Arthur KING.

Here comes Arthur King.

What if King Arthur was reincarnated as a rambunctious, amnesiac hobo?

I wrote this story about a year ago. At the time, I had found an artist interested in working with me. He enjoyed Fantasy and World War II stories very much so I wrote three short stories for his consideration.

Unfortunately, the whole thing fell through.

The story of Arthur King was clearly my favorite out of the three. It quickly became more than an 8 pages story and I developed it into a full multi-issue Comic Book run. I figured I would make the 8 pages story part of a pitch that I could send to potential publishers/ editors. I hired  an artist on Elance called Dkaotic (Website, FB). He provided beautiful, dynamic artwork and was a joy to work with. Make sure to check him out. And I ‘m not saying that just because he happens to be french.

I did the lettering which was quite challenging but also my best-looking lettering job so far.

I printed a few copies and will hand them out at RCCC and send them out for submission. I hope that Arthur King can gather interest since it would be a really fun story to tell and, I hope, to read.

-N

Comic Book Scripts Reading

Of late, I have been reading Comic Book Scripts.

It is quite useful to see how professional writers put their Comic Book Scripts together.  Even though there is no official Comic Book Script format, you get to see how each writer format their script for one of the Big twos or for their own independent projects. More importantly, you can see how they effectively communicate with their respective artists.

Civil War Script Book
Civil War Script Book

The first script I ever read was Mark Millar’s Civil War. That’s a real treat and you can find the entire script on Amazon for super cheap.

Cover of Bitch Planet #3

The latest script I read was Bitch Planet issue 3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick. You can find it on that awesome website that is The Comic Book Script Archive along with the script for the latest issue (numero 6). Scripts are organized by authors here. It is often updated with new scripts and tips and tricks such as Jim Zub ‘s critic of a student script which is ripe with advice for comic book writers. Definitely worth adding to your bookmarks.

Another valuable resource is Brian Michael Bendis’s website, JinxWorld where, in the writing section, you can find plenty of his scripts for Marvel, from the Avengers to Ultimate Spiderman and even his creator-owned hit Powers.

Finally I have been reading short scripts on the MillarWorld thread. All the contestants who participated in the MillarWorld Talent Hunt this year are welcome to post their scripts and get peer feedback. It has been a fun one to follow and everybody is real nice and helpful which makes for good internet fun.

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Nothing else much to report on the writing front. I am still developing a couple projects I hope to transform into a fabulous pitch with the magnificent DKaotic.

I am also anxiously waiting for the one paragraph feedback from Top Cow Productions on my 22 pages script submission. That should hit my Inbox on February 15th.

Wising you all a great week. Stay beautiful.

-Nico out.

Spotlight on Dkaotic!

Honestly, I don’t really feel like blogging today.

Yes, it is Sunday and Sunday is blogging day but I would rather be immersed in the world of the stories I am currently working on. What happened is that earlier this week (or was it last week?), I contacted DKaotic, the artist with whom I worked on Arthur King, to let him know I really wanted to work with him again.

ArthurSwordShot
Who doesn’t want to see more of that gorgeous Art?

And he  responded with an enthusiastic YES which really made my day. And no, it’s not just because DKaotic and I are both French, though we all know that French people are awesome.

My goal for this year is to develop a new pitch, taking into account everything I learned from putting the Arthur King pitch and short story together. I aim to develop pitches for 4 issues mini-series since, from what I have heard from professionals (especially on the excellent Word Balloon Podcast), it is much easier (if easy at all) to get picked up by a publisher if you pitch a shorter 4 issues story. You know, because I am still very new to this and no one knows me, except you.

I had such a great time working with DKaotic and I enjoy his Art and work ethic so much that I am currently developing projects for him.

You should really check out what he’s been up to on his website and on his portfolio.

Below is a video of one of my favorite thing of his, truly inspiring stuff:

Now you can see why blogging today is not my favorite thing to do. I would rather be spending time in DKaotic world.

