Sunday, February 23, 2014

Progress Rapport


Welcome to this week's thrilling update of "Saturday" the book!

Does that work, by the way?  Can I just put any adjective in front of the word "update" and have you feel that way about the update?  Let's experiment:

Welcome to this week's FRIGHTENING update of "Saturday" the book!

Welcome to this week's TEDIOUS update of "Saturday" the book!

Welcome to this week's FORGETFUL update of...uh...

What do you think?  Did you feel any of those things when you read them?  Meh.  I didn't, either.

Here are some panels from page 16:

It occurs to me that I haven't given a more thorough update of my progress on "Saturday" in a while.  I'm just finishing page 32 right now.  There are only three pages left.  Three.  Now granted, these pages are going to take even longer than the previous pages have taken.  I want to end the book closer to the "bang" end of the spectrum than the "whimper" end of the spectrum, which means more detail, richer color, more thought, and more time put into the craft.  So I don't really know how long the pages will take.  I'm going to work on them until I think they're good enough to share with you.

After that, we're still not done.  The book needs to be edited.  There are some modeling inconsistencies to be dealt with.  The characters have to look the same throughout the book.  I've been working on "Saturday" for long enough that the way I draw everyone has changed slightly over the years.  I also have to fix some details in the story and probably a bunch of other things, too.

And, of course, I have to draw the cover.  And maybe deal with the inside cover pages.  Suffice it to say, even though 91% of the pages are finished at this point, there's still quite a bit of work between here and the finish line.  And by "finish line", I mean the point where you (yes, YOU) are holding a copy of "Saturday" in your hands and thinking, "About %&#@#*! time."

By the way, I also have to find a printer and a publisher.  So if you happen to know a publisher, definitely drop me a line.

I've been working on "Saturday" for six years or so.  It's the most time and energy I've ever put into anything.  I've been burned out before.  I've been frustrated and stuck and impatient.  But in all that time, I've never once asked myself why I was doing it.

Money.  It's always been about the Benjamins.

Kidding.  Kidding.  But the fact that I'm still excited about the book, about the process, and about finally getting to share it with you, well, hopefully that bodes well.  It means I still care.  It means that I'm not just running on autopilot or phoning it in.

It has been a long time, in some respects.  And I don't know what's going to happen when I'm finally finished with the book.  I don't know anything about getting a book published or promotion, and that side of it is a bit intimidating, to be honest.  But I'm willing to do what it takes to get this book out to people (he said, laughing maniacally).

Anyway, thanks for coming along for the ride.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Give That Keeps on Gifting


Welcome to this week's update of "Saturday"the book.  When we last left our protagonists it was Friday afternoon and Elizabeth McGreevy was doing her level best to think of a swell apology gift to give her husband, Fred.  Of course, we all know that love means never having to say you're sorry.  Except in gift form.

As it turns out, somewhere across town Fred McGreevy is also trying to gin up some gift ideas:

Friday was Valentine's Day.  If you somehow managed to not have any of your sensory perceptions functioning for the previous week, you might well have missed it.  If any of your senses were in place and you have a significant other, you might have felt obligated to buy something in order to prove you care.

I used to see Valentine's Day as a hollow, mandatory chore.  "Why do we even need some phony proxy for our emotions?  Doesn't that just erode the significance of genuine emotion?" (I would think in an exasperated and outraged tone of thought.)  But these days, I think it's fun.  I like trying to think up fun and creative things to give to people I care about.  I like seeing their reaction when I get it right (it happens once in a while).

And anyway, giving a gift is no more or less a proxy for conveying emotion than saying the words that represent those emotions.  Betcha didn't think there would be a semiotics lesson in here, did you?

Anyway, if you DID miss Valentine's Day and didn't get a gift (and you want to), you're basically in the same boat as Fred.  And you might as well take the same route as Fred.

I've never really figured out the appeal of flowers.  I tend to think of them like Loretta Castarini (from "Moonstruck"): "The guy who sends flowers spends a lot of money on something that's gonna end up in the garbage."

But almost everyone likes to get flowers.  I suppose because they're beautiful and they're also the symbol for something beautiful.

Make someone's day.  Send them flowers.

