Category: Sunny Day

Apr 04 2014

WIP Update – 03 Apr 14

I did a little writing on Sunny Day. Not a whole lot, mind you, but enough to justify this post. I also worked on putting together a spreadsheet to keep the character dialects consistent. I did something similar for Jasper and the Scotians when I was writing KoG.

Some of you may recall in the PS era how we started to see a lot of dialects show up in the localization of Square games. Some people absolutely hated it, but I wasn’t one of them. In Japanese it’s common to utilize various regional dialects as a sort of short-hand for character types (or less often, to invert expectations). This isn’t limited to stories based in Japan, as certain dialects will be used for analogous character types in fantasy worlds as well. It really wasn’t until the PS era that you started to see localization step up to reflect that more in translation. As I said, some people hated it.

Another influence was Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. Understanding the moles was often a challenge, but it certainly made them distinct. In the KoG series, I afford the reader a translation guide and more recently I provided interlinear translation in the prologue of Tico3, so I’m at least conscious of the difficulty it can pose to some readers. Shoot, as far as Sunny Day goes, an early joke is the main character he likes one of crew best because she doesn’t have an accent, so I’m self-aware enough to lampshade it. That won’t save me from those who absolutely hate dialect in stories, but I’m willing to sacrifice those readers if I have to. You can’t please everyone, after all.

Apr 02 2014

WIP Update – 01 Apr 14

Although I did most of my writing yesterday on a completely unrelated side project (over 6K words’ worth), I have much less to report that’s relevant here. I tried doing a little GottMono1 and drew up part of a scene for Sunny Day. It’s not much, I warrant, but my days off are fast approaching and I hope to accomplish more then. Honestly, I’ll probably be most productive if I stick to Tico4 and TTWC1. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

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 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.