30 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - The Last Two Days

Pens down!  NaNoWriMo is over!  The Elf's Prisoner has been validated and found to be a winner!

The Stats:
  • Words Written These Past Two Days: 2764
  • Words Written Total: 50 036
  • Chapters Completed These Past Two Days: 3
  • Chapters Completed Total: 38, plus three interregnums.
  • On-screen Deaths This Week: none
  • On-screen Deaths Total: 12
The last two days of NaNo, I had to write almost 2800 words to make the 50 000 word goal.  On Sunday, I did just that.  I split the writing into two segments, the first just after midnight, the second during the write-in.  The break in between meant that I could recharge and see the smaller amount during the write-in, a psychological boost.  There is something about seeing the size of the number of remaining words go from four digits to three.

After getting to the goal, I just stopped.  The story needs to be re-jigged; ideas I wanted to introduce still hadn't been reached.  There's a fight scene coming where my villain first meets the heroes that I need to set up properly.  World building needs to be completed, including working out a rough map and fixing directions in the story.  It's a minor mess.

However, my own pacing was good, barring the three days in Week 3.  I sat down and wrote most days, the exception being Fridays due to prior commitments.  I just need to remain in that practice.  Helping there are the commentaries I post every Thursday here and the weekly Lost in Translation posts over at Seventh Sanctum and Psycho Drive-In.  Posts for the blogs would add another 4000 words to the November totals if I included them.

I did learn that it is challenging to write a fantasy story while building the world ad hoc.  While I had rough ideas for most major locations, the details became crucial in spots.  The dwarven realm was easy to work out, but the trade town outside was a last minute addition, as was the canal used to get dwarven ore down to the coast.  The canal doesn't even have a name right now.  I came up with an impromptu naming system for characters, using real world cultures as the basis for each in-story culture.  I was inspired to do so after a friend started suggesting name for one of the elves, modifying names from her native Polish.  I ran with that idea - Polish for the elves, Cymric, Irish, and Pict for the local human lands*, Indonesian for the islander humans, and Ancient Roman for the villain.  The dwarves were slated for something along the lines of Aztec, Inca, Mayan, or Toltec, and that was before I put on the original Battlestar Galactica DVDs for background noise.

Something that did help was having appropriate background noise.  I don't use music to set the mood for the scene I write.  I use music to set the speed of typing.  Get a good beat going, fast enough to type to without being too fast, and I can keep a decent pace through the length of a song.  "Weird Al" Yankovic is ideal for me, as are instrumentals.  If I can listen to the music and not have to pay attention to lyrics, either because of familiarity or lack of lyrics at all, I can focus on writing while keeping the beat.

I will be putting The Elf's Prisoner aside for a bit.  I should keep writing, even if it's not at the breakneck pace of NaNo.  Unruly keeps returning to my mind, and I have two episodes to work on, one started and the other a natural continuation of Laura's story line.  During that time, I can figure out how to pace out The Elf's Prisoner properly.  The fight with the villain has an ending planned, one that should lead to an element that I really want to get in place.  The main problem there is that the last time I had my heroes travelling, they protested.  Maybe if I chased them there...

* I could have used Saxon names, too.  The names came from the King Arthur Pendragon RPG and supplements, and allowed me to justify having different naming practices in areas so close to each other.  After all, the typically Cymric player characters have to deal with Pictish and Saxon adversaries regularly, all near Stonehenge.

29 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - Week 4

The fourth week is over.  It's now third down and goal* for  The Elf's Prisoner.

The Stats:
  • Words Written This Week: 12 962
  • Words Written Total: 47 272
  • Chapters Completed This Week: 9 plus one interregnum.
  • Chapters Completed Total: 35, plus three interregnums.
  • On-screen Deaths This Week: 1
  • On-screen Deaths Total: 12
After the doldrums during the third week, I fell off pace.  Last weekend's 5338 words let me get back on pace, but the buffer I needed wasn't there.  The furthest ahead I managed to get was a half day, or about 800 words.  This means that I will be pushing hard over the last two days to get as much written as possible.  The final validation needs to be done by 23:59, local time, Monday.  Not having the time to write on Friday threw me behind, but yesterday put me ahead of par with a 2700 word effort.

