the Gentleman Brawler before the encounter in which the Breaker killed the Brawler.  The Boston Brawler's only claim to fame is that incident -- he'd have been forgotten by history if not for that.  So calling him the Gentleman Brawler's nemesis his a huge stretch.

I still want to bring him back and have them face off, because from the view of history, it makes sense that the person who killed you is some sort of nemesis.  I just don't think it makes sense from the Gentleman Brawler's point of view.  He has zero respect for this guy.

Anyway, I've written a bit on that.  It gives me an angle to work from.

This past week Twitter has been filled with talk of Nazi's and fascists, and many call-backs to what people like Stan Lee have said on the subject in the past, or what cartoon characters did to fight Nazi Germany during World War II.  I even bought a book from Amazon on the subject -- Take That, Adolf!  The Fighting Comic Books of the Second World War.  Take That, Adolph!

My hope is that I can get some ideas for a couple of Grandpa Anarchy stories from this book, but I've already written part of a story based on things I've read on Twitter.  Grandpa Anarchy has a long history of fighting Nazi supervillains -- but to date I haven't actually explored that as much as I could.  His first big nemesis was a Nazi superscientist named Doctor Zero Hour.  I've also established in a couple of stories that he fought a female supervillain named Frauline Hatra, who has a secret Hatra organization (I wanted something similar to Captain America's Hydra).  There ought to be several more, I just have never figured out who they were.

I've also used them several times in stories, but I've never had them argue their Nazi philosophy with Grandpa.  That's what I'm trying to do with what I wrote today -- although I haven't figured out exactly how to build a story around it, or what the punchline would be.  I titled it "Nazi Hunter" for now, because I like the idea of a Nazi Hunter.  One of the things I read on Twitter this week was about Arnold Schwartzenegger donating 100,000 dollars to a charity that teaches tolerance, and was named after a famous Nazi Hunter who was Arnold's friend.  That seems like something that needs to be in a story somewhere.

I've mostly tried to avoid making direct reference to recent world events or people in my stories.  Grandpa has met the president before, and it was someone other than any actual real president we've had.  So I don't want to suddenly establish in my Grandpa universe that Donald Trump is president -- but maybe someone similar could be a stand-in for him.  I'll have to figure that part out.  Actually, if the president were to turn out to be a super villain, that could be a lot of fun.  ^_^  But that's something that just occurred to me -- that would take a lot of work to set up and deal with.

I might want to have one of Grandpa's sidekicks turn out to be a right-wing nut who buys in to Nazi ideals and becomes a villain.  He's had sidekicks become villains before, but mostly because they decided they didn't like him.

Anyway, if I'm lucky I'll be able to craft at least one of these ideas into an actual story by tomorrow or on the weekend.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Was A Reincarnated Teenaged Love Vending Machine

Over the weekend I stumbled across something that I had no idea existed although I probably should have known.  I read lots of translated online manga, and I was aware that some of them came from light novels, and I've even read some translated light novels online so I knew that those existed... and logically a light novel (which does not require great writing skill -- or any at all) is much easier to create than a manga or comic -- and yet it hadn't occurred to me that there might be thousands upon thousands of translated light novels available on the web.  I mean, they're basically fan fiction stories without the benefit of being based on a novel/manga/anime/game.  In this case Sturgeon's Law probably doesn't go nearly far enough, but... well, let's discuss just one weird sub-genre.

Apparently in Japan and China, and possibly other parts of the world, it's very popular to write a story in which your character steps in front of a truck and gets reincarnated into a new world.  Perhaps (almost certainly) this is a generic fantasy world, and perhaps (quite often) it's based on a fantasy MMO -- although being reincarnated into a dating simulation game is apparently also quite popular (and leads to some of the more X-rated stories I imagine).  Another thing many of these stories include is the idea of "cheat codes" -- an apparently incompetent god or goddess gives our protagonist "cheats", basically giving you amazing powers so that you rule this new world as an overpowered individual.

These stories appear to be so common, in fact, that there appears to be a significant sub-sub-genre in which the overpowered hero or heroine does nothing with their abilities.  They sleep all day, or run an inn.  Everyone is shocked that they don't try to take over the world.

You can search on these subjects:  reincarnated into another world, reincarnated into a game world, cheat code, reincarnated into a monster, reincarnated into an object.   (Really!)  There are hundreds of tags to search on to help you find the exact type of story you're looking for, and many of the titles are so helpful that the entire story plot is right there in the title.  These are the ones that amuse me the most.

Because There Were 100 Goddesses in Charge of Reincarnation, I Received 100 Cheat Skills.  Yes this is an actual story title, and you should not be surprised at what's coming.  It's all there in the title.

Although I am Only Level 1, but with This Unique Skill, I Am the Strongest.  Who needs 100 Cheat Skills when you have This One Unique Skill?  (Sounds like a clickbait title).

I'm OP, but I Began an Inn.  Well, not everyone wants to conquer the world.

Blessing from the Goddess and Transfer to Another World! ~No Thanks, I Don't Need a Special Ability~  Because this whole cheat code in the new life thing is done to death, apparently.

