Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Categorizing My Glitches

Well, here we are at the half-way point of this year's Script Frenzy. I am both happy and not with my progress. On the one hand, I'm back to writing relatively regularly, and I've been really forcing myself to work through some major world building in order to write this script. On the other hand, this figuring out, researching, and comic scripting learning curve has almost halted my actual writing. Here it is, day 15, a week after my last update, and I'm only up to nine pages.


For those not keeping track, I was up to six last week. In one week I've only added three pages. Go. Me.

It's been tricky, especially when trying to figure out quick visuals to explain a relatively broad and intangible concept. For me it would have been easier with actual video to capture more essence while a voice over was talking. As opposed to one snapshot of the visual I want with a toneless caption attached.

This is one of the reasons I gave up my idea of becoming a director. I'm much better as an editor. If you give me a variety of shots I can easily pick out which one is the best option. I can watch movies and comment on the angles and camera position and how the shot is either perfect, or how I'd be able to change it to something more impactful. Yet, I can't come up with the visual on my own off the top of my head. To me, without any outside help, everything in my head more-or-less plays out like a stage play with a few reaction shots thrown in. It's all sort of one-note. So, it's hard for me to work on this comic.

On the one hand, I am very particular and protective of my mental imaging of what's going on. I need to be meticulous with how the environment is laid out, the costuming of the characters, and exactly what the characters look like - right down to the exact placement of each hair. But angles? Where the mental cameras are set up in comparison to the scene? From what direction and how close the audience is while they are looking in? I'm terrible at figuring that out.

Probably why I'm better at prose. I can just dump the scene on the reader's lap and THEY can mentally picture all the intricate angles that would make up the movie adaptation.

So, you can sort of see my dilemma when it comes to storyboarding a comic book. I want to micromanage how everything works; resulting in the poor illustrator being no more than my extended hand since my own isn't talented enough to execute the visualization I want. At the same time, I have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to dramatic angles and the like, and I would want to give the illustrator all the creative freedom he or she desired in order to figure that stuff out without me.

An annoying paradox, and one I'm glad I don't have to deal with quite yet. I mean, I don't even have the first book written yet, and I'm no where near finding an illustrator. Heck, I'm no where near inquiring for an illustrator. So I guess I can iron out those details some time in the future.

How about the parts that I did manage to iron out already?

Do you recall once upon a time when I showed you fine folks this gloriously jumbled mind map?
Mutant Mind Map

Well, one of the main things I did this week was go through and reorganize this mental ramblings in to a bulleted list. AH! The glorious bulleted list to help categorizing my Glitches all the easier.

Originally, the point of organizing the above mess was so I could easily create a simple chart while continuing to explain what Glitches are to the reader. With more thought, I think it should be presented more as a lesson to one of the new Glitch recruits who has no clue what he is. Similar to the categorizing presented in the movie "Push" - which is where the category concept first came from anyway.

In "Push" the character Chris Evans plays knows he's "different" with his telekinetic abilities, but it's Dakota Fanning's character who informs him of the multiple different categories of superhumans; categorized by the villainous Division organization. Generic clairvoyants are "Watchers". Psychometrics - people who can gather the history of an object via touch - are "Sniffs" since they can "sniff" out a person they're looking for. "Shadows" are people that can block clairvoyancy - such as Watchers and Sniffs - by "hiding" the presence of themself or those they are protecting. Telekinetics are "Movers". Psychic healers - capable of completely healing any injury with only their hands - are "Stitches". A person who can cause amnesia - either erasing just a small memory or someone's entire life - is a "Wiper". "Bleeders" emit high-frequency sonic blasts that can rupture blood vessels; hence the category name. The name of the movie comes from the most powerful category of superhumans: Pushers. They are powerful telepaths that can implant false memories/feelings/loyalties in to someone's brain and force them to bend to the Pusher's will; even go so far as to kill a loved one or commit suicide.

