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February 23, 2015

An I Hraet You Quasi/Anti-Update

If you’ve got a functioning pair of eyeballs, then you’ve probably noticed that things look a little different around here.  Not different enough to make you go “Yikesy mikesy!” I’d bet, but enough to at least earn a partially-raised eyebrow.  I wouldn’t call the new look a complete overhaul of the blog, because it isn’t; I just tweaked things here and there in terms of aesthetics.  Not the layout.  And even then, I’m not 100% sure I’ll stick with everything here; the color scheme looks as sickly as I did not too long ago when I learned first-hand why you should never gamble with year-old honey mustard dressing.

Consider it a lesson I’ll take to heart.

Anyway, the biggest and most important change -- one that I should have made a long time ago -- is that the post background is white, while the post text is black.  The colors are inverted.  It doesn’t look as cool as the last setup, but from what I’ve heard, it’s certainly more readable.  And that’s what I need to go for right now more than anything; the reason for that is because hopefully, I’ll have people do even more reading on this blog soon enough.  And it’d probably help my case if I wasn’t doing my best to make people go blind.  Just a hunch, though.

It’s been too long since I did anything substantial with I Hraet You.  Much too long.  You could probably chalk that up to me spending Super Writing Time with other, deadlier things, but I’ve put enough effort into that (barring a round of removing redundancies and flubs) to shift it onto the backburner for now.  The next step is one I’ve wanted to take for a while: continuing the adventures of Lloyd Beatrice Hoigleheimer and his amazing friends.

I may not have posted anything about it, but I have thought about it consistently for a long time.  I’ve got files detailing characters, as one should, and on top of that I’ve got the under-the-surface stuff -- the connections between plot threads and background details -- stowed away.  But I think that one of the most important things I’ve done is chart out a sort of “outline” for how the next forty-ish chapters are supposed to go.  That is, ten chapters equal one mini-arc; four mini-arcs contribute to one major arc.  And my new(ish) rule is this: if I can’t sum up that chapter in one line using the default font and spacing, then it needs to be corralled. 

There is A LOT of ground that I want to cover with this story, to the point where even though I’m almost a hundred chapters in, there’s still a lot that needs to take place.  At a bare-ass minimum there needs to be a “Wrestlepalooza” arc, a “Lloyd’s Past” arc, and a “Journey to Rockwood” arc, and most of things are chronologically a ways away.  Hell, I haven’t even explained what the title’s supposed to mean yet.  So my intent -- or at least hope -- is that if I follow a stricter guideline, I can keep things moving at a steady pace, and get to the good stuff sooner rather than later.

But in all frankness, the “good stuff” isn’t plot twists or big reveals.  That’s never really been the case with this story, and it never will be.  The crux of this story is the characters -- and as such, I have to deviate from the original plan.  That is, in order to get the story to where I want it to be, I need to get the pieces on the board.  And I intend to, because I’ve found ways to work them in.  Well, not everyone will appear at once, but in terms of the major players?  They’re coming up.

So.  Let’s have a quick chat about who’s going to start popping up…with art that sort of, but not really gives you an understanding of who’s going to shack up in Porbeagle.  Ready?  HERE WE GO!

1) A robot girl!!
She’s been teased since the first hiatus, and with Lloyd’s circumstances at the start of the upcoming batch of chapters, it’s only natural to bring her in.  It won’t be long before you get to meet Faust, a robot sent in direct response to Lloyd’s antics -- and general existence, technically.  

You can’t even imagine how much I’m looking forward to bringing her into the fold; I don’t want to spoil what sort of person she is, but if you’re familiar with Metal Gear Rising’s Bladewolf, you’re about halfway there.  The other half?  Split up into some other…attributes.  But we’ll get there when we get there.

2) Lloyd’s rival!!
I don’t think I’ve ever stressed how much I love rival characters in games (foils in stories, maybe), but I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate them.  So IHY needs one of its own, and Lloyd needs to face some stiff competition.  Enter…well, I won’t mention his name yet, but the important thing is that he establishes himself as a well-meaning enemy and an occasional ally.  

