Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Excerpt- 2.17.2015

It's an excerpt week. If you'd like to see all the excerpts that I've posted you can click here.

A while back I said that I would share an excerpt of the comic book script that I've made. It is in script format. Not exactly what you would see for a traditional comic format because when I first wrote it back in 2000, I was working with an artist and was writing it to his preferences. That ended up not going anywhere beyond just the writing of the script, so I held onto to what I've finished. One day I hope to have it more polished and looking like an actual comic book script, but that'll have to wait until after I'm done with the serial and Lighthouse. Maybe one day, I'll be able to get this picked up at Marvel or DC (or more realistically not)...

The format of the narrative is a mini-series. It would end after six twenty-two page issues with the ability to expand into an ongoing story if the popularity was there.

I'm only posting a few pages from the script of issue one. Hope you enjoy. As this is a script, you will have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps, and I am starting the excerpt on page ten so you are missing a little bit of the plot, but I like this scene that I'm sharing because it captures the interactions between the main character Alex, called The Traveler, and his own personal demons. For reference, the book is set in the fictional mining town of Desolation, Nevada. I would described the genre of the story as gothic western.

Hope you enjoy-

Desolation
Issue #1
Chapter I: Retribution

Page Ten (three panels)
Panel 1 The McCannaugh house: about half a mile outside of the town. Small farm/ranch with a couple of small garden plots with a single well sitting about twenty feet in front of the house (outhouse is nearby, but not too close to the house itself). Inside it is a three-room building; two bedrooms and a main room that serves as a kitchen/living room.
Panel 2 The two men ride up, each on his own horse about dusk.
Panel 3 They dismount and walk inside, still not a word between the two of them.

Page Eleven (five panels)
Panel 1 Once inside Jonathan once again offers his own accommodations to the Traveler, “Sir, I’d feel a great deal better if’ you would take my room or the children’s. It’s tha’ least I could do.” The interior of the house is sparse, but comfortable in a quaint way. The interior is illuminated by the fire and one oil lamp.
Panel 2 While they are talking the two children are peaking out from their room. Daniel and his younger sister Maggie. Maggie is a small doll-like girl with hair like her brother’s.
Panel 3 The Traveler responds, “Naw, I’ll be pleased with sleeping outside tonight. Been doing that for many’a days. A few more won’t hurt me a bit."
Panel 4 Jonathan smiling as he sees the children peeking through their cracked door. He says, “Well come on out, you two. Danny, go ahead and put on dinner, Mag’s come on out and meet our visitor.”
Panel 5 Daniel, without looking at either man is at the fire prepping the pot for cooking. Maggie stands a few steps beyond the door now, her bangs coming down a little over her large doe eyes.
Caption over the Traveler: Oh God, just like my Emily.

Page Twelve (five panels)
Panel 1 She has stepped forward and is timidly holding out her hand. The Traveler, with a little emotion in his eyes, maybe have him take off his hat, reaches out and grasps her hand. A tear or two falls from his left eye and she says, “You scare me. Are you gonna hurt my daddy?”
Panel 2 Jonathan, shock should read on his face, says, “MAGGIE!”
Panel 3 The Traveler smiles and responds, “Little one, I promise to protect your father while I am here. I’ll do my best to keep him safe, ok?”
Panel 4 She nods, but looks reluctant to believe him. Jonathan is beside her shooing her to the table.
Panel 5 They sit for an uncomfortable dinner and Daniel asks for the Traveler to pray.

Page Thirteen (three panels)
Panel 1 He looks surprised, as does Jonathan. He prays, “Father, grant us the strength to do what needs to be done. Grant us the strength to vanquish our enemies. Grant us retribution. Amen.”
Panel 2 The rest of the meal is finished in uncomfortable silence.
Panel 3 With the meal finished the Traveler gets up and excuses himself from the table, “With your pardon, I need to walk out a bit and hold palaver with myself for a bit.”
Jonathan nods and waves him off, “Sure, go on, I’ll leave the latch off the door for you. We’ll be fast asleep soon.”

Page Fourteen (two panels)
Panel 1 He walks a ways away from the house and sits cross-legged about 60-70 feet away from the house.
Splash panel. The vast expanse of the Milky Way is panoramic around him, almost dizzying.
Caption 1: I hate hiding the truth from Jonathan like that, he seems like a nice enough man, but it’s better that he not know.
Caption 2: It’s not myself that I need to hold conference with, but my demons.
Panel 2 He has gathered small wood and kindling and is sparking a fire.