Listening to characters is important to writers.  For most people, hearing voices is a sign that they should be seeing a doctor.  For writers, the voices get names and lives which then get placed into a story.  If the voices agree, the writing goes well.  If they don't, well, the writer either needs to listen to their needs or bludgeon the characters into submission.  The latter could lead to a strike, though.  That was the problem during Week 3.  Week 4, the characters were where they wanted to be and were happy to explore and to argue and to be awkward.

The main mission is almost done, but that mission has been superseded by events in-story.  Sure, Nyssa has her audience with the dwarves, but preventing a war between two realms has paled when the villain wants to throw the entire coast into chaos.  The five leads now have to find the villain and stop her.  Good thing I need scenes!

I had a scare on Thursday.  Windows wanted to upgrade to Win10.  The worst time for an upgrade is during NaNo; one glitch, and any time I might have had gets eaten up by troubleshooting.  Worse, time would still get chewed up by waiting for the update to finish.  If I had a backup machine, there's a chance I'd have gone through with the upgrade.  However, my older laptop is dying and hasn't been turned on in over a month because of hardware issues**.  So, no, Microsoft, I am not upgrading to Win10 right now.  I can't afford the potential downtime.

With two days left, the goal is to hit my 50 000th word, then validate.  The more written on the 29th, the less I have to write on the 30th, giving me time to make sure that I have the time to verify that I have written enough words according to the NaNo site.  Tuesday, I rest, and figure out if I want to continue writing The Elf's Prisoner.  First, though. I have 2800 words to write and I don't want my tenth NaNo to be the first I fail to win.

* Canadian Football League rules, in honour of the Grey Cup.
** A fan is seizing, leading to the system overheating.  If I could crack open the old laptop without damaging either it or any tools I'm using, I may be able to clean the fan properly.  That, too, requires time that I just don't have right now.

27 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 15

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Contains scenes of violence and coarse language.  Reader discretion advised.
Hank Cheetas, Cleveland, evening

The host led Eric and Natasha to a booth along the wall.  Eric moved so that Natasha would take the seat facing away from the door.  He allowed her to sit down first, then sat across from her.  She reached across the table and took his hands into hers.  He smiled back at her.  "How's this?"

Natasha looked around at the other diners.  Several in costume were obviously from the convention.  "It's nice, I guess.  Not as intimate as I'd hoped."

26 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 14 - Commentary

The triumphant return!  Please read the chapter before continuing.

When I first started writing Crossover, I didn't expect my supporting characters to take on larger roles.  Eric is now shouldering the burden, having to fend off a false Nasty who has nothing more in her mind than using him as a sex toy.  Keith's technical expertise, already set up thanks to Prototype Alpha and the Powered BIKINI, is playing a key role.  Micki has taken charge of the situation.  I need a large cast, even if most of the characters are in supporting roles.  A single character would get stuck.

Micki needed to confirm Nasty was really Nasty.  There's already one duplicate running loose; there could be another for all she knows.  Plus, she got to have some fun at the former-Peregrine's expense.  Not everyone on this side of the barrier is nice.

Vicki has a problem that doesn't come up often in comics - what to do with personal effects when in costume.  Peter Parker can web his clothes high up on a wall to keep people away.  Pixie doesn't have that luxury, though she can fly.  People will notice a hotel key card flying over a crowd.  Pockets work; Peregrine's costume has a few, but Pixie shrinks.  The card would rip the pocket and the costume when she gets small.

