Wednesday, May 21, 2014

World Building and Inspiration Striking (for others)

Wow. This has felt like such a loooooong week. I legit had to read back through last week's post to even remember what I last talked about. Weird to think how slow this month has been going. Bombarding poor Phfylburt as well as Mother's Day both feel like weeks away instead of just a few days.

Actually, I haven't talked to Phfyl at all this week aside from sending him more brainstorming on Thursday. I'll get to that in a bit.

Honestly, aside from bouncing more ideas off of Hubby and having the gears grinding, I haven't done terribly too much with writing this past week. I was finishing up this little fella:
Sorry for the blurry pictures. My camera broke a few years back and I haven't had the money to fix/replace it. Anyway, that little guy up there is supposed to look like a toy version of this dude:
That would be George, my best friend's pet rabbit. The crocheted version of him is a toy I made for Bestie's first-born son. Picking out what I would make for him was part of her baby-shower gift, much like what I did with my sister-in-law and the blanket I made for my niece. It's been so long since I last saw my bestie - and it kept me so long to get down to business and make the silly toy - that the bunny also became the kid's baptism gift.

So my week was spent frantically trying to finish up the toy while working my now-normal insane hours and getting ready to trek home for the kid's baptism. Oh yeah, and be surprised by Bestie that I'm one of the kid's godmothers! YEAH! I have a niece and now I have a godson! About a month ago Hubby and I even got a hand-me-down frame for our mattress and we've been sleeping off the floor. Look at who's growing up and junk!

Alright, back to writing.

So, my time was obviously spent on slightly-higher priority stuff this past week: work, finishing the kid's toy, becoming a godmother, visiting my mom and sis, etc. Oh, and, Mom, if you're reading this I put those in order of what I did for the week. I'm not saying visiting you was on the bottom of the list....


During my work breaks, however, I was able to FINALLY finish editing the collab Ronoxym and I started back in February. There were a lot more edits - mostly typos - than I initially realized, and Ron has the collab word doc set up so that only he can edit and I can only make comments on it. So, I think I'm going to have to redo it as a new word doc, set it up so that both of us can edit, and send him that as a replacement. Hopefully if he re-reads the whole thing like I did it will respark his inspiration and he can finally advance the story.

Yes, I'm trying to guilt trip you in to writing, Ron!

So, that project is done and the project of actually typing up the second draft shouldn't be too daunting, I hope. The only other thing I really worked on this week - as I mentioned - was using my husband as a sounding board.

Which brings us back to my statement at the start of this blog: the brainstorm with Phfyl this past Thursday.

Technically I wasn't really brainstorming with Phfyl as much as I was relaying over an awesome concept that Hubby came up with. See, last Wednesday Hubby and I went to go watch the second Amazing Spider-Man movie. While we were waiting for the movie to start I relayed over Phfyl's thought of a cyberpunk fantasy setting for our X-Future original reboot. After some discussion, Hubby came up with the following:
In the near-future groups of hacktivists - such as Anonymous or The Rising Tide from Agents of SHIELD - succeed in taking down the corrupt governments of the world. Not sure if it's more of a domino effect or a simultaneous attack. Either way, this results in a massive power void. The hacktivist groups decide to take control since they feel they understand what works best for the people.

After a bit of a power struggle between the groups and the previous government officials and supporters the hacktavists manage to become the new government. They aren't numerous enough for a different person to be in charge of each country in the world, and so they break down the modern borders and restructure the world in to kingdoms. This will give us the "fantasy"/medieval setting.

Over the generations - Hubby was thinking our story would take place in like 2250 or something - the Cyber Lords become more and more corrupt and power hungry. Eventually they become just like the governments the original hacktivists overthrew. During those same generations, citizens have become more and more dependent and trusting of their devices, and so most are easily manipulated by the Cyber Lords' "approved" information. The Cyber Lords are the best hackers in the world and can manipulate any information that goes online.

Soon, people begin to age out of the knowledge of how the world was before the rise of the Cyber Lords. They only know of the existence of the Kingdoms.

Meanwhile, due to food additives, genetic manipulation, "unclean" power sources, and pollution, mutation has switched from a strange phenomenon to an almost every-day occurrence. And the mutations become more and more extreme; such as fur, wings, high healing factor, etc.

The mutations also become more and more genetic, so if your dad had wings you have 1/2 chance of having some as well.

Because of the Cyber Lords the worlds' dialects have become more internet/gamer oriented: text/tweet shorthand and leet-speak. Due to the new modern dialect, the mutants were typically described as something similarly found in games. For instance, mutants with wings would be angels, demons, or fairies depending on how the wings looked. Mutants with super-human strength and/or fast healing would be berserkers. So on and so forth.

Along with the information distortion that all but erased the pre-cyber-world, the idea of mutants gave way to just "new races".

Technology became more and more impressive, but the average citizen became less and less knowledgeable of how it worked. They just took for granted that it did. Only the Cyber Lords and the other nobility knew how technology truly functioned any more.

Because of this, citizens began believing in magic again. This gave way to elemental-kinetics, psychics, and other "physics" manipulators to be thought of as "mages" instead of "mutants".

