I'm the co-founder of ADK MOGUL, a film and writing resource program that provides location and production management for films shooting in the Adirondack region. I'm developing a seasonal journal featuring the best in local student writing.
Currently, we are working with ten small independent movie theaters in the Adirondack Park in helping them transition to digital film and provide alternative and sustaining programming as part of our campaign, Go Digital or Go Dark.
We just released our first short film, The Deal, which was written and directed by my better-half, T J Brearton.
I'm also an English teacher. I wrote my thesis on comics writer Grant Morrison and Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. I'm teaching English at Paul Smith's College and North Country Community College, while assistant coaching the PSC swim team. I may never sleep.
As far as we know, Harper Lee wrote two books in eighty-nine years. Does this mean she wasn’t a writer for most of her lifetime? Give me a break.
The next time you’re about to repeat that handy adage, please give some thought to your fellow writers, who may be struggling or suffering in a multitude of ways. Like most things, this oft-repeated line benefits from some gentle editing.
Writers write whenever they can.
Oh, and if it takes you a year or two or three (or channeling Ms. Lee, several decades) to write 50,000 words instead of a single month? Hold your head up high. Only you get to decide what constitutes a win in your own career.
I’m trying to do a little bit every day, but some days are longer and better than others and I’m getting better at being okay with that. The reason I’m not spending so much time blogging anymore is there’s more expedient, more rewarding writing I’m currently doing. This blog will become a feed for my Instagram and my weekend round up of notes from my reading. Unfollow accordingly.
Inside Facebook, Inc with @jhnbrssndn and @mills. Fascinating discussion and well worth a listen.
On 28 October 2015, Mills Baker, a product designer at Facebook, came to Bournemouth University to talk to students and staff in the Faculty of Media & Communication. Over the course of an hour and forty minutes, Mills and the audience discussed social systems design, privacy, filter bubbles and much, much more.
In a few moments you’ll hear Mills ask the audience to raise their hands in response to a series of questions about their use of Facebook and Snapchat. In each case, most of the audience raised their hands.
Mills Baker was speaking in a personal capacity, and his views do not represent Facebook, Inc.
I recently just went back on Facebook and I quite like Mills’s sentiment on why people only post weddings, babies, and new jobs, and the reason I signed up again is to promote my work. Even though there are photos from my wedding on there. I don’t see that ever changing, but this is a good listen and everyone who writes online should listen to it.
I got this from Ryan K. Lindsay’s newsletter, which is always interesting and filled with deeply personal stories about balancing family life, with writing comics, and his day job. In many ways, I’m finding Lindsay’s words to be very helpful to me especially since I’m a couple of years behind him in what I’m doing with my life, and I’m trying to parse through how he manages to do the things he does and how I might be able to do the same, since I have no intention of quitting my day job as a teacher. Like Gilbert talked about on the Lively Show, I don’t need the anxiety of my creative life being how I make a living, which helps and adds a few things from this link that I need to do a better job maintaining.
Busy people say yes quickly. Productive people say yes slowly: I wish I could say I’m good at this, but I’m not. It’s mostly, because I have this nasty default mechanism to want to be liked and accommodating, and that’s blown up by being a teacher, so often I say yes, but this semester—with my high work load—I’ve had to say no more often. I say it almost twice a day now, and stick to three things that I must accomplish on that day. And sometimes that’s being a good teacher, or a responsible writer, and sometimes that’s just being a good son and husband. Like on Friday, other than teaching classes, I accomplished next to nothing teaching-wise.
Busy people focus on action. Productive people focus on clarity before action. I wish I was better at this, but the truth is I’m an anxious person, and as a male it’s my culturally imposed disposition that when I screw things up I need to hurry up, hurry up, hurry up to fix it before I even stop to think how I screwed something up and how to fix it. What did I even get headspace for if I don’t stop, breath, and fix things.
Busy people talk about how busy they are. Productive people let their results do the talking: Man I wish this was me, every one assumes that I’m very busy—and I am—but still I can’t stop talking about it and make myself more busy than I need to. Like right now, I’m working on blog posts and taking stock of the week. I need to do that to reboot my systems, but I should be grading rough drafts, which considering I’m getting so close to the end of the day, preparing dinner, getting it to the library for dinner tonight, and then I’ll probably crash out. See I can’t help talking about how busy I am rather than getting results.
