I'd be lying if I said I didn’t feel it at the moment.
If you've been reading this blog long enough, you may remember an entry where I talked about the apprehension of publication, the fear of whatever you do isn't going to be good enough because it's held to this invisible standard that you can never reach.
The reason this has come up now is because I've been so busy of late, I barely even realised that so much of my stuff is actually close to public consumption, which is mostly due to the good news I mentioned in the last entry.
Bad Luck Inc. is already out in Tales From the Plex Vol 2 – something I imagine a few of you may have read by the time I publish this. Scary.
But there's a fair few bits that you may not know about.
First up. Again, long time blog readers will have read some samples of this already, but my novelette, Primes: Bad Blood, passed the quality entry barrier and was accepted into a short fiction competition last month, being held at Rusty Axe (http://www.rustyaxe.com/writing_contest_entries.php). Surprisingly, only 8 stories managed to be admitted – could be that not many people entered. But either way, it's there and judging starts this week, where samples of each story will be shown to the public and whittled down through popularity. Final prize is $216, but really that's quite academic; I'm just damn curious as to how Bad Blood will be received. In any case, if you like what you read, I'd be happy to have your support. Not sure what the format will be, but I'll likely post about it when my week of judging is open. I'm mostly expecting to be a first round casualty, but it's nice to know it qualified at all I guess.
Secondly, the ink has now dried on my second contract and I can publicly divulge that I've been signed up for another comic book series. It's under the same company that signed me up for the first series, and I've only just finished the first issue script, but I'm REALLY happy for obvious reasons. And the concept itself is quite novel, certainly more original than many other concepts I've seen in a while. While I cant really say much about it right now (contract!) the project is very exciting to work on and I'm pretty hyped with how the first issue turned out in script form. Hopefully this time next year I'll be showing you the finished article.
Thirdly, that first series I just previously mentioned, which is also shrouded in secrecy. Well, I've been writing it for over half a year now and after a shaky start I think I've found my feet. To be honest, I've written so many scripts for the series now it's part of my usual work routine- so I was VERY surprised to suddenly find my editor/publisher send me half of the first issue FULLY DRAWN to my inbox this week. Apparently the artist (cant name him yet, sorry) should have the whole issue done very soon before starting the next. And he's superb. Really freaking good. I wish I could show you his stuff, especially a couple pages that are really eye popping – quite literally in one case.
Now I've been sweating about this project for a while, as some of you may know – various reasons. But to see the drawn pages for the first time, the characters I've spent nearly a year creating and 'living' with, suddenly get faces, watching everything come to life… man, I think I went crazy for about 2 hours in disbelief. Really amazing stuff. There's always a great feeling when you see your script be 'translated' into physical visual form, but given this is my first ongoing series and all the pressure, research, stress and so on, seeing these pages… it hit me:
This is really happening.
Not to say it all cant fall through at any given moment – it's at the publisher's discretion once the product changes hands because they buy and subsequently own the property, but it's penciled, due to be inked and coloured soon and then lettered, printed, then finito. Done. Ready to be put on shelves. For potentially thousands to read.
Yup, that would be the fear thing I was talking about.
But still, the project is going full steam ahead now, which offers a stark contrast to last year which had me sitting around telling people the publisher would never hire me based off my script and plot sample. Crazy.
Now that this project is well and truly off the ground, I'm really hoping the second one I'm signed to gets running too (because that one is likely to stir the biggest reactions from people and has some spectacular -if I do say so myself ;) – action sequences in that had me consulting some of my favourite movies and books for inspiration). But either way, it's a great feeling (when I'm not worried about the reception) to have my fiction career dream actually stop being… well, fiction.
Last, but far from being least – I've recently been hand picked for another project for another publisher, which was a wonderful feeling to say the least. We've spent the last week tossing ideas around, talking about schedules and generally getting all excited about the whole thing, with even some concept sketches being drawn up (the artist I'm teamed with is brilliant and so so fast). Very early days to go into specifics right now on record, but it's something that will be on a fairly fast track of creation, so I'll be talking about it again soon enough. It's all been very sudden but needless to say if you thought I was pimping Tales from the Plex Vol 2 hard, you ain't seen nothing yet ;)
So yeah, lots of things going on right now that I had no idea would happen barely a month ago. No doubt this time next year I'll be lamenting what I could have done to spare the inevitable criticism slings and arrows, but I cant help but feel good that after two years of transition (a relatively short time, thankfully), things are moving in the right direction for once.
So: Fear is healthy.
Fear makes me want to do better.
And ultimately, if it's a choice between the fear of public failure to reach my dreams and goals or just giving them up and not having to deal with the fear...
...then screw it – bring on the degradation.
(Hell, I've been a little known games journo/writer for over half a decade and had to put up with public libel being fired at me from all sorts of readers; I should be used to it by now…)