26 Jul 2018

dba LTV Paranormalists - Hauntings Anonymous - Commentary 1

Ayel, Kristi, and Kieu - LTV Paranormalists - are hired to find a ghost, in dba LTV Paranormalists "Hauntings Anonymous" Chapter 1.

Welcome to the second arc of dba LTV Paranormalists!  No, you haven't missed the first arc.  Let me explain.

Paranormalists began as a few rough ideas, mostly characters talking to each other without any real plot to pull things together.  The idea languished and carried over from hard drive to hard drive, only to be brought out for reading every few months.  In 2016, the idea came up out of the depths of my hard drive in time for consideration for NaNoWriMoParanormalists won out over continuing Unruly, a Shadowrun story to test adaptation lessons, and the time travelling kaiju hunters.  For the first arc, I tried writing it in flashback.  It didn't work out well.  To be honest, the first arc is a mess.  I'm trying to put in a more linear order, but it'll take time.

The second arc, though, was linear.  Halfway through the first arc, I realized that there was a problem.  During NaNo, the goal is writing, not editing, so the mess would have to wait.  The mess is still waiting.  The second arc didn't need as much editing.  One chapter got moved to the first arc, fitting better there, and some fallout from the moved chapter went with it.  The rest still works as is.

The series is essentially Scooby-Doo except the supernatural is real.  Since the introductions are in the mess of the first arc, a quick run through of the main characters is needed.  Kristi, Ayel, and Kieu are all students at Carleton University.  Kristi Theissen, an art history major with a minor in medieval studies, is the one who came up with the idea.  She drew in Ayel and Kieu, both of whom she new through classes, for their expertise.  Ayel Lindeman, majoring in commerce, has the business acumen to form the company.  She was skeptical about the supernatural at first.  Kieu, a computer science major, is the tech expert, and is willing to believe.  Joining them is Ginger, who they met in the first arc.  Ginger is one of the Wee Folk, not quite a fairy, not quite a pixie.  Ginger is Ginger.

When getting the story set up, I wound up looking up regulations for private investigators to see if LTV Paranormalists would run afoul of them.  It's close, but the out is that they're, at best, researchers, and looking up information on properties is explicitly excluded from what needs to be licensed as a P.I.  That line looks fuzzy, though.  I have a backup plan for when the fuzzy line needs to be crossed.

Being a small start-up run by students, LTV Paranormalists doesn't have a proper office.  They can't afford one.  Ayel is treating the business as a side project; in the first arc, she was encouraged by her advisor to use the opportunity to test out some theories brought up in her classes.  She still has a regular job to pay for her tuition and books.  Kristi has other means, which need to be worked out a bit more.  Kieu has patents helping her out.

During the research to figure out what the cast is taking at Carleton, I found some details that worked beautifully for my purposes.  For Ayel, Carleton Commerce includes an entrepreneuship concentration, ideal for starting a small summer business.  With Kieu and computer science, I discovered that Carleton now has a Mobile Computing stream, something that didn't exist when I graduated with my Comp. Sci. degree.  Lesson here: Always check, even if you're positive you know everything you need.

Friday, looking for ghosts in Hauntings Anonymous Chapter 2, "Werehouse?  There House".
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, a test run of the Bond Project with From Russia With Love.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, why remaking horror and mysteries is difficult.

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