Monday, March 5, 2018

Magical March

Sunday evening I read through a large chunk of my Girls School fanfiction story.  It's a sprawling mess, but I've obviously put a ton of work into it and would like to bring it to some sort of conclusion.  However, I haven't worked on it since December of 2015.  I do like it a lot and enjoy reading it though, and wish more of it were written even though it's already several hundred thousand words.

This morning I discovered something called Magical March, or Magical Girl March.  This is a challenge for artists to draw a magical girl every day of the month.  Instantly I wondered if I could manage to write a magical girl story for every day of the month, and I started plotting a framework story in which a magical girl agency has been ordered by upper management to create a magical girl for every day of the month, following the template for the artist's challenge.  I borrowed from the magical girl agency in my Ranma 1/2 fanfiction story, because that was easy and I don't have to create a lot of new characters -- but I'm also worried that it will be hard to write 31 different stories that all, at their heart, boil down to "angelic being from this specific agency creates another magical girl".  So maybe my framing story is limiting my creativity.

(I'd want to work in a story about my new character Ex Habitu as well, so maybe pre-existing magical girls can count?  I mean, I would need to find a way to work that into my overall narrative.)

On the other hand, I feel pretty confident that I can manage 1 new story a day, or close to it (I wrote five stories this past week, some of them fairly long), but I'm already five days behind and my idea for the first story is somewhat lacking.  But I like the challenge so I want to try it.  I think I would have to post a new story to my blog every day if I am to do this properly.  The most difficult part would be coming up with names and descriptions / stories for each magical girl, but on the other hand it's not necessarily easy to draw a new magical girl each day either.  I would strive for failry short stories and not worry too much that each one has a big bang ending, I think.

Another concern is that I would be doing a story-a-day challenge for March, and leading right into Camp NaNoWriMo for April.  But again, I like the challenge of forcing myself to write, so we'll see.  The first challenge is simply to write the first story by this evening and post it -- maybe even write two, because I've got some catching up to do.  If I can manage that, then I'll have started the ball rolling.  ^_^

Sunday, March 4, 2018

In Search of A Trope That Doesn't Exist

Somewhere along the line, I got this idea in my head that I ought to write about a character who produces weapons spontaneously from her skirt, as in various well-known anime shows.  I couldn't name most of these famous shows, but I'd seen images and upon reflection was certain  that Mami of Puella Magi Madoka Magica had done exactly this.  As the above GIF shows, I was right on that score, at least.

I named my character Ex Habitu, meant to be Latin for out of the skirt or out of the dress, and a take on the term ex nihilo which means out of nothing.  Out of nothing is really where these weapons would be coming from, of course.  I have no idea if my Latin works, but then, neither does my protagonist.

I was also certain I had at least one image of Alice in Wonderland doing exactly this, and I knew of an anime show I'd never watched where a girl appears to do this.  I assumed it was a common anime trope of some kind.  However when I started  trying to research the subject, I found that while Spontaneous Weapon Creation is a very common anime trope, and pulling weapons out of your clothing, or hair, or other people's bodies is also common in anime -- girls specifically producing weapons from their skirt was not so common as to deserve any mention on tv tropes.  There are pages for a Hammerspace trope, a Trouserspace trope, and the above-mentioned instant weapon creation.  Pulling massive weapons out of small spaces or thin air is indeed very common in anime, but specifically doing what Mami does in the gif above?  Not as common as I thought.

Mami doesn't even do this trick every time.  She pulls guns from her clothing in many different ways, so it's really just a version of the above tropes.

But why had I thought this was so common?  I did a little research.  First, the other anime that I  was forgetting the name of.

This turned out to be a girl named Hitagi SenjŨgahara of Bakemonogatari, but the story is just that she stores office supplies up her skirt... somewhere... and can produce them and use them as weapons.  But the image of her producing all of these sharp-edged supplies from beneath her skirt, seemingly from nowhere, is so iconic that there's even a plastic figurine based on it:

So yes, I did have something I was basing this idea off of.  As for the third example of this, which convinced me that it was a common trope?  It turns out that there are a lot of images of Alice In Wonderland surrounded by falling cards, and quite a few where she is falling with the cards, and even a couple of images where she is apparently producing cards from her skirt.  In retrospect, it's obvious that the first of these images is copied directly from the Bakemonogatari image.

