Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Summer Writing Challenge Week 5 - Shadowcat

This wasn't a very productive week for me.

I knew it was going to be crazy since my birthday was this week, and my mom and sister would be up to visit. So I purposely saved the easiest character conversion for this hectic week. Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde was all but done already through my previous months of brainstorming. I knew what she looks like. I knew what her powers were going to be. Thanks to her tie-ins with the characters Ryder and Dom, I already knew a great deal of her backstory as well. I literally needed to only figure out 4 things: a new name, her life leading up to college, what type of company was she working at when Ryder crashed the office Christmas party, and what catalyst made her start up an orphanage in Upstate New York. Then just type it up on Sunday. Simple. I pondered the catalyst thing over the week. In regards to her backstory, with so much already figured out I knew I just needed to figure out one piece and the rest of the backstory would fall into place. If I knew her youth I could figure out what major she went for which would lead me to the business she was working at. If I knew the business, I could deduce the major and then events in her youth that would point her down that path. If I knew the major, I could figure out why she chose it and what business she'd work for. Simple!

Well, I wasn't taking into consideration that my sister-in-law was going to give birth to my nephew this past week. I also vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to organize my apartment so there was space for my mom and sister's queen-sized air mattress to fit....

Most importantly, I was thrown off by the need to help a grieving friend. Sadly, one of my friends had to deal with her sister committing suicide. Considering all the focus on suicide prevention nearly a year ago after Robin Williams died, I figured I should honor my friends' sister by reprinting part of my post from last August.
Excerpt from Mind's Going Already
I am sorry that I do not know of any numbers outside of the United States,
but please PLEASE look for help if you or someone you know needs it.
I understand that if you are suffering from Depression that you must feel so terribly alone. Please know you are not. I am sure that there are people in your life who wish to help you, but most probably just don't know how, or they don't have the resources to. You may feel that no one loves or cares for you. Please know that this is also not true. I may not even know you, but know that I care and have concerns for you. I want you to feel and get better.

If a stranger can feel that passion for you, I'm sure you can find others. So please, PLEASE, I am begging you to look and reach out for help if you need it. You don't need to suffer alone. It may take a while to find the right grip out of the crushing darkness, but it can be found. Please, do not give up. Go to as many people as you can/need to. Call the above lifeline.

It is a tragedy when the only relief people can find is to end their lives. So even if you do not have Depression, or know someone who does, please help those strangers who do have it. Spread the word of where they can find help so the information can make its way to the people who need it. Advocate for companies, governments, and society as a whole to treat mental health as seriously as physical health. Plead for research to continue to find a way to treat and cure these painful struggles people have to deal with every day.

My father died of cancer, and so I am grateful for all the research and media attention cancer has received, but we need to think of those with mental health issues as well: Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Bi-Polar, OCD, Schizophrenia, the list goes on. Most people have to fight against these illnesses a lot longer than those with physical health issues. Most people also have to do so while struggling silently and unknown to the world around them.

Help these people find solace. Help these people find peace. Help these people find hope. Help these people find cures or alternate ways to use their different mind to live a full life.
So, my brain was fried and I didn't even THINK about this writing challenge until 10pm Sunday. Even so, that was more-or-less when I started working on Ryder the first week, Dom the next week, and Iggy the week after that. However, I just couldn't do the normal brainstorming with Hubby again; just like the previous week with Keahi. We were just too burnt out with everything.

Trying on my own, the farthest I got is that her new name is Emily. I've also come up with the idea that she inherited the acreage of land that she put the orphanage on, that way I don't have to try to figure out where she got the money from. I'm not 100% convinced I like this idea, though, since Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters - what the orphanage is based off of - was set up on Xavier's family estate that had been passed down for generations. So, do I want the orphanage to be inherited land as well?

The only other part of Emily that I was able to "figure out" is maybe where she worked when she met Ryder. I keep picturing a law office for the Christmas party, so maybe she was a paralegal? Maybe that's why she and Dom's sister - who went for pre-law - were paired up as roommates? It wasn't because they were Glitches, but because they were both pre-law students? It would make sense that Emily would want to legally "fight the system" to get equal rights for Glitches, but why would she no longer work in a law firm then? Why run an orphanage if you could do just as much - if not more help - as a lawyer?

My one friend is part of a temp program at a college; she works for a department for a few weeks to help them catch up with work or cover vacation/medical leave/maternal leave/etc, and then gets transferred to a different department, so on and so forth. Maybe that's what Emily did? So that caring for kids and/or starting a school isn't so far-fetched? But why would a con-artist crash a school faculty Christmas party? I mean, for the most part, teachers are only paid well if they have their doctorate and are professors for an Ivy League school....

Anyway, here it is, three days later, and I'm literally writing the bio as I go...
New Name: Emily
Basic Info: 40yrs old, 5' 6", 132lbs, Brunette hair, and Magenta eyes

Norm-Beast Evoker Hybrid; Sub-category: Energy Charmer
Emily's Beast quality is her magenta eyes. The eye color is actually connected to her Evoker ability, and so whenever she transfers energy between kinetic and potential, that object glows the same magenta as her eyes. The same goes for Chayse, except with neon lime green. Another connection between the Evoker and Norm-Beast mutations is that when using her power the magenta from the irises of her eyes "bleeds out" to fill her whole eye; making it look like a pupil-less solid magenta orb is in her eye sockets. Again, same for Chayse, but with the green.
Emily's Evoker ability focuses on energy; namely the ability to manipulate the kinetic energy in the atoms around her. Unlike just about all other Evoker types, since energy cannot be created or destroyed, there is no such tier as "Summoner." Since Emily cannot transform herself into energy, she is a Charmer.
Emily's ability allows her to shift an object between kinetic and potential energy. She can add to the kinetic energy that something already has, allowing it to move faster or have more force on impact. She can also cause an object to power with kinetic energy; waiting to be released. This causes the object to explode. The intensity of the explosion is based on how much energy she builds in it. She can also allot herself time to escape the blast because she can add energy "remotely." As long as the object is within 50ft of her and she has a clear line-of-sight, she can focus on the object to add kinetic energy.
Same goes for potential energy. She can diminish the impact of an object, or cause it to stop completely by converting the kinetic energy back into potential as long as it is within 50ft and in a clear line of sight. This isn't instantaneous, and if an object is physically incapable of stopping - such as rolling down a hill - she can only slow it; not stop it.
Her powers are stronger the closer the object is, and so she usually focuses on things she can touch. She also focuses on using her powers defensively; so usually kinetic to potential energy instead of the other way around.
While she is not a Mind-hybrid at all, her powers have a side-effect that gives her a strong resistance to Mind Glitches. The constant change between kinetic and potential energy around her causes a sort of "static" that messes with the mental waves Mind Glitches use to manipulate their victims. This is why Ryder's Silver Tongue didn't work on her like it did all the other women he easily seduced. This is just a resistance and not an immunity. A strong enough Mind Glitch can navigate the "static" to still affect her. She can also concentrate on keeping the energy around her at it's natural state; removing the "Static" completely. Helpful for when she actively wishes for telepaths to reach her mind for whatever reason.

