12.07.2006

Trudging

I'm trying to write. Trying to finish the script I couldn't finish over the weekend because of the USC loss and other issues of concentration.

I'm trying, but my body won't let me. The headache I've had for the last 7 hours won't die. It's making me seriously consider putting a hole in my head with something sharp to ease the pain. I knew my roommate had that drill for a reason.

I'm averaging a page every 58 minutes. That included bathroom breaks and whatever else, but come on. I don't know what my average speed is, but it has to be faster than that. Right now it feels like there is no end in sight.

Seriously, hole in the head seems like a plan. Ow.

12.06.2006

Do Not Ignore Ramos

Did you know that Humberto Ramos, artist extraordinaire, blogs. You can check it out right here.

I did not know this. Did you?

11.20.2006

Done Day

First draft of the second "issue" of my first ever comic is done. My artist, the amazing [Can I mention his name yet?] is doing some roughs this weekend and getting started probably tomorrow on #1. He'll be going fairly slow (as he's working on multiple projects and transitioning full time to comics right now), so I don't know when the actual book will be complete, but those first pages will be pretty special to me. I just hope I live up to how good he is with my scripts.

***
What's less Machiavellian than chess, but can carry some of the same connotations? That's the question I asked myself for a while today, to no avail. I did learn about all sorts of Chaturanaga game family games though. None of them seemed to suit my purposes, so I went a different route.

***
Friday night saw me finish up the breakdowns, where I figure out the pagination and beats of everything I'm going to write for the last 66 pages of the OGN. From there I was able to get over myself and my overanalysis of pacing, do my job, and let the editors tell me where it doesn't work. This will only backfire if they respond with, "It doesn't work anywhere." But there's a good chance nothing quite that bad will happen.

The rest of the weekend I work basically non-stop except for food and Monster House breaks. Damn that's a taut script, and one that I learned a lot from watching. Even the second time I was reminded how good it is. Wish I had that command.

***
Work continues to be both awesome and frustrating. The 2007 schedule is basically set, and some of what I'd like to see done didn't make it into the game plan. I've jumped head-first into the rest of it though, and I'm trying to make the most of it.

Still, it's frustrating. Especially when someone takes the time to read something but doesn't actually read it. They say something that strikes you as odd and uninformed, then you go back and say, "Yeah, this could have been avoided if the instructions were followed." It's like that test back in elementary school, where you have a minute to complete a sheet with some crazy number of instructions on a page, but #1 is to read all the directions before beginning the test. When you get down, further, you realize that the test isn't to get the BS work done, it's to follow instructions. The last instruction tells you you've already won and to put your pencil down. The first time I got this, I was off to the races. Needless to say I felt like a chump. Anyhow, some things never change. Not for me, but, you know, for some people.

Having a good time taking full advantage of my ability to bust my ass so that the schedules are adhered to, only to have Murphy's Law constantly come into play. Today a colorist informs me that his hard drive bit the dust. He's not coloring multiple books right now. None of them are due this week...

I do the best I can. I work in comics for a living. I'm getting published and collaborating with an awesome artist. I guess that's all I can ask for at 22. 23... You're in for so much trouble.

11.15.2006

Back Up Offa Me

So I'm officially go for writing a back up story to appear in the back of some Top Cow books at some point soon. Just wrapped the story and sent it off to the higher-ups (it's already been approved by the managing editor...). Got to spend some time researching cool things like psycho-pharmacology, human waste disposal, and random acts of torture. Not exactly what I pictured when I set out to write this thing, but I went with my gut and stayed the course. Not sure if the hook is as strong as it could be, but I don't think anyone will see it coming. Or maybe they won't care. We'll see what happens when I get some feedback.

Either way, it's a nice change of pace from my OGN work. And it will be awesome to see art rolling in on both projects. No one has ever drawn anything I've written. Unless you count my flying squirrel book from way the hell back. Not only did I attempt to draw it, probably in crayon, but I made up a word that was about 9 words long combined from all sorts of gibberish and prefixes (a 10 year-old's take on cyber punk) and scribbled it down on my desk at home. Not on paper on the desk, but in pencil on the desk itself. Not sure how bad that little book is now, but knowing I was never an artist, and I'm still not the writer I want to be...

Anyhow, I'm writing. Not as much, as fast, or exactly the creator-owned projects I would like, but I'm getting paid to do something I love. How can you beat that?

11.14.2006

New vs. Used

My job is like a used car.

Damn You, Fraction!

You did the unthinkable...



WHY???!!!!??!?!?? Why did Stilt Man have to die to suit your sick purposes?

11.01.2006

I Missed Halloween?

Things have been tight and hectic of late. Trying to get everything wrapped before I leave for Atlanta tomorrow night.

I've got:
  • A script to polish so my artists can get started
  • Ad text to write
  • A back-up story to research and write, and I'm not even 100% sure what character has been agreed upon for it.
All that and my television skills are falling way behind. The combination of missing cable and Internet at my girlfriend's house is partly to blame. So is my addiction to all things that let me skip the minutiae of life.

Anyhow, I'm swamped. But I always have time for Tony Lee...

Link of the week:
Jock tells you how to do covers the awesome way. That Jock... He's amazing.

10.23.2006

Hot Damn!

I don't know how much I can say about my book, considering I haven't even mentioned anything except it involved me writing and is four issues of potential awesome wrapped into a single OGN volume, but I've gotten cryptic news.

When I asked for artist approval, I really wanted veto power more than anything else to not get stuck with some talentless and flavorless artist whose work is barely better than my own (art, not writing). I didn't actually think I would get my #1 choice on the book, but sometimes things end up coming together in exactly the right ways.

When I can share more, such as his identity, or anything about/from the book, this is the place to find out about it. You know, eventually.

