Grabbing from the Notebooks: Phi Beta . . . Files?

The Idea Pile

Figure I can use Sundays to present future ideas that I haven’t fully fleshed out.  Helps to write stuff out, especially those that I carried from other worlds to Windemere.  This one is like that, which you can tell from the name.  It’s tough to use Greek letters in a non-Earth setting.  This becomes a bigger sticking point if they don’t show up at any other times.  I should probably explain the origin.

Back in college, some friends of mine wanted to do the frat stuff, but didn’t want to go through the mess of pledging.  So, they created their own and called it Phi Beta.  My roommate and I got brought in later that day then the rest of our crew were drawn into the fun.  We came up with ideas and hung out, but that’s really it.  The names and ideas all were ‘Phi Beta’ then a word with a ‘B’ or ‘Ph/F’ name.  For example, Phi Beta Blade was my name and the one in charge was Phi Beta Bruiser.  Obviously, these names aren’t going to be in the story, but the ‘adventures’ we had were the basis for it.  Since one of our favorite movies was ‘Animal House’, I decided to have our group by the misfit squad in a military academy.  It was a book for each year of college, one for spring break, and one for a big summer break, which puts us at g.

Here is where things start to get tricky.  We didn’t have many girls in the group and those who were didn’t play a big role in our antics.  It was definitely a guy thing, so the main characters are all female.  I’ve made incarnations where a female character is added, but it throws off a few things.  There are plenty of female supporting cast members and villains though.  Again, working off real world things does put some limitations on it.  Not to mention the four main characters are heavily flawed.  You have the pompous jackass, the naive one that goes a little out of control, the malicious trickster, and the apathetic yet loyal one.  They aren’t starting out as noble or decent, which is why they’re seen as the misfits.  I plan on having them mature and evolve as they move through the military academy years, but I still have a lot of trouble adding a woman into this thing given its origins.  So, that’s going to be a problem in this day and age.

Now, the general story is where another issue comes up.  Originally, this was in a futuristic world where Earth sends military envoys to other planets for exploration and trade.  Phi Beta is still the misfit group who are all determined to graduate.  They all have their own reasons too.  Connect to the previous flaws:

  • Pompous jackass wants to be a soldier and has wanted to be one since childhood.
  • Naive one comes from a rich family of psychics and wants to be something more.
  • Malicious trickster is really on the run because he’s an escaped experiment.
  • Apathetic one grew up in a gang and is determined to stay out of that life.

They’re also at a disadvantage since squads are supposed to be groups of 6.  Pointman, Psionic, Exo-pilot, Medic, Jack-of-All-Trades, and Shadow are the groupings if I remember correctly.  Nobody wants to join them because of their reputation, so the jackass and naive one take on two roles each.  You also have mechanics, suppliers, snipers, and other specialists that aren’t part of the squad curriculum.  This is where many of the female characters will show up, but none of them are going to want to be official members of Phi Beta.  Why would anybody want to since they’re being set up for failure?

They will stumble and crash into victory at most points with the adventures growing in seriousness.  First year was going to be very close to real college antics that ends with a final test that they have to pass to stay in school and get an official house.  Second year is when they get an advisor and have to do teamwork tests while someone is legitimately trying to kill them, which included a virtual reality fantasy game adventure. Third book was an extra credit session where personal problems cause 3 of the 4 to leave school while the 4th has to pretend that they are still around until they return.  Year three is them winning a chance to test a new spacefighter, which goes wrong and they are split into pairs that have to reunite on a planet with warring nations.  Summer break is a series of various adventures that all connect to a villain from that virtual fantasy game who escaped to possess a real person. Final year is the senior war games and Phi Beta realizing that they might be going in different directions after graduation.  Conspiracy to get rid of them is in there too since everyone who hates them unites to make sure they don’t graduate or even survive.

That’s all I have right now without digging up my notes.  They’re scattered and none of them touch on the newest problem.  How does being in Windemere change this?  Exo-suit no longer works, so I might have to change that to something else or simply get rid of it entirely.  This means on the team leader is doing double-duty, which makes sense given his goal.  Although, I do remember changing it to something called a Steel, which I think involved the character being able to sprout an armor suit from their body using a special artifact.  I wouldn’t be able to do all of the second year story or the summer break one since it was going to be them going from sci-fi to fantasy for comedy.  So, I need a third year story for them, which doesn’t involve another competition.  They won’t be going to planets, so I need to figure out a purpose for these guys.  I was thinking of making this a mercenary training facility since I don’t do anything to cover that aspect of Windemere.  The jackass could end up dreaming of being the new Mercenary King.  So, this is a lot of stuff that I have to consider.  Another option is having the final year be after things go wrong on the third year adventure and Phi Beta getting a chance to return for one more adventure.

Geez.  Here I thought simply calling it ‘The Phi Beta Files’ was a problem.  Maybe ‘The Phi Beta Four’?  The Phi Beta Brigade?  That last one could actually be their official name.  Ugh, this is tough.

(Add-On: After talking to one of the friends who was there, I might just have the 4 main ones and the others will be supporting characters.  Perhaps the academy has it that you need to create a small force with 6 officers and a bunch of specialists.  This opens up to more characters, but that could make it an insanely big cast.  Unless I only use the specialists when they’re needed.)

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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11 Responses to Grabbing from the Notebooks: Phi Beta . . . Files?

  1. It has possibilities, for sure. Does it have to be in Windemere, or is this part of your marketing? I hate to see you lose all the science fiction stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, I’m not that comfortable with science fiction. It was fun to create, but people these days expect a lot more reality in the genre that I’m willing to do. I like the flexibility I get from fantasy and being able to mess with physics instead of being called out on how ‘that would never work’. The same is going to happen with my alien bounty hunter who is now going to crash land on Windemere with a bunch of criminals to catch. That’ll probably be the closest I get to full science fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing, Charle. Sounds fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Marie says:

    Coldhandboyack said just what I wondered. But I see that you clarified the point about science fiction. I understand the reticence about sci-fi due to expectations. Sounds like a sci-fi/fantasy blend is what you’re looking to do.

    Like

  4. It’s good to look back at old notes. Sometimes they really come back to life.

    Like

  5. I don’t really know much about how the whole frat thing works, but it sounds like an interesting idea.

    Like

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