New Big Dragon Illustration Coming

See this right here? This is a happy dragon. This is a smug and satisfied dragon who is most mug and satisfied at some big big news. What is this mysterious big news? Well it just so happens to be one of the biggest stories ever! In the history of this tiny little blog.

Okay. Maybe the news isn’t that big in the grand scheme of things, but give me a break here people.

Okay. Moving on. Not too long ago my artist and I started work on another illustration for the book. With some time needed to get all the required elements to complete the cover of our fantasy/action epic, we’ve put that on the sidelines and moved on to some other illustrations that will decorate the manuscript. We aimed to make it similar to the Dark Tower series, having one illustration every few chapters. So far we have completed three that show off our massive red leading lizard of fire and death.

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We’re pretty happy with all of them so far. More recently, we began work on another illustration that would show off one of the more tense sequences in Chapter 19. This was the picture’s humble beginnings.

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Last night we made massive progress on the picture. It is easily one of the most quickly progressing illustrations of them all, with great attention to detail, nice moody lighting, and a nice pants fudging subject matter for all to enjoy. Now, I won’t go showing off all of it just yet since there is still some work to be done, but I do hope this little snippet of the picture will be enough to satisfy your curiosity.

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Barring any major setbacks, this picture should get wrapped within the next seven days. Hope all of you are just as excited as we are. The world is going to get one more Big Dragon, and that’s something we could all use a little more of.

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First Writing Job

This week has been an exciting week in the way of writing and this little blog. Not only are we in our most successful month ever, having broken our record for monthly views and our record for daily likes (twice in two weeks), I’ve also been bequeathed my first writing job ever. We’ve all heard the stories of this happening suddenly, and this was no exception.

After I wrote this article, I was contacted by someone who worked for another site saying they enjoyed it and asked would I consider providing some editorials for them dealing with writing, books, film and other forms of entertainment. We had a brief talk via email and I set up an account.

I ported over one of my pieces from here, and from what I understand the reception was pretty warm. Two more pieces have since been ported over and a 4th one is currently being outlined.

It’s not a paying job mind you, but it does provide some small visibility for our little corner of misfits hoping to make it big, and me just writing editorials to pass the time and self teach. Who knows? Maybe someone will notice an article on that site and that will lead to something more, and someone will see an article on that site, and so on and so on and so on.

As this little story so eloquently illustrates, you just never know.

A Story’s Purpose

In fiction, sometimes a creative premise isn’t enough. By sometimes I mean almost never. Any story should have a purpose to its existence other than showing an audience something that’s never been done before. Let’s face it. Anyone can do something like that.

Here. Watch. A intergalactic space traveler shaped like a giant strawberry frosted cupcake teams up with a dinosaur-kitten hybrid in order to fight a chain of video game critics exposed to a disease that turns them into flesh eating gerbils. There. Done.

But in that mad stew of, well, madness, where is the purpose? What is the story hidden beneath the insane plot?

In an earlier post, I commented on how plot is the sequence of events while a story is what those events mean. At its core, the original Star Wars trilogy is about a father and son in conflict over old vs. new ideals before the father embraces his son’s outlook on life and dies to protect it. John Carpenter’s The Thing is about how mistrust between colleagues sends humanity towards destruction when the man can’t band together to defeat a hostile alien organism. To Kill a Mockingbird is about that painful moment in childhood when we learn that evil is real and how that’s an important lesson in growing up. These aren’t just stories about lightsaber fights, shapeshifting monsters or lawyers protecting human rights. They have a lot more meat to chew on.

Don’t be fooled by genre, because sometimes it can cleverly. 1954’s Them still has a point apart from seeing giant radioactive ants chew people to death. Beneath the veil of a classic monster movie, Them is largely about the looming dangers of the atomic age (The ants were created by bomb tests) and how it has the potential to destroy us all. The story treats us to much more than just a bodycount and animatronics.

Sometimes the purpose of a story can be hard to spot, but even a simple message is still a message. Army of Darkness, the third in the Evil Dead series follows Ash Williams into medieval times to fight demons. He has nothing but apathy for the terrorized peasants and kings that fight the horrors he’s been facing for so long. Soon though, he changes his tune and teaches them how to fight back, ending the Deadite threat once and for all. Well, until Ash vs. Evil Dead came out. It’s a simple story of always looking out for others. It may not be much, but even something as simple as that is enough to keep a story standing.

