Part I: 2,000 Edits
It’s been not quite nine months since I came to the wiki, and I continue to rise to heights I never dreamed of even three months ago. This is partly because my OCD nature (personality trait, not diagnosed condition) won’t let me go a day without reviewing the Activity Feed to make sure I don’t miss anything that I consider important. (I wouldn’t have to be so anal about this if there were a way to monitor specific users for new blog posts.)
That’s as may be, when I first cracked the Top Authors listing (actually, the 25 highest edit counts) in early June, I thought I might eventually get as high as #22, or even #21, not that exact placement really means anything. Seventeen weeks later, I’ve just passed TDIRM for #14. Next, I will eclipse the Sun if she doesn’t watch her back! *cues “evil stage laughter” clip*
I think the main reason I have risen so high is that several users who had been above me, some of whom had over 1,000 edits when I came to the wiki, were or have been relatively inactive for various periods of time. (Yeah, I missed Gigi, too.)
Although I became one of the wiki’s core users in only a few months, I’ve done more than just cozy up to the veterans. I was, for example, one of those who convinced CrystalNeonSummerSnow to make the leap from faceless IP to registered user, and I’m giving Crystal a shout-out here because I think she’s one of the wiki’s better (not to mention more prolific) writers of noncompetition stories. Granted, her writing technique is still a little rough around the edges, but that will improve with practice, and she certainly seems willing to apply herself. Once she recovers from her thesaurusitis (a common fanfic writer’s ailment), I think she has the potential to go places in this community. Meanwhile, I’ve been chewing off her cyberear in much the same way as I did with Gigi when I was a newbie myself.
Another shout-out for a lesser-known user goes to my friend, IzzyK. She’s not the most active girl on the wiki, but we’ve had some pleasant conversations and I like her stories reasonably well. Her competition story is in script format, which has cost it some readers, but I don’t have a problem with script format myself. (That may seem strange to some of you, given how dialogue-light and intensely descriptive my own writing style is.)
So, there you have it. Two thousand edits. There’s plenty more where that came from, since I don’t expect to be going anywhere anytime soon.
And now, to the Halloween portion of tonight’s program.
Part II: Halloween Stuff
First, a little mood music. For the lyrics, click here.
This song from Ruddigore, “When the Night Wind Howls” is, among other things, Gwen’s TDI-G&S theme. Speaking of TDI-G&S, I’ll admit that I’m disappointed that it hasn’t received a single supporting vote on the Featured Story ballot, after placing 2nd two months running. In fairness, though, TDI-G&S isn’t the only candidate that has been neglected this month. Several nominees that have received support in the past have been mostly or completely neglected this month. Most notably, Shane’s first story has been well supported in the past, including a 3rd place and a 2nd place finish in recent months. This month, nary a vote. Similarly, Ult's story has been strongly supported in the past, but has only token support this month (although in TDNC’s case, I suspect it’s mainly a stage of completion/frequency of updating issue.)
LTDI Status & Previews
The Legend of Total Drama Island is coming along nicely, and now stands at over 30,000 words. (By comparison, the Featured Stories gallery includes some completed competition stories that aren’t that long.) Because I am writing scenes as they come to me, rather than trying to write the episodes in order, none of the episodes are close to being finished yet. The first challenge and the phobia challenge are probably the episodes that are the furthest along.
As I have mentioned before, I have various reasons for writing the entire story before I start posting it. One benefit I have discovered in doing this is that I am able to include more foreshadowing than might otherwise be possible.
I am making one significant characterization change from the canon: Ezekiel will remain a sexist, but he won’t be socially clueless because that’s an aspect of the “home schooled” stereotype that I consider unworthy of perpetuation. Also, when Chris (in both canon and LTDI) refers to Zeke being raised by “freaky prairie people”, I see that phrase as code for “Bible thumpers”. I’m not planning any discussions of religious doctrine, but Ezekiel’s faith will have some visible effects on his behavior.
A note on the contestant introductions: many competition stories give only a couple of sentences to most of the introductions, especially when dealing with canon characters. By contrast, I am writing the introductions as if for an audience that has never heard of TDI. Every character’s intro will have at least a full paragraph, and a few that have a lot of dialogue run to a page or more. Most of the longer introductions that I have written so far expand on the canon version, but are otherwise similar. (Noah’s is a major exception.) I have currently written about half of the contestant intros.
The LTDI elimination ceremonies will have a couple of wrinkles that I’m guessing haven’t been done here before. (I can’t really be certain, though, because I’ve read so few competition stories.) One of these additions will be present from the beginning, whereas the other will be added by one of the teams during the course of the story.