-N

 

List your ideas: Reminders for writers.

Ideas strike at anytime, they are not on a schedule.

Whether you’re having an idea for a new story or just remembered that you should add that one awesome line at the bottom of that one page, you need to make sure you do one thing right away.

WRITE IT DOWN! Like, now!

As a writer, you know that if you don’t, you are not going to remember it, that’s why you need to write it down in the moment so that you can capture the idea and not let it go. It seems that in the past, writers always carried a little notebook so that they could jolt down those ideas before they disappear in the ether. This is still a viable option but I would like to propose the alternative I have been using thanks to today’s technology.

LIST YOUR IDEAS on your phone!

I don’t know about you but I ALWAYS have my phone on me, whether I am at work or at home, it is always in my pocket so why not just write it down on your phone?

Some might use an actual note app like Evernote or the like but if, like me, you got a free old Iphone, there is an app on it that might just do the trick: REMINDERS.

photo 1

In the reminders app, I create a list for each project I am working on, plus a general writing list for random, well, general ideas.

photo 1 (2)

When the muse strikes, I simply list it under the correct list name. I then go into scrivener (or your preferred word processor) and copy my notes in there. I usually expand on my ideas then and there as well. Once that is done, I check it on my list and move on to the next item. Satisfying, right?

photo 2 (2)

The great thing about the app is that it does not delete your notes. Instead, it hides them, so you can always go and see the hidden notes from earlier. It keeps it all.

Now, that does not mean you should give up on pen and paper entirely. I still love writing long hand on good ol’ paper. But since you already have your phone in your pocket, you might as well use it for something constructive.

-N

 

From rejection to the new year.

Happy New year, and to all a Good Health!

We (French people) always wish a good health as well as a good year because what is more important than health, right?

2015 ended on a small sour note after my short Chrononauts story did NOT win the Millarworld Talent Hunt. Here it is for your reading pleasure: The Dating Game. WARNING: it’s awesome.

Rejection is hard. It is demoralizing but I keep moving forward. I don’t know who said it but I read this very cool quote the other day: “Success is going from one failure to another without losing your enthusiasm.”  Damn I ‘m successful!

Today, I sent in my submission to Top Cow Productions for their yearly Talent Hunt. By submitting before January 15th, I should get a one paragraph feedback sometimes before February 15th and am I looking forward to that. Just to get some professional feedback will be awesome in and of itself.

I am still waiting to hear back from 2000 AD on my Futureshocks submission. I send them emails via their sites and even asked on their twitter feed but I am not getting any answer as to whether or not it has been rejected. I just want to know so that I can send the next one, you know. It has been over two months after all. I also hope it did not get lost in the mail. Makes me wonder, is no news TRULY good news?

Lastly, I just want to share a wonderful article about the importance of PREMISE by Michael Tabb. I really wish I would have read this earlier. It outlines some of the fundamental needed to write a good story and to writer’s block entirely. I just cannot stress how important this article is.

That is it for this week. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday time and wish you, once more, a Happy and Healthy New Year.

-N

 

Holiday disappearance

Not much happening this week except work, work, work, work, workin’ on my shit.

qMd_tAarKQ76TmkMeaJxWA_m

I am almost finished with my Top Cow Talent Hunt 22 pages script and having a blast. Research involved watching Spartacus and Gladiators on Netflix, playing God of War video games, learning about the different types of gladiators and  the Colosseum. It could be a lot worse.

ARESarenaBox
I have way too much fun finding excuses to mess around in Photoshop in the name of “research”.

I am also waiting to hear the results from the MillarWorld Talent Hunt. The winners should be announced next week, on the 23rd to be precise. Exciting stuff. Hopefully, it turns into a Happy Holiday surprise,

I am also waiting to hear back from 2000 AD about my FutureShock submission. I just want to get a rejection letter so that I can send in the next script, you know? Is that too much to ask?

I am also working on a new project involving Japanese Female Wrestling which I intent to  submit to Iron Circus. Go figure.

homer
Holiday disappearance but back in the New Year.

