June 15, 2003

The evolution of immaculate creation

I was out visiting with Scott [and returning his chair] where I talked his ear off. Anyway, one of the topics of conversation came around to this book I have been working on. I actually have finished the book, kind of. I have what 187 pages of text that tells the complete story, but I am very anal about my writing. I have said that many times before.

This story revolves around several characters that have been rolling around in my head for quite some time. In fact, the whole episode began with my having a two word phrase pop into my head: "Alien Attitudes." It is copyrighted. I loved the phrase, it just sang! So what do I do with it. I had imagined how well it would sound as a clothing line. How I would love to see the words Alien Attitudes across T-shirts and down pants legs, so as to push all that Tommy crap off the streets.

I was still mulling what I could use that phrase for when I got a brilliant idea. I was just getting into graphic creation and had been thinking of trying to do a comic strip, so I decided to do one called, yep, you guessed it, Alien Attitudes. I did do the comic strip for 6 months, and it was viewable by anyone who linked to it on the Internet. There may even be a link or two on one of the lists of viewable online comics, but the site is gone. It had been hosted on a friend's server, which he had graciously hooked up through the T-1 line provided to his home by his employer. Well, we all know the IT industry crashed. He lost his job, and the T-1, and there went my site. However, since I teased you a bit, I will do something I rarely do, and display a graphic on the pages of this blog. I am using this one because I thought it was one of my best artistic efforts. It is at 66% of the original posted size, so it is hard to read everything.

if this image is not displayed, it may have been deleted

Regrettably, I am about as anal about my art as I am about my writing, so I decided I was not a good enough artist to make that strip as successful as I had hoped and quit. However, I had actually put about six months effort into developing the characters and the story line, and it would not leave my brain. I actually had people writing to me, asking when I would resume the strip because they were interested in the story. So, this set of characters swum in my head and swum in my head and I had no idea what to do with them.

One day, I decided it would be much much easier to tell the story than to draw the story. I will just write a book. And I did, over about 24 hours. I churned out 100 or so pages, then I could not figure out where to go. I had no ending. I put the book aside. That was summer before last. A year passed. and one day last spring, the ending hit me. Not only did the ending hit me, but a completely new story came with it. So, another three days, and I had the book completely rewritten. I edited, and I edited, and still I did not think it was worthy of competing with "Harry Potter."* I do hold myself to high standards, you see.

Well, I just told Scott the story, and he thinks I have something. I have given a lot of consideration to this book. The story is sound, but the details are insufficent to paint the necessary images. I need to begin it again. I plan on doing so, so if my blogging gets a bit slow, that might be what I am doing.

OK, here is a bit of background. Alura is the central character to my stories. My Harry Potter, so to speak. My very first incarnation of Alura was as an advanced male pleasure doll into which some nerd installed a Furby chip who would be wearing a different set of shoes in each new days' episode. That character turned out to be very shallow and she morphed in the middle of the strip to become the young lady who was displayed above. Read the extended entries to the first four paragraphs to see the beginning of this character development for the third incarnation of Alien Attitudes: The Universe meets Alura.

*I actually had several people read the manuscript and had not a single negative remark made about it. But they were all acquaintances of mine, so I was still suspect of its worth for lack of any professional assessment.

PS. Any of you out there who are in the book business, I need a publisher and may need an agent and an illustrator.

Father Stephens was speaking, but Alura did not listen. Paps had not been much of a church-going man, and Alura seldom had gone places where Paps did not accompany her. As the words droned on, mixing with the sound of the dancing leaves being gently tickled by the breeze, Alura's thoughts were of her future.

Since almost from her birth, Paps had been her guide and almost constant companion. She could not remember a time when he was not with her, or could not have been there within a few minutes. Now he was in a box resting on two boards lain across an open grave. Despite her utter sense of loss and hopelessness, Alura could not cry. Paps would not have wanted her to cry. Paps had thought crying was a sign of weakness. "Face your obstacles head on," he had said, "and don't cry and whine about it, just get the job done!"

But they had never talked about what Alura was to do if Paps was killed. They had just never talked about it. They had only recently begun talking about her future at all. Alura wanted to go into the Marines, she had told Paps. After all, Paps had been a Marine, and so had her father. Her father and mother had met on a Marine Base. Alura felt a strong connection to the Marines. Paps had not seemed enthused, which had troubled her. Instead of quickly agreeing with her decision, he had just sat in silence.

"There is still time for that," he had begun, after several minutes in thought. "I was thinking you probably need to go to college first. You are very smart, and smart Marines are officers. Think on college a bit, then we will discuss it." That conversation ended, and that future discussion never took place. Paps fell off the cabin the next morning, while repairing a leak, and died. Now they were putting him in the ground. Paps was dead, and Alura was lost and alone.

Posted by Tiger at June 15, 2003 06:37 PM | TrackBack

Groovy, Tiger! Sign me up for a copy when it's published.

I had the phrase "Meet Me In Miami" pop into my head about 15 years ago...but couldn't do a thing with it.

Posted by: David at June 16, 2003 03:05 AM

Hmmm, I see a tragic story about an Internet romance between a gal from New York City and a Cuban National. Thanks for that, David, now that story might be developing in my head for the next several years. ;)

Posted by: Tiger at June 16, 2003 08:59 AM

I get a phrase stuck in my head and just write a bit of stand-up comedy. You, my friend, take it and extract an entire book. Excellent. :)
Although if there were an Alien Attitudes t-shirt, I'd surely wear one.

Posted by: LeeAnn at June 16, 2003 10:11 AM

I actually have two that a friend made for me from some art I did for the comic strip, but both are getting a bit ratty. Maybe I will take my picture with one of them on and put it up for everyone to see. ;)

Posted by: Tiger at June 16, 2003 02:48 PM