Sunday, January 20, 2013

Finally Got The Ideas Flowin'

Last week I was excited to have a story concept set for the Valentine’s Day contest. This week I spent most of my days wondering if I had to go back to the drawing board. This was the Halloween story all over again. I had ideas bouncing around in my head, but I couln’t get any of them to develop in to a full story.

A week of talking back and forth with ChibiSunnie as well as scribbling notes down whenever I was on a work break resulted in me still not having a clue what to do with Brainy fantasizing about him and Helga. Everything I thought of either felt cliché or it had already been done in the show.

There were long battles with myself...
Helga’s trying to make it to Wrestlemania?
She and Harold already had that adventure in “Buses, Bikes, and Subways”.
Helga’s late for class?
Eh, she wouldn't really care about that.
What if Helga’s breaking in/out of the Sunset Arms?
Alright, this is a reoccurring thing, so not too many originality points, but it could work. It's sort of a show running gag.

Obviously she’d be attempting to stop Arnold from finding out her secret, but what would be the cause of her predicament this time?

Her book of poetry she writes about him?
Already happened in “Little Pink Book”.
Her locket with his picture in it?
Arnold found that in “Helga’s Locket”.
She confessed her feelings and then regretted it; hoping to snag back the proof before Arnold got to it?
Oh, you mean like the answering machine message in “Helga Blabs it All”?
What if she wasn’t aware that she was going to confess?
I get it! Like in “Helga Sleepwalks” when she broke in to his house to confess while she was sleeping!
How about someone else making the confession?
Because that would somehow be different than a parrot reciting Helga’s poetry to Arnold in “Helga’s Parrot”…

What if an actual person blabbed it? 
Everyone knows that Brainy knows her secret, but if he’s the hero – and if he hasn’t said anything by now – there’s no way he’s the one who’s going to say anything. 
Phoebe obviously knows considering the amount of times they hint at it in the show, but what would drive her to tell Arnold? Does he suspect and is badgering Phoebe about it?
Dr. Bliss is yet another who obviously knows, but she’s sworn to secrecy thanks to Doctor/Patient confidentiality. Besides, what would cause her to talk to Arnold about that anyway? 
Same goes with Mr. Simmons. He’s a smart enough man to know the poems Helga submits for class are about Arnold, but why would he ever say anything? 
It’s possible after the “Helga’s Boyfriend” episode that Stinky suspects that she likes Arnold, but he never really says anything the rest of the series, so it’s also quite possible he didn’t put two and two together. 
Lila knows because Helga told her in “School Play”. She’s a possibility since she’s at least a child and not a close enough friend of Helga’s for it to feel like a betrayal. Maybe Lila feels she’s helping those two finally get together? Maybe it’s a way to direct Arnold from crushing on her anymore? If I’m ignoring the FTi confession scene from the movie, can I also ignore that Arnold drops his crush on Lila at the end of “Timberly Loves Arnold”?

Then I thought of a rival, a thorn in Helga’s side that surpasses Lila…. Helga’s older sister Olga. Sure, she doesn’t seem to know about Helga’s crush on Arnold – or really anything else about her sister’s life for that matter – but what would happen if she found out? Clueless Miriam found Helga’s bubblegum shrine to Arnold in “Arnold’s Hat”, and Olga seems to always help out with the household chores, so what if Olga was helping her mother by putting Helga’s clean clothes away and finds another of the Arnold Shrines? What if she stumbles upon Helga’s poetry? What if Olga goes to check in on her Baby Sister while Helga’s sleeping and finds the locket?

For a little while I ran with the idea that Olga discovered Helga’s secret and, in an attempt to help out her kid sister, decides to let Arnold know about the crush. Helga could somehow find out and panic. Then Brainy’s to the rescue in stopping Olga and keeping Helga’s secret safe.

Three problems:
1 – How does Brainy permanently stop Olga from telling Arnold?
2 – Why can’t Helga do the same exact thing?
3 – Why would Brainy fantasize about keeping Helga’s secret safe? If he kept her secret safe she’d be eternally grateful to him and fall for him – if it were a true fantasy – and if so, Arnold finding out the truth would be a moot point since fantasy-Helga doesn’t feel that way any longer.

So, if it’s illogical for Brainy to fantasize about helping Helga by stopping Arnold from finding out her secret, what could Brainy help her with? Back to the drawing board...

At the very least, brainstorming how Brainy could save the day – using a real-world problem like in that The Big Bang Theory scene I posted last week – gave me that “Olga finds out about Helga’s crush” plotline. I think it could become a really cool “Olga and Helga Redefine Their Relationship” story. Plus, I’ve wanted to write an Olga story for a while. At least now I have a plot idea for that Olga story.

Oh, the Plot Bunny Farm is filling up fast! I might have to do another post about them all!

So as of Thursday I still had no clue what I was doing. I tried to switch gears by listening to my Valentine's Day playlist. I hoped that - much like how I get inspired to write chapters for my story - one of the songs will speak to me and inspire a story for the contest. I also started rewatching episodes of the Disney Aladdin cartoon series.

Inspiration hits in the weirdest ways. I landed upon a comedic love song entitled "Skullcrusher Mountain" and that really got my juices flowing.

Certain elements of the Aladdin cartoon also inspired me, but if I were to relay what parts over to you I'd give away some key points of my story.

Point is, I think I've finally figured out my Valentine's Day competition story! Whoot! I'm still going with Brainy fantasizing about Helga, but it will play out almost like a cheesy 1960's melodrama cartoon a la "Wacky Races" or "Dudley Do-Right". Let's just say that Arnold - in his "Eugene, Eugene" villainous persona Lawrence - portrays the singer in "Skullcrusher Mountain" with poor Helga as the captive woman.

Now that I know what I want to do with my Valentine's Day story I can finally concentrate on how I want to finish up my latest chapter for What is Truly Meant to Be. This way I can stick with my New Years Resolution to post a new chapter every month. Best part is, I think I FINALLY know where I want to go with that too.

So for the next 11 days I'll be working on WITMTB as well as packing to move in to the new apartment by February 1st. Then, once February rolls around, I'll use the last 8 days of the contest working on this Brainy story. If I could get the Halloween story done in one day, having over a week should be simple! Especially since the hardest part - figuring out the plot - is already taken care of!

Hopefully, by next week I'll either have my latest chapter done, or at least finished enough to send to Chibi to beta! 

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