Monday, September 16, 2019

September Writing Update

Completed Stories Since August:

345  Goodwill Ambassador
346  Totally Like Sailor Moon
347  Motivation
348  Dark Kingdom
349  Vlog Slog
350  Purpose
351  Out of Phaeton
352  Starchild
353  Trapped on Titan
354  Space Opera
355  Incident on Titan
356  Ghosts and Shadows
357  Ring Thing
358  Wish Upon A Moon

Working Titles:

Probably Something About Shadows (part 1 of Ghosts and Shadows)
Probably Something About Ghosts or Souls (part 2 of Ghosts and Shadows)
Stella's Story
Throne Room
Villain Emporium
Witch of Titan
Girls Will Be Girls
Goodwill Tour Fairyland

It's Monday, Sept 16 2019.  In the first half of September, this is what I've managed:

I came up with an idea that there had been a Grandpa Anarchy musical, and that one of the characters should sing part of it.  I came up with some lyrics, and a title of the musical, and who wrote it.  I stuck it into the beginning of Ghosts and Shadows, and then I had to face the reality that said story was already possibly three stories in one, and I was inserting yet another thing that had nothing to do with any of the plots.  I had:

1.  A confrontation with a shadow creature outside the castle, which I glossed over so quickly that it either didn't need to be there, or I needed to expand it into its own story.

2.  A discussion about whether Girlbot 9000 was a cyborg or not.  This was part of a working title called Ghost In The Machine that I wound up working in to Ghosts and Shadows.

3.  A discussion about whether souls exist or not.  This kind of spun out of #2, but became the central conceit of the story Ghosts and Shadows when I rewrote the ending.

4.  Possibly an entirely new plot about an old Grandpa Anarchy musical?

I have yet to resolve the first three, but I like my new ending for Ghosts and Shadows so what I want to do is rewrite the beginning into another story about a battle with shadow creatures, and then tighten up Ghosts and Shadows to be more centrally about the question of whether people have souls.  As for the whole cyborg vs robot question, I don't know what I'll do with that.  Leave it for a later story I suppose.

In the meantime, I took the bit about a musical and spun that out into its own story, Space Opera.  I also established that there had been two different musicals, one a rock opera that Grandpa Anarchy doesn't like, and that there had also been a Mister Anarchy radio drama in the late 1940's.

I came up with two story ideas that delved into the past of Blues Summoner Stella and Candy Valentine.  I haven't worked on the first, but the second turned into a story called Ring Thing, which fits right after the ending of Ghosts and Shadows.

I wanted to develop the motivations of Queen Sable more, and I didn't like how Trapped On Titan went, so I wrote a new introduction to her called Purpose.  I then rewrote Trapped on Titan, and I like both of these stories much better than what I had previously.  This gives me hope that my plan to rewrite Ghosts and Shadows will work out well too.

Last night I came up with another story that takes place at almost the same time as Ring Thing.  I called it Wish Upon a Moon.  I haven't decided if it really works or not, but that means I finished a story on Sunday to go with the one I finished on Friday, and I've technically written five stories this month -- four new ones, and a completely rewritten Trapped on Titan.

After all of this, I STILL haven't gotten to the confrontation scene in the throne room -- which actually won't be a confrontation scene, but that's what I was writing towards for the last 25 or 30 days....

Recent tweets about my writing:

Aug 30 
And once again I'm thinking about the stories I've been working on this month, and my inability to write actual stories and develop characters in the way that I want.
I did finish Ghost and Shadows, and it's a complete story now but I don't like it. 
Just for one example, there's a character in OPM who is called Steel Bat, because he's kind of a street thug who swings a metal bat.  Really simple character. 
But he has a younger sister that he's very devoted to, and this comes up several times.  It's one of his defining character points.
In my own stories, I wrote up detailed backgrounds on each of the four main characters in my magical girl group.  But it occurred to me that I don't even know if any of them have siblings.  They can't ALL be only children, right?
I'm just really bad at this stuff sometimes.  :P
Another thing I think I'm bad at -- heroes need a chance to shine.  Each hero has their own strengths they bring to a situation.  Too often I don't give you a reason to cheer for the hero.
I mean, I'm mostly trying to write 1,500 word short stories with a funny ending, but I need to be able to include some of that stuff as well.

Sep 3
I didn't write most of the weekend but last night I finally worked on one of the two stories I plotted out on Friday.  This one is currently titled Genie of the Ring, but since that gives away the surprise I'll have to rename it.

