Archive for January, 2008

Trudge. Budge. Huuuuuuudge.

Posted in My BOOK! on January 31, 2008 by gladlad

The outline is coming along.  One thing that I keep getting hung up on is my having a clear idea of how many main characters I’ll be working with throughout the book, but NOT a clear idea of who the heck they are.  Intimately, I mean.  I keep second-guessing myself about plot directions wondering what their future personalities might offer the storyline…  But that’s the point of a loose outline, I guess.  Plenty of room for rewrites at future stages.  And a-truuuuuudge…


You faithful few…

Posted in My BOOK! on January 29, 2008 by gladlad

Okay, so step #1 in my Schedule is a grudging trek of mental drudgery.  It is udgy.  Stay with me!

I’d gladly see it TWICE

Posted in Movies, Music on January 20, 2008 by gladlad

I just watched the new film “Once”.  I recommend it highly to anyone who likes a) music, b) non-traditional romance movies and c) music.  It is a film about friendship and love interwined so intimately with songwriting that the music becomes the third partner in the relationship.  The two leads were stunningly understated in their perfect chemistry, and I simply couldn’t believe that songs written for a movie these days could actually be SO DANG WONDERFUL.  Sure, you may not click with the style (I did), but you just have to admire the respect these guys paid to the audience in gifting us with original songs that stand alone as just really good indie-rock songs.  And the story was good, too.  Speaking of which, I promise the next post will be about how far I’ve come with my OWN story.  I just had to share a great film.

All done. I’m going to throw up now.

Posted in Blogging, Movies, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me on January 19, 2008 by gladlad

Well, “the SCHEDULE” is up.  Please refer to the innocuous little link on the right side of the page, concealing a monster of a list.  All said and done, there are 115 steps listed there, the first 86 taking an estimated average of 3 or 4 night shifts to complete, and the last 29 taking who knows how the heck long.  I need to get quicker on Photoshop…

Well, here’s where the proverbial rubber hits the road.  I’ve organized; now I must do!  It’s all been text and tittering thus far, but dagnabbit there’ll be some tantalizing sketches up there soon.  The only problem with this whole ‘blogging-accountability’ pump-up thing is that the very first stage is to finally gather together all the scraps of story floating around in my head and form it into a cohesive outline.  It’s mandatory in order to know what visuals will go to each of the seven chapters.  I’d say I have close to four of those chapters fairly well in hand, but only concept-wise.  I now have to flesh those out, as well as dredge up the content of the other three… and a half… or so.  Ugh.  This will take a little while, and I hope that in that time I can generate more interest in this site, making it more and more impossible, with each new presence, to slacken in my drive to attain each goal.  115 steps to a publishable graphic novel…  Two years?  Three?  Who will see the end with me?  I hope it’s you!

Just so you know, I have been working on this graphic novel for a lot longer than I’ve been blogging about it.  It actually began last winter, suddenly having the urge to achieve my dream of actually publishing a comic book of some kind.  The story actually formed pretty quickly, and I’ve been sketching out junk for it for months.  So I have a little bit of a diving board, art-wise; I just have to fill the pool now so I don’t crack my head open.  I have no idea what that metaphor means.  Moving along…

On a totally unrelated side note, I saw “Cloverfield” last night!  Whooo dogies!  I don’t want to ruin it too much for anyone, but I just have to gripe about the casting of such stinkin’ pretty people.  I felt like the whole first 20 minutes was filmed at a Seventeen magazine model shoot.  It would’ve been a whole lot more believable with actually Everyman-feeling casting.  At least the movie is saved by not having to give a crap about the characters for the entire rest of the movie.  WOW!  What a sock to the face!  In a good way!  Ask Dana; I spent the entire movie wide-eyed, with a huge grin on my face.  Or maybe she didn’t see it while her face was dug into my armpit for the entire last hour.  Great date movie, man– that is, if your date isn’t overly bothered by unrealistically attractive people populating New York City, with uncannily lingering shots of cleavage and too-short skirts in the midst of supposed handheld camera-chaos.  Sigh… Someday someone will make an action movie for the rest of us. 

Anyway, rant over.  Schedule complete, until I notice things missing.  Shift over, typing done.  Bed now.


Posted in Video Games on January 16, 2008 by gladlad

So I turned 30 on New Year’s Eve, and as a big ol’ “Good job surviving this long!” my wife Dana splurged and got me a Wii! It’s the first system that’s made me whimper in aniticipation in a long time, but I thought it’d never happen, and had put it into the “sacrifices you make as an adult that are stupid” category a while ago. It’s been a ton of fun, and I’ve been having more fun making “Mii”s than I probably should. Name that Office character!

Wii Edition

A note on the story, plus ramblings on Fantasy

Posted in Literature, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me, Writing on January 15, 2008 by gladlad

I’d like to say a quick word about the content of the story of my book. In the previous post I talked a little about fantasy themes; sword hilts and whatnot. The story of my book will be set in a world easily labeled a “fantasy” one, but it won’t feel very much like Dungeons and Dragons. I love the fantasy genre as far as its possibilities are concerned, but within that genre I haven’t read many volumes that I thought were truly engaging and original, and those are both labels it would obviously be nice to attach to my own creation.

