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Posts Tagged ‘webcomics’

Wow, it’s been two months since I last posted.  I wish I could blame it on being sick twice in as many months, or the holidays, or the craziness of our lives… and I could.  But the real blame lies squarely on my unwillingness to make a post for those two months.

I’m a creative person, as you may have guessed.  I’m also a Cancer.  This means that I’m exceptionally sensitive about things.  And the fact is that my stats for this blog are dismal at best.  So for the past several months I’ve been suffering from a case of “Why bother?”.  Childish?  Perhaps.  Unprofessional?  You bet.  But it’s my personality, and it’s not something that I can change easily, if at all.

In any case, I’m here to try to get back on track, because books don’t sell themselves.  Nor do they write themselves, and that’s one thing that I can assure you of – I have been writing over the course of the past two months.  Blood of the Father is still chugging along at my normal slower-than-it-should-be pace.  But I was also (and still am) juggling multiple projects for my webcomic, including a print book that I will post about here at a later date.

So, I’m over the “Why bother?” phase and back into the “Let’s do this!” phase.  It is 2016 after all, and I promised myself that I would be pushing me harder this year than I have been.

Onward!

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I’ve been very quiet on the writing blog front because I’ve been focusing all of my energy in a different, yet not altogether unrelated, project.  I recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign a preorder for the second print collection of my webcomic Bardsworth.  The campaign will also help fund the printing costs of the book.  Take a look at my intro video for details:

If you didn’t watch the video, basically you contribute any amount of money and you’ll get some kind of perk for doing so, but if you want the book you’ll have to contribute at the $30 level.  Please take a look at the IndieGoGo page for full details, though.  And if it’s not something you’re interested, please spread the word in case someone you know might be.

Thanks!

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patreon-headerWhile this technically doesn’t have much to do with writing, it sort of does in that it involves my webcomic, for which I write as well as draw.  I recently added my webcomic, Bardsworth, on Patreon and would like to spread the word.  For those of you who don’t know what Patreon is, the simple answer is that it’s a way for creative entrepreneurial folks like myself to make money.  It’s taking the ages-old system of being a patron of the arts and modernizing it by allowing people like you to pledge a certain amount of money towards the art per month.

I’ve been doing my webcomic for over nine years now and I have a lot of loyal fans.  I was hoping that by providing a way for people to show support I could, in time, make it my full-time job.  That’s a long ways away, though.

If you’ve never read Bardsworth, start at the beginning and work your way forward (don’t let the terrible artwork at the beginning fool you; I get much better).  If you like it, think about support it with a few bucks a month.  Or you could pass the information along to someone who might like it.

At the very least, check out some of the other projects on Patreon and consider supporting other creative folks.

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I thought it might be fun to let you guys in on the writing process I use for Bardsworth, my webcomic. I typically talk about writing in the sense of traditional fiction writing, but they way I write for a four-panel comic strip is a bit different than how I write my books. My webcomic is long form, though, which means that it follows a continuous story. So in that respect, it’s like a novel, and because of that, some of the techniques I use can be employed in traditional writing.

I guess the easiest way to do this is to break it down into steps.

1.) Daydreaming. The way my webcomic works is that there is an overall plot, and within that plot are individual storylines that may or may not link with the plot (if they don’t, they typically have some link to character development). Most of my storylines start off with a question or a premise. “What if someone found a doorway to another world in the back of their closet?” “What happened to this character to make him like that?” “Let’s see what happens if I team these two characters up together.” Once I have that initial core idea, I let it float around in my head for a while to build up smaller ideas around it.

2.) Planning. This is sort of an optional step for me. Sometimes I can roll with an idea and just start writing. Other times, like recently, I have to sit and list out all the possible directions that the story can take. Some I’ll use, some I’ll toss – it’s just a general brainstorming session.

3.) Writing. The meat of the process, which I’ll break up into sub-steps. When I first started Bardsworth, I would try to write within the context of the four panels. What I got from doing that was stilted, oftentimes forced, dialogue and jokes. Years later, I started using a combination of free writing and heavy-handed editing, and that’s what I do today.

a.) Free writing.  I’ll write as if I’m writing a movie or TV script, and I won’t worry about panel constrictions. If a conversation takes a long time, so be it. If jokes take longer set-up time, so be it. I don’t worry about it at that point, I just write.  Whatever I think of goes on the page.

b.) Editing.  When I’ve got a good chunk of the story written (or better yet, the whole thing), I go back and start breaking it up into smaller pieces that work within four panels. This often means I have to hack dialogue, remove actions, and add bits and pieces to make things work. If things still aren’t perfect, I don’t sweat it just yet. There’s still time to tweak things before the strip goes live.

