LNH/REVIEW: The Tribulations of Kid Review #7

Adrian J. McClure mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 21:49:14 PST 2012

On Jan 8, 11:04 pm, Andrew Perron <pwer... at gmail.com> wrote:

> He passed a sign labeled "Doldrums". Everything was gray. And tired.
> And boring. And pointless.

I've been there, all right. Of course right now my new semester is
starting out, so I wish my life was a little more boring...

> Reviewing: Journey into Procrastination #1: "Preludes and Distractions"
>            by Adrian J. McClure

Oh hey, I've got an official review now!

> "Ah.  I won't pry, then." At this point, Kid Review was fairly sure he
> was under Fairy Host Rules, and that made asking questions a very bad
> idea indeed.

The storyline this issue was actually pretty great. I'm a sucker for
anything involving Faerie, and there were a lot of evocative
descriptive passages. It's an interestingly different style from
anything I've seen from you before.

> "Ooooh, meta! I love meta!"

I never metafiction I didn't like.

> "...hm." He shrugged. "Well, lately, I've found that criticism of
> single issues flows better for me when I go through them line by line.
> I've been experimenting, lately, in combining this with the more
> traditional review format.  I'm hoping that it will allow me to give
> feedback in a timely yet thorough manner; I know I've been lagging on
> both, lately."

This worked really well. It allowed you to combine the liveliness of
your response posts with the more coherent thought of a "proper"

> > Also, in the
> > spirit of the now sadly deleted Guttertrash, some or all of the issues
> > will be CC-licensed so people can build on them if they want to for
> > whatever reason.
> "Oho.  Very good - another thing I've been meaning to think about."

I'm curious if you ever read any of Guttertrash before it was deleted.
I read a couple issues back in the day. The one I remember involved
heroes and villains who were appearing from another world, and it was
a magazine interview with a man who was making furniture from their
skin. Or something like that. I've always been both jealous that I
could never come up with anything as screwed-up as that, and glad I
could never come up with anything as screwed-up as that. Abhay Khosla
is still out there, he's written some entertaining and thought-
provoking blog pieces but he might get mad if someone linked him to

> > She'd decided a long time ago against leaving this
> > world. The adventures she could have in the future were well worth
> > sticking around for.
> "An interesting perspective - not one you find a lot in adventure
> fiction, but all the more valuable for it."

That's part of what interests me so much about Jenny Everywhere. She's
lived a lot of different lives and played a lot of different roles, so
she's not your typical adventure hero. She can often bring surprising
perspectives to her role. This makes her challenging to write, but
very rewarding when I can pull it off. It's also why most of the
pieces I've written with her to date are character vignettes or setup,
rather than complete stories. (This one is both--the situation with
Cardinal Dracula, you'll notice, is never resolved.)

This particular character beat, I now realize, was inspired by one of
the few pieces Jenny Everywhere's creator ever wrote for her in a long-
ago round robin: http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showthread.php?40568-Story-Round-3&p=470149&viewfull=1#post470149

> > The ship she was traveling in was taken from China
> > to this land called France by a tornado, and she was the only
> > survivor. So she disguised herself as a man and joined the Musketeers.
> "...of course!  Jenny, I don't think your mental fanfiction is very--"
> > "You have corrupted church and state!" shouted Athos. "You have
> > feasted upon the blood of innocents! But no longer! Your day of
> > reckoning is at hand, Cardinal Dracula!"
> "...realistic."

That aspect of her character is actually based on me. I still
sometimes slip into self-insert fanfic daydreams, which can get
bizarrely elaborate and complex. Sometimes I end up mining them for
actual story ideas. Maturity, who needs it? Also, I was writing this
story in between bouts of trying to do things that were actually
useful, and I based it partially on my reluctance to work when I could
be writing. Of course, when I do have more time to write, I don't want

> > Jenny Everywhere is an open-source character, who can be used in any
> > story. Ever since I ran across her years ago I always thought her
> > concept had an enormous amount of potential, but could never really
> > think of a good story for her for a long time. Soon enough I'll be
> > writing an LNH story where a version of her appears, but I wanted to
> > post a shorter and simpler story that could serve as an introduction.
> "Awesome!  I've been wanting to use her for a while, but never thought
> of a good way to do so.  Of course, I didn't really go into the
> information available about her, or I might have been inspired!"

