Click the pic to revisit the Precocious/Curtailed crossover!
(UPDATE: Since this post is already too long, I added even MORE backstory and random tidbits to a second post. Click here to go read it!)
I like to make summers in Precocious a little bit epic. Figuring this is when people either take breaks from their computers, or have the time to invest more online reading effort, I use it as an opportunity to write longer stories with lots of callbacks and continuity nods. If you're not paying attention, or paying EXTRA attention to details from the archvies, you'll find a big, rich story waiting for you to consume all at once. I see it as a reward for long-term, dedicated readers, and indulgent fun for me! (I have enough long-term readers that I'm confident any needed callback/reference link will end up in the comments section eventually.)
Aunt Bernie's visit was a story I deliberately sat on for YEARS, until the timing was right AND I had the full story set in my mind. (Take a look at Uncle Mike's mis-remembered names of Sky's twins, from nearly four and a half years ago.) Every so often during these years, I'd get a Bernie idea and add it to my notes. As that foundation built up, so did inspirations. In this post, I'm covering the two big ones: Miri and the pub!
Two years ago, I walked into the Small Press Expo and met Kat Feete, fellow SpiderForest member and creator of Sunset Grill. (Comic not for kiddies.) I also got to meet her lovely family, including her IMPOSSIBLY CUTE daughter. I told Kat about a character I was working on for a future story, who was so cute she drove Autumn mad, and Kat began to share stories of how her Kidlet was able to melt hearts and do "this can't be real" adorable things. At the next SPX, she had even more tales to share! Both the links above were directly adapted from real-life stories told to me by Kat. Now that the story has finally been unleashed, coming with Bernie was a cute little girl named Miriam, whose look is a direct Precocizing of the almighty Kidlet. You can find several more stories I want to steal on her Kidlet Roundup.
I had a problem with Bernie's story, that caused it to sit half-finished for so long. I was missing an element to make it worthy of the wait, and, since I intend to let Precocious go as long as I have stories to tell, I felt no pressure to rush it out before it was ready. Near the end of last year, I finally hit upon The Plan. Slowly but surely, Act II began to come together in my notes - and Act II eventually required a visit to a bar.
With me being an unlovable and broken shut-in, I only know two people who are socially adept enough to visit bars, and they happen to be the creators of a certain amazing comic! I'd written Mandy long ago about adopting Seley and Fox as expanded-universe characters in Precocious - Meaning, they're not *actually* the characters from their comic, but strong inspirations for Precociousverse evil twins who take the roles of what would have otherwise gone to one-off random characters. When I finally got to meet them in-person (naturally, at a bar!) I gave them the overview of the bar section from the Bernie story, allowing them to take those roles if they approved. (Makes sense, as The two visited the kids' bar when they appeared in the Fall Festival arc, so now the kids visit THEIR bar.) They gave me tips of what their bar would look like (the name was Fox's idea) and I tried to match things up where the story (and my crummy bar-drawing ability) allowed. I'm not sure how Nerd Night-y they'd actually go, but it's an important element for a side story that will likely be a stretch goal incentive for the next book preorder. Perhaps Precociousverse duplicate Fox and Seley are a little bit lamer than their source comic, counterparts, but, well, that's really a given - seeing as *I'm* writing for them instead of Fox: The Worlds Most Interesting Man.)