Thursday, August 8, 2019

Folklore Thursday: The Wild Hunt

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Folklore Thursday.

Today we travel to Europe exploring another one of its legendary histories. The Wild Hunt.

*The Wild Hunt is a folklore motif that historically occurs in European folklore, typically involve a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit. The hunters may be either elves, fairies, or the dead.

*In according to legends, the Wild Hunt has had many different leaders. Most notable ones are Odin or Woton, Berchta, Arthur, and Gywn ap Nudd. Others names are biblical figures such as Cain, Herod, Gabriel, or the Devil.

AsgĂ„rdsreien [The Wild Hunt of Odin] (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo
  *Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, death to those who witness the Hunt. *Experts in conclusion to the body of the lore surrounding the Wild Hunt finds a number of themes that connect powerfully to the dead and the underworld.

That's a wrap for this week's folklore exploration, friends! Tune in next week!

*Source(s): Wikipedia/Wild Hunt
*Encyclopedia Mythica

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Folklore Thursday: Basilisk

And we're back with this week's Folklore Thursday.

Today we explore one of the most vicious and terrifying serpents in legends, the basilisk!

*In European legends, a basilisk is mythical beast reputed to be a serpent king, which is a hybrid from a rooster and a serpent. A single glance from the beast can cause death. Other accounts say that it leaves deadly poison in its wake and spits venom. *Another name for the basilisk is a cockatrice.

*The Naturalis Historia of Piny the Elder says the basilisk can be killed by the odor of the weasel, which according to Piny, was thrown into the basilisk's hole, recognizable because of the surrounding shrubs and grass was scorched by its presence.

And that's it for this week's folklore figure on this Thursday, friends. Until next time!

*Source(s): Wikipedia & Encyclopedia Mythica

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Folklore Thursday: Kelpie

Happy Thursday all folklore aficionados!

Welcome to my latest edition of Folklore Thursday! Each week I will give the rundown on the legendary, the weird, and the scary.

Today, we're exploring the Scottish parts of mythology with...the kelpie!

*In according to Encyclopedia Mythica, the kelpie is a water spirit that lurks in rivers and streams. It usually assumes the form of a black horse and entices people to mount it. Then rushes off to its watery lair taking the victim with it. Another account says they have the power to assume human form while keeping its hooves.

The kelpie can also cause swelling torrents, and may come out night after night to a farm to cause fear and annoyance. *In the past, human sacrifices were made to appease water gods and spirits. In time, this practice lead people to believe in the notion of evil water horses. However, the kelpie has been told in a positive light as saviors of drowning children. In some instance kelpies bear a warning to young women about handsome strangers.

So now you know about the kelpie.

Be there next week as we explore more folklore extravaganza!

*Encyclopedia Mythica

*Riding the Seas: The Kelpies and Other Fascinating Water Horses in Myth and Legend. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Comic Book 101

I know that are those who are unfamiliar with writing for comic books and graphic novels. So I'm bringing forth knowledge on the craft. First, we'll begin with formats.
*Full Script-This gives the artist and editor the entire story descriptions of scenes, dialogue, sound effects. Character dialogue is written in all caps. Action descriptions of characters and setting are described in each panel up to several paragraphs or less. Plus, each page should start fresh on another piece of paper with a notion of how many panels. Another thing to take heed are the modifiers.
  • OP=Off panel.
  • Thought=dialogue in a word balloon.
  • Whisper=dialogue lettered in a whisper balloon.
  • SFX=Sound effects.
  • Cap=dialogue written in captions.

