Saturday, October 31, 2009
Took a few days off from the accounting since the horse race is over. Watched DEXTER Season 3 which was fabulous. Watched THE INVISIBLES which never quite gelled.
Will Dixon has a nice post about twists and turns and reversals in storytelling and it puts it in context with a look at the first act of the very first episode of the BUFFY TV series.
Most of the work this month was on the OGN which is about half done unless I get a few more good ideas along the way.
Final total for October- 33645 words.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
-- Dolly Parton
That was quick. I have a new release today: NEVER AFTER, an anthology with authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, and Sharon Shinn. "Feminist Fairytales" are the theme of the book; feminist, in the sense that the princesses are the ones who save the day and take charge of their destinies. My contribution is called The Tangleroot Palace, and it's about a girl named Sally who escapes betrothal to a warlord by seeking out a magical forest, and the queen who sleeps within. Of course, nothing goes exactly as planned.
I wrote that story while in Shanghai, sitting at a Starbucks, displaced from my favorite seat by the window because I needed to plug in my laptop and the only place to do that was beside the condiment island -- you know, the one with the napkins and sugar, and plastic utensils, and people splashing coffee on themselves and then looking at you like it's your fault. Not exactly a fortress of solitude. But I've written a lot of books -- or partials of those books -- in that particular Starbucks. Some places just make the brain spark.
In other news, if you'd like to see me a little more animated (ha, ha) check out this interview over at Second Life. I talk writing.
My name is Daryl (hi, Daryl), and I'm a jealous man.
This week I'm jealous of full-time writers, including most of these clockwork people. Like Paul Cornell, who just talked about how he's home in a room getting insane amounts of work done, though perhaps while going quietly insane (that's how the British do it, I'm told). And Chris, writer and publisher, has got more irons in the fire than, well, some metaphor involving irons and fire. Bill Willingham's announced that he's not going to travel anymore this year after World Fantasy because he needs to get even more work done than he's already pumped out.
And this month, Matt Sturges wrote 100,000 words. That's insane. (Matt, if you're not full-time, you have some explaining to do.)
All these people are in multiple media -- comics, games, prose, television, and for all I know, puppet shows. I don't think that's accidental. In fact, it may be required for full-time-hood.
Me, I write short stories, and I recently broke into novels. But even sticking to old fashioned prose, I'm slow. I could no more write 100K in a month than grow an extra hand from my stomach. Though that might help me type. It could at least hold my coffee cup.
Worse, I spend most of my day at my day job. (That's why they call it that.) It's a white collar job, not one of those awful yet colorful endeavors that manly old-time writers used to put on their resume. You know, like stevedore, or pig strangler. The point is (and I have a point), is that even though that job pays our mortgage and will help our children go to college, I still resent it when I'm aching to get more writing done.
I know that most writers are part-timers. And most of the ones I know who are full-time have a spouse who's bringing home the health insurance. Probably every clockworker had to work out deals with friends and family to get by.
But they're full-time now, and I'm not. So maybe that's my purpose here at Clockwork Storybook. The new guy who will represent the jealous and the discontent, the writers struggling to get enough time behind the keyboard after the hours at work, the kids' band concerts, and the dog's vet appointments. I'll be asking them how they got to where they are, and what the hell I can do to get there. (Unfortunately, I suspect I already know the answer: Dude, keep writing. Then write some more.)
And Marjorie? Who's a lawyer as well as a hugely productive writer? You've got some explaining to do too.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Since Bill addressed his flying car lament to me, I figured I owed him a response.
(For those who don't know me personally--which would likely be just about everyone--a quick note about where to place me on the political spectrum. I am what was termed by my father's generation a "pinko." Worse yet, I'm a secular humanist pinko. But I'm also a huge geek, and got every one of Bill's references at the beginning of the piece.)
Oh, how I wish I had a flying car and a jetpack. And I share a lot of Bill's concerns about the "nanny state" aspects of modern culture, but I'm not as quick to dismiss it entirely as pernicious. (As a parent of a five year old daughter, the question of how much danger to allow her to put herself in is a constant struggle for me. I don't want to see her hurt unnecessarily, but at the same time I don't want her to grow up cossetted and cushioned against *all* of life's ill. Check out Michael Chabon's excellent essay "Manhood for Amateurs" for some thoughts on this: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22891)
The problem with flying cars as I see it, though, isn't so much the danger it poses to the driver, but the danger it poses to everyone *else*.