Sep 8
So I've written only one story in the first 8 days of September, and I don't even like it.
This weekend I tried to take one of my complete stories and tear it apart and write two new stories from that.  Trying to figure out how many stories I'm actually telling.
But after I cannibalized and sabotaged my story to try and pare it down to what I thought was "essential", I find that I still hate the results, and what I thought would be a good ending isn't.
Then I watch some anime and I'm like, why can't my characters be more dynamic?
I'm trying to get there but I keep missing the target.
Anyway I now have this story called Sense of Purpose that is about half of what the story Trapped On Titan was, but there's no good ending yet, and I don't know how to reconstruct what's left into another story.

Sep 9
Rewrote "Sense of Purpose" and I think I like it now, except for I can't figure out an ending.  Also it doesn't address a lot of points that I want to address but which don't really fit into this story, so... maybe I need to write yet another story after this.

Sep 12
Today I finished a story I titled Purpose.  The ending that I came up with involved Dark Dr. Dark suddenly appearing, and I think I like the results.
This was a story that I split off from Trapped On Titan, because like many of my "short" stories...
...the first draft of that one was going in too many direction at once.
So next I rewrote Trapped On Titan, and I think I managed to make that one work better as well.
So!  Time to go back and rework Ghosts and Shadows, which is what I was doing last week, right?
Well the thing is, I remembered that I wanted to separate the first part and the second part of that story into two separate tales.
They fight a shadow creature, and the fight was short and sweet and not very dramatic because I was working on an idea wrapped around Girlbot 9000, and the fact that Magical Girl Kin Katy doesn't believe in humans having souls.  (Girlbot 9000 is a ghost inhabiting a robot.)
So this by itself is possibly 2 different stories, one about whether Girlbot 9000 qualifies as a robot or a cyborg, or neither, and another about whether people really have souls.
I like the punchline for the second idea and I had leaned more in that direction.
But I had also realized that maybe they were breaking into the castle too easily, and they should have to fight more than one little shadow creature.
And I should make a bigger deal of Sailor Europa being able to destroy said shadow creatures with her light magic.
And I should play up the idea that Grandpa wants to punch them, but he's wearing a space suit and his Gloves of the Void are in a pocket inside the space suit.  So, you know, he should have put them over his gloves after he donned the suit.  This annoys him.
So that's like... possibly 3 stories instead of one.
But then I pulled up the story and I realized that I had ALSO tossed in a bit where Kin Katy sings lines from a Grandpa Anarchy musical.
The problem with this is, it's apropos of nothing in particular and doesn't contribute to this story, and since my story already is possibly three different stories in one, I had no business trying to shove something like this in as well.
BUT!  When I reread this tonight, I remembered!  I had started a story last week called Space Opera, which took place a bit earlier and dealt with the whole Grandpa Anarchy musical thing.
Also, the details got a lot more complicated.
There was a musical called The Grandpa Anarchy Opera:  Fists Against Darkness in 1986.
There was also a musical called Zero Hour Anarchy written in the late 1960's, but thought to be incomplete until the completed manuscript was discovered after the author's death in 74.
The 67/74 musical is pretty bad.  But Grandpa Anarchy likes it, and he hates the 1986 one, partly because the 1986 one is a rock opera.
Tangent to this, there was also a radio show called the Mister Anarchy Radio Show which ran from 1946 to 1950.
All this is stuff I came up with just so I could have someone make a joke about space opera by singing an opera (musical) song while in space, and then Grandpa could explain how the term Space Opera descends from Soap Opera, which described radio dramas that mostly sold soap.
(The Mister Anarchy Radio Show was supported in part by Atomic White Detergent, made by the W.H. Detergent Company in Frosthaven NJ, where Grandpa's from.)
This is the part where I point out that you can create a lot of backstory information and then maybe 2 lines or so make it into your story.  But I did write a cool intro that is the last scene from the last episode of the Mister Anarchy Radio Show.
And then, you know, a week later I'd completely forgotten I'd written any of this stuff, because I never managed to finish it.
The real struggle is between how quickly can I get to my possible ending, vs. how much of all of this backstory detail can I manage to cram in first.
(The answer is:  probably not much, especially not very much of the partial song lyrics I've come up with.)
So in short... I need to finish "Space Opera" so that I can  rewrite Ghosts and Shadows into A) Story about fighting the shadow creatures and B) story about Katy not buying that she has a soul.
And possibly C) story about whether Girlbot 9000 is a robot or what.
I'm not sure that last one is a real story.  At the moment it doesn't seem to drive any overarching plot.  But then, Space Opera probably doesn't either.  :P

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