10.22.2006

v2 Completion

I finished the polish, incorporating notes and whatever ideas I didn't come up with between my first draft and my second drafts. It's really more of a polish, as I tend to think of a draft as something more akin to a page one rewrite or where motivations and characters actually change. I did more clarification than alteration, although I think a minor tweak or two will actually help make later events a little more cohesive.

Now I'm jumping back onto issue #2 and trying to finish it in about a week. If I get into a good rhythm, and I don't fall asleep, I can do 7 pages in a day. I don't like to, because I feel like I lose myself at the end and it could end up reading like a rush job, but I'm fairly confident that I can pace myself out over the next 8 days and finish with another script I can tolerate, and maybe even be proud of.

***
Speaking of pacing, NANOWRIMO is coming 'round the bend again. I'd love to get down for this, just to try and push myself and see what happens, but I'm busy enough with work that writing paid work is a lot on my plate, so I'll target '07 as my first attempt. We'll play it by ear though, as prose isn't exactly the easiest thing to structure. My brain is much more geared for screenwriting than anything else. While I really like prose, anything beyond short form is beyond my current comfort zone.

10.20.2006

File Mover

Because other programs like this generally suck, let me introduce you to my new friend, Pando.

I think it's great because it's free. And easy. And makes me make me think of how life should be.

Thanks to one of the two Jasons I met last month for the info.

10.19.2006

Complimented

Troy tells me that Matt Fraction's writing voice is my everyday voice.

I'm not sure there's a better compliment I can get before lunch. Feel free to try.

10.11.2006

Dead Body Squad

File this under inspiring research.

I want to see this documentary series. One never knows when morbid facts can come in handy. I'm speaking both as a writer and a conversationalist.

10.10.2006

Middle Man

Everybody hates the middle man.

Somehow, that's what I've become. The guy caught between companies, employees, departments, etc. At what point did everyone start hating everything they do and everyone they do it with? I'm sure that's not really the case, but it definitely feels that way.

I just want to go home and bury my head in the sand. I'm tired of pettiness, squabbling, and over exertion. I'm just tired...

Work, Work, Work

That's all I do. I'm like one of those Keebler elves or whoever showed up in that movie with Snow White. Only I don't whistle. I have the power, but I don't do it whilst I work.

I've been having a lot of ideas pop into my head. Maybe it's because it's TV season and movies still suck, or maybe I'm an unfocused madman. I'm checking both boxes. Just can't seem to stick with one idea for very long of late, probably because I'm always in the middle of something else when "inspiration" strikes.

Anyhow, things at work are insane. Deadlines are useless it seems. There is no easy button in comics.

10.03.2006

An Artist

Filip Sablik, newly of Top Cow, is an artist of rising stature.

Check out his workblog here, or in the links to the right. Maybe one day he'll find me across the web and we can be Top Cow buddies blogging our freelance working lives. Or I could just drop him a line and beg. I'm still deciding.

9.28.2006

Rough Cut Lady

Overheard war stories from Fraction, Wood, and others.

Fraction provided this as a nice little injection of humor:

Rough Cut Lady

9.17.2006

Scripted

Well, that's a nice feeling.

I just put the finishing touches on my first draft. I've written a comic. It's at this point that I wait a few days and they tell me something along the lines of, "We really like what you're doing, and we definitely want to work with you in the future, but we're going to go a different direction on this project." I'll smile, they'll tell me that they hope I understand, and that I'll still be paid for my efforts.

Or maybe they'll tell me it's decent. That's what I want to happen. Or for them to say, this is shitty, this is golden, and here's how to make it all work. I don't know. This will really be the first time my creative writing, not my ability to summarize, has been put to the test at such a high level. Based on the three page sample I sent to someone, I think it will at least be passable. Enough that I won't need a page one rewrite.

Either way, I just finished, so now I need to do another pass and make sure that there isn't a missing page or the worst line in the world stuck in there. I've got some issues with some of the later stuff, but it's still too wet for me to mess with it. I'm going to take the Marz route and rescript after I get the line art. I'm working full script, as I don't know how to just plot, nor would I want to. I think I mentioned, there's a lot of room for the artist to play with things. Not a lot of opportunity for money shots, but maybe that's the kind of thing an editorial pass will fix.

Or maybe the money comes later... After the fame...

Crunch Time

Got a little more insight on my issues with narration. The thing I have to remember is that Brian Cox isn't Robert McKee and he won't be yelling at me for using narration. There's a difference between film and comics, as many similarities as they may share. There are different rules, different pacing, and different everything. So I'm going to let the story be my guide.

Today is the last day I have to work on my first draft of my first issue of my first comic. That sounds pretty cool to say, I just wish I had gotten more work done yesterday. I couldn't focus so I ended up thinking about the book while watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That show, while maybe overrated by my roommate, is highly underrated. Good stuff.

Time to finish up my book. At least the Falcons aren't on TV, so that's one distraction down.

9.16.2006

Extraneous Speech

I haven't figured out how I feel about narration in comics.

Alan Moore can do it. Everyone that's ever written Wolverine thinks they can do it. It's certainly much more viable and integral to a great many stories than voice-over narration is in the cinema. But is it more harm than help?

I had a whole hook, a reason to use narration in my book. But I didn't really feel the need to narrate enough, as I'd rather let the story tell itself, and so I had to rethink my plan. I like the little bit I did, but it wasn't enough to make it make sense to keep it.

Got my first five pages tweaked and added a new one in, and I did two or three pages overall tonight, not including the tweaks. Still on track for Monday, as my quest to get my first pic artist inches ever closer to the home stretch.

Anyway, really tired. I've got a long day tomorrow. I wanted to get one more page done, get my total down to an even number, but my vision is starting to blur. Night to all.

9.14.2006

Chugging

I passed out earlier trying to read a script. I thought that was it for my night, but somehow a glass of chocolate milk gave me a second wind.

