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The Last Leg

Still writing. ss150218

Still not posting.

Jordan and I have chatted several times and I guess we finished working out Part II yesterday, and I completed the outline today. We started outlining Part III tonight, and in a couple of months, we'll have the first finished draft of the entire story. And it will be completely terrible, but for the first time it will be complete. And with the whole picture in place... /then/ we will be able to revise.

So, how's this for an awkward segue?

I am terrible at describing the images I have in my head. I'm rambly, and verbose, and because I'm too scared to commit to any obvious tropes or genre elements, I vaguely describe the spectrum of an idea and insist on being noncommittal. "Tribal but civilized, you know? Not too wild, but not too tame." I feel sorry for Trish. "Just be riiiiight there with the perfect mix. Can you do that? Can you draw whatever's in my head and make sure it's something that's never been seen before? Great, thanks."

She somehow still delivers great stuff every time I send her a profile. I don't understand it. But to save her the trouble of interpreting my future rants about what kind of shoes an Outlander might wear and why, I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest. Today I downloaded a ton of images to create a photographic tour of the fashions in the world. Figured I'd save us both a thousand words and send a picture instead.

Found a lot of cool stuff. It was fun. My friend Mundo said it's clear I have some momentum going, and I do. I really do. I'm sleepy now.

Good night.

- db

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Lookin sketchy

Those were the three most productive hours I've had in weeks. Gmailed up a storm with Jordan fixing what was holding me up. So much goodness.

And look, a rough scene from Trish. This place looks pretty sketchy.

- db

BoomTown_AlleyMaybe

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Quiet progress

The outline's been sitting since the rewrite. I think I'll give it some more time. Let myself forget some of the changes before I continue on with it.  Second act of the second part is the tricky bit. The middle of the middle of the story. There's a lot going on there. Jordan and I have been talking the past couple of days about a big change to one of the leads, and Trish has done some thumbnails of the other lead. Artwork is exciting, and I want to show everyone right away, but I'm not sure how much more we should get before I release further previews.

I should write another process article as well. There just seems to be so little time by the time I'm finished working.

Just hang tight. Tangible updates are forthcoming.

- db

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Not enough time in the night

I've been working. I ended up writing both days this weekend after all. I've been sending emails and did heavy rewrites on the Part 2, Act 2 outline tonight. I just haven't socially meddled much. There's just not enough time in the night. Still at it,

db

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Cutting room

So much of the outline has been there the whole time, unchanged. All of the basic ideas are correct in terms of who goes where and what is revealed, but the rough scenes I initially wrote are remaining there, static, and I'm running out of breathing room. It's probably time once again to stop writing into the story and start streamlining everything. See where I can combine elements of separate scenes into a single idea that says it all. See where I can reduce a paragraph to a few lines of dialogue. I've thought about going after some of these issues as complete rewrites, ignoring the text I have already and just starting again from scratch, just to see how it comes out. I know what needs to be in there, but sometimes a blank page gives me so many new things to say, so many new ways to communicate an idea. It can be a little more difficult to add thoughts into the same paragraphs I've been seeing week after week. However, I have written in all the notes from the talk with Jordan the other day. It felt good to get those new details in there, and it was pretty easy. They all had their place. It really helped to round out the issues they went into.

Yeah, some of these issues are really good. The focus is there, and it all fits and flows nicely.

But some of them are just a mess.

Yet on we go.

We passed on the few notes we had about the last piece of concept art to Trish, and I sent her the profile for the next character.

I feel like everything we visualize should tell us something about the world or the characters. So there's a lot to consider when creating a human being out of thin air. Nothing should be arbitrary. It is possible I wrote too much. I usually do. The first four or five paragraphs of the email were just about the city this character lives in - the architecture, the fashion, the technology. Then I finally got to him, and where he fits into it.

I think I actually spent significantly less time on him than the area of the city he comes from.

Still, can't wait to see what she comes up with. She has yet to disappoint.

Look, here's the first thing she drew for us last March. This is what got me super excited, and got me to buckle down and actually start making this thing real.

HankHangman

Pretty sweet, huh?

Yeah.

