AROW80 Check-in for December 18, 2013

First things first, I wanted to share this post I found over at Tumblr for a couple reasons.  For the linkphobic, it’s a scan of a couple comic book pages that depict a group of normal human beings confronting a superpowered baddie.  The group is led by a little old lady, who throws a brick at the baddie and yells “No pasaran!” This is awesome enough in and of itself, because all too often in superhero stories we don’t see the bystanders doing anything but acting as victims and scenery in the stories and in this scene, we see the everyday people standing up to a baddie.  It’s a nice reminder that while a story may focus on the Avengers or Batman or Superman, there are other people who exist in that story universe who are still significant in their own right.

The other awesome thing is that someone, not (to the best of my knowledge) anyone connected to the writing of the comic said “This lady needs a name” and proceeded to not only create a name for the character but also an entire backstory created around the name.  An awesome backstory that takes this background character who little more an extra with a few speaking lines, into a fully developed and realized character.

It’s also an excellent example of how to create a character based off of a few, basic pieces of demographic information and a willingness to stretch one’s imagination and add a bit of flavor to a story.

Writing Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out: As I mentioned in another post, Chapter Seven is DONE!  Haven’t started writing/editing Chapter Eight yet, but that is still in the pipeline
  • Gem City: Spent more time doing background worldbuilding type stuff, including figuring out how power levels work — mainly to try and keep things within the realm of the realistic.  Using a list of fictional powers from Wikipedia, I divided them into three very rough categories (physical, mental and metaphysical) and then sorted powers into the different groups.  Metaphysical is the holding area for any and all powers that are practically magic/completely unrealistic.  These are very, very rare in the Gem City ‘verse. In fact, the ratio goes 75% of all powers are physical (enhanced strength, being able to rapidly heal ala Wolverine, etc), 20% mental (telepathy, telekinesis, etc) and 5% metaphysical (able to stretch like rubber, control ice or fire with your mind, teleport, etc).
    • ALSO! I figured out how Will (the Reverse Batman) lost his parents and how their death motivated him. It clicked while I was reading The Law of Superheroes. 
  • I’m still listening to Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.  If you’re interested in reading and/or listening to it, do NOT do so while you are hungry.  You will die of starvation.  The only book that’s worse to read when you’re hungry, is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy, wherein we learn that 19th century farmers ate an entire Vegas casino buffet for every meal.
  • Started reading Of Mice and Men and while the kid is done reading it for school I think I should be a good girl and read it all myself since it’s a classic and I’ve never read it. (BTW, the kid is taking her exams this week so if y’all could send a few good vibes her way, that would be appreciated!)

Current Goals:

  • Defcon: Fade Out:  Finish Chapter Eight; print out drafts of other chapters so that the work can progress.
  • Gem City: Fine tune work on powers, type up draft of short story, create character backgrounds for the main characters I have so far. Continue researching — mainly The Law of Superheroes and some other books that I have handy, some mine, some library books.
  • Kinstealer: Listening to Dan Carlin’s podcast, Hardcore History as background research. Not sure where it’ll eventually end up, but there’s a vibe going on.
  • Wrap Christmas Presents and bake brownies for the girlfriend to take to work. Also help the kid study for her midterms.

And, for fun of it, here’s a poll!

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9 thoughts on “AROW80 Check-in for December 18, 2013

  1. Woo hoo! Congrats on all your great progress; I’m so jealous!

    Also, this made me laugh out loud: “The only book that’s worse to read when you’re hungry, is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy, wherein we learn that 19th century farmers ate an entire Vegas casino buffet for every meal.”

    And last but not least: I want to read descriptions of each of your WIPs!! How come you don’t have pages for them? *whine, whine*

    That is all. Except: keep up the good work! =*)

  2. Thank you!

    Seriously! If you ever read that book it feels like she describes a meal every two pages and it’s usually a feast (which makes sense, considering that the rest of the book shows the family doing the kind of heavy labor you’d expect from a pre-industrial farm.

    As for pages for the WIPs,, I think that might be something I will have to work on! Thanks for the idea.

  3. You’re doing great on your goals! That was a fun poll, too. You’ve reminded me that I’ve always wanted to try writing a mystery, since I love reading them. I did write one short story, but… Hmm, must think about this for 2014 🙂

  4. I love your comic page example here–it’s how I started writing actually. I took a secondary character in a few shows that I liked and built on their pasts, adding a layer to the original story worlds, then took secondary characters from my fanfictions and those characters became primary characters in their own worlds…

    I think it’s a perfectly valid way to create things. After all, most stories out there are inspired by real world stories or situations, why not expand the sources of inspiration.

    • Same here! When I got back into writing in 2006, I started off writing fanfiction using two obscure characters and had a heck of a lot of fun adding onto them. In fact, a lot of my original characters are based on ideas/character archetypes I used to explore in fanfiction and roleplaying. Or are reactions to things I’ve seen in fanfics/roleplaying games/movies/tv shows, etc that I wanted to put my own spin on.

      • Yeah… It’s that “own spin” thing that got me started too. I mean, I suspect everyone does it to a degree. We just take it that few steps further… 🙂

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