If an idiot kid gets behind the wheel of a car and barrels down my street at far above the posted speed limit, it might have disastrous, even tragic, effects. He could hit another car, he could hit a pedestrian, could get in a wreck and kill and injure not only himself but other innocents. Sure, he has to be licensed to drive, but there is still risk to the rest of us, but as a society it's a risk that we've come to accept as a trade-off for the convenience and luxury of the single-passenger car.
The problem with the flying car is that the danger posed by unsafe and inexperienced operators is magnified many times over. A thoughtless kid behind the wheel of a ground car could hit a pedestrian, or rear-end a school bus, or any number of other ills, but he's not likely to destroy my house and everyone in it. An inexperienced "driver" of a flying car? A heavy projectile filled with inflammable propellant hitting my roof at high speeds might just do that. Until flying cars can be made safe (there's that pernicious word again) not only to the people onboard but to all of the people on the *ground*, I'm content to live without them.
Jet packs, now, are another matter, or at least pose a less significant threat to all of us on the ground. I think the problem *there* is that the physics just don't seem to work. Like everyone in my generation, I grew up with images of the Rocket Belt, and figured that I'd be able to soar through the air in one *long* before I reached my current age. But the problem with things like the Rocket Belt is that that are (a) prohibitively expensive to operate, and (b) extremely limited in application. I could buy one now, if I had the means, and go out in the desert and fly in a small circle for a minute or two before the tiny fuel tank was exhausted, but that doesn't put me any closer to strapping on a jetpack and flying from here down to the corner store. Even if I could make it there, I wouldn't have the fuel to make it *back*.
Who knows? Maybe some genius will come along and figure out how to rewrite the gravitational constant on the fly, and we all can float safely through the clouds with flight rings like the Legion of Super-Heroes used to hand out to its members. (Heck, they even gave the *rejects* flying belts.) And if we should happen to collide with the ground, we'd do no more damage than a mylar helium balloon blown over from the birthday part of the kid next door. But in the meantime, while still worrying about the possibly pernicious ills of the nanny state, I'm happy that there's someone out there keeping big hunks of flaming metal death from plummeting out of the skies onto my head.
I pondered this question all weekend. What lessons could Midwinter teach aspiring writers? The self-flagellating artist in me immediately responds, “Nothing. It’s a mediocre book at best; derivative, not descriptive enough, goes off on a far-too-wide tangent about 2/3 through. If aspiring writers were to learn anything from it, it would only be from the massive pile of mistakes I made in it.”
Of course, this is hyperbole. Sure there are things I could have done better, but all in all, I think Midwinter works just fine. Great literature? Probably not. A solid fantasy read? Sure. Certainly a journeyman first novel. Even downright clever in places.Maybe this is what it can teach you. Unless you are one of those supremely confident individuals who never second-guesses him/herself, and also happens to be brilliant, you are very likely to have misgivings about any story you embark upon. The bigger the story, the more moving parts, the more trepidation you are likely to experience. You will probably spend some time in the midst of writing it (somewhere just past the halfway point seems to be my personal favorite spot) thinking that it is the worst novel ever written, and any smart person would abandon it now. Other days (maybe the next day), you might find yourself thinking that you are a genius who can do no wrong.
I'm Paul Cornell, I write stuff. I'm currently adjusting to the fact that my wife is commuting to theological college (where she's training to be a vicar), so I see her for a few minutes in the very early morning ('gah,' I say to her as she hands me a cup of tea) and for long enough to watch one telefantasy show over dinner every evening. But the Jedi powers she's learning make up for my writerly loneliness. A mate popped over to fix my computer the other day, and he was a little freaked out by how attentive to him I was. 'You're people!' I said. 'Living, breathing, people!' 'Yes,' he replied, backing towards the door. 'I *am* people.'
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Struggled with a case of Newcastle poisoning from an excellent Halloween party last night. Camera-phone photos here. Managed to write a few comic pages with football on in the background once my head returned to its normal (giant) size.
Watched a couple of episodes of The Invisibles. Fun premise, but I can see why it was cancelled.
After playing the Washington Generals from the beginning of the month on, I have decided to run out the game and try to get the OGN a little farther along.
11 comic pages--> 5500 words. Running total 29,145 words.