Now, just a little housecleaning - I did some writing yesterday and didn't get around to updating you guys. Sorry about that. I'm not losing momentum, taking a week off just gave me a lot to do and I wasn't able to get to it all. As for tonight - I don't usually write on Fridays, but I'm not going to put in both days this weekend. Whether tomorrow or Sunday, I'm not sure right now. But broken car is broken, and I need to figure that out.

I'll let you know when I'm at it again. Stay spooky.

- db

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Back from the dead

Do you know how much gets done when you take a week off? A lot, actually.

Our probably artist Trish Kelley has nailed a character that I've been unable to envision for ten years. Jordan and I both love it and I can't wait to show you.

I haven't written in eleven days. I've done some things on my lunch breaks - the page breakdowns you saw and quick emailed notes I've sent myself and others here and there - but I haven't been in the outline in a week and a half.

Still, my wheels have been spinning. I couldn't help it. The Corps doesn't let me take time off.

Before Jordan came over on Saturday, I had a sudden burst of ideas that I wanted to make sure we dug into. Seems there is some wisdom to that idea of the poor man's editor after all. I sent myself a quick email with the handful of topics we were unfortunately unable to cover as I mentioned in the last post.

Because I was off for the week, I didn't give it much more thought... or I didn't think I had.

I told Jordan I was writing tonight and during my lunch break ended up sending him a lengthy email about new approaches to elements in most of the main character arcs and a few side characters too. Those ideas had been fermenting in the corners of my mind, and they'd grown into a thing that somehow brought the story together. Made it a little more tactile. Less a collection of scenes and more of a glimpse into a living world.

We regrouped via text and decided a few things were good, and a few needed more discussion. And now I'm going to write those decisions into the outline.

I'm trying something different tonight and going in with Last Long Rattle by the Insect Fable instead of the opening track on the There Will Be Blood soundtrack.

There were days that I listened to this song over and over for twenty minutes at a time. It definitely gives me the Spooky Corps heebies.

Okay. I'm going to write now.

- db

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Vacation's last leg

Weekend plans were a tad disobedient. Jordan and I didn't dig into it like we'd hoped, but we kicked a few of ideas around. Gave me something to work on over the next month until our next session. Also talked to an artist who may be committing to drawing the book and claiming a slice of ownership. She's done some concept work for us, and I really like what I'm seeing.

I kinda took more than a week off, because my last real update was over a week ago, but I kinda didn't because I still did some stuff between then and now. I'll be back to proper writing on Tuesday.

Until then,

- db

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Break Time

About a month ago I said that I thought I might finish what I'm working on a week ahead of my deadline, and that's exactly what happened last Thursday. I've been so productive since I launched the Facebook page and set a writing schedule that I found time to stop.

I decided to take the week off since Jordan is coming down this weekend, and we'll probably accomplish more with a few hours of conversation than I will with another week in a vacuum.

I'm excited, as always, to get back to it, but it is nice to be able to take a little time off without feeling guilty about it.

You may get another update from me sometime over the next week, but I don't think I'll be back at the keyboard until next Tuesday. So if nothing else, I'll see you then.

- db

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Restructuring

I had a revelation about the story a little over week ago. I’m thinking about restructuring the first draft of the outline for Part One, which was finished last September. Andy Schmidt from Comics Experience said something on the Make Comics podcast that must have gotten to me. He said not only could every issue be a chance to lose a reader, every page, and even every panel could be. I think he’s right in a broad sense, in that someone somewhere may get tired of a comic mid-read when they happen to be on a particular panel, but I certainly think every page is a chance to lose a reader on any comic book. They always have to want to flip to the next page.

I’m thinking about a publisher (heck, let’s say Image), and what they’ll expect to see when they pick up a book. The name is catchy – you gotta give it that. I think it’s an attention grabber. It sounds dark and it sounds fun, and I think people will want to look inside. Now I have to keep them for every page. For the right amount of money, it will look professional and match my vision. But what of the pace? I’d written the story as though I were under the assumption that everything will just work out. That I could simply make sixty issues. That I could create whatever long-lasting comic book series I wanted. I did not think then about how much it would take to make a single issue, let alone sixty of them.