Busy people talk about how they will change. Productive people are making those changes. This is another area I need to work on. I talk a lot about how I can make changes to things when I’m screwing up (basically all the time—especially in the kitchen and around the house), and those changes aren’t happening. I’m sincerely willing to change, but I still walk around not quite changing behavior. Part of it is seeing the change, and the other side does not know how to change. When I don’t know how to make that change I tend to just stop trying to solve it. Pretty crappy existence. I guess part of my solution is to know that’s my tendency and stop, breath, and adjust.
So this is probably the only blog post I’ll put up all week, because there are higher priorities.
Every Sunday, I type up what I write in my little notebook that I carry around with me–filed with to-do lists, and my notes from the day. Mostly I do it so I can have a searchable document filled with random thoughts that occur to me through the day.
Lately, I’ve been using Todoist for weekly lists/large scale, and alternating between Word or Field Notes notebooks for notes, monthly logs, and future logs. Right now I’m trying the Bullet Journal format so it can all be in one notebook, backed up by Todoist.
Bridge of Spies: I saw this Saturday afternoon in Plattsburgh while on a writer-man-date with T.J. Brearton, one of my best friends and writing-partner-in-crime. You may remember that we formed ADK Mogul when I moved back up here, but we’ve since abandoned it since Tim’s novel writing career has exploded plus the birth of his third child means he doesn’t have much time other than being a family man and a writer. My day job has been expanding every year since I moved back, plus getting married, and my personal writing moving forward I’ve decided to cut down as well. These are all good things. What’s not so good is Tim and I don’t get much time to hang out anymore, which sucks. So we decided to take an afternoon and go to Plattsburgh and just hang out and talk shop. We went to the comic book store, walked around, and then went to this movie. I wanted to see Crimson Peak but was talked out of it and boy was I glad for that.
With a script from Joel and Ethan Coen, directed by the capable and safe Steven Spielberg, this movie was filled with unexplored Cold War territory. Unexplored by me anyway. The movie was fascinating. It follows Tom Hanks as James Donovan, an insurance lawyer asked to represent Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in a trade off between the United States and the USSR in 1957. What was most fascinating was the difference between both sides and what Berlin was like when the wall was being put up. There’s a photo of me somewhere in my parents’ albums of my mother holding me in her arms in front of the Wall in 1984, when I was still a baby. Getting this new perspective makes a cool photo even more interesting, and as a result I quite enjoyed this fascinating film.
Laurenn, her husband, and I once hung out and went to the MET, and here she is interviewing one of my favorite living writers–Michael Chabon. A massive influence, and reason why I started the question: how have comics affected twenty-first century literature? Leaving this here because this is an hour and a half of pure fantastic interviewing.
I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert on various podcasts for a while now, so this is merely a link to something that I haven’t been talking about for a while now. This podcast specifically talked about something I teach. This idea that our inspiration—what our creative outlet is—owes us nothing and to feel like you deserve the results of your creative outlet is completely deluded. The only thing you owe your outlet is to pour yourself directly into it let it be happy. Making it your job just creates anxiety. The only thing that creativity owes you is to exist and make you a whole person, so don’t quit your day job for your creative wants. That’s something I learned the hard way when I was twenty-six, and it’s still something I’m paying for now. That’s why I enjoy writing, but don’t care that it doesn’t make me a living. The practice is its own reward and that’s what Gilbert gets at here. I think I’m definitely going to check out her new book, Big Magic, and probably Eat, Pray, Love, because it’s exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t read and I need to do more of that.
I must count my writing as an essential part of the way in which I deal with life. I am however a rather derivative poet. I learn what i can from whom I can. I borrow heavily from my reading, because I take my reading seriously. It is part of my total experience and i base most of my poetry on my experience. I do not apologize for being derivative…It has not been of primary interest to develop a unique poetic personality, and I rejoice in Eliot’s lovely remark that art is the escape from personality.
I love this. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with writers who consider themselves, or carry themselves as “characters” to distance themselves from their readers, and I’ve always wondered why writers can’t just come off like regular folks.
The key to originality transforms the minus of the handicap into the plus of compensation.
In this episode Charles Soule stops by to talk about his violin!
Topics include topping Charles apologizing to Matt, writing Daredevil, possible B&W on DD(??), doing sooo many books, Kara gushes over Lando, following up Letter 44 with another creator owned book, John Byrne(!), Charles and his music, how does Charles even find time to read I don’t get it, and also what he’s reading.