But I do make exceptions, most humbly, and with great appreciation; such as when I received the surprising invitation to join this lovely crew of writers. I don't know what kind of craziness inspired putting my name in the hat, but I'm glad to be here.
So, with that said, Bill Willingham has asked what we, as writers, owe our readers.
My readers and I have got a trust thing going on between us. No one's ever said that, of course, but when folks read your work, they're taking a leap of faith. Someone's out there, opening a book, saying, "Do right by me. Take me somewhere else."
And I try. I don't always succeed, but I try.
I owe readers to be true to myself, to write the stories I want to write, and to tell the best stories I possibly can. I owe my readers respect, because I appreciate it more than I can say when people take the time to read something I've written (whether they like the tale or not).
But, as much as I love my readers, I owe them nothing else.
I'm a hypocrite, of course. As a reader, who has lived in agony for the next book of my favorite author, who drools over excerpts that end too soon and joins newsletters and reads blogs for updates, and who daydreams about worlds that exist only on paper (or, now, those various e-reader devices), I demand satisfaction. I want adventure, and thrills, and just the right outcome. I want, at the end of a book, to feel bigger than my body (even out of body), ten feet tall and ready to take on the world. I want, simply, to have an experience. A good time. A great time.
That's what I search for. And I can only hope that's what I give. Not every time, but sometimes, for someone.
Anyway, that's it for now. This little pony is going to gallop her way up a mountain of deadlines and battle those wolves for words.
Thanks for having me here.
likes: dirty jokes, blu-rays, john waters, john irving, sushi, and Chris Evans sans shirt.
dislikes: overhyping, avocados, blood sausage, "my super sweet sixteen", and bipolar stalkers.
thanks for having me!
Now I yield this silliness to the ongoing discussion of writerly things, in which hopefully our new members will soon join.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Day 20: ZERO WORDS
Day 21: ZERO WORDS
Day 22: 10 comic book pages -> 5,000 words.
Total so far: 97,315.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I missed Buffy-mania the first time around and I've been watching the series as part of the ongoing work for IDW. Tonight I finally finished Season 4 which I think started strong and fizzled a bit in the end. The highlight of the season is of course Spike. He should have gotten his own show.
I'm doing a webcomic creators weekend for a local comic shop with Scott Kurtz and a few others in December and I was encouraged to bring merchandise to sell. So far, SideChicks essentially exists as a series of zeroes and ones. Think I'm going to make T-shirts. After two years, seems like a good idea. Saw some of Thom's art for the shirts and that man is a genius.
Saw a rough cut of the music video I worked on and it looks amazing. Looking forward to the Premier Party next month.
1 comic page--> 500 words.
Daily total 500 words. Running total 23,645 words.
I think that we are living in a Golden Age of popular culture.
At least, for the me and the other members of my generation, we are. I imagine that older generations must think us insane. All of the things that allured us as children, the onslaught of trash culture and science fiction and fantasy and horror have all come home to roost in the current generation of writers; the obsessive quirks of very smart people reeling in a torrent of inputs both sublime and ridiculous, sacred and profane. And now the ones who were raised on all that stuff–everything from H.R. Puff-n-Stuff to Stanley Kubrick to Kurt Vonnegut to Spielberg to Star Wars to Star Trek:whatever to Conan the Barbarian to Raiders of the Lost Ark–are now the ones producing it. We grew up imbibing the distiled essence of twentieth-century pop culture, created by people who themselves had been nursed on Burroughs and Lovecraft and Poe and Superman comics and Tex Avery and Universal monster movies. The things that our generation has assembled as a result are the purest distillation yet, managing to cram a pressure-cooker of allusive play and substance together in a bright mishmash that defies tradition and genre while embracing and celebrating it at the same time.
Full post here.
In the meantime, a quick note. Once I get the Conan Doyle-Power Rangers thing out of the way, I plan to talk a bit about my thoughts on the use of "types" in fiction. Not archetypes or stereotypes, but recognizable character types. The Victorian Consulting Detective, the Grim Pulp Avenger, the Suave Cold War Superspy. That kind of thing. It's something I'm a little obsessed with, and something about which I've thought a lot.
This morning, I came across something that resonated quite a bit with my thinking about types. One of the illustration blogs I follow is that of Annie Wu, an illustrator/writer and student. She's working on a big senior thesis at the moment, and posted a little tease from it to her flickr stream last night. She describes the project as being "a series of 18x24 posters for films that don't exist." She appears to be drawing inspiration (and imagery) from things like Kevin Dart's Yuki 7 (which I've raved about before), the "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II" episode of The Venture Bros (which opened with a recap to a Part I that never existed), and the Grindhouse trailers.
