Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Movember Missive + A Great Comic/Art Deal

Hi all,

A quick line about Movember – a global movement aimed at promoting awareness about men’s health issues, the reason why I’ve spent this month growing a mo, and a great opportunity for you to buy a comic and get an exclusive art print by Riley Rossmo for a good cause.

I believe in Movember because men’s health issues are an insidious seething mess. Depression, suicide, an inability to even go to the doc to get your prostate checked out. It’s rampant bullshit, housed in the septic tank of toxic masculinity, and I’m sick of the stench. I don’t want to be caught up in it, and I don’t want it wafting around for future generations.

The beauty of Movember is that it’s a visible cause – you see a mo this month, odds are it’s in support and solidarity of this great cause. We’re raising money for BeyondBlue, and other places, but we’re mostly just raising awareness.

Movember is personal to me – and let’s face it, there are thousands of good charities and causes to support, but we can’t do it all, so why this one? My father was a victim of the silent killer amongst men, and not a day goes by I don’t think about it in some respect, and it’s been 30 years. I wish Movember had existed back then, I wish men allowed themselves to talk more freely about their feelings back then.


I grow the mo for my dad, and also for my kids.

If you want more information about Movember, you can check the site via my mospace right here!

Or, maybe you want some sweet comics in support of a grand cause?

Right now, you can buy ETERNAL, my ogn with Eric Zawadzki and Dee Cunniffe from Black Mask Studios, on ownaindi.com and an exclusive Movember Viking print with art by superstar Riley Rossmo for just $30, with a portion of proceeds going to the Movember Foundation.

YES PLEASE, GIMME THAT MOUSTACHE SHIELDMAIDEN AND BEAUTIFUL BOOK DEAL!


And if you buy anything else from me at any stage for the rest of Movember, I’ll be sharing money with Movember from all sales – so help yourself to some script downloads, or the BEAUTIFUL CANVAS issues, all for a good cause!

But, if you just want to spread the word about this great cause, maybe talk to the men in your life and see what’s up, then I’d be just as appreciative. I’m growing a mo to save a bro, and we should all let our love show.

Advertisements

The RKL TOP 10 WRITING RULES-ish

I’m getting the feeling people don’t like Writing Rules, they don’t want a rigid structure of how it works to get worlds out of your brain, and they certainly didn’t warm to those laid down by Jonathan Franzen, but I’ll admit, I find them fascinating. A word I choose carefully.

I want to know what the masters think we should hold in our highest esteem, I want to know it from my peers, and nascent writers, and plenty of others. I want to look into everyone’s head and see what roads they follow. I won’t necessarily follow those rules, or even care about them, but the process of having them to read absolutely fascinates me. It’ll tell me more about the person’s mindset and style than it will about any universal truth of writing.

I dig books about writing, I dig blogs and podcasts and tweets about writing. I use them like I’m building up a pantry, but when I write I’m just cooking. I might have everything stockpiled, but I’ll only take out what I need for a specific recipe when the time comes. You dig?

But, in the spirit, I wanted to attempt to carve out my own ten tips, just suggestions, just from me, and then I could see what I thought rose to the top, so here goes:

The RKL Top 10 Writing Rules Tips

1 – Your story must be about stuff. And that stuff isn’t just a list of the things that happen, it’s why those things will matter to the reader, the truths beneath it all, the theme. Your writing will be amateur until you have something of meaning to say.

2 – Write so 1000 people will absolutely love you, not so 100,000 will think you’re kinda alright.

3 – Write about whatever gets you excited to sit down and write.

4 – Set small writing goals. 500 words/2 script pages a day. Then blast through them, sometimes.

5 – Have only one tab open while you’re writing.

6 – Think on paper.

7 – Are all your default lead characters straight white dudes? Why?

8 – Write whatever you want. Any genre, any length, any format. You might not find a paying home for it, but you’ll be true to yourself.

9 – Be inspired by your heroes, but don’t ape them. Let them fuel you with the courage to be yourself.

10 – Recharge your brain so it has more to write about. Read comics, watch movies, study the world, live life.

——-

These points are very clearly by me, for me, and just for me. If you find them interesting, I’m glad. If they help you sharpen your own Top 10, fantastic. If your 10 are the polar opposite of mine, fill your boots, I bet we can still be mates.

