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. >.>