Friday, February 28, 2020

End of February

I don't have much of an update this week.  I didn't get a lot of writing done.  I edited my story Sally Stardust Is Dead, and I couldn't decide on the composition of a couple of paragraphs, and I fiddled with it but eventually posted it for better or worse.  Sometimes I think it's the best of my Eve stories, other times I feel like it's one of the most problematic.

My other big accomplishment for the week was to start a story that I eventually decided to call the Return of Sally Stardust, or the Resurrection of Sally Stardust.  I've got a lot of ideas for it but at the moment no completed scenes.  And I sometimes think how I feel about my other story affects my desire to actually sit down and write this one, or the two that follow.  :/

One idea for the story is that I want to progress the relationship between Eve and Amaryllis, and have them conceive a child.  In Amethyst this is done through the use of a plant called a wombflower, so neither of them will be pregnant.  Then I decided that, at the same time, Eve's partner Muriel would become pregnant -- which is a thing that her species does asexually, through parthenogenesis I think the term would be.  I want Eve to finally read a bit about Muriel's race and realize how little she knew about her partner -- they are not actually very human-like normally.

I also want to explore other divisions of the 5E government wing of the Eieio Empire.  It makes sense to me that there is at least one alien military division similar to the space babes, but where the members are not humanoid at all.  Maybe like sentient rock creatures or floating psychic wooden monuments, something very abnormal to earth life.  Something as strange as a sea cucumber, you know.

My second idea for this story is that the company which produces the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice cartoon want to do an episode with Eve and Muriel in it, and they've hit upon an idea where, since Eve looks like an old cartoon character named Sally Stardust, they went out and bought the rights to that character and even want to talk Eve into maybe changing her name legally to Sally Stardust.  Which is a weird idea but I did write up a background history of the character and where she came from, and I want to include some of it in the story somewhere.

Since neither of these ideas presents a lot of drama I thought I should manufacture some sort of fight or conflict to actually drive the story.  When I thought about what kind of villain might show up, I thought of the Space Thralls.

I wrote a story called the Ring of Hanubatum a couple of years ago, and this involved Grandpa Anarchy's two great granddaughters, on an adventure through space and to the fairyland of Amethyst.  Along the way I established some things that had happened in the past but which I'd never written into a story -- Elsie McDaniel is a princess of Amethyst, so she's been there more than once (she was there when she was about six in my story Return to Amethyst) and Kelli Nova is a junior member of the Space Babes.  Both girls are descended not only from Grandpa Anarchy, but also from the Nova family which founded the Space Babes -- and also from the heroine Hellfire Lass, who was Grandpa's wife and their great grandmother.

In order to explain some of this, I created a backstory of a dramatic event that was unwritten which involved an invasion of Amethyst from Space Thralls -- trolls from space -- which were repelled by members of Grandpa's supergroup along with the Space Babes and with the help of at least Kelli Nova.  Afterwards a space station was set up over Amethyst, which I've used in several other stories including Sally Stardust is Dead.  I presume the steampunk Space Babes space station over Amethyst is heavily defended against any new Space Thrall attack, and so I thought, what if the Space Thralls try to attack through our universe first?  They'd encounter Eve and Muriel.

I had an idea that maybe the king of the Space Thralls would fall in love with Eve on sight and try to make her his bride.  I dunno how far I want to go with that -- I don't really want to make Eve a damsel in need of rescue, although having Muriel and/or Amaryllis rescue her might be fun.

Anyway, as I said, I have a lot of ideas and it sometimes seems that I have an entire story if I assemble everything in the right order, and I suspect that maybe the heart of the story should be about whether Eve want to marry Amaryllis, which may mean Eve wants to remain as she is after her tour as a Space Babe.  Also, perhaps part of the conflict is Muriel deciding to remain humanoid because her child is born as a humanoid child?  I dunno.  They could retire to a farm in Amethyst or something.

All of this caused me to reread the Ring of Hanubatum, which has some problems because I figured out the backstory mentioned above as I was writing the story, and Kelli acts completely oblivious about Amethyst despite the back story saying she's been there before.  Also Elsie's stuffed dragon talks to her in the first scene, and never again. There are a lot of inconsistencies.  I need to rewrite it a bit, which I always knew.  I want to revisit these characters who are young heroes but whose parents are against heroes and adventures in general.  I have to figure out how they come to terms with being heroes despite their parents wishes.

