Saturday, January 12, 2008

Before we get going again

I sat up late the night I finished Book I, (which incidentally is called "Winter") making some editorial changes to the overall plot line, but not incorporating them into the malleable text here at the Blog. They'll appear in the edited for print version of Book I, which will be due out this Fall, just in time for...(drum roll) Winter! I can't make any promises, but that's my current goal.

Anyhow, the editorial changes are important as we go into Book 2, since I don't want to write another zillion pages with ideas or characters the print version will get rid of or adjust, etc.

So, a few summary changes, which currently all involve Blackout and Ripper.

Blackout and Ripper are switching occupations. Ripper is said to be the musician and Blackout really suits a comic book store owner much better. In addition, I can actually write a musician - I can't really write a DJ. That's fairly minor in the greater scheme of things, I'd say. In Book 1, Blackout finds out about the Tree earlier than he did in the blog story, simply because Andrew would come to check on the comic shop for damage; Blackout becomes a little suspicious at that point. Ripper is Blackout's roommate - they share rent on the apartment attached to the comic shop. The name of Ripper's band is, no surprise...Gotthammer, and in light of my own pipe dreams (no pun intended), it's one of those goth-metal bands with a uilleann pipe player in it. This is important for the "television show" aspect of Magik Beans - the theme music is official now (as official as pipe dreams ever get). It's the first 30 seconds of "Liam" by In Extremo. Here's a free download from Free Irish Music Downloads so you can enjoy it while you read. At any rate, the opening credits would feature Ripper and the members of Gotthammer rocking out. This is key for book 2, which will expand on Ripper and the music of Gotthammer. It is entirely possible that Sunny sings in the band, I haven't decided. And for the record, it was a fund raising concert put on by Gotthammer that first weekend of the Tree (An in-store performance) that saved the shop.

I was really uncomfortable with the ending of Book 1 insofar as the love scene between Ripper and Sunny seemed rather abrupt, without precedence in terms of character involvement, so expect them to be expanded in the print version.

Another little tidbit - Andrew's meeting with Silke, will as per Jim Baerg's suggestion, involve a greater deal of suspicion on Andrew's part. He makes a comment about having trouble trusting perfectly beautiful women, at which point Silke turns to face him, revealing a wicked triple scar from her forehead and down her cheek. She is also blind in one eye - haven't decided if she gets an eyepatch or a wicked cool magic eye, or just a dead white one.

So there are some updated thoughts.

As I am currently experiencing a kind of sorta writer's block to getting started again, I'm curious to know anything you as readers want to see expanded, or explained, etc. The current idea I'm playing with is a story with two or three plotlines which will come together at the end. Plotline 1: Ripper and Gotthammer enter a Battle of the Bands which spans the worlds. Plotline 2: Andrew enrolls in a very special course at the University along with other guardians of the Tree from other worlds. Plotline 3: Yeah. That's where I hit the wall.

I will start Thursday, hell or high water, and see where the muse takes us in 2008.


Matthew Littel said...

Hey Mike. You are a phenomenal story teller and I love the spirit you have of sharing the journey and not being afraid of changing even what has passed.

The only thing I could see me wondering about and wanting more about is the nature of the job of a guardian of the tree. Personally, I am always game for a bit more philosophy and that awesome dialogue about foundations of the earth.

Other then that ... love your imagination. Don't be afraid to take the scope big.

Blackout said...

Plotline #3: Blackout meets one of his favourite superheroes and they compete for Lara's attention. Hey, just in time for Valentines. Blackout needs some action. In more ways than one! Help a brother out.

By the way, awesome choice for TV theme music. I can perfectly picture the images in my mind. Frakking awesome.

Gotthammer said...

This is precisely why I share the journey Matt. It's akin to sitting around a table and brainstorming. Those of you who leave comments are the Inklings of Magik Beans. The Inklings would read excerpts from their manuscripts that were in process and then there would be discussion. I don't know how much Lewis influenced Tolkien, but you can see Tolkien's influence in Lewis. I read Blackout's comment this morning regarding his fictional namesake and it started a chain reaction for plot #3. I like the idea of the competition for Lara's attention, although I haven't decided if Superhero is the right way to go just yet. At the end of Book 1 though, Father Christmas bestowed those storytelling Tarot on Blackout. Up until now, he's just used them to do readings, the traditional way, where you pick up cards face down. But what would happen if Blackout did his own reading involving cards he believes have to do with Love, etc., and chooses his cards deliberately instead of letting chance (or the Tree, or Fate, or Providence) choose the cards for him? What would happen? There's plotline #3. And it will involve competing attentions.

And as another teaser, I never revealed what Father Christmas gave to Andrew, Lara, Sunny or Ripper.

Gotthammer said...

Another change. This one a little more major...I did a redux writing of Episode 52 of Book 1 - changed around who ended up in the Grotto.