I write about stuff like this all the time in my newsletter, statistically, there’s a chance one of you will like it, so here’s the link – tinyletter.com/ryanklindsay

Thinking About Comics [writing, listening, reading, oh my]

I think the main reason I love the internet is because it gave me more spaces and places to think.

I loved the public and school libraries as a kid, I’d wander in, find stuff to touch, touch it all, and then settle on some of the touched to take home. I could buy some books, and secondhand book stores are my constant must see attraction in all new and foreign towns, but I could never buy enough. But I could always borrow things.

I sampled a bunch of new authors because of the freedom of libraries. I looked through all kinds of non-fic reference material because it was there to browse. I like to fill my brain with things, and sometimes I even re-use those things later.

Then came the internet – and I could find so so many things.

 

I set up my Google Reader [rip to this blessed resource] to collect a multitude of sites and blogs and slap them into a readable scroll. I filled my eyes with ideas and hypotheses and I tried to make sense of it all. Free script downloadable pdfs flowed freely, and op-eds about writing swirled into my brain, and in-depth analyses about my favourite works and creators of fiction were caught in my net. It was amazing, I won’t lie.

You can learn a lot by reading something that isn’t something already on your shelves. So the internet became a place where I could comb, for free, through things.

Now, curating this since social media’s empire rose and fell has become a skill, but it’s an important one because there’s good stuff out there, and if you want it you can most definitely find it.

Or you can make it yourself.

I launched a Patreon to fund me making comic book study guides and the campaign is going amazing. I’ve sent out pdf guides for people looking to study all kinds of comics from GHOSTS by Raina Talgemeier to BATMAN: YEAR ONE by David Mazzucchelli and Frank Miller. I’ve also got podcasts on there where I unpack parts of a study guide, or where I just chat about a great comic I’ve read before. It’s fun, and it’s my way of providing a little something extra to the internet for people to dig.

You can head across to support and get all the old study guides, and be ready for the new one:

The comic list above is the Good Stuff, and I’ll also be talking about it in a podcast on there very very soon.

I want a future where people discuss comics, and think about theme, and enjoy their fiction on a deeper level. I hope it helps in any way.

I got Rust in my Process

Wait, bad translation – trust in the process.

Dan Hill has been saying this to me for years. And he’s been right every time. Chuck Wendig just now, at that link above, chimed in. The writing process is a hell of a thing, and it feels designed to break you, for some unknown reason. Every time you stumble, falter, it feels like the first time.

I think writing is like love. In hindsight you see the good, you see the bad, you see it all and you don’t die for every part of it. But in the moment, oh man, I’m a mess. I catastrophise, I glorify, I obfuscate [even from myself], and I have no clue. I’m lost, like it’s my first time, and I can’t get a clear view. And I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

I’m constantly hitting a wall in my stories where I’m absolutely certain I’ve borked it. Sometimes it comes early, sometimes late. Right now I’m breaking a story with an artist, and I’ve already gone through this phase. Right now I’m also writing a script for a #6 issue and I have the same feeling. It’s ridiculous, but it’s only because I want the best story possible.

I say this a lot, but a story can work, the acts can all be in the right place, and the story clicks – but that doesn’t mean it’s worth a damn. A character wanting something, being unable to get it, and then overcoming something to get it is a story, but it won’t always be a good one. So I dig deeper, I try to better understand all the elements, and the more I discover, the less I know what to do with it all.

But it always seems to come together in the end. I remember NEGATIVE SPACE #1 had, I think, nearly a dozen drafts, which takes me to a direct quote from Wendig:

“The first draft — and in particular the first 5-10k of that first draft — is just me chopping vegetables. It’s prep. It’s learning the recipe. It’s dumping out the puzzle pieces. It’s wandering through a new house in the dark, learning its layout, its topography, and how not to break my pinky toe on the fucking coffee table.”

Those first issues are where all the hard work is done, it’s all set up, and from memory NEGATIVE SPACE #4 only had like 3-4 drafts, because by then you’ve got the story and tone and voice and other conventions sorted. Then you just make the magic happen.

So when I’m breaking a story, I just have to give myself permission to go wandering in it. I’m discovering the landscape, slowly mapping it out, and to respect what I find I’m going to need to take my time.

——-

You can find content like this, sometimes, on my weekly newsletter: tinyletter.com/ryanklindsay

I’m also making comic book study guides on Patreon!

What’d You Write As A Kid?

