Sunday, October 27, 2019

What To Do For NaNoWriMo?

I haven't decided what I'm going to work on for NaNoWriMo.  As usual I have too many existing projects to want to start something new.  My choices:

1.  Random Grandpa Anarchy Stories.  I have a lot of them.  This would allow me to finish the arc I'm working on currently before jumping into something else.

2.  Longer Unfinished Grandpa Anarchy Stories.  I have several:

World of Hero (book 2) one of my oldest stories and a take on the cancellation of City of Heroes in 2013

Second Class (book 4) a story about the Black Moon Maidens and about Nina Ballerina leaving the League of Two-Fisted Justice

Oz On The Half Shell (book 5) a nearly finished story about fantasy realms and someone trying to take Grandpa Anarchy's place (who happens to be a version of Grandpa Anarchy)

3.  Grandpa Anarchy:  Serial Anarchy.  This is a planned novel with a cliffhanger ending for every chapter.  I came up with it for one of my NaNo projects several years ago, and never got further than the first three chapters.

4.  Grandpa Anarchy:  The Companions.  This is another old NaNo project that I didn't finish; it is a series of stories about Kid Anarchy in the 1920's and the different companions that he had (one story per companion).  I have several partially-written stories for this project.

5.  Grandpa Anarchy:  Magical Girl Death Match.  This is a plotted idea that I've never written.  It would be a novel-length story involving a deadly magical girl smart phone game run by aliens.  Bonus:  I know a lot more about the aliens now since they've appeared in my most recent series of stories.

6.  Grandpa Anarchy:  Anarchy On Vacation.  Another planned series of stories on a theme, Grandpa Anarchy goes on vacation and others must fill in for him.  Meanwhile, he and Popeye Khan go on a quest to track down a certain demon... so basically he isn't really vacationing.

7.  Girls School (anime fan fiction).  I haven't worked in my sprawling Ranma 1/2 fan fiction story in a few years.  It'll never be finished, but I'd like to at least wrap up the plots I started and am in the middle of.  I forget how much of it has been published.

8.  Nerima All Stars (anime fan fiction).  I wrote on this for one NaNoWriMo, and it's not complete.  I've never published it.  It involves Ranma 1/2, Ah My Goddess, and superheroes.  I'd like to complete it so I can publish it, but I'm not sure even 50,000 words would wrap it up.

9.  A Goddess In Oz (anime  fan fiction).  Well to be honest I'm not going to tackle this one I think, but it would be nice to finish it at last.  It's mostly an Oz/Ah My Goddess crossover, but there are other anime characters that were going to show up later.  I had a good plan for how the story would go.

Like I said, I don't really plan to start anything new, so those are my options.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Writing Update October 25 2019

345a  Dark Magical Interlude 1 934 words
345b  Goodwill Ambassador 2155 words
346a  Just Like Sailor Moon 1347 words
346b  Dark Magical Interlude 2 496 words
347   Motivation 1232 words
348   Dark Kingdom 1197 words
349   Double Trouble 1547 words
350a  Dark Magical Interlude 3 939 words
350b  Vlog Slog 1502 words
351   Purpose 1804 words
352   Out of Phaeton 1538 words
353   Starchild 1980 words
354   Trapped on Titan 1616 words
355   Space Opera 1097 words
355b  Ancient Robot Interlude 1 381 words
356   Here Be Dragons 2204 words
357   Shadow Magic 1029 words
358   Soul of the Matter 1538 words
359   Ring Thing 1397 words
359b Interlude of Terror 483  words
360   Wish Upon A Moon 1528 words
361   Witch Queen of Titan 1750 words
362   Dark Teatime 1189 words
363   Disaster Station 2322 words
364   Realm of Magic 2055 words
365   Money Shot 1219 words
365   Scattered Seeds 1765 words
366   Dark Magic Trap 2206 words
367   Pink Light 1610 words
368   Big-Ass Space Ship (incomplete)
369   Save Your Enemy (incomplete)
370  Tsundere/Dead To Me
371  A Bomb In Heaven
372  Ancient Cosmic Evil

I posted this to Twitter a couple of weeks ago, but I had a dream that helped me figure out exactly how to wrap up all of my stories and tie them together.  I was going to post about it to this blog -- maybe last Friday -- but I never did.  In any case, I've been writing towards this goal ever since, and I still think it can work.