But let’s be honest... I can’t pitch a sixty-book story to Image from out of nowhere and expect it to be picked up. I’m either going to have to do a one shot, or a short arc side story or historical piece, OR I could restructure the story so that the pitch for the first arc is awesome, and fairly self-contained, but with continued story potential. An arc that is actually about Spooky Corps, and not the slow-burn leading to their real introduction, which is how it’s written now. And I have to make sure that by the end of that story, it is impossible to not want it to continue so if it WERE to get picked up, it would keep selling. I think the restructuring idea I mentioned a week ago would do that for the story, but I’m not sure how much rearranging it’s going to take. It seems like it’s going to be hard...

But before I get to restructuring, I think about the other option... Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding was the presumed path if publishing didn’t pan out, but I’m starting to realize it may be unlikely that I’m going to be able to gather enough interest to run a successful campaign. Of course, I have begun to establish my online presence pretty early in the production process. I have at least a year before I start trying to move toward printing, if that’s the way it’s going to go. It’s hard to imagine in that time I will have neither learned anything nor progressed at all, and I should hope that the interest and support will continue to grow. I must keep that in mind, especially this early on. But I’ve been thinking about the story in terms of pages lately, and I’m beginning to see my production timeline (assuming my pitch doesn’t connect and I’ll be doing it on my own) more realistically.

I’m not sure to what degree I find this avenue appealing, but I do find it interesting and a little exciting to have my first real obstacle or challenge in the process. What I’ve come to is this: I may have to release the pages online as they’re completed in order for the story gather the interest it needs to have a successful campaign. And even if I try a crowdfunding campaign and it fails, maybe an online release is the most realistic way for me to get this story out there.

So now my conundrum: if that ends up being the case and I’m not going to get the story picked up - if I’m releasing it myself, either with the crowdfunded financial backing or out of my own pocket, and I can do whatever I want with the story because I’m making it, and I’m paying for it - do I really want it to be restructured? Is the way I have it now actually the best way to tell the story, and the best way to tell the story is what will keep it from being picked up? Or is there only one best way, and finding the way that gives it the greatest chance to get it published will be a benefit the story no matter how it ends up being released?  Without knowing, is it worth my time to fiddle with it, possibly modifying the story past the point of no return?

Well....

I do know the story isn’t done. It won’t be done until I write Part Three, and do another full pass-over knowing all we’ll know when the entire outline is completed. Si I might as well keep tumbling it. Get it nice and polished. See what else might work; see what might work better.

Hm… I’m going to go ahead and say very few great works were created after an artist said, “Might as well.”

Let’s do this.

There we go.

- db

 

edit: Well... that was easy. I sat down for twenty minutes and I think I finished. Now that I have a better feel for pages, I was able to turn what had been the first ten issues into the first five issues. It turns out, that accomplished everything I wanted to do, and I only had to rearrange two paragraphs. When I did this to part two, I got rid of four issue numbers. So we're certainly not at sixty anymore for the whole story, but relevant to this post, that first arc is now more solid, more streamlined, and feels more complete. Feels good, man.

My “how is this thing going to get made” conundrum has vanished. I don’t feel like anything’s out the window. THIS is the way to tell the story. And maybe it won’t get picked up. And maybe I will do a side arc, or a one-shot. And maybe those won’t be picked up either, and maybe I will release it online for free, slowly cultivating a following until I’m able to campaign to collect the issues in print.. I don’t know, and that’s a ways off, and I’m not worried about it now.

Right now, I’m digging the story. It excites me.

It is my favorite thing.

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The way the story is told

For the record - I did work on Sunday. I wrote out a simple outline of Part One based on the eighteen-page version, mostly turning each paragraph into a sentence so I can easily restructure while keeping an idea of how it all flows together. I didn't post my usual update because my son woke up an hour and a half into writing and I was never able to get back to it. Since then, I've been trying to get this website to work. It only kind of works right now, but I guess I can say we're up and running. You type the thing into the thing, and you get here so... yes. Working.

That said, I said that I wanted to make this website more of a production blog than the social media platform (by which I mean Facebook because how do you twitter) allows, and since I'm deep into laying the foundation of and structuring the narrative, I thought I'd use my first SpookyCorps.com post to talk a little bit about how I've approached writing this story.