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

My house was awash in words, we read voraciously, we wrote as exploration. Before the age of ten, I declared I would grow up to be a writer [and a teacher]. And here I stand, both.

I teach kids now who I can easily see being writers when they grow up, they’re good with words, they like to express ideas and thoughts, and I know some of them will get there. I see my job as an opportunity to guide them, to tell them it’s possible, and to enjoy the ride with them.

I often think this means I have to push them into a specific writing path, or push them to finish, or push them at all. I think that’s wrong. Or, probably more accurately described as misguided.

My job is to be there with them, to make it enjoyable.

I started thinking about my own childhood history with writing. What did I write? How often? About what? Why?

I remember writing some short stories, and they were always wet trash. But I enjoyed the challenge. I wouldn’t always finish them, which I constantly took as a sign of failure – and here I sit upon a throne of failed pitches, and unfinished documents, and I see the fallacy of that idea. All writing is practice for the one that finally makes it through. Everything builds up to it.

I thought I’d be a novelist, so I tackled prose fiction. But I also had a hankering to be a journalist, so I wrote weird articles. I was a massive basketball fan, so I’d watch games and take notes so I could write newspaper articles after the game. I don’t think I ever finished one of those articles, but just aiming to do it was a clear sign as to where my head was at. I’d type up fake basketball game statistics, like you’d find in Basketball Digest.

I also kept a book where I’d write reviews of movies I’d watch. They’d get a rating, a short review, and I don’t even know if I ever considered an audience for this stuff. Man, I was decades ahead of Letterboxd and the like.

I bounced in and out of words, I kept notepads and notebooks of ideas and thoughts and reviews and stories, and it was all building my skill set.

I now see kids who write all kinds of things outside of school; stories, journals, reports. Inside school we write; stories, newspapers, websites, podcast scripts, we turn comic pages into narratives, and make poems out of amazing titles.

I want to make writing fun. I had a blast writing my stupid basketball articles and movie reviews. I liked writing a newspaper front page with a movie review, and a fake article. I thought my short stories were ace, right up until the point where I knew they weren’t and I walked away.

I wonder what other people wrote when they were kids. I wonder what we still let ourselves write now as adults.

The exploration of the world through words is a hell of a thing. We should all do it from time to time.

CURRICULUM is live – sci fi webcomic 3 times a week!

Exciting times to be alive [and reading comics on the internet].

CURRICULUM is the story of an intergalactic class trying to get home from a field trip that goes, well, it goes pretty bad.

It’s got a wide cast, big ideas, and a rotating roster of writers and artists. The world/cast was created by me, Dan Hill, and Sami Kivela, and the first issue has Marissa Louise on colours and Ironbark on letters.

After us comes a cavalcade of talent, including: Danny Djeljosevic, Josh George, Ben Rosenthal, Daniel J Logan, Bryan Coyle, and more to come even after that. This comic has been years in the making, bubbling on the back burner a long while. Now, it is free.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE OPENING PAGES OF CURRICULUM

This comic is a love letter to old EC Sci Fi comics, with hints of Runaways and other insanity mixed in. We hit the ground running, and we’ve done our best to constantly throw new things at you, have fun, and give you every reason to return 3 times a week for new pages, or sign up for email blasts on the sidebar of the site.

CURRICULUM – a sci fi periodical slice of madness. Enjoy.

CICADA – Sublime Social Discourse, Y’know, For Kids

There is so much contained within this book, and like a cicada, it’s just waiting to burst out from beneath the surface. You need this book in your homes, in your classrooms, and in your hearts.

Shaun Tan is a wild genius, and sometimes he does it with a lot – glorious words, hyper-detailed and strange art – and here he does it with so little. The art is still beautiful, and what words there are sing off the page, but it’s his mastery of control and surreal commentary that make this a modern masterpiece about modern culture as we live in it.

The story is about a cicada that works as an office drone, is unappreciated by the humans in whose world he lives, and it’s all very bleak and subdued. From here, Tan comments on modern capitalist society, and how downright boring it is, and why we should abhor such an existence, and he does it so effectively that I’m hard pressed to think of a better literary burn on what a waste most of what we consider “modern living” is. The final words would be haunting, if not for the fact they made me laugh so much.

This is a book with heady themes present, and every adult will connect on a very real level, but kids should be exposed to this kind of thinking. They should have it unpacked for them.