This update of "Saturday" the book is brought to you by FTD.  FTD: "Send flowers or we'll send a guy to "talk" to you.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Apology Excepted

Hi there.

Welcome to this week's update of "Saturday" the book.

We're on page 14 this time around, which makes it Friday afternoon in the world of Fred, Elizabeth, and India McGreevy.  This afternoon finds Elizabeth McGreevy lamenting her week-long cold war with Fred, her husband.  Being a woman of action, Elizabeth decides to get a little something for Fred to make it up to him.  Or at least to get the ball rolling toward Make-It-Up-To-You-ville.

Of course, first she has to figure out what that little something will be:

A gift can say a lot of things:

-"You are an adequate business associate and I'm glad to see you (Amount of time) per week."
-"I'm sorry I set the (Fill in the blank) on fire."
-"I love you more than (Favorite Hostess snack cake), and I'm sorry I said otherwise."
-"Your (Cherished, well-used item) is disgusting.  Here's a new one."
-"I like you a lot and I'm going to try not to screw this up like my last (Double-digit Number) relationships."

Now, granted, I think it's usually best to say those things outright and have the gift be an accompaniment as opposed to a replacement.  But the things that we need to/want to/have to say to our loved ones...well, mostly they're not so easy to say.  So a gift can be a good ice breaker.

I can even give you some great advice on delivery and timing.  It's an art, really.  For instance, let's say it's an apology gift.

1.) Casually approach.  Make small talk.
2.) Smooth segue: "So, how would you feel if I accidentally (Insert mistake, catastrophe, or crime against humanity here)?"
3.) Gauge reaction.  Proceed according to instructions below:

3A.) Favorable: Give gift.  Thank recipient for being so understanding.
3B.) Poor: Frown apologetically, give gift, apologize and reassure of your ability to fix the (toilet, car, house, relationship with in-laws, Uzbeki-mafia, etc.)
3C.) DEFCON 1: Open gift as distraction.  Hopefully, your gift was either a smoke bomb or a pack of hyper caffeinated squirrels that will draw attention and aide in your escape.  Run.  Move to another dimension.  Change your name to Phil Phillipowski.

See?  It's that easy.

You're welcome.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Unbridled Enthusiasm

Have you ever had to sit there and listen to someone who's REALLY intensely excited about something that would never interest you ever ever ever?  You can see the excitement on their face.  You know this is their thing.  The passion this person has for the thing their word flap is flapping about is respectable.  But man, you don't get it.  It's not that you're dumb.  You UNDERSTAND what they're talking about.  You just can't figure out why this person cares.

I was bored fairly often in school.  And, being a stupid kid, I sometimes thought that my teachers were intentionally imposing this boredom upon the class.  You know, just to be jerks.  It never occurred to me that they were human beings who, dedicated educators though they were, weren't always thrilled about the lessons.  I'd bet there were even days when they didn't feel like being there.  School is probably frustrating and boring for teachers as often as it is for students.  Kids, after all, talk about a lot of strange stuff.  Regular adults can just nod their heads and say, "That's nice" and walk away.  But teachers, well, they don't usually have that luxury.  Like Ms. Stiffel, here:

My favorite part about this panel is the crazed expression on Crystal's face.  She's just crazy excited about her unicorn, Sparkle Pickles.

The other night I was down at the bar having a beer.  I was sitting next to a fella who seemed to be sitting by himself.  He struck up a conversation with another guy sitting nearby (by "conversation", I mean one-sided word hose sprayed directly into the face of the unassuming victim).  Talky guy started explaining at a rapid pace all about protein combinations and deficiencies and genetic abnormalities that lead to common diseases and conditions.  This stuff would have made just about anyone glaze over.  It was technical.  It was long-winded.  It was boring, boring stuff.

I felt bad for the guy who had to listen.  But I felt worse for the guy who was talking because he didn't have the self awareness to realize the guy wasn't interested.

Not like this blog.  Not at all.  I mean, it's something I'm really excited about, sure.  And it's something I'm foisting on to you on a regular basis, true.  But this is INTERESTING.  Right?  It's not like I've let my own enthusiasm for "Saturday" and illustration allow me to blather on about...uh...