One rainy morning when I was eighteen years old, I woke up, got out of bed, walked to the computer and started writing a story that was in my head. I hadn't dreamed it, I just knew it. A guy was going to come face to face with woman who had broken into his apartment. She would turn out to be a vampire. It would be gritty and moody, and not flashy at all. I got to the end, did one quick review, and called it written. The last time I read it I thought it was pretty okay for something that just came to me.

But I don't know the last time I read it. It's probably terrible. An eighteen year-old's vampire story? No. You gotta be kiddin' me.That anecdote has nothing to do with the way I approach constructing a narrative.

C'mon.

And yes, I know what you're thinking. "But Daniel, you're the one who told us that anecdote right after you said you were going to talk about how you write your stupid stories!"

Well I've got one question for you. How long are you going to keep throwing that in my face? Huh?

I guess that was two questions.

Okay folks, calm down. Let's get serious. I'm a very important man. I write things. But HOW?

Structure

This post is actually going to explain how I've written not only Spooky Corps, but  just about every story I've written, excluding the angsty vampire short story from my teen years.

It's all about structure. Story structure is like a machine, or a math problem, or a piece of music. It's a system of rules that, if followed, creates a product of the method, and that product is a narrative. It might not be interesting. It might not be moving or exciting or thought-provoking, but it will be a story that does what it's supposed to do.

First thing about structure: this is obvious, and we've all heard it before, but you have to have a beginning, middle, and end. Right? Boom boom boom. So first you have to have an idea to begin with: Let's say our brilliant idea for a story is that a guy named Guy wants a Thing. This is compelling stuff. Next, we'll need a middle - this is where our protagonist strives to achieve his goals and runs into conflict. Let's say there's a guy named Other Guy, and he has the Thing that Guy wants. Then you need to resolve that conflict one way or another - win or lose - in your ending. Let's make this ending a happy one and say that Guy gets the Thing from the Other Guy. Yippee.

Kinda boring, but it's a story. As it is here, this is a story we could tell in a three panel comic strip. So assuming we want to write a comic book (or a movie, or a novel, or an episode of television, or a ballad) what's it take to flesh this idea out and make a more involved story?

I'll tell you what it's going to take - a beginning that has a beginning, middle, and end, a middle with a beginning, middle, and end, and an ending with a beginning, middle, and end.

Wow, that sentence is the worst eyesore on the Internet, I'm sure of it. But... Please don't offer challenges to that claim.

As you can see, story structure is like a fractal. You can keep looking smaller and smaller, but the shape is always the same. So, let's revamp the rough sketch and make an outline. We need nine little chunks of three part stories that build together to make a whole which is true to our original idea. Let's see...

- Beginning! The Guy loses his house; The Thing can provide a new house; Now the Guy wants the Thing. - Middle! The Other Guy is a jerk; Other Guy was also responsible for Guy losing his house!; Other Guy stole the Thing. - END!!  Guy finds out Other Guy is reaaal jerk. Guy launches plan to ensnare Other Guy. Plan works, Guy gets the Thing.

Yes, that sounds like a story. I decided the Other Guy is a bad guy, because stories with good guys against bad guys are selling well these days. So he not only has the Thing that Guy wants, he stole the thing. But even with this incredible depth, why does it feel just like the generic template that every other one-star story follows? Why does it have no pizazz?

Characters

Well, it turns out it helps if you're characters are more detailed than "Guy, who is a good guy" and "Other Guy, who is a bad guy." Here's another obvious piece of advice: People like to relate to stories. They like to see humans doing and reacting to things, and they like to think "I am like that," or "I aspire to be like that," or "I'm glad that's not me," because that's what we do with real people and real stories.

So who is this guy? What makes him who he is? What does he spend his time doing? It doesn't have to be a job, but let's just use that for the sake of simplicity. Does he haul trash? Sit on the senate? Yeah, sure, let's go with that. His "house" is his seat in politics. Alright. That's this guy.

Now, do you know what characters need besides job duties? Personal desires.

