New Years Resolutions 2016

It’s time for a reflection of the past year and to lay out my hopes and dreams for the coming one.

Reflections of the Year Past:
Wow. There were some pretty big highs for me this year. And, fortunately for me, the lows were very mild.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens blew my mind. It was everything I hoped it could be. It wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong. I had some issues with it. But, overall, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to see it again.

‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ – both were fantastic shows I binged watched (is that even a proper expression?! Can’t think of the right one off hand). The storylines were great. I’m not particularly familiar with Daredevil (apart from the concept and storyline basics) and I knew next to nothing about Jessica Jones. I loved every minute of both and can’t wait for season two.

‘Making of a Murderer’ (Netflix exclusive series also) was a fascinating look at the life of Steven Avery, a man from the U.S. wrongly convicted of rape, and only exonerated after spending eighteen years behind bars. Two years after his subsequent release, Avery again finds himself accuse of a horrible crime, this time a murder. Avery again plead his innocence, claiming a conspiracy by the local sheriffs department. The series follows Avery from his release and through the new trial. Great stuff if you enjoy true crime. (On an interesting note, internet group ‘Anonymous’ have taken up Avery’s cause and claim to be about to release information proving his innocence.

Writing-wise, I’ve had a great year. I got paid for writing for the first time ($US100! for eight pages). I have artists lined up for two other short pieces which I have previously mentioned here (there is no time line for the release of these as yet). I have also a series called ‘The Phantom Ranger’ coming soon from Hooligan Alley Comics.

I’m finding writing easier now that I have been practising for a while. I still struggle to come up with that ‘killer concept’, but the concepts I am coming up with are stronger and more refined than ever before.

I’d like to improve my pitching ability though. Crafting a good pitch still eludes me – they always feel dry and stale to read. I have a few different stories I’d like to pitch, but whenever I write a pitch, I can’t seem to … create the right hook? I need to read through some to the writing books on my shelves and try and distil the essence of what they are saying.

I have found it difficult to work on projects where the ideas don’t originate with me. I attempted to write a mini-series with a great artist, based on his art and concepts. Unfortunately, the passion just wasn’t there. Without the passion, the words just wouldn’t flow. I eventually had to give up the project because I figured if my heart wasn’t in it, wouldn’t be fair to either party to continue on without dedicating one hundred percent.

Plans for 2016? Continue with the improvement I have been making. Practice pitching. Write. Write. Then write some more. Spend more time with the children – they are growing so fast! I don’t want to miss a thing. Get a promotion at work (pretty sure this is in the bag, but stranger things have happened).

Enjoy 2016. Live life to the fullest. You only get to do it once.

 

 

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Top Cow’s Talent Hunt

Top Cow have announced their third annual Talent Hunt. They are looking to two writers and two artists to complete full issues, as well as two writers and two artists to do back up stories. More details can be found here:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=56336 

Entries close March 15 2015 (just realised that is the Ides of March – the day Julius Caesar was assassinated).

I’m not that familiar with the Top Cow Universe, so looks like I have a lot of research to do prior to completing my entry. Wow, what a tough job when research equals reading comic books.

Good luck to everyone that enters. I’m sure winning this competition would open a lot of doors into the world of comic book production.

My writing process – part two

I’ve found out two things about my personal writing process recently.

Firstly, when writing in comic book format, I find it a lot easier to write the entire outline and script by hand. The reason, I think, is that when I’m at the computer, I tend to get hung up on silly things like formatting correctly 100% of the time. This tends to slow down my writing and break up the flow of my thoughts from mind to page. Hand writing seems to ease this problem for me. I don’t mind if the formatting isn’t perfect because I know that I can fix any problems when I transfer the story to the computer. It also allows me an easy revision process, so the typing essentially does two jobs in one hit.

In relation to the writing by hand, the idea for this came from Australian author Ryan K Lindsay. It’s been a great change for me and has really assisted me and actually getting some writing done. Ryan has a great blog called ‘Without Fear’. I definitely recommend you take a look.

