Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Revisiting a Patchwork Planet and a Modern Day Flash Gordon

This week we took a whole new direction with www.adventuresinpulp.com with the debut of "Jigsaw World." Originally our intent for "Season One" of the website was four experimental short stories ranging from 12-14 pages each. After three of our four tales wrapped, ("Dick Ruby and the Case of the Little Green Men," "Hawk and a Handsaw," and "Four Horsemen") we hit a decision point. With a big project looming and the pressure of the weekly pace mounting, we decided to launch our first full length tale. Jigsaw World was originally intended to be an ongoing mature readers PRINT series. Matt and I worked up a full issue and spent the better part of the last year shopping it around to various publishers and editors. The general idea was modern era "Flash Gordon," except our hero would travel a planet Earth pieced together from alternate reality Earths instead of the worlds of Mongo. We are really proud of the book and love the idea of doing the story long term. We just were not ready to let it go. If it had been picked up by a publisher, my plan was to do 4 to 6 issue story arcs until we told the story we wanted to tell. While it was ongoing, I did have the ending planned but,sales willing, it would be far on down the road. The first story arc (titled "A Brave New World") would run four issues (or chapters) and set up the series run by introducing the world, characters and ticking clock. So here we are: A concept and characters we deeply believe in and a website that is constantly up against a deadline. Let's face it, it doesn't take a genius to do that math.

But we have "format" problems to overcome.

Technically: Our web creations were, of course, set up horizontally to fit 16x9 widescreen HD monitors and screens. "Jigsaw World" was set up to be a standard vertical print book. Testing it, we discovered it still looked good, but format was not limited to image.

Structure: With our short stories, I wrote each page to be a stand alone sequence usually ending with a cliffhanger. But with a print book, pages are part of a scene and sometimes a sentence that begins on one page will finish on another. A week is a long time if pages break like that. Format also applies to...

Tone: This was a "mature reader" book, really hard R and Adventures in Pulp was an all-ages site (not a kid's comic site but appropriate for everyone) that might be considered PG at worst. The first arc was not an issue, I could tone down the language and violence. Later on some creative measures may have to be taken if I don't want to compromise the overall story.

We're gambling (and hoping) our readers will be patient and flexible with the changes and give the tale a try even if the flow is a little off. Chapter One will go 22 pages over 22 weeks. At that point we will come back and do our fourth short story, the 12 page "Ashes of the Immortals." Once that has wrapped, we will continue with Chapter Two of "Jigsaw World." We have several other ideas (and completed scripts) kicking back and forth, so I have no idea if we will continue to alternate between other tales and remaining two chapters of "Jigsaw World" or simply finish the third and fourth chapters so we can at least have the "pilot" story arc completed for the world to see.

In a little over a week (on Aug. 2nd) Matt and I will be attending RobCon in Bristol, TN and we will have RobCon exclusive B&W copies of the "mature readers" draft of "Jigsaw World" (pictured) as well as copies of our "flip" book that is a print version of "Dick Ruby and the Case of the Little Green Men" and "Hawk and a Handsaw."  (ok truth in advertising we did have some copies of our RobCon exclusive at HeroesCon recently - don't hate us.)

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