I am not a heavy reader; I can’t devour books at breakneck speed like my wife can. My mind wanders a lot, and it can take me a while to finish a novel. I reread sentences constantly, a few times, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Therefore, when I choose books I try to be pretty selective about their content; I usually won’t commit to something which seems run-of-the-mill or cliche, no matter what genre they’re in. I made that mistake with Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’. (Steel yourself for the following opinions if you are a lover of his works, and also know that I never got past the first book.) I had already decided that the series looked kind of cheesy, but one of my friends (a respectable guy) swore by them and I agreed to give it a shot on the condition that he’d, in turn, try the Lord of the Rings, which he’d always put aside as well.

I’m sorry Robert Jordan, but Tolkien got to me, and history in general, first. Everything in Wheel of Time is from Lord of the Rings. There is an Elf, a Ranger, three friends with a sword, a bow and an axe. They have a wise and crabby old-man friend. There is a Dark Sorcerer Lord scouring the kingdom for the Boy with Unexpected Magical Powers. There are even Orcs (“Trollocs”… ugh). And those are just the glaring ‘similarities’. It even had my most hated pet-peeve fantasy/adventure theme cliche, which I will most likely refer to again in posts to come: the “kid who finds out s/he’s the savior of the world for absolutely no reason and plus gets sweet powers” cliche. Otherwise known as the ‘Harry Potter’ theme (or the ‘Naruto’ theme, as I like to call it). Some books are able to utilize this theme in a unique way. ‘WoT’ didn’t.

Some fantasy works I like:

*the Riddle of Time trilogy by Patricia McKillip
*Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind(graphic novel) by Miyazaki Hayao
*Lilith by George MacDonald
*The Water of the Wondrous Isles by William Morris
*Watership Down by Richard Adams (well, it’s sorta fantasy)
*The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
*The Silmarillion may be even better fantasy than the LotR Trilogy

Obviously, there are more, but if you know any of those titles, maybe you have a clearer picture of how not-Tolkien-y they are. I guess I’m just solidly in the camp (I hope there is one, or I’m gatherin’ firewood all alone) that holds that you just shouldn’t mess with elves and dwarves and rangers any longer, or you will be stomped on by Middle Earth’s mighty boot. Do I hear an “Amen”?

Wow, that all took a turn for the nerd. At any rate, none of those appear in the world I’m crafting. I promise. More later on what will, because I’d like it to be up for a little discussion. Oh, and my Wheel of Time friend “didn’t really get into” Lord of the Rings. He thought they were pretty uncreative.

Prelude to The SCHEDULE

Posted in My BOOK!, Writing on January 13, 2008 by gladlad

Well, having called in sick to work the last couple of days while I and the rest of mine suffered in the ancient Chinese “Hell Of Two Families With Many Children All Having The Flu In The Same House” (thrown out of the final script of Big Trouble in Little China) I didn’t get to work on the Schedule until tonight.  But before making the actual Schedule, I first had to make a list of all the things that needed to be Scheduled.  Without further ado, here they are:

Art design sections:

General design style: artistically unique expressions for basic elements

Character design

-Main Characters
-Secondary Characters
-World-fill characters

Environmental design

-Basic environmental theme for each continent
—at least two stages of:
>>>>land herbivore
>>>>land carnivore
—unique lifeforms (storyline-specific)

-Cultural design theme for each continent
—rural architecture
—urban architecture
—rural fashion
—urban fashion

–Individual city/locale layout
>>>Unique buildings/attractions
>>>Map (if necessary)

(all of above for underwater environment as well)

World Map

Vehicles (Continent specific)

-General ideology/design evolution for entire world
-Culturally specific forms of following:
—Large commercial/military
—Unique (storyline-specific)
>>Rideable animals?
>>city/village ground vehicles
—multi-person transportation
—farming use (carts, plows)

All this must be integrated with story development, which must also be scheduled as much as possible!


Now I’ll be the first to admit that something incorporating all these elements comes out sounding a little “Let’s make a role-playing-game!”  I don’t want my beautiful vision bogged down in ridiculous junk like making sure all my background flowers have the same number of petals and can be artistically traced to the chemical production of gunpowder in their story world.  But what I do want is a story world with realism and a consistent quality of its own, as well as a template of content I can drag-and-drop from once the actual pages of the book begin to be drawn up.  By the way, is “story-world” a real English phrase?  It should be if it isn’t.  It’s a useful term.

Anyway, I don’t want my vast audience of supporters and critics to think that you can just build a magical world of beauty by encyclopaedically crafting every buttonhole and sword hilt and devising every single word of a fantasy language and birthing entire bloodlines of kings and commonfolk before you even really know what your story is about.