All of which made me think that I should really go back and write the unwritten story of the Space Thrall invasion.

So basically, I want to work on Space Babes Are Easy and You Can Be Sally Stardust, but I came up with a prequel to work on first called the Return of Sally Stardust, and then I came up with another prequel to this and the Ring of Hanubatum called... well, Space Thrall Invasion for now.  And then assuming I can write all of these stories, I may also write a sequel to Ring of Hanubatum.  I think I already have one partially plotted actually -- The Devil and Miss Elsie.

I didn't write much this week, but I plotted a lot I guess.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Third Week of February 2020

Friday I finished my story Them Rats.  On Thursday I only had a vague idea of how this story would go -- it involved the villain Holy Terror, and I wanted to include a lot of the background on Glory Ashes, Grandpa's current sidekick.  I had no plot.  But by Friday morning, I'd figured out how the story should go, and it came together pretty well.  In fact, I finished it so quickly that I thought to myself, "I have time to work on my other story idea, The Strangulator."

Of course, this didn't happen.  Even when I think I have plenty of time to write more than one story in the same day, I get that one story done and then I'm simply not in the right mood or frame of mind to write more.

I did not write much of anything on Saturday or Sunday, but Saturday was Writer's Night at Gene and Michael's in North Seattle.  I read Them Rats and people liked it quite a bit.  I got some suggestions for minor tweaks, which I immediately incorporated.

Sunday I planned to work on The Strangulator, but instead I watched two movies.  One was Snow White, the other was Frozen.  I have a plan to watch all of the Disney princess movies, and to that end I've also recently purchased Cinderella and the Little Mermaid.  I think I am still lacking Sleeping Beauty, Alladin, and... Mulan?

Anyway, inspired by Snow White, I suddenly imagined Grandpa Anarchy with a similar magic mirror.  He stands before it in the morning and says, "Mirror, mirror above the bureau, Who's the greatest superhero?"  A few sarcastic replies occurred to me.  I really liked this, and envisioned it as a short joke scene in some other story, with no real explanation of where he got the mirror or what he planned to do with it.  But since I had no particular story to put it in, I wrote it down and saved it as its own file called Magic Mirror.

Monday I woke up, and I knew exactly how the entire Magic Mirror story should go.  I wrote the story that day.

Tuesday I woke up and I knew how to transform The Strangulator into a complete story.  This one I struggled with for most of the day, but in the end it pretty much came together the way I'd imagined it in the morning.

Wednesday I woke up and I knew how my story about the robotic butler Wilfred 2.0 should go.  I wrote most of this on Wednesday, and then finished it up Thursday morning.

I have to say, complete stories don't just spring into my head.  I have to be actively thinking about these things beforehand.  But I'll have some setting or scenario and I'm trying to imagine how I can transform it into a story, and then at night my subconscious steps in and says, "This is how you should do it!"  So it's a byproduct of me trying to figure these things out in the back of my head already, but it still feels magical when I just wake up and the solution to my problem just presents itself to me.  ^_^

I wrote 13 stories in January, and so far in February I've written 11 more:

2/2 A Clown in a Clown Store
2/2 Death By Clown
2/7 The Tutu of Lully
2/9 Banavatar
2/11 The Emancipation of Philip Dos
2/12 The Seeker
2/13 The Luckiest Human
2/14  Them Rats
2/17  Magic Mirror
2/18  The Strangulator
2/20  WIlfred 2.0

Also, WIlfred 2.0 is story # 400.  This numbered list includes 17 unfinished stories or skipped numbers, so technically I have not written 400 stories.  My numbered unfinished stories/skipped numbers are:

037-040  World of Hero (novella -- book 2)
103  Second Class (novella -- book 3)
161  Oz on the Half-Shell (novella -- book 5)
173  Patron of the Arts (book 5)
174  ?
177  (non-existent Christmas story)  (book 5)
190  Meanwhile in Zendeth Sector  (book 6)
370  Girls Will Be Girls  (book 12)
371  Tsundere  (book 12)
372  A Bomb In Heaven  (book 12)
373  Ancient Cosmic Evil  (book 12)
375  Space Babes Are Easy  (book 11)
376  You Can Be Sally Stardust  (book 11)

By this point I think I've written enough stories to make a complete book 11.  What I want to work on now is finishing some of these unfinished stories.  I think that's my next goal -- but it's a big goal, because three of these are novella-length and the stories in book 12 might as well be one giant novel, so the ending is particularly hard to get right.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 13 Update

On Sunday I completed my Banana Split story.  I retitled this Banavatar.  I am also considering Bananavatar and Avabanana (suggested by Chuck).