Pixie's father gets a cameo!  His role was to be Vicki's chaperon.  Once in Cleveland, he needed to be out of the way.  It's a good thing that baseball doesn't have a set time.  Baseball games are nine innings long, and each inning takes as long as it takes.  A typical game is about 2.5-3 hours long, though the Blue Jays tended to linger and take longer.  A tie game after nine innings means extra innings which, again, take as long as needed.  In short, baseball games are a good way to get a character out of the way without having to worry that the character will show up when inconvenient.

The big battle is now set up.  The heroes lost the first fight; they weren't prepared.  This time, they know what to expect.  Nasty is looking forward to showing her counterpart the error of her boy-stealing ways.  Meredith and Keith have a rough plan to deal with Prototype Omega.  Pixie may be the odd girl out.  Her Pixie Dust doesn't work on her counterpart, just like it doesn't work on herself.  But, she will be there and ready to help.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 15.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, what challenges The Six Billion Dollar Man will face.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Star Wars: Rebels.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

22 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - Week 3

The third week is over.  The Elf's Prisoner had some problems.

The Stats:
  • Words Written This Week: 10 760
  • Words Written Total: 34280
  • Chapters Completed This Week: 9, plus one interregnum.
  • Chapters Completed Total: 26, plus two interregnums.
  • On-screen Deaths This Week: 6
  • On-screen Deaths Total: 12
I hit the doldrums this week.  Typically, somewhere between 25 000 and 30 000 words is where I lose steam.  The story stalls out, either because it went in a direction I wasn't expecting or I get too caught up in the details.  This year, the characters got restless and wanted to skip past the journey to get to a trade town.  Once they arrived, the words returned.  For two days, though, I wrote just one day's worth of words.  Coupled with Fridays being too busy with socialization and transit time to do any writing, I fell two days off pace.  Fortunately, yesterday was productive, with almost 3000 words written; not enough to catch up completely, but I am within sight and one or two days worth of productiveness to get back on track.

I did wind up doing some ad hoc world building.  Each culture is getting its own naming convention.  The elves are receiving modified Polish names.  Human names are coming from Cymric, Pict, and Irish cultures*.  The villain's name comes from Ancient Rome, modified to be more sibilant.  I have three goals here.  The first is to have names that don't sound like a collection of letters pulled out of a Scrabble bag.  Unless the language I'm using/abusing has glottal stops indicated by apostrophes, there aren't any.  The second is to have names that feel like they come from a culture, even if I haven't created those details.  Artificial depth still looks deep.  The third goal is avoiding impromptu world building when I should be plugging away at the story.  I don't need, at least during November, to waste time working out minor details for one paragraph when I should be writing that paragraph and more.

Breaking through the doldrums involved more than tossing a guy with a gun**, or, in my case, six goblinoids with spears, at the characters.  While the goblinoids did let me get some words down, it took me a night's sleep to realize they had a clue on them.  It took me a second interregnum and the arrival of the characters at their destination to pull out of the stall.  Ms Fanservice helped greatly; a nude elf makes for a wonderful distraction and an interesting discussion about cultural norms, along with requests for her to cover up.

This coming week's goal is simple - catch up.  Eight days and over fifteen thousand words to go.  I need 1965 words per day right now to finish on time.  I've done that pace before, and I have scenes coming up that are needed and have been playing out in my head.

* As seen through the King Arthur Pendragon RPG.  Never discount useful sources.
** Raymond Chandler's advice for when writers get stuck.  The idea is that first the characters need to defend themselves from the attacker, then try to figure out who sent him, which means the writer needs to work out that same detail.  The proper phrase is, "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

20 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 14

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, early evening

Eric returned to his hotel room.  He opened the door and stopped short.  The number of shopping bags he saw was unbelievable, most from stores he never went to and he was sure Tash wouldn't step inside under penalty of death.  "Hello?  Tash?"

The bathroom door opened.  "Tash" dashed out and pulled him into a hug.  "Hi!"  She kissed Eric on the cheek.  "Missed ya!"

