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Novellas explored, Journeys to Maine, books read, and discussions about planning in this transmission All that and more from Jay D'Ici and Davila LeBlanc
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Hello once again from the depths of our Lady of Grace.
 
This week’s image shows the latest addition to my bookshelf, with my cohort snuggled between D.H. Lawrence and Spymaster le Carre, which is followed by the grand dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy. It doesn’t seem to be slowing up for me or calming down anytime soon. As I’ve been trying to figure out how to be a dad and a writer at the same time things have become more complex lately as my significant other’s father passed away from a stroke this week so so I’ve been doing what I can to help her and her family get through things. It’s brought up a lot of feelings and questions, as death is wont to do but this has obviously cut into my time for writing. But things are still happening, because the hardest part when dealing with death is that the world keeps moving on.

 
 

After a slight hiccup with the start of Conceptual Heist’s second chapter Matt Gagnon and I are back at it. The second chapter deals with a bit of the aftermath of Jemma having committed one of the greatest heists of the 21st century. The first chapter could stand on its own but was meant to be similar to many caper movie teases where we see the first heist as it leads to the bigger one. As fun as the first chapter was, it did focus on Jemma improvising a theft rather than going though a tight plan which is key to a great heist. So yeah, what takes Clooney and 10 other guys only takes one woman... and it’s going to be awesome!


 
I was also disappointed to discover that we had slipped from the Top 10 list of best Adventure comics at best-webcomics.com. If you go to the Conceptual Heist’s webpage there you can not only give us 5 stars and boost our rating but also read a great and fun interview with Matt and me.
 
You can also vote for us on the Top Web Comics site which we recently joined. Any and all votes will help Matt and I there, and on that site votes from single users do accumulate and reset each month, so we ask that you Vote early and vote often! (Matt will be working on a new banner for the comic there that was my quick version.)
 


 
After laying out all my sitting around projects in the last e-mail (sorry for the doubling up of Dav’s end of the e-mail by the way; that was my fault, I’m still learning this whole newsletter thing), as an exercise I pulled out a novella that I had lost the thread of and put together an outline that took four pages of my note book. Then I shaped it around Dan Harmon’s Story Circle cycle which actually seems to work better for novellas than the heroes journey (even if the heroes journey points over lap the circle easily.) Layering out what I had written already and figuring out how to use it within the new outline changed what I had in the first outline. My novella plays with the traditional origins of novellas (aside from length,) in that it focuses on a relationship. The germ of the story comes from my attempt to face down Philip K. Dick’s accusation about the treatment of romance in science fiction was one of its weakest points. He had noted that many romances in science fiction were cursory and surface only, or that the romance was functional without it being a proper science fiction story. For me this story is an experiment in intermingling both science fiction and romance, but its still an experiment and I have no clue if it’ll be successful or if it’ll fall apart as I go along, but that’s what I’m playing with right now.

 



As for reading I finished off Davila’s Dark Transmissions which is a fantastic introductory run into his universe which has  a lot of depth built into it waiting to be explored, and it becomes an interesting look at how history can rear its head into the present. All of the characters are wonderfully realized, with Chord as a very human machine and Morwyn standing out as an antithesis to Star Trek’s Captains in that he functions as a pacifist against an aggressive force.
 
Listening wise these days I’ve been enjoying the podcast The Story Grid, I find the discussions about the technical aspects of writing to be very interesting. I don’t subscribe to one form alone for how stories should be written (Dark Transmissions is an example that runs in a different type of formatting than what Story Circles, hero journeys or story grids seem to subscribe to) but I find it nice to see that a lot of what I have studied by just reading tons is formatted out. I’ve always looked at writing from the perspective of both construction/architecture and song writing/music composition.  It may seem like a strange combination, but I spent much of my time learning the art of construction listening to Led Zepplin and David Bowie and other classic rock the two became intermingled. You look at what you’re building, and the tools and material you have available, and then you build around that making sure you have the foundation first. Once that’s done you fill the room with colour, motifs, themes. But both side you have to consider the end purpose of the room. So yeah, my story writing philosophy/methods comes out as being more esoteric and conceptual than others. And even what I wrote above is a very messy look at how I work things out. Story grid has helped me solidify much of my concepts on it though.


That’s all for now. And if Dav and I don’t get into it with our conversation next time I may go into the method of story building that was used in Daredevil season 2 as I found it to be a great call back to old 1970’s and 80’s style of serial comic writing with the different story layers.
 
Until next time, be well.
 
Jay D’Ici

Hello to you all as I’m broadcasting from the beautiful state of Maine where I will be transmitting for the next two weeks as I offer some much needed love and energy to my partner Jessie Mathieson. She is taking care of her older brother Abe who has autism and cerebral palsy. I’m inspired by her selflessness in this matter and well when you’re a good looking and loving writer well you show up and give a hand.
 
