Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The End of Grandpa Anarchy!

 Stories that I have written since last week:

430  Frills and Bows

431  Mating Ritual

432  Afterglow

433  My Own Daughter

Stories that I still plan to write:

Noticeable One:  This has been my "next story that I write" for nearly a week now, and I keep thinking of other things to write instead.  This is the current version of my long-anticipated "Miss Anarchy in popular media / Miss Anarchy is insanely popular" story.  I have an opening written, which I probably need to cut down, and I have an idea for someone to assassinate Miss Anarchy (which... just means she's resurrected -- but it's during an interview so it's shocking).  Right now my problem is that I haven't figured out how this ends, where it's going, what is the central theme (other than Miss Anarchy is really popular and this also means many people hate her.)

Becoming the Story:  Part of what I wrote two weeks ago for the opening of Noticeable One includes two newscasters joking about how much money it would take for the male newscaster to allow himself to be transformed into a young girl as has happened for Miss Anarchy.  It was mostly written as a scene to demonstrate that people are talking about Miss Anarchy and she's a big news item, but I struggled to figure out how to fit it into a story where it wasn't just filler that extended the story for no good purpose.  Then one day I thought, what if the male newscaster jokes about becoming a girl, in a way that makes it clear he would never want that, and then you immediately cut to a scene where he's begging Miss Anarchy for help in doing exactly that?  He tries to pitch it as a way to get an "inside scoop" on the Miss Anarchy story, a way for him to become a part of the story process -- but really, he'd just rather be a woman.  And maybe also his female cohost would rather be a man?

As you can see, this idea is kind of entwined with Noticeable One, since they'd take place at roughly the same time.

True Colors:  In this story, Dark Dr. Dark, Circuit Girl, Sister Fryer and Unpossible Girl show up on the space station where Miss Anarchy is in order to assemble a group Girls of Two-Fisted Justice photo.  With Miss Anarchy, it is nearly possible to assemble a full team of girl heroes like the ones in the cartoon.  Of course, not everyone is as young as fourteen, and Sister Fryer would have to cosplay as the girl equivalent of her dead uncle, but it mostly works.  The only exception being Dark Dr. Dark, who would use a magic ring to temporarily become Dark Sister Dark.  Also, they don't have a little girl to play Little Nina Ballerina, but there was a contest among fans and the winner will get transformed into Little Nina and will be part of the photo, and will probably wind up at many future promotional events should they opt to stay a little girl.

All of that is background material for the real story, which involves Dark Dr. Dark and Miss Anarchy trying to determine who the sorcerer is trying to capture and curse Grandpa Anarchy.

Beauty Treatment:  I have an idea where Elsie and Kelli's mothers show up.  These are Grandpa Anarchy's granddaughters, and they generally don't approve of all of this silly superhero business.  I still think I'll write this one but it's not an earthshattering idea.

Spirit Animal:  Earlier this week I had an idea for a body swap story.  This would be an adventure in space story, where my cast of characters encounters a kind of blink dog / blink beast animal who has a peculiar defensive trait whereby when it's trapped or scared it can swap bodies with people -- the idea being that it swaps through several bodies and then back to it's own, leaving behind a bunch of people (or predators) in different bodies and completely confused.

I wrote a little bit about the beast for this story, but I quickly realized that this would never work.  All of my characters at the moment are young women -- not very different from each other physically.  Most are related.  What makes a body swap story fun is taking people that are very different from each other and putting them in each other's shoes (and bodies) to see what happens.  In my version of the story, there seemed to be very little that could happen that would be funny or interesting.  I briefly considered having Miss Anarchy comment on why this entire body swap situation made for a bad story, but that alone did not make for a better story.  :P

Shadow:  Catherine McDowell spent several weeks following Grandpa Anarchy around, about two years ago, as preparation for playing Miss Anarchy in the movie.  Although Catherine is a lesbian, she grew very fond of Grandpa Anarchy and even surprised him with a kiss at the end.  All of this is backstory which sets up the events in stories I've written recently, Mating Ritual and Afterglow, but I realized actually crafting a story around that earlier time would be a very good idea.  If I write it, I will place it in an earlier book of stories so that it fits chronologically with when it happens.

Woofy:  Possibly titled Woofy Drumdik, this one is a silly idea.  Jennie Nova speaks in a nearly incoherent spacer slang (space surfer slang actually, which I originally used for the Bronze Beach Bum) which is composed of multiple slang words that I've borrowed from science fiction books, interspersed with slang terms that I created myself.  Elsie has been imitating her second cousin in using a lot of this slang, and when it gets to be too incomprehensible, Miss Anarchy tries to retaliate by overindulging in 1920's flapper slang.