Page Fifteen (six panels)
Panel 1 About the time he gets it lit someone approaches from his left. The new arrival is circling the Traveler in a counter-clockwise motion, not quite able to be fully seen, just shade and shadows. He says, “Hallo, hale to the avenger! How fares the quest? Have you gotten that grail yet?
“No, but you are so close aren’t you?”
Panel 2 The Traveler visibly bristles at these words, but he says nothing, he sits there staring into the fire.
Panel 3 The new comer, fully visible now, dressed in gentleman's garb for the period, but all dark colors. He is also wearing small circular glasses that reflect light and obscure his eyes. The readers do not realize but he is a demon. He should look evil, but not over the top. Subtle. He continues, “Oh, Alexander, what would your dear Sarah think of you now, and that beautiful little girl… what was her name? Ah yes, Emily. I remember how beautiful her voice sounded as she screamed for you on that day…”
Panel 4 This last statement breaks him. He is standing facing the stranger, “Damn you, Bel!”
Panel 5 He has jumped up and thrown the other “man” down and is straddled over him choking him as he screams, “Damn you and all your other friends. You drove me to this… My quest is done here. After I take care of your human lackeys here, I am done with this. Done with the Matthew’s, done with vengeance, and done with you.”
Panel 6 Another voice this time from his right, “Ah, but don’t you understand, it won’t end with Desolation.” This is an angel, again he needs to appear good but not over the top, he needs to be dressed appropriate for the time period.

Page Sixteen (six panels) 
Panel 1 He continues, “This vengeance is a fire that has consumed you, it will continue to consume you and everything around you. If you're not careful, this town could suffer greatly because of you. Let it go, Alex.”
Panel 2 Bel, the demon, looks up at the intruder, “Well, Gabe, I was wondering when you were going to show up. Welcome, our friend and I were just having a little chat.”
The Traveler, now standing, brushing the dust from his clothing, and shaking his head. “It was only a matter of time before you two showed up…”
Panel 3 Bel: “Alex, I am sorely wounded by your harsh attitude. Come let’s sit and talk for a while longer. I am sure Gabriel is also, but I don’t mind what he thinks much." He squats down and is drawing in the dirt with his finger. He is looking up contemptuously at Gabriel while Gabriel is looking at Bel with pity and sorrow in his face.
Panel 4 Gabe: “Alex, I beg you to stop this. This isn’t the right way. Revenge isn’t your purpose. You had a purpose in Iowa. You shouldn’t have left.”Alex: “You think I could have stayed after what I did! You are no better than Bel. You both expect me to be a pawn in a cosmic chess game. Well, both of you listen now, I am stepping off the board. No more. I am tired of having my choices told to me. No longer.” He stares deep into the flames of the fire not looking at either of the angels.
Panel 5 Bel standing has grabbed a coal from the fire and is tossing it back and forth in his hands. He says, “Remember what they did to you, Alex. Remember all the pain that you have had to suffer because of them.”
Panel 6 He turns and walks in to the darkness beyond the light of the fire and once more whispers, “Remember and don’t let me down…”
Caption (Alex): His fading laughter chilled me to the bone.

Page Seventeen (five panels)
Panel 1 Gabe sits cross-legged next to the fire and looks at the Traveler mournfully. He says, “Why do you think he wants you to go after these men? What is in it for Bel to gain if you go after these humans?” The Traveler, stone still, unmoving as a brick wall, silently stares off into the distance.
Panel 2 Gabe continues, “He thinks you will fail. He thinks that you will die along with innocents trying to find retribution for what happened. Let it go, Alex. Let it go.” He is leaning over and placing a hand on the Traveler’s shoulder.
The Traveler looks like he is emotionally burdened and he grates out, “If I die in Desolation, it will be worth it. I will have died trying to rectify what happened in New Haven. I let that town down because at first I did nothing and then I even aided them. And look what happened!”
Panel 3 He has stoodd up and walked a little away from the fire with his back to Gabriel and says with his finger pointing upward, “I know Bel has his reasons for wanting me to pursue this, what are HIS reasons for wanting me to call it off?”
Gabriel, “Because we are afraid of what might happen to your spirit if you continue on this path. You are going to damage your heart even farther. Alex, trust me on this. Trust Him. Have faith.”
Panel 4 Gabe is standing now still looking at the Traveler’s back. Focus of the shot is on Alex's face with Gabe over his shoulder.
Alex: “I wish I could. I wish I had your faith, Gabe. I really do.” The Traveler looks almost sad and sincere about that statement.
Gabe: “You can. You did at one time, and you can again…”
Panel 5 Gabriel begins to walk away and looks back as he says, “You said you didn’t want to be a chess-piece. I can’t change the fact that you are, but I can tell you that you are not a pawn.” Gabe allows himself a half smile as he says, “You’re a knight. Think about it, Alex. Keep yourself out of trouble until next time.”

-End-

I'd love to see some feedback or critique in the comments or on the fan page. Again, sorry it's not a traditional graphic novel script. That is something I'll have to clean up for when I want to submit this to someone.

Hope you've enjoyed. Keep on the lookout for updates about the Den of Theives Anthology I'm participating in. I'll be sure to share links for the Den of Quills site across Facebook and Twitter (and even Google Plus).

Thanks so much for reading. If you've enjoyed, please share, like, +1, etc...

- Anthony


If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out the  copyright page.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

G is for God

Welcome back. This week, I am continuing on in the A-Z posts, and we are now at the letter G.

If you want to check out previous A-Z posts, click here.

When thinking on what to do for G, I kept coming back to God, and as much as I scribbled down different ideas and other concepts, it kept returning to the forefront of my mind. 