It was how Wu summed up her reasons for the project that really struck me.
Basically, it's all just an excuse for me to design ridiculous characters and make up as many crazy standalone scenes as I want without consequences. The stories only live and breathe within these posters, and the viewer fills in the (massive) gaps with their own imagination.I just want to put a metaphorical pin in that, to come back to later. "The stories only live and breathe within these posters, and the viewer fills in the (massive) gaps with their own imagination." Make a note of it for later reference.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm back to reading. You nice people go check out the art of Annie Wu, why don't you?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I made the weekly trip to the comic shop and today when asked, I explained the problem I have with certain titles in a 'family' of books. I read some comics because I like the character and some because I like the writer or artist or whatever. SuperGirl has been the only one of the Superman Family titles that I have stuck with for reasons that are leaving me rapidly. The last three issues are a perfect example of a way to lose readers. SuperGirl #44 is part 3 of a story concluded in another title. SuperGirl #45 is part of a story started in another title and SuperGirl #46 is the conclusion of that same story. By tying every title in to the current meta-story arc, the work discriminates against casual readers and makes the comic maddeningly insular even to long time readers like me.
Reading a title like SuperGirl is like reading every fourth chapter of a novel. It is an unsatisfying experience and it does not bear repeating.
Did some more inking today, finishing a page and even managed a little writing work on the OGN. The inking is for the next SideChicks story and I am far enough ahead to consider releasing a digital version of the work ahead of its release as a webcomic. But that just feels wrong, like the release of the Spider-Woman motion comics on Hulu before the release of the print comics.
If I can take a minute, Matt Sturges' new novel Office of Shadow is excellent and you should all rush out and pre-order it here. It is a great read.
3 comic page--> 1500 words.
Daily total 1500 words. Running total 23,145 words.
Read the full post here.
Over at SF Signal, there’s a “Mind Meld” discussion about the perennial bugaboo of “mainstream approval” for literary science fiction and fantasy. Does literary genre fiction have the respect of the mainstream? Does it need such respect?
The predominant response seems to be “no.” And whenever this topic comes up, the response invariably seems to be “no.” No, we don’t need it, don’t care, doesn’t matter, and here’s a list of a thousand reasons why (my favorite of all the responses is Gene Wolfe’s, who sums it up more eloquently than I could). I can’t think of an instance where a genre writer has responded, “I sure do crave the respect and admiration of the mainstream! Without such respect, all is for nought!”
There is a very good discussion about mainstream respectability for the fantasy and science fiction genres, over at SF Signal, which you can find here.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I worked on the inks for a SideChicks page that is way too busy. Who wrote that nonsense anyway? Colored the page for Wednesday and am pretty happy with the results. I may figure out how to do that well eventually, but the page took forever to finish. It was cool and breezy this morning and I found out that the 'usually outside' cat snores.
Still waiting on the big checks. Spent some time reading Glamourpuss by Dave Sim. I love the look at the Juliet Jones strip and the examination of the photo-realist style of Stan Drake and the research Sim does, but the swipe at the fashion mags he creates makes me want to wait for the trade that just examines the art. But at ten pages every two months, it's too long to wait. Still, half of the comic is totally lost to me.
City of Heroes is having a Halloween event, so I'm blasting zombies and fiends in my down time.
1 comic page--> 500 words.
Daily total 500 words. Running total 21,645 words.
So I sprinted to within spitting distance of the finish line on ye olde novel, and am now limping across, what with the hours upon hours of revisions over the past couple days. Which means that what with the adding and subtracting of stuff it's hard to know exactly how much I actually wrote during that time (the current word count is about 600 words less than it was when I started yesterday. I'm a firm believer in the "write a lot, cut a lot" school of writing).
A safe (but incomplete) estimate, counting only big discrete chunks written over the last two days, is:
Day 18: 1,223 words
Day 19: 2,262 words
For a grand total of: 92,315. The final two chapters should kick me up over 100K, and then I can collapse, spent but proud.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Realized that I would not bust out 100K words this month and more or less took the weekend off.
I managed to get a little prose pecked out today. And I inked a SideChicks page for the next story and did a little color work on the one scheduled to run on Wednesday. Usually, I start on the Wednesday strip on Tuesday night. A Monday start is crazy early for me.
