Thursday, January 25, 2007


Status: 14,ooo words.

I'm one lucky bastard. My 'day job' is as an artist. I draw comics, do caricatures, storyboard low-budget movies and do the odd tattoo. Variety pays the bills. There are no carpet-walled cubicles in my life, nor hot grills, cash registers, paper hats or deep fryers. (Actually, McDonalds wouldn't have me: too many tattoos. I'm desolate.) I'm not rich, but I don't know what I'd do differently if I was. It's a happy, happy feeling.

When I'm at 'work', I sketch. I'm a scribbly artist, laying down lots and lots of little looping strokes with my trusty blue pencil until the shape of the thing comes out. By then my hand has a feel for the line, so that when I switch over to the sharpened number two pencil that single best line flows right on out there.

And for comics or tattoos, the pencil line itself is just a stage. The 'real' line is ink: spare, bare and elegant.

I write the same way. This first draft is my blue pencil sketch. There are lots and lots of lines I won't use, and I keep going back to the early chapters as new aspects of the story reveal themselves. This used to be a pain in the ass, but then I found Rough Draft, a thing of beauty and grace.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've most often been a "polish as you go" sort of guy, which means that I do a lot of rewriting as I move along, especially at the beginning of the story. It certainly slows me down early but helps me with rewrites later.

Heather said...

Hi - I surfed over from Razored Zen. Like Charles, I tend to edit as I go...It's kinda obsessive and I wish I could get over the habit. I'm envious that you can write first and prune later.

Best of luck to you!

Steve Malley said...

Dean Koontz and Tomr Robbins are both polish-as-you-goers too. Usually somewhere deep in the middle of my second draft, I really, really wish I did that too.

But the fact is, I just can't. I've got a nasty little inner critic I keep in a rusted iron cage. If I let the little guy anywhere near a work in progress, he'll tear it apart before it gets a chance in life.

Later, I set the little bugger loose and let him rip. He's never totally happy, but when he subsudes down to grumbling, I know I'm close to my final polish...