Monthly Archives: May 2013

Busy busy

So I haven’t been posting here like I’d like to. I know there are a couple of you out there that actually miss it—and you do my ego good, so thanks. It isn’t that I don’t want to post, it’s just that I’ve barely had the chance to even breathe.

Let me catch you up!

For the last year and a half, I’ve been “commuting” back and forth from Mississippi to Orlando, Florida, where I’m a Creative Writing instructor at Full Sail University. Lots of reasons for the commute, but the main one has been our house in Oxford has yet to sell. Yeah, I know—frustrating. In fact, as I write this, it still hasn’t sold (anyone need a nice house out in the suburbs of the county in Oxford?). But, since Brittany is graduating from high school, we’ve decided to suck it up, make the move, and trust God to take care of it (hope He’s listening right now!).

Still, it’s pretty scary.

I’ve been losing about a day and a half each week of my schedule to travel. Driving is about 12-13 hours (depending on whether I’m traveling east or west…and how many stops I have to make) and I lose about a half day just recuperating. Which means I have to make incredible use of the remaining days. Those of you with families know how challenging that can be sometimes.

Of course, when I can, I squeeze in writing time. I know I promised at the new year that I’d give you some updates—and they’re coming soon, promise. I should have some cool art to show you soon! The other thing is that I just got a top secret graphic novel writing gig—sorry, I can’t talk about it yet even though I want to! I promise I’ll spill the beans when they let me. While that’s great news—it is!—the publisher wants the script YESTERDAY. EEEK!

On top of that, I’m making a move from teaching in the MFA program to the BFA program. I’m excited as anything to be making the shift. Why, you ask? Because I’m getting to teach Writing For Comics and Animation. I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT?

Yep, it’s cool…but here’s the downside: the class is running NOW! I’m barely staying one step ahead of the class with lectures. I don’t EVEN want to talk about grading yet. The good news is that come June, the material will be written for the next class that comes in…I’ll have the opportunity to spell check and work out some bugs with the next class…I trust. I just hope this first class, who know they’re the inaugural class, will be forgiving of all the bumps in the road.

So. There it is…in a nutshell. Thanks for sticking with me…I hope to get back to some semblance of “normal” mid-to-late summer.

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Filed under family, General, Kids, Moving

You are the one

You

Are the one who reacted to the sound of my voice when you were pressing on your mommy’s ribs.

You

Are the one we worried about because you were born five weeks too early.

You

Are the one I called “squeaky” when we brought you home…because you just didn’t cry.

You

Are the one who we “cooked” in the sun the first two weeks you were alive because the doctors told us to.

You

Are the one who couldn’t say grandma and grandpa…and so you have a Magoo and Paco.

You

Are the one who told me when I skipped a word in a book that I read to you at night.

You

Are the one the doctors told us had scarlet fever and we could only think of all the old films where people died because of it.

You

Are the one who celebrated her seventh birthday on the battlefield at Shiloh and loved it (except for the cold feet) despite your mommy’s trepidation.

You

Are the one who has a musical heart—and always will, in more ways than one. Don’t let it worry you—sing for joy at its tune!

You

Are the one who thought we had bears in the trees behind our house…and I pretended I saw them…often.

You

Are the one who lost a front tooth because you ran face first into a classmate…a boy.

You

Are the one who played baseball with the boys for two years because there were no girls teams…and you were the starting shortstop.

You

Are truly my daughter: the only one in your class to have read The Constitution by fifth grade and to not just know that Lincoln freed no slaves, but why he didn’t.

You

Are truly my daughter: you’ve read more cool books and comic books than most of your friends…and you’re proud of your “geek” badge!

You

Are the one who asked me questions about things you heard at school…things that made me turn razorback red…but that I always answered, even if I had to think about the answer for a day.

You

Are the one who still loves me despite my parental errors.

You

Are the one whose boldness in your faith inspires me…and continues to inspire me. Don’t lose that confidence!

You

Are the one with whom I’m still close, despite so many of my female friends telling me that would end at 16.

You

Are the one graduating with honors.

You

Are the one of whom I am incredibly proud for so many reasons. I hope you at least know some of them.

You

Are my Mo.

You

Are my baby-doll.

You

are my daughter.

You

Are the one that I love…

…this’a much and more!

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Filed under family, Kids

Comic Book Editing

It isn’t unusual that I get asked to read and offer critique or feedback on someone’s work. When I have the time, I very much enjoy it. I’m much more inclined to fill my time with friends’ work than with that of folks I don’t really know. And while I don’t really “advertise,” I also do editing work—y’know, that people pay me for—though I’m very particular on what I take on. Usually if someone just wants a quick “wha’cha’think,” the chances are more likely the lower the page count it. It isn’t that I don’t want to read their 600 page novel, but I just don’t have time.

Of course, that lack of time scares me sometimes. But that’s not what this post is about.

I enjoy comics/graphic novels most of all, and it’s in that format that I get called on most (prose being 2nd…well, only other).

But it’s also that format that tends to aggravate me the most because of the huge misunderstanding of the role of an editor in comics—even by people who have produced them. Please know that I’m mostly talking about those who really don’t what they’re doing even though they’re doing it.

It often happens like this: I get an email asking if I’d be interested in “editing my graphic novel.” I respond with 50 questions (content, audience, etc., etc.) It’s usually at this stage I find out the graphic novel—all 200 pages of it—is already finished. I generally respond, that “oh, you don’t need an ‘editor,’ you want a ‘proofreader.'” We then swap emails with them trying to convince me that no, what they really want is an editor, even though the entire book is already produced.

People, at that stage, the person who reads the book is no longer an “editor.” A “copy-editor,” maybe, a “proofreader,” for certain. And please don’t think I’m badmouthing copy-editors. They are a vital part of the production/assembly line, but that is not the role of the traditional comic editor.

A traditional comic/graphic novel editor is involved practically from the ground floor. Most often, the writer has submitted or finished a plot outline. At this stage, the editor can make broad story suggestions and it is fairly easy for the writer to make changes. From there, the writer breaks it down scene by scene, even page by page (meaning the printed comic page). This is done so the editor can get a sense of pacing; they can see what the writer intends to happen on each page and point out lulls in the story, or places that need more time/explanation. It’s then that the writer goes to script. At this point, the editor has read and commented at a minimum twice. Writing the script almost becomes an act of typing (yeah—not really, but you get the point).

Granted, once the art is done, the editor reads it again…but at that point, it’s almost an act of proofreading.

I enjoy editing…quite a bit. I enjoy helping a writer find that special thing that makes the story jump out.

Proofreading I do…but it isn’t at the top of my list of things I enjoy. It’s more mechanical that creative. There are many better proofreaders out there than me.

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Filed under Columns, writing