Woke up, read the last nine pages of the script, and sent my one note on it off to the writer and our lovely Editress-In-Chieftain. Tomorrow they'll call me a hack, but tonight I rule the webspace.

After that I resumed writing Book 1 of my OGN. My progress had stalled a little what with my nuts sleeping patterns of late and some personal issues. Now it looks like I'm firmly back on track and in no danger of missing my first deadline. Now, whether the book is good, that's a whole other issue. At this point, I think more weight will be on the artist than me. I'm really allowing a lot of freedom in the script, or at least I feel like I am, so it will take some work to get it to be this amazing work my mother expects of me. Alan Moore I'm not. I'm trying to be terse yet descriptive in script and dialogue, so we'll see. Getting my first set of notes will be an interesting process. I think I'm almost more scared of doing a good job than being asked for a rewrite. At least I would know what to fix if the latter happened and I got copious notes, but when people tell you they love something, you want to make sure you know why as well.

I've also discovered that I can't talk to Church about work. He doesn't seem to get, or I can't seem to explain, my work-for-hire status on the book. He thinks all comics have the potential to be Grant Morrison comics, but that isn't what they want here. This is a much more straightforward book, blending genres but not bending minds and perceptions. I think.

What does he know anyway? Everything he wants to do is weird and subversive. Even David Lynch does something straight forward once in a while.

***
I really like Ron Marz. Good writer, good person, good conversationalist. Good man, that Marz. I think it's a good thing that I don't hate a guy we do this much work with, and whose work I also grew up reading. That's right folks, Kyle Rayner is my Green Lantern.

9.12.2006

Diction

I'm addicted to work.

I spent about twelve hours at work on Friday, ten or eleven yesterday, and I could have left tonight anywhere from 2-3 hours ago. I hung around to poorly design a fake ad, read pitch, and write e-mails to talent. I wonder if I'm any better than just okay at my job. I know I still have a ways to go, but editing is contingent on so many factors - talent, scheduling, budgets, knowledge, company edicts, etc. I wonder how I'm doing, given everything and my own agenda. Am I merely plugging holes? Am I steering us in the right direction? Can anyone hear me.

***
Saturday was the most productive writing day I've had in forever. 7 pages in one day. Not sure they're any good, in fact I know they could be better, but a seven page day is a seven page day. I'll take it. Now all I have to do is stop getting tripped up by myself and keep working. I'm really hoping that thinking about layouts and pacing will start to come more naturally as I keep writing comic scripts. I'm just so intrinsically drawn and in the mindset of the screenplay form, that I find the biggest chore just knowing where things go and how quickly. Eisner touched on pacing between panels issues, but I'm nowhere close to figuring this out. Right now I'm writing as if my artist will know exactly what I want on some pages, and letting them fill in the rest on others. I don't know what my style is yet. Sue me. And if I wrote everything I thought, I would hamper them anyhow.

On the artist front, things are in semi-limbo. Looks like my first choice, previously mentioned on this here blog, is available to do the book. All we have to do is get it approved through the various channels and I could be a very crappy (decent?) writer working with a very good, very underrated future star.

***
I'm using my iPod for the first time today. Opened it weeks ago, then nothing. Threw a bunch of emo and Eels music on there, and took it to go. Bought a case at Best Buy, the DLo VideoShell too. I'm returning it in favor of the iSkin eVo3, as the one I bought comes pre-scratched. Anyway, having music in the loo and on the way to the food court is nice, but I've yet to get the addiction. Not like music is work, right?

Anyone with accessory suggestions, feel free to pipe up.

9.06.2006

Editing Link

Writer's Digest Editor's Site

Not even sure how I found this...

Lack of

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been beset by inability to focus, lack of determination, and the fact that it's upwards of 86 degrees in my apartment when I try to sleep at 1am. Amazingly, it was only 82 this morning when the sun was on its way up.

Anyhow, just wanted to pop on and link to a new artist I had never heard of until today. In viewing the amazing James Jean's (2 time Eisner-winner for best cover artists) work blog (which puts mine to shame 1,000 times over), he mentioned Christopher Niemann. Now, I had never heard of him either, but his stuff is really cool. I think it's time that we started looking beyond comic artists and really try to find someone like the next Dave Johnson to really make some of our covers work beyond traditional posed imagery.

Now for the pretty:


James Jean


Christopher Niemann


Dave Johnson
(interesting note, the original cover showed the figure on top as the King, and on bottom as the Jack...)

8.30.2006

Remember When I Said I Hated Printers?

Yeah, me too. And now I'm paying for it.

Just got our copies of a book that I was basically the only eye on. Things got messed up. I could say it was the printer's fault, but that would be wrong. At the end of the day, it's the editor's fault. We have the least amount of control over anything in the process, but it's still our fault. We're the managers and babysitters of the comic book industry. We may tell people to kill off characters or other stupid things the creators had no intention of doing, but damn it, we're all about the end product. Most of the time.

I fucked up, guys. Call it a printing error, which it is, but basically it's my mistake. I take the blame and the heat, semi-anonymously on a covert Internet blog. And I thought my 7 day EIC stint would be largely everything free. Nope. Aparrently I'm all about mistakes. Ah well, there's always next year.

Unless I get fired. Then it's pretty much just this.

Nothing

That's what I remember after coming home.

I cleaned, I dusted, and then I passed out. A lovely side effect of it being 110 degrees in this place. Anyhow, needless to say, no progress on anything. When I woke up to a phone call at around 10:40, I realized I hadn't eaten dinner.

Read a few comics, but no more how to stuff from the masters. I did find an old story idea and notes though...

8.29.2006

Past Perfect

Some days the Internet can truly inspire you.

Oh, yes. I was a fan...

8.28.2006

The End of EIC and the Beginning of OGN

My seven work day tenure as EIC was fairly uneventful.

