Surprisingly, It’s been because I’ve been writing a lot, doing some design work and getting my head around the pros and cons of novel writing. I’ve not given up on comics, as such, but my interests currently lie elsewhere. Mercurial as I can be, I’m sure they’ll figure in my life again at some point but for the moment . . .
Anyway, I have some agent interest and I’ve been asked to write a novel in a subject I know nothing about. My portfolio consisted almost entirely of fantasy/horror/sci-fi and yet . . . I’ve found myself in the weird position of writing a Crime Novel. A Crime Novel. Well, okay, the point of the exercise was to take me out of my comfort zone and into an area that was strictly governed by real world procedures, just to see how I cope with ‘real life’ I suspect. But a crime novel! I only ever read one crime novel before and that was JK Rowling (as Robert Galbraith)’s “Cuckoo’s Calling” from last year. it’s not something I’ve ever really been interested in.
I had a weird time with deciding how the story should go and, because I usually work with the fantastic, tried crow barring a huge supernatural element into the story, having a John Constantine style character investigating a series of murders by someone who though he was a supernatural deity, when in fact he was a gibbering idiot. The Constantine-a-like would defeat the villain with a carefully prepared but totally fake spell that would be so yadda yadda yadda….. y’know what? It got convoluted, contrived and frankly a bit lame. The whole schtick has been done a million times before and often a lot better within John Constantine:Hellblazer.
But there was a germ of an idea there that was worth pursuing. Oddly enough, it required that all the trappings of the supernatural were completely stripped out. Once they had gone, the plot became a lot more apparent and was allowed to breathe and reveal itself to me.
Characters and scenes came quickly, twists and misdirection became second nature. A series of ‘beats’ has been written; way points to the conclusion; chapters from an “autobiography” for the “famous” character in the book have been written and when writing, the characters will sometimes chastise me for not writing in their voices. Writing is weird. And painful.
Comics, I could knock out in a couple of afternoons, knowing that I could rely on the artist to fill in the gaps and flesh out the meagre descriptions I would give them. Having to write everything is a new phenomenon for me. Obviously, having written for radio, magazines and comics and having devised various theatre pieces, I’m no stranger to descriptive writing just . . . not of novel length.
A new experience then?
Kind of exciting huh? 🙂