Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Did A Lot Of Thinking; That Counts, Right?

To start, sorry about the late post update. I got caught up on editing and lost track of time. I mean, on the plus side, it means that I have more for you fine folks to read. On the downside, aside from a late blog post, I'm still just editing stuff I wrote back in like March and April. I'll get to that though.

Let's start on that high note: two new stories for you to read. First up is that Lia story I was having issues with last week. Ended up being delayed for no reason. A whole week later and I still don't have the names figured out and updated, so aside from some minor sentence structure editing, this is exactly the same as it was last week. Whoops. Hubby and I are trying to brainstorm, though, and I did spend all week TRYING to come up with new names for everyone. So there's that. Don't know if it counts if I didn't succeed though. Either way, here's Lia's story. First thing starring her that I've written in about a year. Geez. Poor thing.

"Weirdo Among Misfits"
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Next story probably isn't too much of a surprise coming off the heels of a Lia story: a Willow and Devon story. I mean, I was in an X-Future mood the day before, it just seems natural that it would continue into the next practice. Especially with the prompt: "Write about a sideways glance."

"Mutual Teasing"
On DeviantArt           On FictionPress           On FanFiction too!

I was nervous about that second story. In the past I've been a bit off when writing friends' original characters. And odd thing to admit when I'm a fanfiction writer, but I'd always be close yet still not quite right. I sent Ronoxym "Mutual Teasing" this morning to quickly read over, and I'm so excited by his response.

Ronoxym: "That was actually beautiful. It's nice to just look at the two of them and think about what might have been."

He went on to let me know that Devon was in-character. So... Yay! I win!

Now, if I could just win again by actually having something NEW written, not just polished before being upload to a few websites.

Anyway, as I mentioned, ironically after stating that I was going to take a mini-vacay from writing, I spent a great deal of last Tuesday trying to figure out the new names for everyone. I then realized that I never really rewrote Jamie Madrox to his Glitches version Cody. I put in a great deal of time trying to figure out how his powers worked, but nothing really on Cody himself. Even then, I didn't really solidify what I wanted to do with his powers. The simple way of explaining is that he can use fresh drops of his own blood to create temporary clones of himself. However, there has been a sort of head-canon about Lia that I wanted to bring to Glitches, and I don't know if Cody's way of duplicating himself would lead to that.

See, when I created Lia and luck of the dice decided that she was going to have the same exact powers as her mother, but none of her father's, I then unintentionally designed Lia so she looks like the spitting image of her mother. It happens. Some kids just pick up a lot of their looks from one parent, and barely any distinguishable traits from the other. However, the more I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed. Jamie's mutation is the ability to duplicate himself. That's in his DNA. DNA he was now sharing with his daughter. The way that happens is that his DNA is mixed with Amara's. So.... why not having Lia accidentally be a clone of her mother? Birthed naturally? Jamie's DNA mixes with Amara and, instead of duplicating himself, Jamie's mutation actually duplicates Amara. Jamie's body doesn't recognize it as a duplicate since Lia has Amara's DNA, not Jamie's so he doesn't re-absorb her like his other dupes. Amara's body doesn't have the mutation that would have her re-absorb her duplicate. Er go, no one realizes the natural cloning.

I personally think it's a neat bit of trivia, however, if Cody's powers requires him to use blood to duplicate, can it still work? Could his mutation still mix with Keahi's DNA upon conception of Lia? Could maybe that mutation use Keahi's blood via the umbilical cord/placenta to accidentally turn her freshly fertilized egg into a naturally growing clone?

Fun thought exercise, but it brings me back to the same issue: I'm too focused on Cody's powers and not enough on his actual character. I also still need to figure out Neo-Mystique for Devon's mother. She most likely won't come up until much, much, MUCH later in the series, but basic information about her might pop up in the meantime.