4.) Sketching. I work digitally, but before I do anything on my computer, I do a rough draft with pencil and paper. This gives me an opportunity to see the story visually played out. It helps show whether or not the dialogue meshes with drawing, and if not, I can tweak one or the other.

5.) Drawing. This is the last chance I have to change dialogue. I’d say maybe ninety percent of the time I don’t have to change anything (except maybe a word or two). The other ten percent of the time is usually because the writing wasn’t polished enough following step 3. Very rarely have I ever had to publish a strip with dialogue that I wasn’t happy with. Most of the time I can rescue it at the last minute. But the bottom line is that the writing process doesn’t end when I pick up the pen (or stylus).

I think that it’s important that I shared this because many people think that doing a comic is drawing pretty pictures or scribbling funny gags. And sometimes it is. But for a comic like mine, and for many people I know, it’s mired deep in the writing process. The art, though important enough in its own right, is secondary.

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I don’t like that my last post was made in August.  I don’t want you folks forgetting about me.  But here’s why I haven’t posted in a while…

Some of you know that besides my fiction writing, I also write and draw a webcomic called Bardsworth.  In 2008 I released the first printed collection of strips, and that was my first foray into self-publishing.  Since then I’ve been trying desperately to get the second book released, but because of a list of obstacles it’s been in development hell… or whatever the writer’s equivalent of development hell is.

kickstarter1So, in order to expedite the wrapping up of the book’s production and to fund a print run of it, I launched  a Kickstarter campaign.  You can read all of the details about the book’s production and my goals over at the project page.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a platform for creative types and/or entrepreneurs to crowd fund money for a particular project.  I first became aware of Kickstarter years ago when other webcomic artists started using it to fund print collections of their comics.  It’s taken me a long time to get around to doing my own, but here I am.

If you’re interested, please check out not only the project, but my webcomic.  If you think it’s something that should be funded, I hope you’ll consider being a backer.  If you don’t want to or if you can’t, please share the information with others.  The more eyes I have on the project, the better of a chance it has to be successful.

What about my fiction writing?  It’s taken a back seat at the moment, but I haven’t been sitting on my laurels.  I will have news and updates on that soon.  Maybe a post or two about writing in general.  Things have just been rather crazy, as you might imagine.  For now, back to craziness.

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I figured it was time for an update on my projects. Firstly, I am finishing up a final round of edits/polishing for Angel in the Shadows. It needed it; some of the dialogue needed to be ironed out, and I had to pepper it with some more pulp noir slang to give it the right flavor. I’m hoping it’ll be done by early next week, and then Katie will give it one last look-over for typos. Then – on to the Bestsellers list!

Seriously, though, I want to take a moment to say that this is a story that I’m exceptionally proud of it. This final chapter of the Rick Walker stories has more meat on it than just a mystery plot. I have themes of haunting memories from the past, redemption, and good vs. evil all wrapped up in one novella. Plus it’s got fun banter and characters. And, sure, what I hope is a plot that everyone likes. So I’m super excited to get this out into the world.

Once I finish the novella completely, I have to do up the cover art. Then I have to reformat all three stories in Mystery, Murder, and Magic so that I can do an omnibus collection in both digital and hard copy, complete with brand new (and different) cover art.

Beyond that, I had to think about it for a while, but I decided to leave Rick Walker alone, as well to step away from The Godblood Chronicles (which really hasn’t done too well in sales) and to focus on writing a Bardsworth novel. For those of you who don’t know, Bardsworth is my webcomic that I’ve been writing and drawing since 2005. I’ve always wanted to do a novelization of it because there are things that never made it into the comic and things that I wish I hadn’t put into the comic. Basically, it’s to my webcomic what Marvel’s “Ultimate” line is to it’s regular line – essentially the same spirit, but a slightly different story.

So I have a lot coming down the pipeline and I hope I can get some of you as excited about it all as I am!

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