All of these are also actual story titles:

I Seemed to Be About to Be Considered to Be a Sacrifice, I Am Fine.  But I Became a Woman.
I Reincarnated As a Girl in Another World, but it Was Okay Because I Was Together With a Girl
Charging Magic With a Smile ~ Infinite Magic Power After Being Reincarnated into a Different World
After Reincarnating into This Game World I Seemed to Have Taken Over the Controls of Status
I Decided to Not Compete and Quietly Create Dolls Instead
I Became the Villainess's Brother
I Reincarnated and Tried to Become a Genius Child Actor.  I Want to Quit.
I Ended up as the Hero's Mother After Reincarnating?!
I Have Reincarnated into [Welcome to the __ Town!] Townsperson A, But the Last Dungeon Was Right Around the Corner

The last one strikes me as one of the oddest:  reincarnated as the guy in the fantasy game who says, over and over, "Welcome to ___ Town!"  I haven't actually read this story -- or rather, I often feel that by reading the title I've already read the whole story -- but I'd imagine it can't go on for too long without the protagonist breaking out of this role.  Then again, you could be a vending machine:

I Was Reincarnated Into A Vending Machine.  51 chapters!  Chapters are quite short mind you.  Even so... 51 chapters on a guy who's a vending machine?

My Entire Class Has Been Reincarnated – I Became the Weakest Skeleton!
Evil Dragon Reincarnation ~Even If I Am Reincarnated into the Other World I Am I~
Reincarnated as a Dragon’s Egg ~Lets Aim to Be the Strongest~

Naturally if you're going to be a monster, then be a dragon.  Hopefully "becoming a dragon's egg" is an euphemism for being reborn as a dragon -- otherwise your life is going to be quite short with a painful ending.

Anyway I don't know exactly where I was going with all of this, i just found it all amusing.  ^_^

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 Final Report

Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2017 is over.  I "won" in the sense that I managed to write 15,000 words, which was my eventual goal after I downgraded from an initial goal of 25,000 words.  It feels like I failed to win however, due not only to my downgrade of my goal (15,000 words in a month is really not a lot) but also because the last story I was working on is unfinished.  Normally I only count stories that I've completed, but eh, I actually had written 15,000 words, just barely.

On the other hand I completed eight stories in four weeks, as opposed to none in June, so that was an improvement.  I'd like to average two stories a week for August as well.  Since I have to publish one a week on my blog, it's important to keep a good backlog handy for when I go through another writing slump.

The stories I wrote in July are:  My Clone Sleeps Alone, Feeling Wordy, Games People Play, Another Time, Another Place, Clownface, There Goes The Neighborhood, Splitting Hares, Clown With The Golden Mask and Motivational Poser (unfinished).  I started a couple of other stories based on ideas, including one called The Summoning in which a college kid summons a demon and gets Death Medal.

Back in June I posted a list of 11 story ideas that I might work on for the month of July.  Here's the results from that:

1.  Enigma.  A story about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to since the events of last summer's Secret Crisis Wars.  Haven't worked on this.

2.  Transformation Story.  A story about lawyer Malevolent P. Brimstone's niece and Dahlia of the Black Moon Maidens.  Haven't worked on this.

3. Them Bones.  A story about a young Unpossible Man and a slayer known as Nathanial Slade.  Haven't worked on this.

4.  Tremor of the Earth.  Haven't worked on this, it's not an idea yet.

5.  Crystal Hart.  Haven't worked on this, it's not an idea yet.

6.  Snopes and Larpers.  I finished this and retitled it The Games People Play.

7.  Invictus.  Haven't worked on this, it's not even an idea yet.

8.  Motivational Poser.  This one is mostly written, and should be finished this week.

9.  My Clone Sleeps Alone.  Finished.

10.  The Dork Side of the Force.  Haven't worked on this.

11. Another Time, Another Place.  I wrote this.  I didn't even have a title or story file for it in June.

What follows is a condensed version of what I posted for our Camp NaNoWriMo cabin for July 2017.  The cabin was set up by Fontfolly, and he called it The Fools on the Hill.  Other members were AmuseDreams, kliefox, MattCantWrite, Dolphins Sextant, and me.  Dates are rough guesses since their cabin message system doesn't keep track of dates.  (I also saved my posts from April Camp NaNo but haven't published them like this.)

June 30
Anyway I haven't written much in two months, but I've plotted about a half-dozen short stories this week... I think. "Plot" is a strong word for my story ideas mind you.

July 2
For what it's worth, I wrote some dialog for my story "My Clone Sleeps Alone". It's not even a coherent scene just yet, and I don't know what the ending will be, but it's a few hundred words so I updated my progress. ^_^ I also did some research on ocean depths, the Mariana Trench, and undersea colonization before deciding that my secret base would still be further below the surface than logic or physics should permit, but not anywhere near the depth of even the top of the Mariana Trench. :P Superscience and magic are probably involved!

Basically I'm trying to justify something that's ludicrous -- a secret base 2,000 meters beneath the ocean -- by pointing out how much more impossible it would be to consider building something even deeper.   (Still not a full scene but I've written a description and the first part of the opening.)

July 3
Story is progressing very slowly, but I now have a full scene from the opening up to about 2/3rd of the way through, and I have a possible ending in mind. Not confident of the ending overall, but it's better than not having an ending in mind.

July 4
Finished "My Clone Sleeps Alone". I think it works, and I managed to squeeze in everything I wanted to -- the resurrection chamber and an explanation for it, Miss X, a reference to a new villain group... may need tweaking later; we'll see.

July 7
Struggling to write...

July 9
Working on a new Literate Lemur story that is kind of built around the word vellichor.

July 10
Finished a story I'm calling "Feeling Wordy" for now. Way behind on my goals, but at least that's something.

