Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: February, 2014

Happy 68th, Dad

Today would have been my Dad’s 68th birthday.

Couldn’t help but wonder what he’d make of all this writing malarkey I’ve got going on.

He wasn’t the world’s biggest reader – a few Wilbur Smiths and some old cricket travel/joke books were about all in his meagre library – but he was a good man and a supportive bloke. I like to think he’d dig some of the weirder stuff I’ve written. HAROLD HOLT and the upcoming CHUM and the stuff I’ve written for CRIME FACTORY would be right up his alley.

I’m also sure he hasn’t failed to see how much I write about fatherhood. I bet he’d take the credit for that, cheeky bastard.

I don’t remember much about the old fella – certainly not enough – but I remember his laugh always made me smile. It still does. On a day like today, that laugh is all around me. That laugh reverberates through my words.

I remember my father by hugging my son.

I hope the view’s good up there, Dad. And I hope you dig my words, I wouldn’t have any without you.

HEADSPACE #1 Available on ComiXology for Preorder + Subscription

HEADSPACE is a comic by Eric Zawadzki, Chris Peterson, Marissa Louise, and myself coming out through Monkeybrain Comics on ComiXology.

PREORDER AND SUBSCRIBE TO HEADSPACE ON COMIXOLOGY NOW 🙂

Screenshot 2014-02-18 20.36.22

In the book, the inhabitants of Carpenter Cove discover their strange town is actually a construct in the mind of a killer. Shane, the sheriff, wants to get back to his real life but one dark connection between him and the killer is going to make him rethink everything.

This comic is a sci fi infused pulp thriller centring around two very emotional character arcs. There’s some crazy stuff going on in Carpenter Cove but it’s happening to some very real people. There’s also a robotic dog bartender named Gil. He’s rad.

The art by Eric Zawadzki – in the eponymous headspace – and then Chris Peterson/Marissa Louise – on inks/colours for the IRL sequence featuring Max the killer – is astoundingly sublime. The whole package was edited by Dan Hill, with a logo from Ryan Ferrier, and the back matter is designed gorgeously by Christopher Kosek.

The #1 issue comes out on Wednesday the 5th of March and it’s 22 pages of sequential narrative for only 99c, and there’s also the two pages of back matter where I prattle on for a bit about some stuff. There’s also this cover from Eric Zawadzki that’s just amazing:

Screenshot 2014-02-17 22.22.55

You can preorder the issue now on the ComiXology website so as soon as the book is available your iDevice will automatically start downloading the issue and have it waiting for you. No reason not to, really.

You should also know, every sale made on the ComiXology website cuts out the 33% bite out of profits Apple takes if you buy via the app on an iDevice (and I believe the Android platform takes a comparable wet bite out of the cashflow through their apps). So, the more sales we get via the site, the more money the creative team can share in. But if you can only purchase via the app, well, welcome to the family anyway, bud, there’s always room.

I should also let you know, while preordering this bad boy, you can also SUBSCRIBE to the series. This ensures every new issue downloads to your iDevice instantly, your money goes straight to us without being laundered through the Apple Laundromat, and a fairy from beyond will be granted its razor wings.

You can also head to the HEADSPACE dedicated web home at headspacecomic.tumblr.com where we’ll drop news, info, sneak peeks, process bombs, and general mindpoopery for your approval and edutainment.

This is the work of our career, no doubt about it, and we hope you dig it. Preorder to show your love, spread the link around because indie comics only survive if people talk about them, stay tuned for more teasers and fun for all in the coming fortnight as we prep for launch, and we hope you enjoy the ride.

#headspacecomic

Who Cares?

This week is the week 2014 starts for me.

So far, I’ve been intermittently poking the bear in the back and the eye and the taint but this week is when I finally wind back my switch and really give it what for. And I’m interested to see if it wakes with a roar, or snorts and snuffles back to sleep, or just swats me away leaving me stranded in the woods, with two broken legs, covered in honey, and watching the sun set while the nocturnal carnivorous insects and butt monkeys rise.

In short, what I’m saying is, will anyone care?

And this isn’t a post to rally sympathetic support. Only losers and losers do such a thing. No, this is just me purging the system and destroying the doubt and the fears. Because my biggest worry is that I’ll have a comic drop and not a damn person will care. And it happens every week. Even to some Big Two books. But definitely to some DIY one-shots that barely have an audience and can slip by in the shadow of an eyelash and not make a sound as they flutter dutifully into the grave.

I must admit I’ve been lucky. Very lucky. I’ve gotten reviews, and some of them didn’t hate me or my work or my face. I’ve had books noticed, to some degree, and that’s more than I should ever be able to ask or deserve. I am no one so when anyone cares about my stuff it splinters open my ribcage and caresses my heart ever so fondly.

But this week is big stuff. This week really means something.

