21 Jan 2016

Crossover Chapter 22 - Commentary

The Cleveland HeroCon Guest of Honour finally gets to speak.  Please read the chapter before continuing.

The villains have been stopped.  Why hasn't the story?  Because the story arcs for the characters haven't.  Not that I knew that I was working on character stories at the time of writing, mind.  Each character, though, major and minor, did have a story of their own along with the major plot.  I have improved in that area; Unruly shows different arcs for each girl, from Laura trying to fit in to Caitlin's war with Verity to even Jenn's quest to claim her own name again.  Thus, I need to wrap up the story arcs for the heroines still, including Nasty's turn as a guest of honour at a convention.

Eric has found a new way to distract Nasty from panicking.  It's super effective.  Nasty's self-esteem, as shown in Subject 13 isn't high, but she also has a low opinion of people in general.  The people she knows, she hold in high esteem, so if one of them calls her cute or kisses her on the cheek, it's enough to focus her mind on something else.

The question and answer session is more or less what you'd find at a convention.  Charles is moderating because Nasty has never handled a crowd before.  Switching from one line to another lets people clear away from a mic and still keeps the questions going.  It's efficient, from the moderator's view, and makes sure that anyone who has a question can ask.  Moderators are good at getting the questions going; sometimes, a little prodding is enough to get a guest to ramble on about something that the audience hadn't heard before.  Given Nasty is new, the audience is getting a lot of new information.

The reactions Nasty mentions of her family has been partially written.  Those of you who have read /Subject 13/ will have noticed that Maria isn't married.  Maria knows who Nasty's father is, but Nasty doesn't.  Not going to spoil the reveal here, but suffice to say that superhero stories are the teenaged boy version of soap operas isn't that far off from the truth.  Lives get complicated, but some questions will get answered.

Having Pixie and Prototype Alpha also at the convention means I could throw them into a crowd scene any time I wanted.  I wanted to add Vicki to the Q&A.  She was trying to put Nasty on the spot about joining the Youth Brigade.  Nasty dodged out of the trap and gave Vicki an ego boost while she was at it.  That probably won't stop Vicki from trying to recruit Nasty, but she'll know why the offer is being turned down.

There's more cosplay in the crowd.  Feral is from the Global Vanguard, my analogue to the Justlice League and the Avengers.  Feral fills in the Wolverine niche; the scrappy fighter can keep going despite the pounding received.  Nasty would fill that role as well if she was ever on a team.  Q-Ball, also from the Vanguard, fills the Iron Man and Rocket Red niche; the power armour creator.  The name Q-Ball comes from mixing cue ball and the character's name, Quentin Q. Quinn.  Major Flagg, a solo hero from in-universe comics, is a Captain America analogue.  I populated my world with heroes to make it feel a little bigger.

Tomorrow, Crossover Chapter 23.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Star Wars: The Role-Playing Games.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Thunderbirds Are Go.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.


  1. I grant the point about needing to wrap up character arcs, but all the convention detail does make the whole story feel a bit less like "threat from alternate reality occurs at convention" and more like "convention gets rudely interrupted by threat". In particular the cosplay and Q&A here feels like the epilogue is still trying to do world-building (how the public sees altered people), rather than explain what was motivating the characters in earlier parts. Could be me.

    That said, some scenes are warranted. The bit with Vicki and Sandra (in the prior part) was good. Eric and Nasty needed their wrap-up, then and here. (I wonder what a Micki and Keith talk would look like.) But all the questions, and calling Micki on stage... to me, it doesn't feel like it ties in strongly enough. Even Vicki's question gets kind of buried. Alternatively, maybe I stop my own stories too abruptly!

    1. This part was written after reaching 50k words, near the end of November, and seeing the end coming. There's a balance, and it's something that I've had to learn. It didn't feel right ending at the fight, though. There's a bit of book-ending here, too, with Nasty being brought in to speak at the con, though as part of the investigation.

      This chapter was more a look at the con than anything else. Vicki got lost in the shuffle for most of the story, which is on me. The scene went where it wanted to. I need to get that under control, really.