I’m still hard at work on ‘A Long Forgotten Fairy Tale’ but lately I am wondering if I am in over my head with this one. Since over half the book takes place in a new location, a setting I have never really drawn before, I’ve been spending more time drawing new stuff, stuff that is essential I get right in order to capture the mood I am aiming for as well as making sure it’s appropriate for the story itself. It’s an ambitious story. A story that I wonder if I should have held off on for a few years.
But it’s full steam ahead, regardless.
The reason I think I should have held back on this one is an issue of time. Sure, I have no real schedule for these books, but it’s my intention to put a new book out in May of each year. This May will see the release of ‘All This Time’, a collection of stories from the monthly run so that will be this year’s book. This collection does include some new material, but the time I spent on it wasn’t that much, so it didn’t take away too much time away from ‘Fairytale’.
In a way, ‘…Time’ gave me a little wiggle room, it kind of bought me some time (no pun intended) to work on ‘Fairytale’. It’s like I got an extra year for this book. And boy, did I need it, since I restarted this book twice. Work is going slowly on it as it is and I’ve been getting discouraged. It doesn’t help that I’ve been looking at ‘Big City Secrets’ a lot lately and I think that book is a lot better looking than this one. So it’s put me in a bit of a tailspin. Work is going too slowly on the book, but I need to spend more time on it to make it look as good as I can. It’s a little frustrating. Building this story has been harder than I expect, but each page gets a little better, even if it gets harder.
Much of the frustration is coming from not having a script. Brian Bastian wrote ‘…Secrets’ and his scripts are always fun to draw. So in addition to drawing the book, I am also writing it which is also slowing me down. I am about 120 pages in and it’s by far the longest thing I have ever written and I intend for the book to be about 100 pages longer than it is now. In a bit of a nod to the monthly days, I am writing the story as I draw the page. It’s a little counter productive but it’s what I am used to. I know the plot, I know what has to happen in each act. The book will be three acts and I am just getting started on the second. When I sit down to draw the day’s page, I think about what happened on yesterday’s page and thumbnail out today’s page. It would be much easier to work with a script, but I thought I could just…wing it like I did the monthly books. Of course, this book will be about ten times the length of the monthly books, so I am not entirely sure what I was thinking. Hindsight is 20/20.
I think once I get past this second arc and the story really solidifies itself then things will pick back up. The first arc was pretty straightforward and focused on humor, the third act is action, and the second act is setting up the mood and the mystery and the plot and a dozen other things. Once Uptown Girl is convinced of the danger and she starts to take it seriously then we’ll see some momentum. It’s kind of like watching an episode of the ‘X-Files’ and just WAITING for Scully to get on board with whatever weirdness Mulder is investigating.
Anyway, sorry to vent. the story will sort itself out, the artwork isn’t as bad as I think it is, and as frustrating as it is to work on the book, there are still some moments of joy in it. Sometimes the joy comes from a funny interaction that just wrote itself (Rocketman imitating a penguin to some drunk guys) or from a panel that looks better than I thought it would, like the panel below.
I am looking forward to having this book ‘find itself’ and I think once it is done I will like it. This will be the third Uptown Girl original graphic novel (I am not counting ‘All This Time’ since it is more of a “greatest hits” collection) and as a R.E.M., I kind of comparing it their third album ‘Fables of the Reconstruction’ which was a challenging album for the band to make and decades later fans still argue if the album was a misguided mess or brilliant album. ‘Fairytale’ reminds me of that, in a way. I think Uptown Girl’s fans will either love or hate this book.
Me? I loved ‘Fables of the Reconstruction’.