Friday, May 26, 2017

In Development: My Love Letter to Mecha & Mythology

Come, witness the ways a writer gets to creating.

I love giant robots. That means I love my mecha anime, and while I got into Super Robot Wars V I began digging into the series mashed up in that game. The Mazinger series got my attention due to their blending of Ancient Aliens with Super Robot tropes, and the excellent blend of that series with Getter Robo got my attention.

I've run around Crazytown for years now. Ancient Aliens, Art Bell, David Icke, etc. are my jam. So, when some of my pals got into Attack on Titan, I--spoiler junky that I am--hit up the wiki and read deep into the lore. That manga, and I presume the anime in time, will reveal the severe conspiratorial element holding up the plot.

So I got to thinking, especially after seeing how well the Titans of the aforementioned comic and series correspond to the Nephilim of Christian mythology and its pagan counterparts worldwide. (Man-eating giants are common mythological elements.) We already had the Godzilla films and Pacific Rim do Giant Robots vs. Giants, and there's plenty of stories about smaller robots and powered armor versus monsters, but if it's well-known it's either old or Japanese (with a few exceptions).

So I got out the metaphorical blender and threw my ingredients together.

I'm still adjusting the results to suit; I want a thrilling and entertaining story first and foremost, so adjustments for that sake are ongoing, but I have a clear plan following a proven pattern. Initially you're looking as something that wouldn't be out of line for an X Files episode, and if I can get favorable comparisons to Bio-Booster Armor Guyver then I know I'm hitting the mark. Each escalation is a defacto genre shift, eventually going full Super Robot.

And no, none of this blackpill despair porn. (Looking at you, Evangelion.) I know my sources, and I know how those end. There will be a future for the loyal, for the faithful, for those that never give up and never give in, but you've got to grit those teeth to get it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Space Opera Week: The Call Rings Forth Again

The old man heard the rapid footsteps of someone running his way. He put down the tools, got up from his workbench, and walked to the door, meeting the runner at the doorway. It was a boy, about 14 years of age, and his face told the old man enough to skip all of the usual questions.

"What trouble is it this time?" the old man, leading the boy inside and sitting him down.

The boy took a moment to gather himself. "A girl."

The old man took a pair of bottles out of a small refrigerator. Handing one to the boy, he said "That's not unexpected at your age. Slow down, have a drink, and start at the beginning."

The boy took the bottle, popped off the top, and took a big swig. "Dad told me to head into town to pick up some power converters, so I did. I was about to head back to the house when I saw this girl burst into the market square. She had some guys after her, a lot of them. She looked rich, really rich, which is why I thought the guys were after her. Given that they weren't shooting at her, I figured they wanted her alive."

"Rich girl, running from thugs, through the center of town." the old man said, sitting down, "So, what did you do?"

The boy perked up, smiling. "I cut between her and them, knocking a bunch of them down with the car, and told her to get in. Then I floored it out of there."

"Car chase?"

"And how!" the boy said, "They came after us in three cars, and a fourth in a supercar soon joined. Then we had the cops after us."

The old man observed the lack of a rich girl, or a car. "So, what happened?"

"I took them into Beggar's Canyon, and I forced the three cars to wreck despite them shooting at us. The fourth car had guns mount on it, and I didn't expect that. He was good, real good, and he got us when I tried that hairpin turn you told me about. We wrecked, and that's when we got separated."

"Your father's going to be mad about this."

The boy sighed. "I know, but if he only saw her face he'd understand."

"So you came to me first." the old man said, with a chuckle, "Did you get the girl's name?"

The boy nodded. "Better, I got her picture too." He pulled out a palm-sized holoviewer, and he produced the bust of the girl in question: long red hair, about shoulder-length, eyes blue like purest water, and skin like smooth marble. The old man stood there, remembering another like this from long ago, and then blinked himself back to the moment.

"Her name."

"Nadia." the boy said, "She said she's a princess from off-world."

The old man nodded along. "Okay, now what?"

"The last thing she said before we got separated was that if I could find someone called 'The Rose Knight', tell him to look for a golden yacht in the starport district."

The old man went to his safe, opened it, and retrieved an old photo of an armored man and a girl much like the boy's princess.