For as much emphasis Lloyd puts on love (or something like it), his rival is all about justice (or something like it); even if he’s on the good guys’ side, he’s all too willing to tell Lloyd how much he sucks.  And just in case you were wondering?  Yes, he IS just as hammy -- maybe more.  And he may or may not have a power of his own…by which I mean he definitely has one.

3) A new villain?!
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Gaston is the central villain of the story, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other baddies out to mess Porbeagle up -- though I guess with this lady, it’s not so much about ruining Porbeagle as it is making sure her needs are tended to (and her ego fed).  

You can think of her as sort of the anti-Lloyd, and you could argue she’s even worse than Gaston; she’s got the looks of a supermodel (because she is one), but she’s the biggest piece of garbage the story has to offer.  And she knows it.  And she doesn’t care.  She’s going to make a big impact on the story, even without her powers -- which, unlike Lloyd’s, can’t be turned off.  As in, it’s always on.

...Eh, I'm sure it'll be fine.

4) A Mohawk-haired punk!!
This guy’s actually made a couple of appearances in the story so far, but he’s been in the background (always watching, always waiting…).  Now it’s just about time for him to take to the stage.  He’s not exactly the most conventional person to be around, but he is most certainly one of the good guys -- even if his passion lies with music to an unhealthy degree.  

He’ll be a vital ally in the chapters to come, and by extension force Lloyd to open his mind in a way that…well, anyone would have already considered long beforehand.  Like, as early as the third chapter, if they were in his shoes.

Also, he's not a zombie.  Most certainly not -- but for some weird reason, Lord Raptor was the first character to come to mind.  Draw your own conclusions there.  

It’s worth noting that there are even more characters waiting in the wings, up to and including characters (one of which IS a zombie) I thought up for one story, but decided to import into this one.  They won’t show up for a while, because there are still plot threads dangling right now that need resolving, but let’s just say there are plenty of coming attractions.

I’m not even going to pretend like you’ll be seeing more IHY chapters next week, or even next month.  But make no mistake: even if I don’t know when it’ll happen, it’s gonna happen.  I like this story, and I want people to read it -- and I’ll be able to make a compelling argument for people to read it if it’s a story that, you know, continues.  Again, it’s been too long since I’ve gotten into it, and I intend to fix that.  Lloyd and the rest deserve to have their adventure continue, and people deserve something that’ll bring on the laughs.  And maybe the tears.  Hopefully not because of my lack of skill, but that’s pessimistic thinking I’d prefer to avoid.

From a practical (?) perspective, there’s still more work that needs to be done.  I need to actually write these chapters, for one thing -- which to be fair I have started, and once I get over my distinct lack of knowledge of boats, I can get something substantial done.  But beyond that, I still need to implement a huge number of edits -- a wealth of which were suggested by Handsome Grand Marshall of the Internet Eric R. Jackson -- to the chapters already uploaded, so I suppose I’ll do that before even ONE new chapter goes up. 

And I need to figure out just what the scheduling will be for those uploads; back in the day they went up Mondays and Thursdays, but now that’s when the other posts go up.  I’m thinking that I’ll set chapters to go up Monday and Thursday morning, while the posts will follow at least twelve hours later.  Double the uploads per day, double the exposure…though on that note, I need to do my part and make sure people actually read the chapters.  But since I have other plans, maybe that won’t be so insurmountable a task. We’ll see. 

There’s a lot up in the air right now, I know.  And I probably haven’t done the best job in getting people to care (I’m partly assuming that this post will garner negative pageviews).  But if there’s anyone who can make this story worthwhile, it’s me -- and I need to put in the effort to make that possible.  Again, Lloyd and company deserve more, and I’m going to give them more.  I want other readers to do the same.  And once all’s said and done, who knows what’ll happen?  Something good, I hope.

So I guess that’ll do it for now.  Oh, and one more thing: I’ve been thinking about giving a lot of characters redesigns, Lloyd included.  Like so:

That’s…not what he’s going to look like at the end of it (and he's not lopsided).  But drawing him in the past has been a pain in the ass, so I need to fix that immediately.  Also, you can technically consider whatever art that goes up to be “promotional materials”, so there’s that.

You know, I wonder what my life would be like if I actually had an aptitude for arts and crafts.  Alas...

I assure you: that is a real thing -- one slightly corrected by eons’ worth of typing.

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