So, that's what I've been doing this week. No writing, but a lot of thought exercises to try to figure out and lock down the last of the Marvel-property rewrites into originals. While I'm at it, I realized that a lot of Lucas Kinney that made him who he is consists of elements I'm not bringing over to "Glitches": a naturally conceived/born child of a clone, time travel, knowing how he's going to die thanks to the time travel, his toughening as a youth plus his establishing the institute as his home thanks to multiple organizations wanting to capture and experiment on him, and the fact that he's pseudo-related to Wolverine as the man's artificial grandson. I tried to fix some of it by having my version of Wolverine rescuing Lucas from government-sanctioned experimentation, and then being a surrogate father. Still, there was just too much characterization I couldn't bring over. So, I might do with Lucas Kinney what I did with Marvel's intellectual property: use it as a base as I create my own version. 

As much as it pains me to do so, because the catalyst for wanting to write "Glitches" in the first place was to revive him, but I might have to do the same with Phfylburt's other character Lincoln as well. Part of his confusion and feeling lost is because he was part mutant, part Inhuman, and part fairy. He didn't know what race he was because he was a mix of non-human races raised by humans. On top of that, he had a disembodied voice constantly with him that only he could hear, and yet the voice was adamant that it wasn't a split personality or Lincoln's imagination. Darwin was positive that he had a separate soul and was somehow locked within Lincoln's body, even if neither of them knew how or when that happened.

Lincoln is just such a beautiful character with such depth and complexity. It's no wonder I mourned for so long after Phfyl killed him off. I can only hope for readers to be as connected to my stories. Even so, things like mythical creatures being real and a race of half-human/half-alien hybrids is getting too close to the Marvel realm again for my comfort. "Glitches" is going to be INSPIRED by Marvel's X-Men, not a complete rip-off of it. So, how do I tweak Lincoln to ignore the Inhuman and fairy sides of him? How do I explain his confusion when he discovered that his powers and mutation wasn't simply because he was Inhuman, it was because he's also part mutant and part fairy? How do I explain his irregular upbringing due to his father being the mute leader of the Inhumans; a man forced to have multiple wives so that each of the different subraces of Inhumans felt properly represented within the royal family?

Even if I could figure any of that stuff out, I haven't spoken to Phfyl in over a year after he slipped off the grid. I wouldn't feel right unless I went over the changes to Lincoln with him. As it is, redesigning Lincoln - but keeping his wings, his anxiety, and Darwin - still feels a bit too close to comfort for me. I know that if one of my friends took Willow, Lia, Trish, Jolene, or Amara, tweaked them so they were slightly different than they are now, but kept them mostly whole, I'd feel weird if I didn't OK it. There's a reason why authors tend to hate the movie/TV show adaptations of their characters unless the author had a hand in the change. These are our babies. If you change one thing about them, it's no longer them.

This is why I'm so nervous about keeping people in-character. If I even had one glance, one gesture, one bit of dialogue, even one word wrong and out-of-character then it shakes the foundation of the character for the creator.

I have time to figure out the Lincoln situation though, so I have some more brain exercises to do. Perhaps when I'm closer to being ready to roll Neo-Lincoln out I'll get back in touch with Phfyl.

OK. Enough X-Future/Glitches stuff. You pretty much have the idea of what I was doing this week in regards to that. However, since I really DIDN'T do any writing this week, I decided to use my break to finish my reading.

I didn't manage to complete "The Dark Prophecy" by Rick Riordan before the end of May, but I did complete it on Sunday, so I guess that's something. Only three days late. I also started up my June book already. It can either bump "Ready. Set. Novel!" off the "Red on the Cover" category, or it can fulfill the "Takes place in the UK" category. But first, let's check out my challenge thus far:
Challenge by Reading Books Like a Boss
OK, so, real quick before talking about my latest book read, a reflection on "The Dark Prophecy." All-in-all, I am enjoying the book series, but it's closer to "The Kane Chronicles" than Riordan's other works in regard to over-all enjoyment.

He did so well with the Percy Jackson series, and Heroes of Olympus. He's doing amazing with the Magnus Chase series. I don't know why he seemed off his game with the Kane Chronicles or Trials of Apollo. I think it's kind of the same issue though.