It came and went the same as any other seven days. I did my job, I did very little in the way of change, and most decisions were made with an eye or ear toward deferment to others. I may not have been at this forever, but I should learn to trust myself a little more. If I fail, I fail, but if I stand on the sidelines I don't even get the opportunity.

In any event, Renae was back which meant I got to focus on my normal stuff. Trafficking, proofing, contact, and feeling confused. Sometimes you can go home again.

***
I got an e-mail today from someone I've never heard of. The best part was that her name didn't even match her e-mail. Normal gmail addy, but totally different first name on it than her real one. I have no idea who she is, but she knows a thing or two about the OGN I'm working on. One thing she was told, on this e-mail thread in which several people were Cc'd is that there was a treatment for the book. I e-mailed my editor and he told me that yes, the final version of my treatment has indeed been approved.

All that means is say goodbye to the theoretical and start mashing keys for real. It's funny that I never really thought I would end up in comics. I never wrote comic scripts, never tried to draw my own, and never really even conjured fan fiction in my head for my favorite super hero books. I guess after I got offered Bearers, and even before that, I might have thought that working in comics and being respected in other ways might open the door for me as a writer. Well, it has, and now my chance to deliver or fail is at hand.

I reread Alan Moore's Guide to Writing Comics a few weeks back. Just a quick primer to refresh that if I want to be the type of genius he is, it all starts with theme. I went with Plot and Character, in the face of both Moore and Tolstoy. Strangely enough, #1 on the agenda for ol' Leo was transitions. You can thank Stephen Gaghan for that little tidbit.

Anyhow, before I get further off traffic, I'm knee-deep into Will Eisner's Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. If there's a guy who did it well over and over again, it's him. My biggest worry is the actual panel-to-panel storytelling. Because I have a movie background, my sense of timing is a little different. I pay attention when I'm reading scripts and comics, but laying it out on my own from scratch is my biggest worry. Hence Eisner tonight and probably some perusing of Panel One and Two tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be all set to break down my issue one script by pages and then get to the nitty.

The artists search begins. I asked for artist approval, and at this point I think that's basically turned to I can look for anyone and get shot down as needed. I'm brainstorming and googling people I think fit the profile. It's tough to find an artist for a book that's all suits and conversations with a dash of other stuff thrown in. Most people you see want to work on what inhabits the vast majority of shelf space in the direct market - spandex-clad super hero action. Visually I see this book much closer in tone to a psychological thriller, mystery, or crime book than anything else. I'll go with my top couple dudes of Phillips, Lark, and Maleev for what I'm looking for. There are a couple of other guys who I think are on a very similar level in terms of what they can achieve visually, but I'll save their names so prying search bots don't snatch them out of here and give them other, better-paying gigs before I get a chance to nail them down. One of them has been name-checked on this blog, and I met him at SDCC. I flat out told him a few weeks back that I must work with him in some way, shape, or form. Right now I think there's only one other artists that even approaches my level of wanting-to-work-withedness, but it's much less visceral with the second guy.

Anyhow, the wheels are spinning on all fronts. I'm going to waste less time on words that don't amount to a paycheck and a published work, so that's all for tonight.

8.25.2006

Crossing Midnight #1 Cover



File that under why J.H. Williams III kicks much ass. The book is written by Mike Carey, penciled by Jim Fern, and expertly inked by my pal Rob Hunter. Other than that I know nothing beyond that I like this cover a lot.

DMZ 4 $Free

DMZ is an incredible book. I wish we were publishing it. In fact, I wish we were publishing anything Brian Wood wants to do. Well, I tried, but I got on that bandwagon a little too late. I was talking to him months before this happened, but we both knew it was going to.

Anyhow, his second Vertigo book is DMZ (the first was Fight for Tomorrow). It's genius, ongoing, and the first arc already collected in a trade. I'll refrain from telling you about it, because DC has made it available free online.

READ DMZ #1 FREE ONLINE HERE
.

You'll thank me for this. And maybe, when he does a book at Top Cow, you'll read it too.

I Hate Printers

You know the best part about working in publishing? Having the printer screw things up for no apparent reason.

Normally I have no real issues. Our books print very well, on high stock, and there are rarely any problems. Occassionally a black plate will print wrong on a single page, but you can only really see this at the right angle. Since I've been here, we've only had one major snafu as far as completely wrong things printing. We printed a Witchblade convention variant cover on Wanted#4's interior, and amazingly its back cover as well. Anyway, freak accident that, and it was for a small run item. That actually makes its value go up in a case such as that.

Anyhow, cut to mid July. We printed quite a few books in June and July to make sure we had them for SDCC. One of them was a book that we had in waaayyy early. It had to make the show. But somehow, the show opened and it wasn't there for Preview Night (and neither were our business cards). Ditto for Thursday, and again Friday. We got it just before the signing of some of the people involved that day. Hot off the presses, and with a blemish. You do everything you can, and then something screws up. There it is, set in proverbial stone, preserved for all time. (Can a book with a blemish, a problem in the printing, mind you, not an incorrect page, actually get a CGC 10.0?)

This week I've been trying to get our books from last week approved with our usual printer. There were some slight switcheroos, and all the sudden I find myself 4+ e-mails deep into this process, and five (four?) days without a single response. I keep getting e-mails from the printer, but none seem to address anything from my previous e-mails. They're waiting on me, but I'm waiting on them. It's this merry-go-round of non-communication that has me loving the fact that not only might two books go later than they're supposed to, but that they might also print incorrectly.

I just want one day where everything makes sense, and where freelancers tell me the truth. I'm actually getting closer to the latter, as my goal is to be the most honest editor in comics, and I feel like the talent is actually responding to that in a small way. Who knew honesty still counted for something? As far as things making sense...