Was hoping to finish a second story today, but in any case I got a significant amount of writing done on a story that I originally called Snopes and Larpers (the name never actually made any sense) but which I am probably going to call Square One, or Games People Play. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow and maybe work on Motivational Poser as well.

I have another story I want to work on which would involve the return of Hairsplitter Man, a villain that I put in one of my first stories and then never used again.

July 11
Still struggling to get my Game story finished. I just don't think it's a great idea but I've written quite a bit of it and I want to finish something.

Meh. I finished "Games People Play" and in the end I kind of like it. Still haven't published a story for this week, either, but the good news is, 2nd story this week, so I'm making progress.

This is Grandpa Anarchy story #271 by the way. ^_^ Yesterday's was #270.

Did a bit of writing on Motivational Poser too. It's more than half done.

July 12
Did not finish anything today, but I got some work last night and today on Motivational Poser, and on Another Time, Another Place, which is a kind of spin-off story because I was pursuing two different conversations/ideas in one story.

July 13
Finished "Another Time, Another Place", which was the spinoff from Motivational Poser (which is still not finished). But now I need to write a story about Insane Pies before tomorrow night.

Also I adjusted my target goal since it was looking like I wasn't going to come close to 25,000 words.

I've always asserted myself as a villain because villains are always the more interesting characters in any story I've read growing up, and because the villain in any walk of life is the person who refuses to follow blindly and always wants to question things. -- Marilyn Manson

I haven't finished Motivational Poser.
I haven't finished my Insane Pie story.
I haven't posted a story to my blog for this week.
However, I thought of a kind of prequel to my Insane Pie story, and then I wrote it. I started "Clownface" this morning and finished it a few minutes ago. So Yay for that!

July 24
Didn't really write over the weekend but I sketched out two new story ideas last night and wrote maybe a third of one of them today. I want to finish it because I already know the ending. Also, it's a Kid Anarchy story. ^_^

Finished a story I started last night called "There Goes the Neighborhood". It's a bit long but I think it works.

July 26
Have written little in the last two days. Figured I'd need 3 more stories to reach 15,000 words, but I'm not sure I'll manage it.

Also didn't post anything to my story site, which takes time and I really feel like I should be writing instead. :/

Wrote a few paragraphs on a story called "Splitting Hares". I have more faith that I will be able to get this story finished, but I've skipped playing my game two nights in a row to write instead, and I've gotten very little actual writing done.

July 27
Finished "Splitting Hares" for what it's worth.

July 30
Well I goofed off a lot all weekend, but the plan is to finish The Clown With The Golden Mask tonight and maybe get Motivational Poser half written. Finishing both should get me to 15,000 words.

I might have to post one of my July stories this week too. :/ Although if I ever rewrite the Ring of Hanubatum I can publish that, maybe in two parts.

Finished The Clown With the Golden Mask. So that leaves one story I need to finish by tomorrow at midnight.

One story... of at least 1,643 words. >.>

Actually Motivation Poser is over 1,300 words already, and I still need to flesh it out and stitch everything together.

Worked on Motivational Poser a bit. I am at that point where I keep adding cool bits of dialog that pop into my head, but none of it advances the plot so I will have to cut most of it back out later. Really, the entire story right now is a conversation in search of a setting and and ending. Not much of a plot although my short-shorts never really hing on plot. The central conceit of this one is that Kid Calculus is trying to claim that he's unique among Grandpa's enemies because he has a well-documented tragic back story, while most of the others, you don't know what their motivation is...

..but every time he brings up one of Grandpa's enemies with no apparent back story or motivation, Grandpa explains their back story and motivation.

I needed a setting and I decided that this time, Kid Calculus is in a Volcano Lair. I've used one of those before for Baron Climate Change, and it makes more sense for him. So I added a whole discussion about the lair itself, but it's a tangent that doesn't actually add much to the story or lead into the main conversation, at least right now. So I may need to cut most of it.

I'm half-tempted to take this whole discussion about the Volcano Lair (and the lair itself) and put it in a different story, because it's a fun thing for Grandpa and Kid Calculus to discuss. But that would be weird because this entire story is itself a bunch of dialog about back stories and motivation that I had to remove from a previous story (Another Time, Another Place) because it was interesting but didn't belong in that story.

Still not sure about the ending but I should be able to come up with something by tomorrow.

There's also a whole side conversation about Grandpa's enemies talking too much, and if he could just find a villain that never talked, he'd make THAT person his arch nemesis so he could get some peace and quiet. That feels like it should be in its own story as well. >.>

Monday, July 17, 2017

Writer's Night for July 2017

Saturday night was writer's night at Gene and Mike's new place.  The theme was "Insane Pie Night" in honor of Mike and Gene discovering during their move that they had something in excess of 10 pie servers, which Mike said would only be required if you had an Insane Pie Night.  So they did --  I'm pretty sure they had about 10 different pies.  (To be fair, some were half-pies or quarter-pies, one was a shepherd's pie dinner, one was a lime tart that Kristin brought.)

It was one of our biggest nights in a very long time.  Sky & Jwyl were there, Chuck was there, Kristin and Quinn, Edd, CD, Jeff, Keith, me and Gene and Mike of course.  We had a lot of people with things to read too -- Chuck had something, Gene had something, Quinn had something, Keith had something, I always have something of course but since we had so much other stuff I didn't wind up reading anything.

Quinn had a short script for two people that he'd been working on that week.  It was the second draft but we felt it still needed more work.  I think he got some good ideas of how to improve it though.

