NaNoWriMo

I’ve had a terrible record with National Novel Writing Month for the last four years. My first book fell by the side of the road due to work in 2012. Honestly, I don’t think I knew where I was going with it any way. I’d gotten some interesting character stuff going, but I couldn’t write a convincing space battle to save my life.

My second attempt in 2013 ended after the first day as my father started to grow ill. That illness would culminate in four months of hospitalization and wouldn’t really end until his death in September of last year. With that still hanging over my head I decided that 2014 was NOT the year to try and take a stab at writing again.

This year I feel different. I want to write. I want to do something that doesn’t involve me drawing and coloring for three hours afterward. Plus, I had an idea. Several years ago I came up with a short film. It was a horror/comedy about a guy who moves onto his boat after being thrown out of the house by his girlfriend and eventually running into the Lovecraft Mythos. Do I think it’ll work as a book? Yeah. Yeah I do. I think this will work because I’m going to approach it as a comedy first and a horror story second. I think it’s going to work because I don’t have to get actors and money and make up. Lastly, I think it’ll work because I said so.

Maybe that last sentence sounds cocky. It’s supposed to. If I approach this with a mindset of “maybe I can finish and maybe it’ll be good” then I’ll never get anywhere. So get ready for a Lovecraftian story filtered through Douglas Adams.

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Paranormality

I’ve probably written about this before, but since I was a wee nip I’ve been interested in the paranormal. I’ve studied most of the major fields of paranormal research over the years including UFO’s, cryptids, hauntings, and things that defy classification like teleportation and people that appeared out of no where. I don’t honestly believe in most of this stuff any more but I’m still fascinated by it. It is our modern society’s folklore and has taken the place of elves, witches, and bogey men.

My interest in the paranormal has sort of waned since the internet made it all more mainstream, but I still have all this data floating around in my head. From the Kecksburg UFO to the Green Children of Woolpit, it’s all still here. I even find the occasional new bit of info I didn’t know about like the Black Knight satellite that has supposedly orbited the Earth for 13,000 years. The question arises though. What do I do with all this?

That’s where Mailbox Rocketship comes in. Mostly the series is about a group of friends in high school, but it takes place in a world where all of these things are fact. Springheeled Jack will be making an appearance. Bigfoot might show up. The current page even features Black Knight over one of the Poles. I’m even finding a way to work in outdated scientific concepts like the Odic Force and Elan Vitale in as scientific fact.

So what does all this mean and what’s the point I’m trying to get at? NOTHING you learn in your life is ever useless and there’s no such a thing as wasted time. It’ll all come in handy somewhere down the road. Even stuff like 1973 Pascagoula Abduction.

A Blind Spot the size of “The Simpsons”

Hi. I’m Kevin Hayman. You might remember me from such blogs as “Why Trees are the Devil” and “No! Screw YOU!”

About ten years ago I stopped watching The Simpsons. I think it was the episode where they went to Africa and a giraffe was hiding in a prairie dog hole where I realized that they’d gone way off the rails. I stopped watching the new episodes, our local stations stopped playing it in syndication, and the show faded from my mind.

This week, FXX started the Simpsons Marathon and I’ve been watching when I’m home. Several things jumped out at me. First, the early seasons were far more cartoony in motion and expression. Second, the show was as funny as I hoped it was. Third, my writing was influence so much by The Simpsons that I’m surprised Matt Groening, Bill Oakley, and Josh Weinstein haven’t shown up at my house to beat me senseless.

It really sort of boggles my mind. I watched the show for years every time it was on. I can tell you numerous shows Troy McClure starred in. I still yell “I’ve had it with you people holding me back! I’m going to Clown College!” at random (and inappropriate) times. The show isn’t just an influence. It’s in my genes somewhere. It’s a part of my lizard comedy writing brain. And yet, I never list it as an influence on me and that bothers me. I think part of the reason is the way I felt so betrayed by the show. I felt like it let me down when it went down hill. I realize the people that make the show owe me nothing, but it’s hard to watch someone you love suffer like that. So what did I do? I left. Not only did I leave, I blocked it all out on some level because it hurt to much to look back.

So now here we are all these years later and the wounds have healed. I can open the shoe box full of photos of the good times and I can laugh again. I can appreciate what me and The Simpsons had and I can proudly say that I was heavily influenced in my comedy writing by the show. Now if you’ll leave the room, I’d like to be alone with the sandwich for a minute.
*Are you gonna eat it?

Yes.

Dream Writing

webcomicsbannerOne of the best things that can happen to you as a writer is when you have a dream that writes the story for you. My friend Barry Linck can attest to this with me. He recently had a dream that’s getting turned into a new storyline. Now it’s happened to me.

