When do you confidently start saying you’re a writer?
And I mean writers should write lots. More than they ever publish.
I wrote many complete comic minis. All before I pitched a publisher. Some before I pitched to an artist. And all of them never made it to the page. I would never do that now, why did I do it then?
Because I was young and dumb. Dumb enough to believe I’d get those stupid ideas made. Young enough to think I had the time. Dumb enough to think I had to do it. Young enough to think an artist would come on board.
I’d never script a full 6 issue mini now. But I did a decade ago. And I’m damn glad I did. Writing those issues gave me an appreciation of story structure far beyond what a plot document will. It showed me how characters fuck with your plot outline, how they won’t behave. How by the time issue 4 is ending, you know everything better, with gather clarity, and you know certain elements have to change.
We tell people not to write ahead. And we tell people not to write for free. But we forget sometimes to tell people that writing is a skill you practise. And you won’t practise with every page published, you don’t want to do that, trust me, so you want to practise in the shadows. You want to practise so when you do emerge, you’re pretty decent. Maybe close to good. Probably serviceable.
I tell people all the time about all the scripts I wrote before I self-published my first one. It was about 60 scripts. A ludicrous amount. But it all helped me understand how story flows out of me better. That I can trust the process that plots change, characters change, and you will have different strategies to figure out the hard stuff.
I think back and remember just banging away on these scripts like they were the most important pages in the world. And I still want to approach everything in that manner. I want my pages to still feel like the most important pages in the world to me. Because they kind of are.
And I always enjoy writing every damn word of them.
Take time to enjoy your writing. It’s a fool’s pursuit, done because we love it, and if you’re in for the ride then really throttle into it and give it everything.
For as long as I can remember, I always dug playing the Fighting Fantasy books.
My brothers had copies of these strewn around the house, and I don’t even know at what age I picked them up, but I can vividly remember playing them when I was about 7, half laying under our coffee table, and half poking out with a cushion under me, to roll the dice, to battle the pages, and to make my own adventure sheets in an art pad.
I loved the adventure, the nerdy mathematical/chance aspect of it all, and the scenarios and art were wild. These were infinitely better than the Choose Your Own Adventure books – these were the Horror Section of your old VHS emporium compared to the Kids Rental Section of your safe old library.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but these were the METAL interactive story/game pages of my youth.
We owned many of these books, and I played the all, and while many hold a dear place in my heart, it is always this cover that fires up my imagination. behold, the ISLAND OF THE LIZARD KING!
2017 was a wild year, and I am now all here for 2018. This is going to be a year, mark my words.
I’m going to try a few new things this year. This site is a constant. I’ve seen that other platforms…might be more nebulous in their entirety, or in how I want to use them.
I also know I just want to have a little fun. So death to 2017, long live 2018* [*or, at least, y’know, live for a full year, if you can, but probably not beyond that, it could get awkward for 2019]
My 2017 was fun, and I want to use it as a step, not a place to squat and nap for the next decade.
Last year I released my 4th comic miniseries into the wild, and BEAUTIFUL CANVAS did well.
It was a blast to work with Sami Kivela, Triona Farrell, Ryan Ferrier, Dan Hill, and Matt Pizzolo no this one. Black Mask Studios is a hell of a home, and I loved landing there.
I landed successful totals on Kickstarter Campaigns Numbers 5 + 6 and now we have INK ISLAND with Craig Bruyn and STAIN THE SEAS SCARLET with Alex Cormack in the world.
I also spent a lot of the year planning things for 2018, so you’ve been warned. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be full of writing, and it’s going to all be coming at us faster than we can manage.
I hope you’ll join me in the fun that’s to come. I’ll be looking for you.
2018 – break.
I guess the show must go on…
Let’s try something involving elections and the downward spiral, and that’s fiction 😐 Roll on 0009
Jane Berry has proof her local elected official is a murderer. And yet she can’t get the world to listen. Reporters turn her away, the Party attempt to have her silenced, and her own family – who all voted for him – shun her completely.
The only person who cares is the politician’s daughter, who completely believes Jane. The only problem is, Jane once helped cover up one of the murders and she knows the world cares more about protecting a man, and blaming a woman for past actions – even committed under duress – than doing the complete right thing.
