AROW80 Check-in for December 11, 2013

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 Writing Goals:

 Defcon: Fade Out


 Okay, okay, so I didn’t add a lot more to it, but I added a couple pages and wrapped it up to my satisfaction.  This is mainly a big deal because I’d kind of stalled out on writing Defcon for about a week or so while I focused on other things so I was happy that I got back to it and bulled through Chapter Six and started Chapter Seven.

 Gem City:

 Conversely, I have not typed up the draft of the first Gem City story. I did spend a couple nights at work figuring out some things about how people can get powers in the Gem City ‘verse.  The various methods boil down to a line from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – just substitute ‘greatness’ for ‘powers/abilities.’ (Though, honesty requires me to admit that I didn’t know the line was from Shakespeare until I googled it to make sure I had the phrasing right.)

 I also came up with a scale of power/ability levels from most to least.  The reasoning for doing this is mainly to allow me to rate heroes/villains and set limits on powers and figure how characters will compare to each other.

 I really like doing this sort of thing; I’ve got a thing for creating meta things like this, that are both part of the world building and also a part of the world.  For my Butcher’s Bill universe, I created categories for vampire hunting licenses; for Defcon, I divided up the US into various ecological recovery zones and now, I have power charts and the expanded Twelfth Night list of where powers come from.  World building is probably easily my most favorite part of writing.

 I did get a portfolio for my miscellaneous projects – it’s blue and clear and I’ve put my hard copy Gem City stuff in it – mostly a few hand written things, plus some printouts of research materials, including the list of powers/abilities from Wikipedia, which I use for reference.

 Other Stuff:   Oh my god, did I ever read a lot of comics this week…

I finished the Incorruptible series and up through book 6 of Irredeemable. Both series are a good look at what happens when people try to break out of the boxes society has been put in.

Because of the Necessary Evil documentary I watched, I went looking for any Flash graphic novels that my main library might have, so I could read about Flash’s Rogues – and now I’m a fan of the Rogues. As TVTropes would say, they are Punch Clock Villains who do what they do because they want to make some money.  They don’t want to take over the world, they don’t want to kill superheroes, they just want to get paid. This aspect of the characters was mentioned in the documentary as well, and was the reason I went looking for Flash books to begin with.

It’s also part of what I like so much about the Rogues, especially Captain Cold – whose real name is Leonard Snart, which just…I love that name. I just love it because it is just such a sucky name.  And because, unlike some a lot of DC villains, it has nothing whatsoever to do with his abilities. It’s not a pun, it’s not symbolic, it’s just “Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Leonard Snart who grew up to wear a blue Eskimo costume and rob banks with a freeze ray and a gang of other guys with ray-guns and goofy outfits.”

Captain Cold, according to Wikipedia, is driven by three things: money, women, and the desire to beat Barry Allen [aka, The Flash – well, a Flash; they come in six-packs now…].  This makes him a pretty simplistic character, but that simplicity also makes him a lot easier to relate to than some villains. Heck, that some heroes.  There’s a scene in one of the books I checked out where Cold is sitting in a bar, out of uniform and is complaining about the fact that because of some shenanigans that led to him having ice and cold based powers rather than having to rely on his guns, he can no longer drink beers because they freeze up on him.  It’s just a nice bit of humanizing to the character and it’s one of the things I like about the greying of the morality in modern comics.  It not only gives the character some depth, it also gives depth to the universe the characters live in.

Speaking of depth…

I also picked up a copy of DC Universe. Legacies which tells the story of the DC Universe from its historical origins in the 1930s up through the modern day.  The device they use is having a guy who is a former Metropolitan police department officer who came from a rough neighborhood in Metropolis and who saw the beginnings of the costumed heroes and became a fan who followed them the way someone from our universe might follow sports heroes or actors.  He manages to give us a man on the street view of various crucial events from the DC Universe timeline and, along the way, serves as a pretty good introduction to the history of costumed heroes.

Legacies also manages to be a good story in and of itself; it uses the narrative device of this guy is telling us his life story and it doesn’t focus just on the heroes – we see how the character himself has grown and developed and changed over time.   It reminds me a lot of a series that Marvel did called Marvels and written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Alex Ross .  It also reminds me a lot of Busiek and Ross’s Astro City books which uses an original superhero/villain universe to tell stories about different characters, including a lot of ‘everyday citizen in superhero universe’ stories.  Only reason I’m not checking any of these out from the library is because I’ve already read most of the Astro City graphic novels my libraries have.  But they are goo-oood books.

Current Goals:

  • Finish Chapter Seven of Defcon: Fade Out: and (hopefully) get back into the chapter-a-week swing of things.  My overall goal for this book is to have the first complete draft finished by the end of February so I can start typing it up in March/April. And then I get to let people read it and see what they think.  So, sometime in April/May I’ll be beginning work on a protective blanket fort in which to hide.
  • Type up Gem City short story and write bios of main characters. Also, work on draft of second Gem City story which may be from Frankie’s POV.
  • Read More Comics: Found out today (well, Tuesday) that there are three more graphic novels in the Irredeemable world that I haven’t read (which is kind of annoying, since Incorruptible stopped at 7 graphic novels but, yeah) so I need to get those from the library.
  • Clean my kitchen: ‘nuff said.

Miscellaneous Stuff:

I just read on Wikipedia that Captain Cold is a Cubs fan.  That just makes me love him all the more. (I originally grew up in Northwestern Indiana, about 2 hours from Chicago so the Cubs were the closest baseball team that I had any reason to care about.)

Other favorite DC Villains include Solomon Grundy (a zombie before zombies were cool!), Gorilla Grodd (not just a super-intelligent gorilla, but an EVIL super-intelligent gorilla from a society of super-intelligent gorillas) and Bizarro (Oppoisite Day Superman!)

I also like Marvel comics, I’m just currently on a DC kick at the moment. It helps that DC seems to have easier starting off points than Marvel. Either that or the library I’ve been going to has more DC-related books).



4 thoughts on “AROW80 Check-in for December 11, 2013

  1. Thanks for the warning- I can’t go to TV Tropes without wasting hours in that black hole of links!

    I love the worldbuilding stuff, too– figuring out how magic works, what the limits are, and how those limits can be stretched. SO fun, even if it’s not all spelled out in the stories. 🙂

  2. I sometimes use TVTropes for research purposes but that is risky because I end up looking up shows or movies or book series and next thing I know, it’s been three hours…

    I’ve had times with worldbuilding questions that I almost literally cannot proceed unless I get the questions answered and can understand the world and it’s setting. Is crazy!

  3. Ah, yes, world-building. So much fun! 🙂 Generally the brainstorming phase of anything is wonderful, because at that stage, the project is still this shiny glob of potential, not pedestrian prose and poor characterization … *g*

    Sounds like fun research. Good luck on your goals!

    • YES! Definitely like the ‘glob of potential’ phase a lot more because it doesn’t have to make sense yet.

      But the research is fun and thank you! Good luck to you as well!

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