8.22.2006

Who is This Girl?



Didn't you guys read Bearers of the Blade? Aren't you reading Witchblade? You should be...

8.18.2006

ATLimation

The AJC has an article about the animation hub that Atlanta is becoming. One more chance to rep my city, and explore a fallback career when mine ends prematurely at 22.5.



"Not drunk enough..."

8.17.2006

Treated

I spent Sunday night staying up until 3am Baltimore time working on the treatment.

I went totally simplified, writing down scene headings on note cards and buying a $1 coupon organizer from Target to keep everything in its place. A few scenes never found a home (like the random beating and/or rape scene), but overall I think it helped me get a better picture of what I was working with than text on screen. A few days later, and I'm 83% certain that we're talking about an approved treatment. Next stage, scripts.

***
Interesting times at work, as four different writers followed up me with so far this week regarding treatments. No news to report there, not that I ever could (we save the good stuff for cons and press releases). Another writer is showing up regarding yet another pitch tomorrow, and I've had the good fortune of being invited to tag along. I assume the invite includes permission to speak, but I'm playing it close to the vest for now.

And because that doesn't quite qualify as interesting, here's what is. For today through next Friday, I'm acting Editor-in-Chief. I'm not sure if acting or defacto is the proper term, but Renae is taking a much-needed and well-deserved vacation from the business we call show (or comics, I keep forgetting). That puts me in charge of everything I do, everything I should be doing, and a whole bunch of stuff I have no idea about. So far nothing has come from too far out in left field, but the week, and my tenure, isn't anywhere close to finished.

***
Currently reading Grant Morrison's Pop Magic. I'm really trying to expand my mind and make WWGMD more of a mantra than a simple slogan. I'll let you know how it goes. My first foray into chaos magic saw me studying (sort of) Philip Hine's writings on the subject. I couldn't get my mind in the proper place to actually start practicing.

Apparently, according to The Man, all you need to do is declare yourself a magician, and then do it. I quote:

"Simple. Declare yourself a magician, behave like a magician, practice magic every day."

Now back to your regularly scheduled metaphysical programming.

8.11.2006

Progress Reported

My flight was delayed. I had already finished Duncan Rouleau's existential masterpiece, The Nightmarist. The only thing left to do was read the other six books in my bag, or buckle down and get to work on the 85% final version of the treatment.

So I did. I busted open my virgin Moleskine and a pack of note cards and I did what I couldn't do staring at a computer screen. I wrote out every note that popped into my head, questions and possibilities as well. In between thoughts I wrote down scene ideas. I'd call them headings, but they seem more like ideas, images of what could be, than actual headings (murder scene, rape scene, etc.). Anyhow, I still have a whole bunch more cards to write, decisions to make, and then type the revised version up, but I'm moving somewhere. Last week I was pretty much treading water.

If it isn't a breakthrough, at least it's progess.

8.10.2006

Outlining

I don't know why I can't just move on.

Deleting that folder was the worst thing ever. Now I'm on an alternate computer that may or may not have the fonts, but I can't get Font Reserve to stop crashing in order to activate them. I'm dying here.

Thanks for the extra mile, Troy. Want to write my book for me?

8.09.2006

Failure Comes in 7s

Clicking this link will take you to what was supposed to be the opening page of my very much still and soon to remain defunct website. Yeah, that's some classy stuff right there.

Between two busted computers, one useless brain, and a lack of motivation to do anything but lacerate important parts and get black-out drunk, I'm really going full steam ahead on everything in the world I have to do.

I'm so far behind on life, that it will be a wonder if I ever get back to even. Damn con season and lack of prolification. I'd love to be one of those guys that just loads up a ream of paper and knows when to change acts based on how much paper remains. I can barely type two coherent sentences without boiling, and the only thing I'm excited about is the web comic I have no artist and no scripts for.

I'm going to start writing it right now. And then the phone rings...

8.08.2006

Artist - David Aja

This guy is really good.

Upcoming Iron Fist and Daredevil work on the site or here at Newsarama.

WW Chicago (the short version)

Chicago was a good show.

Compared to San Diego, I still felt alive when I left. Maybe it was the fact that we tossed the booth so breaking down was easier. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't have hour-long meetings lined up every day and no one pitched me anything. Well, a few tried, but we've got that established creators only rule...

Anyhow, I had a lot of fun, met a lot of great fans and creators, and now I have to go back to work, where it seems like a totally different gig. Expect a rundown of who I met, tales of flaming shots, and the best picture of Superman ever in the coming who knows how long.

***
The page one (or two...) rewrite of the treatment for my book begins today. Here's hoping I can excite or surprise myself with this draft. It's dark and sexy material I hear. Why don't I just write sex scenes with no lights?

8.01.2006

Work For-Hire

So I'm writing this treatment. Again. And the more I look at it, the more it doesn't work for me. I've got a co-writer, so here's hoping he can salvage it. If not, back to page one.

My biggest struggles will be the pacing, choosing how much info to impart in each issue/page and keep the story moving at a decent clip. I already know that. What I didn't know is how hard it would be to make all four of my leads work within the confines of the story. The idea was pitched to me as two male characters, who were actually close to characters, and two chicks. Literally, those words, "two chicks." I wrote up some bios and stuck them in the story, but that's really all I did. They got backgrounds and were literally plugged into a story, but I'm not sure that story needs them. One is a romantic interest to some degree, but the other is literally another character pathetically asking for screen time.

Not to mention me wondering whether the concept is going south on me. Is it a concept I can't execute? Is it so hollow that I, in my infinite prowess as a writer, can't inject the life into it? Or maybe it's what I'm suspecting is the case. I'm not sure what story I'm trying to tell. I guess I want to sit there and focus on these really quiet moments in bars and behind closed doors, but I'm not concentrating quite enough on the world of the book. It's the big picture I'm ignoring so that the small can live. Or something like that.

