Friday, January 10, 2020

First Ten Days of 2020

It's been 10 days in 2020, and I've written four stories (although I'd written that many by Tuesday the 7th).  I wrote Die Glocke first, and I've already forgotten who the sidekick was in that story, or quite how I managed to end it.  Next I worked on some old stories which were plotted out a year ago in an attempt to fix one of my oldest stories, Solar Sister and the Disco Trolls of Doom.

At the time I had decided that this story was at least 3 different stories, possibly as many as 5 (one reason why it didn't work as a single story).  Although I didn't remember this, I had already written one of the stories I was going to replace it with, the Name Game.  I had several more plotted under the titles Disco Inferno, Dancing Queen, Hot Stuff, and Get Down Tonight.  I liked the idea of giving them all disco song titles.

I managed to finish Disco Inferno and Dancing Queen, and was working on Hot Stuff when I doubled back to finish a different, "current" story called Punch 'Em All.  That's the story I finished on Tuesday.

Wednesday I decided to work on a second story involving the sidekick OMG Girl.  She's the sidekick I used for Punch 'Em All, but I really didn't get to explore the joke of her name that much.  I had a file named Ahmguh which contained some dialog between her and Grandpa about her name -- the entire joke is that she pronounced OMG as if it were a word, "Ahmguh!"

This by itself isn't a plot or even a scene, so I decided they were in pursuit of a villain -- let's say it's Death Medal, he's a recurring villain and is fun to write.  Usually Death Medal is stealing books with spells to destroy the world/universe/all of humanity, or powerful artifacts that do the same thing.  So let's say he's stolen a magical tome, and wants to cause genocide and global or universal destruction.  That's his thing.

I've done several jokes in the past about things that can go wrong when you try to read a deadly spell from an ancient magical tome.  This time I realize that I can do the Die Eier von Satan joke.  This is a song by Tool, in which a man speaks dramatically in German while a crowd cheers.  I was told this was a recipe for Deviled Eggs, but actually the joke is deeper than that -- it's a recipe for cookies but the speaker keeps repeating "and no eggs!" which would cause the recipe to fail, to turn out flat.  This is a metaphor for Hitler's Germany without the Jews.

Die Eier von Satan reads as "the balls of Satan" or "the eggs of Satan".

But I'm not attempting a complicated allegory on Nazi politics and making fun of Americans and their automatic assumptions that dramatic German speakers with cheering crowds equals Hitler.  I just want to make a joke about Death Medal failing to cast an Armageddon spell again.  He starts to read the spell out loud in German, and realizes it's just a recipe for deviled eggs.

This lead me to the obvious next line, "It's a cookbook!"  Which is of course the famous line from To Serve Man, a well-known episode from the Twilight Zone.  After doing some research and considering how I could work this into the plot better, I decided to make a race similar to the Kanamits from To Serve Man, only in my story they're a race of librarians with a fancy alien library that has collected books from earth for thousands of years.  Death Medal stole his magic tome from there, but got a cookbook by accident.

This is how I construct a story sometimes:  imagine a setting and a villain, then try to come up with jokes that I can use for that situation.  Hopefully I come up with one that makes a good ending joke.  For the above story, I'm aiming for a joke on the aliens and the cookbook, and I think I can pull it off but I haven't actually written most of the story yet, just bits of dialog.

Anyway, the obvious new title for this story is Die Eier von Satan.

For Wednesday, instead of finishing this story I constructed another new story out of nothing.  I did not plan to do this, it just happened.  I had a kind of vision of Grandpa Anarchy and OMG Girl appearing in a fantasy/fairyland setting while chasing some sort of magical enemy, and immediately I had some Grandpa Anarchy dialog in my head:

"Ah!" Grandpa said, "if it isn't the Enchanted Thistle Forrest of Lavenderlandia, in the land of Hopsibayrne, near Eiderdown Town  on the shores of Crystalcola Sea.  If I've been here once, I've been here a million times."
"You have?" asked OMG Girl in surprise.
"Generally speaking," Grandpa replied.  "I may not have been to this specific place before, but all these fantasy fairyland realms kind of blend together after a while.  You've been to one, you've been to them all."
"If you've never been here," said OMG Girl, "then how did...."
"I read that sign over there," Grandpa said.  "The You Are Here sign?  By the way it says to be wary of bubblegum spiders and insurance salesmen.  Sound advice if you ask me."

This leads to another Grandpa Anarchy rant about magical villains.  He's not in favor of them, of course -- they're the domain of magic types like Dark Dr. Dark and Black Dahlia.  Grandpa much prefers mad scientists, psychopathic masterminds, and super thugs.

At this point I didn't so much have a plot as a setting and a rambling rant about the situation from Grandpa -- but I considered what other jokes I could throw in, and a fantasy world directions joke popped into my head.  You know, through the looking glass, past three wardrobes and then there's a phantom tollbooth on the right, take the next road, it's made of yellow brick, you can't miss it....

At this point I titled my new file A Wardrobe Too Far which is almost certainly not the final story title.

So this meant they had to ask a local for directions, and while constructing the dialog in my head I inserted a fantasy-world equivalent to "and Bob's your uncle!" which I decided should be "and Oz is your wizard!"  This lead to another bit of dialog where this phrase is explained, and the elf or gnome or whatever he is gets to complain that Bob is NOT his uncle, his uncle is Candleblast the Unsteady, the milner in Fuffledumfph Town (or something like that).

I considered a fantasy-world substitute for a similar phrase, "as easy as pie" or "a piece of cake" and came up with "as easy as forbidden water!"  Because in Oz if you drink from the Forbidden Fountain, you forget everything -- it contains the water of forgetfulness, which is why it's forbidden, it's a bad idea to drink it.  The rambling conversation in my head led to the elf/gnome stating the reason for this phrase -- if you drink from the forbidden fountain you forget your past crimes and can't legally be held accountable for them.  Grandpa argues with him on this point, and suddenly I realized that this is the center of my story.

Miss Mixelthpthpthpthp (my magical villain) has stolen a valuable artifact, and now plans to drink from a forbidden fountain so that she cannot be legally held responsible for her theft.

I'm not entirely sure how this will work out, and I'll probably have to cut some of my jokes to make the story flow well.  At the moment I think I'll cut straight to the court scene at the end or a scene in a fantasy-world police department, but one way or another I think I have a story now.  And once again, this is how I sometimes construct stories:  imagine a setting and a villain, try to come up with jokes that can work for this setting, then maybe one of them turns into the joke or plot that makes the whole story work.

I changed the title of the story three times... to Forgotten Lore and then to I Forget which is much too on the nose, and most recently to Forget Me Not which might be a good title and maybe I should even place candy forget-me-not flowers in the opening scene.

So... this week I wrote one story and I plotted two more, and I just need to finish them.  ^_^  That's always the hard part!

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