Physical Appearance: Emily has a very basic, blend-into-the-background, "Mom" look. She's simple and low-maintenance.
She's tone, but fairly slender with minimal curves, similar to that of a runner. Her Welsh heritage makes her fairly pale with a few freckles scattered down her arms and a little on her upper chest. Ryder loves teasing her "addiction" to sunscreen.
She keeps her medium-length brown hair in classic, professional cuts so she can dress up when the need arises. However, she typically has it thrown back in a ponytail or hair clip so it's out of her way while doing housework and/or handling the children. She also wears minimal make-up. Typically just a little mascara, maybe a quick application of eyeshadow, and tinted lip gloss.
When she dresses casual - lounging at home, housework, yard work, playing in the yard with the children, exercising, etc - she lives in deep blue jeans and a loose-fitted tanktop or sweatshirt. When she's professional - at work prior to starting the orphanage, having business talks about Glitch equality, teaching classes at the orphanage, running the location as a headmistress, etc - she's almost always in knee-length skirts, fashionable blouse, blazer, and heals. There is a distinct change in her attitude depending on the clothes she's wearing. When she's casual, she's playful and laid back. When she's professional she is serious and strict.
While she always has a Classic Black professional outfit - and "date clothes" - Emily's wardrobe has no real color scheme to it. She's too pale for orange or yellow clothes, but the rest of the rainbow is in her wardrobe, and typically in vibrant shades that match the intensity of her eyes. Speaking of which, when walking around in public she tries to wear sunglasses to hide her eye color whenever she wants to avoid being caught as a Glitch.
Unfortunately, it was hard for me to find pictures of non-celebrity brunettes online. I got frustrated and gave up. So the only reference picture I have is of her magenta eyes:
Where Chayse gets his unnatural eye color from.
However, Chayse's eyes are a neon-lime green.

Personality: She's very maternal; obviously, she started and runs an orphanage/school. She does her best to make sure everyone starts on equal footing. She is a firm believer of Neo-Xavier's teachings about Glitch/Norms co-existence. However, unlike Dom's interpretation, Emily feels that Neo-Xavier calls for peaceful negotiations that focus more on demonstrating that "not all Glitches are bad." She teaches the Glitches in her care to be patient and to use their powers to protect Norms. They can't defend themselves, and it will show them that Glitches are a great ally in Humanity.
She has two distinct sides to her, as briefly discussed above. She is usually a very playful person. Very loving and nurturing. She has a little bit of a wild side herself, and - as long as the mischief isn't illegal - she doesn't mind turning her head to some pranks on occasion; knowing it's all in good fun. She has a soft spot for the unwanted Glitch teenagers. Partially because Chayse is the same age and she couldn't bare to think of him in the same situation, but mostly because she knows how confusing it is to be a teenager; let alone one trying to figure out powers and how to survive alone.
The other side of her is what makes her a great headmistress. She's tough, strict, and serious when the need calls for it. She can put her foot down and people will listen. It doesn't hurt that she can make things blow up to grab peoples' attention. She keeps a firm enough hand on the Glitches in her care to keep them well-grounded and give them a structured, secure home. She also uses this Shark attitude to fight for all Glitch rights. It was this stern and stubborn attitude that keeps Dom at bay.
She is far from naive, and so she can easily keep Ryder in his place as well. He can't pull the wool over her eyes, and he enjoys that. It's hard for anyone to really get away with anything around her, unless she allows it.

General History:I don't have a specific California town or city picked out quite yet for Emily's hometown. I'm thinking maybe San Francisco, but a LOT of major X-Men plots center around San-Fran and/or Alcatraz island. So I might want to avoid it. There are other places to live in California besides San Francisco, Burbank, or Los Angeles. Either way, she's from California. I kind of see her as being from around the Pacific Mountain Range.
I'm still not sure about her youth, but I see a fairly simple one. California tends to be more accepting of controversial things such as interracial relationships mid-1900s, homosexuals in the 90s and early 2000s, and so fast-forwarding to the mid-2000s and I can see California being more accepting of Glitches. Perhaps that's another reason why Emily started up an orphanage on the East Coast, there would be more orphans there? Then again, the South tends to be the most conservative and unaccepting, so THAT should be where most of the orphans would be... Shoot, I need to figure this out more....
Even though I'm apparently establishing that California is more accepting of Glitches - which would logically mean at least some California colleges would allow Glitch students - Emily decided to fly across the country in order to go to school at NYU. She met Dom's sister Cecilia when they were matched up as roommates. The two quickly became best friends. It wasn't financially sound for Emily to go all the way back home in California for short school breaks, and so she spent them with Cecilia and Dom. The Glitch Slum they were forced to live in was a bit of a shock to her system; having lived in a normal suburbia grown up. While she loved how close-knit the neighborhood was, she hated that anyone had to live in such a dangerous, overpopulated, and rundown environment. She became determined to build enough acceptance in the world that slums like that one were at least well-maintained if not completely closed down; allowing Glitches to live wherever they wished.
While home in California, she was informed that Cecilia had gone missing, and was then found dead at a government lab. This broke Dom. His life driving force was to expose the government and take them down so labs like that didn't exist anymore. It was all that Emily could do to keep him from going on a rampage. She also had a hard time convincing him to let her to go home to California on longer school breaks. He became almost obsessively protective of her. He couldn't protect his sister, but he WAS going to protect Emily.
Since he was protectively hovering anyway, Emily convinced Dom to study with her so he could get himself to a better place than where he was with the gang. She also convinced him that he would be a better role model for the two Glitches he saved from the lab if Dom had some education. In doing so, Emily unintentionally created the rift between her and Dom. When she was studying the teachings of Neo-Xavier, her views on his writing drastically differed from Dom's, who saw it more as a call for violence so Glitches can forcefully take their place alongside Humanity.
While still loving each other like siblings, the connection between them wasn't as close. Emily moved back to California after graduating, and only kept occasional contact with Dom and his wards over the years. The one she kept closest contact with was Geoffrey, who didn't interact with people all that much, but took a strong liking to her "mothering" of him.
About a year after graduating from college, Ryder crashed an office Christmas party she was at. He tried using his Silver Tongue powers to seduce her; like many women before. She turned him down, and he started his legitimate courtship of her. They officially started dating a year later, and they married when she was 24.
Chayse ended up being their "Honeymoon Gift". Shortly after giving birth to him, Emily inherited multiple acres of land in Upstate New York. Keeping in contact with Geoff reminded Emily of the slums Dom and Cecilia grew up in; the slums Geoff and Lucas were growing up in. Then she realized that those slums were actually one of the best and most stable places for Glitches to be in that area. She then thought about Chayse ever being in that situation. She convinced Ryder to move to the estate in New York and establish an orphanage. That way those orphaned Glitches had a stable and safe environment. A place where they won't feel forgotten, and a place where they don't have to fear being abducted by the GPS.
She named it after Cecilia to honor her friend, and to always remind herself why she started the orphanage in the first place: so no one else ended up with the same fate as she did.
Obviously, especially with it named after his sister, Dom wanted to be a part of the orphanage, but their differing interpretations of how Glitches should get to equality was still too drastic. Dom wanted to teach the kids how to defend themselves against Glitch haters, and how to prove their worth via force. Emily was too afraid that doing so would confirm in the minds of Norms that Glitches are dangerous and need to be exterminated. Either that, or that the government would see the orphanage as a terrorist cell and attack it. She refused to work with him. Still, his heart was in the right place - wanting to protect the kids - and so he set up an arcade nearby so he can keep an eye on everyone.
Shortly after establishing the orphanage Emily expanded to include a school as well. This way her kids could also feel safe while learning both typical education, and how to handle their powers. Within the next five years word got out that there was a safe location for Glitch teens. The orphanage slowly became part boarding-school as well since it was currently the only place where there were people who knew how to train Glitches as they discovered how to control their powers.
The amount of children housed in the orphanage became so many that Emily and Ryder had to start hiring other adult Glitches to help run the facility.
So, still some holes, but the main parts that I figured out a month or so ago is there.

Now to work on my last character redo for the writing challenge.

Originally, this was going to be the week that I finally come up with my rework of Charles Xavier. However, it occurred to me about a week or two ago that I don't really need to know much about Xavier. I need to rename him still, but he makes little to no appearance in the comic. What is more important is his WORK, which I need to figure out more, but I have time for that. So, instead I'm going to work on another character. One that was about 90% done anyway, which is why I didn't include him originally. My rework of Jamie "Multiple Man" Maddrox.