It's late, I'm tired, I didn't get enough positive work done, and now I'm angry about all those things, including my 6:05 am shuttle pickup.

I'm thinking about doing the note cards thing. Just writing out scenes I want to happen regardless of plot, then assembling them as needed. I'll start with scenes, then build more for each characters as needed. Doesn't matter that I don't know if it will work. It's something I can do on a plane...

7.31.2006

Here and Gone Again

I'm headed to Chicago in the morning, so don't expect much from me. Maybe a bit tonight as I got notes on my treatment that I need to revise tonight before I leave...

***
Warren Ellis made an announcement. I'm interested in doing something.

***
I watched Little Miss Sunshine yesterday afternoon and it changed my world. No time to comment now, but let's just say I miss film. I'm thinking (and rethinking) about a lot right now.

7.24.2006

SDCC Ender

Back from the show.

Loads of insanity, good meetings, and good times. My feet are killing me and I almost killed myself driving home. So did the truck and the car that tried to run me off the road, but that was before I even found out that Red Bull does nothing.

Anyway, sleep is imminent and very much needed...

7.18.2006

The Road to San Diego...

...is paved with good intentions. It's also paved with plenty of to-dos, print outs, and one very unfinished treatment.

My plan to pull a (mostly) all-nighter ended about eight hours early when I went to sleep and never came back. I've done some more pre-writing work on it at work, as well as re-read Alan Moore's Writing for Comics, but there's still the whole actual writing thing to do.

Oh, and now I have the damn hiccups.

Titular Slowdown

I spent some time trying to get the issue titles right.

I thought that if I knew what each book should be called, then it would make it easier to focus what was happening in each one versus the larger arc. I spent time looking for the right one-word terms to make the issues fit the feel I wanted them to have, but it took more time than it was worth, especially considering what I ended up with. I've already added in a new element that I like, but it's all that I've added. I've barely got Book One roughly plotted out, but I still have three more issues to go (It's a four-issue OGN roughly). And then I have to write it up fancy.

The other thing, this book already got optioned for TV. It's a done deal, so the editor on the book, and my co-writer, has been working with the showrunner to try and get it where he wants the property to be. The thing is, there are elements in his notes that don't translate from film to comics (it's not as seamless as some would have you believe), and I'm not sure I like the balance of reality and darkness in their version.

What I keep telling myself is that someone is paying me to write. That makes me a professional writer. I've got the keys, I'm just driving on a private road. When this is over, I'll have enough money to buy my own car, and then I can do my own thing.

Metaphorically speaking of course.

I'm taking an hour nap and getting back to work.

7.17.2006

All right. I'm Hired...

I'm attached to an actual comic.

I'll be writing a book starting today and due out next year. An OGN that I'm actually co-writing, but it's based on a treatment I did a few months ago. The pay is crap, it's not a solo credit, but it's something that will see print sooner rather than never. Gotta be happy about that.

I have a lot of work to do between now and SDCC.

7.14.2006

Conceptual

This morning I developed a zombie project. All in the time before it took me to finish brushing. And no, rotting teeth on my person are not the reason I came up with this.

***
I've often told people that I think Memento is the most original movie that will come out in my lifetime. Having just seen the trailer for The Prestige, I'm not positive that statement will change, but it does increase my respect (and minor disdain) for Christopher Nolan.

I don't need to be prolific. I'd like to be good enough to keep working though. I just want to kick it off, or even just know that one day I'll have an idea worthy of a Nolan or a Grant Morrison. I don't need to blow minds, I just want to punch them a little.

***
The pre-SDCC madness continues. Will I ever go home again? Too many books, too many items, too many creators, too many headaches...

7.13.2006

Research - Do These Exist?

At some point tonight, Church asks me my opinion of three haikus. They involve gerbil insertion, inebriation, wasabe, and clever line configuration that reminded me of So I Married an Axe Murderer.

When I asked him why he was creating haikus, and he told me someone had asked him to write some for them. I asked if he was in a weird haiku chain letter gang. "No," he says. "But that's definitely the best kind of chain letter gang."

Wait. Are there chain letter gangs? I thought I just made that up. He responds with: "I don't know, aren't there?" So, here I sit, wondering if I'm stumbled on a golden nugget, or whether or not I just missed the boat on another trend the cool kids never told me about.

***
I've got another writing project coming up from Top Cow. Again, not a comic, but paid writing work. I'm chipping away. Just last week I was told that I could pitch storylines and one-shots/minis for me to advance my writing career. While being invited to pitch doesn't mean anything will ever happen, it does mean the door is open to it potentially happening. I'm all about the hypothetical.

The next 6 months are going to be very busy and very crucial. Enough blogging, more writing...

I'm going to work on the unnamed project right now. It should be in your December solicits, I'm guessing it will be the item without the writer credited. Now, the preparation phase.

7.12.2006

Art Link - Canete

The blog of artist Eric Canete. Link me.

7.11.2006

Art is Easy



See?

My 1st Writing Credit and Daniel Way (in reverse order)

First, Daniel (Wolverine: Origins) on why his stories have a reputation for being decompressed:

“Because the ‘decompress’ key is stuck on my keyboard.”

Second, here is my first published writing credit, page designed by the very talented Phil Smith:



If my name is too small, peep it right here.

7.10.2006

One More Monday...

I finished doing some editing for my good friends Nat and Ryan, the creative team behind the high-octane, high-action, just plain high five issue mini-series, Carson City. I would have liked to have been involved at an earlier stage, although I'm not sure I would have wanted them to do much different than what actually played out. All five scripts were written, so my job was more continuity editor, making sure things lined up, made sense, and didn't need to be completely redone. I liked the book. It's funny, has good characters, and some really clever ideas. When it gets picked up, I'll give it a mention here, and maybe they'll give me a mention in it.

