Category Archives: Nico’s Blog

Blog posts written by Nico.

Wizard Con Portland 2016

It’s wednesday, wednesday, WEDNESDAY!

It’s new comic book day and, from now on, the day of the week when I put a new post on my blog. I know, it’s been a while. Honestly, I simply forgot to post. I was busy. I have sciatica.

Enough said.

A couple weeks back, I went to:

Wizard Con Portland!

But first,

Pretty pictures:

Wizard Con Portland- Sasquatch by Steve Lieber

I really enjoy buying original sketches from Artists at Cons. It is a bit expensive but well worth it. Check out Steve Lieber (Superior Foes of Spiderman) here.

In that vein, earlier last week, I received a commission from Emi Lenox:

StormByEmiYou jealous, yet.

You can find Emi here.

I gotta go frame shopping… and wall shopping? because I’m running out of wall space… haha, hilarious. Alright, I’ll stop.

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What I learned from Comic Book Artist and Writer Michael Golden during his panel at Wizard Con:

1- People are stupid.

So do not confuse them with your ‘mysterious’ writing, break it down for them, keep it simple.

2- Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why.

Make sure you tell your audience all that because they are a bunch of morons.

+Plus a few precious pearls of wisdom for your writing:

  • Write the ending first.
  • Establish the premise right at the beginning.
  • Plot and character development are one and the same. Plot IS character so make sure you know what your character want and runs with it.
  • Moms make great villains because they love you.
  • Everything is a machine. Figure out how the machine work.

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And finally:

2016-ww-portland-1-02857-org

Happy Wednesday!

-N

Take a step back.

Read your work with fresh eyes, take a step back!

Happy Love day everyone!

So I somehow totally threw my back out this week and it’s not getting any better. Besides that, I am fine. I am taking this opportunity to do some writing and try to be productive in spite of the constant pain. Do you feel bad for me yet?

The one thing I have been doing today is to read my Top Cow Talent Hunt entry for this year. Tomorrow, we (the contestants who have submitted their script before January 15th, the deadline for feedback) should be getting our one paragraph feedback. Yeah!

I figured that before I hear somebody else’s opinion on my script (and messes with my head and confidence?), I might as well form my own. It has been over  a month since I have looked at it so you can say that I took a huge step back and can now look at it with fresh eyes.

I sat on my couch with my feet up (which really diminishes the pain shooting down my back to my legs… Are you sure you don’t feel bad for me yet?) and, armed with a pen and a legal notepad, I was ready to write down everything wonky with that script. And I did. But I also enjoyed it because that script does not completely suck and once the action gets going, it does not relent.

I love doing that because, yes, you might find a lot to hate when you come back to an old script with fresh eyes, but you will also find a lot to love.  And the thing is, now that you  see it, you can fix it. I sometimes make myself laugh when I reread some of the older Arthur King scenes because it is genuinely funny. Yeah, I make myself laugh and I am so not ashamed. I am my biggest fan!

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I am so excited for the feedback tomorrow. If you have not entered the Top Cow Talent Hunt, it is NOT too late because the final deadline is May 15th. So, get comicing!

-N

High Concept and Pinterest

I am still submitting “Arthur King” to whoever still accept submissions and I actually got an answer from one of the publishers. No, they are not going to publish it BUT their answer was very positive and encouraging. So much so that I actually printed it, highlighted the kind words, and pinned it on the board by my desk along with other positive encouragements I keep right in front of me for motivational purpose. The fact that I actually got an answer at all is pretty amazing in and of itself. That was a Goooood day.

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I am currently working on a submission for Titan Comics. They mention on their site that you get a better shot if you submit a 4 to 5 issues limited series.  Arthur King was designed as a minimum of 6 issues but I think that last night I had a tiny breakthrough and found a way to cut the fat in some exciting way. Truly, this is what I should be working on right now so I better wrap this up.

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I have been concerned with “High Concept”. When I took Brian Bendis’ class at PSU, we had to introduce our final project as  a high concept. I had not idea what that meant so I just sat in front of the class and told the whole story. Brian was kind enough to let me I realize now. Yesterday, I read this article about it and realized that a high concept is basically what I have been calling my logline. It is the hook of the story told in no more than a couple sentences. For example, Arthur King‘s high concept is:

The legendary KING ARTHUR is reincarnated as an amnesiac, obnoxious hobo. With the help of a magical hitman with an anger problem named MERLIN, ARTHUR must find the Knights of the Round Table Magical Weapons and stop his mortal enemy MORDRED from finding the Holy Grail.

At least, that is where it stands now. The hook comes from the fact that King Arthur is now a Hobo.

Looking at some of the projects I am working on now, I realize that they are not very good since they do not land themselves to a High Concept pitch quite yet. One of them is just a straightforward revenge story. I have yet to put together a strong High Concept and I am working on that before I even bring them to DKaotic’s consideration. My High Concept MUST wow the reader or audience and that is freakin’ hard.

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I (finally?) started a Pinterest. The board you can see is just a general cool stuff one. I actually created a ‘secret’ board for each project I am writing so that I can fool myself into thinking that procrastinating on Pinterest is actually productive (it is not) but I’ll have plenty of pretty pictures to show an artist down the line.

ProjectBoardPinterest
A board for one of the projects I am currently developing.

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Wishing you all a happy February,

-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.

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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