Thursday, 30 December 2010

2010: Taking Stock part 2 - The Writer's Year

If you read this blog, chances are you also follow me on Twitter, or have befriended me on Facebook. Or, ya know, not. You might just know me from my blog. Wherever you know me from though, you're probably aware that I'm a writer. I do tend to mention it. Anyway, I've got a number of projects brewing, at various stages of development, and I thought I'd use this blog to let you know how they're all going, what I did this year, and what you can expect next year. Let's start with the one I've been working on longest.

More Than This

My feature film script, this one's been in development for a few years. By January this year, I'd done four and a half drafts of it (half because one of them wasn't a full rewrite). I knew it wasn't ready yet, and needed, at the very least, one more draft, but before I embarked on another draft, I wanted to hear it. Read out loud. By people. Preferably people who have voices. And could read. Thankfully, I know a few such people, and so, one sunny Saturday afternoon, I gathered some wiling volunteers, fed them tea and biscuits, and listened as they read out the project above all others which I regard as my baby. More Than This is a very personal project for me, being vaguely autobiographical, and featuring a lead character who is very much in the head space I was in when I first started writing it. So, I was nervous, to say the least, and hoped to Odin that it would go well. And it did. My temporary cast all enjoyed the script, and were able to give me some very useful feedback to incorporate into the next draft. I've also sent it to another friend whose feedback I am awaiting in full. I'm hoping I can get cracking on the next (full) draft of More Than This next year, though there are a few things I have to work on first which have actual deadlines. Still, it's coming along nicely.


This is another project which has been out there for a while now. When the year began, it was called Zombie Death Squad, the name it had been going by for a couple of years at that point. Within a couple of months, it was going by the name of Dead Enders. A couple of months after that, it was changed again to Stiffs. That title's sticking. The premise hasn't changed. The comic is still about a group of bored twenty-somethings and a talking monkey who fight the undead in South Wales. However, early in the year, we (Drew Davies, the creator, plus myself and our other co-writer, Joe Glass, and artist, Gavin Mitchell) met with some people who already work in the industry. Once again, we were given feedback which we took on board, and which lead to some changes, not to the central idea or themes, but in how we were going about writing the book. ZDS was originally going to be pitched as a #0 issue, followed by an ongoing series. Stiffs is a five issue mini series, incorporating elements of what would've been issue #0 and the first six issues of the ongoing. It leaves the story open to continue, should we be fortunate enough to actually sell it, but it will also stand on its own as a self contained story should it not go any further. We writers have worked together to rewrite it, and I think we've got something pretty tight which people will enjoy. Gav's also turning in fantastic artwork, getting better with every page, and we're ably assisted by the uber-talented Adam Cadwell providing colours and letters. While we've been turned down by one publisher, we've still got plenty more to pitch to. In the mean time, there's going to be a preview book, featuring some of the first issue of Stiffs, available at the Cardiff Comic Expo in February. Come along, and tell us it's awesome. We won't be able to handle any other reaction.

Supermarket Matters

So, earlier this year I responded to a tweet posted by my friend, Mark Chatterly. He was looking for people to write episodes of a comedy podcast he'd come up with set in a supermarket. It wasn't the sort of thing I'd usually write, essentially being a radio play and involving absolutely no monsters or superheroes of any kind. Still, I thought I'd give it a crack. I pitched a couple of ideas to Mark, and he liked them enough to tell me to go away and write them. Which I dutifully did. I wrote two episodes of Supermarket Matters (though as I type, I'm yet to turn my final drafts in. They're nearly there), and these are actually going to be recorded in January, ready for a release a little later in the year. Keep an ear out for these, as Mark has assembled a great team of writers (plus one hack), and they've put together something which I think is very special. By the way, the hack is me.

The Lie At The End Of The World

Okay, so I haven't actually done any writing on this short comic story I wrote a couple of years ago, in which Death kills the other three horsemen of the Apocalypse, but has been pitched to a couple of places again, and fingers crossed, it's looking quite promising that it may finally see the light of day in 2011.

The Liars and another untitled superhero project

I can't reveal much about these, as they're only in the very early stages at the moment, but they're both ideas which I had this year which I'm very proud of indeed. They're both comic projects, again, one of which I hope to start writing soon with my Stiffs collaborator, Drew Davies, while the other I'll be continuing to write on my own. But expect to hear more about both of these over the next twelve months.

Life and Ninjas

You know nothing about this. And I'm telling you nothing about this here. But it'll be here, and soon.

There are, of course, other projects I'm working on at the moment, but these are the ones which occupied my brain and my time for the majority of the past year. Fingers crossed, they'll all continue to move forward in 2011. Things are starting to happen.

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