***
If you were to read a hard-boiled noirish book written by me, would you rather it star:
  • A hitman
  • A grifter
  • A private detective
  • A layman
This is something I've wrestling with. I've got a title and a mood, and an idea of the character, I'm just not sure exactly what direction I want to take him.

***
We got our comps of Bearers of the Blade. In a lot of ways I wish I had gotten published before working for a publisher. I didn't get that buzz most people talk about the first time they see their names in print. Maybe it's because my written by credit is really tiny, or because it's a book that I edited, but I miss the tingle I heard was supposed to be there. Maybe one of you will be kind enough to buy the sweet con variant edition and ask me to sign it. Then I can glow for you.

***
Speaking of work, I just sent a letter that could have positive negative ramifications for me, but I feel totally justified in doing so. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. It's the way I feel about writing, and it's the way I feel about editing. Sometimes you have to trust yourself enough to fall flat on your face.

***
And more work... I stepped up today and started doing some design work. I may have worked in production for the last 18 months, but I've never been comfortable with design. Check the back of Hunter-Killer #6 to check out my handless work. Maybe I'll post those pages up when they get edited and approved. One page is all me, but thanks to Chaz for the background texture on the rest of the pages.

***
Troy and I have our second meeting tonight. Obviously, you know, we're on the ball. Hopefully he's done some research too, or solidified more of an idea of where we're going.

Had a quick chat with Brian today about collaboration and some reasons it hasn't worked for him lately. It's hard to take a step back and make sure you're working on the same page and toward the same ideas as your collaborators. It's gotta be one hell of a feeling when you really mesh with someone. Maybe that will happen to me soon, or maybe I'll just go it alone. Either way, you'll hear about it here.

7.07.2006

For the Art Crowd - Progressions

Go through the process of bringing Fell to life with Ben Templesmith.

Here. Those are two different links, and yes, I'm still not working.

7.06.2006

Fake Dilemma

It's so easy to be one of those writers who doesn't write.

The guy who sits in the back of every room nay saying, knowing his ideas are better than everyone else's. But he doesn't do anything. He just sits there. He doesn't act, he just talks.

That's me. That's Troy too. We're trying to change all of that.

I'm way overloaded, but things are looking up more and more each day. I just need to get through the next few weeks, and then really buckle down. No more hypothesizing, time for work.

My San Diego is going to be a very busy one, much to the chagrin of some. Stop by booth #2045 if you have a chance.

6.29.2006

Bearers on Newsarama

The good Mr. McLauchlin fed this to a few outlets, and Newsarama is the first to post it (to my knowledge).

Anyhow, check out a preview of my poor writing skills and other people's not-so-poor artistry.

The fans really seem to love it.*

The Long Day

Witchblade #100 is going out the door this week, so I pulled a 12.5 hour day at work to help make it very possible. It was a very long day, so long in fact that I don't know why I'm not sleeping right now. I've lost the power to reason.

My freelance gigs are falling behind, but I should get them on track this weekend. I just hope nothing mysterious or sinister happens to me at the Magic Castle this weekend. That place is spooky.

6.28.2006

1 Down, 4 to Go

Last night I actually did some research, polishing off A Little Book of Aloha.

Not much in the way of useful info or proverbs, but it did plant two seeds in my mind.  Let's see if that pays off down the line.

6.27.2006

Swallow It

It's easier than you think.

You're working on something for someone else. You have nothing invested but time, energy, and pride. When you're getting paid, it's pretty easy to let the last part go. Not even when you're getting paid a lot, just enough so you can say,"This is a job." It's not your heart, your soul, or something you can't let go of. If it were, you wouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Anyhow, these synopses were really getting to me. I was getting all these minor notes and changes, and I didn't see the point. It's not that I saw my words as gospel, it's just that I didn't see the point of the majority of changes. Then tonight it hit me. They're not paying me to give them what I want. They're paying me for a product that they want, and I'm okay with that. I'm giving in, acquesing to their whims and generally not caring whether they make perfect sense or not. If that's the way they want it, it's their money.

Is this selling out? Maybe. Do I feel like it is? Nope.

I'm a writer getting paid to write. What else is there?

***
Bearers went out last week. It's a sweet looking book, with amazing design by Phil Smith.

Keep in mind, I'll be at SDCC and Wizard World Chicago signing con exclusive variants of the book, if you're so inclined. I'll get a preview up here soon, but I'm really waiting on a site to do it first.

Behind Again

I'm way behind. I have four scripts and an outline to read, one of which I've already agreed to edit. The rest is a possible gig, but I'll have to learn more first.

I really need to get started on my research. I borrowed four books on Hawaii from Annie (who went to school in Hilo), but I have yet to open any of them.

How upsetting is it that every idea I get for a comic starts out with the opening pages and narration. As much as I don't want to use it (a holdover from my screenwriting training), I may as well just realize that the majority of the best comics, especially the styles I want to work in, utilize it.

Half of the reason I'm afraid to write right now is Ed Brubaker. The other half is Sean Phillips. Put them together and you've got Criminal. It's just not fair. Look at that trailer. How can I compete?

6.21.2006

Behind

I had a fun weekend filled with all sorts of things, none of them working. Well, I did read Dead West by Rick Spears and Rob G. which is a lot of fun, but no research in the way of the Troy project or anything else.

Work has been keeping me pretty busy, but I still decided to beg for work on Monday. There have been a couple of bites thus far, some of them actually pretty promising. I'm really just hoping I can end up doing something that actually happens and matches my sensibilities.

I tried using SketchUp last night. It did not instantly turn a photo of me into a scary 3-D monster. Maybe I should have tried to read the directions.

I really need to get my proposal finished up so I can either push that boulder off the mountain or give up on the pipe dreams for now. I can't talk about that just yet, but we'll see.