Thus is the setting of our Brave New World of cyberpunk fantasy while still holding on to the original concept of mutants.
Now, I embellished a bit on his initial idea; adding in things like how the mutations kick-started and why technology was considered "magic" in the future. However, the core of the above was from the mind of my husband. Man, I miss having him as a Dungeon Master...

Anyway, the concept is amazing, but there's one downside. It's TOO good. X-Future works so well and is able to be converted in to an original tale so easily because the background universe it takes place in barely affects anything at all. We can put these characters in to virtually any setting, and as long as they're able to still have the normal teenage-high-school-drama and powers/magic the story works.

The above setting is too intriguing for X-Future. You don't want to watch an ensemble cast play around in this universe without really acknowledging it. You want to explore this new world. You want to explore how it came to be and determine if it will stay as is. You want to maybe watch a Cyber Lord as he ruled. Or you want to watch a citizen become disillusioned and try to start a coup. Maybe you just want to watch a woman struggle as she's declared an outlaw simply because she wants to become an archaeologist; discovering how the world once was and how it came to be. There could even be a really cool tale if the citizens of this new world decided to rename Earth - or never refer to their planet by name - and so the reader thinks it's a tale on an alien planet. Then someone discovers the history of the world and BAM! The reader is shocked to discover that they're still on Earth!

That's what happened in one of the mangas I used to read. I won't say what manga so that I don't give away spoilers, but the basic concept is that teenagers were magically teleported in to this barren, hostile, desert-like planet with ruins that vaguely resembled modern buildings. Then, one of the teens discovered his uncle's house perfectly preserved. That's when they realized they weren't being sent to a different world, they were being sent to the future! Dun Dun Duuuuuun!!!!!

My point is that the setting Hubby came up with is almost a character in and of itself. However, the focus of X-Future is definitely on the interesting characters we all came up with. It would be way too complicated if we tried to run a story where the reader is torn between wanting to know more about a cast of at least seven people or learn more about the setting.

I am planning on slotting that idea away for some future project, though. I just need to figure out who will be the character that gets to play in that playground. ONE interesting character running around an intriguing world is a much better fit.

So.... still trying to figure out the world behind the X-Future reboot. Wonder if Phfyl has thought of anything over the past week.

In the meantime, I'll brainstorm some more with Hubby. I may even take up world building Gyateara more. Silly Hubby actually told me on Sunday "If you ever need help with naming things, I'm pretty good at it."

First of all... I KNOW he's really good at it! I love all the names he comes up with for his characters and settings. I tell him that a lot, actually! Heck, there was a month or two where he had me convinced that we should name our son - if we were to ever have one - after one of his D&D characters. Would have been a really cool name too....

Secondly: DOES HE NOT KNOW ME BY NOW!? Of COURSE I need help naming things! I frequently lament how horrible I am at naming things! Where has he been!?

That being said, he's now going to help me with coming up with names for my world building.

Before I jet for the week I do want to do a couple shout-outs!

Seems a trio of my online writing buddies are finally back in to the groove of things, plus Omnibladestrike has been chugging along with his own world-building for about two weeks now.

Friday I had a message posted on my Facebook wall:
"All right, I'm doing the '5 minute writing' that you talked about in a blog. Let's break my hiatus."

AngelBlood666 later commented that his "five minute writing" turned in to a half-hour; easily. He has since written for "five minutes" every day and is ready to do his first update in a long time. Should be up sometime today! Mad props, AB666!

Same day I also received a message from AB666's beta and the mutual friend that got us to meet: DarkAngel1326.
"You better be writing! I'm writing tonight too. Rose (my princess/undercover knight) has some stuff to say."

So glad she's getting back in to Of Blood and Honor! So YAY for her too!

The real shocker was when I received this message yesterday morning just before running off to work:
"I want to write a story, but I need someone to be my sounding board. Up for it?"

Heck yeah, I'm up for it! Especially since that message was from someone I haven't mentioned here in AGES. Good old Delaroux! I honestly have no clue how much writing she's been doing over the past year or so since I stopped frequenting the Facebook group she started up for her original characters. It was a fun time and I loved both her and the other girls I met in that group, but they would be up at about 2am role-playing. I'd spend HOURS just going back through and reading everything they've posted while I was sleeping, like the old broad that I am.

I kept telling Delaroux that she needed to create a forum - much like X-Future - for her and the girls to role play on. I'd be able to read more at my leisure that way. Instead of scrolling on endlessly in the group set-up Facebook switched to a few years back. I still can't stand that. The old groups where everything was organized in threads was so much easier to navigate; especially when you aren't on the group 24/7.

Anyway, I'm off topic.

My point is that I'm so proud of all four of you!

Omni! I'm excited to hear what progress you've made with your world building. Perhaps we'll make a day to draw maps together.

AB666, I'm so proud that you've tried out the 5-minute writing challenge, that you've stuck with it, and that you have something to show for it. Doing better than me, haha! I can't wait to read the end result.

DA1326, I'm just amazingly excited that school let out - or is soon? - for you and that you finally have writing time again! I want to know everything Rose told you Friday night.

Delaroux, I still need to go back and read everything you sent me - probably my next task after posting this - but I'm elated that you're writing again! Your characters are always so intriguing to me. I can't wait to see what you have in store this time.

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