So, that's my project for this week. I also need to figure out what I'm planning on doing throughout August. See, the mini-challenge for the last week is to explain how to keep up with the momentum of the writing challenge. Coincidentally, I had already set something up with Struggling Writers Society.

Back in November, no one was able to participate in NaNo because the month is typically too hectic with holiday preparations and the end of college semesters around the corner. So, we had a poll asking when our group would prefer to do our own version of NaNo. Not many voted, but the few that did agreed that August was probably the safest bet.

Well, August is creeping up on us, and so I asked if people were ready for our own version of NaNo. I had a resounding "no" as a response. People were still way too busy. Still, I knew that a lot of the members wanted to do something similar to the writing challenges I kept getting from Writers’ Huddle. They needed a push - as did I - to keep writing from constantly being pushed behind "more important things."

So, I decided to do something very similar to what I'm finishing up now. A 4-week instead of 6-week writing challenge, but one that focused on a goal. No matter how big or small. The point is for everyone to set their own writing goal to keep writing in the forefront of their lives for at least a month. Granted, a lot of participants are also keeping "OMG, my life is crazy right now!" in mind and are planning simple goals such as "at least one short story before the end of the month." Still, it's better than letting the ability to write a short story slip by. There's a push for them to focus.

The same push that Ali Luke gave us at the Huddle when asking us what we were going to do with the writing momentum we built up.

Still, I have no clue what I'm doing with it. After Cody's done I have my cast of characters fleshed out. Aside from going back and filling in the holes in their backstories. I could continue to world-build, but really the only thing I have left there too is to come up with the official name for the orphanage, now that I know "Cecilia" is somewhere in it, as well as the name for Dom's arcade and trained squad used to protect the orphanage.

Neither seem like a good "month long goal" option.

I'd like to get Please, Let Me Explain finished, or at least the next chapter to the point where I can publish it. However, I overwhelmed Ronoxym a little bit with all the pages I added to his story. He's slowly chipping away at his edits for it.

Part of me wants to stick with X-Men since I'm in that flow. Maybe finally write the companion stories I was supposed to, such as the fight between Trish and Devon, or Lia's summer with Ripley in NYC, or Chayse and Willow's trip to Japan. I could also attempt to finish off some of the one-shots I was working on and abandoned because I couldn't get them to work: Trish building a Devon fight practice dummy or Ripley arguing with Lia about how she needs to give up on Chayse. I also abandoned my effort to rework the forum itself into straight prose. Mainly because it was so much effort to filter through everything to figure out what happened when. I may continue this project, though.

Then there's the idea of changing gears completely. I hate that I have so many open projects, and I hate abandoning stories that people are reading. When drama exploded in the "Hey, Arnold!" fandom I stepped away and focused on X-Men. With that, I abandoned What Is Truly Meant To Be. I may have to start my month marathoning the few HA season DVDs I didn't lose in my moves, but perhaps I'll pick this up...

I think those are my top two: Go back to the Hey Arnold fanfic, or go back to converting the board into prose... Now to decide on which one....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 Summer Writing Challenge Week 4 - Magma

I have a nephew! My sister-in-law gave birth yesterday of a healthy and LONG baby boy. I can't wait to get a chance to meet him. It will also be fun to celebrate my nephew's birthday a few days before my own.

Speaking of which, my birthday is tomorrow. It's weird to think that I'll be 31. I don't feel old enough to be out of my 20s, and I have been for a year. My life isn't where I was expecting it to be at this point. However, I do feel like - at least in writing - I'm improving. I'm becoming more determined and disciplined while building an original story.

That being said, ironically I wasn't as successful with reworking Magma as I would have liked. While I didn't have Dom's whole background written down by the deadline a few weeks back, I at least had it all figured out in my head. Neo-Amara? It's three days later and I STILL have holes in her backstory.

Granted, it's not really all that crucial since she won't actually be in the comic all that much, but the real reason I even bothered reworking her is because of Lia. The girl always compares herself to her mother, and so I needed Magma reworked as much as possible so I have something for Lia to compare herself to.

I'm also a bit mad because I was actually on a good routine with rebuilding her. I did a little bit each day. I had the name picked out a few weeks ago. Her physical appearance was fairly quick to type up since Lia is practically a carbon copy of her mom. I knew more-or-less what I wanted her personality to be like. The real things I needed to buckle down and focus on were her powers and backstory.

I had the powers pretty set as of Friday, but I just couldn't figure out the backstory over the weekend. Which makes me nervous about my writing ability yet again, since I think the main reason I couldn't figure it out is due to the fact that I barely saw my husband this weekend. He's my main sounding board and at 10pm on a Sunday night we usually chat about the character backstory until I'm confident in what we came up with. The fact that I apparently can't think of much of anything on my own is a bit discouraging.

I'm also a bit wary of the new power set I gave Neo-Amara. The big thing on X-Future is when Hubby rolled to see what powers Lia inherited she JUST got Amara's. Which means her power set is exactly the same as her mother's; one of the many reasons she's constantly measuring herself to her mom. Well, it was hard for me to keep Lia's exact powers for her mom since the description of her powers is literally copied from the Amara "Magma" Aquilla Marvel Wikia page. The only difference is that Lia's lava/fire form has an obsidian skin coating.

I didn't think that just changing her name and making her Hawaiian would be enough of a change. I needed to switch the powers up a bit more.

To try to figure things out, I started up one of the many X-Men/Marvel themed games that we own. The character that I picked has the mutant ability to instantaneously grow obsidian around his fists to add force to his punches. His powers then evolve to be able to do things such as throw obsidian shards, create an obsidian wall to block attackers, and coat himself in obsidian armor.

Naturally, I picked this mutation because of Lia. However, it did help inspire Keahi's power set. I didn't out-right rip off these powers and go "see? Both obsidian! Done!" However, I did focus mostly on the obsidian armor and being able to throw shards.

I thought about Magma's powers at their core. She's a geokinetic. She can manipulate the ground; typically by moving the magma under the Earth's crust. This can create mini-volcanoes and geysers. She can attack with the lava itself in fireball form. Most importantly, shifting the magma that the crust sits on also shifts the ground itself; creating mini earthquakes.

So, I started off looking up another X-Men character that - fittingly, considering what birthed X-Future in the first place - was a main character in X-Men: Evolution. Namely, Avalanche. If I focused on Magma's earthquake ability using magma, then I could also use some of Avalanche's powers as her core set.

Hubby then pitched that I also use some of the powers he created for the X-Future OC Oswald. He started off as a random background character that Hubby made, and then Ronoxym took him over. Like I did with Willow. Anyway, Oswald's powers revolve around basalt rock creation. He can create a war hammer made out of basalt; that forms out of thin air. He can also cover himself in basalt armor. There was my link back to the obsidian character in the video game.

So, Keahi can manipulate the ground, form rock, and coat herself in a stone armor. There's more to it than that; but I'll get to that when I put the bio in below. Point is, it's drastically different than Magma's powers. Also important, it's believable that Lia's powers are an evolved form. Lia also creates a stone armor, but hers is because she BECOMES the stone, not covers herself in it. Lia can create rock like her mother, but that's because she can manifest lava and then cool it in to the stone she desires. She made a statue to a fallen X-Future character that way. Lia can also manipulate the ground like her mother, but this is based on Magma's original power of using the molten rock to shift the Earth's surface. Lia can also create lava-based fire balls - like the original Magma - as an evolved form of her mother creating rock weapons.

