Monday, February 11, 2013

NPC's and Comics

Editing my script tonight (again) to reflect the new changes in the villain.  Once this is done, I'll have a better idea of how the story is going to end.  I'm basically having problems coming up to the final battle, and can't decide if it's going to be a TV show or a radio show.

I'm thinking it could be one of those televised radio shows, like Imus or whatever his name is.  It would be easier to make a cool battle in a crowded building with TV cameras and stuff, and give me an opportunity to recycle characters. 

If there's anything I've learned from DnD, it's make the battles matter to the characters, and recycle your supporting cast to make more believable, rich, and interesting worlds.  Instead of meeting new people everywhere you go, creating a huge and shallow cast of characters, you create more interest with recurring characters.

If I make it in the TV studio, I get to recycle all the characters I introduced in Act 1 of the novel.  Also, I can make it more personal because it's where she works, and we Americans are very closely tied with that.

The more I think of it, as an urban fantasy, Capeless is very much like a solo quest for an RPG.  I think this makes it good, because I used to think that Capeless was a whole lot like Twilight (barf).

Good Night.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Somewhat Off-Topic: D&D

So you might have noticed that I hadn't updated in a few weeks.  This is due to multiple factors, mostly that I work in a different division on the ship with only 1 computer and my new job consists of cleaning fireplugs and checking watertight doors.

That being said, I've been pouring over the books we recently got for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Essentials.  I know lots of people don't like it, but I think it's a great way to engage in collective storytelling and further enhance my craft with the help of fledgling storytellers who think they're about to just wail on some goblin meat and live to tell the tale.  Little do they realize (until the next day) that living to tell the tale is the best part.

In fact, it was reading D&D Monster Vault that I came up with my better idea for the end of Capeless: Volume I, where the Puppetmaster becomes a Lich, instead of whatever-it-was-he-was-going-to-do.  It's a really rich book full of tons of good info.  Also, talking to my friend Will really helped me figure out what it is that necromancers want, especially what they would want with a demon.  By the way, yes, I plan on making 3 volumes.  Once the first one is done.  And I can find a publisher.  And it sells enough copies to justify my time.  Which is an undetermined amount.

So anyway, I'm making a story about the Feywild for a little bit, at least until I can come up with a skeleton for it.

I updated because a couple of days ago my friend Cody called me up and said that he loved my blog and thought I should keep it up.  Thanks for the encouragement, bro, and I love you.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Conflict : Tony

Another entry in my Conflict studies to improve the quality of the script.  This has spoilers, so if you don't want to be surprised, skip this post.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Conflict studies: Ruth

My goal: To make at least 3 internal conflicts, 3 interpersonal conflicts on at least 1 goal, and one external conflict for every main character.  In addition, I want to create at least one conflict of any kind for other characters.

Ruth Grey

Internal Conflicts
  • Ruth wants to be somewhat famous, like a TV anchor or personality, but she really prefers comfort to excitement and risk.
  • Ruth is attracted to powerful, older men, but she throws herself into her relationships without looking. 
  • Ruth wants to be appreciated, even admired, but doesn't feel like she really deserves it, and detects something is missing.
  • Ruth wants a good relationship with God, but she thinks she can bargain with Him, and doesn't really have a right relationship with Him yet.
Interpersonal Conflict
  • Ruth wants to live a normal, peaceful life.
    • The demon Ultu Ulla Xul wants world domination, thus putting everyone on the planet's lives in chaos.  He will make a deal with the Puppetmaster to garner as many souls and wreak as much havoc as possible.
    • Tony wants Ruth to go out on a limb and take risks.  He will pull strings to get her more opportunities at work that require more responsibility and give her more face time with higher-ups. 
    • Ruth's mother's idea of Ruth living a normal, peaceful life is Ruth moving back in with her, so she can take care of her.  She will call her and try to tell her that the world is big and scary, and that she should come home.
External Conflict

Ruth wants to live a normal, peaceful life, but a demon wants the blood of her superhero roommate, KateRuth doesn't even know Kate is a superhero.  Being a superhero has a lot of disadvantages, especially for those you love, and Kate's moonlighting eventually hurts those she loves.  
Ruth also is dating a man who, unbeknownst to her, is a necromancer who is assisting the demon.  With the help of Kate, Ruth will end up using her backdoor access to the demon to interrupt the ritual that will make her boyfriend and his demon supreme rulers of Earth.  If they fail, the world as we know it will be a literal living hell.
In a conversation about these conflicts with my wife, she said to me, "Seems like she doesn't look deeply into things.  She's satisfied with appearances, or at least, she thinks she is."
I replied, "That's how Capeless can happen. If she took the time to dig deep into things, she'd have a healthy, rich relationship with her best friend, and Kate would have felt comfortable opening up to her.  If Ruth was mature enough, she could even save their friendship after the inevitable fall-out that Kate would initiate after getting too close."  If I hadn't talked about it with her, I might not have realized this.  Kudos, babe.  I love you.

This is how I know I'm on the right track with this conflict thing.  Ruth's desires and the forces against her created the plot I'd already designed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Conflict exercise: This time, it's personal.

Today I did some searches on creative writing, and the more I read, the more I see where exactly to fix up my script.  Here's an exercise I did, and if you want to do it too, the link is here.

