I sat down to sketch out some notes for the next week of Schlock Mercenary (by “next week” I mean “the next week I need to draw,” not the next week you get to read) and realized two things:
1) the story appeared to be reaching one of the important arc-points I’d slowly been building to.
2) the next week of scripts to be written is for the last week in September.
In short, Schlocktoberfest 2007 seems nicely poised to take place exactly when it needs to, in spite of the fact that I wasn’t expecting this particular plot-point to be the one that fell on that most hallowed of months.
Hopefully everybody will look back at the current storyline, and think I’m some kind of a genius, the way I write these things so that everything falls into place. I’m here to tell you that I’m not a genius. I’m a hack who regularly prays for a miracle, and sometimes gets what he asks for.
On a related note: “Schlocktoberfest” is the most difficult piece of writing I do all year. Ordinarily I begin a book or an arc with an end-state in mind, and a few notions of how the characters will reach it. The “last page” of that book or arc is an indefinite thing, appearing only when I feel like I’m done. With “Schlocktoberfest,” however, the last page and the first page are 31 days apart (though I can fudge a little with the starting point), and whatever notions I may have about moving the story must be made to fit in that space.
It ain’t easy. I didn’t even TRY it in 2000. I screwed it up in 2003, and decided that the story I’d picked was too big for 31 days. In retrospect, I made the right decision – scary though dark-matter monsters are, they were too important to try to squeeze into a one-month arc.
In 2004 I did something new, and played a very ordinary story that ended darkly. In 2005 I had fun with a Really Big Fish (one of my favorites, though the first Schlocktoberfest is still the best IMO). In 2006 I had a great time using the whole month as a setup for a pun. But all of these were really difficult to write, and would probably have been better-written as stories if the 31-day constraint were lifted.
For 2007 I think I’ve got a great set-up, a solid place for the story to start and finish, and a fun concept. But I can’t deny that it’s going to be hard to do.
Back to work with me. These things don’t write themselves…