Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So Much For February

Last week I was working on my second romance story, currently still titled Meet Cute 4 but intended to be a full-blown romantic story of how Circuit Girl and You Go Girl become a couple, when I stopped to work on a background file explaining how the base for the super group known as the Daughters of Anarchy works.  You Go Girl is a member of this group, and I needed to figure out where their base was and how they accessed it.  I had a vague idea that it was not physically in this world, but some sort of  other realm that they had access to.  I spent a day working on my description of what it actually was and how it worked.

The next day I decided that, instead of just writing up a description of the base, I could turn it into a story.  I began writing Princess, about the group exploring their new base.  Now, my idea was that the base was a self-contained micro universe with a fairy spirit at the center.  This was a small kingdom, maybe a dozen miles across, with a fairy castle and a small town at the heart of it.  The fairy spirit was contained in a magical gemstone that acted as the gateway to the realm.  The concept for these tiny universes was that they were ideal play spaces for a rich princess -- a safe environment that nobody could locate or penetrate, and a safe space to play within because the fairy that controlled the world would protect the princess and keep her from harm.  Indeed, nothing existed in the world without the fairy bringing it to life or allowing it to enter, so there was unlikely to be anything dangerous within.

The two founders of the Daughters of Anarchy are formerly princess of a fairyland.  (It was kind of a dump, and their father sold it to developers.)  They know what one of these fairy gemstone things is, and when they're given one, they decide to transform it into their super group base.

In my write-up about the base, I'd traced the history of the gemstone and how it came into their possession.  However, when I began to write my story of them getting it and exploring it, I decided the leader of the group, Pixy Dreamgirl, would make reference to an old fairy tale or story that explained one of the possible pitfalls of these kind of pocket realms.  This went from "there was a story," to "this is the story of Prince Allwyn and Princess Erin", to describing the tale in brief, to describing it in more detail, to...

My story ground to a halt so that my character could tell a different story.  This... was not ideal, and yet I wanted to expand on the fairy tale further.  At this point, I knew it didn't belong in my story, but I had to write down the actual fairy tale to get it out of my head.  So again I stopped working on the story I thought I wanted to write, so I could work on some background material for that story.

What I ended up writing was a fairy tale called The Tale of Princes Allwyn and Princess Erin.  I finished it.  I have no idea what to do with it; it's a full-on fairy tale that I only wrote so that my character could mention it in passing.  But eh, I got it out of my head.

That wound up being the only thing I actually finished last week.  I worked on Princess some more, but it kind of bogged down again.  The problem with it is that, at the moment, there's no plot other than "let's explore this new land that we now own".  On the other hand, I decided after writing up the fairy tale that one of the characters from it was real and still alive, and living inside the same realm that my super group has decided to make their base.  There's almost certainly a story in that, but I haven't decided how to work it in and still fit in a good description of the place and what they discover about it.

This week I've written three new stories on a completely separate subject.  This started with my publishing to my blog an older story called Gadda Da Vida.  I wrote this I think in December around Christmas time, and the idea for the story was to play with an old science fiction trope, the shaggy god. In these, Biblical tales are explained in science fiction terms.  A very common version is that of a male and a female astronaut crash landing on a planet that is literally a garden of Eden, and the big reveal is that their names are Adam and Eve.

For my version of the trope, a shaggy god was responsible, and he transforms Grandpa's male sidekick into Eve, because that amused me more.  By the time I'd finished the story it seemed like I could write an additional story about the newly-christened Eve joining the space babes, because she got to stay out in space and go on adventures, and because it would be easy to become male again once her service with the space babes was over.  But it took me more than a month before I wrote Eve the Explorer.

Not long after this I decided that Eve would be a good choice for someone to crew the space babes space station that orbits earth, and so I included her in two more stories:  Beautifully Engineered and Hero Lunch - Tony's Diner.

I started thinking about the character again after publishing the first story to my blog.  Before Monday was done, I had written a new story, Grandfather Clause.  I'd only sort of mentioned in passing in Eve the Explorer how she'd decided to join the space babes, but I realized a more direct story about that could be inserted before that story, so that's what I wrote.

Next I began to wonder:  Eve joins the space babes to go on adventures in outer space... and they send her back to earth.  That's got to be a little disappointing.  What if she has to confront her family about what she's done before she's ready?  What if they meet her on the station when she arrives?

What if she's wearing a fancy ball gown provided by the King of Throga for her service to the crown, and the space station is overwhelmed with alien spider xenomorphs, and she has to go in with guns blazing?

This story, Family Affair, was a bit longer, but I managed to finish it Tuesday night.

Having finished that, I began to wonder if there weren't another story involving the dresses that the king has bought for her.  After all, they were supposed to send back holo video of them in these dresses, to please the king... instead they send back video of them completely destroying the dresses in a firefight.  Surely that wouldn't go over well.

So today I wrote Ballroom Blitz around that idea.

Mind you, every story idea spawns other ideas that don't really fit.  I wanted Eve to meet Jennie Nova and Llahna.  They do, but it doesn't happen "on screen".  I wondered if Eve would meet Grandpa's great grand daughters, who are junior space babe members (they are also related to the Nova family that founded the space babes).  Again, maybe she does, maybe she doesn't, I didn't have a chance to fit it into anything.  Maybe that involves yet another story, who knows.

I haven't decided if any of these stories really work as well as I'd like.  I want to get a better handle on the characters and then rework these stories to improve them, but for now... a whole bunch of stories about a former sidekick of Grandpa Anarchy, including three new stories in three days.  That's something at least.

I do need to get back to finishing Princess, and Meet Cute 4, and also give the second a real title....

Monday, February 19, 2018

Writer's Night for February 2018

Saturday was Writer's Night, held at Gene and Mike's place in... Shoreline?  North of Seattle anyway.

