Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kallie.

You may remember me mentioning that I took a couple American Sign Language (ASL) classes in high school. You may also remember that Eckerd College didn't count ASL as a foreign language and I had to take French. I'd knee Eckerd in the balls if, alas, it had any.

Pushing aside that deep resentment, one of my characters is deaf. The idea came to me in the shower, but you really shouldn't read anything into that. There were only two characters who could have been deaf, but after thinking about it for a moment, I realized I was wrong. There was only one character who could be deaf and, verily, she should have been deaf all along. It was Kallie.

I mentioned her in the first post. Her favorite color is yellow, but she also has a soft spot for army green. She feels a strong need to be independent but, for now, thinks that means being able to beat people up. She fought a Cap named John Doe about two years ago. She lost, and he cut off eight of her fingers.

Luckily for Kallie, she lives twenty minutes in the future. There's universal health care and some swanky new advances in prosthetics. Maybe something like this or this.

Oh, crap. I mean, like this or this.

Advanced now, but twenty minutes in the future? Bargain bin stuff. In the future, if you lose a limb and have enough money, you can replace it with Harry Potter's wang. Wand. I mean, wand. Fuck.

Not to say Kallie's new fingers are perfect. She can't feel detail, and I cannot tell you how many times she's dropped her toothbrush in the sink. Not to mention all the trouble she has signing. It's like talking with your lips numbed. Forever.

But she keeps at it. Kallie wants to help people. And if you have superpowers, why not be a superhero?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I plotted, bitches!

Romance literature and LGBT literature are similiar. So similiar in fact, that I dislike them equally.

Romance just isn't enough of a plot. Person P meets Person V. They fall in love. Something stupid and completely avoidable happens. They break up. But no! They find each other because true love prevails. Ah, so happy. So satisfying. So... so nauseating.

Coming out isn't a plot either. Maybe it was but not anymore. Yeah, yeah, yeah, acceptance, blah, blah, everyone has the same insides, whatever, I don't care, Care Bear Stare!

I don't care what your plot is. Write a western. Write about werewolves on Jupiter. Write an alternate history mystery where Benjamin Franklin travels back to the days of Egypt and Rome to save Cleopatra, only to find her dead from a laser blast to the heart.

If there's romance, it takes a backseat to the plot. Coming out? BACKSEAT. Or better yet, if your story takes place 20 minutes in the future, maybe homosexuality isn't such a big deal at all. Instead of a LGBT character, have a character who just happens to be LGBT. Those werewolves from Jupiter. They're lesbians. Does that make them more awesome? Yes. Should their hot and hairy she wolf-on-she wolf scissoring be part of the plot? No. Maybe. Well, not unless you're writing erotic fiction.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caps.

Anyone with superpowers in my book is called a Cap. I didn't want to borrow any term already established, like Marvel's mutant or DC Comics' metahuman, because... Well, because.

Cap is short for capricious. Merriam-Webster defines that as "governed or charazterized by caprice: implusive, unpredictable." Which I thought was perfect since 1) No one knows what's causing it, and 2) The powers themselves are capricious.

When you take a peek at other superhero works, the two most general powers that almost everyone has are super strength and super resilience to injury. Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Martian Manhunter, Captain Hammer, Dr. Impossible, etc. The list is almost endless. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this, and it makes a lot of sense because this is the easiest way to get superheros super fightin'.

The third general power is exclusive to superheroines, and it's super large boobs.

In my book/universe/sandbox/whatever you want to call it, powers appear to be random. In the last post, I told you Marcus was an anthromorphic were-tiger but also had the completely unrelated power of future-lookings. I'm pretty sure that's the technical term for it.

There's also a woman who has the power to grow her hair really fast. And a man with dragonfly wings instead of arms. I assume those dragonfly wings have been scaled up in size.

So I call them Caps. Nice and short. Plus, it sounds vaguely reminiscent of word "Jap" which I thought gave it a slightly derogatory feeling.

Caps have to register. It's not some awful thing, but it classifies Caps into four groups. But before all that, there's the lowest classification, Green, which actually only applys to non-Caps. If you are a Cap, you can be a Blue, Yellow, Orange, or Red. If that sounds familiar, it's because I lifted it directly from the Terror Alert that Homeland Security set up. Green is low risk. Blue is general risk. Yellow is significant risk. Orange is high, and Red is severe.