 I didn't actually have any images where she produced weapons in this manner, although thanks to The Madness Returns series of computer games, there are any number of images of Alice with blades or other weapons.  (In the game, she most often uses a giant rune-carved kitchen knife, which is the Vorpal blade, so that's what she's got in most of the artwork.)

Somehow the images of her dropping cards from her skirt merged in my head with the idea of Alice with weapons.

The sum of this story is that I created a character based on a trope that mostly doesn't exist.  My three examples were pictures of Alice In Wonderland producing cards in this manner, but not weapons; Hitagi from Bakemonogatari producing office supplies as weapons (but they were supposedly stored under her skirt all along); and Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica producing rifles in this manner -- which is only one of the ways that she produces them.  However, she does do it at least once!

Anyway this weekend I wrote a story called Dressed to Kill, not about the character who has this ability, but about the magical dress that she owns and where it comes from.  It turns out that Eve the Explorer -- the character I've written multiple stories about this week -- had it first.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Becoming Sally

I wrote a story yesterday called Casual Encounter, and I completed it.  It seemed like a fairly simple, straightforward story about my character Eve being in love with a cartoon alien girl, and wanting to sleep with some kind of similar alien girl.  She succeeds, but the alien "girl" implants eggs or larva into her, which are meant to gestate and then eat their way out of the host.  Mind you, Eve is an agent for the space babes, who have rebirth cloning technology, so in the final scene she's in a new body watching as her old body is devoured, and she throws up.

That was the gist of the story and how I ended it.  However, in the process of writing it I started with Eve propositioning her partner Muriel, who is an alien girl but not at all interested in "human mating rituals" or sex at all (her species is actually asexual).  Then I felt like including a scene where Eve travels to the fairyland of Amethyst -- which is really easy to do, the space station she's on has a gateway to a similar space station in orbit around the fairy world -- and has an encounter with a woman who is part fairy.  This scene didn't really feel like it advanced the plot, although it seemed like a natural progression in Eve's search for an encounter with an alien girl.  I was also interested in exploring her relationship with this fairy girl further, and I liked the mirror-image of Eve searching for an alien encounter, and the fairy girl searching for an encounter with a girl from space.

Almost immediately after finishing the story I began to rewrite it.  It seemed to me that I should include a scene where Eve meets the fairy girl Amaryllis, and perhaps explain more fully Eve's idea that she could satisfy her need for an alien encounter with a fairy girl (which doesn't work).  Then I decided that, if Eve were to visit the home base of the space babes (where she meets the alien), then she would be expected to say hello to her relatives that are there.  I should at least mention it, or explain why she doesn't... but it seemed more interesting to have her meet her mother and sister and grandfather.  For one thing, her mother would be interested in her love life -- does she have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Once I started writing that scene, a few more scenes popped into my head -- one in which Eve visits a museum on the station that explains some of the history of the space babes and explains more fully one of the concepts I've inserted into these stories (which explains why there are so many aliens in the space babes that resemble human women), and then another where I realized that Eve -- having already requested green hair to more fully resemble the fictional alien girl she's obsessed with, would probably go all the way at some point, and request antenna and eyes that were solid blue.  These are the things that make the fictional Sally Stardust an "alien" girl, and it was fun exploring Eve's obsession with this image.

At this point my story is no longer the simple one about an encounter with an alien -- it's much more about Eve exploring her obsession with a fictional girl.  The ending isn't the punchline of watching a version of herself eaten -- it should be more about her realizing that her quest for a fictional alien girl is a silly, childish obsession, and in the end she should finally get over it, and maybe date Amaryllis from Amethyst again.  But I'm still working on finishing it.  ^_^

I'm not sure what I actually want to do with this story when I'm done.  Although I tried to be careful about how I described things, there are two sex scenes in the story, and so I probably won't publish it on my blog for that reason.  But the more I work on it and polish it, the more I like it -- more than the other three Eve stories I've written this week.  I think I finally managed to figure out these characters a bit.