Sure, Lia can't really compare herself TOO much to her mother in the same way now. A big part of her dynamic was that she couldn't form lava bridges or shoot fireballs as far or whatever else Amara could do with the same power set and at the same age. So Lia felt inferior since she was perceptionally behind her mother with power development. Still, there's enough there that Lia could do similarly to her mother because Keahi's powers are technically a downgrade of Lia's. So she may focus on that. "Come on! My mother could do this at my age, and I'm supposed to be more powerful than her!"

The other kicker is that Keahi seemed like the PERFECT name for Neo-Amara because it was the only name I found that was Hawaiian for "Fire." A Hawaiian lava manipulator named "fire"? Perfect! A ROCK manipulator named "fire"? Eh... not so much. Still, I kept it. First, because it's a nice nod back to the original character. Second, it's bad enough I have one pyromancer named Ignatius. Did I really need two people with names blatantly stating what their powers were?

Anyway, below is my still spotty bio for Neo-Magma:
New Name: Keahi (pronounced Key-ah-hee)
Basic Info: Haven't Quite Figured Out Age, 5' 6", 148lbs, Deep cocoa brown hair, and warm honey brown eyes
Powers: Norm-Beast Mind Evoker Hybrid; Sub-category: Earth Summoner
Norm-Beasts have a physical mutation since birth, but can still pass as a regular human; or "Norm." Keahi's Beast quality is her muscles' ability to handle the strain of carrying the extra weight of the granite armor. Her skin can withstand much higher temperatures before burning; causing her almost completely immune to the typical heat of a fire. Her eyes have extra coating to be able to withstand the heat of an active volcano. Her lungs can filter out the toxic fumes and ash of a volcanic eruption. While she’s encased in her graphite armor she can actually stand in lava for up to 30-minutes without harm.
I went over this last week, but as a refresher, evokers can manipulate parts of nature; usually the elements. Evokers have three sub-categories: Charmers, Summoners, and Avatars. Charmers can manipulate their element as long as it's already present. Summoners can cause that element to come into existence. Avatars are technically Tweaker Evoker hybrids because they can transform their bodies into the element.
Keahi is in the Summoner category. Her most basic power is her ability to encase herself in an armor of bluish gray granite. She can cover herself so entirely that it is almost instantaneous full body armor. She can also form up to 50lbs worth of granite that she can manipulate and use however she wishes: ladders, doors, weapons, etc. She can dissipate any granite she forms if she wishes, but she cannot cause naturally occurring granite to disappear. She can manipulate naturally occurring granite to form however she wishes; regardless if it’s more than 50lbs worth.
Her Mind powers come about as moderate telekinetic abilities in regards to manipulating stone; causing the granite to hover or fly to her will. However, she can only manipulate something that has at least a 30% granite component. She can also cause minor earth tremors by either shifting naturally occurring granite already in the ground, or by summoning granite in to the ground and then shifting that. The intensity of the tremor is reliant on both her intention and the amount of granite in that area.
Her powers are also closely tied to her proximity to the earth’s surface. She is most powerful when she’s either barefoot or - better yet - actually has her feet dug into the ground. The farther away from the ground she is, the weaker her control gets. For instance, if she were on a plane she could still form her armor, but it would have to be a conscious act instead of a reflex, and she would have to concentrate to manipulate pre-existing granite. She wouldn’t be able to affect the earth’s surface, nor would she be able to materialize granite. Because of this weakening of her power and detachment from the earth, she gets very airsick if she has to be away from the ground for more than an hour. Depending on the depth of the body of water, the same applies when she’s on a ship for over an hour as well. Mile high; mile deep.
Physical Appearance: Slightly more muscular build than the average woman her age due to the strain of the granite armor she typically wears. Her skin is a dark Hawaiian tan and she wears her hair straight and long; usually between mid-back and waist. She parts it straight down the center and with no bangs. She’ll only pull it back in a ponytail when she’s preparing to fight; to keep it out of her way. She has a round face with full lips. Both ears are double pierced, but she wears simple earrings.
She wears subdued versions of every color of the rainbow, but the most basic form of it: red, but not pink or maroon; blue, but not aqua or teal; purple, but not magenta or violet; etc. Even with more subdued tones, the clothes are heavily influenced by her Hawaiian culture. She typically has nature prints, such as hibiscus or ilima, ivy, or oceanscapes. They also have tribal-like patterns. The clothes are either form-fitted shirts and jeans, or light, flowing, loose dresses. She also wears sandals as much as possible to keep her feet close to the ground. When sandals are impractical to wear, she’ll always choose sneakers or flats to again stay closely connected to the earth. Barefoot is her preferred if it’s acceptable.
She is simple with her jewelry. She wears small hoops and studs in her ears, a watch, no more than two bracelets - usually made from granite - her wedding band with a possible one or two more rings for fancy occasions, and two necklaces: a white puka-shell choker she never removes and a fancier necklace when she dresses up.
This is the image I found to help inspire the appearance of Keahi beyond an adult version of Lia:
I wish she wasn't in a hula-dancing costume,
but this could be a good indication of Keahi's face.
Personality: A bit of a tomboy, but when the time calls for her to dress up she loves it and lavishes in glamorizing herself. She has always been very protective and maternal; even as a child in regards to her friends. She is very optimistic. She looks for the good in people, situations, and the world. She knows that bad things will happen, people will do horrible things, and the world will have dark places. However, she also trusts that good things are around the corner, people will right wrongs, and that each generation will bring more light to the world until the shady darkness is nearly vanquished.
She’s cheerful and welcoming; it’s hard not to be drawn in and love her almost instantly. She’s empathetic and knows the happy balance between being goofy to cheer someone up and being silent so they can just cry. She speaks her mind, but also knows the crucial times to hold her tongue and see where the situation is going. She’s strong and determined, and a leader most would gladly follow.
She refuses to fail completely. Even if she has failed at something, she will give it another try and another and another until she succeeds. She also won’t abandon anyone. It is her flaw. She refuses to believe in sacrificing the few to save the many unless that few is her. There is always a way for her to save everyone, she just has to figure out how.
General History: She was raised on the Windward edge of O’ahu. She always stood up for “the little guys”, and was able to do so by maintaining a popularity in school. She was an athlete, top of her class, and sweet. Most people wanted to hate her for being “so perfect”, but she was just too nice; they couldn’t find it in them to truly hate her.
That is, until her powers kicked in when she was a junior in high school. She took a nasty fall and would have broken some bones, except the point of impact quickly covered in granite. She couldn’t shake the shielded body part off, and when the crowd saw that she was a Glitch, tides turned. While there were a lot that still stood beside her; stating that she proves not all Glitches are bad or scum of humanity. More shunned her and shut her out. She was home schooled the rest of her high school career. She missed walking at graduation or going to her senior prom or senior trip. Always the optimist, she threw her own Glitch-friendly prom for other Glitches in the area and their allies. They then did a weekend surfing trip. As for graduation, her mother got out her old college cap and gown and printed out the diploma. She had all her friends and family around as she gave her valedictorian speech, accepted her diploma, and got pictures taken.
While very intelligent and wanting to advance her education, she was unsure of continuing on to college; worried she’d be kicked out again for being a Glitch. She also debated trade schools for the same reason. Although she had a few good options right in Hawaii, she opted to take a few online courses; in hopes that the schools wouldn’t do a background check and find out she’s a Glitch. In the meantime, she worked one of the beach side bistros that didn’t care if she was a Glitch, or if business suffered because he hired one.
When Keahi was about 19 she met Cody. This is where I go hazy. I still need to figure out this part a bit more. Either way, Keahi and Cody eventually marry and for some reason settle in Long Island. They somehow have a connection to Neo-Kitty and/or Ryder which is why Cody works at the orphanage/school and Lia lives there with him.
Lia is born when Keahi is about mid-twenties? I'm not entirely sure with this too, which is why I'm not positive of her age either...
When Lia was 7 the Ring of Fire became unusually active with earthquakes - resulting in tsunamis - and volcanic eruptions. Other Earth and Fire Evoker Glitches rallied together to try to calm the seismic activity, and Keahi decided to join the cause. Cody begged for her to not get involved, but she couldn’t just let people suffer when she could help somehow. Besides, Neo-Kitty’s family was still in California along with Ryder's friends, and Keahi’s family was still back in Hawaii. She had to find a way to protect them. Cody finally submitted, but wanted to go with her in order to keep her safe; both from natural disasters and anti-Glitches that may attack the group. For some reason they couldn’t leave Lia with anyone or Keahi convinced Cody that it wouldn't be in Lia’s best interest to be without both parents right. Cody stayed with Lia for whatever reason, but sent a copy of himself with Keahi to still protect her like he would. Having a copy on the other side of the country affected his personality slightly, but not enough to impact his parenting.
The Glitches attempting to calm the activity were attacked, but not by Anti-Glitch factions. The copy was killed while Keahi was still fighting. It’s memories returned to Cody; letting him know what was going on while it was with Keahi, but leaving him worried about his wife. He left Lia with a copy this time after deciding he needed most of himself in order to find Keahi. He stayed in the Ring of Fire - although I'm not entirely sure what PART of the area - for a full month searching for her. Eventually he just missed Lia too much, and begrudgingly called off the search.
Keahi is still MIA, and Cody makes an annual pilgrimage back to the Ring of Fire in search for any clues.
I am a bit bummed that I can't figure out more of her backstory, but I trust it will come along eventually.

