sa01 is ready to get this wagon train rolling

1 11 2009

Welcome to the Second Age. Enjoy your stay.

I stopped there because I ran out of outline. I’m trying to keep this ‘season’ fast and loose, flowing and improvisational — but there is a method to the madness. Here’s the game plan.

We’ll be following two different runs. “The Second Age” consists of short stories within the universe of anachronauts, which may or may not involve members of the core cast. New friends and enemies will abound, new places to visit. We’ll see how the world is developing as Queen Emily makes the push for peace with her neighbors.

The first “sa” (second age) story also kicks off “The Explorers,” which is in the traditional novel/chapter format, telling one complete story. Technically, sa01 is the first chapter of The Explorers as well, or rather, its prologue… the series will have our anachronauts splitting away from the court of Queen Emily, to explore the world, starting with the mysterious sealed lands of Westusa.

Now, as I noted in an earlier LJ post, my November is gonna be PACKED with activity. I don’t know how much writing I’ll get done. But I have plans, I have passion, and we are in for a wild ride no matter how fast or slow I get it done. Stay tuned.

Feedback on sa01 welcome, of course! Even if it’s just “YAY!”. I’ll never turn aside a good yay. (Even if I do like more, generally.)

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20 responses

1 11 2009
benabik

YAY!
Oh, you’d like more? Well, so would I. ;-D

1 11 2009
shadur

I dislike Briel already. Not that I’m approving much of Nell’s attitude, but she does seem to be admitting at least to herself that petty jealousy isn’t the right approach. Briel, on the other hand… I dunno. Maybe it’s just how thickly he’s laying it on.

1 11 2009
Anonymous

YAYAYAYAYAYAY
This update made me supremely happy. Scout is surprisingly cool in his new role. He definitely hasn’t lost his edge since turning to the light. I’m glad to see Emily’s old mentor again. Even in the few paragraphs you gave him in A1, I liked him a great deal.
Brell’s supposed to be over-the-top. Although, I do find it questionable that Una would fall for that sort of thing. My interpretation of Una was that she had matured during the ordeal from A1, and she wasn’t the love-struck little girl she formally was. Maybe if Brell was more of a smooth-talker rather than a cheesy poet it might be more believable for Una to fall for him? I don’t know. Or maybe the long blond hair is just distracting her.
The question that keeps coming to my mind is how far you’re going to go with Nel’s and Una’s relationship. Are you going to keep it ambiguous or is it eventually going to become full-out romance? Personally, I like Nel and Una together. They’re adorable.
I think Runeblade has the potential to be really interesting, especially now that she’s having to deal with being cut off from magic. It’d be like having a limb cut off. Then again I love the bad-ass warrior woman types.
BTW, I’m thinking of doing some Second Age fanart. Any chance we can get some character descrips for some of the newbies? I’m thinking of Runeblade in particular.

1 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: YAYAYAYAYAYAY
Good idea. I’ll try to work in a description for Jesse in my next revision. I considered re-describing the standby characters too, in the same way I ‘summarized’ what’s happened to date, but it’s tricky finding spots where that doesn’t feel crowbared in.
The key with Brell is twofold. One, he approached her; that’s never happened before. Two, Una may have come to understand her problems with romance more… but she’s only human, and under that kind of full-on amorous assault, she buckled. As for where this is going… you’ll see.

1 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Touché!

1 11 2009
Anonymous

Re: YAYAYAYAYAYAY
That makes sense. It’s kind of weird to me personally that nobody has ever approached Una before. Isn’t she supposed to be very attractive? Did she smell bad? I’m sure there’s an actual reason.

