Sunday, 8 September 2013

Post S5: Para Interview

With SERIES 5 over and SERIES 6 still in development - and teaching now occupying the lion's share of my time - expect some filler. In the coming weeks, I'll put up song parodies, some behind the scenes information, and the interview contained within this post.

First, if you read on, a SPOILER WARNING for the climax of Series 5, in case you haven't read that yet. Secondly, unlike some who interview their characters, I'm going to have a character interview me.

Para: Wait, what? Where am I?

Those questions would take too long to answer... you'll want to pick something a little more straightforward. Everyone, this is Quadratic, better known as Para! She's a second degree polynomial, who is first taught in Grade 10 math courses.

Para: Right... why am I here?

You're the natural choice to conduct my interview. You're already addressing the audience in the serial, much to my surprise.

Para: Your surprise? Surely you saw that coming.

Nope. While it made sense to me to write the "Being Erica" parody episode in first person, you're the one who extended it from there. I'm not quite sure where it's going to end up now.

Para: No? Well gee, would it have been easier for you if I had simply DIED in the last series?!

You were never going to die, Para. Though I grant in the early drafts, you were going to jump off that cliff yourself, in order to save Lyn, who was falling.

Para: Really? Huh. That changed then.


Para: Whoa! Sore point much?

Not really. I mean, I'm mostly glad in how things turned out. But yeah, the climax for Series 5 was nothing like what I'd pictured. At ALL.

Para: Sine wasn't supposed to die then?

Oh. Okay, well, yes, she was always going to die. I did call the series SIGN CHANGE, after all. But it was going to be in a totally different way. I hadn't expected things to happen quite as fast as they did.

Para: Gee, sorry we couldn't prolong our misery and depression for you!!

Don't be like that. You know Para, the self-harm thing, I used to do it too, a long time ago. I actually wrote a whole post - on my other blog - about the story arc here. "Why I Write Series 5".

Para: But then why imprint that on ME?!

Because you're my favourite. It's all part of a bigger metaphor too, students having particular difficulty with Parabolas and Trig. Funny enough, a lot of mine last semester hated Trig MORE than Quadratics. So Sine's death might have caused some of them to applaud.

Para: Hm. I'll consider forgiveness. Your students read the serial then?

Oh, I doubt it, I meant metaphorical applause. I don't plug this in class, that would feel weird. For that matter, I only mention it occasionally when talking with teacher colleagues. I don't think they're that interested.

Para: Who is your - our - audience then?

I WISH I could answer that!!! The people who can follow the math apparently don't get my ongoing fantasy story. The people who enjoy stories are pretty silent, maybe getting tripped up by the math. And I'm not sure if either group catches my science fiction and pop culture references.

Para: Hm. Maybe if you took the time to explain them?

Explaining the joke never goes over well. Besides, I've incorporated so much math and other miscellaneous trivia by now that explaining would require an entire post in and of itself! Which... is actually a really good idea, come to think. Stay tuned for that, folks!

Para: Uh huh. Glad I could help. How many readers see us, anyway?

The Facebook page has 12 likes. A post generally gets just over 30 hits. I figure some are accidental clicks or spam, so about two dozen regular readers. This out of my 300 twitter followers, or the population of the world, or whatever. It's enough, so long as I occasionally hear from one.

Para: Feels low though. I guess we're not being exciting enough.

I'm sure it's my fault.

Para: I... can't argue with you. Because I suspect you're manipulating my thinking! Well, let's get back to plot, was me flying always going to be a thing?

Not always, but I came up with the idea in March, and the first episode of Series 5 was put up in April. So I guess you could say it was always going to be a thing for that Series. Unlike Lyn's power, which has been around longer and still hasn't been touched on.

Para: Sorry, Lyn's what?

Lyn has an ability too. I actually decided on hers back during initial character creation in June 2011. It simply hasn't come up yet.

Para: It hasn't come up in over two years? Exactly how much stuff have you done that 'hasn't come up yet'?!

Uh, lots. But then, a lot of it changes between when I think of the idea and when it appears - as seen in the latest plot derailments. For a more specific case, when I made Mink and Con, I also made her cousin, the Devil's Staircase. But that character design may change. As might Lyn's power, for that matter... that's why I haven't mentioned it. In fact... huh.

Para: ... You going to finish that thought?

I was going to say, part of the delay with Series 6 is that even some of the established characters are having their original designs looked at right now. It relates back to another post (on my other blog) about how you're all too caucasian. Again, fault is totally mine there.

Para: It sounds suspiciously like you're about to fiddle with my DNA.

That's why I hesitated on finishing the thought. Didn't want to worry you. Though you don't have DNA, you have variables and coefficients.

Para: Yeah, and if you mess with that look, you'll have to change all your clipart!

Don't I know it. Initially, I felt I had to bend Maud's hair (Modulus) so it made sense under his hat. I straightened it to finish off 2012, after an offhand remark by a student, only to realize doing so meant I'd need to redraw him... again! I'd already done that once, after the sunglasses came off. Hence Hyper's railgun exploding to reset his hairstyle.

Para: Cute.

I'm pretty good at coming up with explanations for things. Either on the fantasy side of the story, or in incorporating actual research for stuff like the Fractal characters. And yes, I do research. Hausdorff-Besicovitch dimensions aren't exactly in any curriculum that I'm aware of.

Para: Wait. If you spend so much time thinking about us, along with drawing, writing and research... when exactly do you have time for, you know, your day job? For math teaching?

Um. It can be tricky. But you're right, I should probably go plan some lessons, so I'll send you back now. By the way, you won't remember any of this happening.

Para: You hope.

Fair point.
If anyone's going to really surprise me, currently my money is on Para.

To be posted soon on my other blog: Serial Rewrite Recap

To be posted soon on this blog: Explaining the References



  1. First, not the interview I expected. More Colbert-ian than usual.

    Second, it's good to see that I'm not the only one who has story lines that go a completely different direction than expected. Sometimes, characters surprise us, no matter how long we've worked with them.

    You raise a good point about using clip art for an illustrated story. I'll have to remember that if I wind up going that route for an idea.

    And something that came to me about the end of season 5 - did I see a Matrix reference? Should I be expecting matrix operations in season 6?

    1. Fair enough, glad I can be unexpected. Even if I'm not entirely sure how Colbert connects. (Backhanded compliments? Very direct and in your face? Tongue in cheek?)

      I love that about characters, but yes - and as I say in that linked post, it wasn't even the first time. As to the clipart, the flip side is that as my drawing (theoretically) improves, some of my older art might look more out of place in newer material. For one thing, I used to stop at the neck, now I stop at the shoulders.

      As to the end of S5, any Matrix reference was surprisingly unintentional. My matrix memory is also spotty, so probably not - though Series 6 WILL start off with a Babylon 5 shout-out.

  2. The format reminded me of the Colbert Report, where he goes running over to his guest already seated at the interview table instead of the guest coming in for the interview like on every other show. The tongue in cheek approached helped with the comparison.

    I sometimes wonder if we don't so much as write as we channel characters. I've tried to keep characters on track, but the experience wasn't as fun and, even then, my characters rebelled on me at the end. Are you going to go back to redo older clip art to reflect the improvement?

    The bit about the Math-tans not being ready yet had me flash on the connection, though it comes up in many series and works with a Chosen One. I shudder to think about how matrix multiplication works with trig - I may have blotted that out. Engineering does weird things with functions. *shudder* Babylon 5? Can't wait, even though I have to. :)