From the @milkfedcriminalmasterminds‘ newsletter, @kellysue made a note about @joehillsthrills using the Bullet Journal and since I’m a productivity nerd and first year seminar teacher focusing on time management, goal setting, and lifehacking, I thought I would check it out. And now I’m going to start using this for tomorrow since I just ran out of pages in my daybook and have to start a new journal.
Initially, I was worried this would be a little too much like Global Frequency meets Planetary, but I found it very fresh. It’s a story about the collision of the natural and the sciences rooted in the thing that connects all of us now: the Internet. It’s a fascinating, beautiful piece of work, and I loved this last page about the work we do. I read it exclusively digitally, as is my current trend up here in the mountains, and now I’m interested to see how it translates when I pick up the trade.
As part of the NYCC sale, I picked up the trade for TREES vol. 1.
My favorite page from the last issue of Daredevil by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson, Joe Caramagna.
This comic, man, talk about how thoroughly great it was. It’s going to be a hard job for Soule and Garney coming up next, but then again that’s always the case for the next creative team taking over Daredevil. It was a thankless job passing the baton onto Brubaker and Michael Lark after Bendis and Maleev, and now Soule and Garney have a lot to measure up to. It’s not going to be easy. Really, what sunk me into it when I was fading away from it—especially when Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera left—was how deeply Waid explored Matt and Foggy’s relationship. When I got to this page it summed up everything that they were trying to accomplish. It was always about Matt and Foggy’s relationship. What made them friends and partners. Just a great way to end. I’m psyched to see what the team does with Black Widow.
Looking at the page from the new team on Daredevil I have to say there are a few things I’m excited to read about, and I’m not so psyched that it’s back to the dark days of Daredevil. The page that was released gives off a Sin City feel and that’s—in keeping with the character, but it’s a hard turn to go back to after what was consistently my favorite Marvel comic. To be honest, Daredevil has been my consistent favorite Marvel comic for quite a while now, and I’m looking forward to seeing Soule’s take on the character especially with how well he did with the characters in She-Hulk. He sunk up all of the things that make Soule’s work interesting: how his day job and aspects of his day job sync into his devotion to his creative life, and telling an emotional story without it really being about punching things. I’ve noticed, after a lot of reading, that a lot of Soule’s stories—while they have action it’s really only for a plot point maybe it’s one scene. A lot of it is character building. Look at Lando—in four issues there’s been, like, two fight scenes. In Letter 44, action is happening all around it right now, but it doesn’t show that action for more than a couple of pages. I’m excited to see Murdock’s new position as an ADA and his apprentice, Blindspot, as an illegal Chinese immigrant. These are things that Soule did so well in She-Hulk: The job and the supporting characters. While Daredevil is a return to dark Daredevil comics, that I think is hard for me to adjust to, but I think that two-thirds of the comic will be something I’ve not read in a Daredevil comic and that’s cool.
Last weekend I saw Ira Glass perform at the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh, NY, and I have deep respect for the man. He also went on a rant about “Sex while hiking” which came out of nowhere but was hilarious. He wanted to know if Adirondackers do that and was met with a room filled with crickets. There were a number of takeaways:
One, he majored in Semiotics at Brown, which I didn’t know. He talked about S/Z by Roland Barthes and how that book was the connection to the way This American Life organizes their stories. If I had to choose a literary critic I like the most it would be Barthes, but I’m a populist and a crap critic, so feel free to ignore that statement. What Glass said is that every story is structured like a detective story. Doesn’t matter what piece of writing you’re engaging in. Every story plants a question early on—a question, and everything follows is trying to answer that question. A good ending is an anecdote that wraps up the core of the story. All writing does this, and it does it a lot more than just plot. I’ll probably be talking a lot of this sort of thing this week in class—as I’m assigning their final essays and talking about the process of This American Life and how they find many stories that they end up throwing out every week.
Damn, what a life! This book is a kind of a mess structurally and loses a little steam at the end, but it’s incredibly readable, and just a tad smutty at times, which is pretty delightful.
The penultimate spread of the book — pages 382-383 — is my favorite, where Sacks talks about finding love at the end of his life, and his great love, writing. (“The only things I really enjoy are talking… reading and writing.”)
I always keep a notebook by my bedside, for dreams as well as nighttime thoughts, and I try to have one by the swimming pool or the lakeside or the seashore; swimming too is very productive of thoughts which I must write…
Sacks had a “need to think on paper,” and he might’ve agreed with the famous Field Notes saying, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now”:
I rarely look at the journals I have kept for the greater part of a lifetime. The act of writing itself is enough; it serves to clarify my thoughts and feelings. The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing… My journals are not written for others, nor do I usually look at them myself, but they are a special indispensable form of talking to myself.