1 11 2009
Anonymous

Long time reader here- I’ve been around when you started on Unreal Estate and I rediscovered your work when you were just about done with anachronauts.
‘YAY!’ doesn’t even BEGIN to describe my feelings on the subject.
Anyway, I’m really liking sa01. For me, at least, Jesse’s segment in particular stole the show; I wasn’t expecting her to come back, not like this. I loved the way you built on what we (thought that we) knew about her; you’re doing a good job of fleshing her out, and I look forward to her development.
Una and Nel… it’s definitely probably just me, but I can’t help but feel that Nel is walking a very thin line.
Emily and Scout- they’re basically my favorite characters, both personality-wise and because I just… really like the way they fight and/or solve problems. Emily’s backstory initially struck me as being VERY similar to Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, and moreso when the story started digging into what it meant to be a (non-insane, non-brain-burny) witch, but anachronauts set itself apart with flying colors soon enough. Scout’s blend of (unwillingly gained) Faerie powers and military know-how was ridiculously cool.
I’m kind of sad that they might be fading more into the background, due to their respective duties- I was looking forward to seeing Scout as a Lion of Summer.
… and that’s all I got so far. I’m looking forward to the rest of it! :D

1 11 2009
storytellersjk

Good start. Going into this chapter I think your hardest potential job was the rehabilitation of Jesse. We are given such primal reasons to dislike by way of both her appearance in Chapter 1 and Emily’s flashback that turning her into a protagonist that an audience will want to follow could be tricky. Yet you nailed it. She is a dangerously flawed person who nonetheless could be very interesting to watch. Somewhat (though admittedly only distantly) like Spike from the last few seasons of Buffy by way of example.
I also hope we get more development on Una’s new boyfriend. The obvious way a lesser writer might unfold the character is as nothing more than a foil who stands in the way of what the audience really wants which in this case is those two crazy kids getting together. But with what I know of your writing it wouldn’t surprise me if you went a completely different direction and played against audience expectation. Except that of you would expect that we would expect you to go against our expectations so we can’t drink from the goblet on right either because it might have the Iocaine powder… Er I mean we have no way of really knowing how this will play out. Regardless we need more of explanation for how Una ended up with the guy in order for it to be believable but I not worried you will give it to us. Good start and I eagerly await more.
Oh and because both I couldn’t resist and am completely shameless:
“YAY”

1 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: YAYAYAYAYAYAY
She lives in a population of flawlessly pretty space geniuses. Compared to most of Earth’s population she’s beautiful and intelligent; compared to the Orbitals, she’s ordinary and dull (91% on tests, etc).

1 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I definitely drew inspiration from Pratchett for Emily and witchcraft in general. But then again, Unreal Estate was basically me going “Love Hina meets Outlaw Star!” so I think the amount of backspin I put on that ball keeps it unique. :)
There will be more of Emily and Scout, in the Second Age story series. Una and Nel will be splitting off into the Explorers story series.

2 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

You might be a bit disappointed with Brell, then. Mostly he exists as a way to ‘pause’ Nel and Una’s relationship during the Time Skip. I have plans to work with it, and it’ll definitely not be paved over in short order, but he is definitely a foil. Hopefully it’ll play out in a way that works, though.

2 11 2009
storytellersjk

Hey as long as its well written I’m fine with whatever you write. Believe I’m a big Nell/Una fan so them getting together would be great, I just did not want to assume anything is all. I do hope he won’t turn out to be some one dimensional mustache twirling jerk who Una clearly should have been smart enough not to fall for. I’ve seen that particular trope used one to many times for my liking. If he comes off as a real character (albeit a minor one) and not just as a plot device (even if he IS just a plot device) then all is groovy.
By the by, what is the status of the physical copy of the first Anachronauts? I’ve got money burning in my wallet just aching to be spent on it. Plus I want it give to some people (my father included) who are reluctant to read anything that is not printed on paper but I know would love your work.

2 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’m pretty occupied with moving to my new house, as well as other November foo. I do have it on my plate, though, and once I get time to research the alternatives more and prepare the book, it’ll go out.

2 11 2009
luridel

Hate Brell already. It took me a while to really get attached to Nel, but she seems to have grown a lot between a and s. (a and s? Well, sure, let’s go with that.)
Also YAY! More anachronauts! Just what I wanted to read this morning.