Not just one desire - we already know from the fact that this is a story that the character will desire something. He's not going to walk around all apathetic just getting pushed around by the wind (unless you're writing your first mumblecore movie, in which case you're probably on the right track). But it can add depth to the character if we realize over the course of the story that he has a subconscious desire as well.

So if his conscious desire in this story is the Thing, which we'll say is the votes he needs to keep his seat- his subconscious desire might be to get out of the game and spend his later years with his family.

The fact that his conscious and subconscious desires oppose each other could be its own source of conflict in the story, allowing us to see the character presented with choices and allow his decisions to reveal things about himself - perhaps even to himself - as well as move the plot forward.

Now we have a character. Let's name him Gary. You can think about these things with Other Guy

Subplot

So we've got a structured plot, a character with a self identity and desires. Now what? Ah heck, let's go all out and add another layer. Since I want this to be a longer story, I'm going to add a subplot - another story thread that we spend less time with, but which gives a greater meaning to the events or the main characters. I'm of the personally belief that practically everything which does not directly serve the main idea is at least a minor subplot, in that whatever is presented in the story -  whether it's the whole piece, a theme, an act or sequence of scenes, a minor character who appears several times, or even a bit of dialogue - can and usually should have its own beginning, middle, and end. Fractals, I say!

But let's just focus on one major subplot for now. Hopefully we can use this to explore an idea or interest that's been knocking around our heads for a while. Let's start searching. Who does Gary know?  We established with his subconscious desire that he has a family which is... well, at least subconsciously important to him. How can we make it interesting? Does he have an estranged family member? Or how about a son who's slowly dying in the hospital? Sure, heck, let's mix the two. A dying, estranged son with an ugly prognosis. That sounds like a... you know... promising dramatic element.

Now we've got  a plot, a breathing character to live it, and additional forces at work to keep things interesting. With all this in mind, let's try that outline again. But do be aware that all of these elements are going to change the pacing of the three act structure I wrote up there, and that's okay! This is when the story starts to become a puzzle. Everything has a place, we know that, we just need to adjust each bit until it's in the right shape. The needs of the story are now going to drive our decisions more than our decisions are going to drive the story.

Rough Outline

So let's get to puzzlin'. In our beginning, Gary is being challenged in an election for the first time. Let's say it's not that he's lost his seat already, it's that he has always run uncontested and has the potential to lose it now. He won his seat previously running on a platform of bringing transparency to politics and has not let the people down, but he hasn't delivered terribly strongly on that either. It's a thick web, politics, and it's tough to get very far if you won't scratch a back or two. Now, a hint of conflict - the Other Guy who we'll start calling... Oscar... has appeared and poses a strong threat. It's not looking good for Gary at the outset. Also, remember that his estranged son is meanwhile wasting away in a hospital somewhere. In order to keep his seat, Gary continues to neglect his son and gets busy campaigning.

There is a hint of darkness and conflict at the top of this act, but Gary now has a mission and is off on his adventure. In a way, act one ends on an up note because here is potential for great reward. Now let's ruin all of that potential over the course of the next act so we end up on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.

In our middle, we need to see the goals and conflicts, the challenges Gary faces and the failure or success that results. We know that Oscar's a bad guy, right? And we decided he steals the votes. So we see that the Oscar has been working with a financier who has paid some people off to get the election won. If Gary could get the votes that we see will be stolen, he would still have his seat. This rearranges things a bit, but stays true to our original idea that our antagonist is the reason Gary lost his "house." And because we decided that Oscar is a jerk in our nine-beat outline, we'll say he's mean to the financier's assistant in some way. That's a way we can show this character quality without having someone come out and say, "You're a jerk, Oscar." And let's not forget the subplot! It needs a middle too. Gary goes to see his son in the hospital and they say everything they want to say. It does not end well. Maybe even now, the father is unable to forgive the son, or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe Gary is called away to work for an important campaign matter before they can resolve their issues. There's that conscious vs. subconscious desire conflict I was talking about. Either way, it is not a pretty conversation.

I think that effectively puts us on the opposite side of where act one left us. Now let's bring it all home with the happy ending we planned.