So Jane has a choice to make. If you’re going to die on your sword, should it first be coated in the blood of your enemy? Or do you use it to hack into the landscape and hope the scar becomes a beacon and a reminder.
As Jane walks quietly through the rain, she makes her decision, and heads straight to his house. Words will be spoken.
Over a week into the
When will the madness end? Not tonight, tonight it is time for 0008:
Paul Daniels is killed in a stupid bar fight. He leaves behind two kids he never cared about, half a beer on the table, a lifetime of regrets, and the jacket he wore on the night of his demise – which was stolen seconds after his head hit the floor.
Lisa Porter stole it to keep warm, but she doesn’t realise it might just burn her whole world down. Because there’s a note in the inside breast pocket, and the police, the Yakuza, an ex-KGB agent, and Paul’s ex-wife all want the information scribbled on it.
There are many options available to Lisa, but she takes the dumb one – she reads the note. Now she’s on the run, through the darkness of midnight, trying to work out if Paul Daniels, the previous owner of her jacket, was right about the entire mess of humanity or not.
Let’s start the week with some fresh:
Tonight we’ll stay overnight at the 0007 star lodgings at:
THE BLACK CAROUSEL
Amanda Yannick is staying at The Black Carousel for a week after her last PI gig went south. It’s supposed to be a place and time to regroup, but she’s thrust back into the shit when her elevator opens early and shows her the third floor, which is covered in dead bodies.
No violence, no sign of a crime, just dead bodies gently laid in most rooms, the hallway, and one on the fire escape.
As she walks through the cooling human litter, Amanda hears a song, one she hasn’t heard since she was a child. And that memory is of the first time she saw a dead body, in her kitchen…
LEFT OF TARGET
Billie is still in the first year of running her own cafe. The first year is a dangerous time, many small businesses don’t make it out, and this small business owner might not make it out alive.
As she’s closing the cafe one lazy Sunday afternoon, a tall woman barrels through the door and dives onto the ground. The blood streak left behind her unconscious body on the linoleum floor is the first alarm bell.
But Billie was raised to help others when you can, so she tends to the mysterious woman’s wounds while waiting for paramedics to arrive. When they finally enter, Billie feels off about it, but she doesn’t say anything. Not until she sees the weapons they try to conceal from her view. Billie realises something is amiss and forces these apparent helpers back into their ambulance.
Upon waking, the bleeding woman helps Billie, and then shoots the van up. She tells Billie that she isn’t safe, and she knows this because she’s been hired to kill her.
Now Billie’s best chance of surviving a night on the run from thrill killing Hollywood elites is to trust the woman sent to kill her.
Making with the noir story title/idea/blurbs since:
Here lies instalment 0005, gone too soon:
ACROSS THE STREET, YOU’LL FIND ME THERE
Hannah and Martha live across the street from each other. They have for over 50 years. And they have hated each other for about 47 of those years, with vitriol.
So when Hannah is given a few weeks to live, Martha steps up to do the right thing and protect Hannah’s classified files from invaders in the neighbourhood who would want to know what secrets a retired international spy dying of nuclear contamination poisoning might be hiding in her walls.
But the fools arriving on Rutherford Lane didn’t count Martha into their plans, and they’re going to find this job surprisingly difficult because she might have spent half a century hating her old partner, but she still feels a duty to protect the work they built together.
Another well cooked edition of:
This is a worn paperback edition of the back cover of 0004:
There’s a record in an old shop that’s got some seriously bad knowledge on the B side. A young woman bought it in a stack, and last night she got around to listening to it with a few quiet ciders. This morning, she’s as dead as disco.
It’s been six hours since her demise and the record has changed hands 5 times, leaving a path of over a dozen dead bodies – some identifiable, some…well, a little scratched up.
Melissa Daye is a deaf detective who’s been paid handsomely to locate an oil magnate’s daughter. But his daughter went shopping last weekend, and has a penchant for vinyl, and now Melissa is on the trail of the platter that matters the most in a case that’s going to leave Melissa with some very hard choices to make.
If you captured the devil’s voice, would you ever listen to it?