Watched Big Bang Theory and Castle which were good, not great. Fillion makes the show and the humor work. Plus there is typically at least one clever 'detective' thing per episode. Tempted to get the book by 'Castle'.
Feeling pretty productive for not getting much done today. Maybe it is the early start on the next color page.
1 comic page--> 500 words. 1010 Prose wordyness.
Daily total 1510 words. Running total 21,145 words.
It struck me that there is significant overlap between what I enjoy about all three listed works, and what I enjoy about mashups and crossbred fiction. A kind of friction between disparate elements, and interesting sparks sent flying by unlikely elements sent colliding into one another.
Some interesting thoughts in Mutch's piece, worth checking out. (And if you haven't read any of referenced works, what the heck are you waiting for?!)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Anyway, for those keeping count (which includes me and my mom, maybe):
Friday: 3,753 words
Saturday: 12,083 words.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Frankenscript is finished. And my darlings are dead. But the vouchers are turned in. This image was stolen from Wrightson.
The UT vs. OU game is tomorrow. I may spend the day hammered.
Thinking about what to do next. It looks like more on the OGN and a Cannonball Read.
1 comic page--> 500 words.
Daily total 500 words. Running total 19,635 words.
Yesterday, our own Matt Sturges posted his most recent salvo in his ongoing tete-a-tete with James Enge over at the Borders blog, title "Zombie Ninjas on the Moon." Some might have seen that title and assumed that they were in for a bit of fun, but I knew better. See, Matt and I have been having this particular disagreement for a while. A friendly disagreement, please bear in mind, but a long-running one.
See, Matt's tired of what he's calling "mashup fiction," which he defines as "stories whose genesis is the intentional combination of unrelated tropes, historical figures, or characters from previously published works." I know just what he's talking about. That's not just my bread-and-butter as a writer, it's the primary staple I consume as a reader. That's the stuff I live for.
Naturally, as one might expect, I disagree a bit with Matt's assertion that such stuff is getting stale, and past its sell-by-date. And not just because "mashup-fiction" includes the vast majority of all of my favorite books, comics, music, and movies. "Mashup-fiction" isn't simply a viable approach to entertainment.
Entertainment needs "mashups" in order to survive.
That may sound like a stretch, but work with me for a moment. Perhaps it would help to think of it not as "mashup-fiction," a term of relatively recent coinage suggestive of splicing together the songs of one musician with those of another. Think of it, instead, as "crossbreeding."
(A note on terminology: Back when Matt and I were in college we called this kind of stuff "intertextuality," a term we picked up in a postmodernism seminar, but I think we had the definition wrong, as we meant something entirely different than semioticians and postmodern scholars mean when they use the word. I've also tried "metafictional," but that carries connotations beyond my intended meaning. More recently, Willingham has referred to such things as "Wold Newtonry," a reference to the playful intermingling of genre fiction and history that Philip José Farmer pioneered in Tarzan Alive and elsewhere [you think it's mere chance that Matt has included an image of my own personal Bible, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, in his essay lambasting mashups?], but Wold-Newton has a very specific meaning for Farmer fans, and the use of the term for more general metafictional play tends to raise their ire. I'm using "crossbreeding" at the moment, but I'm not entirely happy with it as a solution.)
I tend to look at genre as functioning like gene pools. Remaining within the confines of one genre for too long leads to the serious risk of inbreeding, and producing anemic works with all sorts of congenital problems, barely fit to survive. (Does this make a tenth-generation xerox of Tolkien on par with hemophiliac European royals? You might say it does, and I wouldn’t argue with you if you did.)
Crossing genre boundaries expands that gene pool, producing fit fiction with all sorts of interesting new traits. In time, the hybrids most fit to survive might even emerge as full-blown genres in their own right.
The “mash-up” that Sturges decries, the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and such like, are just the most obvious types of crossbreeding, and like the offspring of a horse and a donkey are mules fit for one generation, but not healthy enough to sustain offspring of their own. Which isn’t to say that mules don’t have their uses, from time to time, but you wouldn’t want them to be the only members of your breeding pool.The preceding represents only my initial thoughts. I'll stop here, and continue in another post in a few days. Maybe my next salvo will cover the ways in which crossbreeding genres will save us all, and to illustrate I'll explain the little known fact that Arthur Conan Doyle was directly responsible for the creation of the Power Rangers...