There's one last category of superhuman from Push, and one Hubby and I enjoyed so much we gave the power to Willow's father Jacob: Shifter. A Shifter is more of a minor telepathic ability. They can take an object and make it temporarily appear to be something completely different as long as the basic structure is the same; essentially tricking the eyes as long as the other senses - mainly touch - don't interfere. For instance, the Shifter in the movie took Monopoly money and made a waitress believe it was actual currency. He couldn't, on the other hand, make her believe it was a diamond necklace because the weight and shape wouldn't match the illusion.

Funny side story, this is how Willow's and Chayse's fathers - Jacob and Gambit - met each other. They tried to swindle each other, but found each other out and became fast friends instead. I'm still not entirely sure what Gambit did to try to manipulate Jacob with his hypnotic charm speak, but I know that Jacob tried to con Gambit with a Shifting illusion.

Kind of makes me wonder about Shawn though. If Jacob can create illusions on a small scale, and Willow can make them on a grand scale - obviously inheriting her father's powers - than how did Shawn's mutation manifest  as electricity? Maybe Jacob's wife Meryl has a secret of her own?

Sorry, I went WAY off track there....

Point is, Hubby and I loved the idea of classifications of superhumans - who are basically mutants, let's face it - that he helped me categorize my Glitches too, but I only have five categories as of right now.

I have them called "Species" of Glitch. Then each species has the differing types of powers within it categorized further in to "Classes". Yes, in true Scientific Classification the terms are reversed and have Order, Family, and Genus in between. I debated using the true Scientific Classification method; categorizing all Glitches in to one Family - and possibly find the word Glitch derived from for the family classification - and then break the main power sets in to Genus, and then break the powers down further in to species.

Perhaps I'll have a few scientist characters argue that point. However, the classification is both militaristic and media-based, and so it needs to fit more with what SOUNDS better. It's easier and rolls off the tongue better to ask what species and class someone is, instead of which genus and species.

Another reason for the smallest category being "class" instead of "species" probably has something to do with me being a D&D nerd. I have a lot of characters whose powers are all subsets of one main category. Willow, for instance, can create illusions - which is one subset - and she has telepathy - which is another subset - and she is telekinetic - a third subset. There are Glitches that can only fit in to one of those categories; having one doesn't automatically mean you can do the other two. Because of this, Willow "cross-classes" in her powers. Like I said, I'm a D&D nerd.

Then you have someone like Chayse whose main power is his ability to manipulate kinetic energy - which is a power within one main category - but he also has the physical mutation in regards to his eye color - which technically puts him in to another main category as well. Since he's a mix of two different species of Glitch, he's considered a Hybrid. Now, I COULD switch Species and Class around to the more Scientific Classification formula, but I like the idea of multiple Glitches being able to Cross-Class - otherwise known as "Multi" - but only a few are actual Hybrids. If I were to switch the categories the percentages go the other way.

Speaking of titles for people within categories, let's lay out on the table what I figured out. Keep in mind, long-time readers probably already know this since I came up with these titles over a year ago when I created the above mind-map. I haven't really altered much of anything since then.