Tuesday I completed my Android Head of Philip K. Dick story.  I retitled this the Emancipation of Philip Dos.

At this point I was feeling several things.  I had introduced a new sidekick named Glory Ashes, but had revealed none of her backstory -- it didn't really fit into what I was writing.  I really wanted to write one or two more stories with her in it so I could get the chance to explore her backstory which is far more elaborate than my typical sidekick.

I was also feeling a little burned out on the gender bender tropes that were a part of both stories, because I know I've written too many stories like that and I kind of feel like that's not meant to be the focus of my Grandpa Anarchy stories and I've been overdoing it.  So I felt a little depressed, like I was writing stories that most people wouldn't want to read, and I should try something different.  I began work on an old story called Fox Con, which I had decided to transform into one of my stories with Glory Ashes in it.

But then Tuesday I went back to Book 1 and finished a "fill in" story that I had "plotted" quite a while ago.  I say "plotted" in quotes because my entire plot consisted of "John Haggard shows up for some reason".  2-3 years ago I'd planned out these stories involving Circuit Girl -- who I'd built up as one of Grandpa Anarchy's best sidekicks ever, but she had never actually appeared in any story.  So I created three stories to slip into my first book that would give her some background.  Two of these I wrote right away, but the third one, called Jack really was only the idea of a story.

However I managed to come up with an idea and flesh out the full story.  I retitled it The Seeker.

So at this point (yesterday) I was feeling much better.  I'd written an old story I'd planned to write a couple of years ago; it was meant to be for Book 1 and was the only incomplete story in that book, and now I began to think I should concentrate on finishing up other unfinished stories.  I have a few which are numbered and placed in books as if they're complete stories, but they aren't.  Usually I know what major event is supposed to happen in that story, and so it needs to be there, for reasons.

So naturally Wednesday night I came up with two completely unrelated story ideas -- although both involve Glory Ashes, and one sort of takes the place of what I was trying to do with Fox Con.  I was watching some music videos before bed and in the back of my mind was this bit of dialog about heavy metal bands that are strongly visual, and because of this I had to watch some Babymetal, some Band-Maid, and then some Ghost.  And while watching Ghost videos I realized that I really needed to write another story involving the Holy Terror, a villain who kind of looks like Papa Emeritus in his evil pope getup.  I really like this villain a lot, and I've only used him twice.  Before I knew it, I'd plotted half of the story in my head.  I titled it Them Rats.

I've also had another song stuck in my head recently -- Let Me In by MC Chris, the nerd rapper known best for his Star Wars rap Fett's Vette, but I like Let Me In better.  It's the story of they Ghostbusters character Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) and opens with his prophecy about Gozer the Traveler:

Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

So that's been stuck in my head for a couple of days, and this led me to create another story file initially titled Gozer the Traveler, but this morning I renamed it The Strangulator.  My idea is to have a Ghostbusters-like invasion, because I'm not sure I've done that yet.  This story also includes Glory Ashes of course.

So -- naturally after deciding to work on old stories, and then creating two brand new story files... I completed a different story today.  I've been working on a story called Manineko or Lucky Neko, and this is one of those stories that I'd been very down on Tuesday evening.  I came up with a very complicated backstory for how the regeneration vats that Grandpa and Dark Dr. Dark and the New League of Two-Fisted Justice use work, and it was far too complex to fit into a story, and I was trying to build a joke based on something that could not be quickly explained or understood.  So I wrote down all of my ideas and set them aside, and in the morning I realized that I didn't need to explain things much at all and I also came up with an entirely different ending that made more sense for where the story had been going originally.  So I finished it today and retitled it The Luckiest Human.

