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What news of the novel, you cry?

After all that editing (and all those moany blogs about the process), it feels like the novel is very nearly in a finished state. Soon, it’ll be time for it to leave home, head off into the world, phone up occasionally for a bit of money to pay the rent, and – hopefully, eventually – blossom into a successful and independent young wage-earner. Or something like that.

Saying au revoir to one novel means planning the next one. There are two concepts vying for my affections at the moment. Both of them will get their chance. I’m just debating which one to date first. For either of them, the process has already begun: I’ve been thinking about them, dreaming a little, writing down little snatches of dialogue that as-yet-unnamed characters will say, mulling what each of them is really about. I like the looseness of the early stages of writing: finding pictures, pieces of music, historical reference, words, phrases, images and letting them come together in a slightly chaotic crowd. Then I’ll pick my way through them, seeing how they join together, drawing lines between one thing and another. The culmination of that is to get a piece of flip chart paper and draw lots of circles, arrows, stars, squares with words to describe key scenes, moments of character, moments of plot and a kind of sequence for the whole thing. By the time I sit down to start writing, I know broadly what will happen – though not every step along the way – and I could start to write at any point in the book (which is helpful if you start to get bogged down at the beginning of chapter 3).

Comics – analogue, digital and coming soon

Last weekend saw me at Bristol Comic Expo, always one of the highlights of the comics calendar here in the UK. I had the slightly daunting honour of interviewing Arthur Suydam, an absolute legend of comic art, a descendant of some of the finest painters produced by the United States, and an incredible painter. In an increasingly digital world, it was fascinating to talk art and craft with someone who still uses a brush, some paint and a canvas to create all of his works.

On the digital front, my most recent blog for Pipedream Comics was published a week or so ago. In it, I explored the creative opportunities presented by digital comics. What is it that digital, and only digital, enables you to do as a creator? How might you change the storytelling process when you’re creating for a digital only environment? It was fun to write and I hope you find it valuable to read.

As for future comics: well, I’m DELIGHTED to have two scripts now safely in the hands of artists and artwork under way.

The Heart Which Makes Us is a graphic novel for the Unseen Shadows universe, focusing on forensic investigator Kathryn Monroe. Artist Aaron Moran is about 1/3 of the way through and his work is stunning – dark, twisted, scratchy, disconcerting. When you look at Aaron’s work, you feel that there is something going on behind the scenes, that there are psychological forces swirling on the page, that truth sits in the shadows and the depths.

Secrets of the Islands is also a graphic novel which will hopefully come out late 2014 / early 2015 from a well known UK publisher. Artist Verity Glass is a prodigious talent, with an amazing eye for colour and a magical style when it comes to expressing character and setting. She’s been a real help in developing the story, and I can’t wait to see how the artwork develops. Secrets of the Islands focuses on a soldier aiming to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder by returning to the site of battle. More than that, I’m not going to tell you. Not yet….

Short stories

All of the above has happened at the expense of short stories. I desperately want to get back to writing them – I miss them! So I’m going to look at the schedule – and the competition calendar – and try to get some momentum on the short and flash front soon.

Thanks for reading! More news as it happens….


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