19 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 13 - Commentary

Heroines in danger!  Natasha on the prowl!  Please read the chapter before continuing.

One of the fun bits I added to Crossover was having Canada be the nastiest nation on the mirror Earth.  Everyone there is afraid of the mirror version of Canadians.  I didn't get into details.  Half the fun is letting the readers try to work out just how dangerous a Canadian would be.  Mirror Meredith is one of the nastier mirror Canadians.

Names got interesting.  Everyone involved needed two, a proper name and a nickname, just so I could identify which side of the dimensional divide a character was from.  Most of the characters have names that can have diminutives.  A few, like Nasty and Micki, already use nicknames, allowing me to use their proper names with their mirror counterparts.  With Meredith's counterpart, I went for the ironic nickname, Merry.  Keith was the only character to not get a nickname for his counterpart.  Fortunately, the counterpart went by Omega most of the time.  Hopefully it made sense and was easy to follow.

I dropped an element while writing Crossover.  Tori's fear about her father came up, but I never had the chance to explore why she was worried about being seen by him.  Part of the problem was that I kept Vicki's father out of the way at the baseball game.  Without the two ever meeting, the issues just disappeared into a crack.

Keith recognizing Omega's power armour was a point I needed.  Since Omega is Keith's counterpart, not Meredith's, having Keith recognize the armour was a way to set up elements I'd need later.  The recognition also means that the heroes have information that they can use, while the opposition doesn't.  Keith's reasoning is also important.  First, for the narrative, it gives the heroes a way to outsmart his counterpart, if they think of it.  The second is a condemnation of the militarization of the police.  Too often, police go into a situation with their faces covered.  The result is a disconnect from society.

The escape starts with using Merry's cruelty against her.  Vicki took advantage of the situation, reacting and bluffing.  Merry wasn't ready for the Pixie Dust.  Meredith is using the classic prisoner ruse, helped along by being Merry's duplicate.  Nasty, though, hasn't seen enough movies where the trick is used.  Eric will have to show her Star Wars.

The trip to Natasha's room came about when I realized that two of the heroes needed clothes.  Natasha had taken Nasty's costume to pretend to be her and took the Powered BIKINI to neutralize Meredith.  Once I knew I needed to go there, I decided to have fun at Nasty's expense.  Last issue, Natasha complained about Nasty's wardrobe.  This time, it's Nasty's turn.  The wardrobe was another way to show how different Nasty and Natasha were.  In the later issues of Subject 13, Nasty demonstrated her feelings about short skirts.

One of the handy parts of setting the story in Cleveland was having landmarks that the cast would care about.  In this case, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which turned out to be close to the hotel I chose.  Sometimes, things can fall right into place when writing.  Micheline never really says what the Hall of Fame is on her side of the barrier.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 14.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Jem and the short run.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, what challenges facing The Six Billion Dollar Man.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

15 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - Week 2

The second week is over.  The Elf's Prisoner had some stumbles this week, but is on track.

The Stats:
  • Words Written This Week: 10832
  • Words Written Total: 23520
  • Chapters Completed This Week: 11, plus one interregnum.
  • Chapters Completed Total: 17, plus one interregnum.
  • On-screen Deaths This Week: none
  • On-screen Deaths Total: 6
I had a change in routine this past week.  As a result, getting time to write is a matter of creating a new routine.  Not helping were two days of pure frustration with the local bus service.  The second day of non-existent buses led to an hour of pure anger at the mismanagement* before I could calm down enough to actually write.  Friday, I knew I wouldn't have time to write, but I did have a day's buffer to account for that.

Story-wise, things started to get bogged down in the elf city in the trees.  My characters wanted to get going and weren't happy with me spending time on them meeting each other.  The plot is now on the road.  Of course, that meant trying to figure out food and drink, plus some research on clothes.  Helping out is having the Pendragon RPG, which has some of the details I need.  My notes file is growing as I fill out details of the world.  World-building on the fly, not for the faint of heart.