But I numbered Them Rats and The Strangulator first, because I want stories involving Glory Ashes to come before my next story involving a different sidekick.  So once again I've numbered two stories that aren't finished yet.  But I think I can finish these two fairly quickly.

Stories for February:

2/2 A Clown in a Clown Store
2/2 Death By Clown
2/7 The Tutu of Lully
2/9 Banavatar
2/11 The Emancipation of Philip Dos
2/12 The Seeker
2/13 The Luckiest Human

Working on:  Them Rats and The Strangulator.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

First Week of Feb 2020 Update

On January 2nd I listed several story ideas I planned to work on.  Of those, I've finished Arachnope, Punch 'Em All, and my Ahmguh story (renamed).  I also listed a story file named No Politics that I've done nothing with, and another new story file called Grandpa Anarchy 2020 that I've failed to develop.  Sometimes that's how it goes -- I jump from idea to idea, and as long as I'm finishing something at some point, it's all good.  And some of those ideas I fail to work on weren't really much of an idea anyway.

On January 10th I talked about splitting an old story into five:  The Name Game, Disco Inferno, Dancing Queen, Hot Stuff and Get Down Tonight.  The last two of these have yet to be finished.  (And while we're at it, I've poked at another old story called [for now] Jack.  It's supposed to fit into book 1 but it's not finished either.)

On January 16th I listed more stories I was working on:  The Android Head of Philip K. Dick, The Earth Is On Fire, and Invictus.  None of these are finished, but I've worked on the first one a bit and I believe it works as a set of two stories with my android butler idea titles Wilfred being a follow-up story.  As for The Earth Is On Fire, this was one of those "I had a vision of how this story should go" things where I really failed to write down much of anything, so there's not a lot to work with at the moment.

Stories I was working on on January 27:  The Great Brain Robbery (finished), Fear of a Clown Planet (finished), Manekineko or Lucky Neko (not finished) and My Gun Is Sharp (not finished, I don't even remember what I was doing with it.)

Over last weekend I finished up my "clown" trilogy.  I numbered A Clown in a Clown Store as story 389, Fear of a Clown Planet is 390, and Death By Clown is 391.

Since then I've been working on several new ideas.

Banana Split:  (This story is very much a working title.)  It occurred to me last week that I really needed to write a new story about the Eternal Order of the Second Banana.  I wrote about them way back in story 067 Brothers and Sisters, and the Second Banana Strike Force has appeared a couple of times.  The Eternal Order is a secret society of former sidekicks, run mostly by the Electric Bluejay and his associates (who also run the temporary sidekick agency).  The strike force is a secret paramilitary wing of the order... basically a collection of heroes who are available to help others but mostly work behind the scenes, rather than as a public hero group.  Also, they tend to have a revolving cast of agents.

The strike force was featured in story 093 Banana Also Rises and the secret order bar is the setting for two other stories, 281 Time Trip and 284 Hurricane Punch.  These are tall tales about Grandpa Anarchy as related by the Electric Bluejay, and I always intended to write at least one more but I didn't come up with anything.

The Second Banana Strike Force also appears in an unfinished novella, Second Class, which involves the expansion of the Black Moon Maidens supergroup.  Largely because of this story and a a later group of stories involving the formation of a magical girl supergroup, the Shoujo Alliance of Frosthaven, the strike force is down several powerful heroes.  Former members Spirit Summoner Shaman Sally, Microbat, Tsunami Lass and the Ritzy Cracker are members of the Black Moon Maidens, and Shaman Sally is also a part-time member of the Shoujo Alliance of Frosthaven.

This leaves me with five known strike force members:  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Sixteen Tons, Dog Is My Copilot, Cell Site Girl and Aquakinetic Lad.  The first two are basically muscle or military types; Dog Is My Copilot is a secretary and a pilot, for the most part (also a decent investigator); Cell Site Girl is a communications support character, and that leaves Aquakinetic Lad as the only true super-powered operative.