Okay, so there are five main Species of Glitch:
  1. Beasts are those with physical mutations. Those that can still pass as human are "Norms", whereas those that are more animalistic or otherwise can't hide their mutation are "True Beasts" or "Were-Creatures"; depending on the severity of the mutation and how cruel the person is who's throwing around the term. Chayse's eyes make him a "Norm Beast".
  2. Minds are the other main category that sprang up at first. They are the psychics; mostly telepaths or telekinetics. Illusions also fall under this category, and so Willow and her father Jacob are Minds.
  3. Evokers can manipulate the four elements as well as light, darkness, and energy itself. Shawn's ability to use electricity, Chayse's kinetic manipulation, Penumbra's shadow fighting, Trish and Devon's pyromancy, and Ripley's water-crafting are all Evoker powers. In fact, as you can see, the majority of the X-Future casting are Evokers; which is one of the reasons I briefly toyed with the idea of converting the story in to High Fantasy and have them all elemental-specific mages. Lia is one of the most powerful Evokers by being a cross-classed Multi with both fire and earth to create her lava powers.
  4. Tweakers manipulate DNA. This has a WIDE array of applications and has probably the largest listing of classes; although Evokers are close given the multitude of elements they manipulate. Lia is a Tweak Evoker Hybrid due to her ability to convert her blood and organs in to lava, and the rest of her body in to obsidian. Her father Jamie is also a Tweaker - which is why Lia's a hybrid - due to his ability to create clones of himself. Devon's shapeshifting also makes him a Tweak Evoker Hybrid.
  5. Finally, there are the Mages. They manipulate physics and the fabric of space/time itself. They are probably the most powerful Glitches, although most of their abilities are only basic in nature. Teleportation, clairvoyance, and probability alteration - based on the Marvel canon characters Nightcrawler, Destiny, and Domino, respectively - are all Mage abilities since they alter reality itself. Someone like Scarlet Witch, Pixie, Magik, and the X-Future character Lincoln are all a special class of Mages known as Sorcerers since they can effectively force themselves to both cross-class AND cross-species by saying spells to focus their Mage abilities.
Like I said, someone who has multiple power sets within the same Glitch Species is considered "Cross-class" or a "Multi". Therefore, Lia would be militaristically classified as a Coating Tweak Fire-Earth Multi Evoker Hybrid. Bit of a mouthful, but it sends the basic message of what her abilities are. Lia herself may introduce her powers by stating "I'm a Tweak Evoker hybrid. I'm a coater and fire-earth multi." Others, like Chayse, may focus on the main power of being an Energy Evoker, maybe going so far as stating Kinetic Energy Evoker. He's technically a Beast Evoker Hybrid due to his physical mutation of neon-lime green eyes with black sclera, but he focuses on trying to pass for human. So he'd most likely ignore the Beast classification.

Now, in my reboot, Chayse's ability to phase is similar to DC comic's superhero The Flash - he moves fast enough to pass through the microscopic air pockets in between the cells of a solid object. Chayse does so by manipulating the kinetic energy within his own body until it speeds up enough to phase. I may change this, though, because it seems to be a LOT of effort for something Hubby tends to have Chayse do a lot.... If I do convert it back to Hubby's X-Future version of Chayse, than Phasing is a Tweaker ability. This means Chayse is a Tweak Evoker Beast hybrid - again, because of the eyes. I haven't decided on a term yet, but being a hybrid of 3 or 4 different species feels like it needs its own name since it doesn't happen that frequently. A super powerful mutant in the Marvel world is considered "Omega Class". So, I think a multi-hybrid needs similar treatment.

Right now, though, I only have the terms "Transcendent", "Ultimate", and "Supreme" Glitch. All seem a bit over-the-top in classification. Especially when the person is like Chayse and would be a typical Hybrid if it weren't for that dip in to Beast territory.

Now, there is a "mythical" or "theoretical" classification of Glitch; think of it as Super Sayian or my version of Beyond Omega Level. It is equally idolized and feared by both humanity and Glitches. Basically, it's a person who is born as a hybrid of all five categories. The terms I have so far for this classification are: "Godling", "Demigod", or simply "Demi". This breed of Glitches is feared due to how massively powerful they could become; a possible uncontrollable force that could enslave the rest of the world - human and Glitch alike.

For those who have kept up-to-date with Marvel comics, my 5-species hybrid Godlings would be at about the same power level as Hope Summers; and is equally thought of as either savior or oppressor.

Because of this, Godlings - if ever discovered - would be fought over as the greatest weapon/driving force of any given extremist group.
  • My X-Men equivalent would want the Godling to demonstrate that even the most powerful Glitch could cohabitate peacefully with humanity.
  • Brotherhood equivalent would want the Godling as a way to cement Glitch superiority over humanity; taking on the new term Preternaturals - similar to Magneto's Homo Superior - for the mutants.
  • Hubby's created extremist group Challengers of Heaven would want to use the Godling as a weapon to ethnically cleanse the world of all normal humans so that Glitches/Preternaturals were the only humanoids left on Earth. Much like how Homo Sapiens survived while Neanderthals became extinct.
  • Purifiers equivalent would want to utilize the Godling as proof that Glitches are dangerous, and that the only way for humanity to survive is to exterminate all mutants.
At one point we had a subplot on X-Future - that never really played out - with similar stakes in regards to Crystal's ability to nullify mutant powers.
  • The Brotherhood wanted her as a way to suppress opposition from the X-Men.
  • Military wanted her for the same reason as The Brotherhood, but on a grander scale. They wanted to recreate her powers so that all law enforcement/soldiers could subdue mutants.
  • Shamed mutants wanted to experiment on her in order to find a way to "cure" themselves.
  • Human scientists wanted her for a similar reason, but this "mutant cure" would be a way to eradicate them, even the ones that enjoyed being mutants.
  • The X-Men wanted to squirrel her away; essentially imprison her - in not so many words - in order to keep her safe from the others that wished to weaponize her. At the same time, she felt they were using her as The Brotherhood would; to suppress attacks from other mutants. The justification being that she was keeping the other students safe.
Anyway, I got a little off topic again.