He said that sometimes when he was swimming he would get relaxed and sometimes whole paragraphs would come into his head, and he would swim to shore and drip all over the legal pad he kept on the table by the lake.
He would also go to concerts and write. When somebody saw him at the hall and asked him about it:
I quoted Nietzsche, who used to write at concerts, too; he loved Bizet and once wrote, “Bizet makes me a better philosopher.” I said I felt that Mozart made me a better neurologist…
He was also a quotation collector:
I often transcribe quotations I like, writing or typing them on pieces of brightly colored paper and pinning them to a bulletin board. When I lived in City Island, my office was full of quotations, bound together with binder rings that I would hang to the curtain rods about my desk.
When he couldn’t write, he wrote letters, and kept a copy of all the letters he received, as well as the copies of his own. When he was in great pain, writing helped: “[t]he concentration involved in writing, I found, was almost as good as the morphine and had no side effects.” Earlier in his life, he would late into the night, what he called “nightcaps.”
Like all great writers, of course, he was a great reader. When he won a 50 pound prize in college, he bought twelve volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary with it. He eventually read the whole dictionary in medical school, and sometimes read volumes of the dictionary in bed.
When his mother died, he said, “I found it impossible to read anything mundane; I could only read the Bible or Donne’s Devotions when I finally went to bed each night.”
I loved this paragraph he wrote in a letter to his parents:
As for the other intangible and incalculable things you have given me, I can only repay these by leading a fairly happy and useful life, keeping in touch with you, and seeing you when I can.
And decided to paraphrase it and save it for my sons:
Today was the deadline to submit a design for the Infinite Jest 20th Anniversary cover contest. This is my submission. I photographed these tennis balls on a tennis court in Phoenix, AZ in late August. It was about 106º at the time, but the heat radiating off the court made it feel like 150º.
Here’s hoping that they publish the other submissions, because I would love to feature them on this page!
I’m excited for this new book. As sad as I am that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s run has come to an end–and we’re returning to what appears like dark, depressing, gruesome Daredevil–I am excited by all of the other prospects Soule mentions that he’s bringing to the book.
Scholar, gentleman, and pal Ben McCool gives great advice here, and it makes me miss him. A fond memory includes the time I tried to sing “A Boy Named Sue” and maybe made a drunken proclamation about a deep desire to write comics. I still live in fear of that night, but Ben is a good friend and I miss him terribly. So in the meantime listen to this good man’s advice.
This week, I was motivated by Landland poster from a My Morning Jacket concert, because I can’t stop listening to their new record. And so I did a pretty slap dash job on this one. It’s not very good–my captions are unclear, the panel descriptions are okay, and I just flubbed this one. I was also pretty busy last week with lots of papers to grade and a huge course load. That just means I should redouble my efforts and do better next week.
Read this last week, and I loved the idea of the Walking Cities and the Steampunkism of this story. I’m not much for Steampunk, but I found this fun, neat, and engaging. In it Ellis talks about doing six more serials set in this city. I would probably read them.
This week I tackled Grendel. I’ve never read the series, but this was fun and it was a kind of exercise in working out some of the buck hunting descriptive essays I’m likely going to get from my students this week.
I just finished reading the second issue this weekend, and I just…LOVE IT. It reminds me of Impulse which hits me right in the fourteen year-old.
I did an exercise in my comics class last week to Archie #1 using McCloud’s descriptions of Panel-to-Panel transitions. What we came to was that a surprising number of pages could be more than one transition. There were a lot of pages that were half scene-to-scene and moment-to-moment, which was pretty neat. Anyway, read this series. It’s honest and real and fantastic.
As some on the site develop sizable and devoted audiences, TeachersPayTeachers.com is fostering the growth of a hybrid profession: teacher-entrepreneur. The phenomenon has even spawned its own neologism: teacherpreneur.
To date, Teacher Synergy, the company behind the site, has paid about $175 million to its teacher-authors, says Adam Freed, the company’s chief executive. The site takes a 15 percent commission on most sales.
A former chief operating officer of Etsy and former director of international product management at Google, Mr. Freed is a veteran of data-driven growth companies. By selling tens of thousands of items, he says, 12 teachers on the site have become millionaires and nearly 300 teachers have earned more than $100,000. On any given day, the site has about 1.7 million lesson plans, quizzes, work sheets, classroom activities and other items available, typically for less than $5. Last month alone, Mr. Freed added, more than one million teachers in the United States downloaded material, including free and fee-based products, from the site.
