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.


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