Uncanny Valley:  I want to write another space adventure that involves a valley that is almost, but not quite, real.

A Better Tomorrow:  I don't really have an idea attached to this one, but I like it as a story title.

Real Girl:  I keep expecting to write this story soon.  When I planned it, I had just finished story # 419, The Return of Normal, and I envisioned a series of several stories, with Real Girl happening at maybe story 425.  Then I bumped it up to 428, 430, and finally designated it story # 437X, because I have no idea when I'll get it.  The basic idea of the story remains unchanged.

Entourage:  Since this story was viewed as one of the "end" stories for this long arc I've been working on -- the point which the movie Girls of Two-Fisted Justice gets its premier -- I have yet to be on the verge of writing it -- it's always some distance in the future.  But I had originally planned to write it after a series of maybe six other stories, and instead I've written 13 so far with several more planned.

Stories that I will likely never write:

Just Like Miss Anarchy:  This was meant to document the rise in popularity of Miss Anarchy as the real-life version continues to fight crime and have adventures.  Ultimately, all of the ideas I had for this story are elements that appear in the other stories I've written; there's no story at the center of this idea that needs to be told.

We Meet Again:  This was never more than an idea, and it wasn't a good one.  I don't plan to ever write this.

Custody Battle:  Yeah, I won't be writing this one either.  It was an idea whose time never actually came.

Trust Mother:  This was a "Miss Anarchy gets kidnapped and adopted against her will by Julia Judas, in an attempt to control the Anarchy estate/Anarchy fortune" story.  The timeline of events that I wrote instead made this entire idea obsolete.

Mother's Treasure:  I actually did write this one, and it sucked, and I went in a completely different direction that meant I didn't even bother to rewrite this.

Orphan White:  I think this one was replaced by All I Ever Wanted, but it's another story that I wrote completely and then immediately discarded.

The End of Grandpa Anarchy?

All of these stories revolve around a central premise.  The wildly popular cartoon show Girls of Two-Fisted Justice has been around for several years.  It features Grandpa Anarchy and his companions in the League of Two-Fisted Justice as a team of fourteen-year-old girl heroes.

I wrote the original story Girls of Two-Fisted Justice in 2015, so we can imagine that Girls of Two-Fisted Justice came out in 2016 and has been running for five years.  It was story # 169, and I'm up over 430 stories now.  A lot of things have changed since I wrote that story.  Nina Ballerina had already quit the group, but was included anyway (that part is in the story).  Deep Fat Fryer is dead -- his niece Sister Fryer took his place.  Unpossible Man is now Unpossible Girl (she asked a godlike being to transform her into her Girls of Two-Fisted Justice counterpart).  The League of Two-Fisted Justice was replaced by the much larger New League of Two-Fisted Justice, with multiple new members including Circuit Girl, Geothermal Jenny, Guy Shadow, and Girlbot 9000.  They all join in the story No Surprises, and it's strongly suggested that they will all be given counterparts in the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice cartoon.

The central premise of my current stories is that Grandpa Anarchy winds up as a girl by accident, but decides to spend the time fighting crime as Miss Anarchy, the character from the cartoon.  The live-action movie is due to release in a month and Mal is keen on getting any extra advertising in that he can.  Over a series of stories, Miss Anarchy is transformed into a more accurate version of her cartoon counterpart; she complains a bit but also decides to stick with it until the movie premier; she adventures with her two great granddaughters, who are now 15 and 16 respectively (while Miss Anarchy is meant to be 14, so she is kind of the junior member of the trio).

I had planned to write a series of six or so stories along these lines, but as I went along I began to accept that it would be a longer series of stories, all featuring Miss Anarchy instead of Grandpa Anarchy.  At various times I had plans to magically create a version of Grandpa Anarchy that was separate from Miss Anarchy, so that both could exist at the same time -- or maybe I wouldn't do that, and Miss Anarchy would go back to  being Grandpa in the end.

Then I wrote several stories where Miss Anarchy falls in love and decides to remain a girl, and the question becomes can I continue to write Grandpa Anarchy stories without a Grandpa Anarchy?

