Monday, January 23, 2017
I'm feeling pretty optimistic about my writing today. For one thing, I realized that I do have three (well, two after today) complete stories in the queue -- for some reason I didn't have Super Freak transferred to my home computer, so I miscounted. Now that I've published Until That Day, I have Super Freak and Gate Into Danger waiting to go, so that gives me two weeks to write more.
Secondly, when I read Until That Day on Saturday I noticed some things I wanted to clean up. When I worked through it today before publishing, some of those things were already fixed. Turns out I had a more recent copy of the story on my work computer that I hadn't transferred to the thumb drive, so some of the things that bugged me about the story I read had already been fixed.
Thirdly, I'm now working on four different stories and I feel like I can finish all of them and make them work. Logically I know I won't finish all four this week, but even two by Friday would be a very good thing. I'm working on The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven, which has two completed scenes and I worked on the third one today; The Cephalopod That Befriended the Wind which has a half-completed first scene; and two new stories with working titles: DoppleGangLord and Murderbot 150, both of which I worked on today.
So... things are looking up again. ^_^
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Writer's Night for January was held at Matt's in Woodinville. This meant, for me, a long drive up I-405. I left a bit after 6:00 PM but I was making good time and I hit Bellevue just before 6:45 PM, but then traffic came to a complete halt and the freeway was literally a parking lot. I'd inch forward a few feet, then wait a minute or two, then inch forward another few feet. I didn't get past the accident until about 8:15, so I spent about 1.5 hours travelling maybe 2 or 3 miles.
The signs above the road warned of an accident involving a semi, and the news radio said that it was blocking all lanes except the far right one. As it turned out, there were two right lanes open but that meant at least four lanes blocked (two HOV lanes). There were a ton of aid cars and I didn't see most of the accident, but there was a single car, which didn't look all that banged up really, but it was upside down. So... that's not good.
When I arrived Sky was reading a script for his long-in-development web comic, but it's coming along and was very funny in places. He had more of the story to read than before, and parts had been reworked as well. I didn't get to hear all of it obviously but I liked what I heard. Sadly, he's not planning on working on art for it for now, he's concentrating more on commissions and making money.
Gene read two scenes from his fantasy novel. I think this is the first one, but it gets a little confusing -- he's written, I think all or most of the first three novels? And parts of several others, and plotted like nine or twelve or more total. These scenes were a reworking of a previous section of the novel and I really liked what I heard.
I decided to read my story Until That Day, which I'll probably publish on the Grandpa Anarchy blog soon. I only have three stories in my backlog at the moment -- this one, Gate Into Danger, and... okay the only other one I haven't published is The Unfinished Painting, my Christmas ghost story. That one needs a little editing and obviously I'm not going to publish it until next December, if I put it on the web at all. So... yeah, two stories in backlog, with one scheduled to be published tomorrow.
I haven't written anything in two weeks -- that is, I haven't completed anything. I have two scenes written on The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven, and the opening scene mostly written for The Cephalapod That Befriended the Wind. I also was basically handed another story idea last night by Sky and my friends, who were speculating whether Grandpa Anarchy ever allowed someone to impersonate him. So I just need to write.
Anyway I think people liked the story, there was one section in particular that got a lot of laughs, and nobody had any complaints about the general plot. I noticed some things I need to clean up but that may very well be the story I publish tomorrow.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
I've been working a bit on The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven this week, and also a bit on The Cephalopod That Befriended the Wind. I've written the first two scenes on the former and actually have a plot for the latter, I think. In any case, I'm trying to put a story or two together. In the meantime, here's something that's asmused me lately:
My 365 days of the stupidest things ever said calendar tossed up this gem on Wednesday the 11th, 2017. A remarkable sentence from Helen Huddleson, a posthumous book by Amanda McKittrick Ros (Anna McKitrick Ross or, in her later years, "Hannah Margaret Rogers"). Mrs. Ros published two novels in her lifetime (the first self-published, a gift from her husband that she talked him into) and two volumes of poetry whose titles probably tell you everything you need know: Poems of Puncture and Fumes of Formation. But it is not as a poetic rival to the great William Topaz McGonnagall that Mrs. Ros is remembered, but as arguably the worst novelist in history.