In the meantime, I'm using my birthday week to finish up work on Neo-Kitty. Still need to decide on a name and sort through the pre-college years of her backstory. Haven't really touched on any of that yet. I better get cracking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Writing Challenge Week 3 - Pyro

A couple days into Week 4 of the Summer Writing Challenge over at Writers’ Huddle, and I'm already a decent way in to finishing the character rework. Much better than the previous weeks where I'm waiting until the 11th hour before committing anything to paper. At times, I mean that literally. I wait until 11pm my time to try to finish writing the bio. I don't do so intentionally; it just keeps that long for my muse to strike.

And by muse I mean my husband.

If I didn't have him as a sounding board I would be screwed in regards to my writing. He's always been the one I've bounced ideas off of, and he's so good at coming up with something epic out of what I pitch to him.

Add in the stupid lag of my computer, and you get me finishing up and posting at about 1am every Monday AFTER the week's challenge is done.

Well, hopefully I break that pattern this week! I'm working on Amara, and I have a decent amount of her worked out already. Thanks to Hubby's suggestion, I have her powers mostly figured out. I decided on her ethnicity and name a month or so ago. Lia is like a little clone of her mom, and so I have Neo-Amara's appearance figured out. I just need to think of a backstory for her and I'm done!

But, knowing me, I will probably STILL end up not finishing until about 11:30 this Sunday...

Enough of that, though. I'll tell you more about Neo-Amara next week; after I'm done building her.

This week is about Neo-Pyro.
New Name: Ignatius "Iggy"
Code Name: Balrog
Basic Info: 39yrs old, 5' 10", 150lbs, Strawberry Blonde hair, and gold eyes
Powers: Norm Beast Evoker Hybrid; Sub-category: Fire Charmer
Norm Beasts have a physical mutation since birth, but can still pass as a regular human; or "Norm". Iggy's Beast quality is his yellow eyes.
Evokers can manipulate parts of nature; usually the elements. Evokers have three sub-categories: Charmers, Summoners, and Avatars. Charmers can manipulate their element as long as it's already present. Summoners can cause that element to come into existence. Avatars are technically Tweaker Evoker hybrids because they can transform their bodies into the element.
Iggy is in the first category: Charmer. He can’t create fire, but he can manipulate existing fire. Something as large as a burning building to something as small as a simple spark or dying ember; he can manipulate the fire however he pleases. He can shrink or grow the fire, regardless of amount of fuel feeding it. He can also bend the flames into whatever shape he wants. His favorite is a flame whip. The concentration of the flow of flame actually makes it tangible, and so being hit with his flame whip won’t only burn, but it will also sting just like an actual whip would.
Since he can’t start fires himself, he always carries around a futuristic utility lighter. It’s an insulated metal cylinder about six inches long, and has a button on the side that has to be held down to ignite the lighter fluid. The flame naturally extends about three inches; like an actual lighter. Iggy uses the lighter as a handle and manipulates the flame into his fire whip; no longer needing to hold down the button to keep the flame burning. He can even manipulate the fire after the lighter is knocked out of his hand, as long as he has mental control over it before the flame burns out.
Physical Appearance: Slender and tone, but not terribly muscular. He keeps the sides of his hair trimmed short and the top of his hair medium length and spiked straight up. It’s also kept dyed in a red ombre so the spiked hair looks like flames. He has a thin, long face with high cheekbones and dimples when he smiles. His jaw was broken once, and so his smile is crooked, but in an almost charming way. His back is scarred from scientists extracting spinal fluid, his wrists have faded scars from the shackles while captive, and a scar curves under the right corner of his mouth from when his jaw was broken. He has three piercings in each ear and a bar through his left eyebrow.
He has a sophisticated punk rocker look. Tight jeans, comfortable graphic t-shirts and tanks, a long necklace, and either bracelets or bracers. Over top he wears either a leather studded vest, black hooded down vest, or short black parka. He also has a chain that clips to his studded black belt, but instead of it connecting to a wallet, the other end of the chain clips to his lighter.
His favored color palette for his clothing is a mixture of blacks and reds. His shirts tend to have a white base for accent purposes, and his jeans are either deep blue, grey, or black.
These were the images I found to help inspire the appearance of Iggy:
Young Billy Idol for the haircut inspiration
More or Less what the gold eyes look like
Mikoto from "K" as my main physical appearance inspiration
Billy Idol in "The Wedding Singer"; inspiring Iggy's outfits
Personality: He has a Devil May Care attitude about most things in life. He’s very flirtatious, but only has about a 50/50 record when it comes to successfully seducing women. He’s very playful and tends to be a bit immature for his age. However, he’s also stern and intense as a leader. When he’s pulling rank he’s very calm and collected; nothing shakes him. He’s borderline lackadaisical unless he was the one who brought up the topic of discussion.
He tends to become very manic when he gets angry or vengeful. He becomes the most manic when around destruction; loving it and wanting to create as much more as possible. He even laughs at the deaths of his enemies; regardless if he’s the one who caused them.
He’s surprisingly loving and paternal with those he cares about. He was heartbroken when Neo-Mystique left him, a good father-figure to Trish, and relished having Devon around when the two finally met.
General History: Born and raised in Northern Dublin, Ireland. He was always a bit of a troublemaker; a mischievous child who loved pulling off pranks. Some pranks were a bit too severe though, like putting bottle rockets in people’s pockets with only seconds to remove them before they went off. When he was about 12 his powers manifested. Fearful that he was such a troublemaker and a handful because of the Glitch DNA influence, his mom sent him to a facility that claimed they could “Debug” Glitches; turning them perfectly human again. Iggy’s mother abandoned him to the facility; praying that he’d be “cured” and eventually returned to her.
He was chained down and experimented on daily. The main experiment was to extract bone marrow and spinal fluid multiple times a week in hopes that the extracts would explain how his Glitch DNA manifested. Most of the guards in the facility worked there because of their hatred for Glitches, and so they took every opportunity they could to beat him near death. Finally, when he was 15, someone slipped up and allowed a spark near him. He used it to create a large enough fire to escape. Hating his mother for leaving him there for over three years, Iggy got himself false papers and immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts.
Not having any other real place to go, Iggy got caught up in a street gang. He quickly grew his own pack of followers. By the time he was 17 he managed to break away from the gang and start his own rival group. Renowned for being the leader of the infamous Salamanders - under the code name Balrog - he attracted the attention of young Neo-Mystique. The two hooked up when he was 18, and after a few months he finally let her know about his past. Enraged by the mistreatment of Glitches, Neo-Mystique convinced Iggy to rework his gang into a Freedom Fighter group. No Glitch would be safe until they could live apart from Norms, and on their own terms. At Iggy’s 19th birthday party, he announced that he was renaming the Salamanders: “If Humanity thinks we’re some virus to their system, then that’s exactly what we’ll be.”
The Virus was more than a Glitch Freedom Fighter group, though. Iggy’s manic drive pushed him too far over the next three years, and they became more of a terrorist group. Doing whatever it took to take down Glitch-Haters, even if it meant taking down allies as well. Not wanting their unborn child to grow up in such an atmosphere, the newly pregnant Neo-Mystique ran off. Iggy never even knew if she was going to be having a son or daughter.
He was enraged by the betrayal, and while on the search for her and their child, he put all his remaining time towards destroying the last of the large Anti-Glitch movement. He quickly climbed the Most Wanted lists, and enjoyed every minute of it. The real kick was when Neo-Kitty opened up her orphanage and school for Glitches. He hated her and Dom’s view of Glitches co-existing with Norms, and frequently butted heads with Dom’s elite squad sent out to protect Norms; therefore stopping Iggy’s plan. Iggy also hated the idea that his own gang recruitment could go down if Dom and Neo-Kitty got to the Glitches first; giving them a safe and loving environment to “hide in” instead of growing in his group. A strong hatred and rivalry between the groups formed.
I still have some wrinkles to iron out with this build, but I like it enough to have considered it a complete Week 3 task. I also love that working Iggy inspired me to split up the Evoker species in to different tiers.

