The inevitable F.A.Q – Part 3: Fiction and comic books

Fiction and comic books:

What do you do in the fiction/comic book industry?
Currently, prose, scripting and reviewing.

Who for?
I review for ComiX-Fan on a mostly monthly basis. I’m also writing projects for Gorelab, Futurius, Onyx Cross and a couple other independent comic book companies I cant name quite yet for secret project type reasons.

So when are these things coming out?
I hate to say, simply because things tend to slip often. But there should be at least two stories released in the next 4 months, with another 2 soon after that. The secret projects could be released anytime between mid 2007 and early 2008, so they’re long term things.

Oooh. What genres do you deal in?
Most. I’ve written stories in sci-fi, horror, naturalism drama, fantasy, military drama/action… I try not to limit myself as it’s best to have a wide scope.

Can I see some of your work?
Sure. There are samples littered throughout the blog, but whole bodies of work can be seen if you mail me.

Do you have an agent?
No. Little point in me having one right now.

Can you write for me?
Depends on what it is you want me to write, but provide details of the project and we’ll talk about it.

What sort of work are you looking for?
Generally anything to do with story work. So scripting, prose, story board writing (but not drawing, I’m terrible at drawing), even stuff like comedy strips, which I’ve written samples of before.

Let’s say I’m an artist; can we collaborate on a project?
Sure, send your art samples over and we’ll discuss it. I have numerous stories in need of someone to draw them, so if your style fits I’ll be happy to work with you.

What are your stories about?
All sorts of things, but my central concepts/themes revolve around people trying to find themselves through painful and unfamiliar circumstances. Whether that’s psychological, sociological, personal, or so on. Most of my characters want to reaffirm themselves or are trying to discover who they actually are, despite their surroundings and other people often trying to stop them.

Where do get your ideas from?
Everything around me. You, right now, even.

Eeek. Better close the blinds then. How do you develop the ideas?
I don’t really have a single method. Sometimes I start with a core idea or concept, other times a single image, other times a single character placed in a situation. Each time is usually different and I build around that one thing. Forthcoming comic book story, Bad Luck Inc. for example, was born of a dream where I was working for the Devil and wanted to escape his employment. While the name was created as an antonym of the Gorillaz track, Good Luck Inc., which I love. Those two concepts sparked the story and everything else from there snowballed.

He’s a super-freak, super-freak!
I don’t deny it.

How long does it take to write your stories?
It varies. Plotting takes the most time, as a full plot for a series can take a few days to a couple weeks bounce the general ideas around, before getting a good idea for how it starts (Act 1), continues (Act 2) and ends (Act 3). Then I write in story arcs, where I’ll go into more detail over what happens for each Act and get an idea of how many parts/chapters each will take up, if there’s more than one issue of the story. Although sometimes, if I have no word count, I’ll write free-form and just let the characters take as long as they need to get to the point I want them to get at (as long as the pacing is fine, so there’s action and inciting incidents to balance out the character moments/relatively ‘slow’ parts).
A full 22 page script will usually take me just over a week to two weeks, if the plot is all done. A 20,500 word novelette takes about 2 months. So those are the kind of scales I work to, in general.

What sort of audience do you write for?
Any age. Although my stuff is often quite dark in tone.

Like how?
Well, let’s just say I only write happy endings if the story suits it. Which often it doesn’t.

What, are you emo or something?
Heh, no. I just don’t always like easy answers in my stories. I like my tales to challenge and question people, which often means making the audience a little uncomfortable. Sometimes happy endings dilute that a little. Dark, disturbing endings leave people asking “why”, which will hopefully incite discussion or force a re-read to see what exactly went wrong for the character and how. Or it might just piss the reader off, which would be bad. But you know what they say about making omelettes…

You can use butter, salt and eggs?
Erm… yeah, sure. They say that too.

So what are your influences, omelette boy?
Plenty. In terms of tone, Roald Dahl, David Fincher, Mark Millar and other masters of the dark arts. General inspiration comes from Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Coupland, Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughn, Joss Whedon, Brian Michael, Christopher Priest and many more. If you’re a fan of the above, you’ll notice a strong batch of similar themes that connect them, which is part of what appeals to me.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I’ve been lucky enough to not suffer from it the last few years (touch wood). Not in any great form. If I’m not writing (or gaming), then I’m often thinking about writing, so I’m always kept active at some point. And if I’m doing none of the above, I’m researching, which is the best form of ‘not-writing-but-still-working’. Blocks tend to come from not having enough information to process creatively, so research and sometimes relaxation will often do the trick. If not, a trip to the toilet and/or shower often solves many a problem. You’d be surprised at the thoughts that will come into your head when you’re on the porcelain throne and no pen to write them down (thankfully paper in the loo is a necessity so it’s just the pen you’ll need – although it’s best to let significant others in on the loop, as if they’re going to the toilet, reach for the roll and suddenly notice “See spot. See spot run. Run spot run! Die Spot! Die Spot Die! ‘Spot died in an explosion that forced his large intestine through his shattered and bloody nasal cavity’ “, then they’ll probably be a bit scared. Scared for their very own lives.)

So really this whole “The Writer’s Block” title is fairly ironic?
Well, at the moment it is *touches wood again*. It could turn out to be just terribly prophetic…

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