LTDI will have more innuendo than the original, hence the PG-13 rating. Not vastly more, but there is one scene that may push the boundaries of what’s acceptable in a PG-13 story. Long story short, a certain sex act other than intercourse is mentioned but not described. (Trust me, it does advance the story. I’ll censor it if the admins make me; but when the time comes, I’ll try the uncut version first.)
Tonight, I will be previewing two scenes that fit the Halloween motif: Gwen’s introduction (since her Gothic aesthetic fits the occasion) and a scene from the phobia challenge. I also have scenes from the “scary movie” challenge that would obviously fit, but you won’t be seeing that tonight because it would be an industrial-strength spoiler.
LTDI Preview #1: “Welcome to Hell” from The Tale of the Gathering
The next girl off the boat was a softcore Goth. Her hair was dyed pitch-black and highlighted in teal, although her highlights tended to look green on camera. Her dark, cool-colors outfit consisted of a sleeved corset top that arranged her modest chest to its best advantage; a short skirt with a patchwork look; forest-green hose; and black, knee-high platform boots. Her skin was not the artificial, chalky white of a hardcore Goth, but the natural pearly-gray pallor of fair skin that rarely feels the sun.
“Our Goth girl, Gwen!” Chris cheerily announced to the camera.
Gwen, surveying the ramshackle structures beyond the dock, could not believe her eyes. This place did not even faintly resemble the resort where she was expecting the contest to be held. “We’re going to be living in a summer camp?” she asked incredulously.
“No, you’re going to be living in a summer camp, McLean corrected. “I’ll be living in that tricked-out trailer over there,” he added, casually motioning to the accommodations in question.
Gwen did not have a sunny disposition under the best conditions, and this unpleasant surprise did not improve her mood. She knew how to be tactful, but was not now inclined to make use of that knowledge, so she came right to the point.
“I did not sign up for this,” she declared.
“Actually, you did,” Chris corrected again, as some intern of little note nor long remembered handed him what was presumably the standard contestant’s contract. Thanks to the magic of postproduction editing, the finished episode would make it look like the host had casually pulled the document out of his back pocket.
McLean opened the contract at a bookmark. Clearly, he had been expecting someone to react as Gwen had.
“Here it is,” the host pronounced rhetorically. Turning the page to Gwen, he asked theatrically, “Would you be good enough to read this bit for the camera?”
With the air of one calling a bluff, Gwen read aloud the clause Chris had indicated. The Goth smugly read the name of the resort where she had expected the competition to be held, but her heart skipped a beat when she came to the damning caveat:
“…or such alternate venue as the Producer may designate.”
Gwen’s first impulse was to flip to the back page, to see if it had been signed in blood. Her second impulse was to tear up the contract before Chris’ eyes. That would be futile, she knew, since this cruel document was surely just a copy. Still, the host seemed to be enjoying Gwen’s discomfiture far too much, so she decided to get what enjoyment she could, as well. She snatched the contract from Chris’ hands and tore it up. It wasn’t easy, given that the contract was a substantial stack of paper, but Gwen managed it by imagining that she was actually rending McLean’s head from his body. She gave the host an evil smile as she did this, hoping to give him a hint of what she was actually visualizing.
Chris was not impressed. Receiving another copy of the contract from the same nameless intern (McLean had evidently expected someone to commit contractricide) the host flourished the undead document again.
“I am not staying here,” Gwen declared, turning back to the boat. The boat, however, had already left the dock, and was even now receding in the distance.
“Fine,” replied the unperturbed host. “But assuming you can swim all the way back, you do realize that there are some pretty heavy financial penalties if you back out now. Do you think your single mother can afford a long and costly legal battle which we will win?”
That hurt. Gwen’s mother was, indeed, raising two children alone. She was able to make ends meet, but little more; and part of Gwen’s motivation for this competition was to ease her mother’s burdens, most notably by being able to pay for her own college education. For anything Gwen knew to the contrary, the threatened litigation could have them all living under a bridge.
Defeated, the Goth trudged sullenly down the dock to where the other contestants stood. “Steaming little pile of crap,” she muttered.
Beth cocked her head. “Did you just say the camp was a ‘steaming little pile of crap’?” the farm girl asked innocently.
“No,” Gwen replied acidly, “the camp is a big steaming pile of crap.”
- The phrase “of little note nor long remembered” is a reference to a line from the Gettysburg Address.
- Signing the contract in blood is a traditional part of the procedure for selling one’s soul to the Devil. Gwen suspects that she has died and gone to Hell.
LTDI Preview #2: “Trial By Spider” from The Tale of Fear and Loathing
Beth was the first to face her trial. Chris led the campers to a Plexiglas container that bore an unfortunate resemblance to a coffin. Giving Beth goggles and a dust mask, he told her to put them on and to lie down in the “coffin”, face up. When she had done so, two interns (or “redshirts”, as the campers had come to call them) carrying large canisters began to pour a mass of spiders onto the farm girl, starting at her feet and working their way up. LeShawna hastily backed away a few paces.
