Tales from the Trenches

I'm sort of in the middle of promo-release day-blog-tour-o-rama fun, so I'm actually out of things to really talk about.

(Which happens when you're guest posting everywhere. Sooner or later you run out of vaguely professional things to say and before you know it you're blogging about what color underwear your characters have on and if they like to butter their corn or any other crazy little detail. And before people ask...yes, Abby wears Hello Kitty undies. Talivar and Ion? Not so much.)

Anyway, things are humming along as per usual, but I did want to make mention that Sad Sausage Dogs is now officially up and running. My first comic, Fox & Willow should be going live in the next month or so. As an aside, I get a lot of questions on how I hooked up with my artist. (Aimo).

In a vaguely appropriate twist given some of the literary news this week, I can honestly say it was fanfic. Now, I'm not going to get on my soapbox about fanfic in general in this post. It is what it is and people like it or they don't. I'm not always fond of it myself, but in this case it did serve a purpose - namely to find out if she and I could work together.

See, the thing is, I've done the co-writing thing before...and when it works, it's lovely. But sometimes it doesn't work. And I've never written for a comic before and to ask someone to commit to a project when neither of you is completely certain of how the other one works in a co-project is an awful big step. One thing maybe if you're BFFs or crit partners, but for me it was a new medium AND a new creative personality to work with.

And I didn't want to screw it up. Not the project and certainly not the friendship. (I've had that happen before too and it just sucks.)

So one of the things I decided to do was write up a bit of fanfic for her. We're both big Bioware gamers, we both love Dragon Age... and she draws enough fanart of some of her characters that I felt fairly comfortable trying to turn that into prose. Basically, I wanted to know if I could capture *her* concepts into words...and in return, she then converted some of my scenes into images. (And some of them are nicely pervy and smutty, on both counts. Let me tell you how awesome it is to get pervy sketches texted to my phone in the middle of work meetings. ;-) It's a fabulous way to stay awake, anyway. Yes, the fanfic is out there on the web - it's probably not all that great as far as fanfic goes, but it served well enough for our purposes.)

Digression aside, fanfic worked nicely here because it was neutral. We both knew the world creatively, so there wasn't much of a worldbuilding or character creation learning curve. In some ways it was almost a plug-and-play creative scenario - quick and dirty -  but it gave her a chance to see how I work - the way I draft, the way I edit and clean-up my prose and just my overall mindset. Can we stay on the same wavelength? Do we have wildly varying ideas, or can we come up with a goal and head toward that? (Because honestly, if you can't manage to work well on something you both really love? It's probably not going to work out well on an original piece if things start to falter. But that's just my two cents.)

The same went for her - I got to see her panel concepts for my scenes and how she turns my words into pictures and expressions and details of a more visual nature.

Thus far? We work together really, really well. It's been an amazing few months (creative honeymoon, I suppose) as we sorted out the type of story we wanted to tell and how we wanted to go about telling it.  I figure out the scenes and the dialogue and write down the bones of the scenes and she fleshes them out.

I can't wait to share it. :)


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