2 11 2009
kamalloy

So I’m probably going to invoke the wrath of most of the commenters by freely admitting that I am very much not a member of the “Nel x Una 4Ever!” camp. I was hoping that they’d get a chance to try out the relationship thing, realize that it wasn’t quite what they were looking for, and still remain really good friends whilst persuing other gals/guys if they so desired. So I’m note really sure what to think of Brell here, since he’s more Relationship Obstacle than anything else, and thus Nel and Una haven’t even gotten their chance (even if I’m wanting said chance to end unromantically). Hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be the wandering minstrel romancing a girl in every town sort. I can see him being the type who’s in love with the idea of having a lovely young woman waiting for him, and once she’s no longer guaranteed to be waiting, his interest totally drops off. This is just idle speculation, so don’t mind me too much. ;)
Also am enjoying Jesse’s return so far; the revelations help a lot in getting behind her as a character, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes from here.
Emily not being much of a delegator doesn’t really surprise me. It’s a hard thing to learn when you’re used to fending for yourself.

2 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I get the feeling nobody’s gonna be happy with this apparently not very clever plot hurdle I set up. c.c; Yeah, it fufils a few staple tropes, but is that really a bad thing? *sigh* Well, we’ll see what I can do with it.
As for Nel x Una, I don’t think it’s ZOMG SPOILARS to say I’m definitely working in that direction. But it’s not going to be a simple and easy matter, any more than Scout x Emily was.

2 11 2009
jengagne

RE: not simple and easy… which is why I’m happy that it’ll be a relationship to develop and truly mature “onscreen” rather than being two years along when this story arc starts, yanno? So in that sense Brell is absolutely necessary. Can’t think of a different way to swing it plotwise, really.
As for whether Una and Brell’s relationship depth (or lack thereof) is realistic, take it from me, 2f… being apart most of the time does a lot to mask issues in a relationship and can dramatically extend the amount of time it takes to notice them. Especially true for inexperienced sorts like Una. Him being on tour and occasionally sweeping into town would do that for sure.

2 11 2009
kamalloy

I think part of my problem with Nel/Una was that things could potentially get rushed; having the time skip happen and their friendship develop and deepen in the meantime definitely helps with that. I’m still a bit worried about Nel’s feelings for Una in that a good relationship should be between equal partners, and it looks like Nel still elevates Una in her mind. The part about not calling her Lady Una out loud seems to hint at the fact that she sometimes still thinks about Una that way.
As for the staple tropes thing, I guess maybe I was expecting a clever plot twist? I don’t think it’s bad; I’m just used to something a bit less straightforward. That probably sounds horrible and harsh and it’s not meant to be. ^^; The First Age stories kept me guessing on a *lot* of things so I guess I was expecting twistiness right from the start on the Second.
But I’m really really looking forward to all of the Second Age! I want to make sure that you know I’m enjoying things and have a few minor quibbles that are most likely just my own things and not serious problems! This is why I find it hard giving feedback because I don’t want to sound too negative but I don’t want to be all “Yay!” with no further comment. ^^;

2 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Nel definitely has a bit of work to do to be someone who can actually have a relationship, rather than an adoring crush — but I think thanks to the time skip, she’s a good portion of the way there. If anything, being appropriate-C-word-blocked for two years forced her to re-examine things a bit, and mature to compensate.
When I first wrote her into anachronauts, it was quite obviously to ensure Una had someone by the end. I especially felt bad after writing the at-death’s-door confession in a05. (“Geez, did I seriously get that depressing? I have GOTTA do something nice for that girl in the end…”) I knew though that it would not be something to rush through, which is why it was very simple and superficial at first — a teaser, if you will. Then the time jump hits, and the REAL work can begin to make it work properly.
…this is all in my head at this point, understand. Once it starts unfolding on virtual paper it’ll probably make a lot more sense. Look for more a01 within a week, MAYBE tonight. I seriously ran out of outline; I’ve got work to do first.

2 11 2009
kamalloy

Una definitely deserves some happy. While Scout and Emily have been through TRAUMA, Una certainly didn’t have the sweet, happy life that it appeared she had pre-Chapter 4. I wanted to give her a hug after that one. Lots of hugs. And even more in Chapter 5.
And I should add that the more we talk about this, the more I’m seeing the logistics and motivation behind Nel and Una. Discussion is good!

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