A simple way to look at a story’s purpose is that’s what a story is trying to say. A premise and plot is just how the story says it. You can do a straight tale of international politics to talk about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, or you can have giant radioactive killer ants. There’s no shame in either one as long as you land the point well.

Of course your purpose should be delivered with tact and skill. Pokemon The First Movie clumsily tried to make itself about how fighting was bad. It did this with several massive scenes of just the characters talking about how much the act of fighting sucks. Not only is this ironic in a series based on a combat centered RPG, but just telling someone the purpose of a story doesn’t make it so. You have to weave it into the narrative.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind shall be our last example of solid delivery on a message. At it’s core, the film is about retaining the wonder of childhood all the way through your adult years. Roy Neary is a child, showing his kids how to do math by crashing toy trains and getting excited at the prospect of seeing Pinocchio on the big screen. Upon contact with an alien civilization, Neary finds a sense of belonging outside his mundane adult life and leaves this planet to find his place, flawed though his methods may be. Through the movie, talk of what it means to be a child and an adult is never uttered. Rather, Neary’s nature is shown and his character developed, giving the story a purpose.

The purpose need not be anything profound. It can be as simple or complicated as you so desire. Purpose though is an important part of a story, as it is the very foundation upon which the story and character’s are built. It’s something i think about a lot when writing. Interesting premises are seldom an issue with me. Still, there’s always that underlying question whenever an idea comes.

“What makes it all go?”

The story’s purpose is the answer.

Now I need to decode what that space cupcake fighting evil gerbils is really about. That’s hitting the presses.

Meet and Greet: Taking the Weekend Off

Come visit my blog. We’ve got dragons!

Dream Big, Dream Often

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend and I’ll be taking the entire weekend off from the blog. I’ll recycle this post for Sunday morning and will plan to catch up with everyone on Monday!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times! It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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Sequel Titles

When you have a successful film or book and a story with more to be told, sequels are almost a given. Once considered a great risk in storytelling on both page and screen, the idea of sequels has become a more widely accepted and practiced part of creative fiction. These days, books and films are often written with sequels in mind in the hopes the universe and characters can be expanded on be it for creative ventures or seeking more dollars. When it comes to sequels, one of the most difficult things to consider is the title.

Since I’m writing a series of books at the moment, this has been the cause of some trouble with me. Just what route do I take with these books when there are so many ways to name your sequels? All methods have their advantages and disadvantages, all equally alluring and off putting.

The most simple method is the numerical method. You just name the sequels 2, 3, 4 and so forth. This is a tried and true method of connecting a series together, and has been used in series like Rocky, Jaws, Friday the 13th, and more. Not only are you immediately aware what you’re looking at is a sequel, you also know where it goes in the series, so you don’t find yourself getting lost when jumping from one installment to another.

The numbers method works well, but it does have one drawback. With titles like 2, 3 and so on, you get the feeling that you’re watching a tower getting built higher and higher, and eventually the numbers become a punchline. Imagine of the James Bond films did this. The latest movie would have the title James Bond Part 24. Doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Even the Friday the 13th series got rid of the numerical method after the series started sounding silly with Friday the 13th Part 8.

But the numbers method isn’t the only one available for storytellers to use.

The second is non numerical connective method. This was the case with the Indiana Jones Series. The first film was titled Raiders of the Lost Ark, but all subsequent entries used the Indiana Jones character as the heading, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and lets forget the fourth one because it doesn’t exist.

What’s great about this method of sequel titling is it has a connective tissue that doesn’t seem quite as tedious as the numbers method. Raiders 2: Temple of Doom doesn’t sound as good as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but the latter title still immediately makes you aware of the series it belongs to. This method was also used with the Harry Potter series to great effect. The only drawback is for series newcomers, it may be difficult to figure out which entry in the series comes first. For those familiar with it, everything it fine. For newcomers, you may have some homework to do.

The third and final method of sequel titling is the most risky of all, but also offers the most creativity. It is the non connective method. This is where you have no connective tissue in the titles whatsoever. This has been done in many series like James Bond, Jack Ryan, and Dirty Harry. This is in large part due to the stories being, for the most part, self contained. You don’t have to have read Hunt For Red October to understand the story on Patriot Games, and you can’t very well call it Hunt For Red October 2 because the titular submarine has no bearing on the sequel’s story. Though Patriot Games is a sequel to Hunt For Red October, to call it Hunt For Red October 2 would be false advertising.

