Getting Back Into My Character Headspace

So, I had this thought…not quite a revelation, but definitely a “I’m curious!” set of thoughts.

I’m going to let people ask questions of my cast and crew from The Last Solist and if I can answer the questions, I will. Preferably in character, but I will try to answer them.

Why? I am needing to find some additional headspace for these characters, and if I don’t get my thoughts into place, I’m going to feel so very lost soon.

Comment here, and I’ll try to answer as I get a chance.

Thank you!

The Seven Year Comic Book Itch?

Was reading through FIMfiction and one of the authors that I follow on a regular basis is Estee. Very sharp, very cynical, and very Pratchett in the style of her writing (coin toss came up tails), I enjoy her writing and she’s one of the few authors of fanfiction in general (and My Little Pony fanfic in specific) that I have a Patreon for. So, take this from a published author-she’s pretty darned good and would like to read her writing an original novel/story at some point.

So, today she posts something on her FIMFiction blog, and it’s like the classic lemon-wrapped-in-a-gold-brick of an idea. It’s the kind of idea that you go damn, I wished I had that idea kind of idea. What’s the idea? Professional wrestling and comic books (i.e. American comic books) have the same general style of storytelling, but professional wrestling has the various cast members show up, stay, and leave in a roughly seven year schedule. So, while you might have people filling various character roles, they aren’t the same person-so you need to write the stories to the new characters and the new cast. The stories might be the same at the bottom, but they’re being told with different actors-so you need to figure out how to make that work.

Not so with comic books. Very little changes, and nothing remains unchanged. You can’t really change things, because at the end of the day, the stories reset to base state. And, you can only run through the base state so many times before nobody wants the base state anymore. Especially if you’re not good enough to really hide the base-state that you’re starting from. Why did the MCU succeed with the same character origins that comic book fans knew front to back? Because the general movie audience hadn’t seen it before. It’s new to them, and thus exciting.

Which leads to the problem-what do you do when you hit year seven and it’s time to do something new?

For the comic book industry, you reboot…and you start from the beginning. The exact beginning you started from seven years ago, and…in a few cases, was done better by the previous creators. Or has never been done at well at all, but this is part of the yeast starter for your stories, so…

My answer? Take that mechanic-the seven year cycle-and weaponize it. This requires editors that are willing to stomp on the worst characteristics of writers and hold to a general plan, but it’s doable. Let’s take DC Comics, for example. Have a reboot cycle that starts everything out again-day one, year one. Batman starts going after bad guys in Gotham, Superman has his first experience in Metropolis, Wonder Woman has just arrived in the human world, that kind of thing. But, when we hit that seven year point-call it a hundred issues, maybe 2-3 major event storylines, that kind of thing, we stop and look at what’s going on with sales and the character. Maybe people like Bruce Wayne and this current run of how he is as Batman. Or, maybe…Dick Grayson is showing a lot of potential and we want to do something more with him than just be Nightwing. And, the Selina Kyle plotline is working out very well…

So, maybe we give Bruce a hiatus. Maybe not seven years, but long enough to let Dick take over the cape and cowl and be Batman, establish himself to be the character. If things go bad, we can bring Bruce back, but if they go good…maybe in seven years, we’ll rotate as Damien has really taken off in Teen Titans and Dick wants to get back out there as Nightwing, so Damien takes over as Batman…

The goal, if I’m not clear about it, is to rotate through the characters and maybe in the average buying life of a comic book fan (30 years or so), we keep a level of continuity…that allows people to jump in as well.

This is entirely off the top of my head, so there’s probably something I missed, something I didn’t quite do right or such. If I did, please comment and I’ll try to revise this idea later.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Most years, St. Patrick’s Day would be avoiding Amateur Hour, as people that normally don’t drink that much get themselves into trouble because they are drinking too much. And, it’s the middle of the week, so I would have to be thinking about work on Thursday, how drinking too much makes me cranky and not liking myself or the world or the people in it, and in general just “can’t afford to go out and be stupid.”

And, I would be drinking alone, which makes all of those problems worse. So, no drinking for me!

This year? Only five days ago was the one year anniversary of when-to borrow a pithy phrase-the world changed. “Only two weeks of lock-down to flatten the curve” became a year. Of losing my job-which I didn’t mind so much. Of finally publishing my first novel. Of losing quite a bit of weight. Of going back to school full-time. Of quite a few changes in my life-most good, some bad.

And, missing friends. And conventions. And just this perpetual feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop, of whatever that particular shoe is going to be.

You just have to see what the last year has done to a lot of people. More of my friends than I care to think about have been in bad shape, getting into worse shape. We’re all going a little stir crazy, lacking in human touch and human contacts with other people, and realizing that there is far too much pure bullshit out there. You can have legitimate gripes about the sources of the bullshit, but it’s out there, far too much of it.

And, the writing has suffered. So has quite a few other things.

But, I did manage to fix that one plot issues in The Winter Solist, so that makes me happy.