"You found him." the old man said, "Drink up, we've got princesses to save."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Putting Together a Brand Franchise

Earlier this week, over at the main blog, I posted about an idea I had in the wake of digging Super Robot Wars V. This is how I would use the idea for the purpose of writing fiction.

It starts as being similar to how I would use it for gaming, but it quickly diverges. The purpose for gaming is to set up a meta-framework for campaign play; the purpose here is to set up Shared Milieu.

You still have Civilization vs. Empire (Law vs. Chaos) as your overarching theme, personified by the Lensman and his enemy counterpart, but after that it's wide open. Were I so fortunate as to have the blessing of the Smith Estate, I would gladly do this openly to establish a franchise that starts with stories ostensibly in separate and distinct genres, but slowly merging over time to mashup into a complete and coherent whole- in effect undoing the splitting and ghettoization of SF/F that happened when the Pulps fell.

I don't, so I'll have to find ways around that to get what I want out of such a structure. An idea like this has an eye on building a brand and a franchise with it, over the long term, something I think a lot of authors in fiction don't think through and suffer for it should they get anywhere (including selling adaptation rights). Most reading this may not realize it, but that is what Marvel Comics and D.C. Comics accidentally created (themselves iterating on Street & Smith's The Shadow, who created all of the core superhero tropes that all of superhero comics use to this day).

In time, this would be something I'd put into my estate (i.e. in a family trust) so that it could continue to produce revenue for my future beneficiaries. (The risk, of course, is that post-mortem installments go the way of Disney's take on Star Wars and just produces sanctioned fanfic. (That can be worked around, but you need a good legal construct for it.)

There is NO attempt at Literary Realism. If I want anything like that, I'll do it as wiki articles; there's no audience for it, and therefore no one willing to pay me to write it. This is a structure for proper pulp stories, the way they used to write, with an eye towards allowing awesome big stories like the aforementioned game. (And it is; at the least, watch some playthroughs and see how they not only blended the narratives of the mashed up shows, but also added the united original elements that ties them all together. Brilliant work.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Getting Back Into the Review Game

I won a book from a giveaway done by Military History Now done via their Twitter account, and that book--Fort Enterprize, by Kevin Emmet Foley--arrived today.

I mention this because I will read this book, and then write a review of it. It will appear here first, and then I'll summarize it for the book's Amazon listing. The full review will have a section aimed at writers, talking about craft.

Many years ago, I wrote reviews for stuff at RPGNet. That was where I began my writing habit, and man those reviews such balls; I had no idea what I was doing, so I made it all up as I went. 10,000 pots, folks. The early pots will always blow harder than a black hole; just accept that and move on. The same goes with blogging and stories and every other form of writing; you're going to suck early on, so just do it and improve as you go.

Reacquainting yourself with a skill you set aside will go much faster. It's been a while since I wrote a review, so there's some rust to grind off, but it'll come back soon enough and then you're back in the game again. It'll be done when it's done; I have more pressing matters right now, but soon those will end and my schedule opens up. Soon.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Geek Gab Gaiden: "On the Books", w/ Brian Niemeier

Dragon-award winning author Brian Niemeier, one of the triumverate of hosts for Geek Gab, now has his own side-show project that focus on writing:

On the Books will bring you expert writing advice, discussion, and interviews without all the fluff and scope creep. Instead of setting a hard and fast fifteen minute time limit that risks arbitrarily curtailing informative discussion, my goal is to set up a flexible format with a base running time of ten minutes for a solo episode, plus five additional minutes per guest (in which case I get five minutes and give the bulk of the show to the guests).

You can read the full announcement post here, and I encourage you to not only read the full post but to give the first episode a go. That I embedded below for your convenience.

This is a welcome addition. I concur with his assessment that most writers, editors, etc. doing this are going about it all wrong and give bad advice that people looking to get paid and make a living (in whole or in part) satisfying readers (i.e. do what Larry Correia does), instead giving advice for those that preen for the hope of getting table scraps from the SocJus Death Cultists in New York or London.

If you're a working writer, or want to be one, put this in your feed and listen to each episode as soon as you can- live, if you can manage it. Brian's one of the up-and-comers, and he's got wisdom for you to heed. (Oh, and buy his books; they're getting real awards by real readers and real fans for real reasons- and not the fake shit the WorldCon set pushes on you.)