Somehow I managed to complete 10,332 words of the novel yesterday. It was a second-wind kind of a burst which I hope will now cushion the remainder of the book, which is just a meager 19,000 words from the finish line, which leaves me plenty of time for revisions and twiddling and so forth before the deadline. I am a happy, happy man, with sore fingers.
This brings my monthly total to a preposterous 72,994 words.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Spent most of the day doing little rewrites. Shade a line of dialog here and add a flashback there. I had to destroy a couple of pages that I really liked. In their place, I wrote two more. I had to tear apart a whole issue only to stitch it back together. I like to think I get it right the first time. Today was a little painful.
Another day of this and I should be back at work on the OGN.
Just how did Napoleon Solo get captured by these well-armed kids?
2 comic pages--> 1000 words.
Daily total 1000 words. Running total 19,135 words.
Today's Babel Clash essay...
This talk about genres reminds me of a current persistent trend in genre fiction of which I am growing painfully weary. It’s certain to irritate some of my writers friends when I bring it up, so I hope some of them will jump up attempt to tell me how wrong I am.
I’m speaking of what I’ll call “mashup fiction.” The This sort of thing has been around for some time, but in the last few years there’s been a flowering of it in comics, fiction and cinema and I am frankly sick of it. By “mashup fiction” I mean stories whose genesis is the intentional combination of unrelated tropes, historical figures, or characters from previously published works. What some call “crossover fiction” I’ll relegate to a subcategory of this.
Read the full post at Babel Clash.
I looked up today and realized I'd passed the 100K mark on the novel, which was the inspiration I needed to actually finish it without resorting to drastic measures. How addictive is crystal meth, really? Is sleep actually essential? I saw that episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show where Rob stayed up for like five days, and he was still mostly able to speak in coherent sentences...
Anyway: 5,004 words for the 14th, bringing me up to 62,662 for the month of October. Eat that, Roberson!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So, I am getting crushed here. I'm the stable pony for Sturges to run circles around in this writing exhibition. I make him look better and I am fine with that. But looking around, I'm wondering if this is a two-man writing group now. Willingham gets a pass as he was over in Israel trying to catch shrapnel. Roberson? Finn? Where is your committment to humoring Sturges?
Got the new comics and pecked away at the corrections on the new four-issue mini-series. The studio has fewer notes than the editor. What if anything does that mean? Anyway, I finished the easy issue and nibbled at the edges of the others. And went to Sturges signing at Dragon's Lair which went pretty well.
And knocked out a boring talking-head page of the OGN.
1 comic page--> 500 words.
Daily total 500 words. Running total 18,135 words.
(Only 45,000 behind.)
In today's post on the Borders Babel Clash site, I talk about my biggest writing influence by far: Frank Herbert's Dune novels. And then I go on to bloviate about how I mistrust the labeling of genre fiction, and how it leads to talk of what counts as "real" sf.
Read the full post over at Babel Clash.
Thinking back over influences got me thinking about how the things we like don’t just influence our style; they also influence how we define what it is that we do and what its place in the overall culture is.
I don’t think there’s been any greater influence on my writing that Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. I love every single one of them and make a point of re-reading them every few years. They never fail to entertain and inspire me, and like all the best literature, I find new things to love about them with every subsequent run at them.
I'm doing a guest-stint over at the Borders Books sf blog, Babel Clash, along with my Pyr labelmate James Enge.
My first post is called Sturges + Elves, and it talks about Tolkien, and how elves can be your friends or your enemies.
Influences certainly seem a good place to start. I read all of Lord of the Rings during a long dull summer in college. (It seems like college is the time to read the thing.) I remember finding it somewhat ponderous and vaguely annoying; it was good, but I wished Tolkien would get to the damn point already. If there was one thing I felt like I had to “correct” in my own fantasy series, it was the seeming inability of high-fantasy authors to get to the damn point already. (Robert Jordan, I’m lookin’ at you, pal. I’ve really enjoyed the Wheel of Time books, but if I have to read one more description of a woman’s bodice in these last books, there will be a reckoning.)
Despite all that annoyed me about Tolkien, I was still mightily attracted to the stunningly realized world that he’d created. You just knew that any question at all you might have about Middle Earth, Tolkien would have an answer for it. Who was the Elf-King eleventy-six years ago? Not only did Tolkien know, but he probably had eighty pages of notes on the guy. Just in case.