The biggest advantage of this type of sequel titling is it advertises the stories as self contained narratives. You can pick up the 8th James Bond book and be no more lost than if you pick up the 1st. The disadvantage however is pretty obvious. Its status as a sequel isn’t advertised. When I first saw Sudden Impact, I had no idea that it was part of the Dirty Harry series. If you want to tell a story spanning multiple films or books, this may not be the best way to get people coming in.

This however can be turned into an advantage. In the case of Mad Max, the original film didn’t do very well in the United States. When Mad Max 2 was slated for release, the distributor retitled the film The Road Warrior in order to make it stand on its own. The tactic worked, and Mad Max 2 did very well on the United States market. In this case, differentiating itself from its predecessor saved the film, but this is just one example.

The market is increasingly filled with properties shooting to be the next big franchise, and many of us creators want to ride the crest on that wave. The title is an important part of any narrative, much more than most give it credit for. You see, a title is the most important part of advertising there is. If the title doesn’t grab a reader or a viewer, they may not check it out no matter how good the synopsis or the trailer looks. Even if it’s attached to an already successful property as a sequel, that fact still remains. We all need to ask how we want to sell what we create.

Remember, nobody wants to see something named James Bond 24.

Werewolves & Dragons: A Game Plan

Balancing two writing projects alone is a chore, let alone three projects from three wildly different genres and tones.

I’m still prepping for my eventual return to Haiden and the story of the ancient dragon known as Red and his reluctant journey to becoming a savior for his world, and have been biding most of my time working on the screenplay for Manhunters, the crime/horror screenplay about a group of lycanthropes hunting a serial killer. I hit a major roadblock on Manhunters yesterday, essentially coming to the realization that the entire latter half of the story needed to be torn down and rebuilt.

The issue with that one is a daunting one, making sure the villain is a credible threat to the heroes. In order to do that, I need to build him up, show his cruelty in an appropriate way, and show my heroes at their most vulnerable. The pacing is nice and brisk thus far, with everything neatly lined up by page 41, leaving me with around 59 more pages to work with before I hit my standard 100 page maximum.

Looking at that latter half where it is now, it does have some good plot points, but could be, and needs to be so much more in order to succeed on the levels I wish. It is a much less complicated project than Never Heroes, but still requires my undivided attention to work.

Because of this, I’ve come to a decision. I will not return to working on Never Heroes until Manhunters is done. It shouldn’t be too long a process, between one and three weeks, but I’ll need to get the narrative on a page in order for it not to be a distraction during working on the book series.

Still, we’ll be working on the illustrations for Red’s various misadventures, and we’ve got another one in the works. From chapter 19 where the climactic battle takes place, this illustration depicts River hiding in a cliff face from the villainous dragon known as Heavy. So far, this is what we’ve come up with.

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We’re all very happy with how this one is looking so far. Like all the others though, just wait till it’s done. It’ll be something special.

Rest assured, the ideas are still coming. Some nice set pieces and dialogue have been popping up for the first book as well as the subsequent installments in the series. This break will help me get those ideas organized before doing another waltz on the keyboard.

That’s all for now. Hope you all enjoy this latest preview, and I’ll let you all know when it’s a wrap on Manhunters. Then the time will come to leave the city by the bay and soar Haiden’s skies with Red once more.

Tonal Shifts in Stories

A tonal shift is one of the most dangerous, but also most essential things to do in any narrative. A tonal shift is just that, a shift in a story’s overall feeling from where it started. Like any narrative tool, it’s important to know when to use it, and how to do it right.Today we’re going to take a look at some examples, good and bad, of how a tonal shift can be done.

The Harry Potter series is a prime example of a tonal shift done right, primarily because the shift is done slowly. The first book is, for the most part, a pretty light hearted Nancy Drew style mystery with an extra emphasis on world building, with the darker moments taken in moderation. The series slowly changes its face however, dealing with giant child murdering snakes, soul sucking demons, and torture by magic.

By the end of the series, Harry Potter has become downright apocalyptic, with characters being killed left and right, some of the most beloved icons laid to rest, and downright Lovecraftian imagery bound up in Rowling’s words. The key here is it’s done slow. So slow that the reader has very little idea it’s happening. Rowling in her genius introduces us to the whimsy of her world first, before slowly peeling it back to reveal it’s not such a friendly place. A gradual change from one tone to another is a tried and true method of holding your audience. Doing an abrupt change however is far more risky.

