Oct 27 2013

WIP Update – 26 Oct 13

I didn’t make any story progress, but I did work on the peripheral materials some. This will come into play when I post Chapter 20 because I plan on making a commentary piece explaining the political system of the Earth Union a bit.

Oct 26 2013

WIP Update – 25 Oct 13

It’s been a while since you’ve seen one of these posts, but I was able to focus a bit and fill out most of the narrative for Chapter 19 of Tico3. We’ll see if I add an extra sequence or not. I kinda like where it’s stopping now, but I might go ahead and write the additional sequence and see what happens. Stay tuned.

Oct 25 2013

Don’t Sleep Where You Work

The above is a bit of a variation of the common if rather vulgar expression warning against mixing tasks in a certain location, but I’m sure you all could tell that.

You see, I tend to sit on the couch while I do my work on my laptop. I also have a habit of taking naps on said couch. As I’ve mentioned before in the previous Rambling post “The Night Owl Crashes and Burns”, my new exercise regimen has a way of sapping my energy and putting me right out. I’m sure that my body being conditioned to sleep on the couch (to say nothing of my borderline narcolepsy) contribute to this.

I remember reading an article way back when advising against reading or doing other similar tasks in bed because it disrupts your body’s conditioning to associate the bed with sleep. Whether this is true or not, I surely couldn’t say, but it would seem that there’s something to it. Of course, I’ve also crashed out in my office chair as well, so I think a hypersomniac like myself has to resign himself to falling asleep pretty much anywhere at the slightest inducement.

Anyway, long story short, that’s why I haven’t posted any progress the last couple days. Oh, I suppose I wrote half a sentence two days ago, but I can hardly count that. Maybe I can do better over the weekend. We’ll see.

Oct 22 2013

Good Writers Borrow, Great Writers Steal

The title for this entry isn’t in quotes because a little research turns up that it’s derived from a misquote more than anything else. When I was in the CW program at my university, the above was attributed to Stephen King. As I was trying to confirm it, I was pointed to TS Eliot. Digging into it further, I found what was claimed to be the actual quote and I decided just to dispense with the whole deal and waste a paragraph telling you about it.

I’d been crafting stories for about as long as I can remember. When I was 10, I was brainstorming an intergenerational epic about a bloodline that kept on crossing paths with the assassins of US Presidents. At 11, I started several stories that were terribly derivative (titles like Mesozoic World and Galactic Strife, still cringeworthy over 20 years later). I would, of course, swear up and down about their uniqueness, coming off much like a pint-sized Oglethorpe from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. (“Jurassic Park uses velociraptors. I use deinonychus. It’s totally different!”) I ultimately realized that these early efforts really weren’t so unique, so most evidence of their existence is restricted to the inside of my skull.

I became obsessed with originality after that, even though I continued to do a lot of rather generous borrowing. Though not terribly obvious now, the Quest for the Pendants arc of KoG2 was heavily inspired by A Link to the Past. You can still see some resemblance to the map of Byrn and that of Hyrule, though this will be less apparent once I reorient the map so that north points up.

I eventually came to see the vanity of my quest for pure originality because it doesn’t exist. No matter what conscious efforts you might make, the multitudinous influences you assimilate will unconsciously shape your product. “Nihil novum sub sole” became the motto that checked me. From then I opted to embrace my influences and be as conscious about them as I could. I won’t hide any influence I’m aware of. For instance, Sonia’s character design is a mix of Charlotte from the Samurai Spirits series(or Samurai Showdown as it’s known in the States), Pirotess from Record of Lodoss War, and Tsunami from Tenchi Muyou. I have to admit, Nobuhiro Watsuki of Rurouni Kenshin fame has perhaps helped me along this path with his own notes making no bones about his inspirations. Really, I don’t see anything wrong with it so long as we’re honest with ourselves about it. If anything, we should get a laugh out of it. (In the Tellus Arc finale The End of Times, the introductory premise bears no mere passing resemblance to that of Stargate and I don’t hesitate to lampshade it for a chuckle from the reader.)

This is quite the roundabout way of getting to my actual goal for the post and that’s a little background on It’s a Sunny Day for a Bank Job. You see, I’m a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Seeing numerous references to it on TVTropes and the rise of the Brony phenomenon piqued my curiosity, so I checked the series out and it hit all the notes I look for in a show: clever writing, appealing character design, interesting characterization, etc. (It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a way for me to bond with my niece.) I’m not an active member of the fan community, but I do peruse a sampling of fanworks and the FiM fandom is quite the prolific one. I’ve enjoyed abridged series, such as hbi2k’s rendering of Berserk and Team Four Star’s DBZA, so I started looking into the abridgements of FiM and my hands-down favorite is Greg Hoffman’s Mentally Advanced Series. Sure, the first few eps were rough, but the charm was there from the start and from Episode 5, things really took off. This led to the Rainbow Dash Presents spinoff, a sort of Fractured Fairytales take on various pieces of fanfiction. In “RDP: Haunting Nightmare”, a commenter said that there should be a heist story with the MAS characters. Cue the lightbulb moment.