This week, I’m reaching up a rung and so I’m fascinated to see what happens. As a sociological experiment, charting RTs, +1s, and Likes on a corkboard with twine and thumbtacs is always going to be fun. As my future and livelihood, this is terrifying and you’ll find me huffing cheap coffee in a burlap sack round the back of my house where my kids won’t see me and shame me.

This week, it all gets real. To be honest, regardless, I’m super happy and proud. But don’t let that stop you helping a brother out with spreading the gospel of a new good book 😀

Write Honestly

Sometimes you have to write what you know.

Not every character you write will or should be you. Not every emotion your characters feel should be yours. Not every view point you write or give words to will be your own. But sometimes, just sometimes, you’ll write something that comes from you. That comes from deep down.

And when that time comes, when you spew your emotions on the page, you have to write honestly. You can’t write the glorified version of your feelings, or the way you hoped you’d feel, you have to write it honestly. Which might mean you need to look at yourself honestly. Then you have to bring those feelings, those ethereal gut stirrings, to lexicographical life. It’s not nice, or easy, or even sometimes fun. But it is, if done right, honest. And honest art is a hell of a thing.

Years ago, I was going to write a GREEN WAKE fill in issue for my friend Kurtis Wiebe. I went ahead and scripted the issue, and went through many drafts, but in the end it didn’t end up meeting the schedule. Then, when Rossmo/Wiebe decided they’d put the book up online for free at keenspot, I asked if I could make the one-shot and slot it in between arcs. Kurt was down with the idea. So, I got Nathaniel Ooten and Brandon DeStefano onto the team and we made the issue. It stands as something I am incredibly proud of and you can view the entire thing RIGHT HERE – just keep clicking for the next page until you’ve read all 22 pages 🙂

In the issue, I came to a page where I drew from very close source material. I didn’t have to, I could have treated the familiar subject matter through someone else’s eyes but I wanted to put something real on the page. I wanted to exorcise some demons. If nothing else, writing is always my great therapy.

Our main character has spent a lifetime searching for his father who he believes is in Green Wake. In flashback, we show the father abandoning his wife and son as he jets into his quest for this mythical landscape. It’s an emotional scene to write for anyone.

For me, this sequence had to carry truth. My father committed suicide over 25 years ago now. I was 5 at the time and I was there when we found him and it changed everything about me and my world from that moment onwards. For good and bad. He didn’t leave a note, or any clues in his behaviour or world behind so we never knew why. Trying to piece this puzzle together consumed me far more than it should any child. But I also spent years not really addressing things, and bottling them up, because that’s what I/men do (I mean, worked out so well for my old man, right?).

Later in life, as I became more ‘adult,’ I started to really break down and process what had happened. And how it had affected me. I didn’t just think about the myth and the legend of the absent parent, I thought about the man. I thought about the truth. It’s easily to quickly and silently idolise someone you love after they are gone. It’s harder to admit you hate them for leaving. And it’s insane to truthfully put yourself into that person’s mind on the night they’d make that decision. I now have two kids, my son is nearly as old as I was then, and I couldn’t imagine leaving him at all in any permanent way. I cannot fathom what it’s like to be in that state and I’m glad, because the moment I understand and believe might be the moment I do it so I’d rather be an eternal outsider to that mindset.

But I do know how I feel about it, as the victim, as the affected. I know that my thoughts have changed over time. I know that they haven’t gotten nicer about it all. I know that not every thought we have is nice.

So, I wrote the page below. Read through it. It’s the truth.

GreenWake_QI_13

Click image to see larger version

It took me many attempts to write this page. It started off very bloated and text heavy. I was trying to obfuscate my truth with words. I was trying to make my grief sound fancy and noble and interesting. It was on somewhere around the fifth or sixth draft that I finally realised this page didn’t need to sound fancy or smart or clever. This page needed to be raw and real and so quickly came to have less text. The moment I stripped away all the verbiage and rewrote the shorter, punchier captions I have now was the moment I knew this page was done. And I’m still in love with this page to this day.

It was nice to be honest. It was nice to get it out. It was necessary to process the terrible stuff inside me.

Sometimes you’ll write something or someone who is not you at all. But sometimes you’ll cut an artery open and spray yourself across the page and that can be a good thing. Not for every page but sometimes you need to bleed for your art. Sometimes you have to strip yourself bare to get to the heart of the story, the theme, the truth.

I hope you’ve got something you wrote that’s personal that you are just as proud of, and I hope you get to write more personal things in the future.

I will, I can promise you that.

1982 Followers

Besides maybe 10k and 1mil, there’s only one twitter follower milestone I care about. 1982.

The year of my birth, my spirit number, this is the promised land.

20140206-052355.jpg

I’ve never been one to set a specific follower goal and goad people into getting there falsely so instead I wanted to organically celebrate this one highlight with you. So, for me hitting 1982 followers, please accept the following process swag:

I gift to you, the script to my one-shot FATHERHOOD and see how I communicated myself to Daniel Schneider and Paulina Ganucheau. You can buy the comic through ComiXology here, or as a PDF at Challenger Comics here.

