Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bad Advice Corner: Cerebral Thunderdome


I've been putting some thought into the process of story development recently, primarily as I'm at the stage of the writing cycle where I'm looking for my next batch of ideas. I like to be working on about three scripts at once - actually writing them, that is. This means that I need to have one eye on the horizon at all times so I always know where my next story is coming from.

Example: right now, a quick glance at my worklist shows that I have nine contracted projects currently either in the process of being drawn or awaiting publication, one completed and in need of a publisher and fifteen more either partially scripted or still in the planning stages. On the four that I'm currently writing, I'm turning out about three 22-page scripts per month, depending on other commitments. That feels like a decent workload, and I'm one of those people who has to structure his time pretty rigidly or get nothing done.

When I bump stories up from the "interesting concept" category to "in production", I've increasingly noticed a tendency toward Thunderdoming. This was something that first happened with Cancertown, which was a story I'd had kicking around in my head since university, but which never came together until Morley entered the picture, basically wandering in from another story altogether and taking over. Similarly, the Mr. Green character from Slaughterman's Creed was never intended to feature in that story at all, and ended up redefining the whole book. It's become a pattern. I can be roadblocked on any number of stories at once, then suddenly realise that they aren't separate books at all, but facets of a single narrative that were fighting to assert themselves. Thunderdoming - two stories enter, one story leaves.

The mental Thunderdome can kick out some surprising results. One story I'm getting ready to plot out originated as a sequel to another book, but now a new lead character has fought his way into it and booted that original story right out of the picture. I'm sort of staring at the wreckage right now and wondering how it happened. All I know is that I'm twice as excited about this fucker now it's no longer a part 2. It just works out that way sometimes.

I occasionally get asked to blog "writing advice" here, and while I have serious doubts about the usefulness of anything I might say, I guess this rambling, incoherent post is about the closest we're likely to get. So, y'know... have fun with that.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Scratching an Itch Part #2: Slaughterman's Creed Commentary

Well, we seem to have blitzed through 2011 and out the other side in record time. I've barely finished sucking the marrow out of last year's bones and I'm already tearing into 2012 with a carnivorous intensity that frightens even me. I've got new books, new co-creators and a metric fuck-tonne of new toys to play with over the next twelve months, so I'm kicking off with another free gift for anyone who might be interested in grabbing a copy.

As the entirely hypothetical and almost certainly fictional "regular reader" of this blog might be aware, a little while back I was able to release the Cancertown commentary track I recorded for the PSP Store version here, so that anyone with an interest and a copy of the book (physical or digital) could get hold of it. Now, with that same itch still bugging me, it's long past time I did the same for Slaughterman's Creed.

So, if you'd like to hear me justify what the Hell I thought I was playing at with that ghastly little amorality play of blood and blades and meat and murder, or simply to hear me burble two hours of incoherent praise for the likes of Stephen Downey, then by all means help yourselves. Links below.

Slaughterman's Creed Commentary Chapter One (24Mb MP3 ZIP)
Slaughterman's Creed Commentary Chapter Two (23 Mb MP3 ZIP)
Slaughterman's Creed Commentary Chapter Three (21Mb MP3 ZIP)
Slaughterman's Creed Commentary Chapter Four (25Mb MP3 ZIP)
Slaughterman's Creed Commentary Chapter Five (26Mb MP3 ZIP)

Onward!
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