Speaking of world-building, something that is coming very useful is my Grade 10 Urban Geography class.  I have an idea of how cities are laid out and how and where settlements start.  I also, through geography classes and through Pendragon, have a good idea of what crops grow where, allowing me to work out what sort of food and drink are available in the different realms.

For the clothing, I went to an expert.  My cousin Kelly is a lecturer with the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta.  If you need to deal with zombies in Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece, she's the woman to talk to.  Research is important in a story; if a detail is wrong, it throws readers out of the narrative flow.  Sometimes, though, reality adds a wrinkle that goes against expectations, which is why I went to the expert when my own research came up with something just odd.

I also worked out a way to show a language barrier without having to create a language whole cloth.  The real world has more than enough languages to work from.  So, when I needed an elf to sound like she was speaking in a language she wasn't familiar enough with, I had her fall back on her own language's grammar.  To represent that, I worked out what she wanted to say, translated it to French, then did a blind idiot translation, word for word, back to English.  Instant language barrier, good for a lighter scene.

I added an interregnum to cut away to a minor set of villains.  While they aren't the main force behind the plot, they have their own goals and can be used to distract the heroes and be a false lead.  Again, the interregnum caused me to work out the details of the lair for this set of villains.  A lot of this should have been done prior to November, but The Elf's Prisoner only became an option mid-October.

One character showed a new side of herself.  She's becoming Ms Fanservice.  Her reason is that she's tactile.  She also comes from a culture that doesn't have the need for heavier clothes due to a climate that doesn't have extremes like winter.  She does have to get used to wearing heavy clothes, just to protect herself from the sun's harsh light.  Sunburns are one experience she dislikes.

Goals for the coming week include getting at least one subplot going as a red herring.  One character just brings along a lot of family drama with her, and I should use it.  I also need to build up the buffer again; Fridays are going to be a waste because of travel times involved.  Two write-ins a week, Sunday and Thursday, will help there, barring bus problems.

* Short version:  Management has no idea when buses are missing or where they're needed, nor does it have any flexibility built into the service to get new buses on the road when needed.  Add to this the detours because of LRT contruction.  First blizzard is going to paralyze the service.  And the fares are going up.

13 Nov 2015

Crossover - Chapter 13

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Micki's duplicate returned with the promised water.  She started by giving a thimbleful to Pixie, elevating the tiny heroine so she wouldn't choke on the liquid.  Meredith was next, with a few sips from a water bottle.  When she approached Nasty, she said, "You could try at least looking grateful."

12 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 12 - Commentary

Natasha usurps Nasty's life.  Welcome to the commentary for the twelvth chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The supporting cast is coming in to find the heroes.  The cast is as assembled together as it will get.  Everyone in the know, from Keith and Eric to the Eagle Foundation personnel, are together.  That does leave Vicki's father on the outside, which was why I sent him to the ball game.  Their goal, to rescue the heroes.  It's a nice switch up from the usual superheroes saving regular people story.  But, these are the supporting cast, not the headliners.

Speaking of our heroes . . ..  They're not in a death trap.  The one thing that Natasha can't do is kill them.  The connectivity between the two universes means that when one dies, the other does, too.  Natasha neutralized them.  Nasty uses her fists; her hands are inside hollow metal balls that she can't touch.  Pixie shrinks; if she tries to grow, she impales herself.  Meredith has power armour; removing the BIKINI removes her superpowers.  Natasha has also taken the Peregrine costume.  Vicki gets to keep hers; Tori would never fit.

The reveal of Prototype Omega finally came.  I was hoping readers would just assume that Omega was Meredith's counterpart, but there were enough hints about him along the way.  Teh biggest hint was that Keith built the BIKINI, not Meredith.  I also avoided pronouns when referring to Omega.  That is difficult; I didn't want to use the neuter pronoun, "it", to avoid drawing attention to the fact that I was hiding Omega's identity.  I wound up using descriptive passages for him.

