Last week I reached a penacle point. I finished the first draft of The Unknowns script. It clocked in at 63 pages in screenplay format. I sat down and read through the whole thing, and I gotta say I am pretty happy with it. It's the best thing I've written. Which may not be saying mucb really, lol. But it reads well and progresses the plot in a concise way that doesn't have much room for fat. My biggest concern is character development, but it feels like the bigger thing for this first book is introduce everyone to the story and setup the essential character elements that can be developed later. I'm planning on making this book around 6 volumes long so there's plenty of room for growth. I think I am gonna sit down and watch some early X-files episodes and other big number 1's to see how much character development was needed in those first installments.
Right now though my attention has turned to draft number two. This is pretty much all I will be doing until I have a publically readable draft that I can get feedback on, from those lucky few. There are a TON of corrections needed and a new scene I want to fit in. Anyways until the next draft... cheers!
Sorry for a lack of updates. Things have definitely been moving forward on The Unknowns. It seems we're getting very close to going to publishers with a proposal, so I am leaving that in the hands of my agent and taking any notes he has happily. But on things I can control to one degree or another, I am nearing the end of my first draft of "The Unknowns" book one. Working title at this time is "The Alpha." :-) I like it. We'll see if it sticks.
All things considered I've learned a great deal working on this script. Primarily the value of having a good treatment in place. I have breezed through this first draft because the treatment gave me such a good guide along the way. I simply could pull up the document and work scene from scene. All of the heavy lifting was done.
I'm gonna be putting in heavy duty hours into this project this week to try and finish the first full draft. I'm also considering combining this blog into my personal website www.michaeleregina.com I need to consolidate information. I've got too many sites I'm updating around here.
A big step has pretty much concluded in the process of getting The Unknowns out there to the world. The past few weeks I have been writing and rewriting the synopsis for the book, in an attempt to get my story across in a concise way. I've had to write many things before in my life, but this sort of project is the one that just really is a challenge to me. I don't do well communicating what I mean without rambling on and on about it. Even with my stories, I tend to think I'm more Jules Verne than say H. G. Wells. Josh Ulrich likes to pick on me saying that its nearly impossible for me to tell a short story because I will create an epic from the material. So, attempting to widdle down a book series into a matter of two pages or so, was the works.
I managed to get it done though and that marked the culmination of the journey in looking for an agent. I'm happy to say I am partnering up with Brendan Deneen of FinePrint Literary to try and take this book to the masses. He's been extremely supportive of the concept for the book and helpful in aiding me into these uncharted waters (for me anyway). I really appreciate his patience with helping this project be successful.
So what to do now that we're kind of on to the next phase? Well, I plan to keep writing. I'm finding that a major part of the overall story may need some reworking. Its more of a change to when and how I give information about the characters than a ultimate change in direction. It's still pretty major though and could warrant some extensive rewrites. That's what first drafts are for!
The next few weeks I expect I'll spend some time getting some other obligations off my table. I have some websites I am redesigning for myself and businesses (my parent's restaurant haha). My personal website has not been redesigned in almost three years. That's too long. This needs a remedy.
The Unknowns production won't slow down though really. I'm still working through a ton of material and I even got the idea today for exactly how book 2 could start off. Progress is being made.
Sorry there haven't been many updates lately for those of you following this blog. A lot of things have been going on related to The Unknowns as well as other projects in general. The things involving The Unknowns I can't quite get into yet, but once things get more final I'll be sure to post them here.
One of things I wanted to get into here on the blog are some books that I think are really worth spending your time reading if you are a writer or a creative person. As a comic book artist I spend most of my time thinking in words and pictures. In a way its a cheap form of writing because I don't have to think about the formal nature of writing story in prose or script format. This is something I am working to remedy. Most of my life I have spent my time drawing and fitting my stories into my drawings. The writing aspect wasn't as big of a deal. I've changed a bit of my perspective on that issue. I truly want to be known as a better writer/storyteller than I do an artist and as such I need to learn the craft more. Here are some books that have been really helpful over the years and currently:
Orson Scott Card's book "Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy" is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of writing. In it he explains how we can create believable and tangible worlds. Some of his stories about how he created a new story have helped spur me on to new ideas.
"The Man Who Heard Voices" is more here because of its attention to the way so many of us all feel as we create the art that is in us as visual storytellers. Regardless of your thoughts towards M. Night's movies (I for one think he's pretty much amazing) I think everyone can find this book to be a reminder that even those who are successful at their craft wrestle behind closed doors.
"On Writing" by Stephen King is pretty much the mother load when it comes to a book that is profoundly helpful and entertaining. Part memoir and part how-to, this book deals with topics as mundane as grammar to how to discover a story. This one is my current read, but it is one that I think has done more to help my work ethic than any other book as I remember: to be a great writer you must; read a lot a write a lot.
One of the things that really matters to me in creating this Production Log is being as truthful about things as I can. In a way this is sort of a "dear diary" thing for me.
As such, I really wanted to talk about some of my inner struggles as of late. I know that the artists road can be hard and lonely. I often can feel that way. We piddle away by ourselves in offices, at tables, in front of the computer, or a canvas. It is a rare thing that we would have some one with whom enjoys the creation of art alongside of us. I am lucky enough to have a few people I am close to who I can enjoy that with, but there are many nights, where I plug away wondering: Will this is ever happen for me?
To me making comics isn't just a idea or pass time that engage in to be constructive. It is the thing I have wanted to do for almost twenty years. Sure there have been times when I have deviated to one degree or another, but for the most part this has been it.
It's been hard knowing that creating a comic and pursuing a career in it consists of spending tons of time honing your craft with very little payoff if any in the end. But it isn't impossible and if it is possible then I usually don't give up. The Unknowns is a book I firmly believe can and will find a publisher. Some nights though its hard to be patient and remember that nothing worth having comes easily or without great patience.
So as a quick note, I just want to encourage many of you out there who have the same feelings to keep plugging away. I truly believe there are many careers out there for us artists. But while you wait, don't forget to enjoy the process of creation. If you can't LOVE this craft now, you won't love it later.
I spent my time over the weekend (which is Weds and Thurs for me) getting some writing done. I'm actually just a couple of scenes away from where the book pretty much gets going and doesn't stop until the end.
One of the things that's been happening as I write the first draft of the script is that I'm thinking of all these scenes I want to add in later that were not in the original draft of the treatment. But rather than stop, think of how those scenes fit into the bigger work, and continue with the script; I've been writing these scene ideas down in a separate document so that when I go back for the second draft I will include them.
I remember listening to an interview with Philip Pullman about writing and him discussing how the best thing with the first draft of any story is to just GET IT OUT. In other words, just write the stupid thing. Don't stop and correct every misspell. Don't second guess the structure. Just get it on the page so that you can rewrite later. There's the old saying, writing is rewriting. I think this is true. So far I've discovered that spending some time developing a solid treatment has allowed me to move with a confidence I didn't have before. The script is coming out quickly and I think will require very little reworking as a whole.
Then again what do I know?
I just realized that I was going to post about my process. That will have to wait. Writing continues.