Rumbles of things to come!?

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I was at NYCC last weekend and had an incredible time. Once again, I was hanging out with the Once Upon a Time Machine guys from Locust Moon Comics in Philly, selling both the Time Machine book and some of their own quarterly mags from their newly-minted Locust Moon Press (great stuff from great people, if you’re ever in Philly check it out), and talking comics. They hinted at a sequel to Once Upon a Time Machine, with a very specific theme, one that intrigued me a lot at the moment (and now), but I had midterms and work to worry about and really didn’t think on it too much. Today, my midterms are over, and I started musing about it again, and it happened. That explosion of ideas that you can barely write fast enough to get all down on paper. I filled up a page and a half in the middle of class, and was just itching to get back home and do some more research (which I’m in the process of doing right now). I have several potential pitches, and I’d like to narrow it down to one with one backup by the end of the month. 

Comics are happening again and it is good.

-Fred

I should really turn this back into something

Between school, work and more work, I haven’t been doing much writing. I recently bought a Kindle and I’ve been reading a ton, which of course isn’t writing, but it is getting my mind back into the game, so to speak. Thinking more like a writer and all that. And in keeping with the whole thinking more like a writer thing, there are several things on my mind at the moment.

The first thing is that although I haven’t written much in a while, what I have written, I’ve liked. I got a short Twilight Zone-esque story into an anthology called Memoirs of the Mysterious, which will be up on Kickstarter soon. It was my first foray into what I’d call more “weird” than “horror,” and I thought it went well. I also wrote an eleven-page swatch of a larger (yet-to-be-told) story, which will be getting ripped to shreds, I’m sure, over at The Proving Grounds on October 25th. And the story I was talking about in my previous post (wow that was almost a year ago?), while I’ve not made much progress, in reading it over, it’s an idea that (in my humble, not-at-all-biased opinion) has some strong legs under it, and is something I can run with. The best part about all these stories and ideas is that they all came basically unbidden and in their (relative) entirety, and I wrote them out, kept what I liked, and edited what I didn’t like until I liked it. After not writing for a while, being able to dive right back in and handle business is a welcome relief. I endeavor not to have to see if I can do that again in the future.

Second, I keep thinking of Short Story Long, and just having it be something I do for myself. While it would have been an incredible endeavor to get a bunch of other writers and artists together to tackle these elongations of short stories, it’s just beyond my abilities to organize (or fund) such a thing, at least at the moment. So the plan is, I’ll seek out such short stories, make them long, script them, and set them aside. Hopefully one day I’ll have either enough clout or money (or both!) to get a different artist to draw each one I’ve written, and get it produced. Hopefully.

Lastly, I keep finding myself just behind the curve, which is maddeningly frustrating. Back in mid 2009 or so, I was writing a story about dream thieves, getting the preliminary stuff down — and then trailers for “Inception” came out. A year or so later, I was doing preliminary research and outlines for a story about a man who had lost his identity and the support of everyone he knew, and was struggling to find it — and then trailers for “Unknown” came out. I was briefly ahead of the curve with Dark Horse’s Once Upon a Time Machine anthology (/shameless plug), as it seems since around 2011/2012, everybody has been re-imagining fairy tales and the like (the “Once Upon a Time” TV series, the newer Sleepy Hollow TV series, etc.). I was going to write a story set in Wonderland after Alice had left, with a scrappy female lead fighting (physically and metaphorically) to disrupt the Queen of Hearts’ evil rule — and then previews for this “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” show came out. It’s frustrating to know that I’m merely steps behind what’s happening. It’s like finding out that everybody is wearing a certain type of pants and buying a ton of them and showing up at school wearing them and now everybody is wearing something else and you look like an idiot. Maybe not quite the same amount of public shame, but the feeling is similar. I want to be ahead of it. I want to set the trend. No pants.

But anyway. I have a midterm to finish and some writing to do. I’ll aim to make this a bit more of a regular update.

-Fred

A bit has changed…

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I’ve shelved the idea of the Short Story Long anthology for the time being. It’s not a dead idea, just not something that I can do at the moment; the amount of time, people (and of course, money) involved in such an endeavor is currently beyond the scope of my abilities to procure. Besides, with finals rapidly approaching and an almost full-time work schedule, on top of the holidays, I have very little free time (I’m typing this as I get back from a make-up class due to Hurricane Sandy, and afterwards I plan on going straight to bed because I have work early tomorrow morning). At some point in the (hopefully near) future, I will revisit Short Story Long. The (admittedly only two) people to whom I outlined the idea seemed interested, and I can only hope that their interest would be shared by people who can write, draw, and organize such a thing.

I digress.

In July of 2011, Neil Gaiman posted an article on his Twitter about how writing with pen and paper (as opposed to typing on a computer) activated different pathways in the brain, pathways that were more conducive to creativity than the pathways that were activated when typing; in other words, actually physically tracing out the letters in the words did something more than just typing them out (he says, typing feverishly). I found the article interesting, and vowed to try it in the future (and even got a “good luck” from the man himself). The future, as the cliche goes, is now.

On the train to work one morning I saw an ad on the overhead display that somehow instantly gave me an idea for a story (or at least the beginning of an idea). It’s weird, because the ad (which I don’t remember specifically) had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the idea. There was no logical connection. Apples and the color purple, if you will.