One of the primary complaints I hear about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is its tonal shift, which is both sudden and devastating. The film starts much like Raiders, with an exciting action sequence, a lot of humor, and great character interaction. Once the hero reaches India, something sinister is shown to be afoot. The closing of the second act treats the audience to scenes of child torture, the hero being forced to drink blood, and a prolonged and intense scene of the leading lady threatened with death by hot lava.

It is an unpleasant ordeal, but the film does reward those who stick around with an exciting twenty minute series of action scenes. Temple of Doom does shift its tone, but also returns to where it started and keeps its promise to deliver what the title entails. Since the movie goes back to what it was while still settling the story, this tonal shift is one that many more forgive than condemn, and is another example of the tactic done successfully. Still, there are times when a tonal shift is uncalled for.

The Last House on the Left is the first film of director Wes Craven. It’s a grueling tale of two girls who are raped and murdered, their deaths later avenged by grieving parents. This is a story that should have stayed dark and intense, but Craven, in a very ill advised move, actually put comic relief in the movie.

It comes from a pair of bumbling cops who race to the scene of the crime in an effort to stop it. Instead of being a tool to build suspense, the officers are portrayed as buffoons, hitching rides on chicken trucks and getting flipped off by hippies. In a film that deals with the brutal deaths of two innocent teens, this shift in tone was not wanted, and was nothing but detrimental for the film’s more sobering moments.

The most risky type of tonal shift is one that is not only sudden, but prolonged. You do this, you have one flowing narrative going through two different genres. It can be very confusing for an audience, no matter how well intentioned it is.

Last Action Hero is a pretty underrated film, but its shift in tone can alienate many viewers. It’s about a young boy who magically enters a Schwarzenegger film, and takes his favorite character out of the movie to fight a villain in the real world. The first half mercilessly lampoons the career of its star and the action stereotypes he perpetuated. It features explosions, a high bodycount, and even an animated cat detective.

The latter half of Last Action Hero is much darker affair that leaves the hero severely depressed upon realizing he is but a fictional character who must face the risk of losing. It deals with the unrealistic expectations put forward by action films, and how they don’t apply in the very real battle of good against evil. Though audiences are split, this film took a big risk with that shift, and for that it deserves admiration.

Tonal shifts are an essential part of storytelling as they keep the audience on their toes, but they are a source of bitter divide amongst fans of literature and film. This is in part due to subverting expectations, the audience expecting one thing and getting another. But tonal shifts are important because no great story remains the same from beginning to end. All stories change along with their characters, so for there not to be a tonal shift is a betrayal of the very purpose of storytelling. I suppose the best way to do a tonal shift is to not just give the audience what they expect, but also something more. The key is making sure that extra is a pleasant surprise.

Extreme Fandom Hurts Art

Various types of art, usually books, films and video games, are heavily influential in the lives of those they touch. They can inspire hope and change, offer new outlooks on the journey of life, and offer comfort or contemplation whenever called upon. That being said, nobody likes an extreme fan, save those in the same clan. Having a conversation with an overly devoted fan is an exercise in monotony, for a very ironic reason. Taking a fandom too far doesn’t elevate the object of their love, but sows the seeds of its destruction.

One of the earliest examples I can think of is the Star Wars vs. Star Trek Argument, one of the longest running, most hotly debated topic in Geekdom. As a modest fan of both franchises, it’s difficult for me to understand just why as the two couldn’t be more different.

Star Trek is an optimistic view of humanity’s future, discussing issues of race, economic inequality, technological responsibility, even the very definition of what life is. Star Wars is about a conflict between tradition and taking risks, focusing less on more personal stories of family, spirituality, and finding one’s purpose.

Apart from both having two word titles starting with Star, taking place in space, boasting a wide variety of cultures and creatures, and having ships that possess warp capabilities, there is not enough to justify a comparison between the two. So why is there this conflict? The only reason I can think of is both have had a large impact on culture, and each side insists they take the throne. This has had the unfortunate effect of turning many on the opposite spectrum off to the other.

In the most extreme cases of Trekkies and Warsies, many refuse to give the other property a chance on the simple basis of its title. This is done for no other reason than to spite the opposite fanbase. Not only is this childish, but its in effect robbing themselves of an opportunity to expand their own horizons. Extreme fandom in this and many other cases, has driven away some of its audience, killing whatever discussion and fellowship may have been.

This is just one way extreme fandom can hurt art. The worst comes when it actively influences it.

