< Piro >
Sunday - June 25, 2006
I came across something amusing in my development notes for chapter 7. It's right near the beginning, where i was laying out my goals for the chapter. "Chapter 7 should be around 80 pages, no more. Chapter 6 was way too long."
oh boy. ^^;;
At 105 pages, Megatokyo chapter 7 is the longest chapter so far. I cringed when it broke 100, but its a lot like stopping a train - it takes what it takes to stop, even if it means crashing through that semi full of Shower Buddy Dom squeek toys that got stuck at the rail crossing. I suppose it could have been worse. The biggest problem with the chapter was that there were too many things going on and many, many places where it could have been tighter. For the most part, i think people were generally entertained, so it wasn't a total disaster.
As i've mentioned before, i've been doing a lot of thinking about the way i work, and have been trying methods and ways of organizing myself. It's actually kinda sad when i look back at the folder on my computer labeled 'development.' It's a convoluted and tortured graveyard of development notes, sketches, dialogue, scripts, ideas, concepts, pleas with myself to somehow get a handle on what i am doing... hundreds of files that were once the center of my attention, eventually sunk to the bottom of this folder never to be used again.
You'd be amazed how many different approaches to writing i've used when writing Megatokyo over the past six years. I have no training in creative writing or art, which is really dumb because thats what i'm doing for a living now. ^^;; I'm sure it gives me a fresh unique approach to things, but it also means that a lot of my attempts to organize myself don't work very well. In fact, i'm so clueless that some of my attempts fail miserably and spectacularly. I really need to delete the whole mess because god help me if anyone in the future ever reads any of it. I'd be the laughing stock of the comics world.
One thing i have found over the years is that simple is best, but not too simple. If you try to get too complicated with your setup, you will find yourself not only hampered by the structure that is supposed to be helping you, but that you wont finish anything because it takes so long to properly use. It's really hard to prioritize important points and story elements along with minor tidbits, all of which might be important, and if you have a complicated system, you will never find anything. Remember... sometimes its not about finding things, you have to be looking for things to find them. Often you need to have things in front of your face in such a way that you remember them. :) You need a system that is flexible, that allows for things to change as your story grows, but is not so loose that it's just a pile of words at the bottom of a file.
Thats why i say too simple isn't good either. I often get frustrated with things and try to use simple text files with everything in them to work from. These are easy to add data to, but really become nothing more than a dump where ideas get buried and never seen again. There's tons of stuff i've written over the years, some of it profound and insightful, but i doubt i'll ever come across it again. Basic data overload -- it's there, but if you cant find it, you can't use it.
The only thing that really keeps me afloat, i think, is the fact that most of the story is churning around in my head anyway. I retain enough details that i can put them into play when the time comes without relying too much on any of the structure i try to develop in my writings. The negative thing about this is that you can end up with things that are less organized and less polished. It becomes more like improve, and less like developed, professional work.
I keep this little graveyard of files it because from time to time i do some data mining to find specifics on an idea i remember elaborating on ages ago, or need to cross reference to make sure i don't write myself into any bottomless pits. There are a lot of great ideas sunk in these documents, but unlike sketchbooks (which you can flip through quickly) you have to read to find them, and that takes time you almost never sink into the research. Much of what i write never gets read again, and a lot of points are often forgotten...
like the quote i started this rant with. :)
I've been getting word that Megatokyo volume 4 is starting to show up in the wild. It's official release day was yesterday, but realistically the book will mostly be widely available next week. Be sure to head out to your local book store or comic shop to pick up a copy (if you want one, that is). We will soon have some in the MegaGear store, but it won't be for another week or so. Which is better for us, to buy it at a book store or to buy it from the MegaGear store? Both are good, actually. We make a little more profit by selling it ourselves, but its also good to have sales in bookstores and comic shops (sales numbers are good and make publishers happy) so basically, just do what is most convenient for you.
Oh, one other note about the MegaGear store. Last month we introduced the Pirogoeth bracelet (along with the Miho and Ninja bracelets) which were very well received. So well received that they sold out in two days. ^^;; We are being inundated with emails about when they will be back in stock. Please keep in mind that these bracelets are hand made, and the guy making them can only make them so fast. We probably wont have more for several more weeks, so please be patient, i'll let you know when they are back in stock, so stop emailing us about it!! :P
Finally, i want to mention two interviews i did recently. The first was over at The Pulse, and there is a sample page from Circuity in the article you might want to check out. It's always good talking to Jen - ive been talking to the Pulse about Megatokyo for years. :)
The second is over at IGN.com, where i elaborate on my extensive plans for doing Batman comics for DC.
Just kidding :P
I have a few more interviews im working on, and im trying to spread things out between them to make them all a little different. Honestly, i hate doing interviews, there's nothing more self conscious than talking about yourself and your work. The good thing about them is that they can really help expose Megatokyo to new readers, so it's always worth doing.
The schedule for Megatokyo right now is pretty simple - a one shot comic for monday, and if all goes well i'll jump right into chapter 8 on wednesday. At worst i might have to do an additional OSE on wednesday before i get started, but i don't think i'll need to. Chapter 8 development is actually coming along quite nicely. I do wish i had time to do an omake (I was considering calling it "Full Megatokyo Melancholy : Träumend Panic!" but i think it might have to wait till the end of chapter 8. Chapter 7 was too long, i used up my Omake space finishing the chapter. :P
Oh, one final note, in the 'help Hawk and Ananth" get to SDCC drive, they have yet another sketch up for auction, so check it out.