*Marvel Script- Also know as the Plot Script. This particular style was created by Stan Lee in the 1960's. With this format, the writer breaks down the story and for each page you describe the action and situations that's wished to be represented within the artwork. Panel breakdowns are suggested or given and more or less dialogue is required.
*Now that we got that covered, we now move to the word balloons. When writing word balloons in the comic script, they are formatted in different formats such as italics and bold.
  • Word balloon for "punch"= italics. Applies to an irritated character. 
  • Express yelling= Dark type. Comes in handy when a character is yelling at another character.
  • Anger= italics and boldface. Bruce Banner will tell you that one.
  • White Area= dropping point size letters. This one occurs when a character's speaking in a strangled voice.
  • Thought balloon= puffy cloud. For those who've read comics of days past, you know how characters don't want say something out loud, so the dialogue goes in that balloon. Sadly, no one uses them anymore.
  • Illegal Immigrant Effect= Anyone falling into a time portal? The Punisher throwing a hoodlum out the window? Words emerging from the balloon border indicates that a character is being dragged away, pushed out of a window, or off a cliff. In the case of The Punisher, sometimes firearms won't cut it when "punishing" the wicked.
  • Attach balloons for conversation= When someone is talking in one panel, attaching one balloon to the next occurs with the following. 1. to convey individual thoughts; 2. to emphasize certain beats; 3. to indicate a measured way of speaking; 4. avoid too many words in a balloon and a massive block type.
  • Stacking balloons= Two or more characters speaking to one another. One balloon is inserted between two others in exchange of dialogue. They run horizontally or vertically.
  • Wavery balloon= Upper/lowercase letters with a "wavery" look makes the speaker talk with much effort. Best use for when a character is drugged or stark-raving-drunk.
  • Burst balloon= Zigzag pattern to indicate shouting, conveying volume and extreme anger. Also referred to as the "static burst" when pointer is to a radio or telephone.
  • Narrative caption= For those who read Spider-Girl, DC Comics' Talon, and Wolverine, this is used for first-person narrative. Of course, Harry Dresden does that since his adventures are blended with magical mayhem and noir themes.
  • Frosted balloon= icicles dripping off the bottom of the balloon to indicate sarcasm. Best for female characters.
  • The whisper= Broken line around balloon to indicate whispering.
  • "Hmmm" balloon= This is new here. Found in manga, or Japanese. A place maker where a character has just received a message, or piece of information but doesn't know how to react.
  • Heart balloon= Word balloon shaped like a heart indicating love affection. Hugh Grant could use that in his movies.
When submitting comic book scripts, stables like DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Top Cow have certain guidelines to follow. Another thing I feel that needed to be addressed is that reading comics and graphic novels plays a part in writing them. Screenplays to start small, if you wish. I recommend that anyone up for the challenge of creating their own super hero or fantasy adventure need to do their homework and pick up books that give insight on this form of writing.
Happy Creations!
*Source: Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David.
*Dave A. Law. "How to Write a Full Script for a Comic Script." Oct. 16, 2001
*Dave A. Law. "How to Format a Comic Script: Part 2." Oct. 30, 2001

Monday, February 25, 2019

Communicating with your Artist

What we got here is a failure to communicate.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)

 No matter how meticulous you are in describing to your artist what you want, you will come to a moment where it feels like that line from Cool Hand Luke-A failure to communicate. When working with an artist on a project be sure to watch what you say.

*According to Peter David a photo or frame of reference can be useful to the illustrator. Photo reference like (Tight shot of the Transamerica Pyramid. Photo reference can be found at the website or a frame of reference such as (You know the stare down between Captain America and the Winter Soldier on the SHIELD helicarrier? That's the intense action I'm aiming for.)

Communication is key when working with an artist; you can give as little to as much information.

Another thing to remember is the reader will never see your script. As a comics writer, only a handful of people in the world will never see your script.

*Comics legend Brain Michael Bendis says your creative team is you and your friend, or someone who you are creatively in sync with, or someone who does everything: full art, coloring, lettering, and all the production work. Bendis also states when working commercially for Marvel or DC, your script will be in the hands of the editor. Comic editors make sure that your script serves its function which is to communicate clear story images, and characters to your artist.

If you work commercially you’ll probably work with someone who’s an inker, colorist, and letterer. The comic script is read by six people: artist, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, and assistant editor.

Screenwriters are similar in the production process. Their work is read by producers and executives, and if filmmakers are lucky enough to go into production, dozens to a couple hundred people will also read the script. They make sure it communicates to the cast and crew.

However Mr. Bendis says every artist has strengths and weaknesses. You must find those things and write to them.

Recalling on communication with the artist, it is a key factor to reach the person through emails and phone calls. Have an open door policy with the team to discuss ideas about the book.

*Over time, you will develop a shorthand with some of your collaborators. Sometimes they develop right away, while the other collaborations can go on for years and the shorthand never really develops. Bendis says it’s because collaborators are developing different voices. As the years pass, you may also find that you are constantly challenging each other in different areas.

In the conclusion of writing for comics and graphic novels, communication builds not just a partnership with collaborators but it builds relationships with them.

Happy Creations!

*Source(s): Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels with Peter David pg. 154

Brian Michael Bendis, Words for Pictures, pg. 73-80

Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Find an Artist

Hello, friends!

I'm back after so much going on in the outside world. I blogged about writer topics like conflict, story set up and comics. Now I'm going to cover a daunting challenge in creating comics...finding an artist for your work.

It's a given that aspiring comic book creators have asked that question when they have completed project. *Luck & persistence are the two factors that play into it, but however, you must be the kind of writer the artist wants to work with.

*Comics' creator Jim Zub suggests that you also have to think like the other side asking "If I were an artist, what would convince me to jump in on the project that's being pitched to me?"

(Remember my post about preparation? This is it!)

There are also four things to keep in mind when seeking out an artist for your comic series or graphic novel.
  • Money
  • Professionalism
  • Search
  • Contact
  • Introduction

Money- If you're independently wealthy and can afford a professional page rate, you can be able to convince a larger number pool of artists to work with you. Freelance artists, even the good ones, go through slow periods. If your money is good they'll take on commissions if they're available. For those who aren't, there's another factor you'll need and that's...

