Working on something set in an established continuity today, and I found myself grinding to a halt when I realized I was going to have to have words come out of these characters’ mouths. And those words were going to have to sound RIGHT.
So instead of writing, I’m reading again.
Which is nothing to complain about, really.
For anyone wondering what I actually do on Greg Rucka’s and Michael Lark’s Lazarus comic series (published by Image comics, go buy consume thanks):
In addition to some fairly basic layout chores on the letter column, I’m designing a lot of the computer-screen “interface” things. Because I’m nuts, I actually developed a working model of how the UI works on Carlyle corporate/military systems, and then altered it into a more consumer-friendly “shell” for The Post.
Because I’m not at all obsessive.
I’ve also been doing designs of the various Family “crests” and heraldry. (Michael did Carlyle, for the record, and thanks buddy for setting the bar so goddamn high.)
As these Families are, in most cases, also business concerns, the heraldry ends up being derived from corporate logos.
So, if one Family started out as a 19th century Australian mining concern, I end up having to design what that kind of advertising looked like, and how elements of it evolved into a more normal “logo” into the 1930s, then how it morphed further on into the 1970s, and ’80s, and then a 2005 “rebranding” effort, before finally distilling it down to a military-style insigne in the grim Lazarus future. Each crest ends up being designed based on four or five other designs no one is likely to see.
Because I am not at all obsessive.
It’s nice to work some of that stuff into the book, though—the “Retinac” advert in the back of issue 5 let me play with the Hock—sorry, HOCK (their internal branding info demands that it always be rendered in all-caps)—logo, which will in time be shown blended with the Bittner family insignia…
One of the weird parts, though, is about how spot-on some of this stuff is. The side effects for the fake visual acuity drug? Taken from actual drug side effects in a visual acuity med on shelves today.
This morning, a radio ad for a financial services company used a tagline almost verbatim from the creepy fake ad for issue 6.
From my e-mail to Greg about it: “THE WORLD IS AN ENDLESS ARMY OF SOULBLIGHTED LIZARD PEOPLE.” The creative process, ladies and gentlemen.
Seriously, though: if you think the world of Lazarus is awful and dark and bleak? You already live in it, gang.
From the Mighty @mercuryeric.
The Carragher ad for Lazarus 6 is frikkin’ amazing….
what advice do you have for someone that has had writers block for the past 6 or 7 years?— thatguywhoexists-deactivated201
this will sound harsh but you’re probably not a writer.
writer’s writer every day. it’s ok, not everyone is.
but if you consider yourself one, get off your ass and get back to work!! write about why you haven’t been writing . anything. just write.
"Writers block for six or seven years." What a doofus.
(Beg to differ but) writing shouldn’t be forced, it should come naturally. As a writer myself, there have been weeks, months that I could not produce anything at all—that seemed sufficient enough to my level of satisfaction, so I’d constantly scrap it. However, after those weeks/months of absolutely nothing, when I least expect it suddenly I find myself writing the most profound words out of nowhere. Someone that has writer block for 6-7 years may go crazy trying to search for inspiration, when instead inspiration would find them when they stop looking. This may be controversial but it doesn’t make sense to put a timeline on how often someone writes before they are considered a ‘writer’.
writing is a discipline, a practice, a religion …
i would love to consider myself all kinds of things but unless i’m actually actively doing them i am probably kidding myself.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.- STEPHEN KING
Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. - RAY BRADBURY
Brian is right.
Brian is being far more diplomatic about this than I would ever be.
The excuse of waiting for inspiration leads to exactly what is described; 6 to 7 years of producing nothing. This is the difference between being a writer and someone who likes to write.
A writer fucking writes. Whether she likes it or not, whether she wants to or not, whether she’s inspired or not. She pushes the boulder, like Sisyphus, until the damn thing rolls or shatters or reverses and crushes her. But she doesn’t sit there and wait until it feels good or it feels right or until the stars are right or anything else. Writing takes discipline infinitely more than it takes talent. That’s the dirty little secret of being a writer. You want to be a writer? Put your ass in the chair and put in your 10,000 hours and your 100,000 pages and then you’ll be a writer.
And yes, I know how harsh this sounds. I know what it sounds like. But it’s the difference between being a writer and simply being someone who feels good about putting their words down when they feel it.
If you want to argue that waiting is necessary, it’s what’s required, then I would offer you’re making excuses for why you’re not writing.
Writing isn’t a profession and it isn’t a hobby. It’s a fucking debilitating illness. It’s an addiction. You either write or you don’t. But you don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. It’s a craft, and you hone it, the way you would hone any other craft — by doing it.
Now get the hell off my lawn.