Thursday, August 28, 2008

I have a basic frame work down

The real problem is...that there have been an awful lot of Zombie parodies lately, and an awful lot of super hero parodies....though I admit I haven't seen a lot of Zombie Superhero Parodies.

Another problem with Frank (Frank Noble) is that, while he is comic and he is in some ways a parody....Grenademan isn't the Tick. He's not Plastic Man either. He's more complex than that. In some ways he's a very simple, elemental character, but his alter ego isn't. In fact, he's the closest to a true author Avatar character I've ever created. He's almost Micky Mouse or Super Man in some ways...he's so 'morally pure' that making a story about him is...difficult.

Some of the ideas I got involve the arc of progression of the character from insane 'parody' to genunine hero.....

But that wouldn't really be humorous. Oh it might, but the scope of the story is such that there can only be so much progress. Not to mention the fact that I really want to respect my own existing continuity, and the only place this story possibly fits is after the non existant sequel to the movie script but before he becomes sane.

That makes him a compotent but utterly insane character who, on the immediate surface anyway, has very little depth. He's more force of nature than Hercules Ra or Quissence Prow in that element, but Prow had some change to him....and where Hercules Ra is an alien perspective, Grenademan is a very understandable, albiet highly warped one.

So to top it all off, the story really can't be about Grenademan, despite the fact that it largely consists of Grenademan fighting zombies. But you can't have 100,000 words of that, as fun as it might be. Stories are about their characters, and good stories are about how those characters change.

Generally speaking, Zombies don't change, and neither (at this phase) does Grenademan. So the story is really largely about all of the people caught in between.

Should be interesting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Plan

So, I'm not entirely sure why I did this, but I've accepted a challenge to write a 100,000 word novel in 50 days called "Grenademan Vs. The Zombies." Its due on October 31, 2008 due or die and Skip has offered to help edit the thing. This pushes Flotsam forward in time to more like March because I'm going to need a break. I won't do any other rpg writing but I'm already committed to work with Ken on the Precyberpunk novel.

So basically we're talking 2000 words a day for 50 days.

This is going to be a challenge, and quite frankly, probably impossible. But we'll give it a try.

Since we have no prep time for plot, other than the weekend I have over dragon con, we'll have to pull from the existing idea and setting pool. Which means using the Grenademan from Tossing Grenades At Windmills (hence the blog name) with the Zombie movie idea I had bouncing around in my head for a while. It will be end of the world and it will be romeroesque, but honestly, my heroes are going to be competent against the undead.

At least as competent as anyone can be.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post Mortem - Le Story

I started reading the third part of a trilogy that shall be unnamed. I normally like this author a lot but I found myself utterly not caring about the characters involved; I liked them for the first two books but 6-7 chapters in, I just...didn't care. I think it was a lot of things...the reality disolving aspect of things....

It is hard to say exactly what it was, but I think it was mainly, I didn't care about the characters or the world anymore. Artificially creating things from nothing is a problem. I learned this in Eye of the Mindstorm.

This story tells me some things. First, Ful needs to suffer more, because as it is he's kind of hollow. Dode has some potential, but she seems kind of flat too.

The REAL problem is...Flotsam (or our hero who shall soon be named) can easily be overshadowed by the other characters. I follow Mr. Card's advice in this in that Flotsam needs to suffer more, which means he needs more to lose. We're going to have to follow Flotsam for a few chapters before Ful and his entourage enter in and turn his life upside down. Flotsom has to suffer more than any other character. Suffering builds empathy with the character, but it can't be pointless suffering.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why are you Hear?

"Why are you here anyway?" Ful asked.

"I'm here to help you be you." Dode smiled.

"Huh?" Ful picked up the last batch of wood and grunted because of its weight. He didn't understand what the girl was saying.

"Do you know who you are?" She asked.

"Yeah, I'm Ful Farmerson." He grunted as he dropped the wood and took a deep breath. What kind of a stupid question was that?

