Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Review: Girl Power

Yup, I'm reviewing my own stuff again.  Because I'm a self-centered jerk like that.

Anyway, I finished the first draft of the story yesterday.  I have this weird compulsion where I always want to finish whatever I'm working on before I go on vacation, so I had to burn some midnight oil the last week to get it done.  It's funny because when I started I figured it'd be a long short story.  Well then after the first day of writing I already had 3,500 words and I'd barely scratched the surface.  Then I figured it'd be a novella, less than 50,000 words.  Wrong again.  It's 70,000 words, which is a short novel, but still a novel.  So there.

I pretty much "pantsed" this one, as in I mostly made it up as I went along.  Though it's kind of half-assed pantsing since I usually thought things over in my head in bed or in the car or on the toilet and then wrote them out, which really isn't flying by the seat of your pants entirely but it's not outlining it either.  Though as always there are some scenes that just come to you when you start writing, so those are pantsed.  Basically all the scenes where they fight a mechanical kaiju I made up as I went along, which included taking a break to figure out how to create an electromagnetic pulse.  Hooray for the Internet!

I talked about the story in a Saturday post a couple weeks ago, but just to expand on that, it's a story about a team of superheroes known as the Super Squad.  There's Apex Man who's based off Superman, Velocity Man based off the Flash, Lord Neptune based off Aquaman, and Midnight Spectre based off Batman.  (I'm more familiar with DC heroes than Marvel so that made more sense.)  They go to the former lair of the evil Dr. Roboto to find a villain who calls herself the Feminazi.  She's in possession of an alien weapon that winds up turning our heroes into heroines.

There's a series of chapters (perhaps too many) where they have to learn to adjust to their new bodies and learn to dress and put on makeup and do their hair and all that stuff.  Eventually they get back out into the world where they face new challenges, many of them relationship-oriented.  But they also have to deal with sexism, like when Apex Girl gets a job in an office and starts getting sexually harassed by her jerk of a boss.  Or when Velocity Girl shows up in Paris to stop some terrorists the policemen on the scene blow her off.  Those were some of the harder scenes to write because it was hard trying to think what a sexist pig should say to a hot chick, because obviously I have no experience with that--at least the talking to hot chicks part.

The other struggle was to remember to throw in some action scenes in the middle not just to focus on the relationship stuff, which probably annoyed people about my Chance of a Lifetime book because it starts off with action and ends with action but in between there's not so much action.

The end gets a bit crazy.  I might have to change some things if I can come up with something less crazy.  Or maybe with something even crazier.  But for now the first draft is done.  You can read the rough cut for free on Smashwords and Wattpad.  This is the first time I used Wattpad while actually writing a story.  It's OK, but it's weird how Chapter 7 might get 5 reads and Chapter 14 might get 20 reads.  I assume most of the "reads" are just robots from search engines.  Or morons who apparently just dive into a story halfway through.  How dumb is that?  Compared to when I used Blogger to post a story and read it online to edit it's not as good because you can't copy and paste.  Maybe you can if you don't put any copyright info on it, but then people can steal it, though they probably can anyway.

Between computer meltdowns I was able to make all four versions of each main character on the Sims 3, so here's some infographics.  Or graphics and then info because I was too lazy to put the info on the graphics--and because the computer would probably have started to crash again.

So here we go:
At the top you have the Before pictures.  On the left is Stan Shaw, a mild-mannered reporter for the Atomic City Star.  He's friendly with a reporter named Kate King, but she's much more interested in Stan's superhero identity Apex Man, who has super strength, infrared vision, flame breath, and of course he flies.

On the bottom are the After pictures.  On the left is Starla Marsh, a mild-mannered copy editor for the Atomic City Star who Kate King takes under her wing.  Except Kate is always ditching poor Starla to chase after Starla's superhero identity Apex Girl, who does all the cool stuff Apex Man does because she's a cousin who also survived the destruction of an alien planet, which is of course Superman and Supergirl respectively.
The Before of this one is Ellis Pate, who also goes by the name Lord Neptune.  He spent his early childhood being raised by a normal human family in New Zealand but one day an old man showed up claiming to be Ellis's real father and also the ruler of the underwater kingdom of Pacifica.  After his biological fiather died, Ellis took over as the king of Pacifica, but he doesn't like to spend time there because it's full of backstabbing Game of Thrones-type politicians who would also not be very accepting of the fact Ellis is gay.  So Ellis spends a lot of time on an atoll in the Pacific with his boyfriend.

That is until the After when he becomes Elise Gold.  Since about the only thing they hate more in Pacifica than a homosexual is a woman on the throne, she can't rule the kingdom anymore.  Instead when she's underwater she disguises herself as a commoner.  On the land she goes by the superhero name the Mermaid, not that there's much she can actually do on land.  Elise becomes a free agent on the dating market when her boyfriend is not interested once he finds out she has a vagina.  d'oh.
On the Before pictures for these we have Rob Holloway, womanizing billionaire playboy--or so the world thinks.  In reality, Rob is an expert in martial arts and uses his money to fund a bunch of sweet gadgets so he can beat the shit out of criminals as Midnight Spectre.  Midnight Spectre is the only member of the Super Squad with no actual powers, but with courage and cunning he pulls his weight.

Then with the After we have Robin Holloway, a scrawny, feisty 17-year-old girl.  Since Robin is about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds with no muscle tone, she's booted off the Super Squad.  She starts to retrain her body while using her awesome hacking and detective skills to unravel the conspiracy behind the Feminazi's plot, all while posing as a typical high school student.
The Before on this starts with Dr. Alan Bass, a biochemist at the elite T.U.R.B.O. Labs. Thanks to a long-ago lab accident, Alan's body chemistry was accelerated to make him Velocity Man, whose power is obviously to run fast.  When he's not working or fighting crime, Alan has a wife named Sally and a young daughter named Jenny, both of whom he'd like to see more often.  (A note on the Velocity Man costume in this is his face shouldn't be entirely blue but there's no Flash-like cowl so available so I just made his skin blue.)

After, Alan becomes Dr. Allison Sable, who works at Grant Laboratories to try to figure out what the Feminazi used on them and how they might reverse the effects.  Allison is more concerned about her family, who think she died in a lab explosion.  She desperately wants to see them, but how can she explain what happened?  She also masquerades as Velocity Girl, who obviously has all the powers as Velocity Man, though she has trouble at first running in spike heels and with hair whipping in her face.

Most of the book ended up being written through Midnight Spectre's point of view.  I think in part because she's the Batman character and Batman is my favorite superhero.  Also she's a lot like Stacey Chance so that probably felt more comfortable.  Is it really giving anything away to say she has to save the day at the end?

Even though I am on vacation, Box Office Blitz continues tomorrow!


  1. I'm curious what P.T. Dilloway does on his vacation. I hope you'll share your vacation excitement with us. If you aren't doing anything interesting remember that we're writers and the truth is hardly mandatory.

  2. Those are some detailed backgrounds Pat. Especially for Sable. Enjoy your vacation Man.

  3. For your vacation you must go to the Grumpy Bulldog Retreat.



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