Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Getting a Boost and a Tale of Two Chrises

Author’s Notes

  • Morty chides Chris about this relationship with Jaci and then proceeds to harangue him for a plan. I love the Chris-Morty-Warren dynamic so much! Those scenes were such a blast to write. In a way, Crimsonstreak has established a warped kind of surrogate family for himself with Morty, Warren, and Jaci.

  • Warren makes a cutting remark about Chris; Chris responds by referencing “Xbox” and calling Warren “kid.” These are the people responsible for saving the world, folks. It doesn’t take long for Morty to launch into both of them.

  • The flashback about Jaci’s time as the editor of the college newspaper echoes a real event in college. I used flashbacks quite a bit in this book. It’s due mostly to the limitations of writing in the first-person perspective. It’s hard to get a sense of a character without interactions. Employing flashbacks allowed me to show Chris’ interactions with important people in his life so readers can draw their own conclusions about what it all means.

  • When I originally wrote I, Crimsonstreak, Chris Fairborne was me. He was a Mary Sue character who reflected a certain idealized version of myself. As the writing process progressed, Chris developed into his own character. He certainly shares some of my personal background, but we’re not the same guy anymore.

  • I am an unabashed fan of Seinfeld. I could have entire conversations in nothing but Seinfeld-isms. I snuck a couple into the book, including “I am speechless. I am without speech.”

  • ”Cogsworth.” Disney’s Beauty and the Beast gets a quick mention here.

  • Jaci initially went along with the NWCW, but she’s been aiding the resistance for a bit now. She knew there was something wrong with Chris Fairborne (the imperator version) because he didn’t recognize her. Even though the Jaci/Chris relationship is strained, she couldn’t live with Chris ever being that cold toward her.

  • Jaci’s probably a little too quick to accept Chris’ story, especially given the tension between the two characters. However, something about the other Chris didn’t quite “click” with her, so she’s going with her gut here.

  • We learn a little bit more about the Kiltech Incursion here, including how Colonel Chaos “allowed” the West Coast to be destroyed. The supplemental materials show us that Chaos had trouble getting everyone to join the NWCW, but a cataclysmic event like that has a way of getting people to change their tune.

  • Chris takes a cruel and unnecessary jab at Warren, even though he doesn’t necessarily realize it. Morty stands up for the kid, reminding our hero that they wouldn’t have escaped New Chaos City without Warren’s help. The kid, Morty points out, did it without superpowers.

  • Chris takes a shower. Again. I think that’s three so far in the book? I almost cut this scene, but I liked the reference to the great Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. Plus, I got to use the word “loofah.” And now I must quote my brother: "Loofah for sissies!"

  • The part where Chris gets boxers thrown in his face is reminiscent of a scene from The Naked Gun.

  • The flashback involving the Grim Gang was fun to write. I like it when I can show that heroes’ powers are complementary. I included this to show that Colonel Chaos and his son kicked butt back in the day.

  • The brief argument about “cream and crimson” and “maize and blue” references college sports. Cream and crimson, of course, represents Indiana University. Maize and blue represents the University of Michigan.

  • Jaci’s brilliant plan to recall Imperator Chris abuses the NWCW’s own bureaucracy. I love making fun of things that make life inexplicably harder, and bureaucracies are absolutely ridiculous. I’m glad she was able to use this to her advantage.

  • I love, love, love “Captain America and the Avengers” for the Sega Genesis. My brother and I used to play the heck out of that game. I was always Cap; he was always Iron Man. We could get through the game without losing a single life.

  • ”My neck tingles, just slightly” clues us in that Crimsonstreak and Imperator Chris have some kind of link. It’s fleeting, but it exists. They’re connected.

  • Crimsonstreak’s encounter with, er, himself gives us another interesting dynamic. Our hero has to interact with a version of himself that sees the world from a completely different perspective.

  • A lot of references are crammed in here. There’s an allusion to Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, a sci-fi classic. “Holy Lord” comes from the immortal Norm MacDonald classic Dirty Work. “Patrol pattern delta, go now” is from The Empire Strikes Back (in the movie it’s attack pattern delta).

  • The chapter ends with Imperator Chris in custody as Crimsonstreak gets ready to head deep into the heart of Chaopolis to confront his father.