Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Is Smaller Better?

April 29, 2009

I am typing this post on my latest purchase — a brand new netbook. I used part of my tax refund to treat myself to a new bit of technology and got myself an Acer Aspire One netbook. I’ve been mulling over the prospect of getting a netbook for quite sometime. While I have a laptop it is soon to be an antique, quite hefty to lug around, and is prone to lapse into comas requiring me to completely reboot my hard drive from scratch and losing files.

I’ve been wanting to get myself something that was a lot lighter and smaller that I could use to basically surf the ‘net and write — or write and occasionally surf the ‘net. A netbook seemed like an ideal option. I’m already getting used to the smaller keyboard, and with any luck and burst of inspiration I’ll give the keyboard a worthwhile workout over the next few nights as I work on a few scripts and outines.

I’m looking forward to finally having a notebook/netbook that I can carry around with me and write when muse strikes me over the head with an inspiration-filled sap or blackjack.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even blog more often.

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Coulda Been “Alien Spotlight: Nausicaan”

April 24, 2009

NOTE: If you haven’t already, you might want to check my previous post — Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda… Writing Possibilities — before proceeding further with reading the post below.

dtnextgenDuring my tenure as an Editor at IDW Publishing, the opportunity to edit the newly acquired Star Trek license was definitely the highlight — as much as I dug what we accomplished with Transformers while I was there. (Ugh, that last sentence could’ve used an editor.) Star Trek has always been the favorite of my geek-habit “children”. Having the opportunity to contribute to the Star Trek galaxy was — as cliché as it sounds — a dream come true. I felt what we accomplished with Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between, Klingons: Blood Will Tell, Star Trek: Year Four, and Star Trek: Alien Spotlight was something really special. In fact, at one time I was set to contribute as a writer to the Alien Spotlight series, but it didn’t work out. I probably phasered myself in the foot with that one.

After leaving my post as Editor at IDW to pursue the “whimsical” life of a freelance writer I still hoped to keep the dream alive and contribute to the Star Trek galaxy. This included an effort in submitting a few pitches for the second Alien Spotlight series. One of the pitches involved the nasty Nausicaans — which were featured prominently in The Next Generation episode “Tapestry” (Season 6, Episode 15), one of my all-time favorite episodes.

Like most writers know, when you throw pitches and stories up against the wall to see what sticks, a lot of what you’ve entertained ends up falling into a pile on the ground. For whatever reason, for better or worse, the following pitch didn’t stick — but, I wanted to share it nonetheless.

Alien Spotlight: Nausicaan – “A Severed Thread”

Opening scene on two young male Nausicaans, equivalent age to a 10 and 12 year-old—Kier is the younger Nausicaan and Zon is the older of the two. They are in a forest and have come upon a cornered boar-like creature. Zon pushes for his younger brother to take on the creature and slay it with the sword he was just given by their father. Kier balks and Zon calls him a coward—an evaluation that hurts the younger Nausicaan. Two decades later, the two Nausicaan brothers are serving aboard a pirate vessel, and Kier has just received communication that he has a newborn son. Zon teases his younger brother that at least his son will have an uncle to look up to since it is unlikely that Kier will ever amount to his level of superiority. The pirate vessel attacks and boards a merchant transport and the boarding party of outlaws is ruthless as they plunder the cargo and harm the crew. Kier again shows a moment of weakness when he hesitates to finish off one of the transport’s crew—an act that doesn’t go unnoticed by his brother Zon, who belittles his sibling by referring to him as being unworthy of owning their father’s sword. Shortly thereafter, the two Nausicaan brothers, in addition to a third Nausicaan, find themselves at a Bonestell casino where Zon cheats human Starfleet Ensign Corey Zweller. This leads to an eventual fight where Kier, in order to prove to his older brother that he is a worthy Nausicaan, stabs another Starfleet Ensign in the back and through his heart with his sword—Ensign Jean-Luc Picard (ST:TNG “Tapestry”). The Nausicaans are arrested and sent to prison for their crimes. Kier ends up serving fifty years, contemplating the actions which led to his incarceration and the lost opportunity of seeing his own son grow. He is eventually released due in part to an early Nausicaan/Federation treaty brought on by a Nausicaan diplomat—Kier’s own son. Upon his release, the much older Kier travels to Earth and surprises now retired Jean-Luc Picard in his vineyard. Kier apologizes for his actions some fifty years previously, but states that his and his brother’s absence from his son’s life—and the lack their violent influences—may have in fact, led to Kier’s son becoming a diplomat and a new beginning for the Nausicaan and the Federation. Kier then presents his father’s sword to Picard and leaves without saying another word.