Wow. Well, that’s one way to cure an adjuncting problem.
I’m such a dweeb for articles like these. And Chris Sims breaks this down so well:
Because that, after all, is what panels are. They’re moments, distinct actions, individual units of storytelling that make up the larger story. But they’re not the only units of storytelling that you get, either. Unless you’re reading on a phone or using Comixology’s Guided View (which the Nine-Panel Grid actually lends itself to very well, since it’s essentially nine panels exactly the size and shape of a phone screen), the page itself is also a distinct unit. Dividing it up lets you extend and manipulate that moment in different ways, and that’s what Omega Men has been doing better than just about anything else.
he top tier focuses on the same shot, breaking it into another set of those brutal, bloody moments, but when the story requires a bigger, more dramatic reveal, it breaks out into larger moments.That’s when you can start to see how adaptable the grid is when it’s being used by creators like King and Bagenda. You get to see new arrangements of panels and how they’re arranged, playing with the ideas that you can get from those sets of columns, tiers and distinct moments, like the way the focus on this page shifts from Talim to Princess Kalista, with the shot of the bowl where she’s washing the blood off her hands — lots of blood in these layouts, now that I’m really looking at them — cutting the page in half.
Reading this also made me think of some other comics I recently read that also use the grid. Notably Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter’s Strongman, aleskot ‘s Material, and I’m going to try the nine panel grid in this week’s script for Thought Balloon.
I’m a recovering alcoholic, haven’t had a drink in almost 27 years, and these days the thought of drinking rarely crosses my mind. Yet when I think about those eight novels by Ms. Tartt and Mr. Franzen — not enough to fill even a quarter of a library bookshelf — I’m reminded of a lunch I had with my wife not too long after I sobered up.
There were two older ladies at a nearby table. They were conversing with great animation over their meals, while their half-finished glasses of white wine stood forgotten in the middle of the table. I felt a strong urge to rise from my place and speak to them. Only that’s not right. I felt an urge to actually hector them. To say, “Why don’t you drink your wine? It’s sitting right there, for Christ’s sake. Some of us can’t drink wine, we don’t have that privilege, but you can, so why the heck don’t you do it?”
The long gaps between books from such gifted writers make me similarly crazy. I understand that each one of us works at a different speed, and has a slightly different process. I understand that these writers are painstaking, wanting each sentence — each word — to carry weight (or, to borrow the title of one of Jonathan Franzen’s finest novels, to have strong motion). I know it’s not laziness, but respect for the work, and I understand from my own work that haste makes waste.
But I also understand that life is short, and that in the end, none of us is prolific. The creative spark dims, and then death puts it out. William Shakespeare, for instance, hasn’t produced a new play for 400 years. That, my friends, is a long dry spell.
It’s hard to argue with this, but as my process has solidified I see a long horizon coming in my writing future. It’s exciting and I hope I never get tired of it.
i had no idea that they made a movie out of A Walk in the Woods, just in time for my freshmen in first year seminar to see it rather than reading the book. And Robert Redford is playing Bryson?!
What do you think of the fact that your home state has such an important role in our presidential politics?
I’m obviously biased here, but I’ve always thought that the Midwest is the most sane and sensible part of the country. And the closer you get to Iowa, the more it becomes that way. I really do sincerely feel that there’s a bedrock decency there. It’s the state’s finest quality.
Does your Iowa accent return when you go back home?
No. I wish it would. If I try to make an Iowa accent, I just end up sounding like Deputy Dawg
I work entirely with Blackwing pencils for a number of reasons. One is it’s very soft lead and, therefore, wears down very quickly, so you can spend a lot of time re-sharpening them, which is a lot easier and more fun than writing. - Stephen Sondheim
ODY-C is a monster that eats pages and pencils in startling amounts. forty-some longhand pages and a pencil to the point i could no longer hold it well. Two overflowing sharpener-trays worth of soft 602 wood. The perfect pencil.