Oh, wait…  That’s called the Lord of the Rings.  Okay, so you can, but let’s just remember that Frodo was not scientifically designed; he was a work of the heart– of the story giving itself to you without asking for it!  The sentence “under a hill there lived a hobbit” (or whatever) was just a daydreaming scribble, and therein lay the magic and attraction of the whole setpiece.  Descend from soapbox.  All I’m syaing is that I pray my story, though I know and shape its bones, will drape itself in flesh not of my own artificial prompting, but of the story knowing what it needs to be by itself; of the Muse descending upon the toiling note-taker; of God breathing a sweet breath into the pouch still a-mending.  But first those bones…

Okay, it’s GO time!

Posted in Blogging, My BOOK! on January 7, 2008 by gladlad

So I was beating myself up tonight again after trying to get into comic-book mode and getting pissed after scribbling for a while, and after a while nailed down one big freason the creative juices aren’t oozing so much right now. See, last year I had this killer idea for a graphic-novel-comic-thingaroo and was stuck in “Holy crap, I’ve got another amazing idea for it!” (giggle) mode for a few months. And I’m just now getting used to the fact that that wave came and went (inevitably– duh), and I’m now in the “Don’t… know… what… to… do…” stage. This morning Milton’s muse descended upon me and whispered, “You have to get organized, dummy.”

“So I shall make a Plan,” the dummy oathed, Dwight-like, “a Plan that will set a sequence of design elements: a schedule that, if obeyed, will produce the meat, if not the pretty skin, of the hallowed tome floating so haughtily in the misty cradle of my dreams! Ach, those meddling mists!”

So here’s the deal: I have added a link at the top of the page to “The Schedule”. As I attain goals on the schedule, I will cross the item off it and post a tantalizing and able-to-be-plagiarized-at-no-emotional-or-financial-cost-to-myself sample of that stage’s work to prove to the world (that means you, gentle viewer) that it really happened, at which time we can both rejoice together.

I believe it was in the Zelda game “The Wind Waker” that we were first introduced to the Cave of Ordeals, in which Link had to fight through level after descending level of progressively more challenging battles until, after many weary sword-swings, he finally reached the little treasure chest at the very bottom and earned his reward. Such will this task be for me, recognizing that after each batch of sketches and story-work completed my reward will be so much fantasticker that the depressing little ‘piece of heart’ or whatever it was you so painfully slogged down to in Zelda. It will be an actual publishable piece of work, hopefully to appear in many bookstores around the world, bringing joy and wonder into the homes of kids like myself. When I was a kid.

Who liked to read comics.

Join me, then, won’t you? And along the way we’ll chat about other things such as music and movies and stuff, and get to know each other better, which blogs are pretty good for. And maybe you’ll get as excited about my project(s) as I am, and the world will rock a little more because we’re vibin’.

By the way, since I have to leave work now, I’ll post the “Schedule” in a couple nights when I’m back in. Verily, I swear it to be true.

Why I Want to Blog (by Jesse Gillespie)

Posted in Blogging on January 4, 2008 by gladlad

I work the third shift, watching double-diagnosed mentally retarded/mentally ill adult women sleep. As my family and friends (well, most of them) sleep; as the stars burn hot and white far beyond the brisk winter air of Minnesota; as the oarfish dream waking dreams of abyssal bliss, here sit I: my genetically tending-to-wander mind forced by unnatural sleep patterns into even deeper and more pell-mell wells of wondering, or lack thereof. To tell the truth, even after about seven months of this night-shift thing, it’s still hard to stay awake sometimes. And it’s really hard to do the things I want to do with all this spare time, such as draw, write, etc. It’s really easy to do things such as watch online episodes of ‘The Office’ too much, or traipse among the YouTube blossoms.

It’s getting to the point where I feel that the things my heart wants to accomplish the most are attacked from multiple sides: from my own fascinatingly aggressive procrastination instincts as well as from honest-to-goodness external spiritual enemies not wanting me to make my life what it’s capable of being. The feeling of opposing magnets comes to mind whenever I open my sketchbook or begin to put words to a tune in my head. I want to make gifts for friends; I want to work on graphic projects; I want to make cute I-love-you cards for my wife. The pencil nears the paper, and the invisible barrier repels it. It really feels that tangible sometimes. Often, in fact.

Thus, this blog. I will tell my friends about this blog. I will tell my family about it. I will even tell my wife about it, whose scrutiny I both crave and fear the most. And I hope that some visitors from the planet at large would stumble upon it, too, and join in my little personal battle of just getting around to freakin’ DOING stuff. Lo, magnetic barrier of wretched lazy-assness! See me grip my heart and unsheath it from its rusty… uh… sheath; behold its bright blade of earnest hope and conquering love!

In short, i’m really gonna try to do stuff, and hopefully this page can be a cathartic insurance policy that I can fashion some reality out of all this dreamy crap in my head. And speaking of crap, it’s time to go. More soon.

Thou hast done well in defeating the wyvern.

The inagural post

Posted in Animals, Blogging on January 4, 2008 by gladlad

I’d just like to begin this blog by saying that oarfish are beautiful, and are one of the many underappreciated denizens of the deep.  Take a moment to thank God for the oarfish. 

Stay tuned for long-winded rants about the ignorance of the world in general to the wonder of sea slugs.