S P O I L E R S

Cicada is about whether we’re getting busy living, or getting busy dying. It’s about city living versus getting back to nature. It’s about putting the goals of necessity before our happiness. It’s about how we’re getting it all wrong.

The titular cicada is completely downtrodden, ignored, bullied, and cast aside. It’s horrible. But doesn’t this happen to us all when you really think about it? It might not be obvious, or explicit, but most of the time it doesn’t hurt to consider if we’re making any difference, and if that impact has any real staying power. Or do we live, consume, die, and the world turns on?

It sounds horrible, and it really kinda is, so the story offers a solution of sorts.

The cicada, retired, already forgotten, walks to the roof of the building in which it lives as well as works and it splits open. A blade of red light appears, and the true cicada form emerges, naked of the business attire, and it returns back out to nature where it started. More importantly, where it belongs.

The theme of the story is that we should be doing what we are meant to be doing. We should be connecting with nature, we should be living and working within our means, we should be putting happiness ahead of…I don’t know, progress, bland citizenship, money.

It’s better to live as a cicada in the wild, happy, than grind through an endless life in the city and be a millionnaire.

The book leaves us with the cicada’s blistering assessment – it has left the city, to return to its kind, and sometimes they think about the humans, and they laugh.

This stopped me, and I had to laugh, but I was stopped nonetheless. Yes, they laugh, at our ludicrous existence, and Tan hits the nail on the head.

We’ve got it all wrong.

But this book is a step in the right direction, in a way. It’s a book to share, to come together for, to discuss, to open our minds and hearts, and to change our futures.

We should be doing what we’re supposed to be doing, not what we’re told we should be doing, or what we’ve told ourselves to believe we should be doing.

Weighed down by all of t h i s ? Then shed your skin and let’s get started.


CICADA by Shaun Tan is no doubt available at every good book store near you. Google one and find it and support your local bookseller.

 

Think On Paper

I read a great newsletter recently which linked me to a great article that I think was paraphrasing another great writer’s quote, which was:
Think on paper.
And I could not agree more.
I love digital citizenry, I work in Google Docs, I have lists on Keep, I’ve got apps for one thing, and extensions for another.
But there is merit to the thinking that we think differently on paper. Our brains work better, I believe, with the open wild canvas of pristine paper. Or not pristine, gnarled up old napkins, grid paper in a notebook. Whatever works for you, but I think when I step back from the internet machine, and I just pencil in thoughts and words and connections and questions, my brain opens up more.
Which is why I plot in a notebook.
But I think subconsciously I thought I’d get “better” at it, it would come quicker, the story would only take two iterations in a notebook to come together.
It hasn’t.
I still make pages and pages of notes. I still write the synopsis out a dozen times, in different formats – sometimes a linear blurt of events, sometimes broken into subheadings of issue numbers, and sometimes in character columns.
This is how my brain pieces it all together. I have to think “out loud,” as it were, on the page. Then I can ask myself stupid questions, and scribble things out, but still keep one eye on them, and draw lines between things and add question marks when I’m not certain.
I’ll eventually form it all into boxes, one per issue, and all the pertinent info is there to then beat up a page by page breakdown, but that thinking process, I have to trust in it. It feels laborious, I’m going through pencils like it’s a bad habit, but it’s my path to wherever my stories end up.
Getting better at this doesn’t mean getting the story right and completed in the first draft of the plot.
Hell, getting better probably means more pages, making it better, over more time, and asking more dumb questions.
I’m not going to get faster, but I can hopefully get better. So that first plot outline I attempt, man, it’s just the wire framework. The hard work hasn’t even begun, and if I remember that, I won’t feel like a failure, and I won’t stress as much, and I’ll go in a little looser. We should always stretch before vigorous plotting, and it’s okay to get loose.

Looking above, this post isn’t amazing, I typed it straight into the online box, there was no thinking on paper. But I can’t get you to subscribe to what I pencil into my notebooks [though with a rocket journal, maybe that could work…hrmm?] so I guess this’ll have to do.

These types of thoughts usually also appear in my newsletter, give it a sub for weekly thoughts about writing, and the writing life, if that’s your jam.

Why You Should Subscribe To My Newsletter

I send out an email newsletter every week on the Monday – it’s called THE TWO FISTED HOMEOPAPE.

And here is why you should subscribe to it, if you already haven’t.

