Villain-in-Distress: Issue 20

All right! First, I want to say thank you to all you wonderful patrons for supporting my work. I'm really proud how this issue turned out. I know it sounds weird to say 20 issues in but I think I'm finally capturing the narrative voice I am looking for for Villain-in-Distress overall. I'd say more but anything else I say would be spoilers so why don't you go read and if you're interested in discussing more, come back here and read below.

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I've been wanting to get into the nitty gritty about Boons for a while now but haven't found a narrative reason to do so. I thought up this world long before I had ever even heard of My Hero Academia but now that MHA is the biggest anime in the world (as far as I can tell) the comparisons can't be ignored. I had always known I wanted a world where superpowers were a thing but somewhat rare and useful ones even rarer. MHA is a world where being Quirkless is rare. I didn't want that to be this world as I did want to capture that Silver-Age of Comics cultural feel.

Part of the problem was before I started writing ViD I had never actually sat down and worked out the math of how rare I wanted things to be. I finally sat down and started crunching numbers with a friend and came out to about 1-in-6 people have a minor Boon but only 1-in-40 have a minor boon that is actually useful in some way. 1-in-336 have two minor Boons and Vytri falls into the class of 1-in-3000 people that have two useful, minor Boons.

I keep saying minor Boons because in this world Boons are broken up into major and minor Boons. Someone with major Boons USUALLY also have at least one minor Boon. However, the reverse is not true. A major Boon is one that, by itself, is useful in combat. Minor Boons are ones that, by themselves, wouldn't be very useful in combat and would need an additional complimentary minor Boon to be useful. Part of the mystery in this world is that people with Boons always innately know if their Boon is major or minor. 

Someone with 1 major Boon is very rare in this world with there being 1-in-24,000 who have a major Boon. However, before Lanci got involved with whatever it was she did, Ephemeral had been an extremely rare individual, born with two major Boons; only about 1-in-169,000 people have two major Boons. So being someone who has two useful minor Boons is a pretty dang rare thing. But going form someone who was 1-in-169,000 to 1-in-3,000 is quite the stark drop. Like going from someone who is the best player at a college to someone who is the best player in your high school. Good to be sure, but you basically dropped two or three standard deviations there.

People like Evelie fascinate me in a world full of superheroes. It always strikes me odd that in something like the X-Men everyone we look at seems to have hit some kind of superhero lottery. Optic blasts, teleportation, metallic skin, super healing, weather control, fudging MIND CONTROL!? All these abilities are amazing. Where are the people with Headache Immunity, Somewhat Invisibility, and Drains the Color Out of Fruit?

In this world, Evelie is one of those people. She IS blessed as only one-in-six even get something but hers actively works against how she sees herself. Shadow Kiss would be something cute to use for a bubbly, outgoing personality. Especially in a world where women don't tend to take/get work outside of fields where bubbly, outgoing personalities thrive. But Evelie wants to be taken seriously. Shadow Kiss will NOT help you get taken seriously.

I feel like Vytri wouldn't have seen the opportunity a Boon like Shadow Kiss offered back when Vytri was Ephemeral. As Ephemeral, he had huge advantages with Teleportation and Anesthetic Gas Form. But as Vytri, she's learning to do a lot more with a lot less powerful Boons. She now sees that Shadow Kiss is a wonderful distraction. Something to get people to focus on other than the person themselves.

But the biggest change is, of course, Vytri finding out her power isn't Teletranscription but Calligrapathy. She thought all she could do was write a little bit with her mind. Useful for taking notes but not much else. It was only in developing her Boon that she found she could get information back. I debated showing her practicing this earlier in the story but I felt it alternatively removed some punch from this chapter. I might have her practice more with is later to fully explore the limits of what it can do.

I also loved the Calligramancy vs Calligrapathy debate. I literally had that exact conversation with Kamizite when coming up with the name. Then I realized, "Wow... this would be a conversation actual characters should have in-universe!" It makes sense to me that Evelie, the person with the crappy power and who has always had a nose for details. comes up with the better name while Vytri, who is learning to not jump to conclusions, wasn't quite right.

Regardless, the chapters big centerpiece was Vytri's first foray into acting like Whisper. She's going to need to do more before she can act more out in the open but I think there is something wonderfully mysterious and creepy about letters just appearing on a page. Especially in silver ink. Especially in a time when black and blue ink is basically all people can do normally.

I've done a lot more research into the history of pens and ink than I thought I'd ever have to for this story! XD There is a reason I went with the felt-tipped pen. More era-appropriate for a world that clearly is supposed to be vaguely set in something that mimics the cultural and technological aesthetic o1940's-to-1960's style America.

One area I'm still not satisfied with my efforts is trying to get the lingo down to make it SOUND like it belongs in that era. I try but I still feel it sounds too modern with how they talk. I have some thoughts about that I'd like to share but can't quite at the moment. Stay tuned to the website this week as I have a topic I am going to want to get some feedback on there.

Anyway, my creativity bug is sated, for now, with the universe of ViD and we'll be heading back to MGP for my next work. Thanks again for all the support you guys give. Seriously, the money and commentary really help motivate me. If you had something you liked in this chapter please let me know as feedback feeds me ;)

Later days,
Taralynn


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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 86 exclusive posts
7
Images
22
Polls
57
Writings