I read Goodwill Ambassador for writer's night on Saturday 10/19.  I think people liked it.  I rewrote it slightly on Monday based on people's comments.

My big accomplishments for this week were to complete Disaster Station and to rewrite Scattered Seeds.  These two stories were kind of holding me up from going any further with my plot, until I'd fixed them.  I also wrote a short Interlude of Terror which is simple but advances some of the plot.

At this point I'm not sure what I want to write next, but I'm pretty clear on what needs to happen for Save Your Enemy and A Bomb In Heaven.  The second of these stories might also include everything I was going to do for two other story ideas, Tsundere and  Dead To Me.  So maybe all three of those are just one story.  The thing I call Big-Ass Space Ship is quite nebulous -- Grandpa Anarchy and other members of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice have been picked up by a massive space ship which supports an interstellar hero team lead by Super Joe, who is kind of a nephew to Grandpa Anarchy in a way.  They're pursuing an international villain who is probably the mother of Tia-An, the three-year-old supergirl that Grandpa and company rescued earlier... and somehow that's all going to tie in to everything else that's going on, but I'm not sure exactly how just yet.

Basically, I have the setting for the story, but not the story.

I've written about 42,000 words between August and October.  On the one hand that's a great deal more than I'd written in the previous year and a half, but on the other hand 15,000 words a month isn't going to cut it for NaNoWriMo.

On the third hand, there's hope that I can wrap up my story arc here before November.  Or at least get pretty close.

I still need to rewrite Vlog Slog and Ancient Robot Interlude, but overall things are going well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Dark Magical Interludes

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record, but once again I'm  trying to go back and fix my series of magical girl stories.

I watched a video on Youtube.  Actually I watched a lot of videos on Youtube, but this one was about how certain anime shows create and build suspense, while other anime shows that are, on the surface, very similar, fail to build the same level of suspense.  The same things happen, but you don't see them coming, they're not broadcast to the viewer, and therefore you don't have the same dread that something bad is about to happen, it just comes out of left field.

This struck me as exactly the kind of problem I have with my current set of stories.  Villains show up and do things, but the reader doesn't see these things coming or always even know what events are connected to what villains.  No suspense at all, just random villains showing up.

Now, there are a few things driving this.

One, my stories are short and build to some sort of joke or surprise ending, so what I put into each story pretty much has to contribute to that story.  Even though I'm trying to string together a series of stories, each story has to be mostly self-contained.  I can't insert a short scene where this or that villain is revealed to be plotting against the heroes, if it has nothing to do with that particular story.

Two, I did not approach the project with an overall plot in mind, or a plan to build to any particular ending.  This is because I'm not writing a novel per se, but a series of linked stories, and each story is a self-contained joke of sorts.  Which is not to say I shouldn't have an end goal in mind, just that I don't think of these things because my normal approach is to write one story at a time, and whatever funny thing occurs at the end, however outlandish, if that's what makes for a funny story I do that.

Therefore, in one of my normal stories having a random villain show up at the end may prove to be funny, and I'll do that.  I don't have to know what's going to happen next.  In a project like my current one, I absolutely need to know what's going to happen next, so I can't write exactly like I normally do.

Third, I had this idea in the back of my mind that I didn't want to give things away too early, and this led to my current situation of having villains just show up seemingly at random because I haven't warned the reader about them at all.

Now, to my credit (I think), I did kind of figure out partway into the project who my major villains would be, and there were events that happened that were tied to them.  But if you didn't know what they were doing (which the readers did not) then it still probably came off as random, unrelated incidents.

So, this morning I decided to write several "interludes" -- short scenes that established some of what is about to happen, without giving too much away.  I call them interludes because I am not constructing them like my normal stories, with a punchline ending.  Instead they're just scenes.  The first one takes place before the first story in the whole project, and tells the reader that Stella and company have an enemy who wants to corrupt her -- although I deliberately don't reveal that much about said enemy.

I wrote two of these today.  The second one happens right after Queen Sable kidnaps Stella, something that our mysterious demonic enemy was planning to do.  The third happens right after Stella is apparently kidnapped again, and includes foreshadowing for another enemy that's about to show up.  I think I need to do one about Emperor Birol too, who shows up randomly several stories later.  There needs to be a short scene in which he detects Grandpa Anarchy and decides to kill him.

Anyway I wrote the first two and part of the third, and I have at least one more to write.  I *think* these will make the whole story arc flow a lot better, but we'll see.