Friday, October 26, 2012

Ashcan Update

The Ashcans have all been mailed.

Since this is the USPS we're talking about, I can't say exactly when they will get to you. My guess would be mostly next week for US people, longer for foreign folks, and some will inexplicably get them today or six weeks from now.

But if you live in the US and haven't gotten yours by, say, November 9th, shoot me an email about it and we'll see if there's anything we can do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heinlein's Rules of Writing

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

And if you don't know who Robert Heinlein is, may God have mercy on your soul.

I mention these because I think there's a lot of useful stuff in there, even for comic writers. One thing to note is that these say zero about story. They're not meant to; they're about being a productive professional writer.

My thoughts:

1. You must write.

I'm pretty sure you're making a no shit face, if not actually saying it. But, you know, there are a LOT of people who want to be writers who never get around to actually writing anything. Which is fine, generally, but not actually doing the thing you want to do is not generally a recipe for success.

I would note this also, unfortunately, applies to published professional writers. I am writing this to get myself warmed up for the paying work. Ass in chair time isn't always easy to make yourself do.

2. You must finish what you write.

And for those who actually do get down to the writing bit, this is the next stumbling point. This includes me. I have something like half a dozen started but far from completion novels in my computer. It may actually be more. I have never finished a novel.

So, you know, this is good advice. If you're trying to break into comics, I recommend writing the first issue of whatever you're going to pitch, and I recommend writing a lot of those. I have ten or so projects trying to be greenlit as I write this, for instance.

But you need to be finishing stuff, too. So always have at least one project that you are working on and finish it and go to the next one. I am currently, for instance, working on Legend (nearly finished) and Savant as my creator owned projects. When I finish those, another of my being pitched projects will slot in. WHich one depends on what gets greenlit or not.

3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.

This tends to be the one that gets the most resistance and, truth be told, I don't entirely agree with it myself. I don't think that the first draft of everything is automatically shit and do believe that there is a certain point when you are flat out not improving things anymore, just changing them.

What you need to do is somewhere in the middle ground, and it will vary from writer to writer as well as from project to project. I rarely rewrite in the sense of going back in and tinkering with things. Usually if I have a successful draft, it's 95% of where it needs to be.

The key phrase there is successful draft. I semifrequently get to the end of a draft, decide it's crap and start over again from the beginning. This is rewriting, yes. But I don't do much in the middle ground version. My general rule of thumb is that if I know how to fix something, I will, but if there's just an overall sense of suck I leave it be. The former is my critical mind working, but the latter is just me being insecure. Not that I don't sometimes suck outlloud - its just that when I can't pinpoint why, it's my brain playing tricks on me.

Having said all that, I'm pretty sure the point here is to avoid that third writerly tendency, which is to keep tinkering with things forever and ever and ever. You're better off, both from a getting published and improving as a writer standpoint, finishing things and moving on to the next thing. So if you've been polishing one thing for a long time, maybe you should apply this rule for a while.

4. You must put the work on the market.

Indeed. Like not writing if you want to write, not pitching (or self pubbing) if you want to be published is generally a poor strategy, unless you're planning on dying and having your mom discover your works of genius and publish them posthumously. Even then, I recommend pitching, because moldering corpses don't have as much fun at cons.

5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

My variation of this would be to not give up on a project (or more importantly, yourself) if you've had a rejection. As anyone who has known me for a while will tell you, I never give up on projects I think have legs. I've been working on bringing two projects to print for at least five years, and it might well be more. So, you know, if you believe in something, keep at it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

NYCC 2012

I'll be there. As will Tradd.

We have a table in Artist's Alley - BB15

I only vaguely know where that is myself, so you're on your own there.

But here's where I'll be, as best I know it, during the con when I'm not at the table. Which is most of the time, it seems.

Justin Jordan NYCC 2012 Schedule

Valiant 6:15 – 7:00 Justin Jordan

Valiant Signing 12:30 – 1:30

Image Signing 1:30-3:00

Valiant Panel 1A08 2:45 – 3:45

Jim Zub Panel 1A14 5:15 – 6:15


DC Panel 1E07  1:30-3:00

Valiant Signing 3:30 – 5:00

Valiant Signing 11:30 – 12:30