Inner conflict: Bob vs. himself

  • Bob wants to be a sailor, but he's claustrophobic and doesn't think he can ever really live on a ship.
  • Bob wants very much to try dog meat, because his life's passion is cooking and sharing different kinds of foods, but he doesn't think that anyone would eat it with him.
  • Bob fantasizes about getting out of his mother's basement, but he doesn't know how to operate in the outside world, and most days he finds himself more comfortable as his avatar in an online game.
  • Bob desperately wants to save his marriage, but he's having an affair and doesn't know how to end it without hurting the mistress.
  • Bob wants to be a secret agent, but he is terrible at lying and always spills the beans under pressure-- a little bit too many beans.

Interpersonal Conflict: Bob vs. others

Bob wants to be a secret agent.  He has applied for a job at interpol and did very well at his interview. The job is in another state.
  • Bob's girlfriend is afraid she will never see him again.  She likes living in Vanillaville and wants him to like it, too.  Forever.  She will try to tie him down with marriage, then buy a house with his name on it.
  • Bob's current boss doesn't want to have to find a replacement once Bob leaves.  Bob is currently in management, and is a good, hard worker.  He'll offer Bob a pay raise and benefits, plus give Bob a bad reference behind his back.
  • Max, another man vieing for the job, wants the slot at interpol.  Max has also dreamed of becoming a secret agent, and these jobs are very competitive.  He'll lie to make himself look better, and spy on Bob to find any kind of dirt he can.
  • Bob's father is afraid he'll lose the only family he has left.  His wife and daughter died in a terrorist attack while he was out fishing with Bob.  He gets drunk one night and cries, telling Bob about how lonely he's been since mom left, and how he wouldn't know how to live with himself if his boy turned up dead in Mali.
  • The director at MI6 met Bob on a tour of the building, and doesn't like him.  He's never been able to trust gingers ever since his wife left him for her ginger lesbian lover.  He'll pull some strings to get Bob's screening turned down.
External Conflict: Bob vs. the World

The British Embassy has been blown up, claiming hundreds of innocent victims.  An anonymous threat says that Vanillaville (Bob's hometown) and its Vanilla inhabitants, the Vanillites, are the next target.  Bob, a fresh recruit at secret agent school, has information on Vanillaville that could turn the conflict around for the Forces of Good.  With the help of his classmate Ricky, an Army veteran with a speech impediment, they must find a way to get this information to the Director before it is too late.  The school, however, is riddled with double agents, spies, and dirty agents, who will stop at nothing to capture Bob.  If they do, they will torture him until he gives them the information, then make him watch as his city, family, and friends all burn.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Antagonists- The Puppetmaster, Re-evaluated.

Hi there.  I know many (read: 2 or 3) of my friends ask me about my progress on the old novel.  No, I don't really have any new pictures.  In fact, I'd taken a break from writing Capeless.

"But Bagels, how can you do that? Capeless is your labor of love!"

The reason I keep taking breaks, re-writing, and editing the crap out of Capeless before I've even finished the entire first draft is, simply put, I have no idea what I'm doing.  Every time I work on the story, I find myself asking, "so what?" and "why would anyone read this?"

Let me tell you a tale.

I watched Les Miserables last week with my beautiful wife, and it's one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and a fantastic work of fiction.  I'm reading the book when I finish Hunger Games.  I realized I don't have a meaty antagonist.  Upon a quick google search, I found Kristen Lamb's Blog entry on the antagonist, how to make one, and what they really provide a story.  Fantastic read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes fiction (and tearing it apart like we do here at home).
Kristen Lamb and Victor Hugo finally forced me to answer the questions:

"What does Ruth (my protagonist) want?  What does the Puppetmaster (my villain) want?"

After I sat and pondered, and some talking with the wife, I realized that what all Ruth has ever needed, and what she has at the end of the story, is a sense of control and actualization, of impact on the world.  At the beginning of Capeless, we meet Ruth as a whining girl who simply reacts to the world, being its victim.  At the end, Ruth has become a woman with power, though she possesses no superpowers.  At the end, Ruth realizes that people aren't always powerless, controlled by their environment.  Sometimes, all anyone needs to do is step up and take control, and create action, to change their world.

Now on to the Puppetmaster, who I actually probably have to develop more than I've developed Ruth.  I need to make a powerful villain, or I'll keep asking, "so what?"  I think PM needs desperately to control, to sate his lust for power.  But why?  Why does he need to conquer?  What is missing (apart from Christ, but as he's a necromancer who makes a pact with a devil, so that part is obvious) in his life that causes this desire?  What in his childhood inspired this need in his adulthood?  Why isn't being CEO of a media conglomerate enough for him?  What does the demon get in return?   For that matter, what would really happen if he succeeds?

I realize I didn't answer those questions because I was afraid to think too hard.  Isn't that stupid?  Sometimes I'll think hard for days on how one single panel will look, and I can't even answer the really important questions.

So I should mention that Karen's blog also inspired me to start blogging again, and really start getting my creative juices flowing.  Shameless plug.

Until next time,


Every Blog's obligatory first post.

Good evening, blog.  This is my first post to you.  You should feel special, I guess.  I don't know if you'll be full of interesting things, or even if I'll post to you regularly.  Maybe you shouldn't feel special.  I had another blog before you, but I never used it.  Maybe you'll be different.  I have a renewed interest in writing, and I think it might be neat if people followed me, so they could watch my progress throughout the development of the graphic novel, Capeless. 
I know, I just broke the fourth wall.
Do comics have a fourth wall?
At any rate, I'm glad you're here, blog, to record things for me, so I can look back and reflect, and maybe others can keep up.