Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Projects: Finish the Spanner Edit, Write Book 0, and Get Published

The holiday season was my excuse to slack off from editing and writing at the end of 2013. The combination of a Blu-Ray player and a new widescreen TV didn't help. That's over now. I've had my year-end vacation. It's back to work. And the muse is obliging with the craziest story ideas I've had in a long time:
  1. The entire plot to Spanner Book 0, complete with new title ("Banned in Japan"). Now it begins with a Yakuza-Triad war interrupted by a certain masked prankster and graffiti tagger who goes by the handle Spanner, and ends with a political crisis that may end in a devastating war between an increasingly fascist Japan and Chinese Communist Party (Holdings) Limited.
  2. A new graphic novel idea incorporating the "Blake Island incident" repeatedly referred to in Spanner Book 1, and which takes up one night during the time period of Spanner Book 0. On the night of July 14 this year, Jennifer will kill 52 hitmen, mercenaries, and serial killers. Now I know how it begins: with her and some far more broken female former child soldiers robbing the Seattle Triad (under flashy young boss Ringo Wing) of money, sex slaves, and a snuff pornographer who resembles an infamous web cartoonist, as dozens of disposable gangsters die John Woo style (I ask myself the question: how would Lone Wolf and Cub artist Goseki Kojima do a "heroic bloodshed" shootout?). Because it's so action-oriented, it will not be called "The Jennifer Theory"; I'll have to find yet another new story to match that title.
  3. Three final tweaks to Spanner Chapter 1 (Jennifer's "Red Baron name" changed from Blonde Phantom to White Phantom; Shira kicking Johnny-Johnny in "his nonexistent manhood" to begin a recurring motif linked to the Blake Island incident and ending in Chapter 11; and a rewrite of the fourth flashback) and such a complete overhaul of Chapter 2 R5 that I'm even switching the positions of 2.2 and 2.3 to avoid pointless time reversals.
Getting that graphic novel off the ground necessitates, of course, that I start drawing again and actually improve my skills so I can actually draw real comics. I decided I'll even throw in a "comic within a comic", of the bad-webcomic kind, which I'll draw in the inferior style I abandoned in 1999, when I stopped trying to ape Masamune Shirow (and failing) and began developing my more recent Clamp-influenced style, which I'm now modifying in a more Takeshi Obata direction that allows me to incorporate more of my "school of Alex Raymond" influences: Neal Adams, Ryoichi Ikegami, Tony Wong, and Raymond himself (with elements taken from Will Eisner and midperiod Frank Miller).

Meanwhile, I'm going to get one non-Spanner novel published this year. In March, during NaNoEdMo, I'm going to pick one previous NaNoWriMo novel and edit it to as close to publication quality as I can in one month. I have four options: Bad Company from 2007, Black Science from 2008, Dirty Pop from 2009, and Freefall from 2013. Once I feel it's ready for release, I'll publish it online. Thus, after 25 years of practice and planning, I will become a published author at last. Then in April, now that Script Frenzy is dead, I'll throw myself into NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) the way I do FAWM. To be a NaPoWriMo winner, you must write a poem a day for 30 days. I'll do my usual stuff inspired by the Surrealists and Beats, of course, but I'll also make my first attempts at traditional forms such as the sonnet, ode, and villanelle.

Above all, 2014 will be the year I complete the final edit of Spanner Book 1. Last year it took me 5 whole months to edit Chapter 1. One reason is that I completely changed certain older story elements (e.g. removing Hope and Karen and replacing them with Elle and new character Rico) and threw in new ones (e.g. the propaganda-video opening). I will not spend that much time on any later chapter, no matter how much I change it, not even Chapter 2 which I'm radically overhauling. Books 0, 1, and 2 are set this year, so I plan to get at least Book 1 published this year, Book 0 if I can squeeze it in.

And so it begins again...

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