Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Collaborators wanted

I'm looking for one or more artist collaborators for a couple of graphic novel projects. I see them as following the free webcomic/POD print version model.

Project 1: Guardian of the Gates. A young thief-girl is sent to steal an elaborate watch from a mysterious man, and discovers that he is the guardian of gates to other dimensions. The wizard who commissioned her wants to take over his power, but as she grows to know the Guardian, and accompanies him on his rounds, she realizes where her destiny lies.

I see this one as being illustrated in a very beautiful painterly style.

Project 2: Four orphan teenagers come together and discover that they have some unusual abilities, and that a mysterious man in a brown coat is after them. They try to piece together the story of their past and defend themselves, while confronting the personal issues which their powers reflect and intensify.

This one would suit a more manga style.

So, tell your artist friends! Send them here, or send me to their portfolios via the comments.

And artists, check the links to my fiction projects in the sidebar to get an idea of how my imagination works.

[crossposting to City of Masks]

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Eating elephants

It's said that if you want to eat an elephant, the correct way to proceed is to take a spoonful at a time.

That's an approach that works really well for writing. The blogging that I'm doing over at Hypno NZ is gradually getting me the elements of a nonfiction book. I've already assembled one series into an ebook on personal change techniques, and another series, on Health Behaviors, is just about to wrap up. Together, and with a bit of expansion and incorporation of other blog posts that weren't in the two series, they should make a decent book.

The other good thing about the blog format is that it encourages you to write new stuff instead of procrastinate by revising what you've written so far.

I'm also writing Gu on another blog. Again, it's a good way to write. I've never been very good at short fiction, because my ideas want to expand. This way, I get to do a long-form work that consists of short-story-like vignettes of about 1500 words each. The short story on which Gu is based was 5500 words, but I've reached - I'm estimating here, because Blogger doesn't have word count - about 24,000 now simply by expanding the embedded stories in that story. (That's based on 16 posts so far at about 1500 words. The early ones are probably a bit shorter, the later ones a bit longer.)

Unfortunately, at the moment I can only see about another six posts or so in what I still have to cover. (I have a sort of hit list of ideas.) That would take me to about 33,000, which is short of the 40,000 words that the SFWA counts as a novel, and the 50,000 that most other definitions use.

Still, 7,000 words short is definitely spitting distance. Even 17,000 is probably achievable, though I don't want to just pad it out for the sake of it. I'm especially wary because it's told as a documentary - it doesn't have a plot as such, in the sense of characters doing things - and I don't know how much of that people can put up with. I have kind of a sense of how I might incorporate story into it, by following the documentary maker, Susan Halwaz, as she lives out her everyday life using Gu. Silent, mostly, with no dialogue. And then after each such sequence (or before?), an interview with some expert about what she's just experienced.

I'm not sure why I feel the need to make things harder for myself by doing experimental stuff like this. I mean, a novel which is puportedly a blow-by-blow description of an immersive documentary, told in the second person, in which large sections have no dialogue and most of the rest is talking heads? But the fact is, because this is a completely noncommercial project - nobody has bought it, I have no publisher who cares if I can sell 5000 or 10,000 copies and wants me to write a series of three books - I can do what interests me and what occurs to me at the time. Artistic freedom, huzzah!

It also makes it more difficult to actually sell it, of course. City of Masks suffered from not being in any recognizable genre, so it's hard to identify a market for it. A wide variety of people who have read it have all responded favourably, despite its odd language and journal format, which encourages me that it is actually good and would do well if only anyone knew about it. And I'd tell them, if I knew where they were.

Gu has a more identifiable market: Science fiction readers who like Charles Stross or Neal Stephenson. (One person who's reading it has also compared it to Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, mainly for structural reasons.) And such people are open to new ways of doing things. So maybe I will be able to sell it after all, who knows?

Who cares? I enjoy doing it. Even though this blog post is an attempt to procrastinate working on it, because I have minor writer's block about what I'm going to write next. So I should just start writing and see what comes out. That's basically what I'm doing anyway.