Project Updates: Picking Up Dropped Balls

Project Updates

A little behind this week, for no discernible reason. I’m just moving more slowly this week.

Work on the webcomic continues, I think we’re starting to settle into a groove that will hopefully work for us. Right now I’m just trying to churn out stories, create a backlog of stuff we can go to, and then actually putting things down on paper into a script-format to be drawn. The nice thing about getting things scripted many weeks before they’re pencilled is that I have plenty of time to go back and reread the scripts after letting them sit for awhile. God knows that things that seemed like a FANTASTIC FUCKING IDEA when I wrote them, are the shittiest pieces of trite material ever written when I look back, post-frenzied-writing-excitement. I feel like that’s how John Carter happened.

I’ve also picked up on that project I was working on way back when, a sci-fi screenplay. When I put it down, I was having some issues getting a handle on it. It didn’t all connect exactly right in my mind, it seemed like an amorphous pile rather a strong concept waiting to be spun. That’s kind of a big fat excuse, and I never should’ve dropped it in the first place, but the important thing is that I’m diving back in now. I’ve figured out some things that I was having trouble with before, and I also decided to strip some things away and focus on the core of the story, then maybe see if the other elements can still play. A lot of minor things are changing, but I’m getting a better grip on the story, which feels much better.

A Good Night’s Sleep, A Ten Minute Brawl, A Pint of Chocolate Ice Cream

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

Ray Bradbury was absolutely one of the greats in fiction writing and several of his works are classics, not just in the sci-fi genre, but in literature at large. Something particularly amazing about him was how much he advised people to just love what they loved, and write what they love, and do what they love.

Here are some bits he wrote, in letters and articles.

One of my favorite things he ever wrote was The Illustrated Man. It was the first Bradbury I ever read, and I’ve never been able to forget the image of a man with tattoos writhing about his body.

If you want to pay tribute to Ray Bradbury, go the library and read something, anything. He was a big proponent of consuming all that a library has to offer.

You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

Project Updates: World-building

Here’s what you need to know about my thoughts on world-building:
WORLD-BUILDING IS AWESOME.

Let me stop myself before I go off into a tirade about the glorious tradition of world-building and the history of great world-builders who’ve come before us. I will do my utmost to concentrate on how I’m concerned with world-building today, though later this week, you may be getting a fatty post about the great world-builders.

After finding the problems in our project, we took a step back and tried to lay down a more solid base. As we started to discuss what we were working with, we started to get more and more detailed about how this story would manifest, and the world that was being created around it. Before I knew it, we were full-tilt world-building, and speaking in purely theoretical terms about who inhabited this world and what everything looked like and the mechanics of the whole place. I belong to that school of creators that believe that a good solid world is fundamental to a good genre story, (and yes there are some who don’t think it’s all that important), and can help the story self-manifest instead of having to constantly search for it. A world that is fully formed becomes a character itself. I think what we’ve come up with is absolutely marvelous. I’m definitely in love with it.

We had laid out a sort of a prologue and had these ephemeral ideas about where we wanted this story to go, but the execution was evading us a little bit. When we really nailed down what we wanted the story to do, and what we thought was the essence of that story, then we were able to define the world as we needed it to be. And then it’s sort of a vicious cycle, where the story is defining the world and the world is defining the story and it’s gorgeous. It’s much easier to see where that story is going and what the first few stories will be.

But the best part is that after a session of just pure mind-spew creation, we were able to come up with a concept that tickles my mind, and there’s probably nothing better than that.