Natasha's scene in the hotel room was fun to write.  First, it was a chance to explore her mindset.  She saw the hotel room, the luggage, and the box of condoms, and jumped to her her own conclusion.  I also showed a less devious side of her, a softer side.  Natasha isn't just out for sexual conquest, though she does enjoy the conquering.  Like Nasty, she is smitten by Eric.  It's how she responds to him that's key; and her downfall.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 13.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, The Bionic Woman.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, a look at the outrageously short run of Jem and the Holograms.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

8 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - Week 1

The first week is over.  The Elf's Prisoner is coming along at a good pace, both in-story and with word count.

The Stats:
  • Words Written This Week: 12688
  • Words Written Total: 12688
  • Chapters Completed: 9
  • On-screen Deaths This Week: 6
  • On-screen Deaths Total: 6

I am ahead of pace.  I was able to get a day and a half worth of work on the first day alone.  The writing got split into two sessions.  The first was at midnight of the 1st.  The second was after leaving CanCon and going to the library write-in.  I managed to get about the same number of words, 1300 written in each session, so I wasn't pushing myself at either.  I've had two days where I didn't reach the daily goal of 1667 words, but the other days surpassed it.

In the story itself, I left the meager outline that I did have.  The outline was loose, to give me space and to get broad ideas down.  It doesn't count towards the total words, but it gave me a scaffold to work from.  I've left it.  The result, more time given to my lead characters.  I may have to work around a planned death; she doesn't want to die and I don't think I want my experienced character gone.  Looks like the kid will die instead.

Why does this year feel different?  The big difference is blogging.  Between my work with Lost in Translation and the weekly commentary for the serializations I'm doing, I'm writing about 2000-3000 words a week already.  Often, I spend an evening working on both.  I'm just now expanding that writing from one or two days a week to seven.  Will I keep this pace up?  Usually, the hardest part is around the 30 000 word mark, when the numbers aren't changing as much and the story starts bogging down.  Pacing is tough; lulls are needed, but too long a lull in the narrative can dissuade authors, let alone readers.  I'm hoping that the characters engage each other.  So far, that is working out.

One thing I am trying to add is a theme.  I don't care much for obvious themes; too many times, the story warps itself to maintain the theme to the point where the characters fall flat.  But, if the characters themselves buy into the theme, maybe it'll work.  If not, that theme gets dropped like a hot potato.

For this week coming, my goal is to get the main characters out on their quest, set up some clues towards the villain, and see if any romance blooms.  There's no guarentee on any of those, but with all the characters now in the same location, there's a better chance of at least one of those goals being reached.

6 Nov 2015

Crossover - Chapter 12

Featuring Subject 13, Prototype Alpha, and Pixie of Youth Brigade

Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, late-morning

Eric paced in the hotel room.  The Foundation radio signal had gone quiet.  Not dead; he could hear the faint hiss of static from a carrier wave.  There was just no traffic on the band, none since Tash's last words.  It was the lack of conversation that had him worried.  He dropped on to the bed.  The urge to just run out and look for Tash was overwhelming.

5 Nov 2015

Crossover Chapter 11 - Commentary

Fight!  Fight!  Welcome to the commentary for the eleventh chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The mundane technology is starting to be dated.  Meredith has a flip phone.  Sure, there's text messaging, but today's standard is a smartphone.  And the less said about her roaming charges, the better.  She's looking at a huge bill.  The advanced tech of the BIKINI, though, makes up for it.  It is a smartphone with extra elements, like heads-up display and no roaming fees.

I gave Meredith the news about the havoc first to preserve the mystery a little longer and to avoid a bogged down repeat of what everyone knows is happening.  Two altered humans causing chaos in downtown Cleveland?  Who else could it be?  There's no need to toss in a new antagonist here.  Though, just two.  Meredith has no idea why that number is wrong.