Anyway, here's the gem from her third novel:
They reached Canada after a very pleasant trip across the useful pond that stimulates the backbone of commerce more than any other known element since Noah, captain of the flood, kicked the bucket.
This amazing sentence immediately raises several very pertinent questions:
A "useful pond" is a known element? I had no idea.
"Stimulates the backbone of commerce" is an interesting phrase. In what way does it stimulate the backbone? Does it poke it and prod it? That could be pretty annoying.
Captain of the Flood? What military power granted Noah this title?
It's probably important to note that our "useful pond" is actually the Atlantic Ocean, something you might not realize from the sentence itself. So perhaps it is the vast Atlantic Ocean which is a known element.
There is, of course, some kind of inference that water did not stimulate the economy during the flood. This is a concept I can get behind. Except the actual statement is that water (well, the useful pond in any case, which is of course the Atlantic Ocean) did not assume its role as king of the elements in the role of stimulating the economy (my bad -- stimulating the backbone of commerce) until after Noah died. I guess before his death he used his powers as Captain of the Flood to suppress the natural powers of useful ponds/oceans to stimulate commercial backbones.
What I'm getting at here is that Noah, Captain of the Flood, was a supervillain with very broad and dangerous super powers. His death was certainly celebrated as a victory for commerce. And backbones.
By the way, Amanda McKinntrick Ros had many famous fans, among them Aldous Huxley, Mark Twain, Siegfried Sassoon, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm kind of late to the party, but here's a very good article that delves into who she was and what she accomplished with her writing:
Monday, January 9, 2017
I finished my story Gate Into Danger on Friday, 1/6/2017. I worked on it all week but at least I managed to finish it. My goal, of course, is to complete at least one new Grandpa Anarchy story a week since I'm publishing one new story every Monday.
I had mentioned that I had a sort of story arc going on starting with the story Annie Two and involving the new Anarchy computer, and that rachets up a bit in subsequent stories, and I wanted to bring it to some sort of close. I also wanted to do a follow-up to a story called Until That Day, and so as soon as I finished my story on Friday, I began plotting a new story titled The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven, which should fulfill both goals.
I did not get much work done on this story over the weekend, but I have it fully plotted out -- it's several scenes, so a somewhat longer story than usual, with an actual plot. I've been working on the first scene, which will be something like the first scene of Teddy's Bear -- an actual scene from the past when Grandpa Anarchy was Kid Anarchy. I've established that Kid Anarchy worked with several "companions" in the 1920's -- young women, for the most part, with unusual abilities such as Lady Prometheus's pyrokinesis (from Teddy's Bear). In the story Until That Day I mention some of the others -- Hurricane Hazel, who controlled weather; Sub Zero Sadie, who was an pagomancer, controlling ice; and Miss Bloodraven, who was a shapeshifter and could become a raven or a panther.
I really like these stories that delve into Grandpa's past. I've played with the Pulp-O-Mizer to create imaginary pulp covers with some of the titles of "actual" Grandpa Anarchy pulp stories that I've established as part of his backstory. That same web site has a random pulp title generator, and I wrote down a bunch of them last night -- including: Surrounded in the Purple Desert, The Last Monument, The Profane Engineer of Andromeda, The Flower of the Wasp Dancer, Shadow of the Architect, The Frozen Girl of Argon, Gods of the Strange Brain Eaters, The Cube of the Wombat Army, Valley of the Atomic Midshipman, Frog from Beneath the Bazaar, Cephalopod that Befriended the Wind, The Merchant that Brought Doom, The Lobster from the Soaring Pyramid, and The Volcano of the Isotope Choir.
Some of these are very silly, but in a way I'm most attracted to the ones that are the silliest. Atomic Midshipman? Isotope Choir? A cephalopod that befriended the wind? These things really make me curious to figure out what they're describing exactly.
I want to try and write a couple of stories with these titles. ^_^ Most likely these will be pulp-style stories that take place in the 1920's and 1930's when Grandpa was a young man. Another part of his history is that he's often worked with members of the Nova family -- Doctor Thomas Nova, his son Elias Nova, his grandson Major Tom Nova and wife Destiny Nova, and their daughter (Thomas Nova's great granddaughter) Jennie Nova. They're a family of space explorers in the grand tradition of the old pulp stories, so one or more of these pulp stories might involve them. ^_^ I could possibly frame these like I framed Teddy's Bear -- as Grandpa telling a story. Or I could have even more fun and frame them as one of the Continuity Crusaders reading an old pulp story -- so that you're not sure if what happens in the story is actual Grandpa Anarchy history, or just an old pulp story about him.