You have plenty of chances in life to work for money and projects but so few chances to prove how much you love someone. When these opportunities present themselves you have to take them.
March was really  a busy one for me as I did a blog tour for Dark Transmissions. It was really fun to see how quickly and consistently I could produce content. This is quite a job but each thing I do gets me closer to realizing the end goal: supporting myself off my writing so I can forgo having to work as a clerk.
 
 



Current Projects:
 
Well it has been a busy month of February and March. I recently got to see the cover for my second book in the Jinxed Thirteenth series; SYNDICATE’S PAWNS. The cover is great and I can’t wait to have this one out. SYNDICATE’S PAWNS takes place after DARK TRANSMISSIONS and trust me, this one is great. My screenplay: DEADSHACK, is slated for production, which will be great because who couldn’t use some scratch every now and then. I am also hard at work on two other screenplays. One is another horror film named: MERGE and the other is a comic project named: THE KING’S REVENGE.  Both the film and comic projects are being worked on with my creative triad of Peter Ricq, Phil Ivanusic and myself.
 
While I’m here in Maine I am also working on an outline for a third book in the Jinexed Thirteenth Series. I can’t give the title away just yet due to NDA’s between myself and Harper Collins, but lets just say that it will be pretty damned epic as the adventures of Captain Mrowyn, Jessie Madisson and the Crew of the Jinxed Thirteenth escalate.
 

 



What am I reading/watching/listening to:
 
Right now I am reading Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay and I am seriously loving it. One of the joys I get in life is reading something new. I’ve also taken to reading the chapters to Jessie’s brother Abe, who seems to really like the book as well. I have just finished season two of Daredevil. I watched <SIGH> Terminator Gen-ASS-Sys and gods was this one ever awful. The soundtrack these days is Shpongle and Infected Mushrooms. They make for good trippy science-fiction ambient music.
 
Right well none of these stories in my head are going to write themselves, so until next time.
 
In love, light and laughter
 
Be well

DaV April 4th2016

 

DAV:
So how far do you plan ahead on your character archs? I feel like death should be final, unless magic or tech is capable of doing it, but even then it should be at some massive price. Thougths?
 

JAY:
 With The Unfinding Of Erasmus Civitatum the original plan was to have him get home eventually. There was a massive shift in pace and plot when I switched to turning it into a novel; I knew where the novel needed to end, the universe shifted. I also added a MacGuffin that wasn't a part of the story originally and had just been sitting in a bit of flash fiction I had written. If I sell the novel I have 2 more books to add to the series. With Conceptual Heist I have the first arc planned and ideas for following stories, the challenge there is keeping it from turning into a wash/rinse/repeat series. Deaths need to be permanent. Comics treat Death as a pay off. The way people keep coming back to life is insulting really.
 
DAV:
Don't knock the cycle if it brings you a paycheque. But I agree, the lack of commitment to character deaths ruins any affect of "legend" to the characters. As in every hero should have his legendary end.
 
JAY:
 And they have to stop bringing them back.
 
DAV:
 Yes.
 
JAY:
 Unless it's Jean Grey. Her return in the current Marvel U would be great as both Cyclops and Wolverine are dead. Who is she when she isn't the top of a love triangle?
 
DAV:
Good point for Jean. I always hated the triangle story. Truthfully I would love to see the future of Marvel but like ten years from now. Nothing major has changed but the new generation is coming.
If you kill certain heroes and make it permanent if can be a passing of the torch of sorts. Much like in Wrestling, you go out on your back and put over the next generation.
 
JAY:
 They've done that with X-23 Wolverine which I think is working alright. DC was always the generational universe until DC Nu52.
So you used several friends as characters in Dark Transmissions, I did that with Conceptual Heist, but why do you do it? (I did it because it helped with solidifying characters in the improv of the comic)
 
DAV:
I always do it. I like imagining people in their science fiction counterparts.
 
JAY:
 So how strong a pacifist is Morwyn? And where did you conceive of a pacifist Captain Kirk?
 
DAV:
Well he doesn't want to actively kill and is of a strategy stun variety of hero. I came up with him originally for a hero who would be trapped behind enemy lines with his fresh and untrained crew at his side as they battled their way home. He would care about his crew and take their deaths to heart as they would weigh heavily on his soul. Like come on Kirk recklessly almost gets his crew killed all the time!

JAY:
 I like the idea of him carrying the loss of any of his crew because of his beliefs
 
DAV:
I do to. By the way thanks for the convo it unblocked a creative block. Peace!
 
JAY:
 Be well.
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