Beth’s mortal fear was being covered in bugs, as has been told before; and while spiders aren’t actually bugs, they were close enough for Beth. The spiders were a harmless type, but that didn’t matter, either. Most bugs are harmless, too.
With Beth now completely immersed, Hatchet produced a stopwatch and clicked it. Clearly, Beth had to endure for a certain period, but she hadn’t been told how long that interval might be. After a minute or so, at a signal from his aide, Chris bade the nerdette stand.
Beth unsteadily rose to her feet. Her face drawn and paler than Gwen’s, she stepped out of the casket and stood, shaking, whilst the redshirts brushed her off. She removed her dust mask and goggles and staggered a little way off, then dropped to her hands and knees and was loudly ill.
After giving the others a few moments to contemplate what Beth had gone through, Chris turned to the homegirl. “Well, LeShawna,” he said rhetorically, “We don’t want these spiders to go to waste, do we?”
“W-what do you mean?” LeShawna asked hesitantly. Being afraid of spiders, she thought she knew all too well what he meant, but clung to the forlorn hope that she might be mistaken.
She wasn’t. “I understand you’re afraid of spiders,” the host said, his expectant grin giving the lie to his mild tone. Indicating the casket, Chris handed down his sentence. “I want you to reach in and scoop up a few. But don’t hurt them.”
“How touching,” Heather remarked caustically to no one in particular. “He cares more about a bug that will die of old age in three months than he does about us.”
Beth’s continued retching didn’t help LeShawna’s state of mind. Having surrendered her breakfast, Beth was still wracked with dry heaves. The farm girl had paid a steep price for her team’s first point. It also didn’t help that the arachnid army was now quitting the casket en masse, so the other campers—even those with no special aversion to spiders—were giving ground.
LeShawna thrice stepped forward to do as Chris had instructed, and thrice blenched back. Finally, with a heavy heart, she turned to her teammates. “Sorry, y’all,” she confessed, unable to look them in the eyes, “I can’t do it.”
- As noted in an earlier preview, the interns wear red pullover shirts similar to those of security personnel in the original Star Trek series. Captain Kirk’s security personnel had a life expectancy similar to that of TDI interns.
- Stomach upset, or even nausea, is a common stress reaction because the stomach has a high concentration of nerve endings.
Costume Ball: TDI Girls Dressed as Jocks
Below are the photos of “real-life TDI girls” that I mentioned back in my 1,000th Edit special. All of these girls attended the same high school, most in a 2-year span. As I mentioned previously, hairstyles are problematic because almost all girls with hair beyond a certain length will wear ponytails during games. Also, curves tend to be hidden (especially relevant to Lindsay and Eva) because the jerseys tend to be loose-fitting and because sports bras aren’t designed to emphasize the bosom the way standard bras are.
Anyway, here are my TDI girls, in alphabetical order:
My “Beth” is probably taller than the canon version, and is built more like a fireplug than a pear. Her ponytail is in the normal rear position, but tends to drape over her left shoulder for some reason, which is reasonably suggestive of the canon Beth’s side ponytail.
I had another girl who would have made a better “Bridgette”, but the photos themselves were of significantly lesser quality.
I consider Courtney one of my weakest matches. I have several girls who are passable fits for Courtney, but none that I’m really happy with.
Eva, on the other hand, is one of my best matches. Her beauty mark is on the wrong side, though. I won’t go into specifics here, but my “Eva” is also reported to have a temper.
I think Gwen is my best match of all. Indeed it was this photo that inspired me to see if I could match other TDI girls. My “Gwen’s” hair is perfect not only for how it looks, but for how it behaves.
It may or may not be apparent, but my “Heather" is, indeed, Asian. Of course, the canon Heather may only be half-Asian. The “video message from home” established that her (step?)father is Caucasian. My “Heather” is probably a good deal shorter than the canon version, though.
This shot doesn’t have the best lighting, but my “Izzy” does, indeed, have hair dyed a medium-dark red.
I had a couple of girls who make good “Katies”. I chose this one because the other’s face looked too much like my Courtney (which stands to reason, given that they’re sisters.)
This girl’s skin tone is a little darker than I envision for LeShawna; but that is, indeed, a weave ponytail.
Even if this girl was actually built like Lindsay, I’m not sure you’d be able to tell through that sports bra and loose-fitting basketball jersey.
The hair color and length aren’t right, which is why I chose a shot where her hair is less visible.
Who was that masked man? (This picture was taken around 2002, before my sideburns started to go gray.)