In the end, the Oscar's financier's angry assistant to whom he was not kind switches sides and tells Gary what's going on, giving him a crucial piece of information. Meanwhile, Gary's son, apparently unhappy with his father, contacts the Oscar saying he wants to endorse him and lay out the dirt about his dad. He convinces Oscar it will be valuable publicity as the election approaches. Oscar shows up on a live feed for a news network, and Gary's son releases the crucial information on the air which proves the election is being rigged. The bad guy is caught. Gary has seen his son out of the audience's sight and they've hatched this plan together, exposed a corrupt politician, and brought to light the fraudulent activity in politics in a high profile way. Gary is offered his seat back without contest, but declines, deciding to retire. Though the fight goes on, he has fought his part in the war and he has won, and now he can spend time with his son.

If we want to get extra sappy, we could say Oscar was coming in to submit a bill that would increase Gary's son's difficulty in getting adequate medical care, and now Tiny Tim is going to live!

We could. I mean, Dickens did it, right? ... or was that just in the Muppets version?

Either way, look! I just wrote a little story.

Where do we go from here?

Next, I would start asking myself a lot of questions. Does anything seem too convenient? You bet it does! How is Gary's son able to convince Oscar he should show up at a hospital on a live national television feed? The young man would have to have some serious connections, or a particular wit, or a bit of information that would convince Oscar of such a thing. So guess what? I'm going to start thinking about the son's character, who he is, what he does, his desires. And I'll do it with the financier too, and the assistant. As I explore these people, I'll have bad ideas that have no place and a few ideas that fit perfectly! Sometimes, the original idea will slowly morph over time. Gary might end up being a local business owner, Oscar might be a corporate CEO, the Thing might be an upcoming change in the local zoning or licensing laws, and the thievery might be paid-off government zoning officials. As you can imagine, these might end up being very different stories, with different scopes and characters and messages.

But through all this, the structure, or at least its principals, remain the same.

And that's the jist of it. I start with an outline like this and just keep writing details, and changing things that make more sense, or feel better, or say something that I want to say. Eventually, I've got so many details written in that it only makes sense to stop writing in outline form and just start writing what is actually seen and said and revealed, in the format of whatever medium I'm writing for.

Like I said before, this is probably how anybody writes stories. I hope this post hasn't been entirely banal and you found something helpful, interesting, or amusing somewhere along the way.

I intend to continue on with these little articles until I've caught up to my current stage of production and then continue the blog from there as a more in-depth way of updating you on my progress with Spooky Corps, as well as provide some educational behind-the-scenes, or... in-my-head stuff. And maybe in articulating my method, I'll learn something myself. They say you should teach to learn, so there you go.

Thanks for reading. If you want to stay updated, it is entirely possible there is a way to subscribe to this blog. I don't know anything about that, so I'll tell you to subscribe to the Spooky Corps project's Facebook page instead. I'll be back to work on Spooky Corps on Thursday. I'm really excited to dig back into Part One, bringing it up to the scope of the whole story, now that it's fuller. The ideas are already there, and my fingers are itching.

Until then,

- db

 

dictated, typed, not read. It's far too late for proofreading.

[I have since proofread and probably missed several glaring mistakes. -ed.]

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SpookyCorps.com update

Yep... pretty sure Part Two is as figured as it's gonna get. Writing definitely needs to be done on the back four issues or so, but I don't think there's any more fixing to be done on the story. Last time I wrote, I cleaned up the structure of the first act. I've been thinking about the second and third acts, and today I cleaned those up too. I'm left with only sixteen issues instead of twenty. Same amount of story, but restructured to spread over four fewer issues. It's lookin' good. I feel like I can relax a little. Take the next couple of weeks a little easier.

I think now it's safe to go back to Part One and take a look at that idea I had for similarly restructuring. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened there - fewer, cleaned up, streamlined issues.

I also wouldn't be surprised if, knowing everything I know now, taking another pass at Part One as a whole gives me what I need to fill out those back issues of Part Two with richer material.

Wouldn't be surprised at all.

In other news, if any of you had visited SpookyCorps.com - and I don't know why you would - about a week ago, the full version of this page's cover photo was displayed. Right now, nothing is displayed. I'm sorting out some hosting issues, but soon I'll be posting on the website. I'd like to get a little more in-depth about my process and the things I'm learning as I go. I'd like it to be more of a production journal than what I've used this page for.