The mini-challenge we were given this past week was to post two sentences from our WIP. Well, once I gave the Irishman Iggy golden eyes, a mini-pick-up-speech popped into my head. It's probably riddled with possibly-offensive Irish stereotyping, but the way I look at it, he's using this to try to hit on women in Boston. Us Americans don't know any better, and so he'd milk the Irish Charm, even if it means perpetuating poor stereotypes.

Anyway, here's Iggy's BS pick-up line mini-monologue that I submitted as last week's mini-challenge:
Ye like my golden eyes, do ye? Fascinating story, that. Ye see, my mother found herself a pot of Leprechaun Gold. She bartered with the leprechaun to give it back, so long as he gifted her with a son. She had been trying for so long, ye see. Oh, but a magic baby, he has to be special. So she asked the leprechaun for the brightest little lad. A bit of a spitfire, but a charmer that could set any girl’s heart aflame. A babe that would be the light of my mother’s life. Well, that leprechaun, he was willing to do anything to get his gold back, so he gladly shook on their deal. It wasn’t until after the deal was met did he notice that my mother had kept two pieces for herself; to pay for the upcoming newborn. That leprechaun wasn’t none too happy, but a deal is a deal. So, he played his little faerie tricks and took my mother’s request as earnestly as possible. She got a little spitfire that could set girls’ hearts aflame. Ain’t none more so than a fire charmer, eh? And them two gold pieces? Well, that leprechaun couldn’t take them back himself, but he did place them in my eyes. That way my mother always had a reminder of where I came from; who blessed her with me. But I have to say, them pieces of gold have paid for more than their fair share of good times.
Well, this Benadryl is kicking my butt. I'm off to Napville before attempting work tonight. Who knows? Maybe I'll dream Amara's backstory, and I'll legitimately have her done before the Sunday Midnight deadline this week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Writing Challenge Week 2 - Wolverine Part 2

Alright, following the pattern I've set so far, this week's title should be "Week 3..." but it occurred to me how silly that is. Yes, I'm already three-days into the third week of the Summer Writing Challenge, but I don't TELL you about it until NEXT Wednesday. So, for instance, last week's title was misleading since it had Wolverine in the title, but the bio was for Neo-Gambit.

Anyway, starting next week, the title will be about the PREVIOUS challenge week and the character I reworked. I couldn't very well use the same exact title two weeks in a row in order to set that up, though. Hence, the "Part 2" to make it a LITTLE different. Anyway, enough of that.

Whoo-boy this week! Fourth of July was CRAZY! We were all expecting the week leading up to it to be nuts, but figured the Fourth itself would be dead because everyone would be at their parties/BBQs/Picnics. Instead, it rained nearly all day and everyone decided to shop for non-barbecue back-up food.

I'm so tired. On top of that, my aunt-by-marriage unfortunately lost her mom to cancer this past weekend. Sadly, I couldn't attend the funeral in support of her, but my mother did. Which meant no weekend visit from Mom. It was a sad reason to not get a visit, and it would have been cool to see Mom again so soon.

On the flipside, though, I DID just see my mom, I'll see her for my birthday later this month, and that meant I could concentrate on writing instead of frantic "Mom's Coming to Visit!" cleaning.

That didn't work out as planned. I tried. I really did. All week I went over pictures to try to figure out what Neo-Wolverine would look like. I watched shows and movies - Inside Out is FANTASTIC, by the way - and I played video games in an attempt to be inspired like how Mikoto from "K" inspired Neo-Pyro. I even used my Sunday Insomnia to stay up and customize a wrestler in the Xbox game WWE '13. I was hoping SOMETHING would strike me.

Months back, I sent a long list of names to Phfylburt. Name options for Neo-Wolverine once I decided I wanted him to be Latino. We narrowed it down to a name I had only heard once or twice before: Mateo. For months Neo-Wolverine was Mateo. While I enjoyed the name, something about it seemed off to me. It didn't seem to have that same gruff punch as Logan - the name Wolverine goes by - or James - the name revealed to be Wolverine's birth-name. As I'll show in the character bio below, I even used the Cowboy Bebop character Jet as a starting reference. And even Jet had that umph that Mateo just didn't seem to have. On top of that, ever since I decided on Mateo - mostly for the originality of the name in fiction - the name's been popping up everywhere.

While the name is Spanish in origin, most of the characters with the name were African American. A good sign since Phfyl really wanted me to have Neo-Wolverine be half-black so Lucas would be more likely to bond with him. The not-so-good sign? Most of these black kids were these lanky nerds. That pretty much confirmed it for me. Neo-Wolverine needed a new name.

Which is why I focused so much on the appearance of him first. If I could figure out what I wanted him to look like, I could call him Mateo and see if the two fit. Eventually - and by that I mean about 5pm on Sunday - I did figure out what he looked like, and Mateo did NOT fit. I then went through my list of about 20 other names; spending HOURS on to try to figure out which names I liked, which names I liked the meanings to, and which names fit this new image of Wolverine.

Eventually, Hubby and I decided that Dominic fit the look and that gruff punch feel that I wanted. The only snag is that the one main character in the Fast and the Furious franchise is named Dominic and also goes by Dom. On top of that, both that Dom and Neo-Wolverine have younger sisters they're super protective of, AND they both work outside the law. Do I want people to think "Vin Diesel" whenever the character comes up? There really weren't any other names that I liked as much, though. So, I'm hoping the character is different enough that people won't think "Fast and the Furious" or "X-Men" when they see Neo-Wolverine.

The next hardest bit was to figure out his powers. I wanted him to have the core-power of an enhanced healing factor so that he can remain a badass. I wasn't sure about the others though. I knew he couldn't have the bone-claws. That's blatant Wolverine. Same with giving him a metallic skeleton. Hubby and I also agreed that - for the same reason as the lack of metal bones - Neo-Wolverine can't be one of the Glitches that was once experimented on, even if it did give him and Lucas some sort of bonding topic.