So I have a ton of stuff that needs to be covered in the current storyline of EA. Big revelation time. The problem was it was all sort of just talking. It didn’t really work the way I was hoping. None the less, I couldn’t figure out any way to rewrite it so I just sort of left it and hoped inspiration would hit me. It hadn’t. I had page 2 done and was starting to get worried. I went to bed.
Last night I had a dream that was filled with emotion and drama and exposition. It took Terry and tore him apart as a person and left him in a state where he would have to rebuild who he was. It then continued on to what happened next in the Everywhen and his and Delores’ return to the real world. The series took on a completely different light. A lot of what Terry was going to be doing was reactionary. Now he’s proactive and I couldn’t be more happy about it.

So yeah. I don’t know how it happens, I don’t know where the ideas come from, but now I know what I’m doing and it’s all thanks to a dream I had.

Writing by Not Writing

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One of the things that has continually astounded people is the fact that I don’t actually write scripts. I seldom plot things out very solidly either. It sort of hinders me. Once it’s written down then that’s what you have to do. I don’t work that way. The current storyline in Errant Apprentice was mapped out plot-wise but all the details were vague. Mostly lists of what might need to happen. When I got to those issues though didn’t stick to them to hard. I don’t write from dialogue and plot. I write from mood and character.

Back during Kota’s World I learned that if I set a plot out and stuck the characters in it as written, they would often change the what was happening.
“This isn’t us.” They would say. “Let us show you what we would really do.”
I learned to trust those character. They know how they react. Because of that, I’ve learned to just come up with the situation and then let them act it out themselves. The characters carry the thing and to try anything other than that is backwards to me.

I’m not saying that this works for everyone. I know a lot of artists that write a full script and do thumbnails and redo thumbnails and then do the page and then redo the page. That’s fine and a wonderful way to do it. I’ll take my improvisational writing any day of the week though.

 

The Writing Bug

As I’ve said before here in Bloggity, I don’t really write much, but when I do get the drive to I need to act on it immediately. That being said, the bug bit this morning.

I’ve had all these ideas floating around in my head for a modern weird fiction story. The problem I’ve run into over the years is that I’ve tried to hard to use Lovecraft’s verbiage. The trick is to capture the feeling but with your own words and I think I’m finally doing that.
I’m also having to modify his story structure into something more impacting. I’m still using the basic ideo of hinting that something horrible happened and that horrible things have continued to happen, but there’s much more of a personal tragedy element in this.

The story borrows from several of Lovecraft’s ideas without using any of his established mythos. There are elements of Rats in the Walls and a little bit of Long’s The Hounds of Tindalos, but nothing really specific from either. Just sort of a general feeling or vibe but with a much more personal journey.

Far too often when I try to write these things the genre and “monster” take over. I lose site of the characters, which is usually my strong point. I’m not making that mistake this time. Anyway, back to work for me!

Character Hate

The most disturbing thing to me as a writer and creator of stories is the hate some people experience toward a character. Case in point:

Back when I was doing Kota’s World I had this character that Keith was involved with named Destiny. She had to leave for a while for various reasons. During that time I had a bit of inspiration for a new female lead. Cassi. Cassi was everything Destiny wasn’t. She was open, friendly, goofy as hell, a nerd, and interested in Keith because she liked him for who he was. Destiny had designs on what Keith could become and the prestige that came with that. Cassi was there because she cared.

And someone hated her.

One of my readers really liked Destiny. He liked all my villains and he seemed to have gotten offended by Cassi moving in on Destiny’s turf. He made a post in the comments on Drunk Duck that told exactly what he wanted to happen to Cassi. It was all violent and all of it involved her dying the most gruesome ways imaginable. I had to step in and tell him he was going way too far. He apologized and has quietly disappeared.

I’ve always wondered about that mindset. I read comics and books and when there’s a character I don’t like, well, it’s not my story. Is it? I just read and see where they’re going. Maybe there’s a bigger plan. Maybe that character servers a purpose later. Maybe it’s like why I created Cassi.

I had gotten extremely fed up with Kota’s World on some level and probably would have gone ahead and ended it with what I had originally written. It was gonna be depressing and Keith was going to die. The end. Then, Cassi popped into my head almost fully formed. I designed her to be eclectic and slightly mad. She breathed new life in the series and EVERYONE noticed. Suddenly things started to work and the ending changed completely. Cassi didn’t just save Keith. She saved Kota’s World.

And this guy hated her.

Maybe I’m hanging on to it out of bitterness, but I like to remember the entire incident to remind myself that not everyone is going to like my work.