 

Predator is one of my favorite movies, because it’s a lot smarter than many give it credit for. Predator showcases 7 hyper macho movie stars, and destroys the 80s action hero myth by showing just how vulnerable they would be against a physically stronger and intellectually superior enemy. His weapons and physical prowess useless, the hero must rely on his wits and cunning to defeat the monster, only destroying the creature when he’s at his most vulnerable. Predator shows just how little the genre tropes really mattered, and using arguably the most recognizable action star of all time to do that was a stroke of creative genius.

This was unfortunately misunderstood by many fans, a few of whom took the Predator and destroyed it.

The Alien vs. Predator crossover franchise was for a time a pillar of science fiction, in part because it treated both its title characters with love. A screen adaptation of the property was one of the most anticipated films of its day. When it finally came, it they made the crossover series into a punchline. Amongst its crimes was the treatment of the Predator, heavily favorited by the filmmakers. Favored far too much.

In both cases, the Predator seldom faces a genuine threat, even from the Aliens it plays opposite. This is a massive contradiction as the Predator’s culture is shown to be one of challenges, and anything that doesn’t run a risk of death is not worth pursuing. It’s this risk that compels them to hunt humans and Aliens both, and it is their respect and understanding of their enemy that grants them victory. Underestimating its enemy, as in the case of Predator, is what eventually gets it killed.

But that’s not the creature we see in the AvP films. The Predator shows little caution or tact, shows no respect for its enemies, runs into situations with minimal forethought or planning, but still comes out of every tumble with only the most trivial of wounds. Sound familiar? The Predator has been changed into one of the very invincible, hyper macho action heroes it was made to critique in the first place. It is as much a contradiction as To Kill a Mockingbird endorsing racism.

In the case of Predator, it was the fault of fans who got behind the camera. Fans who were too enamored with how cool their favorite monster was to understand what made the original film, and even its underrated sequel, so special. This lack of understanding took what could have been two great movies and turned them both into nothing more than shameless fan service, and it has honestly affected my enjoyment of it. When I was younger, I couldn’t decide which species I wanted to win in a fight due to my unending affection for both. Now, I always find myself rooting for the Alien, if only to see the Predator broken down back to what it was always meant to be.

If you get too close to something, you’ll drive it mad and strip away the very things that captured your imagination in the first place. You can drive other people away from it so it can’t be shared or worse still, bury it. My advice to all of you fans out there is don’t get too close. As Predator shows, the damage can be most severe.

Mythos Tweaking: Do’s and Don’t’s

Tweaking an established mythos is something of an inevitability when it comes to writing fiction, in particular works of fantasy and horror. As time wears on, so do sentiments and prejudices change, often manifesting themselves in fiction. But there are a few things we should be cautious of lest we go so far off the beaten path that the thing we write about is barely recognizable.

Vampires are one of literature’s most endearing legends, and they’ve gone through many iterations. A favorite of mine is the 1987 film Near Dark, about a clan of bloodsuckers in the modern day west. The word ‘vampire’ is interestingly never uttered once in the film, they don’t sprout fangs, change into bats, or carry themselves in the typical victorian era style. They simply drink blood, die by sunlight, and don’t age. The creators of Near Dark took an interesting approach and stripped away at the mythos, filling in their own ideas and making something uniquely there’s.

This approach has worked many times. In An American Werewolf In London, the vulnerability to silver bullets is discarded and even joked about by the characters. In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the villains don’t arrive by spaceships, instead drifting across the universe on their own. Sometimes less is more, and shaving away at a mythos can help you make it yours required you still keep its core elements.

In case you haven’t figured out by now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Twilight series, and it’s not because of friendly vampires and werewolves. As we become a more global civilization, we see that reflected in art where things we once feared, like vampires and werewolves, are seen as unique characters to be embraced rather than rebuked. If anything, this is one of the series’ more favorable traits.

Among my many issues with Twilight is its lack of focus when it came to portraying vampirism. By the final entry, the vampires are shown to have ‘special gifts’ ranging from telling the future, creating force fields, even controlling elements such as water and earth, things the series never elaborates in in enough detail to make it credible, in my view at least. It seems like Meyer caught an episode of Avatar The Last Airbender midway through the series and just decided to put it in.

By this point, the characters are barely recognizable as vampires, their most noteworthy attributes long since forgotten. Whereas Near Dark stripped the mythos down, Twilight built it too high until it collapsed under its own weight. In my view, Meyer went too far off the beaten path. Though her success should be celebrated, Meyer’s writing is not high on my favorites list.