The Script Frenzy Has Begun

April 2, 2009

scriptfrenzyticketNow that the whole April Foolishness is behind me, I’m buckling down to write a new screenplay during the month of April. Why April? Well, it happens to be the chosen month for Script Frenzy — an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. This excercise in creativity and commitment is very similar to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) — which I have wanted to attempt in the Novembers of the past few years.

While I have never written a novel in my life, I have written a number of screenplays — eight to be exact. But, it’s been well over a decade since I’ve competed — or much less gotten past Plot Point I — in writing a new screenplay. I spent the last year and a half pounding out various comic book scripts, and with the current comic book freelance market the way it is, figured that now was as good as time as any to return to screenwriting. Many of my creator-owned comic book scripts, pitches, and outlines the last couple of years have pretty much been planned as springboards for feature films, so… Why the Hell not switch gears and tinker with a screenplay.

I speant much of March trying to decide which of these “springboards” to devote the month of April to and mold into a screenplay. A couple of my ideas I had actually pitched to various production companies last summer. The idea that eventually won out to get the “Hollywood treatment” so to speak is a “family film” of sorts — perhaps a bit edgier than most, but a solid PG rated concept. It’s about a group of kids that find themselves as the last defense against demonic monsters threatening to break free from their hellish prison and bring nightmares to life. The title — The Last Trick Or Treat.

I’ll try to post regular updates on my progress and my experiences of my Script Frenzy throughout the month. Stay tuned.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda… Writing Possibilities

March 12, 2009

So, last night I was thinking about a couple of pitches that I sent to an editor at a comic book publisher. In fact, it was a couple of pitches that I thought were pretty damn good that I never heard back on. This got me started on a blog post about one of the pitches in particular, and I thought that I’d share it with my vast readership. After I typed it up I read it over and I felt that I’d sort of came across as if I had just come off of binging on sour grapes.

That’s not what I was going for. I just wanted to share what I thought was a good idea that I was proud of. The other writers out there know what I’m about to type — especially the comic book writers… We come up with ideas all of the time — some good, some bad, and some ugly. But, we put a lot into these ideas and many of them turn into pitches for screenplays, comic books, short stories for anthology collections, etc… You throw up against the wall in the hopes that they’ll stick like a perfectly cooked piece of spaghetti. It seems that lately I’ve got quite a pyramid of pasta piling on the floor.

So, I figured that rather than just sweep ’em away I’d share them here — my somewhat soapbox of self-promotion. Am I going to share them all? Probably not. But, I’ve got plenty of ideas and pitches that I’ve formulated enough that I want to share rather than let them rust on an external hard drive that I’ll end up crashing on me anyway. (Yeah, that happened to me just the other night.) But, I wanted to throw this introduction to my plan out there first. Warn those editors that passed on said pitches that might happen to find themselves reading my blog — not that they’re flocking here after passing on my pitches — that it’s nothing personal. I don’t have an objective. I’m just sharing ideas that would have, could have, or (in my mom’s opinion) should have gestated into a final product.

They’re not all gems — I know that. I’m not fooling myself and claiming that everything I write or pitch is pure gold and that the powers-that-be who make the decisions don’t know a future Pulitzer Prize winner when they read one. But, I feel like throwing some of these ideas and pitches of mine out there. At the very least, they can serve as filler material for my blog. At the very best, maybe one of those powers-that-be that make the decisions will spot that perfect piece of pasta pasted to the wall.

Stay tuned…

Writing/Blogging From Bed

March 11, 2009

Weird… As I crawled into bed to write the Seinfeld rerun “The Cheever Letters” begins on television where Jerry and George sit down to finally write the pilot script for the show they’ve sold to NBC. Of course, through the entire episode they get very little writing done. Much like I’m doing know. Sure, I’m kind of writing — I’m at least blogging — but, I’m not working on the comic book script I should be dedicating my time to, or the screenplay idea I’ve been tossing around for awhile, or any of the other gazillion idas and projects I’ve got bouncing around in my head.

But, here’s the deal… I’m just thrilled to be writing/blogging while I’m in bed. You see, my laptop crashed on me the other night. While not completely giving up the ghost, it did fall into a deep coma. I thought I was going to have to give my laptop its last rights. But, I pulled off some sort of miracle and managed to resesitate it back to life. Of course, when it regained conciousness it had complete amnesia and I had lost everything. But, I got my laptop back, and here I am typing in bed. Not exactly writing, but at least blogging — avoiding writing.