Back before Episode III came out, there were a lot of rumors about what might cause the break between Anakin and Obi-wan. One theory was a love triangle with Padmé. This idea resonated with me and you can see some evidence of it in the film, but it wasn’t really developed into much of anything. It mostly just comes off as Anakin’s hypersensitive jealousy as he goes coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs on the Dark Side. Well, it was a shame to see such an intriguing premise go to waste. I then reminded myself, “Hey, you’re a writer. Write the story yourself.” The basic premise then went on to become the basis for the Brothers Pendragon prequel Broken Vows. I’m telling you all this because that selfsame reminder came to me when the idea of an MAS heist story was proposed.

Now, Sunny Day is still a long ways from even being considered for a serial run, but it’s very much becoming its own beast. The influences are there, of course, and in-jokes abound. Although it would’ve been interesting to retain an all-female main cast, I did do some gender-flipping so that the makeup of the cast more closely resembles the conventions of the heist subgenre. (There’s something to be said for breaking with convention, but it’s good to be judicious about adherence. Play up some of the audience’s expectations so your surprises have all the greater impact.) It should be accessible to general audiences with just the right amount of fanservice for fellow MAS fans. We’ll see.

Another thing about the story is that I’m using a first-person perspective contrary to my usual narrative practice, centered on MAS!Twilight expy DC. I don’t know if I’ll succeed in this endeavor, but my central challenge is to craft a real jerk who the reader can still sympathize with in spite of all his jerkiness. In MAS!Twi’s case, she’s so abrasive because she has no real concept of how healthy social interaction operates having lived her life under the iron hoof of a tyrannical psychopath. I imagine it’s very much a YMMV deal with a lot of viewers and I imagine much of what I’m trying to do in Sunny Day will be the same way. It’s a very different beast than almost any of my other stories, but therein lies its special charm for me. Also, a transformative work of a transformative work with a bevy of other transformations grafted makes for all sorts of incursive knotting that it’s bound to tickle someone’s metacognitive funnybone, even if that someone is me and me alone. Of course, I write for myself first and just hope other people will enjoy it too.

Well, it’s been a while since my last good commentary/rambling piece, so I hope you enjoy it. Maybe I can remember to hop on some of those other things that need doing. Until next time.

Oct 22 2013

WIP Update – 21 Oct 13

Though it sounds rather counter-intuitive, I did a little dialog on Chapters 21 and 22 of Tico3 before passing out last night so I would have at least some token progress to report. You might ask why I did this instead of working to wrap up Chapter 19 because it needs to be ready for next week. To that I can only shrug. ^_^;

Oct 22 2013

WIP Update – 20 Oct 13

Today’s been so hectic I almost forgot to post about yesterday’s progress. I’ve mostly finished up the dialog for Chapters 19 and 20 of Tico3, so I just need to flesh out the narrative and I’ll finally have a little bit of a buffer set up to match TTWC1’s.

Oct 19 2013

WIP Update – 18 Oct 13

A whim overcame me and I started working on It’s a Sunny Day for a Bank Job. Ironically, it was the epilogue I devoted myself to writing, so now I have the very beginning and the very end but pretty much none of the middle. Not my usual approach to writing. Remind me to do some commentary on this one later.

I also applied the 26-episode format to the fragmentary outlines I have for several stories in preproduction. No, I’m not expecting all (or even any) of my stories to get TV adaptations, but I find the format as a useful frame to help direct my plotting. I believe I’ve mentioned how difficult it is for me to plot stories outside the Tellus Arc, so every little bit helps.

I may have also done a little work in the peripheral materials as well. Once again, when I tried to get started on some more Tico3, I conked out. Feh.

Oct 18 2013

WIP Update – 17 Oct 13

After a day without progress, I managed to get a little dialog done in Chapter 20 of Tico3. I planned on doing more, but I kinda conked out while I was at it and, when I came to a couple hours later, decided to go on to bed. Here’s to getting more done today.

Oct 16 2013

WIP Update – 15 Oct 13

I pretty well finished up the first section of Chapter 19 of Tico3, added some dialog to the second part and jumped ahead to do a little on Chapter 20 as well. At this rate, I’ll have a buffer for Tico3 to match my lead on TTWC1.

Look for the update this evening (Stateside time). Until then.

Oct 16 2013

WIP Update – 14 Oct 13

I wrote a little dialog on Chapter 19 of Tico3 and played around some with the peripheral materials. That’s about it, really.