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Sometimes changing a mythos can be as simple as changing a personality. The story that turned me onto the fantasy genre was DragonHeart, the tale of a dragonslayer partnering up with the very creature he’s hunting in hopes of overthrowing an evil king. I was fascinated at how dragons were portrayed in the film, not as greedy beasts collecting gold and feasting on young women, but as wise misunderstood recluses seeking their place in the world like so many of us do. They still fly, they still breath fire, and still fight knights with tooth and claw. Beneath it all however, they’re shown to be not unlike us.

Changing personality can do a lot. You can have stories of frightened werewolves on the run from poachers, evil oppressive elves and discriminated against orcs, alien explorers hiding on an unfriendly alien planet called Earth, but everything else abut them can remain the same. This type of mythos tweaking begins with recognition, and then allows you to know your myth on a more personal level.

Oh Johnny Depp, what happened to you since Nightmare on Elm Street? Adapting an existing source material from page to screen inevitably causes certain parts of its plot to be altered, but generally as long as the world remains consistent, IE in the Harry Potter films, the audience will accept the changes. If you change the mythos too much, you will leave your audience lost, much like the 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Its box office success notwithstanding, this film gets almost everything wrong. Alice isn’t a little girl but a grown woman, this is not her first time in Wonderland, and the world isn’t even called Wonderland, but Underland.

In the case of this film, the mythos has been changed so much that the source material is all but lost. Though Kubrick’s The Shining deviated heavily from the book, the Overlook Hotel was still called the Overlook Hotel. Draco from DragonHeart may be a wise arbiter instead of a fire breathing villain, but he’s still a dragon. The world in Alice in Wonderland is not Wonderland, by spirit or name. In spite of Alice in Wonderland’s box office intake, it is not a very well loved film, partially due to it deviating too far from the mythos its title promises.

Tweaking a mythos to make it your own is a thin tight rope to walk. The thing about an established mythos is they belong to all of us, so if you take it all away, there’s always going to be a sense of loss. The key is figuring out just how much to change for yourself, and how much you need to keep sharing. There’s never an answer that will satisfy everyone, but satisfying as many people as possible, the artist included, is the goal of us all.

All These Projects…

I’ve decided to hold off on my return to Never Heroes and the mythical land of Haiden until next month. This gives me some time to brainstorm and absorb ideas, but it’s also due to another thing.

I’ve got way too many projects in the till right now.

I recently did a quick re-write on the horror script Abyssus and have sent it out to two local friends and filmmakers who are interested in it.

The B movie horror/ comedy Attack of the Satanist Cannibal Nazi Sorority Girls is being worked on by me and a writing partner on a weekly basis.

As if that isn’t enough, the sleuth werewolf thriller City of Wolves (soon to be re-titled Manhunters) has become my project of choice for grinding away the hours.

On top of Never Heroes slowly restructuring itself, I’ve got many other stories and scripts slowly taking shape upstairs. Not only are there the three sequels to Never Heroes, I also have at least two feature scripts taking a definite form before my first keyboard waltz, though there may be as many as five.

That’s at least six projects that have been taking up my mental facilities, though it may be more like nine.

Nine.

Writing really is an exhausting endeavor.

What’s been difficult for me is the jump in genres. The three current scripts are very much close to each other, dealing with monsters and elements of horror, though one is more comedic than the other. Jumping from one genre to another is difficult, in particular ones that are in such contrast.

Abyssus, Manhunters and to a lesser extent Satanist Cannibal Nazis are horror based, while Never Heroes is fantasy. To change gears from something that is dark, brooding and frightening into something that’s colorful, exciting and adventurous is not as easy as flipping a light switch, and honestly I may not be free of their influence until they are written, allowing me to finish Never Heroes uninhibited.

I have at times spent hours writing one of the above scripts and then decided to jump back into Haiden, only to find I carried over some baggage from the last story. The material coming out is too dark, too edgy, and not what Never Heroes is supposed to be at all. Any ensuing effort had to be scrapped, making double the work and double the time.

To top it off, there’s much effort going into the search for the next film related position, and that has taken up a lot of time on a lot of telephones and email accounts.

Most writers give themselves grief for not writing enough. I’ve had that rare affliction of writing too much. To those who dream of it, trust me, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. An active imagination can be a real slave driver.

I’m dividing my energy between two at the moment, the horror/comedy and the werewolf script. Even that is a chore, but it’s doable.

Unlike six or nine.

I’ll probably go back to my writing spot tonight and hammer out more of Manhunters, hopefully bringing it closer to completion so I may be free of it for a time. Once that is done, the saga of Red and his cohorts will once again receive my undivided attention.