19. A Matter of Setting the Stage
Being present, utilizing the page-turn reveal, and fighting raccoons
Howdy Brave Being,
Happy November, everyone. Hope y’all have been taking care of yourselves this past month, and if not, well, my grandpa Fred used to say, “Today’s the first day of the rest of your life.” Which I’ve just discovered is from a song by Bread, the soft rock band from the 1970s. The opening lyrics go like so:
Empty nights - endless days
Sometimes love turns out that way
Yes I know - it went too fast
But you can't keep livin' your life in the past
Today's the first day of the rest of your life
It's up to you to make the best of your life
Open your eyes it's another day
I listened to the whole song and I think I finally understand why my grandpa said it. Previously, I had always repeated it to myself when I felt down about something and it helped remind me that it was a new day, a kind of start-over button with the sunrise. But I think there’s more to it. I think he was telling me to make the best of things, and I think long-term, live life to the fullest.
What I’m working on
Outside of my day job, I’ve been working on/promoting three Kickstarters: The dark action comedy, THIRTY-THREE, a new swords and sorcery comic TBA, and of course, the ADVENTURES EVERYWHERE kids anthology. For the latter, some of the creators and I got together this past week for a cozy chat to talk about our kid-friendly stories and adventures, of course. Check out our panel to meet some of the creators and hear more about their stories!
Curated by Nathan Kempf, ADVENTURES EVERYWHERE has just 10 more days to hit our goal. We’d be so honored to have your support. If you can’t back it at this time, share it on social, and especially with the teachers and librarians that you know. We all want to get this book into kids’ hands since it’s about showing these young humans that they can be themselves, be okay with having all the feelings they experience, and give them hope through the theme of adventure. These stories are truly for them.
Something else I’ve been working on is looking for a home for DEAD DREAMS: THE LUCID CHRONICLES #1, and I found a place for it! It will be available digitally to the SLICE OF LIFE Kickstarter supporters when their campaign reaches 600 backers. At the time of writing this post, they’re nearing 400 backers, so I think they can hit it with 14 days left on the campaign. I feel deeply honored that creators Kat Calamia and Phil Falco added our story to their Kickstarter campaign, and I also can’t wait to read SLICE OF LIFE. In case you missed it, I chatted with Kat and Phil just last week! Check that out below.
Also, in case y’all don’t know, and since I talk about Kickstarters a lot, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform, and the creators (and myself) would love for you to support them in any way that you can at the button below. Even sharing it on social media helps spread the word!
For my day job, I’ve been writing trivia questions for something I can’t talk about in full yet, which is a new for me and I’m having lots of fun doing it. It’s time consuming, fact-checking and all, and holy heck, I have a new appreciation for trivia night. I know some bar trivia hosts will print off trivia questions from an online source, but I bet you some of them write them themselves and those people are my new heroes.
Tips & Tricks of the Trade
I want to talk about how to add drama by using the page-turn reveal technique, my favorite storytelling technique in comics. It’s something I was encouraged to use from Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen; he recommended it to me once at a convention when I asked for some advice about making comics.
So, the name of the technique may be revealing enough, but I’ll break it down. Just like a novel, you'll often see two pages in a comic book side-by-side. But with comics, there are images everywhere showing what’s happening next, making it much easier to spoil your experience. Your eyes will naturally be drawn to anything that could be a twist, something explosive or shocking, especially if it’s on that second page, and then the big reveal is ruined before you actually get to it. I see the page-turn reveal as not only a way to surprise the audience, but also as an opportunity to take your time by adding mystery and suspense beforehand that builds up to the exciting reveal.
For example, here’s a preview of BURN THE BREEZE by myself, artist Jen Hickman, and letterer Taylor Esposito which will be debuting in Brentt Harshman’s Western anthology OFF INTO THE SUNSET soon. I’m sharing a full page below to show Jen’s glorious colors and lines, Taylor’s epic sound effects, and of course, to show how we’ve laid some groundwork for suspense and drama, prior to a page-turn reveal.
The only way to find out what happens is to turn the page. Maybe you’ll get to read the whole story someday…sorry, I’m such a tease. But I hear that there will be an opportunity to pick up OFF INTO THE SUNSET if you missed the Kickstarter. Stay tuned, dear readers.
Psst. Comic creators who are reading this: I would LOVE to hear about how you set the stage for dramatic effect in the comments below.
Things I’m Digging
I don’t know about you but reading the news is rough, so sometimes I read stories from the Good News Network. Hope it brings some light to your life.
So, my husband and I moved to the woods recently and we’re digging the animal life that we’re now surrounded by—hummingbirds, chipmunks, deer—and had quite the experience recently, which I’ve described below with images that convey each of our reactions in order of appearance. Yes, I used images from Jurassic Park and that’s because I truly thought a dinosaur was behind us—I know they’re not on Earth anymore but my scared brain did not get the memo.
Since I’ve been writing trivia questions recently and juggling too much, my brain is mush; therefore, my merry musing today is to live in the present as much as possible. Listen more closely, let people speak without thinking of a response, pause more. That last one also adds drama to those times when you’re telling a story, wink wink.
Thanks for reading!