C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Ninja High School #176

Reading Books:

I've written about Ninja High School before. I think it's awesome that it holds the Number 1 slot in the Top 5 Influences to my Writing. It's in a category shared with Stephen King's Dark Tower Series, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Cat's Cradle, The Matrix, and Big Trouble in Little China ("We really shook the pillars of Heaven, didn't we, Wang?")

There's something awesome about the 'high school kids with exceptional strengths/powers' genre. TV Tropes calls this the, Academy of Adventure and it's a genre with significant appeal and seems to work across many different mediums. The focus tends to be on the institution, however were the students in attendance of said institution normal disillusioned youth, the story would be over on page 1, issue 1, episode 1. No, what goes hand-in-hand with the school for wizards, gifted youngsters, and sailor-girls blessed with moon power is that they are, by their own right, exceptional.

The original run of Ninja High School has this in seemingly every character with the exception of the main character, who is an average American teenage boy. He plays the part of 'damsel in distress' to two striking female leads, one with exceptional skills in martial arts, raised in a family of ninjas, while the other is the princess to an alien race of skunk people. As the series progresses, this normal teen encounters other, larger-than-life characters, both friend and foe, and eventually shows both bravery and courage despite a lack of superhuman ability. 

Possible Spoilers lay ahead. The series has been rebooted. And it's been rebooted in similar fashion to the more recent Star Trek films, staring Chris Pine, and Sylar. When the first film came out, I was not a fan because they literally erased everything that happened before, with a major disruption to the space-time continuum. And who, who I ask you would want to live in a world without Captain Picard!?!?! But I understand why they went in this direction though, and I think it's the same path Ben Dunn and Steven Ross are taking Ninja High School.

In both cases what is gained is creative freedom. When a familiar world is made new again, one has the ability to create without having to worry about the years of past continuity. What NHS has over Star Trek is this idea of multiple dimensions that are accessible through both magical and scientific means. This allows for stories to not only exist within the context of the rebooted universe, but can also pull from other dimensional plains that the long time reader will find familiar, and perhaps even a little nostalgic.

This first issue had a Sliders vibe to it. Remember Sliders? Great show. The whole premise was about 4 lost interdenominational travelers trying to get back to their version of Earth. Along the way they met their doppelgangers and some very cool 'what if' scenarios. The rules of continuity were fast and loose because each episode rebooted the gaming console that was the known universe.

I see very good things ahead for Ninja High School: Reloaded (that's what I'm calling it anyway). The potential is there for fresh new stories while maintaining the would-be hero and superhuman heroines that brought so much appeal to the original series run. I'm really looking forward to where Dunn and Ross take us.

On Writing:

Writing for Ninja High School!

Just kidding. I wish.

Seriously though, I'm writing a lot of new scenes for my novel. I'm not paying too much attention to writing chronologically (which is how I tend to write). I'm finding that I have a lot of possibilities open to me and seem to be stressing about how and if I should change some major plot points in the story that will deviate significantly from the First Draft.

Here's what I do know:

There will be one central character in this story and the story will be told from her perspective. The development and thoughts of the 2nd main character will be revealed in a series of letters/journal entries that he dictates as audio recordings. 

Like in The Rook, even my minor characters are somewhat larger than life. They all have compelling stories that should be told. I'm thinking that each subsequent story in this series will be told/viewed through the eyes of one of these characters. Everyone gets a book!

I've started proofreading Part 1. Even if I'm changing the perspective, I have a lot of solid writing here that could possibly be used in other stories, or sections of this story. It's also a good way for me to gain some perspective, as I lost a lot of that during the extra busy month of June.

Also, without getting into all the details, as it would sound like bragging, I'm currently in possession of a Surface Pro 3, so I've been able to proof the Word doc of Part 1, using the Inking feature. So I've been able to write in red digital pen all over my document. It's working out really well.