For the most part, this post is going to be directed to those of you that ascribe to Christianity, but I think what I talk about here can be applied to a broader spectrum of how our beliefs and thoughts about the world shape our creations.

I shared over on my other blog a sort of history of how I came my faith. You can read that here. If you don't have time, the basics are that I am a Christian, and I have been for the majority of my life. That aspect of myself reaches into and touches every aspect of my life.

Especially my writing.

I have had friends ask me why I don't write Christian fiction, and this is in part what I would like to address today.

What makes Christian fiction, Christian fiction? What makes Christian art, Christian art? Why, as believers, do we feel the need to ascribe this label to our creation and shoehorn it into a conceptual box?

Soon after I became a believer, I felt that my writing should be explicitly Christian. That each and every story should lay out the plan of salvation found in Christ. I stressed and forced myself to rewrite and shape my stories into a mold that they didn't fit in. Sometimes, that just doesn't work at all.

For example, my novella, To Tread the Narrow Path, originally started its life as a short story set during feudal Japan, before the introduction of Christianity to the island. It would not have made sense to incorporate overt references to my beliefs within the narrative.

As my faith grew and my writing matured, I understood that I needed to write what I needed to write. The pieces of myself that I wanted to share with the world would bleed into my words on the paper. My faith, my mores would be evident without my heavy hand forcing the reader to see the tenants of my faith.

So in a fantasy story from me (like the novella *hint hint*), instead of having a Christlike figure offer salvation, I may explore the themes of sacrifice and beliefs. Who I am as a person will be expressed in my writing without the need for heavy handed symbolism.

I have written, what I describe as a religious fiction short story, Entertaining Angels, but I do not call it a Christian story. The beauty of this story is that it wasn't forced. I just wrote what I wanted to write. I didn't have to make myself write a story that overtly dealt with the concepts of Christianity, it just happened.

I think that is why I do not label myself or my writing as Christian. I am a writer who happens to be Christian, and I will talk about it with anyone willing to listen, but I do not like that label in relation to art.

Years ago, I took a literary criticism class when I attended the University of Georgia. The professor made a statement about the subjectivity of art and stated that who you are and what you believe will shape how you perceive art. We then had to do a critical analysis of a work of fiction through the literary criticism lens of something not traditionally ascribed to that work. I personally chose to analyze The God Emperor of Dune with a critical eye focused on the tenants of communism. It was fun and enlightening.

That exercise taught me that whatever the art, we can perceive it with both the intentions of the artist and the precepts of the observer, and still both be right. 

#writermeme
     
I know the conversation kind of got into the realm of what the reader sees as opposed to what the writer writes, but I feel that it is a valid and important topic to discuss when it comes to my personal writing.

I promise to you that I will write whatever I feel like I should write. Pieces of myself, like my faith, will seep on to the page and will become part of the narrative, just as with any writer.

So am I a Christian writer? Do I write Christian fiction?

I'll answer that question with this:

I am a writer that is Christian, and my writing will be labeled with whatever genre it fits into.

Bringing it back to the title, I guess the question that I asked myself so long ago and only recently fully answered is this:

Where does God and my faith fit into my writing?

I hope the above provides some of the answer to that question. Stick around with me and I'll explore this more as I grow more in my faith and in my craft.

Thanks for reading. I hope you've enjoyed. Stay tuned to the blog and my social media for updates on upcoming projects and spotlights that I am going to be doing.

I'd appreciate it if you would like, share, +1, etc... this post.

Thanks again.


-Anthony

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Update- 2.4.2015

Welcome to another month.

As always I like to give an update/outlook post at the beginning of the month.

To begin, I want to let you know that you can expect another installment of To Tread the Narrow Path to go live by the end of the week. This month also marks the one year anniversary of when I started this journey of serialization. It has been some of the most fun and at the same time frustrating experiences of my life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been a blast and I am so thankful for those of you that have walked the narrow path with me along this journey. Only a little further to go.

I'd also like to announce that I decided to freelance my editing skills over on Fiverr. I figure I might as well use my knowledge aquired at college in pursuit of a creative writing degree. So if you are looking for someone to take a look at your words check me out. So far I've gotten 100% positive reviews.
It is proving to be a fun endevor. I've got a few repeat clients and others that are wrapping up their current projects for me to take a look at.

Another announcement I'd like to discuss is a small statement I made in January's update post. I mentioned doing an author spotlight/interview here on the blog. I'd like to start with local Maine indie writers/publishers/artist and eventually expand the spotlight outward to the crowd I've connected with online. I'm looking forward to shining some light on some of the amazing talent I've connected with and sharing them with you.

If you'd like to be interviewed/spotlighted here on my blog, let me know. You can reach me on the contact page, comments below, or through one of my social media outlets. I don't care if you are fiction, non-fiction, writers, artist, or whatever, I'd like to showcase you and what your are creating.

I'm not going to let this disrupt the normal schedule for the blog, but instead this will be a nice little additional post here and there.

Keep a look out on the blog for updates on when this will be happening. Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter for extra things I post there during the week.

Thanks for reading. If you'd like to show your support please like, share, tweet, +1, etc...

-Anthony