TWO FISTED HOMEOPAPE May/09 - Fistfighting Magpies [of the mind]
A character creation lesson full of fun and creativity.
♫ I applied for a rescue dog,
But if I get you dog,
You're rescuing me ♫
2022 -- bounce.
Took a skip week.
More importantly. Didn’t even think twice about it or beat myself up about it.
Life was full and I could see I wasn’t going to fit this in, so I let it slide. I had a wild amount of marking building up at work [as well as lesson planning] and then there were notes back from my publisher I needed to deal with, so I made some quick choices. Always trying to find workflow and perspective and such.
Ever since Covid, I’m trying to work out how much energy I have in any given day. And the sad answer/result is that I cannot make every hour in every day “do” something. I need to conserve energy, or spend it wisely, and I find that infuriating. I like going 24/7, and I just can’t at the moment. I like using my time to move forward on something at all times, but I’m realising if I push that at the moment, the next day becomes even more exhausting.
The best thing I can say is: at least the things I do need to give my energy to are things I love like writing and family and teaching. I don’t have to suddenly find energy to go outside and fistfight magpies or spend 8 hours a day breaking rocks in the hopes of finding some rare metal for a billionaire’s company. I got it alright, even with recent limitations on my internal wellspring of energy.
Outside of marking - in which students show me they can learn about the world around them through 12 Angry Men - I’ve worked through a new draft of the #1 issue script for this new project. I’ve also cast my eyes over an insanely talented row of artistic talent to consider who we can bring in as the artistic co-creator on this story. It’s an exciting process, and I wish I’d been able to get through it faster.
Rereading the script, I see notes that are awesome, and moments I can tighten up, and I was stoked to get to the end of a scene that’s a real kicker, but I knew I didn’t have that final beat nailed…not yet…and then the line came to me yesterday morning. Those ‘sunshine on your brain’ moments, where something inexplicably just clicks, always make me smile and be thankful for what I’m doing.
Writing is rewriting, and I specifically asked for a project timeline that wasn’t full of arbitrary monthly hurdles, and have been blessed with an awesome publisher/editor/team who agrees, and so I get the time to have these moments and not just whatever spills outta my brain onto the page in between spending a fortnight marking 40,000 words, and 6 hours of presentations, and writing about 20,000 words of my own feedback to the students.
My best stuff is never going to come out just because the clock says it’s time. My coal doesn’t turn into diamonds that way, it just crumbles back into the old dinosaur farts it began life as.
A FISTFUL OF PAIN - coming at your face soon!
Too aggressive? Yeah, probably. I’ll keep working on my launch technique for this book.
This is an old cover for the book. You can actually scope the first 7 pages in the back of HAPPY HILL #3 from Joe Mulvey and Rich Douek, which landed in stores this past week.
I’m insanely excited for this next graphic novella I’ve created with Louie Joyce. It’s one of my best works, and it's some seriously insane levelling up from an artist who was already at the peak of their game, or so I thought. I believe I’ve spoken about him before as the best comic artist in Australia, and I stand by my wild hyperbole, offensive as it might be to other Aussie artists [sorry, gotta sell the sizzle, and if that dumps you into the flames to up the heat, well…feel free to name better Aussie comic writers to show me what for; I could definitely start your list with a few names, and annoyingly Louie would also be found there, ha].
The wheels of progress continue to churn on this book and every moment, every email, every image just makes me giddy that we get to bring this book to life.
I recently got a look at a variant cover by [REDACTED] which is crazy epic. I got a pin up in from a great mate who has the blessing of being my phone’s first new lock screen in like 4 years. I also cast my eye over another pin up from someone who is legitimately one of my favourite modern artists in the world.
It’s not hyperbole to state that this book is shaping up to be one of the most important releases in my life for a multitude of reasons. At this stage, we are looking to launch on Kickstarter around August or so, but Tyler James at ComixTribe is the guy handling that so I’m grateful to have him in my corner.
And here’s a peek at my mate’s pin up, just the top slice:
The Cave Outside Heltrap
A new RPG is landing from me right now - this one is deep Fantasy Stuff - go check out The Cave Outside Heltrap and download it now!
The best connection I can make is that my brain was kinda in deep The Witcher mode when I created this one. A fantasy monster, weird interactions, magic, fun. I’ll say it again, I like this, and loved putting it together. It’s a great creative flex for me just to create, so I hope people dig what it does for their brain.