Keith had a very long story that he's read part of before -- a kind of fantasy murder mystery.  I really like the idea and the setting but there were definitely problems with it, especially with descriptive setting and descriptions of things in general, and in voices of different characters actually sounding different.  That's something I struggle with sometimes too.  I hope he works on this more though, it's a cool idea.

Gene read a story that was very good but was not finished.  This was his story on the theme of "Insane Pie Night".  I'd promised to write a story on the same theme but I'd failed to get much of anything done.  Anyway, no real complaints about Gene's story aside from it not being finished.

Chuck read a new story that wasn't finished -- another of his stories relating to the war between Dogonia and Bananaland.  I liked quite a bit of it but I kind of had to agree with Gene that the conflict, if any, wasn't clear from the beginning.

I didn't get any writing done on the weekend other than tweaking a couple of my stories from last week.  I still want to write my Insane Pie story because I've got a clearer picture of where I want to go with it.  I want to write at least 3-4 new stories this week.  So far Camp NaNoWriMo for July has not been terribly productive for me -- I finished one story the first week, then three last week, but nothing since Thursday.  I want to do better this week, and then maybe I'll feel like I'm accomplishing something.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ten Story Ideas

I've written very little in the last two months, but I've been working on story ideas for a couple of weeks now.  I just need to sit down and write them up.

1.  I want to write a story about what the Gentleman Brawler has been up to since the events of last summer's Secret Crisis Wars, in which he was brought back to life but fooled everyone into thinking he had been "unmade" at the end of the story.  He's somewhere on earth, in disguise, probably acting as a hero since that's in his nature.  I also want to write a story about what Kid Enigma is up to.  He was given the power to change people's gender, which he sort of asked for, with the knowledge that Black Dahlia had made millions of dollars from her use of a similar spell.  Essentially Kid Enigma is ready to give up on being a villain bent on revenge, and instead wants to set up a magical gender reassignment clinic of some sort.  Anyway I wrote down some of my ideas for all of this in a file I called Enigma.

2.  Along with the above idea, I came up with a plan to have the demonic lawyer Malevolent P. Brimstone hand off his Black Dahlia / Black Moon Maidens account to his neice, a young, up-and-coming lawyer in the firm.  I decided this was probably a separate story and I collected this into a second story file currently called Transformation Story.

3.  I had an idea for a story that involved Unpossible Man as a young boy, working with a Solomon Kane-style hero / slayer of evil known as Nathanial Slade, who had unbreakable bones.  I titled this story idea Them Bones.

4.  I created a file called Tremor of the Earth, with just a quote in it:  the human psyche cannot tell the difference between good events and bad events, it can only sense the tremor of the earth.  Not sure where I'm going with that yet but I liked the quote/concept.

5.  I also created a file called Crystal Hart, just because the idea of a Crystal Hart (a male deer) who gets confused with Sailor Moon stuff kind of amused me.  Maybe the Crystal Hart is a future sidekick for Grandpa Anarchy.

6.  Snopes and Larpers is a very dumb working title for a story that I've actually written several paragraphs on.  The basic idea is that Grandpa and his sidekick or companions are trapped in a Jumanji-like game, but it's based on snakes and ladders.  The game snakes and ladders has a very interesting history so I was trying to figure out how to work some of that in, but I don't have a good punch like yet.

7.  I also created a story file called Invictus.  This is based on the famous poem, and it sounds like something that Grandpa Anarchy would embrace, and it makes a nice story title, but as yet I don't actually have a story idea attached to this.

8.  For the last two months I've been working on Oz On the Half-Shell, and in particular on a couple of scenes in which Death Medal attempts to summon the god of chaos to the heart of the Emerald City, with hopes of bringing about the utter destruction of the fairyland.  As part of this I decided to address the idea that "every villain, in their own mind, is the hero", because this is certainly not true in Death Medal's case, and he wanted to expand on why that is.  I wound up figuring out his entire back story in the process, although I still haven't actually finished the scene.

However, that lead to me trying to figure out the back stories of some of my other villains, and this ultimately led to another story idea I created this week which I'm calling Motivational Poser, in which Kid Calculus tries to prove he's the better of Grandpa Anarchy's villains because he has a clear motivation and a back story.   He, at least, fits the mold of a villain who is the hero of his own story.  But every other villain he brings up that apparently has no motivation or back story or reason for existing -- such as Death Medal -- Grandpa can counter by explaining what their real back story and motivation are.  I really liked this idea -- it was not only another funny way in which Kid Calculus fails to be different or exceptional, but it also gave me the chance to figure out and explain the back stories and motivations of several villains at once.  Still not sure on the punch line but I have much of the story written in my head and sketched out in the file.

9.  Another story idea I had last night involves how Grandpa is brought back to life after he dies.  In my half-written novel Serial Anarchy, one of my ideas was that the members of the League of Two-Fisted Justice had clone bodies waiting in several secret bases hidden around the world.   (Part of the plot involves Kid Calculus locating and destroying each of these bases before making an attempt to kill Grandpa Anarchy once and for all.)  This was based on a setup that a friend and I had for our villains in Gene's old Super Heroes game, but I'd never fully fleshed out the idea anywhere else.  It seemed like a good subject for a short story -- Grandpa dies, Dark Dr. Dark leads some of the new members of the team to one of the secret bases where Grandpa is revived.  Because Dark Dr. Dark is a sorcerer, he knows it's not just a clone of Grandpa -- Grandpa's soul possesses the new body.  They've done this maybe a half-dozen times before.  He can reveal that clones of the new members have been prepared, and that they have X number of bases in remote areas of the world, and that the programming and technology involved is far beyond anything most people have ever seen, and was probably created by the Electric Bluejay with the help of Miss X.  For now, I've titled this story idea My Clone Sleeps Alone.

