Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm So Good At This Naming Thing, Guys!

To start, I want to remind everyone that today is Earth Day. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle, and try to find places to improve so that the world is a cleaner and healthier place.
  • Do you conserve as much energy as you can?
  • Do you recycle whenever possible? 
  • Do you use reusable bags when shopping? If not, do you reuse or recycle the grocery bags?
  • Do you carpool or leave the car in the driveway every once in a while? Especially when you're staying local?
  • Is there a place for you to start/maintain a garden or a new tree? Is there a community garden you can help maintain?
There's tons of other options for you to make minimal changes to your own life and make a still-powerful impact on the environment. Plus, things like gardening and commuting on foot/bike/skates/skateboard/etc really help improve your mood and health. Conserving energy - as well as leaving the car behind - helps you save money. Even using reusable grocery bags can benefit you right along with the environment: you don't have plastic bags cluttering your house/trash, you don't have the headache of the bags ripping open on you, you can usually fit more in the reusable ones, and so you have fewer bags to carry in to the house, and some stores even give you credit for using your own bags when shopping.

Anyway, enough with the PSA. Let's get to why you're here: to see how my writing has been coming along.


I hit that dreaded wall. A full week and not a new word on paper. Not to say I had all Zero Days. I've done a lot of work this week, just none in advancing that doomed script.

Mostly, I've been trying to figure out my original rewrite of Wolverine. Since so much of the next portion of the comic deals with the creation of the orphanage and the arcade - both still need actual names, by the way - I really need to figure out at the very least the NAMES of my versions of Shadowcat and Wolverine.

I mentioned last post that Shadowcat doesn't have a new codename yet, but her first name is now Margaret. I still need to come up with a new last name and decide if she's still Jewish. The religious/ethnicity factor isn't all that important right now, though. I just know she has to be Caucasian still - as is Neo Gambit - in order for Chayse to remain as such. Although... changing her ethnicity slightly and giving Chayse more tan/olive complexion wouldn't be so bad...

As for Wolverine? Well, over the last week I decided to change the famous Canadian mutant in to one of the minorities I wish to bring in to the comic; to introduce diversity. Keep in mind, most of the people who play(ed) X-Future are White, and so it's only natural that most of us envisioned a White character. While I'm stubborn when it comes to changing the ethnicity of the original characters I'm transferring over, I figured I could add in the diversity though the Marvel characters since I have to completely rewrite them anyway.

At first I landed upon an African American Wolverine for a little bit. However, one of the characters - Roscoe - is... well... it's a bit complicated. See, Roscoe's mom Psylocke was born a Caucasian Brit, but at some point in time her body became manipulated/replaced with the Asian body most people think of when picturing her. So, technically Roscoe is part Black and part Asian?

Point is, we already have one Black character. Although, I'm not sure if we're keeping Roscoe. I'm sort of merging him with Liam in the rewrite since the two were BFFs in the game, and Roscoe's player was rarely on; meaning he didn't have much character growth. So, when I create the Roscoe/Liam Mash-up, do I make him White British - Liam - or do I make him Black/Asian British - Roscoe?

Either way, there is a more prominent character - Lucas Kinney - who is also half-Black. He's definitely a character being used in the comics, and he's almost definitely being altered so he's fully African-American.

Sure, I could make Wolverine Black as well. Why should I restrict this race to just one or two characters when there are going to be about a dozen White characters? Wolverine also takes on Lucas as a ward; very Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Perhaps having both characters be of African decent will help them bond and seem more like a family. At the same time, it seems too easy. "Of course the Black man has a heart of stone except for when he sees a Black kid..."

The more I thought of Wolverine, the more I pictured my remake of him as Latino. That way his love for Lucas goes beyond sharing a race. It also adds more diversity. Plus, now that Amara is Native Hawaiian instead of Brazilian, I lost some of that Latin culture; although, technically Brazilians descended from Portugal, and so I don't know if they count in the "Hispanic" culture...

Whatever, it doesn't mean I won't be adding more Blacks in to the comics at some point as I rework everyone. I'm just saying that as of right now Wolverine's character rewrite feels more Latino. I'm still deciding on the origins though. Not many American works of fiction tend to focus on Central or South America when writing Hispanic characters, so there's that. However, I feel like it might be because most Latin immigrants are from Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Mexico - and then from Spain itself. So those are the top four contenders, especially with President Obama starting to negotiate an end to the Cuba Embargo. Which means the near-future setting of the comic might be in a world where Cubans have just as pseudo-easy a flow to and fro as Puerto Ricans or Mexicans.