Mind you, another Grandpa Anarchy might still appear.   At the moment we have a stand-in robot named Grandpa Anarchy II.  But I am contemplating writing an extended series of stories focused on Miss Anarchy and her companions, with little or no involvement of an actual Grandpa Anarchy.  I don't think there's anything that says I can't pull that off at least as well as everything I've written up to this point, and technically Miss Anarchy is still the oldest active hero around, even if she's also a teenager.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mid March Update

Stories I've written in 2021:

413 I Swear

414 Collateral Damage

415  I, Gardener

416  Maid Ex Machina

417  Infinite Dojo

418  Princess of Pluto

419  The Return of Normal

042  Hot Stuff

420  Get Down Tonight

421  Free Advertising

422  Inevitable

423  All I Ever Wanted

424  My Clone Sleeps Alone

425  Girl Squared

426  Wrong Number

427  Doomscrolling

428  Endorsement

429  Transformations

430  Frills and Bows

Stories that I think I am working on:

431  Noticeable One

432  Beauty Treatment

433  True Colors

???  Just Like Miss Anarchy

???  Trust Mother

???  Real Girl

So obviously, I'm doing much better than my goal of one story a week.  I wrote a lot of stories at the end of February -- at least 5 or 6 in the span of about two weeks.  I didn't exactly follow the "Bolt from the Blue" vision I had last month where I plotted an entire group of stories in my sleep -- but that's okay, the whole experience still sparked me into writing a bunch of new stories anyway.  Sometimes the ideas I have for stories don't actually work out, but I manage to come up with something else that does work.

I rewrote The Return of Normal and Free Advertising and Inevitable, and then I came up with the stories All I Ever Wanted, My Clone Sleeps Alone, Girl Squared, Wrong Number, Doomscrolling, and Endorsement.  The first three fit into my plan for Miss Anarchy to go out in space and have adventures with her two great granddaughters Elsie and Kelli.  Wrong Number was a spontaneous idea I had that started with Miss Anarchy complaining to Mal about still being Miss Anarchy.  Doomscrolling evolved from a half-finished story involving the Holy Terror, which I adapted for an outer space adventure.  I had plans to do this for two or three existing story ideas, but this is the one that I managed to write.

Endorsement was a new random idea that popped into my head, but stemmed from more stuff I'd written about Miss Anarchy becoming more popular and getting new advertising offers.

At this point, I had plans to write: 

* A story about the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice fan club and how popular Miss Anarchy suddenly is.  This was my Just Like Miss Anarchy story idea.

* A story where the mothers of Elsie and Kelli show up in space.  This was Beauty Treatment, which I still plan to write.

 * A story in which several members of the New League of Two-Fisted Justice arrive for a Girls of Two-Fisted Justice photo shoot (possibly with a group of journalists from earth).  This might be Noticeable One, or maybe True Colors, or I don't know yet.  I have a lot of things in my head that I want to happen, but what makes a good story may be something entirely different.

* Possibly one more adventures in space story involving Miss Anarchy, Elsie, and Kelli.  I had plans to adapt one or two old story ideas/prompts called Uncanny Valley and Every Alien Loves Shakespeare, and Transhumanist.

* Eventually, the story Trust Mother, which involves an attempt by Julia Judas to kidnap/adopt Miss Anarchy and gain control of the Anarchy estate

* Followed by Real Girl, in which the robot Magical Girl Anne is transformed into a human girl

* And finally, Entourage, which happens at the opening of the Girls of Two-Fisted Justice movie

* Oh, and I never wrote I Think Therefor.  I have plans to write that one too.

Plus I feel like I should mention, March is Magical March, the month where people on the internet draw magical girls with a theme for each day of the month.  In 2018 I wrote a story for each day of the month, using the theme for that day, and I had fun doing that.  I tried to do this again last year and I only managed the first three stories, but I had plans to try and finish that project this year.  Obviously, I blew that idea off this month because I'm in the middle of a different group of stories at the moment.

I really felt like I needed to write Just Like Miss Anarchy next -- the story about the growing popularity of Miss Anarchy and how the fan club was reacting to daily videos of her exploits.  Only, the more I tried to turn this into a story, the more obvious it became that there was no story there to work with.  Where's the surprise?  Where's the twist?  We already know Miss Anarchy is becoming incredibly popular and the fans are growing more rabid.  At this point, this idea may never turn into a story.

I thought, what else could they do?  Maybe there's a convention coming up -- one being held virtually.  Maybe they want Miss Anarchy to appear at the con, virtually, from many light years away.  Maybe they use magic to make that work.

I came up with a list of things that might happen at a con or that they might give away to fans, and... none of it really sparked any actual story ideas.  Meanwhile, other ideas were going through my head, so I eventually tried to assemble them into a story called Noticeable One.  I had some scenes of news reporters talking about Miss Anarchy, I had some dialog between Miss Anarchy and Mal where Miss Anarchy complains about being stuck as a girl again.  But it also seemed to me that I'd played on this idea too much, so I also wrote a bit where she explains to her great granddaughters that she just likes to complain, she isn't trapped, she's doing this of her own free will, etc.