But fear not! I'll continue to update and provide content via the Facebook page. I didn't hound all of you down and force you to like Spooky Corps for nothing!

Thanks for staying around, and special thanks to those of you liking and sharing. Growing a little every day!

Until tomorrow,

- db

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Art by Mehoné Sleshi

I was planning on taking tonight to clean up a bunch of the early concept art from the first ever contributors, Joey Ezra and Nick Lepley. I found my Wacom tablet but can't find the darned stylus. I looked everywhere I can think to look, and the most reasonable thing I can think is that the gods of creativity don't want me to doodle tonight. They want me to write, so they've hidden it from me. Man, I reaaaally want to show you guys some of the more recent stuff... but I think that'd be rolling out too much too soon. You don't want it all now, with little over the next six months but my usual "wrote a page and it was easy" / "wrote a page and it was harrrd" updates, do you?

Hm... let's compromise.

Here's a couple of concepts for Donnie Demonic from a couple of years ago done by Mehoné Sleshi. Enjoy.

And now, back to the drawing-- er... writing board.

- db

ss150107

ss150107-1

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Two steps forward, one step back

If you're wondering, I didn't do a page. I did write, but I ended up taking out an issue's worth of outline, so I only came up half a page longer than I started. Still, I suppose a cut that needs to be made can make a story better as much as a paragraph that needed to be written. I'm starting to feel like there isn't much more to write. Action increases toward the end and it seems I just haven't got as much to say. Could be a bad night. Could be I need to adjust the structure of the last six or seven issues before it will really start flowing from my fingertips.

Still ahead on the deadline, but that page-a-day pace sure felt good. But hey, progress is progress.

- db

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That is not all

I had a huge idea for restructuring Part One to make it work better for the overall story and, wouldn't you know it, better for the first part as a somewhat self-contained narrative. And this was expected to occur in the writing of the second part, of course. I'm excited to work that out - I think it will all fall into place pretty easily [the fool, the fool]. But... I've heard for a long time that you should just get a horrible finished first draft of the whole story out there before you make any revisions. If you realize in chapter seventeen that the mechanic needs to have a sister, you go back to your early chapters and write in the margin "add sister". And you keep moving forward until you're done.

Right now, it's taking a lot of effort to ignore my great new approach to Part One and just keep steamin' ahead, but I've never done it before. I've always succumbed to revising one part a dozen times instead of writing a dozen new parts.

Not this time. I'm getting another page in tonight. Headphones are in. There Will Be Blood soundtrack is starting. I'll be back.

... but not right back.

- db

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Take two

My wife says she didn't get the message I sent the other night, which I think means I didn't get a message out to a group of about twelve of you. I don't want to send the message again if you already got it... but I don't want to not send it if you haven't... But for those of you who did get it - post reach has already doubled in the past three days. The system works. Thanks for all the support!

As for the possibly unsent message... I'll just err on the side of saying thank you TOO much. And being annoying too much. Check your inboxes, discard as necessary.

Also, I wrote another page today in two hours this time. Another day, another page. No big deal.

- db

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Sunlight good

Day writing is much more productive. I put in another page in two and a half hours. A real page of new stuff. I rearranged a little and actually took out a few big paragraphs and still made it. Still on track, still ahead of schedule. Boom. Guess I'm getting off early.

- db

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Does not start with a bang

I'm not doing so great at not working late. I put the two plots back together and I'm still trying to figure out how to reconcile the different paces. Breaking up this paragraph into two, adding details to that one and a few others. Sometimes it's really hard, putting one word in front of another. Feels like I'm just explaining to myself things that I already know.

But I'm up to eight pages now. Still on deadline. And I'll be back at it tomorrow. Daytime. With coffee.

'till then,

- db

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New Year

Not working on the story tonight. I don't think I'm going to get to all of you while it's still the first of the year, but I'm writing my friends who are also followers with my thanks and thoughts about 2015. Just wanted to put this up before midnight.

Sorry if I miss anyone!

- db

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