We did agree that he should keep his heightened senses as well, but tweak them a bit. Hubby came up with the idea that instead of being able to see clearer and father, that Neo-Wolverine can see more of the color spectrum; namely Infrared. Hubby suggested that just his right eye could switch to infrared, but I'm trying to figure out why both eyes wouldn't. It is a cool image though. Hubby equated it to the X-Men character Cable:
Strangely, even though I'm focused on reworking X-Men characters, when Hubby suggested just one eye glowed - especially the right one - I didn't think of Cable. My mind instead went to the ReBoot character Matrix:
Whose eye glows red when he uses it to lock on to a target with his gun:
Both characters have artificial eyes, though. Cable was infected with a techno-organic virus as a baby and lost his left eye, arm, and leg to it. Matrix lost his eye in a Mortal-Kombat-like fighting game. That's why only one of their eyes glow: it's fake.

So why would Dominic only be able to switch one eye in to infrared? We also postulated that perhaps he was born with one eye that saw only in infrared and the other saw the rest of the color spectrum. He then would wear an eye patch similarly to how pirates legitimately wore them: one for "day seeing" and the one kept under the eye patch was set for "night vision".

Not really sure yet. There's still some bugs to work out of this character build, but the main skeleton is set enough for me to be satisfied that I hit my two-week goal of character reworking.

So, here is basically what I have for Neo-Wolverine:
New Name: Dominic "Dom"
Basic Info: 42yrs old, 6' 1", 240lbs, Deep Brown, almost black hair and stormy grey eyes
Powers: Norm-Beast Glitch with Elevated Senses and Healing
He can heal at an elevated rate - although I'm not sure yet HOW much faster he heals compared to normal humans - and he has heightened senses. Being a Beast-class Glitch, his powers developed in the womb, instead of manifesting at puberty. He has always had the elevated senses and healing. He can pick up scents like an animal, he can hear more clearly and further - again, like an animal - and his elevated touch allows him to pick up vibrations easier. For instance, when a person touches railroad tracks to determine if a train is out of sight down the line. Elevated taste; I haven't really thought of a cool feature for that one, aside from him being a great chef. With a literal blink of an eye, he can switch his sight over in to infrared. I still have a little tweaking to do for the power-set, especially since I want to come up with a name for someone with elevated senses and healing at the same time. All the terms I come up with don't seem to work: biomechanics - because of how his body works comparatively - biofunction, bioreaction, bioreception, etc.
Physical Appearance: Even though he's an inch shorter and 60lbs heavier than Ryder, Dom is all muscle. He's a bit blocky in stature, but he's ripped. His hair is feathered and slicked back. He keeps a scruffy beard because it's too much effort to shave every day or groom a full beard. He has mostly Latino features, but his skin color is a bit darker; like creamy hot chocolate.
He's casual; wearing jeans and work boots typically. He also favors tank-tops and t-shirts; ones that are formfitting enough to show off his muscles underneath, but also loose enough that he's comfortable in them and can easily move. He also enjoys wearing either loose vests, or open shirts and he rolls the sleeves up to his shoulders. When it's colder out he wears denim cover shirts and leather jackets. He doesn't really have much of a typical color palette to his wardrobe, but he is finicky about the material he wears/sleeps on due to the heightened touch. More often than not, he wears second-hand clothes because they've been "worn in" and they're softer.
He attempted piercings when he was younger, but his healing closed up the holes almost as soon as he took the piercings out. As an adult, no one can even tell he had piercings in the first place. I'm still debating if his healing would have the same effect on tattoos, but if he can keep a tattoo, it would be his sister's name in her handwriting across his right peck.
These were the images I found to help inspire the appearance of Dom:

Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop
Spanish actor Javier Bardem
Personality: He has a hard time expressing his feelings - aside from rage - and has always been that way. The only ones he ever truly showed his affection towards were his mom and sister. He rarely smiles, but when he does it generally means he's about ready to kick some serious ass. It's been years since someone has heard him laugh. He does generally snort a laugh if the situation is humorous enough. His "resting face" is typically the boarder-line scowl seen in the above pictures.
This isn't to say that he's dead inside. He does feel the full range of emotions, he just has a reserved way of expressing them. For example, if he's sad he'll avoid eye contact, slouch, and keep quiet. If he's happy he'll be talkative and energetic, have a twinkle in his eye, and have a hint of a grin. If he's proud he'll give a hardy slap on the back and say something encouraging, but not TOO encouraging: e.g. - "Hey, you managed to do the whole obstacle course without falling flat on your face that time." If he's disappointed he'll give the cold shoulder and typically state something demoralizing, but with a hint of a challenge to prove him wrong: e.g. - "And here I thought I was getting somewhere with you, I guess you are a hopeless cause." If he's feeling protective he pretty much resembles a mother bear protecting her cubs; scoops the protectee behind him and literally growls at the attacker.
He's a private guy that keeps to himself. Not too many people know much about him. He's a mystery to people he doesn't let in, and those he does let in only know what they witness.
Not-so-brief History: Born and raised in a Glitch Slum right outside the New York City boroughs. His father was out of the picture since Dom was about 2; probably left once they realized Dom and his younger sister Cecilia were both Glitches, but I haven't quite decided on that yet. Whatever the reason, Dom didn't have a father figure, which is why he's so closed off. He needed to be the tough Man of the House. He coasted through school and got into a lot of trouble. He ended up joining a street gang, and his powers allowed him to climb the ranks fairly quickly. Cecilia - whom Dom called Cici - was the polar opposite. She did well in school and focused on extra-curricular activities and after-school jobs to keep her out of trouble. She still knew the neighborhood was bad, and so one of the extra-curricular activities was martial arts. She was a black-belt karate master, knew kickboxing, and started a women's self-defense course in high school. As much as Cici didn't want her activities funded by dirty money, nearly all that Dom brought home from the gang went towards her education.
Cici ended up going to one of the few colleges that allowed Glitches to enter their prelaw program: NYU. She met "Neo-Kitty" there as her roommate. They became instant best friends, and since Neo-Kitty lived on the West Coast, she was welcome at Cici and Dom's home for short school breaks: Homecoming, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Spring Break. Neo-Kitty became a surrogate second sister to Dom.
Over winter break Cici's sophomore year, Dom was in the middle of taking down a rival drug distributor when Cici was abducted. Using his Underground contacts, Dom found out that she was taken by the government agency GPS - Glitch Placement Services. They were the ones responsible for setting up the Glitch Slums and relocating known Glitches into these "reserved neighborhoods". GPS had a secondary, hidden agenda that not even all GPS officers knew about. The most secretive branch of GPS was in charge of "placing" Glitches into experimental labs. GPS mostly focused on "cleaning up the streets" of abandoned and/or orphaned Glitches so that no one would notice them missing. I'm still trying to figure out why GPS picked up Cecilia.
It kept him a couple weeks, but Dom was able to use his Underground channels to find the GPS lab in a closed off former NY subway tunnel. He broke in, but found his sister dead. He helped a handful of Glitches escape, among them were Lucas Kinney and Geoffrey "Fidget" Wilkins. After destroying the facility - a) so no one can be experimented there ever again, b) out of pure anger, and c) so that no one can trace the government attack back to him - he took in Lucas and Geoff.
Somehow - I haven't figured it out yet - Dom was able to get out of the gang so that he could dedicate his time to protecting the boys, as well as Neo-Kitty, from the GPS and all others that would wish harm on Glitches. While keeping a watchful eye on Neo-Kitty, the two studied together, and both learned of the teachings of Neo-Xavier; a strong Glitch advocate. While Neo-Kitty saw the teachings as ones similar to Martin Luther King, Jr., Dom saw them in a more Malcolm X aggressive light. This differing view of how Glitches and Norms should co-exist made it easier for Dom to let Neo-Kitty move back home after graduation, and without a bodyguard any longer.
In California Neo-Kitty met Ryder and married him. Then the couple moved to Upstate New York where she built a Glitch orphanage and school in honor of Cecilia. Dom wanted to help at the school, but their differing views of Neo-Xavier's teachings still caused friction. Dom instead bought nearby property and - with Geoff's help as a Techno Glitch - built "The Arcade". He trains any of the orphanage's students that wish to learn self-defense against Glitch-Haters. He also trains adult Glitches with the sole purpose of using them as a team to guard Neo-Kitty and her school/orphanage.
Much to Neo-Kitty's equal-parts delight and dismay, Dom is a mentor and psuedo-uncle-figure to Chayse.
Whoo! Sundays seem to be my super productive days. Either that, or Deadline Crunch Time is my most productive, considering all the above was figured out more-or-less between 5pm and 11pm Sunday night. Thanks to some soundboarding with Hubby.