10.  While I was running through my head the scenes that involve villains and motivation, I decided that maybe Death Medal had more to say on the subject besides that which I was writing into my scene for Oz On the Half Shell.  I may actually have two more stories here -- one in which Death Medal ponders the nature of evil itself, and one where he gets bogged down in trying to explain the Dark Side of the Force in Star Wars, or just explaining its inconsistent logic.  At least, I think there's two different story ideas involved -- it may turn out that they are not both worthy of expanding into an actual story.  But for now I've saved everything to a file titled The Dork Side of the Force.

11.  I don't have a story file for this idea yet, but I just remembered it so I'm writing it down.  As part of my Motivational Poser story I was trying to envision where the story takes place.  I had an idea that maybe this time Kid Calculus had teleported them to as a remote a place as he could manage -- perhaps he's stranded them on a planet that is not simply in a different star system, but in a remote galaxy.  This might be some new technology of his -- I've never really tried to figure out exactly where his dimensional gates can let him go, but on reflection the general idea was that he could port between realities.  In the very first story in which he appears, he and Grandpa are proposing to save a bunch of other universes from destruction.  At the time I did not give any indication how they would accomplish this, but later when he shows up again, I give him the ability to open gateways to other dimensions and to teleport people and dangerous creatures from one dimension to another.  I think he also uses it for local teleportation, as a means of travel and escape.  But does that mean he can travel to other stars in the same galaxy?  Even if he can manage that, travel to a galaxy other than the milky way is probably something new that he hasn't attempted before.  To reach a very distant galaxy may require multiple jumps using his improved gateway.

All of this, as a backdrop to a story that has nothing to do with being on a remote planet in a remote galaxy, is probably too much to cover in one short story.  Also other ideas popped into my head based on this -- for example, an entire conversation about why he's not putting this amazing technology to better use for the betterment of mankind, or the idea that probably even if Grandpa Anarchy were abandoned on a planet hundreds of millions of light years from our own galaxy, Continuitae (Avatar of Continuity) and Saturnae (Avatar of Time) are now powerful enough to track him down and rescue him.  That's not a story in and of itself, but it was another thing that said this was a different story idea from my Motivational Poser story idea.

Camp NaNoWriMo for July is almost upon us.  I've skated by the last two months posting stories to my blog site that I wrote for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, and my story file is getting low.  Once again I want to tackle 2 or 3 of my big novella-length stories and finish them, but I find that I have a lot of short story ideas and a need for a lot of short stories, so that's likely what I will do for the first couple weeks of July.  Just based on the above, I've come up with roughly 10 story ideas in the last two to three weeks, and I of course always have other ideas lying about that I can work on.  So I guess I have no excuse for not getting something done.  ^_^

Monday, June 19, 2017

Writer's Night June 2017

Saturday June 17th 2017 -- the third Saturday of the month -- was Writer's Night, and this month I hosted at my apartment in Federal Way.  I made tacos and homemade salsa.  Three people showed up -- Gene, Chuck, and Matt.  Everybody but Matt had something to read.

Chuck read two different stories.  Both were essentially opening chapters to longer stories.  Both were set in the Felicia universe but involved other characters -- one a couple of characters in the Dogonian army, another involving two characters in the enemy Banalian army.  Both were interesting and well-written, but it's hard to comment too much on either since they weren't complete stories or even revealed that much of the plot.

Gene's story was similar, a short piece from the early years of a character who will later become the Mathemagician.  It was a nice piece of writing, but it was only the opening scene of a larger story -- or possibly needs a rewrite to turn it into a stand-alone story, Gene wasn't sure which.  Again it was interesting and well-written, but there wasn't a plot per se so you didn't have too much to comment on.

I read an older story that I wrote last July during Camp NaNoWriMo, but which is set very early in my series of Grandpa Anarchy stories.  I had decided that Circuit Girl has been built up to be such an important character in my universe, but the first story she appears in, she's already dead, so I wanted to write a story or two that involved her before she's killed.  I plotted three of these and wrote two of them, and still intend to write the third at some point.

Other than that it's a time travel Jack the Ripper story, which is a subgenre all it's own I think.  I still like the story as written but people suggested a different ending that I might use, although the more I think about it, some of those suggestions don't make a lot of sense, as they suggest multiple timelines coexisting in the same timeline or something.  But I do think I'll  rework the ending a bit.  The first part of the story alludes to the fact that multiple people have tried to go back in time to solve the Jack the Ripper case, and I don't deal with that very obviously at the end, which was the main suggestion.  There's a way to do it, I just need to work on it a bit.

Anyway it was a fun night.  ^_^

Monday, June 12, 2017

Magical Girl Death Match!

Back in March it seemed like I'd be able to finish up Oz On The Half-Shell really easily if I just concentrated on in it for a couple of weeks.  This is a novella-length story involving someone trying to replace Grandpa Anarchy, and it seemed to me that it was more than 3/4ths done.  I liked what I'd written so far and I knew where the story was supposed to go.  What could be easier?