I will be out for the next couple weeks so no more posts from me until the New Year. I wish you a super 2016, may it be full of dream-fulfilling activities.

Happy Holiday!

-N

Procrastinate in Scrivener

Scrivener is fun.

As you might already know,  I love Scrivener. If you have not tried that awesome word processing program, go do the free trial now.

It truly changed the way I work by just making things easier to organize and more accessible. Scrivener’s best feature by far  is the ability to keep all your documents in one place. In Scrivener, you can organize things in folders and access them all in your project file so that you never have to open another window or program. You can even split the screen and work on two (or more) documents at the same time.

I use the Comic Book  Antony Johnston template and just tweak it a bit . Besides my actual story , I have a folder for Characters, Setting, Scenes (where i write single scenes that may or may not  make it into the main story) Research (that’s where I dump all my notes, ideas, outlines, it’s a freakin’ mess and I love it), and a final folder for old Drafts where I put my old drafts so that I can pull them back up and refer to them if needed.

The folders I use in Scrivener. They all open up and can be populated with sub folders and all types of docs.
The Folders I use in Scrivener. They all open and can be populated with sub folders and all types of docs.

This week, I learned about  a couple new fun functions I hadn’t used before and procrastinated a bit in Scrivener, just playing around really.

  1. Icons: I got a bit crazy with that one. In fact, I imported so many new icons at once that my selection screen was filled with it, making it impossible to access the icon management options. For a sec there, it  looked like I had broken scrivener. Thanks to automatic backup, I just went back to the previous version and learned that I should import only the icons I need, one at a time. I found some cool icons here.
scrivex2
Break down your story with ICONS into digestible chunks.

2. Name Generator: I am so glad I won’t have to go look for baby names on the internet anymore. The name Generator is awesome. I would have never come up with a great name such as  Laurelynn Toure (don’t steal that, go make your own!).

For more Scrivener awesome tips, go check this out.

Have fun scrivener -ing!

-N

Iron Circus Submission

Alright folks,

My Arthur King submission to Image is in the mail and, earlier this week, I also turned in my submission to the Millarworld Annual Hunt. I am also still working on my 22 pages script for the Top Cow Talent Hunt. Who said there were no opportunities for aspiring professional Comic Book writers out there? Not me. I did not say that.

As if this wasn’t enough, a new opportunity arises:

The Iron Circus Submission.

The publisher of the infamous Smut Peddler just opened its doors to comic book creators. Iron Circus is accepting proposals for 150 to 500 pages graphic novels and Erotic Graphic novels. Just no Zombies, no superheroes, and nothing for kids unless it’s a GN for 12 years old and older.  But not Erotica. To be clear, they DO NOT accept Erotic GN for kids, you perv.

So, let’s see, what are they asking for?

smutpeddler

 

1. A complete creative team.

Oops. Did I say opportunities for Comic Book Writers earlier? Don’t let it discourage you. Come up with a story and then find an artist. I found the fantastic DKaotic on Elance.com (now Upwork.com) and so can you. Just remember, Artists don’t work for free. At least, buy them a beer or a sandwich.

2. Short Creators Bios.

Uh duh.

3. A one page outline or summary of the entire story.

Just like the Image outline. Only ONE PAGE. Raaagh… tough stuff. To be clear though, I am not going to pitch Arthur King to Iron Circus. It’s just not their thing. Just like always, you wanna make sure you’re pitching a story that fits the publisher’s publishing history. Arthur King just ain’t their jam but I’ve got a story up my sleeves that I always thought would be the perfect fit for their Art style and story content.

4. A production timeline.

Wow, I simply have no clue how long it would take me to actually write a 150 pages GN. And how long would it take the artist? That is something to definitely figure out. You know, because I also have a day job. Great, challenging question.

5. Five Complete Comic Book pages.

As of now, I am thinking of actually making an eight pages story so that I can use it for other submission and as part of my portfolio.