So... a story about new members joining the society and the strike force seemed in order.  I put together a list of sidekicks that had appeared in the last 60 or so stories (working my way back through Book 11 and Book 9) and then considered which of these would actually be useful to the group.  I create a lot of joke sidekicks who are not strictly useful and/or could never be expected to have long hero careers.  But I came up with the following:

The Glass Cannon, a young woman who fires powerful force bolts.

Alice Liddell, a version of Alice In Wonderland who wound up following Grandpa Anarchy back to our world.  I always meant to do more with her, but never did.  I imagine she has some knowledge of magic and/or possibly can teleport between worlds.

HighSis, a character who is kind of a parody of Isis from the 1970's show The Secret of Isis (she smokes marijuana in order to transform).  Although kind of a joke character, she appeared in three stories and is actually quite powerful, in the same way the Isis character is powerful.

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, a catgirl who is an expert gunslinger.

Wings of Liberty, a half-falcon woman who I still have yet to write in her own story (but she appears in another story with Black Dahlia, before she becomes Grandpa's sidekick).  She can fly and would have sharp taloned feet.

Ex Habitu, a character with a dress that can produce any type of weapon.

Furious Bandersnatch Boy, who can transform into a powerful humanoid monster.

Escape Goat, who is an escape artist in a goat costume.

Spyro Gyros, who gains powers when he eats gyros sandwiches.

Boy Ballerina, a boy in a ballerina outfit.

Of this group, The Glass Cannon, HighSis and possibly Wings of Liberty most fit the bill for operatives who are super-powered, I think.  Possibly Spyro Gyro as well -- I haven't really codified his powers in a story yet.  In some ways the last three on the last are joke characters, but I decided to include them anyway.  Boy Ballerina is like a young, male Nina Ballerina, a kid who tries to combine martial arts with ballet moves.

The Tutu of Lully:  I was working on this Banana Split story when it occurred to me that Boy Ballerina's inclusion might be strengthened if he found some sort of supernatural aid to make himself stronger and more effective (and, perhaps, more like a classical ballerina in appearance).  I also thought that Spyro Gyro is going to have a much harder time finding a gyros sandwich in a fight than Popeye ever did finding spinach.  What if he came up with a magical amulet of some sort that summons food?  (Specifically, gyros sandwiches).  This evolved into a story idea I've been working on since yesterday, which is currently titled the Tutu of Lully, which obviously I need to finish before I work on the Banana Split story.

UPDATE:  Over the last two days of the week I managed to stitch together a complete story for The Tutu of Lully.  Right now it's overly long and I probably need to trim and tighten it, and I'm not sure I like it, but at least it reads as a complete story now.  I cropped a bunch of dialog and background information and stuffed them into a new story called:

Tea For Tutu:  Well I mean, what else would I call it?  This title suggests a non-traditional wedding ceremony between Ballerina Boy and Spyro Gyros to me (one involving tea?)  I also thought up some stuff that leads directly from The Tutu of Lully into Banana Split, so this might form a trilogy depending on how these stories wind up being written.

University of Hard Knocks:  At some point last week I was also trying to come up with a new story involving the villain Ichabod Berelli, aka Idiot Ball.  He's a kind of Kingpin criminal mastermind who has only ever appeared in a single story.  I listened to a Villains podcast about Kingpin, and it gave me ideas, but I only got so far on the story before jumping to other things.

Hellfire and Brimstone and Transhumanist:  Sometimes I come up with long bits of writing that don't fit into the story I'm working on.   These are two such files; one is a long section about Hellfire Lass, detailed information on how she got her powers, a lot of which never made it into that story, and the other is a section of villain dialog that did not fit into Fear of a Clown Planet but which I still like.

It's Complicated:  While listening to an Imaginary Worlds podcast about villain plans and how often movie villains especially have plans so complicated and convoluted that it's nearly impossible to figure out what they were hoping to achieve or why (see:  Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman), and I decided that a story with that kind of plot would be fun.  Something that was such a mess that Grandpa gives up trying to oppose it because he has no idea what the villain really wants, and the villain has almost zero chance of achieving it.  I created a new story file based on that idea.

You Will Destroy Us All:  Along the same lines, I wrote down a few bits of dialog based on the idea that the hero always tells the villain he's crazy.  What if they're being serious?  Like, the villain really has mental problems?

I'm not certain that one is an actual story plot, but anyway, I created a file.