In The Kane Chronicles, you have Sadie and Carter Kane. They are practically polar opposites of each other despite being siblings. Sadie is arrogant, but has some redeeming qualities. However her magical prowess makes her seem a bit overpowered despite Riordan's attempt to explain the restrictions Sadie has on her magical reserves. Then there's Carter who can have random bursts of power but mostly tries to use his brain to strategize ways to conquer their problem. While I liked Carter more than Sadie, and they are both fully developed characters, for me, Carter seemed a bit underwhelming. I mean, these two didn't really leave much of an impact on me. I had to look up their names to make sure I remembered them correctly. When I put the book down, I could go days without going back to the story, and when I did I'd have to start the reading session by re-reading the last page or so of the previous chapter to remind myself where I stopped. I could barely put down any of the other book series Riordan wrote....

Then there's the Trials of Apollo. Apollo basically is Sadie's arrogance in Carter's lackluster build. Apollo was transformed into a hero, so he can't really do much of anything unless he has random blasts of godly power, so he mostly whines about how things were when he was still a god, pine over his multitude of lost loves, and strategize to try to find a non-combative way to solve problems. Then there's Apollo's companion and human master during his trials to regain his godhood: Meg. Meg is Carter's soft-spoken, near-forgetability wrapped in Sadie's near deus ex machina power set. Somehow these characters are likable, but I'm not passionate about them like I am with all of Riordan's other characters.

Heck, half the time I like Magnus Chase's sword Jack more than Apollo and Meg. This breed of hero just doesn't work for me, but that's not to say they aren't lovable to others. Like I said, they are well-rounded, and Apollo is redeeming his arrogant ways as he quickly realizes how hard it is to be a human, let alone a demigod.

Still, I liked the Egyptian gods Anubis, Bast, and Bes far more than I like Sadie and Carter. I liked the Karpoi Peaches more than Apollo and Peaches' owner Meg. I couldn't really see much difference between Josephine and Emmie in "The Dark Prophecy," and had to frequently go back and re-read to figure out who said what and who was where, because the women blended together for me.

The biggest disappointment for me? Leo. He was totally my boy in the Heroes of Olympus, and even after my week of feeling gross ended I still felt like Leo wasn't "himself" anymore. It was like someone was ghostwriting Leo for Riordan, and didn't quite hit the mark. As I mentioned above, the slightest change to a character can completely change the character, which is why I'm so nervous about Lincoln.

I don't want to discourage anyone, though. Like I said, some characters speak to me because of my own personality and upbringing, and others just don't click. It's the same to other readers as well. I might find Meg lackluster, while you might find her the most beautifully written character with a quiet strength holding her up against an emotional trauma that would normally crumble other 12yr olds. On the flipside, you might find Jack the sword from the Magnus Chase series an unnecessary and annoying plot device.

Now, as for my new book for June, well? I'm not sure about it yet. The dust jacket makes the story sound promising, which is why I picked it up in the first place, but then I started reading it.....

"Half Bad" by Sally Green is the first of a trilogy; very first novel that Green ever wrote. You can read the jacket copy on the linked site, but the overview of even that is that Nathan is a witch trying to find his father, but his father is dangerous and Nathan is caged and watched. Like I said, the concept seems so cool.

Still not sure about the actual writing of it though. Each chapter is short. Super short. Like a scene. The very first chapter barely fills a page, the second is only three paragraphs. The thing that threw me off the most though was that the entire book is in second person. An odd choice that brought Green lots of praise for her skilled use of it.

It's too odd for me, though. It's weird, having everything make ME the main character - the point of the "you" pronoun in second-person - is actually disconnecting me from the book. I'm not Nathan. It's hard for me to suspend disbelief far enough to get past the fact that I'm not Nathan. However, if the book was in first person or even third, my extreme empathy would let me connect with Nathan so much easier.

I'm an odd duck.

Four chapters in, sixteen pages, nearly done with the first part out of a six-part novel, and Nathan's hand was nearly burned off by acid. You'd think that would be enough of a hook. Yet, I'm like "alright, well, let's see this through...." I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm hoping I can get over the weird narrative POV, because the story, if it were in a more traditional 1st or 3rd person, would have gripped me hard by now.

OK, well, it's now WELL past when I would normally post my blog update, so I should probably start prepping for writing group now. Save something to say for next week.

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