So yeah, that’s my plan.

I want a solid outline, an exciting 8 pages script, hire an artist, and make the damn Comic. Pretty much like I did with Arthur King and The Activist shorts so that, regardless of the outcome, I will have a pitch-ready story with Artwork that I can show to potential publishers.

I would just add one more thing. Make sure this is a story you want to tell. It just so happens that the story I have in mind is a good fit for the Iron Circus submission but I would have written it anyway, submission or not, because it’s a story I want to tell that I think also happens to be awesome.

-N

Image Submission

After a couple rejections emails and useful feedback, it is time for me to submit Arthur King to more publishers. Next on the list: The Image Submission.

Image is one of those rare Comic Book publisher which has opened submissions all year long, 24/7.

So what do they want from me?

See their submission page here.

  1. A typewritten cover letter with all contact information (name, e-mail address, address, phone and fax numbers) clearly printed on the TOP of the page.

That’s the easy one, pretty straightforward. Just introduce yourself and get on with it.

2. A typed, ONE PAGE, synopsis of the overall STORY.

Ouch. One page? JUST one page?

I have a three pages PITCH that I sent potential editors and I am trimming it to its core. To tell the entire story in one page is challenging and I would like to make it even shorter. Editing yourself is the trademark of a good writer, right? Just cut the fat. What is your story about?

3. Send photocopies of fully INKED and LETTERED pages (any size). DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL ART!

So basically the best way to go about this is to have a fully finished comic. They want to see that you ( and your artist, if like myself you are the writer) can make a Comic Book and a good one at that.

4. Color is OPTIONAL.

Good, because I don’t have that.

5. Include a cover mock-up—this lets us know whether or not you understand the market and gives us a good barometer on your design sense.

Yes, sir!

ArthurKing-webcover

And that’s pretty much it. Check out all the details of their very helpful guidelines. You can then send your Image submission by email or snail mail. I am going to do snail mail so that they can hold the 8 pages Arthur King in their little hands. I just hope I get a rejection letter or email sooner than later.

N-

 

The Tragedy of Mrs Whitfield (or how I handle rejection).

I am very proud of myself for how good I am getting at rejection. I just got rejected by the First Line Literary Journal and I feel great. I usually don’t write prose so putting together words in some sort of competent and legible order is always a welcomed challenge. Bonus! I now get to share my rejected  story with you. For those of you unfamiliar with the First Line Literary Magazine, they take submissions every trimester but your story must start with the first line they provide. For this winter rejection, um… Submission; the line was George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.”

On a side note, I am still waiting for my rejection letter from 2000 AD. I hope it gets here soon so that I can get my next rejection going.

The Tragedy of Mrs. Whitfield

by

Nico Izambard

George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.”

Victoria Whitfield refused to answer. She knew it was just another one of his tricks. He wanted her to come down to the kitchen so that he could feed her soup and take little Angelica away from her. For the past three days, he had been relentless. She was not going to give in. She was going to stay in her bedroom forever, just her and her daughter; or, at least, until Henry returns.

“Mrs. Whitfield?” he insisted, “Doctor Murray is here and would like to see you.”

“Ha!” Victoria exclaimed loudly. She was sitting on her bed, her legs coiled up under her behind like a small garden snake ready to bite. “Dr. Murray is on vacation,” she said, thinking out loud, “He went to California to see his daughter and get a tan. Does he really think I’m gonna fall for that one?” She had had enough of George’s lies and ran towards the intercom. She smacked her dry lips against the intercom and pushed hard on the call button. “Doctor Murray is getting a tan!” she said between tight teeth. “Leave us alone, George, we don’t want any of your soup. Just stop. You’re gonna wake the baby up!”

“Mrs. Whitfield…” George sighed. “Doctor Murray is here to help you. I’m sorry but… we are coming up”.