Phil said...

Thematically, the book of winter featured archetypal characters of the seasons -> Santa Claus, Dieter, etc. So, in a major way Winter and Spring were represented. Maybe in Spring, a plot involving the archetypes of Spring and Summer could be involved. I'd love to see who you would come up with in that case.

The best plots, in my most humble opinion, come from getting the characters into trouble. What forces of Chaos were behind Finn and the succubus? Is there something beneath the surface directing attacks at the tree? Is there something evil and chaotic that our characters can run into? Is there ground for interpersonal conflict? Maybe, in the battle of the bands, there's some forsaken band, ala Ghost Riders in the Sky, that Gotthammer has to play against?

Blackout said...

WooHoo! Talk about helping a brother out.(Glad there was no singing involved.)

By the way, you still have Blackout in the coffeeshop a couple of line before the others ask where he is.

Gotthammer said...

Ghost Riders in the Sky indeed! That's definitely the direction I'm heading, though it's a little more mythic than elemental/Spring. Think Greek.

Carl said...

Hey Mike. I'm loving all your work (loved the redux version of the last chapter). As for your changes I thought I'd ask why a comic book owner would be called Blackout? Made sense for a DJ and I'm sure you can still make it work for him but I thought I'd point it out. Along the same lines, why would a comic shop owner have all the pyrotechnics Blackout brings on the trip? Maybe Ripper can bring them. Regardless they're minor points. As for the bigger picture, I've got to say I'm with Matthew, I think you'd do well to include more than just entertainment (which is certainly appreciated). I'd love to see you share those Thor-esque views and thoughts that we're all so fond of. And my last thought is that I'd like to see Andrew step up to the plate a bit more. I got a big kick out of the damsel in distress reversal but I'd like to see him grow and become more capable. Maybe an unsure and weak man becoming a righteous and strong man a la Wild at Heart (or some other such book). Maybe to win Silke's heart, I dunno. Whatever you do I will definitely be reading. God bless.

Gotthammer said...

Thor-esqueness abounds in this book with Andrew going to class to learn how to be a guardian. Lots of discussion about the nature of the Tree. And...Blackout is his name because...okay, you got me there. I'm sure I'll come up with something...just you wait. Good point on the Pyro. What if he moonlights as the sound/lighting tech for Ripper's band?

Meredith said...

i'm with Carl on the DJ thing... it did make sense for Blackout (plus I was envisioning some type of scene where it actually came into play - some type of magical weavespinning battle of the DJs or something... :))

Gotthammer said... about this. Blackout REMAINS a DJ...but owns the shop WITH Ripper, who is also an aspiring musician. They figured owning their own comic shop was a decent way to be able to control their daylight work hours, plus feed their fanboy addictions.

the philosopher one said...

So far your guardians have been writers, what about other artists and whatnot...think of it, Salvador Dali! Now there is a man who wasn't always in this world! I also agree with Mark, Andrew needs to step up, you should see the kick-ass beard he has now! I have to say; I had quite different expectations for this entire tale. I want to give some critical comments pertaining to this. I, like everyone else I am sure, love the moments of deep insight as well as the interesting characters and plot of this tale. Yet, I still feel thirsty as a reader at the end of each episode. I stand by what I said concerning the solstice episode, it was one of the most powerful things I have ever read. I know that you are intending this to be an internet experiment of writing in serial, but I would encourage you to consider a much more comprehensive tale. There is so much going on that simply gets rushed over. The concepts which you are weaving into the narrative are stunning, but again, I feel teased. There is so much potential within this text that I think to leave each of these characters so, dare I say, underdeveloped would be a waste. Again, I am a huge fan, I just like to be critical because anyone who doesn't like your tale is clearly not going to bother to leave a comment as to why. Remember Mike, reading Magikbeans comes before my school reading, thanks for giving me something interesting and unique to read!

Gotthammer said...

I'm not writing it in the serial format because I wanted to see if I could. I wrote it in the serial format because I came to the realization it was the only way I'd actually finish it. I respond well to an audience, and I honor deadlines, even if they're self-imposed. The blog was a form of writer's accountability. As for what hasn't been fleshed out, that's due to only allotting 30-90 minutes a week to work on it. I just can't make it more of a priority at this point in my life. If I stop doing the episodes however, there will be no Magik Beans period. I would agonize over the perfect draft rather than forcing myself to get 'er done. Besides, much of the philosophical stuff is yet to come. Have patience grasshopper...

the philosopher one said...

I like the sound of that.

Steven Lopata said...

Dear Mike,

Thanks for the explanation. I must say that I was alarmed when the summer passed without a new installment. I feared that you had some kind of problem that would permanently stop your writing.

Please keep up as you can. Your story is intriguing and very well told. I look forward to being able to buy the whole thing in book form one day.