Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ashes of Experimentation Requires Praying for a Phoenix

Our fourth short story (fifth over all) for Adventures In Pulp, titled Ashes of the Immortals, is scheduled to launch Tuesday, and boy, is it going to be a little different.

I have often said that, as a writer, Adventures In Pulp was a big opportunity for me to experiment with form and style. Up until now my method of writing has remained the same since all of the stories have been full script mode. Our Ashes of the Immortals short story is going a different route. With Dick Ruby and the Case of the Little Green Men, Hawk and a Handsaw, and even our long form story Jigsaw World, I created each one and gave Matt a full script. When we did Four Horsemen, Matt and I developed the characters together, then I went off and plotted and provided a full script. The plan with Ashes of the Immortals is going to take a alternative approach. Matt came up with the idea for Ashes of the Immortals; I took that idea  and developed the characters and plotted the story and provided him with an outline that laid out the story beats. The outline ran about a paragraph per page. A few weeks ago Matt started drawing the pages from the outline and I will go back and script the text based on his images.

The Marvelous Stan the Man
I know this sounds a lot like the old “Marvel Way” of doing comics. Truthfully, no one actually does that anymore (except may be Eric Larson on Savage Dragon). It became known as the “Marvel Way” because it was pioneered by the great Stan Lee.  However, few know it was only born out of necessity. He was writing almost everything they had at the time, and just didn’t have enough hours in the day to do full scripts. We thought it would be a fun experiment. I mean, come on, if you are a comic book writer and you are going to copy anyone, who better than Stan "The Man" Lee? But, best laid plans...

The hammer fell, and Matt got clobbered with outside work (you did pick up the Army of Darkness 1992.1 oneshot, right?). Our original intent was that we would have Ashes of the Immortals completely ready by the time Jigsaw World wrapped Chapter One so I would have the whole 12 page story to script in a single shot.

Didn’t happen.

That mad genius in the window - Harlan Ellison.
Instead I may be doing it the “Harlan Way.” I’ll be scripting as Matt does the pages. I call this the “Harlan Way,” because it reminds me of a thing Harlan Ellison used to do. He would do a personal appearance at a book store and would bring his typewriter (usually positioned the front store window) and write a story while fans watched. As he finished each page, it would be put up in the window for all to see. No revisions. No edits. No tweaks. No backs-ies. That’s a stressful way to write. He made it look easy, but then he is a true master and genius. He loved the challenge. Out of necessity I may be embracing the challenge. 

Our grand experiment just got a little more grand and a little more experimental.

Wish me luck.

(Update: 7/26: The story as been finished for a few weeks so if you want to read it here: Ashes of the Immortals or you can read my writer's commentary go here: Steampulp: Pulpy Sci-Fi...)

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