This, mind you, is just one of several novella or novel-length stories in the Grandpa Anarchy universe that I have started and failed to finish.  There's World of Hero, which I wrote back in 2012 and then rewrote a couple of years later, and which still needs a radical rewrite.  There's Second Class, a story about the Black Moon Maidens, that I wrote a couple of chapters into but never finished.  There's also Serial Anarchy, a novel I attempted to write one year for NaNoWriMo.  I only got a couple of chapters into that one too.

Serial Anarchy is one of those stories that I'm sure I could completely rework at a later point, but as for the others, they involve world-changing details that I've made reference to, and therefore the stories HAVE to be written at some point.  The further into the future I push my narrative with new stories, the more vital it is that I go back and finish these old stories which shape the future so that I'm certain to not get any details wrong.  My big plan for this year, for Camp NaNoWriMo in April especially, was to finish up Oz On The Half-Shell quickly and then concentrate on finally writing World of Hero.

So here I am in June, and I've only managed a few new scenes.  I started April by writing a bunch of shorter stories so that I wouldn't fall behind on my goal of publishing one story a week on my blog.  Then I got bogged down on Oz On The Half-Shell, and through most of May I wrote very little.  I've even worked up several new story ideas that I haven't worked on because I really want to get my novella done.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I've struggled to finish a very long story -- my Return to Amethyst story is novella-length, and took about a year and a half or two years before I actually finished it.  I also wrote Secret Crisis Wars last summer, and that is a novella-length story that I'd planned for quite a while.  So I know I can successfully finish these other stories, but it has been a struggle.

So of course it doesn't help when I come up with new ideas for very long stories.  ^_^

I've been reading a light novel (and watching the anime based on it) called Magical Girl Raising Project.  I liked the concept right away -- an MMO game about magical girls where one in ten thousand players is granted the ability to become a real magical girl.  Of course we exist in a post-Madoka Magica world, and therefore this series quickly turns dark, as the game's mascot who is in charge of things first decides that there are too many magical girls in the same town and some must be eliminated, and then later reveals that if you cease being a magical girl, you also cease living.  Then it devolves into magical girls killing each other.

The series has some major flaws, not the least of which is that there are too many characters and they all start dying before you even learn much about them.  They fall into the trap of giving you a character's full back story in the episode where they die, so that there's not much mystery about who's going to get offed next.  You also never get much of a story about who's behind all of this or what their actual motivations are.  But dark magical girl stories are popular, and the series is a hit, even though it's clearly not nearly as good as the classic that it's patterned after.  And I don't mean it's terrible -- but Madoka Magica was an instant classic anime series.  It's hard to equal it, especially when you're taking so many clues from it.

But I can see that there will be more stories like this one, and it got me thinking:  first, that we should just be forthright and honest about what we're actually doing, and call it something like Magical Girl Death Match.  Second, that someone should be trying to figure out who really is responsible for all of this.  If the magical girls aren't going to do this themselves, then certainly someone from the outside is going to be curious why all of these people are winding up dead.  Also, why can't the app store just pull the app from the store?  I mean, you can easily explain that magic is involved and that while the app appears in the store when you look, it's not actually listed there by the people that control the store and they have no way to remove it.  But in the anime they simply don't address this.

So this got me thinking:  a story where a young person dies of apparently natural causes (heart attack), but their family is convinced that something sinister involving the game they were playing is involved.  They hire an investigator because the police think they're crazy.  The investigator does too, but then he uncovers more deaths from people who have been using the app, and that the app isn't actually supposed to be in the store at all.  Realizing he's in over his head, he turns to a super hero for help -- Grandpa Anarchy.

And Grandpa Anarchy has an idea of who or what might be behind such a game -- because it's very similar to what happened in the Secret Crisis Wars, where heroes and villains were pitted against each other for the amusement of a powerful otherworldly being.

So this weekend I wrote up a treatment for Grandpa Anarchy and the Magical Girl Death Match Tournament.  My problem is, I can't start writing this.  I need to get my other stories done first.  ^_^  If nothing else I need to rewrite The Ring of Hanubatum so that I can put it on the web site (probably in 2 parts since it's so long).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Writer's Night for May 2017

General writing update:  I've been theoretically working on Oz on the Half-Shell since late April.  I may have managed about 1 scene a week -- which technically is about as much writing as one new story a week, but feels like way less than that.  I should be able to do one scene every 1-2 days.

This morning I did a little work on an old story called Unpossible, which I might try to write finally.  I also plotted another story I'm calling Them Bones.

Saturday was writer's night and was held in Woodinville at Matt's place.  I have to admit that I forgot to Google it or verify the directions needed to drive there, but this is the third or forth time I've been there and I was able to remember the route well enough to figure it all out without getting lost.  Turns out Chuck tried to come but got all the way to Woodinville and got lost, and wasn't able to call anyone I guess.  :/  Anyway we had Gene and Jeff and Jeri-Lynn and Matt and myself.

Gene read a short story that he'd written a very long time ago, which Mike found while they were in the process of moving.  He only had a printed paper copy, no electronic copy, that's how old the story was.  But it was a nice short story about a cat (a lynx I think?) raised by wolves who meets an otter, nothing too fancy but well worth keeping.  I liked it.

I dug through all of the Grandpa Anarchy stories I wrote in the first part of April (most of them are not as terrible as I remembered) and I picked out one that includes the sidekick Glass Cannon.  I posted it to my blog today; it's called By Any Other Name.  People only had a few minor suggestions/corrections which I managed to fix before the evening was done.