Professionalism- Be presentable and courteous. The pitch should be clear and catchy. Must be willing to work a flexible schedule and be fair with sharing ownership of the final work. Your communication should be straight forward, your ideas should be easy to understand and your attitude should be upbeat and friendly. Story concepts must be tightly written, engaging, and grammar/spell-checked. 

Search- When choosing an artist to represent your work, you have to do your homework on the person. *Mr. Zub states there are far more people who believe they're writers than there are great artists to draw their stories. Online art communities and social media platforms like deviantART, Instagram, Digital Webbing, and comic publisher forums are a place to start as well. There's also Artist's gallery at a convention which can increase your odds of finding one too.

Once you've chosen the artist YOU believe is the perfect one for your project, do some research (art blog, professional background, etc.)

Contact- When contacting the illustrator it helps to be direct with a personal message. Odds are good the person will turn you down, but at least, there's communication and a connection was established which could be helpful later on. According to Zub, a "no" now could be a "yes" down the road.

It's highly recommended to have your letter/email written in advanced, especially the parts about your story concept or yourself, but be sure to include a personalized section about the artist--what you see in their work that appeals to you and why you think they'd be a good fit for your project.

Don't include your written samples or story pitch to the artist in your introduction email because you'd project yourself as demanding or pushy, and you don't want that. It's just a simple introduction. Speaking of which...

Introduction- This is one of a few introduction emails I've written in the past with some modifications.

Dear Jane Doe,

The website deviantART is an online forum for artists of every skill from around the world. Your gallery of various characters, expressions, and style grabbed my attention. Finding more of your art on your Instagram account, I was amazed at your take on characters like Spider-Gwen and Blue Beetle. Your art is dope!

My name is Andrew McQueen and I'm writing a comic book series entitled "Sean McCloud: Telepath" for Dark Horse Comics. Boiled down to its essence, it's a crime solving fantasy series for long-time fans of Jim Butcher, Mark Del Franco, and X-Men. To complete the creative team for the book, I'm looking for comic book artists to collaborate with on the project.

If you'd like to give Sean McCloud a read, I can shoot you an email or a PDF on the scripts if you allow me to have your email address. I'm working on different concepts with different tones and subject matter, but reading Sean McCloud will give you a clear and consice idea how I work.

I don't know what your work slate is at the moment or if you'd be interested in working a creator-owned project, but I wanted to let you know I was blown away by your artistic style, and I would be thrilled to work with you at anytime.

However it goes, keep up with your art.

God bless,

Andrew McQueen

With the way I've set up the email, I'm establishing myself as friendly and considerate. If you have other publishing credentials those are okay to share with the artist. This puts me in the position to connect with the person whether or not they're interested. There's no 100% guarantee my creator-owned project will be published.

Keep in mind that even though you have specific project in mind, it always good to leave the field wide open. If you receive a positive response you can see if they have a particular genre/style they're excited about or you can mention a story concept you want to collaborate with them on.  

The search can be long. It requires patience and persistence. You can send out tons of introduction messages before getting a big "yes" from choice number 75 or so. 

*Mr. Zub points out that the writer/artist relationship is like dating. You have to make a strong first impression and convince the person you have the right qualities to go to the next stage with. Think carefully on how you present yourself and make sure you're an "attractive" creative collaborator.

Once you got a working relationship with the artist, make sure you have a clear agreement in place so everyone knows what's expected of them. Charles Soule lays down the nitty-gritty on the topic here.

And that's how you make contact with a comic book artist.

Special thanks to Jim "Zub" Zubkavich for allowing me to cite his expertise for this blog.

Happy Creations!

*Jim Zub. "How Do I Find An Artist?" October 2012.    

Friday, November 2, 2018

#OctWritingChallenge Final Report!

Hello all Halloween survivors!

Welcome to the #OctWritingChallenge final report!

After all the hours I put in with this WIP/comic script, I would like to say...It's done! Finished the fifth issue of my comic min-series, friends. But first let's take a look at the progress.

Day 22-1 hour & 30 minutes.

Day 23-1 hour

Day 24-No writing

Day 25-1 hour & 45 minutes

Day 26 thru 28-No writing.

Day 29-1 hour

Day 30-1 hour & 8 minutes

Day 31-2,871. The final word count.

The past month was a grueling one here but my peers in the Twitter Monthly Writing Challenge motivated me to see the project through. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be this close to wrapping up my story.

Day 26-28 was hard. The city of Pittsburgh was struck with tragedy when a synagogue was attacked by an active shooter. My heart went out to the Jewish community as I took those days off.

In these these turbulent times it's more important for us as a whole to come together and comfort each other, and begin with the healing process.

That's my writing progress for the month of October, friends. I'll see you soon.