Victoria was not scared of his threats. She had been planning. If push came to shove, she and Angelica would jump down from the balcony and run for the nearby woods. She had it all worked out. She heard that the forests of the Pacific Northwest were full of animals and fruits, a true wild west, with more than enough natural resources for their sustenance. She would build a tree house for her and Angelica in one of the tall pine trees. They would pick cherries and peaches, hunt rabbits and squirrels, fish trout and Chinook salmon. They would live and sleep and eat in peace, away from George and his ungodly soup. Yesterday, he even had tried to force the door open to give her a peanut butter sandwich. Did he really think she was that stupid? Like she was going to fall for that one… No, no, she had to be strong. She was going to protect her baby from harm, no matter what.

She got up to check on Angelica who was quiet in her cradle. Victoria could see so much of her husband in the baby girl. The curvature of her upper lip, her frighteningly pale skin, even the way she looked up sometimes, straight up to the ceiling as if seeing ghosts invisible to the adult eye. She would often sigh faintly as disappointed by some upsetting news. Victoria suspected it was simply gas though. The poor little thing was very gassy, probably due to George’s mediocre cuisine which had infected Victoria’s breast milk. Everything Angelica did reminded Victoria of her dear Henry. She was missing him so much. Mr. Whitfield was a successful lawyer. He had to go back to England to finish some business. He would never talk to her about his work and she did not ask. It was all very boring. He had been gone for almost two weeks now and had missed little Angelica’s birth. He was going to be back soon though and throw George out the door for his insubordination.

She could hear George’s footsteps and ridiculous whispers as he neared her bedroom door with his accomplice. They were conspiring against her for sure. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? And who was that man pretending to be Doctor Murray?

They knocked on the door.

“Mrs. Whitfield? This is Doctor Murray. Can I please talk to you?” said the unknown man.

Victoria put her lips around the keyhole and whispered, “Be quiet, ‘Doctor’. You’re going to wake up Angelica. Now leave me alone, we’re fine in here. Just go!”

“George told me you have not had food in three days. Is that true?”

“We’re not hungry!” she hissed sharply.

“Mrs. Whitfield… we are both very worried about you. If you don’t come out, we’re going to have to call the police and ask them to break down the door. Do you understand? We need to see you so that we know you’re alright.”

“That son of a gun,” she thought.

“And what if I call the police first? I can say there are nasty intruders in my house. A violent butler who won’t stop trying to feed me soup and his accomplice pretending to be a physician!”

Doctor Murray kneeled in front of the door and looked through the keyhole. Victoria could see his preying eye behind thick black eyelashes.

“Victoria please, it’s me, Colleen Murray. I have been your physician for over fifteen years. Don’t you remember? I helped you deliver little Angelica in this very room only two weeks ago. Please be reasonable and open the door.”

Doctor Murray grabbed the handle, turning it left and right and left and right again; and pushing on the door and knocking, knock-knock, knocking again and again. She could not believe it. They were driving her insane! They were going to try and break down the door. She had to hurry. She gently wrapped Angelica in a thin blanket, making sure not to wake her up, and opened the balcony window. It was a chilly autumn night. She could see the top of the Douglas Firs in the forest across the yard, sticking up through the fog. They were so pretty. In a way, it was always Christmas here. She was going to live in the trees and raise Angelica with the bears. They would teach her how to run in the fog and through the silver salmon-filled streams, her strong little savage girl.

With the full moon, she could see what she was doing. She stepped on the balcony and gave Angelica a kiss on the head. She whispered tenderly, “It’s going to be alright, baby girl.” George and his accomplice had stopped knocking on the door.

She lifted up her nightgown and put one leg over the brass railing, then the other. It was not as high as she though it was. She could just jump and run towards the woods. She hesitated. Should she go back in the bedroom now that they had stopped knocking? She could go back and just wait for Henry. But then, George would not stop harassing her, would he? He and his goddamn soup and sandwiches. She had to go. Henry would know where to find her. He would follow her steps in the wet grass and dirt. He enjoyed hunting so much.

