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.