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).