Either way, it got done and again posted MOSTLY on time. I think I posted in the Writers’ Huddle at about 1am my time. It just frustrates me that it kept me about two hours to type up a rough skeleton and then post on the forum because my computer kept lagging hard-core.

This week I am actually working MORE than the standard part-time max of 35hrs. So, it's been a crazy work-week already. I knew I wasn't going to have much time to focus on character creation this week, and so I didn't want to really focus on either Neo-Charles Xavier or reworking Magma. I'm going to need a full week for those two.

My birthday is this month, and my family is visiting - for realsies this time - and so I knew I wanted to save a low-brain-power rework for that week; especially since I most likely won't have my normal Sunday Crunch Time to work.

Well, out of the four remaining - Xavier, Magma, Pyro, and Shaldowcat - two require a lot of work; as I already mentioned. Pyro and Shadowcat, on the other hand, are already started. So, I wanted to use one for this week - due to the lack of non-work time - and one for my birthday week.

Out of those two, Shadowcat is pretty much finished. I mean, thanks to Ryder and Dominic's backstories, hers is mostly written already. I also more-or-less have her powers figured out, and I've always had a mental image of her in my head that is JUUUUST different enough from the comics and X-Men: Evolution that I can solidify it as an "original" look. Really, the only things I need to do to finish her off is FINALLY decide on a name, write backstory leading up to her going to NYU, finish off any tweaking of her powers, and decide on her family-life. Honestly, the hardest part will probably be choosing a new name for her.

So, Kitty is on reserve for the week of July 20th. Which means I'm working on finishing up Iggy's build this week! It's been a bit challenging so far since I haven't really had the brainpower to do much. I'm foreseeing another Sunday Crunch Session, but I'm hoping to at least have him done by midnight this time.

Who should I work on next week? Both are important, but minor background characters that won't get much "book time". Still, they ARE crucial to the development of the other characters. So, who will be next week, and who should be the last week of the challenge?

Xavier and Magma, who would you like me to work on next? Drop me your suggestion in the comment section.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Summer Writing Challenge Week 2 - Wolverine

Happy first of the month! Don't get those often with this blog update.

It was a crazy week, but I was able to get the first week of the summer challenge done.

Why was it a crazy week? Well, first and foremost, it was graduation week, and so work was insanity. On top of that, I was rushing around trying to get myself ready for this past weekend.


This past Monday, June 29th, my mother celebrated 20yrs of being cancer free! My sister has been running around like a chicken with her head cut off since January in order to throw our mom a surprise party this past Saturday.

It was fantastic! First was the initial surprise of the party itself. Hubby had convinced me to hide, and so my mom had another surprise when she finally saw me. If that wasn't big enough, her brother - who lives on the other side of the country - was able to fly in with his daughter - my mom's goddaughter. Mom hasn't seen them in a few years. So, yeah, them showing up a bit late to the party was actually perfect. My poor mother needed a box of tissues.

However much fun this weekend was, it still really hindered my ability to write the past week. Especially since I've been working on a crocheted pillow for my mom. Man, the amount of times I've wanted to state since April that I've been behind on writing because I've been working on that. Of course I couldn't, otherwise I would have ruined the surprise for Mom.

Still, I was determined to follow through with this challenge, which means I had to find SOME time to rework Gambit in to an original character for my X-Future reboot. So, this Sunday I stayed up until 2am - which, technically, was 2hrs late - so I could spend about six hours of researching in order to get my weekly goal done.

So, here is the abridged version of my character rework:
New Name: Ryder
Basic Info: 44yrs old, 6' 2", 180lbs, Brown hair and eyes
Powers: Silver Tongue Mind Glitch
Long and short - he can verbally hypnotize people. However, he can't hypnotize people in to doing something they're morally opposed. He also can't hypnotize other Mind Glitches. He also can't hypnotize people who know the suggestion is false.
Physical Appearance: Typically wears darker colors; mostly black, but does switch it up with browns, deep crimson reds, or dark navy blues. Generally wears tighter straight-legged jeans or casual black slacks. Preferred footwear are lighter boots that don’t hinder his natural light-footing but also provides good ankle support. He also tends to sport either a light, black trench coat or a black motorcyclist jacket. His outfits are generally picked for comfort and the ability to quickly blend into the crowd. He avoids things like piercings, tattoos, or even flashy outfits/accessories/vehicles so that it’s harder for people to remember him and/or pick him out in a line-up. He’s just one of the faceless masses.
It's just easier to show the picture I found as an inspiration to Ryder:

Personality: Casual, playful, suave, but can be deadly serious when the time calls for it. He’s a bit juvenile on occasion; especially when hanging with his son. Prior to meeting his wife, he was a lady’s man and a bit of a player. Even after nearly two decades, the reputation of being a flirt still sticks with him - as does the reputation of being a “bad boy”; so much so that even his son Chayse is stuck with those labels.
He was also a bit self-centered and narcissistic prior to meeting "neo-Kitty".
Super Brief History: Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Realized his powers when he was about 12. Became a promiscuous young teen and progressed in to a trouble-maker; joyrides, theft, underaged drinking, gambling, breaking and entering, etc. He dropped out of school and left home at 17. He used his life of crime to live comfortably until 21 when he accidentally conned a group of crime syndicate members. To save his life he immigrated to California as a refugee. He met Jacob Driver in a poker game. When Jacob's Glitch power failed to con Ryder the later attempted to use his own powers to convince Jacob to pay double the amount he was supposed to. When THAT failed they realized they were both Mind Glitches and became fast friends.
They created a small con-artist group of 20 that they co-lead until Ryder met "Neo-Kitty". When he crashed and burned with her - the first woman to ever turn him down - he became obsessed with trying to woo her. He ended up leaving the life of crime, became legit, and then married "Neo-Kitty" when he was 28. He kept in touch with Jacob, which is how Willow made her way to the orphanage in order to learn how to control her powers.
Now, my mother might be swinging up here for the long-weekend on Friday, even after seeing us earlier this week. Which means I'll be spending a lot of this week cleaning the apartment as well as the crazy work-week leading in to Independence Day. Not much writing free time again, so this will be interesting.

Now, AngelBlood666 requested that my next rework be Wolverine. Luckily, I have him started, and so it's not as much work for this busy week as if I were working from scratch. Downside? I'm having the hardest time re-imagining him as anyone BUT Wolverine. It was a lot easier once I found the above reference picture for Ryder, and when I saw Makoto in K; the inspiration for Iggy. I need to do more research to try to figure out how Neo-Wolverine looks. Perhaps finishing up his build will be easier then. Especially since I'm still not completely convinced that I like the name Mateo. I'm hoping that once I know what he looks like I'll be more confident in naming him.

We'll see how this goes.