Matt made a cake and had fried chicken and side dishes.  Several of us took extra chicken and things home.  It was a fun evening.  ^_^

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Collecting Oz

I've been working on my collection of Oz books the past week or two.  It's such a mess.  There are books that are "officially canon" that deviate from much of what L. Frank Baum wrote.  Mind you, Baum himself didn't care much if he contradicted himself from one book to the next, but he clearly had some core values and ideas for Oz that subsequent authors did not consider important.  Then there are books by much later authors who work very hard to adhere to the Oz of L. Frank Baum, and yet those books will never be considered canon.

In between you have a huge swath of books that are sort-of canon, and since all of the early books are in public domain, you have every conceivable variety of continuation story and alternative Oz vision possible.  Many of Baum's children and grandchildren have written Oz books, and almost none of them feel any need to stick close to Baum's own vision.

For my part I set out originally to collect as many "original" Oz books as I could, and that's proven difficult -- both to decided which are "original" Oz books and to find some of them.  The latter Oz books and some of those that followed were only published once and not kept in print, so there may be no chance to own all of them without spending a lot more than I would like on a few.

The "canonical 40" are easy to define -- the first book, and the 39 that were subsequently published by Reilly & Lee.  These include 19 books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, 3 by John R. Neill, 2 by Jack Snow, and 1 each by Rachel Cosgrove and by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and her daughter Lauren Lynn (McGraw) Wagner.

There are 3 books written by Sherwood Smith that are officially recognized by the Baum Trust as canon.  The third of these was self-published on Lulu.

There are books that were published by the International Wizard of Oz Club, and some of these are from canonical authors so these can be considered deutero-canonical.  There are 2 books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, 1 by Eloise jarvis McGraw and Lauren McGraw-Wagner, and 1 by Rachel Cosgrove.  There is also 1 book by Dick Martin and 2 by Gina Wickwar that the club published; those would not be considered canon, but given their publication by the International Wizard of Oz Club, I include them in a subsequent list of important non-canonical books.

Hungry Tiger Press has published several books.  They published 1 book by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, which would be deutero-canonical, and several books that are not canonical but adhere very closely to Baum's original vision:  2 by Edward Einhorn, 2 by Eric Shanower (and five graphic novel stories by him).

Eric Shanower also illustrated the last book written by John R. Neill, which was scheduled to be published but he died before illustrating it.  That book is also deutero-canonical.

Beyond all of that, you have a massive collection of books, some of which are "Orthodox Oz" sequels and others of which are clearly "Alternative Oz" stories.  Confusingly, some of the alternative Oz books were written by Baum's son Frank Joseph Baum and great grandson Roger S. Baum.  Baum's youngest son Kenneth Gage Baum also wrote a book.  The most famous alternative Oz books are, of course, the Wicked book and its sequels by Gregory Maguire; the 6 Oz/Magic Land books by Alexander Volkov (which were hugely popular in the Soviet Union, and spawn their own set of Russian sequels by other authors); and the strange March Laumer books (March was brother to Keith Laumer, who co-authored one Oz book with him).  March Laumer wrote 21 books in his own divergent Oz series, which borrowed both from Oz and from Volkov's Russian books.  There is also a long list of books published by a non-profit fan club called Buckethead Enterprises of Oz and later Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends, and they published so many books (98 and counting), both orthodox Oz and alternative Oz, that it's almost too much to keep track of and certainly daunting to consider collecting.  There were 16 books published by Emerald CIty Press, a division of Books of Wonder.  There were 5 books published by Ozian Seahorse Press, which were by Ryan M. Atticus  Gannaway, later editor of The Baum Bugle.  Trying to collect or even keep track of everything is madness, but when I come across a known author like Phyllis Anne Karr, I mark that down as one I should pick up.  ^_^

But getting back to my own collection -- I was still missing 3 of the original 40 canon books, which have apparently never been reprinted.  This past week I ordered a copy of Lucky Bucky in Oz, book #36, for around $20.  It's a very old book of course, but at least I can say I have it now.  Book #35 the Scalawagons of Oz, and book #39 the Hidden Valley of Oz, apparently sell for much more than that, and I may find it difficult to buy both of those and complete my collection.

Collecting the deutero-canonical books and the apocryphal orthodox Oz books published by the International Wizard of Oz Club has been equally challenging, as many of those have been out of print since the 70's or 80's and probably did not have huge print runs to begin with.  I picked up the Ozmapolitan of Oz by Dick Martin and Yankee in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson this week, and was a little disappointed that both books are oversized volumes, about 12x9 roughly -- I really want all of my Oz books to be the same size, but naturally that's not possible with so many different publishers involved.  But there are other books from the Oz Club that are also too expensive for me to consider picking up, including several of the deutero-canonical books.  :/

Quite a few of these books have been listed for sale on, which is nice.  They're not cheap but not insanely priced collector's items either.  It's very difficult to search for them -- any search on Baum or Oz yields his own books over and over, since those are all in public domain and there are many versions available.  You have to know what you're searching for ahead of time in order to find what you want.  I've ordered one of Phyllis Anne Karr's books from Lulu Press; her other books are not listed there but some of the Buckethead/Tales of the Cowardly Lion and Friends books are there, March Laumer's books are there, and quite a few other independent Oz books are there.  So I have a lot left to work with if I want to keep extending my collection.  ^_^

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Camp NaNo Report April 25 2017

For a while there things were rolling along with Camp NaNoWriMo, and then they came to a screeching halt.  But in the last couple of days I think I've managed to put things back in order again.

