I’ve mentioned that I’m working on a second graphic novel project. Since you may or may not be tired of hearing about Picket Line, how about I give an update on book 2? I started writing Oaks in November of 2010. I was visiting Zech in Los Angeles, and while he was at work I sat poolside and cranked out this story in a weekend. It was a little alarming how quickly I wrote it, especially compared to the year it took to write Picket Line (granted, I had a full-time job at the time, and granted Oaks is a shorter, more direct story). I took a few weeks to polish things up, but by early 2011 I had a script that I was happy with. This was a great relief to me, as I worried I would encounter severe writer’s block after finishing Picket Line. So without any hesitation I let the momentum carry me right in: I began illustrating Oaks. This was all happening around the time that I was applying for the Xeric grant. Once I learned I would be receiving the grant, most of my energy switched over to producing and promoting Picket Line, with occasional bursts of illustrating Oaks. By December I had the first 50 pages drawn.
Somewhere along the way, though, I realized I wasn’t happy with the story, or more specifically, with the beginning of the story. For a few months I wrestled with the existing material, adding scenes, literally cutting pages apart and piecing them together into new sequences, until finally I realized that it just wasn’t working. I needed to start over. Ultimately there are only about 15 pages that will get scrapped, but that’s still a lot of ink and a lot of time, seemingly down the drain. Here is a page that will not be in the final project (forgive the clumsy dialog… that’s partly why they’ve been cut!)
I could write an entire post – long-winded and exhaustive – about my writing process throughout this. What I’ve learned, what I would do differently, why the introduction wasn’t working, and how I’ve attempted to fix it. I probably will in the future, but for the sake of wrapping up this update I’ll say this: Oaks is happening. It’s been going through some major surgeries, but it has not been sidelined, and I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the year. Eventually I’ll post some artwork that actually will appear in the book, but for now, enjoy another “deleted scene” from the cutting room floor.
Meanwhile, I’ve got some Portland and Seattle events coming up for Picket Line in February and March, but I’ll post about those next week. Get ready!