So I think that will be one of my goals for the rest of the month.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
I've been struggling to put together a story this week called Gate Into Danger. This was something I originally began work on over a year ago, at a time when I was binge-watching Stargate SG-1. I think I got about 3 or 4 seasons into it and at some point stopped watching, and haven't gone back to finish it yet.
Anyway, it seemed like a really good idea to do a Stargate-riff for at least one Grandpa Anarchy story, but all I'd written down were a bunch of jokes and references to a sidekick who liked to mix up metaphors. I had this story slotted for Book Five, but since it wasn't actually related to anything else plotwise and wasn't finished, I removed it recently when I was going back through my stories and making sure every story had a number and they were all numbered in order. It helped me to remove a story and use that number for something else. I dumped the partially-written story into my book 8 folder, which is my current working folder for the stories I'm posting on my blog.
I decided to work on it this week. There really wasn't much of anything written yet, so I was kind of starting from scratch.
First things first: I dumped the metaphor sidekick and put in Grandpa's current sidekick F8Wasp. Although it's fun to come up with new sidekicks for each story, it's also a pain, and F8Wasp is tied to an ongoing story that involves the new Anarchy Computer, Annie Two. I have a couple of things I want to do with that AI still, and I think F8Wasp should remain Grandpa's sidekick until I've done them.
Next step: describe the scene -- the setting, the dimensional gate, what Grandpa and F8Wasp look like. I try to borrow from what I've written previously as much as possible, and so I go back to the Annie Two story to copy/paste F8Wasp's description, and then rework it so it's not a direct copy. There's not really much there -- long black hair, a form-fitting costume of black and silver. Most of my descriptions of sidekicks are a couple of details and that's it.
For the jump gate, I have descriptions of a similar gate in several stories in Book Six, Weird Tales of Weird Anarchy. I think I've even said that one of these gates is in Grandpa's basement. There's definitely one in the bar run by Happy Jack in the city of Intersect, so I borrow that description and reword it. I also manage to slip in a reference/joke to the fact that Grandpa has one of these in his basement. I can't find where I actually say that, but I know one of my unfinished stories that I still want to write is a possible story for insertion into Book One in which Happy Jack appears in Grandpa's basement through the same gateway. I would really like to establish Happy Jack as a long-time friend and ally of Grandpa Anarchy, even though I didn't create him until Book Six.
I spend some time working out what the name of my stargate-like operation is, and I set it in the Cheyenne Mountain complex just like they do in the TV show. I recently referenced several made-up secret government agencies, and one of my running jokes is that Grandpa is in contact with more secret agencies with acronym names than he can keep track of, so I use that joke as well.
So far so good -- I have my setup. But where's the joke? I had a bunch of smaller jokes that frankly I don't have time to put in the story -- I need to get to the point. What I don't have is a major joke that can be the surprise or plot twist to give me a direction and an ending. Do they go through the gateway? What then? It'd be nice if Grandpa punches an alien god -- I jot down a few possible lines in case I manage to get to that point.
Maybe the surprise is someone comes through the gateway before they manage to go through it themselves? A god alien, perhaps? Someone that knows Grandpa or is looking for him? I've already done a bit of quick research and decided that my alien god, if I use one, will be Hasameli, the Hittite god of metalworkers and craftsmen. I wanted someone who was obscure, and Hittite gods as a whole are pretty obscure. But I also wanted to toss in something about the archaeologist (I've worked up names to match the three main characters from SG-1) finding writing that might allow him to decipher Linear A, the writing of the ancient Minoan civilization, because that would be a cool thing.
Actually it would be nice to use a Minoan god, but in fact since we can't read their writing we don't know that much about their gods. We have names passed down from the Myceneans via Greek culture or mentioned in Mycenean Linear B writing that might or might not be similar to the original Minoan names, if we can be sure those gods came from Minoa. Also, they're mostly goddesses -- the Minoans are thought to have had a matriarchal religion.