Secondly, writing short stories by hand does not work. I can’t gather my thoughts, I have trouble reviewing while writing for story/plot/character consistency, and the story tends to burn out quicker than it should.

So, two different mediums of story telling, and two different ways I find it easier to write.

UPDATE: I haven’t heard anything from my 2000 AD submission as yet. I am working towards finishing my first issue of (tentatively titled) ‘Heaven’s Yesterday’ comic book. I have been trying to compose a short story for submission to TOR publishing, but this is on the back burner while I finish other things first.

I do have something in the works with Flux Fiction with a short story expected to be published in 2015. I’m really excited about this as it will be my first published work. I looks like a great publication for new authors. If you’re interested in having a look, go to http://www.fluxfic.com and have a look.

Postscript:
My laptop is giving me a hard time at the moment – the pointer is jumping all over the place while I’m typing and I don’t always realise, so if some sentences seem to end earlier and continue elsewhere, I apologise. Hopefully I’ll pick them up when they happen, but I don’t always notice.

Artist Needed

This seems to be the biggest challenge facing an aspiring comic book writer – locating an artist to illustrate your work who is available, and whose style suits both your tastes and writing/genre. There seems to be a few avenues I’ve located so far (Digital Webbing and PencilJack mainly) where artist and writers can hook up. But a lot of these artists ask for payment before they’ll agree to be part of the creative process. For a new creator like myself, this seems a fairly risky. Basically, I’d be paying for something that, in all likelihood, won’t be published. For me, at the place I am in my writing career, is simply too much give for not enough return.

What, or who, I’d like to meet would be an aspiring artist for was willing to have a look at my material and see what they can make out of it. This way, we both get the practice we need to hopefully go to be published. But the difficulties in finding that one person would be similar to the proverbial needle in a haystack. I’m sure they are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.

The Writing Process

I’ve been very productive with my writing this fortnight. A submission for 2000AD has been finish and needs only a quick review before sending it off. I’m pretty excited as it will be my first submission of any type of writing. I know it’s not to the quality of ‘War and Peace’, and I really wouldn’t mind it being rejected. It is, after all, my first submission, and I imagine first submissions would rarely see print. Even a simple reply stating ‘this is not really for us, but keep writing and submitting, we’d like to see more’ would absolutely blow my socks off.

Has anyone submitted to 2000AD? Any advice on how to make a submission stand out?

One thing I did learn this fortnight is that, if I sit at the computer with a blank document in front of me, I’ll rarely get anything done. But, give me a pen and paper, and stuff seems to happen. So far, I have hand written a four issue mini series synopsis, as well as the first six pages of issue one. Very happy with what I have done, but even happier with the discovery of a method of writing that actually keeps me writing!

My first post!

Wow. I have my own blog. About comics (and other stuff too). I feel powerful. Influential. Maybe a little power crazed.

So, what is this blog about? And, more importantly, what am I about? Well, my name is Travis, I’m a life long movie fan, comic book nut, and general nerd. I love gaming, reading, writing, all the good stuff us nerd seem to enjoy. I work for the government (which I dislike, but I love the job security my particular job entails). My dream job would be a writer – in particular, the writer of ‘Amazing Spider Man.’ I couldn’t think of anything better.

On this blog I will review comic books, movies, games, basically, whatever takes my fancy. Sometimes, I’ll pop on a writing sample, be it a short story, a comic book idea/submission, or synopsis for whatever I’m currently working on. Feel free to read it (or not) and comment, positive or negative. I tend to have a pretty thick skin (unless somebody says something mean, then I will cry like a baby).

If you want to ask a question, make a comment, make a counter argument, have at you. I’ll reply in time. I do have a full time job, a wife and two young daughters, so don’t be alarmed, dismayed, upset, or any other emotion if I don’t reply straight away. I’ll try to get to it when I can.

So, hello all and welcome. Hopefully you stay will be as enjoyable as mine!