Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Year's Resolution & Writing Update 1/21

A quick update on my New Year's Resolutions (because writing things down makes me want to do better):

1.  Exercise 30 minutes a day.  I haven't been doing this so much.  I did do 20 minutes on my stationary bike last night.

2.  Eat well.  Eh, I ate from teriyaki places the last two days.  >.>  At least the second time it was Sunny Teriyaki's Sunny Salad, which is teriyaki chicken and salad, no rice.  I have been pretty good about not eating fast food so far in 2020 though.  Also I visited my doctor, which I've been meaning to do for some time.

3.  Read a Grandpa Anarchy story every day.  Eh, I haven't.  I did read two stories today.

4.  Publish once a week to my story site.  Nope, haven't done that yet.

5.  Write a story a week.  This one I've done and then some!  So far I've written:

1/1/20 Die Glocke
1/6/10  Disco Inferno
1/7/20  Dancing Queen
1/7/20  Punch 'Em All
1/13/20  Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
1/15/20  Die Eir Von Satan
1/15/20  Arachnope
1/17/20  Escape Goat
1/17/20  Red Handed
1/20/20  The Clichemonger
1/20/20  When You're Dead

More than half of these stories are not new -- they are old ideas or partial stories that I am only just now going back to and finishing.  Some of them were substantially written already, such as Arachnope, Escape Goat, and When You're Dead.  I just needed to stitch things together and add descriptive passages and usually a good ending.

Because I've finished so many of my unfinished stories (which are mostly stored in my current working story file, which at the moment is Book 11 -- Fist to the Face), I decided last night to investigate my Grandpa Anarchy Unfinished Ideas folder, which I've mostly ignored for years.  A lot of the "story ideas" in this folder are just titles and maybe an idea or a quote or something from an article that caught my eye.  Not very many contain plots.  There are over 100 files in this folder, most of them along the lines of the story file Troubador which contains the line "Grandpa fights a singing villain" and a suggested name:  Old Gray Eyes, the Silver-Haired Crooner.

Not a lot to go on, in other words.  ^_^

However, I found an old file called Add A Line that directed me to a series of story files where I was attempting to write a little bit on each file each week.  These story files contain a bit more than the others.  In particular, I forced myself to come up with a villain and a sidekick for each one.  Few of them contain any actual plot elements, but there were some creative villain and sidekick ideas that I've never used.  The file Add A Line was for keeping track of what I was working on, and was last updated on 1/27/2014.  So these are all old ideas.

An example is a file called Magnificent Bastardry, in which the villain is a lowlife cur named the Mercilous Montebank.  There's a complete description of him, and the sidekick is Kid Leotard, who is a fan of Jules Léotard, the inventor of the leotard.  He's an acrobat and flying trapeze artist (the sidekick, as well as his inspiration), and the file contains a history of Jules Léotard copied probably from Wikipedia.

I transferred several of these story files to my current working folder.  I want to try and write some of them.  I also transferred three stories with clown titles -- A Clown In A Clown Store, Death by Clown, and Fear of a Clown Planet.  The last in particular suggests another encounter with Bofforma III, the former king of the Kalownian Empire, who appeared in two stories, Clownface and The Clown With the Golden Mask.  I'm going to try and work on those ideas as well.

Saturday 1/18/20 was Writer's night at Matt's in Woodinville.  I read Oulipo Blues.  This story was an experiment of mine; I wrote the same scene in several different styles, which is a form of Oulipo; I then came up with a framing device in which I don't really explain why the scene keeps repeating.  To my mind it was kind of a psychedelic take where the characters were at once in the scene and commenting about how the scene was written; it wasn't really meant to make sense, per se.  At the time I wanted to attempt the Oulipo trick of rewriting the same scene several times, while also somehow attributing this to the Literate Lemur, who would of course be a big fan of this kind of writing technique.  But people didn't like it and thought it was confusing, because there was no explanation for why Grandpa Anarchy was trapped in the same scene over and over.

Gene's advice in these situations (which didn't originate with him but I forget where it comes from) is that, when people tell you a story doesn't work, they're right -- but when they tell you how to fix it, they're almost always wrong.  In any event I didn't get too many suggestions on how to fix it.  My first instinct was that it was meant to be an experiment and somewhat nonsensical, so I didn't need to explain things and if no one else got it then I didn't care.  I like it the way it was.

But of course, I want people to like my stories too, and eventually I found a framing device that makes sense.  I already have the Literate Lemur say (right at the beginning) something about leaving clues using Oulipo writing devices that led Grandpa to find him.  So it was easy enough to frame the entire series of repeated scenes as part of the clues left behind by the Literate Lemur.  Grandpa Anarchy is still in his Anarchy Cave, reading what amounts to a literary novel of some sort.

I rewrote the story on Sunday and Monday.  I think the results work well.  After that, I finished two other stories, so I'm doing well this week also.  ^_^

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