But yeah. I started jotting down ideas every now and then in a notebook that I carry all the time (either in my coat pocket or in my backpack), and I realized tonight that this is the story that I will use to test that article. I’m going to write as much of this story as I can (at the very least, the entirety of the plot; I hate scripting longhand, it takes forever and I have awful handwriting) in this (and, I’m sure, subsequent) notebooks, and then every night transfer the day’s writing to the computer (for ease of access during scripting and as a backup).

I’ll be back with updates on plotting and scripting and whatnot as they occur. This will be my first foray into putting my own stuff out there (I’ve been mostly an anthology kinda guy for the past five years or so that I’ve been getting published; not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just wanna spread my wings, as it were). At the end of scripting I will begin looking for artists and make a push for publication. You heard it here first.

Now to transfer what I’ve got to the computer and go to bed.

-Fred

“Short story long”

Everyone’s heard of the phrase “long story short,” which (when used properly, as it so often is not) implies that there are a lot of details to a story, but the teller doesn’t want to bore the listener and thus plans to cut out all the extraneous details in order to get right to the point.

But what about the opposite? What if there was a “short story long”? I’m trying to figure out whether that would turn into fluffing up short stories or if it could turn into fleshing out short stories into something more. I think it could be interesting.

Take for example, the classic Ernest Hemingway short story, produced in its entirety below:

Classified: Baby Goods. For sale, baby shoes, never worn.

That story is complete (and short, at only nine words). But there is a story behind this. What happened to the baby? It’s assumed that the baby either died or the mother had a miscarriage, but there are so many different ways to have had such a thing happen. Like I said, there is a story behind that story, and that’s the story that I’d be looking to tell. This is, of course, just an example, but imagine it. Stories behind short stories. Making the short story long. Could be fun.

-Fred

“This sounds like fun” or, How I Stumbled into This Comics Thang

I don’t think I’ve told this story enough times for it to be old hat, so here it goes.

I was around four years old. I couldn’t read yet, but my cousin Jason (who was basically my idol, and in some ways still kind of is, 18 years later) had just pulled down a comic book from his shelf. It was Spider-Man. I don’t remember what was going on in the story, but I remember seeing the pictures and losing my four-year-old mind. The seed was planted, although it would take some time for it to grow.

Fast-forward eight years. I was twelve or so, in Stop and Shop with my mom, waiting for her to come to the checkout line. I wandered towards the magazines, as was my wont, and a Wizard magazine cover caught my eye. The main story was “Writing Comics”, and something told me that was something I wanted to see. I picked it up and read the article. It had general pointers about scripting and a couple famous writers weighing in on process, and then at the end of the article it had links. One of the links was Digital Webbing’s forums. I decided to check that out when I got home. Score one for awesome decisions made at a tender age.

Over the next seven or eight years at Digital Webbing, I learned. I was there every day for hours, at home and at school. I talked process, form, style, pacing, working with artists, submitting — basically anything you have to know about creating comics, I covered it, with industry professionals like Tony Lee and extremely gifted and knowledgeable up-and-comers (at the time) like Richard Nelson. All for free. It was literally a 5-star comics creation education and whatever happens to Digital Webbing’s forums (it’s been slowly but surely sliding towards demise; that’s a story for another day), I will always, always remember how it helped me out in the golden days.

Through Digital Webbing I encountered a whole bunch of people, projects, and contests. At 15 I came in the top 10 of the Global Comix Jam Script Jam (a semi-professional script writing contest), and three years later came in 42nd out of hundreds of contestants in Dimestore Productions’ Small Press Idol 2008. Through that experience, I forged a good working relationship with the man in charge of Dimestore, Ian Shires, and was subsequently published twice in Dimestore’s anthology series, Mysterious Visions. That same year I became involved in Skipper Martin’s “Bizarre New World” miniseries (from APE Entertainment), writing a nine-page webcomic story for “Tales from a Bizarre New World” web anthology. And a year later, purely on a whim before heading out to class, I replied to a thread on Digital Webbing asking for pitches for futuristic takes on fairytales, which, three years later, would become Once Upon a Time Machine, and see my name in print in a Dark Horse book with some of the finest known and unknown creators I have ever had the fortune to encounter. A year after that post, I was made aware of the 215Ink Anthology by folks on Facebook that I had met at Digital Webbing, and will have a story in that, which will come out either later this year or sometime next year. And just this past year, I helped form the Small Press Commandos over on Digital Webbing (and they have since moved to Facebook and WordPress), putting out a series of mini comics as a Kirby homage, with the comics going from idea to finished product in a week. It was my first foray into editing, and it was quite the challenge but I enjoyed every frenetic minute of it. The Small Press Commandos also went on to make FUBAR, a New York Times Best-Selling Graphic Novel about World War II… with ZOMBIES.

All of these opportunities and relationships due in direct or indirect part to my affiliation at Digital Webbing. I go back every now and then to check out the writing board and see what’s what. If something catches my eye or has zero replies I’ll look at it and comment. Just trying to give a little back.

Looking forward, I have the Bizarre New World and 215Ink Anthology spots still coming out, another miniseries in the early planning stages, and an invitation to participate in the New York Times Best-Selling FUBAR anthology.

So that rambled a bit more than I’d intended. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it a little briefer next time.

Stay classy out there

-Fred

Quick note

I started this WordPress yesterday (at school of all places), in an attempt to centralize my comics-related endeavors a bit more (beyond my attempts to do so with my Facebook page). I’m in a bit of a rush out the door at the moment, but when I get a free moment (or two), I plan on starting this up properly, with a brief intro to how I got into this whole comics thang. Hopefully it doesn’t end up some rambling bullshit, right?

-Fred