Anyways, enough complaining and lamenting and writing and new speaker shopping (hearing the difference of music between headphones and my old speakers is confirming to me that I need new speakers) from me. My hopes are that you and those you care about can have a small celebration-a small one-today and tonight and that things will start to get better soon, now that we have a vaccine and such.

Fingers and toes crossed.

“So, Other Than That…

“…how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” a common joke punchline goes.

Well, the play hasn’t been going rather well the last few weeks. Short version-things have suddenly gotten really, really weird on me.

Health Issues-My ADHD might just be simple anxiety and the medication I’ve been taking has been masking that by a combination of hard-core focus on things that are easy to make sense of and a massive amount of bull-headed thinking in other places. But, because I had a high blood pressure scare, I’m trimming back the ADHD medication and going on a nice beta blocker that has a secondary anti-anxiety effect and…hey, I’m doing better! At least I’m not this huge ball of homicidal nerves and I’m doing better in some things.

Exercise-Since I don’t want to be on worse blood pressure medications and take the few things that give me joy in my life away (good food and drink), I’ve been exercising more. And, body-weight exercise sucks when you’re trying to blow the weight off and get back into shape. Once you’re in shape, you’re good, but I tend to respond better to getting in shape with weight work and such. Once I get there, body weight work will help clear up what remains, but until. then…

School-Actually, this is going okay to good. One of my teachers is still driving me nuts. He has a tendency to roam off on tangents and go for “new hotness” in his examples. Often with a major political slant, and I can’t complain about this because it is (CURRENT YEAR) and the teacher is the department head. So, head down and keeping busy with my assignments and everything current.

Social-Well, the outbreak of social media desire has gone down. Mostly because the usual ways I use social media (Twitter, Reddit, Discord, and even IRC) has confirmed that most people these days are making me want them to get off my f(YAY!)king lawn. But…I want to be with people, I miss people. I miss different people, and I actually would like to be with girls. That like me. That are single. And, I don’t have to wonder if they’re going to make me feel stupid at some point.

And, this leads to where you’ve all been waiting-

Writing-So far? The Winter Solist has hit a road-block that I might have to go back and revise…again to get through. It’s not a “oh, you didn’t plan it out” thing, it’s more of a “I thought this was a good path to take, didn’t work, so back to the drawing board.” Other stories are currently in a slight holding pattern, but hopefully once get past this particular writer’s block, I’ll be able to work on them more. I’m still aiming for a late September release, and hopefully that will be successful.

And, that’s the news, mostly.

The Guilt Is Real

Or, “why the author hasn’t been saying anything for a while.”

Occasionally, I have an outbreak of social media. Spending far too much time on various places (if you know me, you know where, if not…), and often to the detriment of my writing. It’s usually when things get bad in terms of lack of social contact and being unable to really interact with people. My need for human interaction tends to work in bursts-I can be alone or not have a lot of people around or I need to be around for the longest periods of time, but when I need people, I REALLY need people. And, physical contact, lots of that, and different kinds of people and different interactions.

And, on that?

(Laughs in COVID-19.)

My last convention was a gaming one about a year ago, just as there was this weird cold-like disease going around Wuhan, China. No worries, but something to keep an eye on, just in case.

That “just in case” became losing my job, going on unemployment, probably losing about twenty pounds I definitely should have, publishing my first novel, getting better health care through Covered California, completely sick of being stuck with who I am and where I am.

I’ve missed about six or eight conventions that I wanted to go to.

I haven’t seen most of my friends in a year, and Zoom chat doesn’t count.

I have more savings that I expected, and I’m slowly working through the “need to do when I can” list.

But, I miss conventions.

I miss my friends.

I miss physical affection (and, yes, sex-but that’s in the queue after affection).

And, I miss the world at least pretending to be sane.

I know that I’ve managed to get some of the storm-clouds of desire out of the way, and I’ll be writing again-school permitting.

Fingers crossed.

The End Of The Month

It’s coming up far sooner than I expected-and, well…

Classes have been interesting, but I get this terrible feeling that I should be teaching two of my classes. And, online class work, especially when you HAVE to leave your camera and mike on or the teacher complains, is horrible. I don’t want to hear people’s various things going on in their world, see them even less, and I don’t want them to have to deal with the same with me.

The things we do for our white-collar employment union card…

On writing-

  • The Winter Solist-Finally gotten around the writing problem, getting to the next writing problem, but I’m happy with where it’s going. With some luck, I’ll be able to add the nessisary “B” plot to tie into A Solist In Rome, which I need to get done.
  • The Ethical Succubus-Going to probably keep this for the erotic/urban fantasy novel series title. First novel is probably going to be A Ethical Succubus, and balancing out the erotic, comedy, slice-of-life, and horror in the right proportions.
  • Other Writing Projects-The isekei/light novel concept is still somewhere in “how can I make this work” pile. I really want to do it, but there’s some practicality issues involved. The “have to look at this” hopper has been still dealing with things.