Download: Fatherhood noir – Draft 5 – Jan 2013

I also gift to you a script to the best short story I have written thus far, trip into the mine shaft that is THE MANY HAROLD HOLTS OF SPACE AND TIME and see the love letter I penned for Louie Joyce. You can scope the finished tale in the HBVB Anthology here.

Download: Harold Holt – Draft 2 – August 2013

I hope you dig the scripts, maybe get a process tip out of them, and if you dig them share them around. There aren’t enough comic scripts available for download, especially because they are all so different, so I aim to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Zero Drafts Are Not For Me

I hate Zero Drafts.

More specifically, I don’t think they are for me and a more mature man would cite irreconcilable differences and walk away but not me, no, me, I gotta hold a life grudge and mumble about it drunkenly at any opportunity.

Oh, and if you don’t know what a Zero Draft is, it’s the first pass at a story where you just ramble, some say Burroughs style, others feel it turns out more Ed Wood, and you just bash out the story. You don’t think about craft, you don’t worry about structure, you purely concern yourself with the narrative. If that.

It’s also known as the Vomit Draft, and I believe that parmesan stink never washes off.

I don’t dig the zero draft purely because it goes against my sensibilities as a writer. I’m not the fastest scripter in the world, anything between 2-4 pages for a day leaves me happy (and by day I mean night, my nights writing after my day job, and during the sleep of my children that can often transform into the screaming and neediness of my children at an instant). 2-4 pages leaves me happy and much of that is because when I write a page, it’s usually very close to a final version (and by this I mean closer to the final version than the zero draft version is) because I edit as I write. I reorganise and craft and worry and fret and study and all the while build from firm schematics. That first draft for me is very good, it just might take me longer.

I edit in the page, initially, because I like to do as much as possible while I have my sleeves up and am already in there. That’s why I can stew over a scene for days and slowly chip at the marble until it takes shape. The alternative is to write a bunch of ‘first draft’ dialogue that does the job but in the way whacking a giant wooden mallet will get the attention of a girl but it won’t woo her. I don’t like writing the thin page and leaving the real process for Future Ryan when Present Ryan is here and he should man up.

But I understand, this is very much MY style. My mind is broken so that when I finish typing the last page of the script I feel like a massive hurdle has been sailed over and I can breathe and unclench again.

With a zero draft, you have to clench down harder for the next part. The zero draft is, by design, not good. It’s clunky, it’s hack work, it’s going to need a lot of polish across the whole thing. I don’t like ‘feeling finished’ and having that ahead of me. I like to polish little pieces as I go. Others like to just get the story straight and out and then they add theme and funny dialogue and all that.

I hate even leaving a scene, or panel, behind for Future Ryan because I get to the end of the script and I feel done but I’m not and then the wind goes completely out of my sails and it’s just not the headspace I like to be in, ridiculous as it sounds. I like to plow through each page and leave no stone unturned. Sometimes, I know when it’s healthy to move on and not write the pain in the ass scene, that works, too, but I always come back.

I’ve found, recently, that I tend to write from Page 1 to 22 as a default so that means I set up a scene and then I knock it down, move on, repeat, until the script is done. And when I get to the end, I feel like I’ve been in the trenches with this script and sorted things out. This is how I like MY process to roll. I’m finding my ‘zero draft’ time is spent in my script plan where I will rewrite it from paper to screen to paper and again until it’s done for quite some time. I get the terrible itches out there, I hope, and then the actual script pages can be the hallowed ground. That’s the plan, anyway.

I should also say, I enjoy the editing process. It’s nowhere near as much fun as the creating/writing process but it has its charm. But I like to keep that charm in minimal doses and that’s why I edit as I write, and then have only small pockets of editing needed for later.

Writing the zero draft isn’t for me because I love writing the script and to constantly ‘finish’ scripts and have them be terrible and in need of mammoth amounts of work would be soul crushing and would eventually trash my mind until I would write no more because all that came out was dreck.

YMMV.

The Process Podcast with Joe Mulvey about SCAM

The Process podcast isn’t really back, it’s just electrified by the juice of Joe Mulvey’s creative flow for this one special episode.

I chat to Joe Mulvey about SCAM, its Kickstarter, the SCAMthology, life, love, and all things creative – go have a listen.

Joe’s a good man and I had fun shooting the breeze with him. I’m honoured to be in the SCAMthology and there’s plenty of time to still back the Kickstarter campaign, so go check all the links out.

Also, a huge thanks to Comics Addiction for hosting the podcast, DeWayne Feenstra for recording and editing with such fine skill, and you for listening to it.

SCAM_COVERS_Scamthology2

%d bloggers like this: