Moving on… What’s next?

Well, after my rambling reflection about my history with laptop computers, which was meant to convince me it was okay to buy a new one, I decided to stick it out with the old Vaio for as long as she’ll hold out.

Don’t worry, she’ll hold together (Hear me, baby? Hold together.)

But it’s understandable that I would be looking for a symbolic new start, because I’m at a point now of transition.

For one thing, Kenzer and Company have decided to stop my comic strip, Fuzzy Knights. Some of you might not know of this strip. Basically it was like Toy Story with more adult humour, centered around roleplaying games, using photographs instead of drawings. It ran in KODT for over fifty issues – more than a third of all their issues. Online it lasted for five years – I started it back when I was teaching in Japan.

While I never made a lot of money from it (but I did make money, on top of a hell of a lot of store credit) it was an enjoyable experience, and more importantly, I taught myself a lot about storytelling during that first great story arc. I had written books and short stories before this, but few, so few of them really gelled together the way they should. This time I built things from the ground up and it worked. In fact, I don’t think my novel The Professional Tourist would have been nearly as good if I hadn’t done Fuzzy Knights first. This, along with reading and re-reading Stephen King’s novel “On Writing,” taught me a lot about the craft of writing. I received a lot of positive feedback and criticism, and it certainly boosted my ego, giving me more confidence than I ever had before. Hell, when you can boast that your comic was Gary Gygax’s – the Godfather of Gaming’s – favorite, you have something to be proud of.

But a year after we moved to England the wind went out of my sails for almost two years. Not just me, but Gill as well. We both hit a major funk – crappy jobs, small apartment, and a general gray cloud that stressed us both out, though we tried not to let it show. This was after I had finished the first draft of The Professional Tourist (and enjoyed every minute of it) and the edits and rejections were taking their toll on me. Gillian’s job at Elmen Wall was killing her by inches, I felt completely incompetent working as a personal assistant (doing a variety of rolls in three different businesses) and at times we were both pretty miserable. Not with each other, mind you, but just with our situation. This took its toll on the comic. At first I stalled for time by doing only game related stories using the recycled stock footage I had accumulated. After that I did what is generally the kiss of death for any webcomic – I went into reruns.

After we moved in with Manny and Yutong in Camberwell, things began to turn around. A larger apartment, better job and closer commute for Gill, finally getting an agent, more socializing with friends, this all helped make me feel like it was worth going back to Fuzzy Knights. Of course, by now the damage had already been done and I had lost a big chunk of my readership. I tried to publicize and let people know all new material was up, but it wasn’t enough.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. I hate to leave things half finished, and I was just over halfway through my current storyline when the call (well, email) came. This was also just before my wedding, and at a point when I was really getting psyched about making the comic again. Bit of a kick in the teeth, that (not that it was intentional on K&C’s part, they’ve been nothing but great to me!)

So it’s over. It leaves a very awkward void in my life, truth be told. Even when I was in repeats I still had to reformat the panels every week, so it was never far away from my mind. When I was having writers block there was always FK to fall back on, something to tinker at or delve deep into depending on my mood.

Now add onto that the fact that The Professional Tourist is more or less out of my hands now. Pollinger Limited is doing their best to get me a publishing deal, which is great. But until there is a contract to sign or conditions to discuss, there is pretty much nothing for me to do there, either. Tourist was also something I would go back to time and time again to tinker with.

In short, I’m mighty fidgety right now.

I don’t have the slightest clue what to do next.

I could try writing another novel. Hayley thinks it’s too early to think about a sequel to Tourist, and she doesn’t think another story idea I had has the potential to work out for a full novel (I disagree with her on this and might go ahead and do it anyway). I also have a novel I had started a couple years back, got about seven chapters in and gave up on. I reckon I could have a fresh look at that. Other than that, I don’t have much in the way of ideas for novels.

For some strange reason I’m completely blanking out on short stories as well. Usually this isn’t a problem for me, but for some reason the ideas aren’t coming. I think I’m too focused on what the next big project should be, so anything little is tossed to the side.

National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up in November. I did it a couple years ago and it was fun, like a marathon for writers. Trying to write a 50,000 word novel in 1 month? Not easy. Of course, it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even good. It’s about quantity, not quality. The challenge is to drive yourself for a full month writing 1,666 words every day. I may do it again this year.

Part of me wonders whether I should take up drawing again. Maybe draw a new cartoon instead of using photos, start something new that way? My drawing skills are far from good and you probably need binoculars to see it from adequate. But still, it could be fun.

Oh well, I’ll figure out something to do…

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