I ran a session last week for my mates and it was just one long combat session, and yet it was also great story fun in seeing how everyone handled themselves in different ways. It was hectic for me, juggling 4 fairly specific Elven archers, all with different trick arrows, and who would select those arrows based on what was happening in that moment, so I had to get into their heads a little in each moment, but it came together in a really fun way.
PERHAPS YOU'D CARE TO SAMPLE
FRIDAY #5 just dropped - head to Panel Syndicate to buy [or download for free] the latest issue from this Brubaker/Martin masterpiece. I’m loving this comic that’s a young PI crime story and the art is insanely gorgeous and moody.
GRIST FOR THE MILL
Oof, not much in the way of consumption this week. Reading is way, way down to allow brainspace for marking, but in the morning while exercising I’ve been skipping a podcast [saving those for the newer and more extended commute to work] and watching the third season of ATLANTA, and I can report that it is still amazing.
You can watch it for free on the public streaming app for the Aussie channel SBS - you just need to sign in with an account, that’s all. It’s refreshing to not need to pay a monthly sub for some things in life.
I’m constantly amazed by the intelligence behind each episode of this show, and how well each episode feels like a singular narrative engine. This season is more akin to S2 where some episodes are really short stories, and they continue to be about social issues. “The Big Payback” is a fascinating and tense exploration of many conservative worries about “How far do we go with apologies and reparations?” The way this concept is explored is fascinating, and has a really insightful message at the end.
This is a show where I watch it and instantly want to be a better writer. I’d call it one of the best shows of this century. Easily. SBS have a little article that says more than me, check it out.
Be one of the good guys, because there's way too many of the bad.
POST CREDITS SEQUENCE
Roll a Character.
I have a writing task for my class where I get them to ‘roll a character.’ I put up the main 6 character attributes from the D&D character sheet. I quickly explain them, and then we roll d20s to score in these areas.
The areas are: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma.
A 1 is terrible, 10 is average, 20 is exceptional. Then you write a blurb for why they have that score, which builds the character, but also the back story.
I taught this lesson 4 times last week, and it was always fun. Students ask if they can represent Strength as emotional strength. A low score on Dexterity becomes a broken leg because they annoyed someone, due to their low Charisma score.
One aspect of the lesson is live in front of the class I’ll roll 6 random scores and then openly show them my process of creating a character, and a rouch story around them. Each time, I managed to circle my way around an interesting character and a pretty decent story hook around them.
I created a failed high school quarterback who got injured so they take a job as the sports beat journalist years later in hopes of exposing the asshole coach, only to discover more occult concerns about the guy. This was for my Suburban Horror class.
I created a ship captain who was cursed to live for all eternity, but only if he stayed out on the water [that’s what I get for a 20 in Constitution], and so he’s curmugeonly and he never got over lost loves, but then two kids stowaway on his ship and naturally he has to learn to love them as well as protect them from a murderer who is after them. I then openly admitted I didn’t know why someone wanted them dead, but that it would be good to consiuder and figure it out, and then also assumed my captain would need to step onto land to save them, thus sacrificing himself - though we weren’t sure if his curse ended with him just no longer being immortal, or if he dropped dead instantly. I also thought it could be interesting if he’d unknowingly left behind a pregnant wife when he last set sail, and so these were his great-great-great grandkids. All fun things to consider and explore, and use what works.
I created a monster hunter whose family were all killed when she was a child, and so she was driven to find the items necessary to kill this beast. She was scarred from the attack, which meant she withdrew from society, and she constantly had internal infections from the attack, so she hated people and used her very high Dexterity to be a thief - but I thought she’d need someone to assist with more physical moments, so I introduced her sidekick, and just lazily said, look, it’s The Witcher. But then explained we’d roll that Witcher character to make them something more unique. But overall, this was a character, a back story, a quest, and a sidekick for my Gothic class all in about 10 minutes of rolling and just talking out loud and asking myself questions.
I also rolled a fourth character and for the life of me cannot remember them. Let’s just assume they were awesome, too.
Not only is it a fun activity, but it’s really fun to share the energy and passion of creativity with the class. I really sell my mental process on this one, and I have to admit, the class were fairly hooked on every word I said, and if they can just see that being creative is fun then I’ll call it a win for the day.