Alright, enough with the blogging and time to get some serious writing done. Or… maybe surf the internet for awhile — I can do that from bed now, too.

Pirat Tales Available For Download

February 19, 2009

pirattaleseagleoneSo, you say you missed out on getting a copy of and reading the comic book, Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails — created and written by yours truly. Well, avast, ye rattie. Ye be in luck. Issues one and two of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails is now available for electronic download at Eagle One Media.

Not only that, but Doomed #2, in which I adapted Robert Bloch’s short story Warm Farewell, is also available for download. So, do this humble blogger a solid (or three) and download one (or all three) — and be sure to let me know what you think of ’em.

Below is the official press release…

IDW Publishing and Eagle One Media Join Forces to Give Comic Fans an Innovative New Way to Enjoy IDW’s Unique Library of Titles

(San Diego, CA; February 18, 2009) – IDW Publishing, known for its wide array of comic books and graphic novels, has partnered with Eagle One Media to start a comprehensive backlist on the Web. Featuring a range of books from the Eisner-nominated artist and co-creator of 30 Days of Night, Ben Templesmith, to the Presidential Material: Barack Obama and McCain comics, to work by acclaimed artist Ashley Wood, each title will be available for download as a PDF for a minimal $1.99 fee.

Eagle One Media’s President, Eric Reichert, is excited about this new relationship. “Being able to work in partnership with IDW to make a significant number of their comics available for download to fans worldwide is a great opportunity for us. We’ve simplified the process so that comic fans can easily and quickly download complete PDF-style issues to their computer. They can also print the issues and save them to more than one computer if needed.

“Plus, with a sales price below the printed books, we give fans the opportunity to discover and try out comics which they may not have had access to in the past, in an innovative format. IDW joins our growing list of publishers who have made their comics and graphic novels available in our retail download store at: www.eagleonemedia.com.”

Chris Ryall, IDW’s Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, added “I love seeing our comics expand into areas that allow readers to sample books that are new or unfamiliar to them. Eagle One’s formatting is clean, quick, and easy for anyone who wants to read comics on their computer, and when you consider that you can download an entire issue of the 72-page Doomed magazine for $2, a great value, too.”

This pairing ushers in a brand-new platform for fans to enjoy IDW’s extensive backlist, with titles to appeal to a wide array of fans. Currently available for download are Blood-Stained Sword, Cobb, CVO, D’Airain Aventure, Doomed, Everybody’s Dead, Grumpy Old Monsters, Igor, Lore, Lost & Found, Pirat Tales, Presidential Material, ShadowPlay, Singularity 7, Snaked, and Zombies!: Feast. This already impressive backlist will be frequently updated at Eagleonemedia.com.

Pirat Tales 3 — Not To Be

January 6, 2009

If everything had worked as planned the third issue of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails would probably be hitting shelves of your local neighborhood comic book shops. Unfortunately, things don’t always work as planned. Due to low sales, Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails issues three, four, and five will not be setting sail.

Of course, being the series’ creator and writer, my opinion of the comic book series is somewhat biased — but I had really high hopes for this title and the series as a whole. Unfortunately, not enough readers shared my optimistic view. Maybe the comic book reading public wasn’t ready for swashbuckling rats. But, I’m not sure if the comic book reading public really knew much about Pirat Tales to begin with — there wasn’t a whole lot of promotion. I tried to get the word out as best I could, but in today’s market creator-owned, non-franchise, non-superhero, or non-licensed titles face an uphill battle.

I do appreciate the retailers and readers that did take a chance with Captain Blacktail, first mate Peeve, the young mouse Pip, and the rest of the crew of the Vile Vermin. Below I’ve posted images of what was to be the cover of issue three of Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails, as well as a couple of interior pages by artist Orlando Baez.

pirattales3_coverpirattales3_pg5pirattales3_pg7

And, since issue three is likely to never see the light of day… The script for Pirat Tales: Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails issue three can be downloaded here. Avast, ye ratties!

Toward A Fine ’09 – Blogging

January 1, 2009

Here it is… The new year. And, with it comes my first post of the new year. This is the day where we all start anew with resolutions, aspirations, and an eye at looking at a future 365 days with the hopes of them being brighter than the previous 365. Throw in an extra day every four years for leap year — in which ‘o8 was one, but ’09 is not. That at least eases up on the pressure by twenty-four hours.

So, what do I have on line for ’09? (Last year it was “what was on the slate for ’08.” Clever, huh? I’ve got 364 days to come up with something for ’10.)