Read the full post over that the Babel Clash blog.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Again with the rain and the fog. I spent a large chunk of the day coloring the SideChicks page for tomorrow. And having the ribs at Hoovers and a short nap. Then got a little time at the keyboard. The first major combat in the new book is done. This may be a hero/ horror book, but the pacing feels like a manga book.
Gonna spend time doing the final edits on the video presentation tomorrow and bothering Sturges at Dragon's Lair at his signing. Looks like its hard for me to get focused unless there is a check dangling somewhere out there.
Speaking of that, I got my long-awaited notes tonight, so it looks like I'll be working on stuff that is unquantifiable in terms of the writing exhibition we're in here. The notes from the editor are pretty significant, so it looks like I'll be rewriting an entire issue of the mini-series tomorrow.
This illo is Eddie Hope from the back-up series written by me and starting in ANGEL #28 by back-up series artist David Messina. Order Now.
11 comic pages--> 5500 words.
Daily total 5500 words. Running total 17,635 words.
I am starting to get the sneaking suspicion that this novel is never, ever, ever going to end. No matter how long I write, the story just keeps stretching into the horizon. Hmph. It's fun, though.
Day 13: 5,353 words! For a running total of 57,658 words to date for October. Whoa.
I think it's a good idea to write yourself into a corner sometimes. It's a great way to get around a mental block, especially if you feel like your story is getting too predictable. Put your character in an impossible position and see how he gets out of it. If nothing else, it'll force you to consider other avenues your story might go down. Or it'll force you to scrap that entire section of the story and rewrite it the way you intended. There's really no telling.
Day 12: 5,353 words. It seems like I'm getting closer to the end of the novel, until I realize how much more story need to go in it. I keep revising the target word count upward and upward. I should have killed that fucking political maneuvering subplot but now I like it too much and the ending won't work without it. Well, serves me right for caring, doesn't it????
Today's photo of me, by the way, is actually not a photo at all, but a picture my daughter drew (unsolicited) of me as a Jedi knight.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Got some sleep and did some writing. The rain has been falling here without cease.
Having a hard time with the lack of productivity now. Just finished Page 22 of the new OGN. Now stuff starts blowing up. Maybe pacing it like a novel makes it a harder read. The lazy entry to the story is a treat though.
For some reason, I've been looking for vintage suit images and came across this one of a Dirty Harry era Clint Eastwood. Dig that giant hair like a lion's mane.
2 comic pages--> 1000 words.
Daily total 1000 words. Running total 12,135 words.
Day 10 was a bit frustrating, what with all the "spending time with my kids" and "being a husband" I had to do. Don't these people have lives? They just don't get that I'm in a meaningless writing competition and that this must take precedence over nonessentials like cooking dinner and reading to them. These kids can both mostly read anyway; I don't know what they need me for.
So Day 10: 2,822 words of le novel.
Day 11 was all about revisions. For a time there I was about 500 words in the hole, as I chopped a lot of deadwood out of part one. But then all the little tidbits and odds and ends that I'd been slipping in along the way started to add up, and I ended up with a net of 846 for the day.
Day 11: 846 words.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My occasional D&D group got together for the day. Not much writing done before the game. Much dice rolling. Then much proofing.
I seem to have cut Sturges' lead to a mere 31,000 words. Take that. Hah!
Good God I just saw a note that NBC has bought the rights to do an American version of PRIME SUSPECT. That fact makes me want to burn something down.
3 comic pages--> 1500 words.
Daily total 1500 words. Running total 11,135 words.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Finished a spot illustration that I have been avoiding. Sent out a package to an artist that wants me to script a fantasy series for him. And watched loads of football. Go Horns.
And a couple of episodes from DEXTER Season Three with Kate. Why do people taunt the serial killer? How can that end well?
3 comic pages--> 1500 words.
Daily total 1500 words. Running total 9635 words.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Have been paralized since dinner which was an enormous Texadelphia sandwich. And chips. And queso.
Pecked away at the new thing which looks like it is going to be an Original Graphic Novel released on the web and maybe broken up into chunks for other digital delivery. Settled on 11 page chapters and inspired in part by the BBC series Jekyll.
CRIMINAL is the best comic that I have read this week so far.
1 comic page--> 500 words.
Daily total 500 words. Running total 8135 words.