Maybe a different Grandpa Anarchy with a different military team shows up? That could be kind of funny, although I'm not sure I have the exact joke worked out in my head yet. Or one of Grandpa's other enemies or friends shows up? Maybe the Archons of Excellence have already conquered the alien god, or maybe the god is an old friend or enemy of Grandpa's.
This is generally how I work -- figure out the situation, and then ponder over what kind of joke or surprise ending I can reach from there. Usually my subconscious will toss something out when I'm half-asleep, so for now I'm just waiting for the right combination to fall into place in my head. ^_^
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Normally I do a formal post about my writing goals for the year, and then I provide occasional updates throughout the year detailing what I've written and when, and how it lines up with my goals.
Last year my New Year's writing goals for last year were summed up in a single paragraph:
Goals for 2016: Pretty much exactly what my goals were for 2015 -- that is, write 2 Grandpa Anarchy stories a month, write a story set in my fantasy universe, finish my third magical girl adventure arc in Girl's School and also begin the next chapters after that. Also, publish the rest of what I've written for Girl's School, and get my Grandpa Anarchy book published.
After that I never really did any detailed post about how I was meeting those goals -- at least, not one showing what I'd written when. I could go back and try to calculate what was written when, I mentioned what I'd worked on recently in various posts throughout the year -- but I guess I don't care that much so I'm not going to bother, for now.
In any case, how well did I do on these goals? Well, I did not work on Girl's School or work on getting my Grandpa Anarchy book published. I didn't finish a story set in my fantasy universe, but I wrote a first scene so I'm counting that as a big success, since it's more than I've previously accomplished. I also worked on an unrelated anime fanfic story, but while I got a ton written on it, it's kind of a mess and less than half complete, so I don't really know what to say about that.
For now all of my writing success has been with my Grandpa Anarchy stories. The short version goes something like this:
Jan - April: I wrote a few stories to try and complete book 5. There are still several stories in book 5 that remain unfinished.
April: For Camp NaNoWriMo I set out to write the stories for book 6, which was intended to be a long series of interconnected stories. I think I finished about 5 or so stories, so I failed to meet my goal.
May-July: As Camp NaNo July approached, I jumped back into my writing and by the end of July I had most of the stories for book 6 written. Ultimately 2 are still unfinished, although I've been working on one of those this past week.
August-Dec: In late August I decided to launch my Grandpa Anarchy Story Blog, in which I post one new story each Monday. This requires me to write at least one new story a week, something I've managed to keep doing for the rest of the year -- and something above and beyond my original goal for 2016. So to that end, I've been pretty successful. All of the new stories were tossed into a hypothetical Book 8 (Book 7 would be the unfinished novel Serial Anarchy).
Book 5 Stories:
1/18/2016 Gorgon Gun (#160)
1/19/2016 Sharp Dressed Man (#163)
1/22/2016 Old Boys Club (#171)
10/11/2016 Sisterly Love
Book 1 Stories:
Book 6 Stories:
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Superpowered Self Defense
Eclipsed In Time
Chaos and Order
One Night In Happy Jack's
Meanwhile In Frosthaven
Meanwhile In Intersect
Meanwhile On Planet Zorlthrax x9
Gloom and Doom
Blessed and Cursed
Strike the Worm
Painted Into a Corner
Daughters of Anarchy
When We Last Left Our Heroes
Green-Skinned Alien Babe
Further Adventures of Grandpa Anarchy
Secret Crisis Wars
Time Waits For No Ninja
Above the Law
Funeral For A Friend
Grandpa Anarchy 101
Book 8 Stories:
Just A Story
Write Your Way Out
Rubber Forehead Theory
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Buckets of Blood
Return of the Roaring Rangers
Meeting of the Minds
Until That Day
Unless I miscounted, that's 67 new stories, well over the 24 I was shooting for.
So for 2017 my goals are going to be simple: 1. Keep Writing a Grandpa Anarchy story a week so that I can keep publishing on my story blog, 2. Try to finish at least one of my original fantasy stories, and 3. Try to publish my book, as well as prepare books 2 and 3. But that will also required 4. Rewrite World of Hero. Again.