I made a few other decisions in regards to the character rewrites. I don't recall if I said so, but Amara "Magma" Aquilla - whose name I still have to rework - is now a Hawaiian Fire-Earth Multi Evoker. She still has her lava powers - which is where Lia gets hers - but she won't be able to take on lava/fire form like she does in the comics. Instead, she will have heatproof skin - which explains her ability to SWIM in lava without it harming her - as well as specialized lungs that allows her to filter out the damaging poisonous gases and ash that coincide with volcanic eruptions. She'll probably be similar to Storm's canon backstory: a girl capable of manipulating the elements in order to bring safety to her small village, and she's idolized for it. Might not go as primitive as Storm's African tribe that actually worshiped her as a minor goddess, but same basic principal after Amara stops a volcanic eruption from destroying the town.

Basically recreating the one Amara-centric episode of "X-Men: Evolution", but having Amara live on the island instead of just visiting while on a cruise.

I'm sure I've mentioned months ago that Jamie's new name is Cody. Still haven't figured out too much more about him; like a new last name.

As for Chayse's family, Remy "Gambit" LeBeau - still needs a name change - is going to be Australian, and only has his Hypnotic Charmspeak power along with heightened agility. Chayse's kinetic manipulation is now inherited from his mother Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde, whose new name is Margaret [Insert Last Name Here]. It's a start....

Since Gambit is going to be Australian, and I don't want too many foreigners from the same place - plus, I wanted to switch it out for the rewrite anyway - Pyro will no longer be the resident Aussie. Flame-red hair and a fiery temper? Seems Irish to me! I was hesitant at first since we already have Tyler and Crystal from the Emerald Isle, but seeing as neither of them will probably make the Reboot cut, I figured shifting St. John Allerdyce to the opposite hemisphere would be a good choice. I'm a bit weary of the fact that I'm keeping the character really close to the original, though. Anyway, I still need to give him both a new name - one a bit easier to pronounce if you're not born in Australia and see it all the time - and a new codename. There in lies the biggest problem, one I faced when creating Trish and one I equally faced when I tried to have Willow come up with a good codename for Devon.

THERE ARE SO MANY FIRE USERS IN MARVEL CANON! Just about all the good fire-based codenames are already being used. The three mildly good ones were scooped up by Trish and Devon. Yes, I said THREE. Trish is Lighter. Then Devon has 2 - his Brotherhood and street name was Arson, but his X-Men codename was Scorch. So far all I could think of for Pyro's new name is Dragon, Salamander, and Flame.

James "Logan" Howlett, AKA Wolverine, is still going through a few rewrites as well. I was thinking of making him Native American, but I think I'm now really leaning towards Latino. I have also been fixated on the name Rafael - Spanish for "God has Healed" which is fantastic since he's keeping his rapid healing power. My only concern is the possible mental connection to a certain Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a similar name. Especially since both wield 3-pronged metal weapons - Wolverine's three adamantium-covered claws and Raph's sai - and have notoriously bad attitudes. It's a work in progress, but maybe the TMNT connection is WHY Rafael feels right for the character.

It's all still just a work in progress. One I really should get back to now that I finally have a day off again, and Hubby and I finished off the Netflix Daredevil series.

Now, if my laptop would just stop MASSIVELY lagging, I would be in business...

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