“Oh my god, Mrs. Whitfield! Please, PLEASE do not jump!” George yelled. They had come out through the living room doors and were standing on the terrace, looking up at her like wide-eyed little boys. The pretender looked a lot like Doctor Murray. Victoria realized that they had killed Doctor Murray before his vacation, taken his face off, and that man was wearing it. You could tell because it was all saggy. Victoria was standing on the edge of the balcony, holding Angelica with one hand and holding tight onto the railing with the other.

“Please, Victoria, go back inside,” said George. He was getting awfully familiar now. She had never seen him like this. He looked possessed, all red in the face with big wet eyes. He must have been sick or perhaps possessed by the man wearing Doctor Murray’s face.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You’ve been trying to take her away from me ever since she fell off the changing table. She needs her rest, don’t you understand?”

The man wearing Doctor Murray’s face fell to his knees. He was begging her with his hands tightly joined above his head. Victoria smiled. She was hoping he was going to remove his face but he didn’t and she was very disappointed. Instead, he just moaned like a wounded animal, “Please, Victoria, for you own sake… please! I know it’s been very hard for you since Henry’s accident and now… Angelica… you must be feeling awful but PLEASE do not despair! We are here to help you!”

“You are some crazy person with that mask, you know that? Not to worry, I know exactly what I’m doing!” and Victoria jumped.

She must have been wrong about the height. It took her a lot longer than she expected before she hit the ground. When she did though, her legs collapsed under her and she lost grip of Angelica. The little baby bounced off the terrace tiles and rolled away like a big potato. Then, everything went dark.

Mrs. Whitfield broke both her legs and was institutionalized under Doctor Murray’s care. After three days lying dead in her cradle, Angelica finally got a proper burial. George went back to England to work for a proper family.

The deadline for the next round of submissions is in February!

firstlinenextdeadline

 

Millarworld Submission

Millarworld submission:

They are currently taking submissions from both Artists and Writers? Why hasn’t anyone told me this?

Maybe they did and I forgot.

I was reading through the Top Cow Talent Hunt official thread on Comic Book Resources when I stumbled upon a post in which a person asked if they would be disqualified  from entering the Hunt if they were to win the Millarworld Talent Hunt which ends at the end of this month.

I had no idea this was going on.

So I went to the Millarworld website and read up on the Millarworld Submission instructions for writers.

Thankfully, they “only” ask a for short stories (4-5 pages) which must use one of their famed properties. Here is the run down:

KICK-ASS story set between Bks 1-3 (5 pages)
KINGSMAN story starring Eggsy (5 pages)
HIT-GIRL solo adventure (4 pages)
STARLIGHT starring Young Duke McQueen on Tantalus (5 pages)
AMERICAN JESUS set during first book (5 pages)
CHRONONAUTS set in the past, during first book (4 pages)

Pick any one of those and go!

chrononauts-cover
Chrononauts is a great Script from Mark Millar. I can’t wait for the movie… if they can get the casting right.

I chose Chrononauts for, well, logistical reason? First off all, I HAVE all four issues (Book 1, if you may) and I love them dearly. Secondly, I am entering this contest a bit late. I only have two weeks to put a viable story together and having to refer to and study four issues versus three entire Kick-Ass story arcs is a no-brainer. I also do not own ALL of the other books. I have read some of them but that’s it.

I have been studying the four issues, applying the “method” I was talking about last week. I have yet to settle on a story idea though. If you are not familiar with Chrononauts, it depicts the story of two scientists “Bros” who wreck havoc through the time-stream by using their time machine, eventually fixing all their mess and their own lives in the process. YES, time-travelling.  As you can imagine, this quite opens up the short stories possibilities.

chrononauts_splash Marilyn
Sean Gordon Murphy’s Art is absolutely sublime.

Alright folks, I’ve got some work to do. Between the Millarworld submission, the Top Cow Talent Hunt, and the ongoing 2000 AD open submission; every aspiring Comic Book writer should be very busy in the next few weeks.

-N

The work and blog of comic book writer Nico Izambard

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