Before Norwescon I managed to finish three stories -- New League of Two-Fisted Justice, Upgrade, and Ghost Cop (my Deathcop 2000 story).  While at Norwescon I finished Mummy Dearest on Thursday, Brain Salad and Second Law My Metal Ass on Friday, and then Lingua Franca Fractura on Saturday.  Sunday I didn't manage to write much, and I was wiped out by the con and didn't write for most of the following week, but I had three story ideas I was playing with, titled Dues Ex Machina, Grimdark, and Snopes and Larpers.

I managed to finish Dues Ex Machina and Grimdark Fantasy on Sunday the 23rd.  That made me feel better since it was the first thing I'd finished in a week, but they were both short and not very good.  On Monday, I decided that Grimdark Fantasy was so bad that I needed to start completely over and rewrite it.

My original idea for this story was just that Grimdark Oz is pretty pevailent.  I think it was triggered by a comment to that effect that Mike said at Norwescon, but anyway, it's true.  So I figured, I've done a Grandpa / Oz story, but I hadn't done a Grandpa / Grimdark Oz story.  But Grandpa would have a policy of "Not Under Any Circumstances" for Grimdark Fantasy in general and especially Grimdark Oz.

So that was the germ of the idea, but I wasn't sure how to put it into a story.  My first though was just that a bunch of twisted Oz characters show up on Grandpa's doorstep asking for help, and he slams the door on them.  That was the concept in a nutshell, but it didn't seem like I could work it into a funny story.  It was too direct, there was no real surprise.

While I thought about it I also realized that even though Grandpa says his number one rule is "No Grimdark Oz Adventures", in fact Grimdark Wonderland is much worse.  It's always darker and more twisted and more bloody -- and also more common.  So I thought I could work that into the story as well.  But then, you like to do things in threes, so if I'm going from Grimdark Oz to Grimdark Wonderland, what's next?  What's the big surprise?

I thought, you know, Grandpa's probably a huge fan of Windsor McKay's Little Nemo's Adventures in Slumberland.  He grew up in New Jersey around the time that comic was in print.  And nobody does Grimdark Slumberland.  Grandpa would see that as a refuge from the insanity.

My initial story Grimdark Fantasy begins in the middle of a fight in Oz.  Grandpa wakes up from having been knocked unconscious, and is brought up to speed on their adventures in a twisted version of Oz.  Their car had been brought her by a tornado, they'd already landed on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her, and now they were allied with some kind of resistance movement.  Grandpa wants to leave as fast as possible, and his sidekick has this world's equivalent of the silver shoes (ruby slippers), so he grabs the sidekick and has him activate the spell -- click heels together three times, say "I want to go home".  But the shoes fly off (which is something that happens in the book too) and in this case Grandpa and sidekick are tumbled into a twisted Wonderland, which Grandpa declares is even worse.  And then he makes a comment about if you see a walking bed let me know, that's Windsor McKay and nobody does Grimdark Slumberland.

It was... not a very good story.  There was no real punchline, and it tried to cover quite a bit of territory far too quickly to really establish anything.  I felt if I was going to visit twisted Oz and twisted Wonderland, I needed to take the time to explore both of them more.  Also, while I'd borrowed characters from the second Oz book, I hadn't included Jack Pumpkinhead or Tip, and I'd instead included a punk Dorothy with  tattoos, a half-shaved head, and a snarling pitbull Toto.  That image made me laugh, but I didn't like the way I threw some characters from one book together with some characters from another book, with no explanation.

Even more, it seemed to me that if you wanted a really twisted Grimdark Oz, then instead of having the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the West as evil ruler, why not have Queen Dorothy of Kansas?  After she defeats the Wicked Witch of the West she has control of the winged monkeys, and if she doesn't set them free, then she can use them to take down the Wizard of Oz and rule the land.

Another thing:  I'd given the Tin Man a gatling gun, and I'd tried to transform the Scarecrow into a kind of Frank 'n' Furter looking character, but that didn't really work too well in my head.  By bringing back Jack Pumpkinhead and Tip, I could make Tip  the one who dresses up like a mini Frank 'n' Furter -- and that made sense in a twisted way, because in the original story Tip turns out to be Princess Ozma, who'd been transformed into a boy as a child.  But my Tip isn't about to let anyone transform him back.  ^_^

Working from the Rocky Horror idea, I began my new story with Grandpa and his sidekick on the side of the road.  Their car has already smashed the Wicked Witch of the East, which infuriated the Munchkins who were loyal servants of the witch.  They've escaped, but now their car has finally died.  I was thinking of moving next to a mysterious castle or house a la Rocky Horror, but Old Mombi's cottage made more sense.

That gave me a chance to have a mirror handy for an escape to Oz.  Here they meet a much darker Alice, based a bit on American McGee's Alice and Alice:  The Madness Returns.  Things turn bad but Grandpa sees his walking bed and jumps on it, escaping into Slumberland, where he's very disappointed to realize that even this place has been hit with the Grimdark stick.

The resulting story is about 3,500 words.  I had fun with it, got to develop the characters and situations a little bit at least, and even managed to borrow some dialog directly from the Marvelous Land of Oz and directly from Alice In Wonderland.  So I think it's more entertaining, with a better ending, although still maybe not quite as good as I'd like.

I called the new version Say No to Grimdark.

I think maybe I'm finally in the right mood to go back and finish up Oz on the Half-Shell now.  Obviously if I want to rewrite World of Hero then that's going to happen after Camp NaNoWriMo is over.