(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Three Strange Serieses I Like

I have been introduced to a new genre that I am seriously digging.  Mostly, I dig them because they're weird and each one unique and require a lot of thought.  They are not conventional entertainment.  But hey, maybe my fans don't want conventional entertainment!  So I will share them with you.

The genre are stories told by YouTube animated videos.  Usually they're shorts a few minutes long, but some serieses have much longer episodes.  The format allows for a freedom of creation you can't get in television shows, and effects you can't get in books.  The animation is inevitably basic, and instead the creators focus on exploiting the potential of those basic formats.  So, the three I've gotten into so far...

Ratboy Genius.  This is a series of heavily music focused videos in the 3-5 minute range by 'Ratboy Genius.'  Ratboy Genius is not a visual artist.  His 3D art skills improve as the show goes on, but he's going for a weird 'children's scribble' flavor anyway.  It's all one story, but presented in miniserieses that follow different main characters and subplots.  It's all pretty surreal.  I started with the Little King John miniseries, and I love that arrogant mostly beneficent god-creator of his own little Minecraft world.

The big thing with Ratboy Genius is the music. I don't have enough of a background to describe why it is good, but the creator is, well, a genius at electronically produced music.  If you're inclined to that, throw yourself at Ratboy Genius immediately.

Petscop.  This is a fake game Let's Play, telling a story by having a YouTuber play a supposedly rare, forgotten Playstation game and recording it for some unknown friend.  There is no actual Petscop game, and the most brilliant part of the series is how flawlessly it looks like he's recording a game, instead of animating videos.  It's meant to be creepy (I don't creep out, so I don't know if it is) and a puzzle for the audience to figure out.  So much so that there are whole (dysfunctional, of course) online communities dedicated to doing so, and meta commentary on how the YouTube page is structured and possibly outside websites.  There are YouTube serieses just about analyzing Petscop.

Important:  Petscop has obvious symbolic themes of child abuse, and contains references to real life cases of fatal child abuse, if you put together the pieces.  It's all presented that way rather than blatant actions, but knowing that theme can help decide if a viewer will love it or hate it.

It is much slower than the other two shows I'm discussing today.  Episode length is mostly 10-30 minutes.  Unlike the other two, Petscop is ongoing, but releases at a tremendously slow rate, sometimes months between episodes.

Finally, Kuroi_Channel!  Man, what a head trip this series is.  27 episodes, most less than two minutes.  Are you aware of the 'virtual YouTuber' phenomenon, where voice and sometimes video sync animation programs substitute a cartoon/anime character for the YouTuber?  Well, this is about one of those.  Or three of those.  Except they're not substituting for anybody, they're nearly incoherent artificial beings who've had their third dimension destroyed in a war and are trying to learn 3D modeling to get it back.

I... think.  Kuroi_Channel is nonstop glitch aesthetics, one of the purest and most brilliantly evolving portrayals of that aesthetic ever.  If you particularly liked Portal because of how obviously broken GlaDoS was, Kuroi will be the thing for you.

Unlike the other two, Kuroi_Channel does not have a big fanbase.  It is tiny and relatively unknown.  If I can point a few people towards that freaky armless glitch cat and her two sisters Homebody and Thumbnail Witch, I'll have done a good deed.

That's it for today!  I'm trying to get back to using this blog, because what stopped me was mostly stressing over my publisher.  Maybe in the next day or two I'll review She Ra.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Real Sample

Okay, folks.  Here is the test.  I have written what I intend to be the first chapter of the currently untitled new cyberpunk book.  A dropbox link to a pdf is the best I can give you.  If anyone wants to read it, I would appreciate knowing if I have a Property, something that people will want to read if I write a full book or books.

Serenity Rose, Chapter One

EDIT - DANG it.  I knew Serenity Rose sounded familiar.  It's the name of the heroine from Heart Shaped Skull.  I like that comic, and I'm absolutely not going to copy the character name.  Oh, well, I'll come up with another.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Exploring The Cyberpunk Writing Tone

This guy really wanted you to know how tough and experienced he was.  Everything he wore was scratched and frayed at the ends from use, but still intact and completely functional.  His dull orange pants were just loose enough to tuck into the tops of his combat boots, and dusted with sand despite the pouring rain outside.  Metal armor plates protected his thighs, letting you know he was the kind of guy never completely comfortable without armor, and I guess also that he really valued his thighs.

His faded maroon shirt didn't match his pants, because hardened, cynical soldiers don't worry if their clothes clash.  Don't worry, you couldn't see much of it beneath the empty bandoliers and the leather jacket.  Thick leather, of course.  A man with his past might face a knife in the back or being thrown against a car at any moment.  Same with the black gloves.  You never know when you'll have to settle things with your fists.

Shoulder guards attached to the jacket?  Of course.  The ancient scarf around his neck was a good touch, no doubt hiding ugly scars from a dramatic combat while reminding him of a woman who died in his arms.  Mysterious pouches on his belt and bulges in his jacket assured you he was armed, and you could take it for granted he had a knife in his boot.  Streaks of grey at his temples marked not-quite-black hair.  You know, because he was old enough to have seen decades of combat but young enough to be strong.  Finally, a couple of patches on his jacket had faded into unidentified landscapes and illegible logos, letting you cleverly figure out that he'd been everywhere and seen everything, which always resulted in shooting people.

The first words out of his mouth would include a reference to his days as a mech pilot, so you'd know he had the skills to battle against the teenage girls with direct nervous interfaces who normally piloted mechs.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

You Knew I Was Writing, Right?