Also I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s the best I could on the 400-page SATELLITE SAM complete collection hardcover tonight and would just like to give a shout out to everyone working in comics production, everyone going bleary-eyed and bent-spined as they stare at InDesign file after InDesign file, making sure the comics actually fucking happen, making sure I’s get dotted, that t’s get crossed, all day, every day, across hundreds and thousands of pages as fancy little shitheads like me say things like “does it have to be italic?” and whine because we just approved 400-pages and they then open up yet ANOTHER .indd file and go through yet ANOTHER 400 pages of whining about italics and checking print bleed guidelines and trapping blacks properly so it all looks so perfect and effortlessly amazing
you folks are goddamn soldiers and without you there’d be no books. so THANK YOU. Also maybe drink some water take and advil and try to sleep a couple hours when you can ‘kay
I’ve been using Palomino’s Blackwing pencils for about a month now, and they are glorious. They were gifted to me for my birthday.
Mostly because of recommendations from others, but also this speech by Clive Thompson, these pencils move as fast as my brain and the cedar smell of the wood the Blackwing is made from smells like old typescript. Takes me back to eighth grade and before my family had a computer and I had to write papers on my dad’s typewriter.
I’m making explorations. I don’t know where they’re going to take me…. I want to map new terrain rather than chart old landmarks… As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory—my own or anyone else’s. As a matter of fact, I’m completely ready to junk any statement I’ve ever made about any subject if events don’t bear me out, or if I discover it isn’t contributing to an understanding of the problem. The better part of my work on media is actually somewhat like a safe-cracker’s. I don’t know what’s inside; maybe it’s nothing. I just sit down and start to work. I grope, I listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences–until the tumblers fall and the doors spring open.
Frank, directed by Lenny Abramson. Written by Jon Ronson, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson.
Well, this was weird, but the music was great. It was an interesting discussion on the nature of creative talent and mental stability. I guess what I’ve been erring towards lately is asking: why do you have to be some kind of weirdo or have some edge to be a creative? Why can’t you just be like anyone else? I don’t know I just don’t buy it. But this music was great.
Yet another reason kellysue is a badass. I’m going to use this in a class, but I’m not sure what just yet…
Our public institutions must exist as collaborations that serve all of our constituencies, while at the same time, focusing on our core, student learning. Too often for my comfort these days, that core is reduced to credentialing, or assessments of dubious value. How did “ROI” become an education buzz phrase anyway? Why is the only return we measure monetary? As a non-revenue-generating entity, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has never been able to pay its contributors, and yet most of them have received value for their contributions. Narrowing education to the qualities and metrics that are most easily measured threaten the values that make education meaningful. Maybe we should be looking at ourselves as incubators, as sources of inspiration, where we introduce students to what’s possible and set them on a path of their own choosing. Maybe that’s more important than credentialing. Maybe this also allows for a much greater return on investment, including in the monetary sense. This does not mean education should be haphazard, or without organization. The reason the McSweeney’s website has been able to succeed over such a long time is because we have developed a process that is consistent with our values and anything we add builds out from that core, rather than compromising it.
I have a note on the inside of my class binder that I fill with handouts, lesson outlines, and other class minutiae. I also leave notes to myself to do exactly this: be an incubator and be a source of inspiration, and to…not swear.
The term bottle episode supposedly comes from Star Trek, where they’d sometimes save money by writing episodes without many extras or new characters set entirely on the Enterprise sets they’d already built. The cast and crew would refer to these as ship-in-a-bottle episodes. As a writer of a bottle episode for comics, you shouldn’t feel limited to existing cast or settings. You just need to come up with scenes that will be less strenuous to draw. Think fewer characters, and put them in settings that won’t require a lot of research or time-consuming detail. This doesn’t have to be less dramatic. Isolating your two leads in their final confrontation at the top of a mountain, or in a dark tunnel is probably a lot more dramatic than having it all take place in a crowded fast food restaurant or in a medical transcription data entry office. Structure it right and a confrontation with a single snow-zombie can be as scarier than fifty of them. If your story absolutely needs a scene that’ll be unusually time-consuming to draw, try to “pay” for it by writing a couple of simpler scenes designed to help keep the project on schedule.
How do you know what’s unusually time-consuming for an artist? Ask them! Communication is almost always the right way to go.
I’m hyper focused on one comic project, and in fact we spend most of our time talking over email or Skype. I haven’t scripted anything yet, because communication is the key.
I don’t really understand how anyone could be a writer and “avoid” any genre. It seems contrary to the very idea of writing, to discovery, to understanding. I read whatever I can, whenever I can. I adore history, but to the extent I haven’t read other things widely, I am the poorer for it.
I’m trying to be better at this, instead of reading books I should be reading, I’m going to pick up books that are out of my personal interests, and learn from them. I’m going to read a book about homesteading, and composting. Crazy, right?