Honestly, I think I'm leaning on Cuban the most, but the true origins of Wolverine's heritage is of little consequence as of right now. I have time to figure it out.

What I'm really struggling on is his new name. I had a handful that I liked - as I mentioned last post when I first brought up the idea of a Latino Wolverine - and I added in some more that I found off of Spanish and Mexican "Top Ten Names" lists. My current list for Wolverine is 14 names long! My top 5 picks?
  • Rafael
  • Raul
  • Diego
  • Mateo
  • Javier
No clue on a last name. I'm going to have to randomly generate last names or something. I know I should put in as much effort as I do with the first names because last names hold power and meaning as well, but for me - especially since the first names and codenames will be used 90% of the time - last names are sort of inconsequential.

Not to say I won't double check the last names that are randomized to see if I like them enough to keep.

Gambit, Pyro, and Xavier are the next ones I need to figure out new names for...

Characters aren't the only things I need to name, though. As I mentioned, I still need to figure out a name for the orphanage Margaret opens up and the arcade Neo Wolverine builds. Out of the two, I feel like the orphanage should have "Sanctuary" somewhere in the name, but I can't get it quite right.

Of course, there's my street-gang-turned-terrorists version of The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that I need a name for. As well as my Purifiers-equivalent group of Anti-Mutant terrorists. But there's someone in between these two extreme terrorist groups, and to be frank, the Brotherhood only switched from gang to terrorists in order to hunt down the Purifiers. This third main faction I need to name is the equivalent to the Mutant Response Division. They are a special police/military force in charge of mutants; controlling them, protecting normal humans from them, and protecting mutants from both other mutants and human hate crimes alike.

Granted, the MRD were ACTUALLY formed as a legal way to exterminate mutants under the guise of protecting the rest of the world populous. This is where I'm going with my organization, but with a bit more of a Secret Federal Agency flair. On the surface, this group is in charge of corralling Glitches in to ghettos under the facade of protecting both the Glitches and humans easier. Now, before I continue, I feel I should clarify. These ghettos aren't EXACTLY like the ones we picture today. They're more like the ones formed at the turn of the 20th century when immigrants were grouped together based on perceived ethnicity. Places like Little Italy, Little China, Little Hong Kong, Little... Anything, really... they're all ethnic ghettos built up in to cultural mini-cities within major urban areas. This is closer to what the Glitches are forced in to; not terrible slums - although they were originally those bad living conditions - but they are restricting and overcrowded. Plus, Glitches don't have the right to live wherever they want like normal humans can.

Anyway, back to my version of the MRD. See, by keeping Glitches in ghettos they can keep humans out of that area in order to prevent hate crimes, and they can keep better watch of the Glitches to make sure they aren't terrorizing normal humans with their powers. This creates a public mask of a specialized law enforcement agency in charge of keeping peace and protecting the whole population against the hateful strain between normal humans and Glitches. In truth, there are probably only bottom-rung members who actually believe they are peacekeepers.

Sort of like beat cops in a corrupted precinct, these poor schmucks don't realize that the true task of this organization is to clean the streets of abandoned Glitches - ones no one will notice missing - in order to experiment on them. Well, to be fair, if they can get away with it, the organization will kidnap any Glitch in order to experiment on/exterminate them. They just focus on the homeless under the sadly true assumption that no one will pay any mind to them disappearing.

Lucas was one of these unfortunate victims - but he was later saved by Wolverine, who may or may not have gone through the same trials; I'm not sure yet. Part of me does want him to have been experimented on as a driving force for him wanting to shut down the secret facility Lucas was being held in. At the same time, though, the actual Marvel Wolverine is renowned for being violently experimented on before finally having his skeleton fused with the fictitious metal alloy adamantium. I feel like perhaps I should purposely AVOID experimentation on my version specifically for that reason. Maybe Wolverine just wanted other Glitches to be safe, and that's enough motivation. Maybe he was mistreated by authority due to being a Glitch, and that's his driving force. Maybe he was in an internment camp similar to the ones the Japanese-Americans were forced in to during WWII. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.

