Archive for October, 2010

National Novel Writing Month Approaches Again

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Once again Nanowrimo approaches … every November, a collection of insane people around the Earth get together to write 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days. I usually tweak the rules and write 50,000 MORE words on top of some seed of a few thousand words I’ve already started. This year, I’m doing Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, what I hope is a twist on the steampunk mythos:

Xenotaur on Nanowrimo.org
Synopsis: Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine

On an alternate Earth, the feminist revolution started a century early, technological progress doubled … and Mary Shelley’s granddaughter Jeremiah Willstone is an adventurer defending the world in a flying airship! She’s used to fighting off monsters with nothing more than goggles, an electric gun and the advice of a half-human computer, but what will she do when her own uncle changes the rules of the game … with a Clockwork Time Machine?

Excerpt: Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine

Lightning gouged a chunk of the wainscoting an inch from Jeremiah Willstone’s head and she hurled herself back, bumping down the stairs on her tailcoat, firing both Kathodenstrahls again and again until the doorpanels were blasted into sparks and splinters.

Her shoulders hit the landing hard enough to rattle her teeth, but Jeremiah didn’t lose her grip: she just kept both guns trained on the cracked door, watching foxfire shimmer off its hinges and knobs. The crackling green tracers crept around the frame, and with horror she realized the door was reinforced with iron bands. She’d intended to blast the thing apart and deny her enemy cover, but had just created more arrowholes for him-or-her to shoot from.

As the foxfire dissipated, the crackling continued, and her eyes flicked aside to see sparks escaping the broken glass of her left Kathodenstrahl’s vacuum tubes. Its thermionics were shot, and she tossed it aside with a curse and checked the charge canister on her remaining gun. The little brass bead was hovering between three and four notches. Briefly she thought of swapping canisters, but a slight creak upstairs refocused her attention.

No. You only need three shots. Keep them pinned, wait for reinforcements.

Like last year, I donated to help keep Nanowrimo running, and if it’s helped you you should think about it as well. If that’s not in your budget, try setting up or joining a local Nanowrimo group. I participate in the South Bay Nanowrimo group, and I’m trying to organize one at the Search Engine That Starts With A G if I can get enough people to participate.

Happy writing!
-the Centaur

A noble failure

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Well, it was a noble failure, but a failure it was. I had indeed not overcome my food poisoning, not that I threw up or anything but I indeed got gurgly. During Page 7, I started having sleep microbursts during my crosshatching. And finally, as I was recovering from gurgle and looking at Page 8, I realized it was even more complicated than the previous page, and flipping through the remainder realized I needed to finish each page in ten to twenty minutes … and I was taking forty five minutes per page. There was no way to make it.

So that was it. Took a brief nap, freshened up, and started packing it up. What a fantastic experience. I have a complete 24 page story roughed out, 7 inked pages, and a lot more learning under my belt. Two of the five people who were at our site look like they are going to finish. Oh well … next year! Ad comika!

-the Centaur

The Halfway Point

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

What you see is Page 24 of my rough layouts – THE HALFWAY POINT: On time, on schedule. 24 roughed up pages complete. For those who don’t know my process, the act of putting together a comic

  • begins with some scribbled sketches and notes
  • continues with 24 tiny scribbled panels all one page
  • continues with 24 super rough letter size (actually 9×12, what I had on me) pages
  • continues with 24 “detail roughs” on larger (10×14, what I had on me) pages
  • then I pull out the lightbox and the vellum and trace each page over and over itself until it looks good

Normally I’d scan those pages and screw around a lot with Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter and Xara, but screw that. This time I’m inking, lettering, drawing panel borders by hand. No time. No time. To help me along, these are the tools of the trade, my crutches, and my models … that and Google Images.

We’re doing this at Noisebridge in San Francisco, a great shared hacker space I should blog. Later. It’s their second, or third, birthday. Huge loud distracting party. I’ve met quite a few friends from The Search Engine That Starts With A G. I’ve explained 24 hour comics day like 24 times. More on that … later. Here’s another hardworking comicker:

Here’s Nathan Vargas, who shanghaied me into this:

And here I am, from a few hours ago, looking a lot fresher than I do now.

And this is me closing the laptop and getting back to work.

Out of time to blog. Page 1 of the roughs becomes a real page now. See you in 12.

-the Centaur

24 Hour Comic Day Begins

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

SO once again I’m participating in 24 hour comics day, the insane attempt to complete a new 24 page comic from scratch in 24 hours. Add to that that I’ve gotten less than 8 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours because of food poisoning, fully expect the food poisoning to kick back in in about 12 hours, and the fact I need to go back to my church and set up some tables, I think this is more likely going to be a 4 hour comics day. :-(

However, I’m not going to bail too early: my buddy Nathan Vargas has shanghaied me up to Noisebridge in San Francisco, a great shared hacker space you can see below. So here goes nothing! TRANSNEWTONIAN OVERDRIVE: The Front begins now…