She looked patiently sad. "Is that all you are?"

"Of course it is. Its all I'll ever be."

"It is if you want it to be Ful." She looked hopeful.


"I don't entirely know myself. The lady told me that you could be a lot more if you want to, instead of what everyone else wants." She looked up into the sky.

"What lady?" Clearly Dode was crazy.

"The moon lady. The one that shows up in my dreams." Dode put her hands next to her face as if she were sleeping, closed her eyes and then opened them again. She smiled.

"You listen to dreams? That's crazy. Not unless you're some kind of sorceress or something."

"Do I look like a sorceress?" She smiled. She seemed pleased at the idea.

Ful stood up and cracked his back. He was finally done and now he wanted to go play. "No. Not really."

"Then I probably aren't one."

Ful shrugged, "It all sounds stupid to me."

Dode stamped her foot. "It is not foolish. It is important. Oh, and Ful...could you not tell anyone about what we talked about?"

Ful shrugged, "Join the club."

Dode hugged him and then quickly ran off. After about thirty seconds she stopped and then asked him again, "What club?"

Ful chuckled and didn't say anything. He wouldn't be very good at keeping secrets if he told her 'what club.' Everyone told him things and no one wanted him to tell anyone else. He was a regular lock box he was. What was it about him that made people want to tell him things no one else knew?

The silence lingered until finally Dode stuck out her tounge and skipped away. The sky was getting dark, with a tinge of gray. It felt like it might snow, but it was way too early for that. Who knew? Ful went inside by the fire where he could read.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Ful fetched the water, chopped the wood, weeded the fields, milked the cows and set the fire to burning. As he was gathering up an armful, DoDe showed up again to watch him.

"Can I help you with the wood?" She asked.

"Sure. I guess." Ful was not happy because of the trouble she had gotten him in.

She giggled again. She did that too much. It was starting to annoy him. She picked up an armful of wood and began to help him.

After several loads, Ful asked, "Are you doing this because you're sorry?"

"Sorry for what?"

"Making me late."

She giggled. "I didn't make you la-ow! Why did you hit me?"

Ful rubbed his fist. Mother would punish him for slugging a girl but he didn't care. It had only been in the shoulder. "You were laughing at me."

"No I wasn't." She stuck out her toung.

"Yes you were."

"No I wasn't."

This continued back and forth for about five minutes before Ful finally got bored and said, "Why were you helping me with the wood then?"

"Because I was sorry-"


"-for you." She giggled.

Ful hit her in the other shoulder.

Dode looked like she was going to cry, but she whispered something he couldn't hear.

Ful said, "What?" and leaned in closer.

Then Dode bit him on the ear.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Continued From Previous

Ful scowled at the girl and balled up his fists in anger. He knew that he wasn't ever supposed to be angry, but he couldn't help it. He shouted at her, "You made me late!"

For a moment she looked hurt and upset, but then she thought a moment and giggled again, "Nuh uh."

Was she perhaps some kind of an imbecile? "Uh huh!"

She shook her head.

"Who are you?"

"My name is DoDe," she said. She curtsied like a fine court lady.

"That's a stupid name." Ful was still quite mad but kept his voice down because he was hoping maybe everyone inside wouldn't have noticed his absence. This was foolish of course. Everyone always noticed his absence. Every time.

"Not as stupid as Ful," DoDe said.

"Shut up."

"Make me."

"I just might." At this point Ful felt a bright pain in his right ear as his mother grabbed hold and moved him away from DoDe.

"What did I tell you about talking to strangers?!" She sounded half panicked and all angry.

"OW!" Full was not happy.

Mother looked at Dode, "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

DoDe curtseyed again, "I'm Mina's daughter. She's sent me here to prentice as a shepardess."

Mother's eyes narrowed. "Mina sent you?"

DoDe nodded politely and held out a small stack of letters.