Screenshot 2017-07-06 23.10.25

This newsletter is all about my writing life. If you’re interested in me, this is The Place to get your up-to-date info. If you’re a writer, hopefully I can share some high quality writing thoughts, or link to good writing vibes, or just keep our minds collectively spinning on this writing game.

I honestly care about this newsletter. I realised a while back this infodump was my weekly therapy. This was where I shared and bared my soul. If you’re after honesty and insight, this is where you’ll find it most raw from me.

I drop all the latest news. This latest edition alone I’ll be talking about: this latest pitch I’m putting together, some of the awesome Patreon content I’m prepping [and how much damn fun it’s all been], why I keep on writing one-shots, why my next two books aren’t ready because of how awesome they’re gonna be, and why I maybe kinda quit twitter this week.

The newsletter is the safe place for all this, it’s the all-access behind-the-curtain champagne room in my writing club. IT’s the place that matters the most.

I’ll link you up. I keep a list of the good stuff I read this week, some good crowdfunding malarkey from around the traps, and why what I’m reading/watching is nudging me towards being a better writer/reader/viewer each time. I want to unpack my thoughts on paper [as it were], and I’m happy if that ever helps anybody else dislodge one quality thought in their brain.

I wish to be free of this wild wheel on which we find ourselves. Man, social media sucks. Trolls, algorithms, huge profits that have to be coming from somewhere [if you can’t buy a product then YOU are the product, etc]. I love twitter, but it’s also a sinkhole. I’d be stoked if I could survive on the newsletter, and then my Patreon [with the odd Kickstarter], and maybe Goodreads thrown in for good measure.

This is why I want to see you over at THE TWO FISTED HOMEOPAPE – because that’s where I want to call home. Safely in your inbox, ready for whenever you want, and hopefully a delight to read, a fuel for the brain, and an elixir for the heart.

If you’ve got a newsletter, let me know, I love reading ’em as much as I love writing ’em. And if you wanna know what any of these pictures below really are all about, you gotta come join me, we’ll have a blast!

Screenshot 2018-06-24 23.06.27

Screenshot 2018-08-07 21.05.41

Screenshot 2018-08-09 23.51.17

Screenshot 2018-08-09 23.53.38

Screenshot 2018-08-09 23.56.24

Hope this wets your whistle.

Patreon’s First Month

I gotta admit – I’m loving running this Patreon.

The primary goal is to make Comic Book Study Guides – a purpose that already excites me, 100%, but then it’s also becoming a place where I can dump more process thoughts and other educational malarkey involving comics.

The plan, right now, is to run one season, 12 months of Study Guides, and then we can take things from there. So, with our first month closed, I wanted to reflect on what’s on offer.

2 x Comic Book Study Guides

I released a guide for ETERNAL [by me, Eric Zawadzki, Dee Cunniffe, and Dan Hill], and one for GHOSTS [by Raina Telgemeier – so one is adult shieldmaidens and ghosts, and the other is all ages friendly and a tale of growing up and accepting death…and also ghosts.

1 x Podcast Study Episode

I recorded and released a podcast episode where I unpack some aspects of the guide for ETERNAL, and generally open up some deeper thoughts about the book’s theme.

Comic Script Library Access

I give out a link to a folder full of scripts, pitches, and other insanity I’ve cooked up over the years [some my best ever work, some insane sophomore stuff].

3 x Process Notes

I’ve written about Shaun Tan’s THE ARRIVAL and it’s gorgeous pacing, I’ve given out a free lesson around Frank Quitely’s TED Talk using a Google Form, and I’ve written about how Frank Miller scripted DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN and how that translated to David Mazzuchelli’s art.

2 x One Page Script Commissions

Oh, yeah, I had a blast typing up two single page script commissions – about two wildly different things – and sending them off in the mail.

All of these things are work, they take time, but I like the way they sit in my head. Analysing comics is professional development for a comic writer, and it’s just fun for a guy like me. I’d rather do this than scroll Facebook again, or write an extra 500 words into my newsletter [yeah, the newsletter will probably take the odd slide because of this, I’d rather give deeper process cuts here than on the newsletter for now, sorry].

If you haven’t checked out my Patreon yet, here it is!

And if you aren’t going to back it, I’d love to know what’s holding you back, and how I can help remove that barrier. I think pledging $5 a month is no small ask, but for that you get 2 Study Guides, 1 podcast ep, and access to whatever and however many process notes and posts I end up putting up there.

%d bloggers like this: