8 Oct 2015

Crossover Chapter 7 - Commentary

Nasty works out who crossed over and Vicki meets people who have heard of her.  Welcome to the commentary for the seventh chapter.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The bits featuring the convention are purely for colour.  I tried to get the feel of a con in, even if the action leads elsewhere.  The goal was a feeling of immersion for the readers.  Whether this is working, that's something that the reader, er, you, can tell.  Mind, each con has its own feel to it.  Even two major cons covering the same subject will have separate personalities.  This is a feature; if every con seemed the same, no one would travel past the closest convention.

Part of the unwritten backstory is that Nasty and the Youth Brigade have run into each other in New York.  Nasty doesn't do the costumed hero bit, but steps in when she needs to, as seen in Chapter 1.  Vicki embraces the idea of the costumed hero, as does the rest of the Youth Brigade, and she is always on the lookout for new recruits.  Nasty fits several of Vicki's criteria - has a power, has worn a costume, and is under twenty years old.  Much to Vicki's dismay, Nasty isn't a joiner.  She prefers to work alone.

The first scene with Vicki had a part removed.  Originally, Vicki complained about still being on Eastern time.  Turns out, Cleveland is on Eastern time.  Fourteen hour drives do not get you out of a time zone.  She was in the air maybe two hours at most, though time spent at the airport may have been longer.

The discussion Nasty and Eric have about baseball is the split between the National League and the American League.  The American League has the designated hitter (DH) rule, where pitchers have someone else take their at-bat.  It's a very specialized position; the DH doesn't take the field.  Nasty is a Mets fan, and Mets pitchers do take their turn at-bat.  Most pitchers* are a guaranteed out at the plate, but they usually try a sacrifice hit to move runners on base along.  The scene sets up some longer-term plans, too.  Nasty and Eric will be a couple for a while, but will break up.  They're both young; they'll mature, grow, discover other people, drift apart, and all that other fun stuff.

Vicki and Meredith are just there for now.  They haven't been brought into the Foundation's operation, in part because the Foundation is unaware of them.  Nasty knows about Vicki, but Meredith is the outsider.  It's a drawback of crossovers.  Unless the characters have met previously and trust each other, someone gets left out, at least at first.  Meredith is aware of Peregrine's existence, barely, but she and Nasty haven't met.  Thus, Prototype Alpha gets left out for now.  Meredith's scenes are more character building and showing off more of the convention.

Nasty's dread of a dress and dancing comes from a lost issue of Subject 13.  While Nasty hates short skirts, as seen during her Rochester adventures, she isn't comfortable when the hem falls below or knees or longer.  In the lost issue, she and Eric go to a school dance that gets interrupted by Subject 7.  Subject 7 challenges Nasty, and the battle becomes a beat down, leaving Nasty's dress ruined, along with numerous injuries to both fighters.  Fortunately, Eric's experience at conventions helps.  Fancy dress at a con means cosplay, not a proper dress.  Nasty can get away with jeans and a t-shirt, provided both are clean.

Vicki, not being involved in the main drama, decided to start some of her own.  Eric is oblivious to what's happening, but Vicki has set her sights on him.  She does have a sense of self-preservation, though.  Vicki is well aware of Nasty's violent past and thus won't push too hard.  If Eric happens to leave the door open to future liaisons, though, Vicki won't complain.

Alec and Pierce turned out to be mouthpieces for ideas.  This time, it's the nature of entertainment.  New York City was the home to both Marvel and DC Comics, though the latter has moved to the West Coast to join up with the rest of Warner.  New York is the home to several major publishers and newspapers, so having comic companies in the same city where the infrastructure is makes sense.  Time and technology marched on, though.  Movies and television grew since Action Comics #1, and Hollywood gained in prominence.  If comics were to come into existance today, Los Angeles could be the home for the publishers instead.  Or possibly Tokyo.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 8.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the History of Adaptations continues with the Aughts.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, the History of Adaptations covers the New Teens.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.

* There are exceptions.  Dan Schatzeder, a middle relief pitcher for the Montreal Expos, had a hot streak at the plate in 1984, hitting .314 and being brought in to pinch hit before taking the mound.


  1. I think the main problem with the "con feel" is that it slows down the narrative. If the goal is a story about a convention, cool, if the goal is a story about alternate universes, cool, but it seems to be trying to be both. The convention stuff would work better (in my mind anyway) if more people there might be secret agents or acting weird or something... as it is, the antagonists don't even know it's happening. So it's two stories.

    Meanwhile, discussions of baseball, baths and beverages invoke thoughts of the author increasing the word count rather than furthering either plot (which I know was likely the idea at the time of first writing because NaNoWriMo). While it does go to character development, by now we've already had several parts to give us that information. Vicki tends to think about shrinking over and over, for instance. Then again, I'm hardly one to talk, I'm agonizingly slow in terms of story conflict in my writing.

    Funny, some of the assumptions we make, huh? I'm guessing the text message to Vicki's dad was also an insertion, in place of an actual call? (Damn texting, it forces so many revisions.) Hm, Meredith in particular might have been able to hook into the plot better if she'd seen Tori while shopping, or if Keith had picked up the transference too or something. Random musing. Interesting seeing how her Alpha outfit worked though.

    The possible love triangle issue does hint at conflict, though Vicki seems unlikely to annoy her possible prospective teammate by hitting on Eric (maybe if that was less apparent?). Honestly, the idea of mixing comic books with actual comic heroes is interesting; makes me wonder if a writer could be taking inspiration from their own innate abilities! (Perhaps Alec is more than a mouthpiece!)

    Another random thought, it might make sense to have the Foundation quarantine the area or something, to add credence to why Nasty thinks Vicki is the only other altie in the area? The plot does seem set to thicken as they get together.

    1. I hadn't figured out time skips properly yet. So, while each character is getting roughly the same amount of screen time, Nasty has the most plot-relevant scenes up to now. Vicki and Meredith get the con scenes, and a lot of the plot is now dependent on Natasha and Omega doing something so that everyone else can react. I've improved since 2008 in handling time.

      Word count and padding was a concern, yes, but things flowed better in this one than the previous. The baseball talk came from the characters, mostly. And maybe partially from a word sprint. Compared to Unruly and By the Numbers, the time handling is awkward.

      The text messaging wasn't a change. It was in the story when I wrote it. I had a flip-phone then that could do texting, though the keypad was the 0-9 plus the * and # keys like a landline phone's. I had been supporting Blackberries at work at the time and saw that texting would be a factor. I hadn't thought of Meredith running into Tori, but hold that thought about Keith. I had a scene in mind that involved Meredith but took longer than expected to get to while writing.

      Vicki doesn't want to annoy Nasty because Nasty tends to hit people. They don't know each other well, but they've met. Eric is fairly clueless and is missing the byplay between the two girls. It is possible that a writer takes advantage of having powers to write a comic. Who would suspect a comic book writer of being a superhero? :D

      It might, but the Foundation is a private organization with no legal powers. A quarantine would also cause a panic, which may or may not help the invaders.