Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Haven't made a blog post in a long time, so I'm trying to fix that. Thing is, if you're as anxiety-ridden as I am, its often a challenge just to convince yourself that anything you say is interesting or relevant. Anyway! Some updates about whats going on. I've been having regular meetings with a certain top secret muse recently for the purpose of doing all the actual hard work of making concrete story decisions based on the reams of vague concept work I've amassed over the last few years. Slowly but surely we are actually locking down the story thread one scene at a time, and it turns out that doing that is FUCKING HARD. But it is getting done, which is pretty crucial when you consider that its probably what has been stalling the book(s) this long. Its a trap many creative people fall into, and it usually goes something like this.

> Be a creative person
> Have a great idea for a story
> Come up with lots of sweet ideas
> Never choose specifics because you're terrified of making a sub-optimal choice and having the whole thing turn into unbearable dogshit because of it
> Continue manufacturing unused concepts, hoping for some nonexistent "right ones"
> Create nothing at all rather than risk making something mediocre

Working on The Tower has been an incredibly long process, and the longer I work on it the more scared I become of it not living up to my own hype. Or worse still, of it simply being average. But what's the point in just staying in this stagnating little cul-de-sac of preproduction and concepting? I've always tried to be inspired by Aaron Alexovich's timeless quote:

*Special note for artists: Getting things done is the most important thing. Even more important than making things good. Nobody cares about all the fantastic ideas that live only in your brain or scattered all over your floor in various unfinished lumps. We ALL have fantastic ideas that live only in our brains or scattered all over our floors in various unfinished lumps. If every one of your ideas exists solely in your head or scattered all over your floor in various unfinished lumps, then guess what: Rob Liefeld is a better artist than you are. Yeah, that's right. This guy. Better than you. Just finish the stupid thing, already.

But as anyone who has followed my career knows, The Tower has been fraught with empty promises and false starts. And from my perspective, the reason has always been the same - "Its just not good enough yet."But I could literally keep making that excuse until the day I die and then have nothing to show for it. So my mission now must be to let go and make it happen, because even though it will likely be rough or awkward in places, it will be very sincere.
Im lucky enough to HAVE this secret muse, because pairing with someone helps in the discussion and decision process. I have my ideas challenged and must defend them or conclude that they need to be cut or modified. Furthermore, as Shards: Tales from the Ruin Nation demonstrated, I seem more able to generate something tangible when i'm part of a team.

So here's hoping working, and a few genuine facts about The Tower.

- The story will span approximately five manga-style volumes.
- We have approximately four scenes "in the can" from book one, and a few more with strong plans
- All of the lead and major supporting characters have been exhaustively worked on in terms of personality and motivation.
- Story work meetings are happening every other day for a minimum of one hour, though usually longer.

Just thought you might want to know.

PS: Today's top pic, #100 is from one of the early scenes in The Tower.


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