Mother looked them over for a few moments whilst Ful squirmed under her iron grip. Dode kicked the dust a few times with her shiny boots until Mother finally let out a weary frightened sigh, "Well I guess we'll have to introduce you to Mrs. Falworth then."

She dragged Ful along behind her, "And you were late again Ful. That's twice the chores tonight!"

Ful protested loudly but without words.

"Chores build character."

Ful had had about all the character anyone would ever need in a lifetime.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A meeting

The girl was new. Ful had already met everyone in the village and he knew that he had never seen her before. He immediately looked around for some kind of wagon train or horse. Generally, no one ever came to Quiet Nowhere, but there was a trading caravan that came once a year at harvest.

But there was no caravan today.

"Who are you?" Ful asked.

The girl smiled but didn't say anything.

Ful looked around for anyone else. The street was pretty deserted. At first he got really scared, but then he remembered that there was a barn gathering nearby at Zensha's house.

And he was supposed to be there. With a look of horror on his face, Ful waved to the girl and began to run. He was very fast when he wanted to be, and had pretty good endurance.

Down over the pale river and the azure stones of the bridge that crossed it, he skittered around an ancient cobblestone street. Everything was old. From what the elders said, everything was old everywhere. They always talked about how better things would be when the new emperor came, but they never said much about it.

Sometimes, when he was eavesdropping on his own, he'd hear them talk about the Prophesy and how important it was, but they'd never talk about it while he was around. Moving through the scattered trees that were just starting to get the hint of a flower, he cut through Zensha's field and took a short cut.

He heard a giggle behind him and realized that the mysterious girl had been following him. He almost stopped to ask her what was up, but he was out of breath and he was very very late. He kept running and opened the door only to find the village leaving.

The meeting was over.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daughter of Destiny

So who does our romantic female lead work for? There are a lot of options here, but if everyone else is going to cheat, it strikes me that Sa is going to have a hand in things, plus it technically isn't cheating for her, since its just as much her game as it is Fa's.

Which would make DoDe (name subject to change at my whim) the only person who really has Ful's interest at heart except maybe Pickle. Except Pickle is a bit too much of a trickster or sleeze to really be willing to sacrifice his agenda for Ful's sake. Dode's agenda *IS* to help Ful reach his full (no pun intended) potential and meet his destiny, because he's going to need it. His whole life is a lie, and as such, all the training and preparation that went into him is a lot like the preparation that went into....other things....that are entirely a lie.

Which is to say...Wonderbread.

DoDe is nominally there to pick up the pieces, but like so many other things, I must wonder if it will go according to plan. She hadn't counted on our real hero showing up and neither had Sa.

The real question do we transfer things to our hero without completely leaving the sympathy with Ful, who suddenly has his whole world turned upside down and nothing to show for it.

That could be challenging.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unseen Character: The Prophesy

For a being as powerful and complex as Sa, even their afterthoughts have a tendency to take on a life of their own.

While it won't be seen in the Novel itself, the Last Prophesy is working with Ful. And he isn't happy. He has nothing personal against Ful. That's one of the things that keeps Ful alive through all of the crap that is going to happen to him. In fact, it will become blatantly ridiculously apparent how biased the prophesy works out in his favor in the book. And one will wonder why anyone would stick around someone who generates so much dire straights.

And that will also be a subtle undercurrent to things; because our Real hero stays at first because he must and later because its the right thing to do.

Everyone else there has an agenda of one kind or another that we'll learn about as time goes on. The prophesy will see to that.

And the real reason that this is the Last Prophesy? Because people are cheating. If Pickle's intention was to make the whole thing a game for the gods to enjoy to keep their interest, his failure to prevent humanity from cheating and tilting the results is the very thing that earned their eventual disgust and disinterest.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Full's Life

Ever wonder if your whole life was a lie? Full's life is.

I suppose the immediate influence here that I can think of is 'the Truman show' but that's not really an accurate comparison. The level of personal violation is the same, but the end agenda is not.