In a world with superpowered humans, it's inevitable that police will have a plan in place when facing them.  Their Plan A is to evacuate the civilians before moving in.  Plan B is evacuating the civilians while letting someone also superpowered do the fighting for them.  Plan C involves calling in the Reserves.  It all depends on who is being faced.  An unknown person gets watched; a known costumed villain will have senior personnel reading files before making a decision.

Nasty has a huge limitation in the superpowered world.  She has a singular power, two if you count her constant swearing.  Against a normal person, she has the edge.  Against other powered people, she's working with a handicap; she has to hit someone to have her power punch go off.  If an opponent can throw energy blasts at range, Nasty may not be able to get close enough to be effective.  A thought crossed my mind at the time of writing, that Nasty would realize that she might be able to toss energy bolts, too, after seeing Natasha.  During the climactic battle, Nasty had other ideas of how to fight.

Pixie has her own handicap, as Nasty demonstrated.  When shrunk down, it's easy enough for someone to grab her with one hand.  Most of the time, Pixie's other power, her Pixie Dust, lets her get out of the grasp.  Grabbing Pixie is like grabbing an angry cat; you have her, but she can still fight.

The last paragraph with Nasty and Pixie was the scene that had me writing Crossover.  Long before NaNo 2006 started, the idea of Nasty and Pixie getting ready to deal with villains and being shocked by a third hero zipping past played over and over in my head.  The rest of Crossover came about to get that one scene used.  It too many many words to finally get it in.

The big fight, the big action set piece, has everyone talking while battling.  It's a staple of the comics, exemplified by Spider-Man, who natters opponents into surrender.  The battle let me contrast everyone's abilities.  Nasty has to hit people; Natasha zaps them from a distance while wearing a corset and leather pants.  Vicki shrinks; Tori grows.  Alpha has power armour based on agility; Omega's is brute strength.

With the heroines finally together, it was time to consolidate the supporting cast.  Vicki only has her father, conveniently sent to a baseball game.  Meredith has Keith, who is her partner in fighting crime.  Nasty has the Foundation, including Micki and her assistants.  Splitting time between Keith and the Foundation looked daunting at this point.  However, the Foundation has the gear to find Keith.  It's not like he can escape; he drives a Yugo.

Back when I started writing Subject 13, I played Champions, a superhero RPG.  The game let me try to define the characters' abilities and let me see where there were deficiencies.  Nasty really only has one power, her Power Punch.  In Champions, that would be a Hand-to-Hand Attack with the special effect of the purple flare when Nasty hits someone.  Pixie is more robust, having Shrinking and her Pixie Dust.  The Dust, though, is a harder build.  It doesn't really do damage, just puts people to sleep.  Champions is good at modelling, even if a player has to get creative with the modelling.  Two possible powers could work.  One is Transform, turning an awake target into a sleeping target.  That can get expensive and is all-or-nothing.  The other is Mind Control, with modifiers to make the the attack physical instead of mental and for just one command, "Sleep!"  Prototype Alpha is a variant of a power armour user, taking what's known as a Multipower to reflect directing energy into the BIKINI's subsystems.  Keith's tinkering is a Gadget Pool, slowly growing as he makes modifications.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 12.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Spaced Invaders.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, The Bionic Woman.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

1 Nov 2015

NaNo 2015 - Day 1

November 1st!  NaNoWriMo has started!

Where am I?  First, before I can even start writing, I need to know what I am writing.  Three weeks ago, I had it narrowed down to two ideas.  Last week, I had that down to three.  Now?  It's down to one.

The winner is....

The Elf's Prisoner

To quote the great Captain Tenneal, "Get it on!"

Word count for the first day was 2603.  far better than I expected to do today, especially with a convention in town.  And that was without trying.  So, let's celebrate!

Bang a gong, it is on!

Let's get typing!