Every first of the year, at least since I started blogging, I vow that I will post every day. I’ve never pulled it off. In ’07 I managed to start the new year with five straight days with a post, and a total of seventeen days with blog posts scattered throughout the month of January — none on the weekends. At least I managed to do slightly better than sharing my thoughts on half of the days of the month. In ’08 I managed to shoot out of the gate by posting on each of the first twelve days of the year (sometimes even twice in one day), as well as managing to post on twenty-six days during the month of January.

Now we’re starting fresh with a whole new year and I’m one post in toward a goal of posting at least once a day for a total of 365 days. Posting every day for a year isn’t the only goal I have for the new year. There are of course the old standby resolutions of “losing weight” and “managing by money better” to throw out a few. Since I call myself a writer, I’m also challenging myself to write and read more — every day as well. And, no, my daily posts here do not count toward the goal of writing everyday, nor does surfing the web reading other blogs count as reading everyday. I’m very lazy when it comes to these two activities for some reason — which is a very bad, bad thing.

And, I’ve got other resolutions and goals for ’09, but I’m not going to cover them all in this post. I do after all, need material to achieve my goal of posting everyday throughout 2009.

Skullgoyle Needs Your Vote

October 21, 2008

Over at Zuda.com, week three ranking updates came out yesterday and they remained unchanged from week two — which means the comic that I and artist Daniel Thollin created, Skullgoyle, still remains in eighth place. (At least we moved up a rank from ninth in week two’s tally.)

Two reviews of Skullgoyle have popped up online. The Webcomic Witchfinder thinks “the writing is excellent” and “it’s a great little comic with a solid idea and an interesting treatment.” Even if he didn’t understand that we chose to go with black & white for a reason. And, the over at the ComicMix website they state “Skullgoyle has the feel of a solid, classic pulp adventure” and “As long as we get more of the big winged guy, we’re there!”

C’mon, faithful few readers of my blog… Practice now for the big election two weeks from today (those of you who are old enough to vote are going to vote, right?) and head over to Zuda.com and cast a vote (as well as giving five stars and making it a favorite) for Skullgoyle — a heroic hero for this Halloween season. Thank you for your support.

I’m Dan Taylor, and I endorse this message.

More Skullgoyle Campaigning

October 9, 2008

And, definitely not the last of it this month — trust me. If you’re email address happens to be in my Outlook address book you’ll probably be getting a similar email — or if you’re a friend of mine on MySpace.com, Facebook, or ComicSpace, you’ll probably be receiving a message that reads a lot like what you’re about to read below. I’ve got to really push to get Skullgoyle votes this month because the competition is insane.

Alright. If you’re familiar with www.zuda.com, and you knew that I had a web comic in the running for October’s competition, then you knew that a pitch like this was inevitable.

Oh, wait… Hey! How you doin’? What’s new? Hope all is well with you. How about this weather? And the economy — what’s up with that?

Okay, back to the pitch.

Skullgoyle, written by yours truly, with art by Daniel Thollin, is currently in the midst of a tough as hell competition to decide the favorite web comic presented by Zuda for the month of October.

Cutting to the chase… I need your vote. This may very well be the toughest month of completion that Zuda has ever sponsored and our Skullgoyle is right in the thick of it. If you could sign on (register and then sign on if you’re already not a member) and cast your vote in Skullgoyle‘s direction I would be most appreciative — probably enough to buy you a drink, watch your kid, vouch for you to your significant other for any reason what-so-ever, send you a Christmas card this season, not bore you with my attending the first Lollapalooza story ever again, actually buy your next comic book that is published and not just say that I will (if you have comic being published), visit your blog (if you have one of those also) on a regular basis, be your best friend, and/or vote for your web comic when it’s in the running on Zuda.com.

So, if you could do me the huge favor of voting for Skullgoyle I’ll owe you a solid. If you could do even the huger (that’s a word now) of spreading the word and convincing (or bribing) your friends and family to vote for Skullgoyle I’ll owe you a solid with the density of granite.

The direct link to Skullgoyle on Zuda is… http://www.zudacomics.com/node/695.

After my Angels losing to the Red Sox in the ALDS, my comic book being cancelled, and having to suck it up and go back to a regular Monday thru Friday 8 to 5 desk jockey job — my cat, Quint could use some cheering up.

So, if you have any questions — or just want to talk about our feelings (I’m here for you, man) — feel free to hit me back. Help me make my Mom proud. (My dad will still never read it.) I appreciate your support.