That hair-growing woman would be a Blue. Marcus would be a Red. Lady GaGa would be a Orange, but only because she possesses the ability to shoot fire out of her breasts.

Let's say you were a Cap. And you were strong. So strong you could bench press Kevin Federline. With your nipple. You register, and you turn out to be a Yellow. Not bad, but you're gonna have to take muscle relaxants for the rest of your life. Not enough to take all your strength away, just enough to bring you back to the human realm. You wouldn't be the strongest person in the world anymore, just one of the strongest. As strong as a Green could be, without being superhuman. It's not an unreasonable policy.

It's a little different for Reds. If you had the power to turn brains into mashed bananas, and penises into hedgehogs, it'd be safe to say you would be unemployed. And locked up. Not a fair situation, but there's no anti-penisturnedhedgehog drug.

Lady GaGa would only have to wear a flame-retardant bra. That she could never take off.

So what if you just didn't register. Keep bench pressing K-Fed with your nipple. I'm sure he doesn't mind.

Well, I hope you like being labeled a terrorist. And you should probably put K-Fed down before the cops show up, arrest you, and send you on a nice one-way trip to Guantanamo Bay. Harsh, yes. But you're only a Yellow. You'll probably be able to get out of it. God forbid if you'd banana-fied K-Fed's brains.

But what is a Red to do? Most of them just live under the radar. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you must. But then again, not every Cap has the luxury of looking completely human.

Questions? Comments?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A little clarification.

In my last post, I didn't mean to imply that doomsday scenarios were dumb. They're not dumb; they tap into some very real suspicions and worries people have about the world. Look at all the hype surrounding 2012. Hell, remember Y2K? For some reason, the end of the world is very real fear to people. And when a book or movie or YouTube video incorporates some kind of apocalyse, or threat of an apocalyse, into the fabric of the story, the stakes are instantly raised. The tension and drama dials get turned up. It's not an inherently cheap trick, and it can be done well.

However, I think exploring end of SOMEONE'S world is more powerful. And in this particular case, that's what I wanted to do. I wanted the focus to stay on the characters. I wanted realism. Or as much realism as you can get when one of your characters is an anthropomorphic were-tiger who can see the future.

I am walking a fine line here.

Also, I didn't want to imply that my characters' superpowers were superfluous. One of the driving points of the plot is Marcus's search for the cause of this superpower explosion.

Marcus is the aforementioned were-tiger.

If you find yourself wondering how the fuck that makes sense considering he knows the future, STOP IT.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm supposed to be writing right now.

And I am! Technically. Sometimes I get stuck working on my novel. I guess it's called writer's block. But it's mostly just laziness on my part.

Usually I try skipping around the story. Last time I got stuck, I skipped a chapter ahead and wrote a little scene with Kallie and her brother. I should probably stop and explain what exactly I'm writing before I throw character names at you. MARCUS! HUGO! RED! Muahahahahaha!

... I got inspired by superhero movies. So yeah, it's a book about superheroes. But what I wanted to do differently was create a world that didn't require saving. You see it all the time: Doctor Octavius decides to build a sun-making machine in a loft in downtown New York, never mind that SUNS ARE FUCKING DANGEROUS. Someone tricks Professor X into stabbing everyone's brains with a sharp stick. Or like in Heroes, the world is chronically five minutes away from exploding. But in real life, the world seems to be fine. I mean, it's messed up, don't get me wrong. But it's not going to crack into bite-sized pieces anytime soon. Delicious bite-sized pieces.

So I wanted to really, honestly, give superpowers to real individuals. Not people who cackled and monologued and had monocles, but the average guy next door. Like Heroes's first season, I suppose, but still, without the need to save the cheerleader and save the world.

"How droll," I can hear you say through the smacking of your gums as you force more and more chicken into your gaping mouth. "What are they going to use their superpowers for if not to save the world?" A scrap of fried chicken skin clings moistly to your bottom lip.

Well, what would you use your powers for? Maybe some of you would try to fight crime, or commit crimes. But the vast majority of you would use your telekinetic powers to get beer outta the fridge. Don't lie to me.

That doesn't mean that there isn't any action in my novel. Within the first twenty pages, there are two separate action scenes. I just want to write something realistic. No one wears a costume. No one uses an alias. The human race is not under threat of extinction. Everything's fine. We've just got people acting like people. So, obviously, something awful is on its way. BUT NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Ha. Anyway. That's it for now. In conclusion, I apparently have an intense grudge against any sort of doomsday scenario.