But back to the organization. When it comes to the name of it I wanted to try to stick with the cyberpunk feel and have it sort of tech-related, at least the acronym. But what government agency would really play in to that? For instance, while mutants are Glitches, those trying to isolate and eliminate glitches could be called "Programmers" or "Anti-Virus" or something stupid like that. Now, I could see people possibly nicknaming the group those things - like how police are "Copper" or "Pig" or "Popo" - but what self-respecting agency would purposely name themselves that?

The way I'm trying to come up with the name of the agency is sort of three-fold. First, I went through a bunch of acronymed agency names that Marvel came up with: SHIELD, ARMOR, HAMMER, SWORD, MRD, O*N*E, etc. I really take in the way these organization names are formed. Then I came up with a list of key words that I think of when picturing the organization, or at least how they present themselves to the public. Here's my list so far:
  • Glitch(es)
  • Apprehension
  • Monitor(ing)
  • Patrol
  • Squad
  • Division
  • Agency
  • Preemptive
  • Protect(ion)
  • Peacekeeper/Peacekeeping
The last part is the hardest; I go through the list and piece some words together to make a cohesive name that also has a decent acronym. Part of me thinks that the above list is a good start for the last phase of this naming thing, but another part feels I'm missing some major word or words that will really make or break the agency name. Especially because the list of names I came up with so far is pathetic:
  • Preemptive Apprehension of Glitches (PAG)
  • Glitch Apprehension Patrol (GAP)
  • Glitch Apprehension Division (GAD)
  • Glitch Patrol Squad/Glitch Protection Squad (GPS)
    • I actually like this one a little bit because of the GPS acronym. It's semi-techie, plus the organization is trying to locate Glitches, so the acronym sort of works. I can even joke with it a little by having the officers' street names - like Popo or Pig - be GPS brands: Navigon, Garmin, Magellan, TomTom, etc.
I just need to think of a better "S" than squad, I think... Either that, or start branching out to more than 3-word names.

Anyway, this past Sunday poor Phfylburt had the above Wall O' Text sent to him for some feedback. The guy is still wading through everything to try to figure out what advice he can send back. Maybe I should send the guy a fruit basket or something to thank him for all the countless hours he spends trying to sort out MY stories while he's also trying to figure out his own.

In the meantime, I think I'm just going to jump ahead a few pages and get back to some action. Maybe working with Chayse, Devon, Willow, and Lia again will spark something with the world build. At the very least it will add a few pages to the script.

I've also gone back recently and slowly started rereading what I've edited so far in Please, Let Me Explain. It's a good thing, too, because I'm still finding things that I missed originally: typos, poorly worded sentences, unneeded adverbs, etc. I know I wanted to post a new chapter every month, and I'll now be two behind, but at least it gives Ronoxym a bit more time to get back to the story. The guy has gone radio silent the past few months. I've seen neither hide nor hair of the guy since his wedding; not in real life or online. I've seen his wife Cyhyr both IRL and online, though, so....

Eh, doesn't really matter. I have my own things to sort through still. Plus, I have another chapter's worth of the story to still edit. I trust he'll get back to the story... EVENTUALLY.


Well, I don't really have the time to go back and rewrite the end of this post, so I'll just sort of do a P.S. down here.

Coincidentally, right after I finished writing this post and scheduled it for the noon publication I received 2 IMs. One from Phfyl getting back to me about my Wall O' Text. We narrowed down the Wolverine name possibilities, and decided he'd be half Latino and half African. That way there's SOME ethnic connection between him and Lucas. Mainly because Phfyl doesn't think the Lucas he created would follow discipline well from Wolverine unless they had SOME connection. In X-Future that connection was that Lucas' mom was cloned from Wolverine, making the Canadian a sort of uncle/grandfather figure. I think Phfyl also nailed the name of the police force organization. I'm gonna play around with the name for a little to make sure I really do love it as much as I think I do. I'll officially announce it next week if all goes to plan.

So, thanks, Phfyl for yet again helping me out of a jam!

The real big shocker was the 2nd IM: Ronoxym!

Yeah, just out of the blue. He's been writing lately - a show pilot, no less! Happy Script Frenzy! - and that made him think of me. D'aw. So he just wanted to say hey and prove he was still alive. It's been great catching up with him - and Cyhyr, who popped in briefly too.

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