You see the Listeners, the Hushers and the Wizards want to leave nothing to chance. They've been studying every subtle nuance of prophesy for thousands of years. Every time there is a prophesy fulfillment, they learn a little bit more and apply it.

And this time, there aren't any competing prophesies to compete. They all think that something major is going to come and that a new golden age that makes all of the others pale in comparison.

Of course, the other powers also have a very slight hand in this as well, because they know that there is blood in the water and Pickle's days are running out. Of course Pickle has an agenda and so does Sa through the forces of Destiny.

As such, every person in Full's life is a sham. He lives on a seemingly pastoral village in the middle of nowhere, destined to go from a farm hand to become a mighty hero. Entire circumstances have been manufactured so that his 'mother' his 'father' his 'friends' and everyone else has just a secret agenda and training as he does.

In the background of this 'peaceful village' there is a titanic war going on in the shadows to influence Full's upbringing and the only thing any of them agree on is what to do.

However unlike most previous prophesies, there is absolutely no truth to the underlying elements of it. The entire thing has come to rely on its own weight and superficiality.

I think this will be the first short story I'll write as a 'prequel' but this won't be in the novel itself....

Because this story isn't about Full. It's about the Flotsom he pulls along.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Full, who thinks his name comes from the fact that he gets full easily when he eats, is Prophesy's Fulcrum. He is the stereotype of fantasy. He's the kid who's father is the current reigning king, and whose mother was the daughter of the greatest wizard in the land. He's the kid who is destined to great things, and who has a prophesy all about just him.

The thing is, that this time, it is the Last Prophesy, and while technichally the Listeners know this, they assume that there will simply be more Prophets that appear when the Fulcrum next appears.

Full will surround himself with friends; the romantic interest, the charming rogue, the wise wizard, the comic relief (in this case an outside) and weak but faithful friend that gets them into trouble.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Details

So how do you make a heroic anti-hero?

Its a bit of a challenge, but I think that I want our hero....who needs a name but I'll do that tomorrow, is ambitious but not very ambitious.

I want the starting society to be a blend of free style frontiermen, whilst having a hierchical static social structure. On the surface that seems really hard to do, but the way I figure I balance things is saying that the threshhold for 'getting off the farm' is high but not impossibly high (like 'the truman show') and if you truly truly want to do it, you can, but most people don't bother.

Then our protagonist leaves for the big city but ends up working in a tavern as a waiter rather than trying to do anything else like become the greatest wizard in the land. Thus, the foreshadowing of heroic potential is there, but by himself, he never did anything with it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hero or Anti Hero

A hero is an example of some kind, someone who possesses a virtue that makes them stand apart and act as a proxy protagonist for our reader. They are usually the focal point of the story, but not necessarily our point of view character.

The anti hero is someone who is more of an average joe type. He doesn't do heroic things, he merely tries to survive them.

My goal with our point of view character is that he is caught up in the whirlwinds of Prophesy, and is very much an anti hero. I don't want him to be a bad person, just wholly unqualified for the world into which he has been swept. Then, said anti-hero becomes hero through his own conscious choice. Its actually a theme that appeared in Micronation, but I must admit it is one I like.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Moving Forward

So I have a premap kind of, but I haven't written it down on paper. So I have a few choices, but basically it amounts to, do I abandon my goal to start writing as of November 1 and finishing by the end of the year, or do I take the long slow route and get more comprehensive notes first?

I choose the first option. That means that I only have three months left to do any prep work I intend to do, and there are a lot of things left to be completed.

Special Effects etc

I have the skeleton for the most part, time to begin assembling the raw materials.

This month I will be primarily doing casting and setting details. One thing I want to do is 'screen test' our chosen cast with three short stories (that will not be included in the novel) primarily because I'll be posting them here and writing them all in one sitting, but it should help give me a feel for them once I start weaving everything together.

As for the plot, come September I'll put together the first half. I don't think I'll post the second half on here because I want the one, maybe two people reading this to be pleasantly surprised at the end.

The working title for now is "Flotsam"