Bearers is going out the door this week. It's actually going to be one of the Top Cow's first Image Advances titles. DC and Marvel ship one of each book a week early to comic shops every week, and Image recently joined the bandwagon. The idea is to drive up sales by letting retailer take a look at what's awesome before their fans come to the shop the following Wednesday. I'm excited. Orders are pretty good, and I expect that more people who pick up Witchblade #100 on a whim will grab Bearers as well.

Here's the pencil version of the con variant by E-Bas:



I did tell you it was getting a convention exclusive, didn't I?

6.14.2006

Name Game

How do you name someone who lived in a time before names? Perhaps she even lived in a time before language. Calling her UGGH just doesn't seem right.

6.13.2006

The First Monday

9:15am - Meeting with the company I'm doing the synopses/story bible for.  Overall very productive, and nice to know I'm actually doing work they're enjoying and can make use of.  The other nice thing is that I'm not working in a vacuum.  I'm getting almost constant feedback on every summary I write.  As much as I'd like to think my work is perfect from the first keystroke, it's pretty reassuring knowing that

At work - Finished the lineup for the Bearers book.  It's going to be well worth your $2.99, with only 2 ads in the entire book, and a whole bunch of text by me and pretty pictures by a bunch of people you've actually heard of.  I'd love for my debut to have been an actual comic, but I think this will be something I'm actually going to be fairly proud of.  Once I know for sure that it will go out next week, I will get an actual release date for you.

The Troy Project - I managed to scrounge up a few links on Hawaiian mythology.  I did some digging for urban legends and police blotter, but didn't come up with too much.  I may have to contact some of Annie's friends from college (Hilo) and see if they can provide me any information I might find interesting.  I'm hoping Troy has started digging, but I'm also not holding my breath.

At least I think I found an easy way into the story that will make us seem like we know what we're doing.  It's the opposite of Tarantino-esque, more noir detective than anything if we can play it right. 

12:40 am (Tues.) -  After three hours, I've finished another round of corrections and additions to the bible.  Overall this project has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would.  Boiling down even a five page treatment or idea into a tight, single-page synopsis + teaser isn't as easy as I thought it would be when I took the job.  Luckily, I'm getting paid for each entry, so it's not like I locked myself into a lump some deal and have 30 more to do for some previously agreed upon price.

Beyond the money though, I took the gig because it's paid writing.  Dr. Whittington always talked about how you know you've made it in your field when someone starts paying you to do what you want to do.  I'm getting paid to write, and while it's still a little odd for me to sit down and actually write (as opposed to just thinking about it), it's a great feeling.  Hopefully I can keep this momentum going for when I get my OGN underway.

***
The Writer of the day is Dan Wickline.  A friend of mine let me peruse a new anthology book I'm not sure I can actually mention yet.  He's got somewhere between 5 and 7 stories in 22 pages, and some of them are really solid.  It's hard to cram that much story into such a condensed space, but I didn't feel cheated at all.  I'll try to mention more once it's on sale.

Read Dan's blog here

***
Sorry I'm not an artist.  I know it's a lot more fun when you have something to look at (see previous entry), but them's the breaks.  I do words, someone else does pictures.  Maybe I'll start taking pictures of the workplace or something.  That'll confuse you into thinking I'm a real artist.  Right?


6.10.2006

Bearers is a Wrap (fingers crossed)

My impending published debut is pretty much a wrap.

I just finished work on my final draft, getting everything in chronological order, making sure names worked, and fixing tenses. It took me a few hours what with finishing one of my reference texts, doing extensive names research, and rejiggering so the timeline comes out right. I should have done it a week or so ago, but I just couldn't get back to it. Troy read through it and noted that there's more text in the book than in all four issues of Down.

As far as names go, does anyone else find the process of coming up with them infuriating? I'm not talking about the agony of whether to name your protagonist Jack or Jake, but when you have a character that needs a name according to an ethno-geographic background. It's amazing, you spend all this time researching etymology, meanings, and trying to find things that flow well, and then it looks like you picked something totally arbitrary. I don't even know what some of the names I came up with mean anymore, but I know I chose them all for a reason.

PLUG TIME:



Witchblade: Bearers of the Blade - on sale July! (not the final cover- but Bachalo does rule...)

Pre-order it from Mile High
.

I'll have more links once it goes on sale.

Moleskine

In the tradition of Hemmingway and others, I finally bought my first Moleskine today.

I really got suckered with the 18-month calendar that starts next month and fits in my pocket, so then I just bought two ruled notebooks to make me feel like a writer.

Let's see, last night I was drinking. Today I'm angry and losing money. I think it's working.

It Begins Anew (Welcome to the Workblog)

Okay, this blog went over so badly the last time that not only did Blond have more posts than me (2 to my 1), he even deleted them without telling me.

Well, seems as good a time as ever to start the work blog now that Troy and I have actually gotten this thing underway.

The Point:
  • No diary, just work.
  • The struggles
  • The triumphs
  • Writing is writing. I've gotta start somewhere.
I'm doing a lot of work right now.
  1. I'm writing a company's story bible.
  2. I've got an OGN on the back burner, but it's semi-guaranteed to happen at some point.
  3. I've got my own work struggles at the Cow.
  4. My first published and credited work goes to the printer the week after next.
  5. Troy and I are researching our story.
  6. I'm starting work on a TV spec.
  7. Also, I've given up on sleeping.

I'll also be doing a lot of suggestions such as, wouldn't it be nice to work with Kody Chamberlain?

Welcome to the show. And if you're wondering about the address, it's because I also bought the .com this week, and eventually I'll be running something out of there. It's a hell of a slogan if you have any idea what it means. For these purposes, you can just think that it means I'm not waiting on nepotism or connections to make it. Fingers crossed that I have some talent.