I’m considering this idea of a weekly column where I have a momentary gushing about writers that I like and the things they do right and wrong. Mostly because I’m trying to get those lovely, wonderful, SEO scores up on Google and such, which might mean more sales of my books. (That, and the terrible fear that some of the authors might respond…which wouldn’t be bad, mind you.) Tentative title of this is “Author on Authors.”

Otherwise, the weather is now actually nice (cool but not cold, with rain on all the right occasions), and just trying to make it through one act of madness at a time. Chin up, happy thoughts.

Half Way Through The Month…

…and, far, far too little to show for it. Real life events have been getting in the way too much. I didn’t go and I won’t be going to any of the large events happening around me, but there have been repercussions. And, it’s made it harder to write stuff because the world intrudes when I need to be somewhere else. It doesn’t help with my stress levels, either.

Current projects, in no particular order-

  • The Winter Solist-Having issues with the jump to the next part of the plot, but I’m still writing and still aiming to have this done in a reasonable time frame. I’m going to have to add some more stuff to tie into A Solist In Rome, but I think I can get it in there, no issues.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-So far, I’m fleshing out the “A” and “B” plots and writing more character stuff. Title is still in the air, the series title is probably going to be The Ethical Succubus.
  • Other Writing Projects-The isekei/light novel concept is somewhere in “how can I make this work.” There’s a few other ideas in the “have to look at this” hopper, but I’m not sure I’ll get to them any time soon.

And, yes, the events of the last half month have made me think that 2021 is going to be telling 2020 “hold my beer and watch this!”, and it’ll be in the sort of ways that none of us are going to like. The only things I can do is hunker down, keep building up reserves for if things go bad, and get my school work done when I start school in about two weeks. Otherwise…just, fingers crossed and hoping that everyone will start to get better and calm down. Because, as much as life is a temporary state, what has happened for the last ten months cannot be how we live now. It will drive us to madness, and nobody wants that kind of crazy on their conscience.

I think.

First Of The New Year

Short version-been busy, getting ready for this new and wonderful year of 2021 and that maybe we’ll have some conventions and events going on that I can get out of the house for extended periods of time. That is always good. Health is good, still have health care, back to school at the end of the month, and hopefully unemployment won’t be a pain between then. At the very least, I’m keeping myself out of trouble.

Onto the writing news-

  • The Winter Solist-Getting close to the end and I’m going to have to add a major plot section to tie into A Solist In Rome (the next book of the series). It’s been rough because I’ve had a few plot wiggles that I’m not happy with, but I’m optimistic. Looking at finishing by March, publishing in April, and earlier if I can get away with it.
  • Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel-In plotting, have the A and B-level plots done. Doing some writing to get the character “voice” in place and done.
  • Unknown Isekei-Based RTS Novel-Another idea that I’m working on where you have a guy, an escape pod, two universal manufacturing machines, and he’s stuck on a planet light-years from home. Building, the joys of well-maintained infrastructure, and raising twenty-six recently cloned ladies that have their libidos jacked up to eleven deliberately. Oh, and did we mention the aliens? Because there are aliens.

    One of my ideas for this series is to do it as a “light novel”-type thing-some art interspersed in the book, that kind of thing. Seeing how much that is and might do a Kickstarter to get the money ASAP.

So, that’s about what has been going on and hopefully that just means that I’ll be busy for a few months. So long as there aren’t any problems, things will be good.

On Writing And Other Nonsense

The weirdness of weather around here had made it a bit hard to write, but I remain busy in my writing fugues. I’ve gotten up to about Chapter 16 of The Winter Solist, and I’m nearing a half-way point. The two big B-plots are about to collide into the A-plot, and that’s when we get close to the end.

Unknown Erotic Urban Fantasy Novel is currently in the “plotting” phase. This is going to be a much more tightly plotted book that Solist At Large was, and at the very least it’s looking to be a five to six book series. I’m still enjoying the idea of the series (and first book title) being The Ethical Succubus, which will make for very interesting reading.

I have another writing project that is going to be coming up soon. What I’m hoping to do is that I will combine the project with my Business Certificate program at Santa Rosa JC. Use this project (it’s going to be a comic book series) as part of my course-work, and eventually put up a GoFundMe to produce the first “issue” of the comic, then go to IndieGoGo and release the first “trade paperback” issue, similar to what Timothy Lin is doing for the Kamen America series.

(Why the separate fundraising? Simple-comic books are not cheap at the starting level. For my “first issue” (which goes up as a PDF for the IndieGoGo campaign to show what we’re doing), I’m going to have to shell out about $9000-because I’ll need an artist and color person and at least one cover. The actual “six issue” trade paperback will be about $52,000 before I even get to printing (remember, contract artists and having to pay up front). Printing a full run of about 1000 is going to be in the $8000 range-and if I can get more people to buy the book, the cost goes down for me.

(I’m aiming to at least cover my costs and make at least a 25% profit during the fundraising, which is probably in the $75,000 range. I figure costs for the next issue will be lower, because I’ll have a product to show that I’m able to produce.)

Anyways, back to work and to the salt mines.