Evidently I'm not the only one who has difficulty working with this
character. Most people in her webcomic use her as a gimmick, without
exploring her unique personality and point of view. I suspect part of
it is precisely because of what gives her so much potential, the fact
that she exists outside of any context. I came across a blog entry a
while back talking about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and
worldbuilding in cartoons in general, which I sadly can't find now,
which discussed Barbie as a character. The writer discussed how Barbie
is a better character than something like Strawberry Shortcake,
becuase she doesn't have a context that limits her and can basically
take on any role, but that's also why there's no notable Barbie TV
show. One thing I've wanted to do is build up some kind of mythos with
recurring chracters who exist in different roles across her different
lives, but I've never been able to pull that off properly.

Besides the above-linked piece by Steven Wintle, I recommend reading
the original discussion threads from Barbelith where she was created,
which can be found on theshifterarchive.org. Of the original Jenny
Everywhere stories, the ones I liked the best were the two written by
David Barnett: My Bloody Valentine and The Death of Jenny Everywhere,
which did explore a lot of her POV and her nature as the Shifter in a
very relatable way. I'd recommend the stories written by Nelson
Evergreen (Name's Not Down and Hostile Takeover) as well, they're not
the best writing-wise but he was the first artist to draw Jenny and
his version is still in my mind the definitive one. And the SecondLife
machinima webcomic Jenny Everywhere's Infinite: Quark Time (http://
www.quarktime.net/) shows a lot of promise.

> > I wanted to write a story that explored her unique way of
> > seeing the world. This is a story I wrote for another site that does
> > so from a different angle, which I think makes a nice complement to
> > this one:http://ficly.com/stories/25444
> "Hmmmm!  Indeed.  Recommended reading."

I wrote a bunch of different stories for Ficly back in the day. Some
of them are part of story chains that went nowhere or just garbage,
but many of them I'm still very proud of. Working within the 1024-
character limit really helps me sharpen my writing and the format is
well-suited to expermientation. I haven't been writing there lately
because a lot of the writers I liked have now moved on or are busy,
you know the deal. There are a bunch of other stories I and other
people wrote about Jenny Everywhere, which can be found here:
http://ficly.com/tags/Jenny%20Everywhere But the piece which was my
and many others' favorite of what I wrote is this one, probably the
only non-genre thing I've ever done: http://ficly.com/stories/26160

Oh, and while I never interacted with him (the time I was writing for
Ficly more or less coincides with the period I more or less completely
forgot RACC existed) one of the other writers there is Chris
"Robotech_Master" Meadows of Team M.E.C.H.A. fame: http://ficly.com/authors/robotech_master

> "...hm.  This makes me think of the ideas I had, early on in the LNH20
> thread, about the characters finding out that their world had only just
> come into existence..."

That does sound interesting... if I write a cascade issue in the near
future, I may explore that a bit.

> "Overall, this was a strong, self-contained humor piece.  The only
> nitpicks I would make would be that the setup could be clearer and that
> the final punchline is a bit weak.  But, hell, this was done in TWENTY-
> FOUR MINUTES.  It's not only good by that standard, it's *exemplary*."

I didn't write it in 24 minutes exactly, as Scott Eiler pointed out,
but I did try to write it in one sitting. Back in the day I used to
write on several boards where I wrote for chain stories/cascades where
I wrote pieces in one sitting, and this actually included some of my
best work. Of course, a lot of it was just utter garbage. But in
general I find that I have to struggle with overthinking things, which
is both a strength and a weakness. Writing in that kind of ecstatic
instant-story mode, when I'm more or less at one with my subconscious
mind and I don't have to worry too much about big-picture, is the most
fulfilling for me when I can manage it. (LNH20CP #5 was also written
like that. I had the battle scene blocked out in my head beforehand,
but the scene with Ultravac, Andrea and Mother Time, which was the
best part of the issue, came to me on the spot.)

The problem is when I'm working within a larger context some kind of
big picture inevitably does emerge. Then I find I have difficulty
reconnecting with it as the story progresses and get frustrated. I had
a pattern in the past of dropping story threads just when they started
to get interesting. I've reached the point now where I'm starting to
have that kind of fatigue with LNH, so I'm doing my best to push

> She nodded, slowly. "yes.  and i'm afraid he's going to try and save
> him."

Oooh, cliffhanger!

> Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, really has to do a 24-minute story
> before the deadline.

It could be an issue of Kid Review that reviews one of the 24-minute

AJM, even meta-er!

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