Free Spirit "Abnormal Science" Talkback

Discussion in 'Platypus Comix' started by Peter Paltridge, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    Free Spirit #8 - Abnormal Science (Page 1)

    As tough nuts go, cracking this one was one of the toughest jobs I've had to date.

    I wrote the first half of this story in August of 2013 and then just let it sit. I came back to it a couple months ago and rewrote much of the dialogue, but still couldn't get my mind past page six. I just couldn't come up with anything satisfying. What was wrong?

    Then I realized the problem: I thought parodying Weird Science would be easy; Winnie = Lisa and go from there. But usually for a parody to work it has to be more outrageous than the original, and I could not think of a single thing Winnie would do that Lisa, the computer genie at the center of Weird Science, wouldn't also do. Lisa pulled a gun on Gary and Wyatt's parents, for crying out loud (later revealed to be a squirt gun, but still).

    I didn't want to dump the story entirely because of the first five pages. This story introduces Winnie's other weakness besides mirrors and I love how it makes complete sense. There is a thorough explanation, and normally when all things magic are considered you don't get one. I also loved Winnie trying to use a computer.

    I thought of dropping the Weird Science aspect entirely and having Winnie go somewhere else after entering the computer, but having to rewrite that much of it would delay it for months. I thought of minimizing the parody aspect so you only saw the bare minimum of Weird Science and the bulk of it was the Harpers trying to find Winnie, but I wanted a better option.

    I walked away from it and worked on another story for a while, then came back and thought, "Instead of changing Lisa, try changing the teenagers." A lot of the dialogue I had down for the teenagers just wasn't funny enough. Could they be girls? Kids? Old men? "Old men" was the funniest possibility, and suddenly the writer's block was gone.

    For a little while, anyway. I'm still toiling through drafts for the second half of this.
     
  2. Dsneybuf

    Dsneybuf Well-Known Member

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    The only John Hughes-directed movie I've seen is Ferris Bueller's Day Off (though I have also seen quite a few other ones that he wrote), but I can comment that Winnie's weakness to electricity seems thought-provoking. Magic always seemed more uncontrollable to me than technology, since I can't perform the former (What else is new?). Between this and love, I wonder what other sources of potential chaos Winnie can't handle.

    Does it make you feel sad when I admit/imply a lack of familiarity with the subject of a parody in one of your comics, and you don't receive a comment from someone who does have a familiarity with it?
     
  3. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    Free Spirit #8 - Abnormal Science (Page 12)

    Winnie slapping herself in the face was also me slapping myself in the face. I'd constricted her too much in Part 1. There's no point in writing her if she's not allowed to go nuts -- that's the whole appeal. Example, Winnie knows about Photoshop, but that's not the way she thinks. For her, the first thing to come to mind is "guess I'll have to actually make Lena Dunham kiss an old man." It just makes sense.

    David Gerstein asked why there wasn't a Freakazoid reference in this. It was in the first draft, but I took it out because it was too easy to mention.
     
  4. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    Free Spirit #8 - Abnormal Science (Page 23)

    I kind of regretted having to cut it again, especially when there weren't that many pages left, but it was impossible to get them all done on time. So I called this "part 2 1/2." Ideally it would've shown up last week.
     
  5. Dsneybuf

    Dsneybuf Well-Known Member

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    The return of Liz Lolly and the end of the comic both proved humorous.
    It also sunk in for me that the gag from the pilot where Winnie accidentally blew up the light bulb in Gene's lamp could seem like an early indicator of magic and electricity failing to mix, even if you didn't mean it to make it seem like that (I already know that the TV show previously had Winnie blow up a bulb).
     

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