Thursday, March 31, 2011
I was on the edge of my seat.
Granted, I didn't remember how the fight ended; my memory is terrible for such things. But, still, my significant other commented on it. She knows I'm pretty jaded when it comes to fight scenes. Over the last couple years, my eyes have started to glaze over during most movie action sequences. And my days of feeling excited about two superhero teams meeting and having a fight due to a misunderstanding are behind me. But there I was, watching a tv show and yelling, like I was cage-side at a UFC championship match.
The episode in question was Deadwood, Season 3, "The Two-Headed Beast," written by David Milch. [Warning: SPOILERS ahead!]
Monday, March 28, 2011
"Whatever happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type. That was an American. He wasn't in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do!
"Unfortunately, what they didn't know was once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings, they wouldn't be able to shut him up! Dysfunction this! Dysfunction that! Dysfunction va fan cul’!"
- Tony Soprano
Friday, March 25, 2011
"The best comic I've ever written is the one I've just finished and the worst one is the one that just came out."
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I know, I know. You're probably saying, "No kidding, brainiac. Care to expand on that statement, and no I do not want to buy a timeshare after the seminar." No on the timeshare and I will gladly explain some changes that I have taken in my life to make writing and creating a priority.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Quality doesn’t matter.
Don’t get me wrong. Quality will matter – a lot – down the road. But right now, at this pinpoint in time, this exact moment – as you struggle and scramble to whip your first draft into shape – as you sweat and shake and feel like smashing your computer against the wall – as you glare at the books on your shelves, wondering how they do it, all those talented, successful, published bastards – as you look for advice and inspiration through your writing books, and find none – as you convince yourself that you have no talent, and never did, and never will, no matter how hard you try – as you flip back through old files, old pages, muttering to yourself, “crap, crap, crap, more crap” –as you practice writing exercises, futilely searching for some breakthrough that you know, just know, will never come – at this moment – this moment here – this moment now – Quality. Doesn’t. Matter.
So what does matter?
Saturday, March 19, 2011
this translated to getting whatever girl I was crushing on to acknowledge my existence, somehow avoiding my grade school tormentors and convincing my mother to buy me a set of nunchucks. For the record, none of my efforts paid off—that is another story—but this meant that I spent my time drawing my favorite superheroes and eventually flirted with the notion of writing a book; I never made it past chapter four.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Levitz suggested that writers deconstruct other people's stories as a learning exercise, so I decided to use the Subplots Chart to analyze the plot of Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top 10, published by America's Best Comics/Wildstorm in 1999.
Top 10 followed police officers working in the city of Neopolis where nearly everyone--the criminals, the citizens, and even the mice--had superpowers. From a blind cabby who drove using only his Zen senses to the dog running roll call, Moore and Ha created a madcap universe that the reader could still take somewhat seriously.
My personal goal with this plot deconstruction exercise was to better understand how Moore timed his various storylines in the 12-issue miniseries. But, hopefully, you'll find something useful in the approach that you can apply to your own stories.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot, recently, about race in comics. I’m currently working on a project called Clockwork, which will consist of around 25 five-page stories, all written by me and drawn by different artists. I’ve received final art on 15 stories so far, and in those 15 stories, nearly every single character is white (except the robots and aliens and gorilla-pirates, but you know what I'm saying).
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Viewed one way, this is a limitation. But viewed another way, it’s a tremendous advantage. It’s this constraint that makes world-building possible; people don’t go into a fictional story expecting reality, and so their minds are more open to extraordinary possibilities. And because this world-building is so fundamental, it can make or break your story.
So, what makes for good world-building?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
There are many great things about this series, but one of the most interesting is the overall story structure. It is rather unorthodox, but extremely effective. Let’s examine this structure a bit, in preparation for the final issue.
(Fair warning: this post will contain a bevy of plot points, or “spoilers,” as the kids like to call them. If you haven’t been reading this series, I strongly recommend you stop here, then call your local comic shop and pre-order the trade. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did … okay. Is it just us? Good).
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
One of my favorite places is the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist Monastery in Kentucky (and the home of writer Thomas Merton). And the interior of the main chapel is the first place I ever encountered the architectural style known as Brutalism.
In Brutalism, the form and function of a building is left exposed. Oftentimes architecture tries to hide the parts of a building that hold it up and keep it intact: the steel and brick and concrete, the columns and girders. But in Brutalism, these elements aren’t hidden. Instead, they’re a prominent part of the building’s look. In the Gethsemani chapel, the walls and ceiling are unadorned, exposed concrete, and the wooden rafters are clearly visible.
I thought about this when we formed the Brutal Circle. I believe what we’re doing here is very similar to Brutalist architecture. We’re exposing the form and function of stories. We’re breaking it down to the basic elements that serve as support for good storytelling; the intricate interweaving of plot, character arc, dialogue, pacing and so much more.
As storytellers, these things are our foundation, our support, our girders and columns and beams. They are as important to storytelling as the concrete and steel and wood that keeps our buildings intact.
We hope you enjoy your time here, as we work to create a solid foundation, and build our stories piece by piece.