August 24th, 2010

Worms Ready For Battle

Take A Break

As I work on Quantum Redshift, I realize this might be a little bit tougher to do.

The artwork is still my cartoony chibi style, but there are more backgrounds and more refinements to the pages going on. Sound Waves, the characters are floating in the open ocean a lot.  Not here.  This is more in line with Head Above Water.  Simplified minimalism, sure, but still a lot more focus on the elements of the scenery around the characters.

So, here's the decision.  Project X still goes forward, working on it in fits and starts when I can.  Stress Puppy will continue, it only takes me about an hour to an hour and a half to do each strip.  Sound Waves is getting back burnered for a little bit.

Fans of the swim buddies, relax.  The Christmas special is still a go, that's far enough in the future I know I can do that.  But the regular series will have to wait until the final decision about Quantum Redshift is made.  The series will easily start again by the start of 2011.  But if Quantum Redshift gets picked up, that means I have an editor paying attention and my reputation is on the line.  QR will be the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

I'll keep you posted what shakes out.

This Is Going To Be Rough

You know, I hate working without a net.

Part of the reason I enjoyed working with Hard Way Studios was that their talent made up for my deficiencies.  Keep in mind, I consider the writer to be the most important element to any entertainment, movies, plays, or comic books.  It's not because I am a writer, it's simpler than that.  When a person watches a movie or opens a book or whatever, they are basically saying, "Tell me a story."  As such, the writer has to do the heavy lifting.  They can come up with action or drama or comedy or whatever, but they have to come up with a story the audience will enjoy.

Now, every writer makes mistakes.   It happens.  Editors like to see writers know what they are doing, and any mistake can be fatal.  I had a book rejected a loooooong time ago because the editor found one plot device hard to believe.  So I push my writing as hard as I can, but I can't catch everything.  That's where a collaborative atmosphere is wonderful.  In the case of visual media like movies and comics, a sharp film editor or brilliant penciler can help keep those little mistakes from being noticed.  I regard Die Hard as the perfect action movie, even though it has a critical flaw that could have ended the movie in five minutes.  I didn't give a shit, I was enjoying the characters, the pacing, the intelligence of the script, everything.  I didn't care about it.  By way of contrast, nothing in Battlefield Earth distracted me and I ripped the movie apart.

With Quantum Redshift, I have no safety net.  I don't have a studio editor keeping me in line, making sure my pacing is good and my plot makes sense.  I don't have a great penciler making the story immediate to readers.  Quantum Redshift is entirely me, and will succeed or fail on my efforts alone.  It's intimidating as hell.

But not doing anything isn't going to get me anywhere.  So I forge onward, wagering that my impatience, speed, brains, and skill will pull me though.  I don't regard professional writing as a job.  I view it as a competition.  There are only so many slots, and no one is giving any of them up.  You have to be twice as good as any of them just to be given a shot.  That means no do overs or outside aid -- you step into the ring and you give it everything you've got.

None of my other projects were this nerve-wracking.  The Supremacy?  I was working with a lot of talented people, and we all worked together to make each other look good.  Stress Puppy?  Doesn't even arch my eyebrows -- I'm so familiar with comic strips, how they work, and how to time the gags, it's first nature to me.  I know I can handle it.  Sound Waves?  That's just for fun.  Head Above Water?  Personal project, sure, but it and Sound Waves are just self-published projects.  Very low stakes.

Quantum Redshift?  This is the first time I've gone into the ring on my own in years.  It's not just time passage, but that I am the focal point.  Once again, no support system.  I'm pretty much naked here.  I'm gathering the money for my wager and getting ready to spin the wheel.

Well, this day was going to come sooner or later.  No point in fucking around, especially while the editor at Ape is waiting for my stuff.

As I write this, the script for issue #1 of Quantum Redshift is in the can, and I'm up to page 4 of #2.  I'm still figuring out the character designs for Rose, the star of the series.  I want to have some concept art by the time I finish all four scripts, so I can dive into drawing the cover and sample pages.  If I keep up my pace, I should have the sample sketches by the weekend or somewhere thereabouts.  Worst comes to worst, I'll self-publish Quantum Redshift, that was the original plan all along.  But if I have a chance to make an impact, I have to take it.

In other words, as terrifying as doing this on my own is, not doing this at all is even worse.  I have a good shot here, I will not let it just slip away....