Quinn read a couple of screenplay/story idea treatments.  Well I say read, it was more just describing to us what the ideas were, that's why it's a treatment I guess.  Hopefully the feedback was helpful.

Chuck read another scene from I think his novel, or one of the related stories.  It was really a half-scene, I think.  The characterization was good until the protesters showed up, but I think everyone thought the protesters were too stupid to be real.  They were either bad straw men and badly written, or they were performing some elaborate ruse that would be revealed later on.  Since it was incomplete you really didn't know for sure.

I read my second "Hero Cafe" story, which I warned people was plotless, and I think the consensus was that it felt too long for something that really had no payout.  I kind of agreed just by reading it, I could see where some things needed to be trimmed.  But on the whole I think it accomplishes what I set out to accomplish, which is that the characterization is mostly good and it shines a light on an interesting part of my universe that I hadn't shown before.  If I can shorten it up and/or work in a bit more plot somehow, that will help.

Gene read an incomplete scene from one of his novels.  At this point I think Gene talking about which part of which novel he's reading a scene from is a bit like me explaining how this particular Grandpa Anarchy story relates to several others that people don't remember or never read/heard.  But anyway, it was well written.  ^_^

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meet Cute

So, an update to my writing -- it's been about a month since my last entry.

I've finished three of the four "Hero Cafe" stories that I outlined last time.  The first one is Hero Lunch - Tony's Diner.  That's story 300.  The second I finished right after, and that's Hero Lunch - One With Everything.

These two stories set up the overall plan for all of them:  someone in the New League of Two-Fisted Justice invites Boy Secretary, their receptionist, to lunch.  They go to some really exotic location or restaurant.  There's no real plot other than that, but each story so far has ended with some sort of hero emergency, just to give me a snappy ending.  Otherwise they're more slice-of-life stories than anything with a plot or punch line.

Side note:  in book 6 I reshape the League of Two-Fisted Justice.  Multiple new members join, they split into two teams, they build a new fancy headquarters in New York, they hire Boy Secretary, and they rename themselves the New League of Two-Fisted Justice.  After that I wrote all of book 8 and book 9 (book 7 is an incomplete novel) and I'm now partway into book 11 (book 10 is intended to specifically be stories about Kid Anarchy and the companions he works with -- I've written parts of several stories, but have yet to finish any of them) and over all that time -- more than 80 stories written since I started my Grandpa Anarchy blog back in late August 2016 -- I have frequently mentioned the new members of the League, and their new New York base, and their secretary, and I've completely forgotten that they were called the New League.  :P  I will have to, at some point, go through all of those stories -- including everything I've posted to  the web so far -- to fix that.
Anyway!  After writing my first two Hero Cafe stories and starting on the third, I took a right turn and began working on a very old novella-length story, Second Class.  This deals with the expansion of Black Dahlia's Black Moon Maidens group, and it's a story I plotted for book 4, and the longer I ignore finishing it the more problematic it becomes.  I have basically never mentioned, in any subsequent stories, the new members of the group, save for what I've written in the last six weeks -- because I hadn't written about them in this story yet.  Nor have I mentioned the villains that they acquire in this story.  It's not that I bring up the Black Moon Maidens that often, but I really need to complete this old story so that I can build on what's in it.

And also complete World of Hero from book 2, another incomplete novella.  But I digress.

I spent at least two weeks or so working on Second Class.  I got multiple scenes written, and it seems to be coming together although I'm still not very far into the tale -- but I got a bit bored with working on a story that it seems will never be finished.  There's a certain satisfaction to working on a story for several hours and then calling it finished, and moving on to the next project.

So last week I wrote a new story, Going Home.  That's number 302.  This is, after a fashion, a fourth story in a series about Eve the Explorer, who first appears in Gadda Da Vida and then reappears in Eve the Explorer and right after that in Beautifully Engineered.  I placed Going Home in book 11, but it may belong in book 9 with those other stories, I don't know.  Although Eve also appears in Hero Cafe - Tony's Diner, actually, and that's in Book 11.

At the beginning of this week I finished my third Hero Cafe story -- Hero Dinner - A Slice of Time.  That's story 303.  I immediately began work on the fourth (and probably last) in the series, Hero Lunch - Happy Jack's, but I still had not finished it when I came up with something new today.

Several somethings.  Once again.

I was listening to This American Life.  Their episode for this week was called Rom-Com, about Romance Comedies.  For Valentine's Day, of course.  Immediately an idea formed in my head:  I should write a romantic Valentine's Day story!  I should write several!  I am generally quite bad about writing romance and considering or introducing romantic relationships in my stories, but I could think of several couples that would be fun to write about, so I instantly created three new story files -- Meet Cute 1, about Freya/Saturnae and Sarah/Continuitae; Meet Cute 2, about the villain Death Medal and his girl Miss Kid Gloves, and Meet Cute 3, which is probably about the Electric Bluejay and Walter, although I kind of want to fit in something about the Glass Cannon and Electrofrog.

And why stop there?  The term meet cute actually refers to new romances just getting started (which none of the above stories are actually about -- it was just a convenient term for creating new story files).  It's nice to write about couples that already exist in my universe, but why not create some new ones?  I'd have to figure out the details, of course, but that's the point -- to try and write more about people getting together.

The other thing was that I'd planned to write a Valentine's Day story, and I totally had forgotten to do it.  So I began working on that first meet cute story right away.  This turned into Ancient Festival, a story that I completed and posted this afternoon.  I've done that once or twice before -- write a story and immediately post it.  But I'm fairly happy with how the story came out.  It's not really one with a punch line, but as a story I think it works.

Now -- I need to write some more of these mini romance stories.  ^_^  Oh, and finish the last Hero Cafe story as well!