Somewhere in the middle of this I had a new idea to have the actress that plays Miss Anarchy in the upcoming movie to show up at the space station they're at.  They've already greenlit a sequel, and she wants to follow the "real" Miss Anarchy around for a while.  And I thought, what if she shows up and immediately kisses Miss Anarchy?  I liked that idea, and I tried to make it a surprise ending for my story, but even as I assembled the story I realized that there was no central thread or idea to the story, nothing to hold it together, just some scenes strung together with a random ending that really had nothing to do with what came before and didn't really count as a surprise or twist ending, because it just comes out of left field and isn't all that shocking.

I finished the story anyway, but then almost immediately after, I began to tear it apart.  I'd also come up with the idea partway through this story that Elsie, as Hellfire Lass, is essentially a demon, and might be able to possess Miss Anarchy and transform her back into Grandpa Anarchy.  I'd even written that into the story, but didn't actually have her do it, because if Grandpa Anarchy appears again, based on the events in Wrong Number he'd be summoned by a wizard who is searching for him to curse him.

But I realized I can't bring that idea up and not do it.  The entire idea that Miss Anarchy might want to become Grandpa Anarchy again, but is afraid of this wizard, and hasn't told this to Elsie and Kelli, and Elsie might spontaneously decide to demonstrate that she can transform Miss Anarchy in this way if she chooses to -- that was the story.  Of course, this meant the wizard would locate Grandpa, and I had to figure out how Grandpa Anarchy would avoid being cursed, and I realized, what if the wizard summons Grandpa while the demon still possesses his body?  Does he have Grandpa, or a powerful demon?

So I rewrote the entire story the same day.  I removed the news reporter bits, and the ending with the actress showing up, and focused the story entirely on whether Miss Anarchy wants to become Grandpa Anarchy again or not.  I think this time the story works.  I called this Transformations.

This thing -- where I have an idea but I'm afraid to pursue it -- is kind of a theme with me sometimes.  I was planning to write Noticeable One next, or whatever story I can come up with involving Miss Anarchy in the news / the actress portraying her showing up / several members of the New League showing up for a photo shoot.  I had no idea which of these would make a  great story, but I do know that one story ought to involve Miss Anarchy and Dark Dr. Dark discussing who this wizard is who is seeking revenge on Grandpa Anarchy, and what can be done about him.

But I also thought, what are Glory Ashes and Magical Girl Anne doing back on earth while Miss Anarchy is gone?  I had an idea for Death Medal complaining that kidnapping them just wasn't the same as kidnapping Grandpa Anarchy, so like always, I wrote the thing that was already in my head.  And once again I came up with an idea and then was too shy to go with it at first.  Magical Girl Anne has transformed several demons into articles of clothing that she wears.  Her dress was a demon, her boots were two different demons, her staff was a powerful demon.  At the end of Princess of Pluto she'd transformed a demon into some bloomers.  I thought, she'll threaten to transform Death Medal into something -- he's a demon, after all.  But I can't actually let her do it, can I?  Death Medal is a recurring villain.  Nor can I allow her to transform Death Medal's girlfriend Miss Kid Gloves, nor his best henchman Private Growley Monster.

So!  I wrote my story with the idea that she'd threaten to transform them, and be told that she couldn't, and would pick some random other demon and say something like, "You'll do!"  And that would be my ending.  But as I wrote the story, I had trouble figuring out why an unknown demon would show up randomly at the end.  So I added an accountant demon at the beginning who is following Death Medal around and taking notes, and he was going to be my target.  But this presented it's own set of problems -- there wasn't really any surprise in Anne deciding to transform the unnamed demon who only existed so she could have someone to transform.

I wrote the story anyway, and tried to make the real surprise that this demon accountant actually liked the idea of being transformed into clothing.  I finished the story, but it was a weak ending, and once again I almost immediately decided to rework it -- and it was the same thing as before, because I realized that the real story is that Anne is told she can't transform Death Medal into an item of clothing, and then she does it anyway.  I already had her complaining earlier in the story that even if Grandpa follows and exploits story beats (he allows himself to be captured, and waits until the villain explains his master plan, for example), Anne does not feel like she should be constrained by these ideals.  So why would she avoid  transforming Death Medal?  He's threatening to destroy the world, and this gets rid of him, and what does she care if he's a recurring character or not?

This story I called Frills and Bows.  I finished it twice today, and the second version is much more satisfying.