It's been a long time, but I have to tell you, it's nice to be blogging again. I've been thinking about how to focus this blog for months, and I only recently settled on a good answer in mid-April. A friend and I started a comic book discussion group on Facebook, and suddenly, I found myself writing reviews practically every day, sometimes three or four at a time, and I started thinking, "Man, I wish my blog was about comics." Which, of course, led me to, "Why not blog about comics?" Turns out, when you're writing about the things you enjoy in your free time, it doesn't feel like such a chore to sit down and pound something out on the old blog. In the future, you can expect comic book reviews (sometimes outright endorsements--I get excited) and other comic-related news a couple times a week. If you've always loved the idea of getting into comics, but didn't know where to start, this might be a great time to subscribe or follow me on Twitter.
Also, every Monday morning, I'll be doing a series of blog posts intended to give straight answers to brand-new writers on the path to their first pro story sale. I remember writing stories and wanting to sell them as far back as 2006. I was reading piles of writing books, flipping through the Writer's Market, trying to rough out some idea what getting paid for your fiction was like. Back then, I didn't want vague advice or even simple encouragement; I wanted a road map I could follow. I wanted strategies, markets, ways IN. I'm pretty green compared to a lot of people I know, but compared to the guy I was in 2006, I'm a freaking guru. So if you're a young (or just new!) writer who's looking for the first step...swing by the blog Monday morning. I might be able save you a year or two. I'm looking forward to it!
The above is all I was planning to post today, but it occurs to me some of my family and friends might want to hear what I've been up to during The Long Blog Silence. I'll take a few hundred words to do that now. If you don't need to know this crap, feel free to surf the web now. They've got some free UFC fights on Youtube these days, and I hear Lumosity can really sharpen you up. And there's always porn.
WHAT STEVE HAS BEEN DOING:
September: I finished my first novel. It's currently in revisions--still, because I waited a small eternity to start them. They say to let work breathe for 1-3 months before touching it again, but 7 months works too, right? Anyway, I think it'll be damn salable once I rewrite the first three chapters.
October: I attended World Fantasy and met some people whose names are totally worth dropping. I talked with Pat Rothfuss and held the camera while a friend did a backflip next to him--it was weird. I listened to Neil Gaiman read his stories, laughed, cried, and even shook the man's hand. I drank beer and ate pho with Ted Chiang, then got home, read his work, and retroactively geeked my geeker off. But most importantly (sorry, Famous People), I saw the publishing world at work. I sat and ate steak while I watched people collect World Fantasy Awards. I remember thinking these people would go home tomorrow, wake up in their pajamas, sit sleepily in front of their keyboards and just...start...writing. In a way, I realized, no person in that room ever really leaves. In a way, all writers are in that room, all the time; it's just some of us are better at remembering that than others. It's a thought that has both paralyzed and motivated me by turns. (I'll ask my therapist what she thinks of it.)
November: I worked on developing a graphic novel series called Spooky Paint, a playful cyberpunk story about street artists trying to change things in a warring city (and one artist whose paint can literally change things). The series wouldn't ultimately end up drawn beyond page two, but the brain work is done, and the characters are still there in my head, waiting for the right time to jump out and "get up" all over my monitor. (It's not quite as bad as it sounds. Although, I would probably need a new monitor.)
January: I took part in Weekend Warrior, a five-week flash fiction contest on Codex and actually won the bastard. It was the most participants the contest had ever had (over 50 pro and neo-pro writers), and I had one of the highest cumulative scores ever. I'm not ashamed to brag about that, because damn it, I worked really hard. At the beginning of the month I told Lynna, "I'm going to make it my mission during the next five weeks to win this thing." And there's nothing quite like meeting a goal through hard work. I've sold two of the five stories I wrote for Weekend Warrior, and I'm expecting to sell at least one more. That's not bad for ol' January.
February and March: It's a hard truth, but sometimes, it's harder to get things done after a success than after a failure. These two months were full of false starts and sudden stops. I tried to take part in another Codex contest right away, but my entry didn't work at short story length, and I realized (after submitting the first 500 words) that I was writing a novel. Then I worked with my buddy Rusty Raymo on a story for an anthology Eric James Stone was editing about the Three Billy Goats Gruff...and accidentally outlined another novel. Realizing now was not the time for either one of those accidental novel projects, I crawled out of March on my hands and knees feeling defeated. <--Part of the game.
April: My brothers and I had a show coming at an Earth Day festival here in town, so I spent a fair piece of April trying to make myself feel any kind of prepared for that. But the main event for April was C2E2. I traveled to Chicago, ate the best pizza of my life at Pequod's, went to a comics convention and treated it like school, and came home changed. I had always wanted to work in comics, but suddenly, I REALLY wanted to work in comics. (I'm not sure why it took me so long to realize this. I mean, hell, I was doing comics and putting them in the local paper when I was 11.) I still do, and I'm taking steps to make it happen.
May: Here we are. I'm working on some springboards and sample scripts for DC and Dynamite, and I'm reading as many comics as I possibly can in my spare time. The novel is next once my submissions are out the door, and there's this ol' blog to whip into shape. Here's to a productive summer, ya'll. If you made it down this far, you deserve something awesome. Unfortunately, all I have is this picture of a baby pig:
comic reviews/news, then Monday mornings for my series on finding that first sale, which we'll begin on the 21st.