I have just finished writing what I am tentatively calling A Rag Doll's Guide To Enchantment And Murder.  I'm going to be badly frazzled for the next few days, but one of the many things I need to do as soon as I'm coherent is send it out to beta readers.  I lost the email address I used last time to collect addresses to mail to, but basically it's time to start volunteering and I'll work out a system very soon.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Teaser And Exploration

Cyberpunk is winning in my head because there's so much fun goofy stuff to mine.  Here is potentially the first two paragraphs of such a book:

“Get up. Shower. Brush teeth. Spike my hair with oil and lean it over to one side. Dust below my eyes for the ‘punched in the face’ look. Apply a very small amount of green lipstick, one shade darker than my hair. Begin putting on spiked leather bands. Continue putting on spiked leather bands. Add some pre-torn clothing somewhere during that process. Check mirror to confirm I look like death. It takes a lot of time and effort to not be pretty

No piercings. Too retro. I couldn’t afford a cybernetic arm, even with trade-in on the original. I found a metal skin-web once, but Mimi stole it from my trunk and Cosmos stole it from her mattress and Ajax beat Cosmos up and took it and Chaos blew up Ajax’s trunk to give the web back to me because he’s sweet and Liriel put a glamour on him and took it and buried it in the yard so it wouldn’t corrupt our auras or whatever and Fidget watched her do it, dug the web up, and sold it for an AR Monster before anyone else could steal it. Death Rooster is wicked cool and I can’t be mad.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Whence Forth?

And now, the positive side!

If not Supervillain, then what?????

I ain't short on ideas.  I ain't ever short on ideas, kids.

The biggest problem is that my ideas are so often weird.  'Metal, Candy, Flesh' weird.  I mean, even A Rag Doll's Guide To Here And There is pretty weird.  I have been informed, and I agree, that human protagonists that a teen can empathize with are important for a popular series.  I hate Everymans, but like Penny, that just means I give the main character a lot of personality.

It will be a girl between 12 and 15 with a tendency to be the bad guy.  Sorry, I just love that kind of thing.  I just hate the implication it will replace the Supervillain world.

Okay, so, I have two ideas and this is where you guys come in.  I could use your opinions on which is better.

First idea:  Space Western.  I actually even have an experimental title for the first book, 'You Must Be This Tall To Steal A Spaceship.'  The main character is Pixie, or as she puts it “With a name like Pixie, most people assume I’m an annoyingly hyperactive optimist with a compulsive attraction to trouble, and they are correct.”  I have rigged up a physics explanation that means the galaxy is very frontier, with all FTL travel and communications centering around small ships.  Piracy, scavenging, exotic ports of call, treasure planets, sarcastic teammates, weird aliens, and spaceships crewed by cowboys, ninjas, pirates, clowns, and any other cliche I can think of.  Pixie and her crew are already well defined to me, and stealing spaceships and scavenging precursor technology sounds like a hoot.

Problem:  I don't think a space setting is very relatable.  Pixie has almost no regular kid problems.

Second idea:  Cyberpunk.  I don't think anybody has done early teen cyberpunk.  There is a whole lot of potential there.  A giant, endless city under a smoke-choked sky.  I get to use my "All We Wanted Was To Make You Happy" crazy robot idea.  Weird people, weird crimes, and most importantly, goofy 80s and 90s futurism weird, which is hilarious and fun.  Cyberspace.  Fake magic.  You know the saying 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic?'  The Embraced have taken advantage of that to make themselves feel like wizards and witches and elves and all that.  I get to put Emma Dark in an orphanage, which while not the standard child experience should give her enough connection points.  While Pixie craves adventure, Emma is driven by curiosity and rebellion.

Problem:  The world itself is literally fairly dark, even if Emma's adventures will mostly be fun, and it's a damn shame wasting Pixie and her well-developed characters that friends are telling me they like.

So.  Your thoughts and preferences?

The Reason Why

Alright.

I guess there's not much point in keeping this a secret anymore.

The odds of there being another Supervillain book any time soon are low.  I am learning more and more what a miracle it is that the series got to finish.

It's not my willingness to write, and it's not the fan reception.  You people are beautiful, and you buy every book with gluttonous fervor as if you understand me for the writing god I truly am.  I love that world, and there are plenty of characters to write in it, even if I'd like to space things out with the kind of exotic weirdness that is my first love.

My publisher is a mess.  'Stealing my money' a mess.  I cannot be sure they're going to ever pay me again, I'm going to be consulting a lawyer when I get Heartfelt's book finished and have that emotional room, and I'm never going to send them another book.  The problem is, I've talked to agents and no publisher is going to touch a book that Curiosity Quills can make even the most laughable legal claim on.  That is any book in the Supervillain world.  Until my publisher closes down, and hoo boy are they obviously on their deathbed, I can't write more of those.

Has this year and a half process of my publisher disintegrating, getting no support for them and having to fight again and again for my royalties been stressful, depressing, and interfered with writing and my whole author schtick?  Why, yes.  Yes, it has.  I resisted telling the public because I felt at first that it was unprofessional to air my publisher's dirty laundry, and then because it would interfere with getting the thousands of dollars they still owe me.  I've run out of patience on both of those.

I don't know who my next publisher will be.  I've been told there's no point in shopping for an agent until I have a new book ready to go.  I'm writing the second to last chapter of A Rag Doll's Guide To Here And There, so that will be soon.  Celestia only knows where things go from there.

So, that's what's been happening.  I was going to ask a very important question of you folks, but I think I'll put that in a separate post so we can put this behind us and focus on the positive!

PS - Yes, I'll need beta readers in a few weeks, but wait for it.  A cross country trip is going to slow things down a bit.