What’s It About?

Published January 31, 2013 by swankivy

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They always ask “what’s it about?” but if I actually tell them, they’re usually sorry they asked.

Long issue because this is Issue 20! The drawings representing the fictional projects are of course real examples from my work, as follows:

1. The “dream guy” story is Finding Mulligan. Frame 3 features Cassie, her other self Dia, and Mulligan, the dream guy. Frame 4 features Cassie trying to choose between Jamie the artist and Terrell the musician.

2. The “kid taking pictures of roadkill” story is Joint Custody (an incomplete MG book). Frame 5 features Bay doing his thing. Frame 6 features Marz taking pictures of Bay while Bay is taking pictures of roadkill. He is perplexed.

3. The “science fiction romance” story is Stupid Questions. Frame 7 features Nick trying to grab Summer before she flies away.

4. The “precocious fairy girl” story is Bad Fairy. Frame 8 features Delia studying.


13 comments on “What’s It About?

  • Is that what color Cassie’s hair is? That’s closer to your hair color (blonde) than actual brown. This is of great interest to me because my co-workers argue over whether my hair is “really brown” or “something else” (though only the Japanese people think it’s “blonde.”) My hair IS brown, but by this picture, Cassie’s totally is not.

    On another note, I too have found it’s very hard to talk about plots of stories I write. It’s not just that they sound weird (though that’s definitely part of it), but they also don’t reduce very well and I always feel like they don’t sound worthwhile, even to me. (But then, I have trouble talking about things that interest me apart even from my writing…which I think is a pretty common experience. Much easier to talk about bagels.)

    Oh, and I love the character drawings in this issue!

    • Cassie’s hair is definitely supposed to be fairly light brown, but it’s brown. (It has to be fairly light for what she tried to do with natural herbal hair dyes to work right without bleaching when she dyed her hair in the book, and the stylist she talked to did say she had blonde highlights.) However, sometimes the color gets red-ified when I darken my scans, so I had to actually manually make it darker. (Jamie’s hair turned orange, too. I had to tweak it.) I’ve drawn Cassie with much darker hair before, but that was before I had Copics, and I didn’t have much choice. 🙂

      I think Cassie’s hair is probably about the same color as my sister’s. Her hair used to be blonde but now it’s darker and she’s not sure what to call it. Here’s a picture where you can see the contrast a little.

      I have developed sort of “elevator pitches” for all of the stories, truthfully, and can make them sound not too ridiculous or complicated, but oversimplifying them isn’t very satisfying and I only start elaborating if someone asks questions. Describing Bad Fairy as “Sleeping Beauty from the bad fairy’s point of view” or Finding Mulligan as “A teenage girl’s two personalities fall in love with different guys in different dimensions” almost seems misleading.

      • Hmm, should’ve known it was just issues in scanning. (Since Copics are awesome, I otherwise figured you could find exactly the right color. I will never forget dragging my friend to the marker shop so she could help me decide if Barack Obama is Caribe Cocoa or Light Walnut.) I agree your sister’s hair is genuine light brown and is different from your blonde hair.

        As for misleading — well, anything condensed too much is in danger of becoming misleading. Alas.

  • (Though you know, while I relate from an insider’s view, from an outside perspective, I think there are many people out there who would respond very well if you shared those story ideas with them!)

  • To be honest if someone told me that’s what they write I would not be able to hold in a laugh. Not like “haha, you’re a weird face”, but “haha yes! I would read that”. Much better than bagels.

  • My problem is that I have a hard time even explaining my story in the first place. I first came up with the idea when I was twelve, and even though the story was and still is changing into something much more complex than it was, it still sounds stupid whenever I try to describe the basic plot.

  • Yes, I made the mistake of answering that question from a near-stranger recently… and now every time he passes me he cracks a joke about veganism, which really has nothing to do with my story except extremely tangentially. It feels like a violation.

    • I understand what you mean about it feeling like a violation. I had a co-worker who would ask me questions about the book with a weird leer on his face, and then he’d say absurd things like “So is it like Twilight?” In one case I had mentioned that I was writing a story about the wicked fairy from Sleeping Beauty, and he thought it would be funny to ask me “So is she an evil TOOTH fairy?” I don’t know what people get out of trying to make our ideas sound ridiculous.

      • YES. This is exactly it. The evil TOOTH fairy crack would make a great comic. Because of course you need a stranger to tell you what you should make a comic about next, right?

        It really feels very icky when someone does that to your story. So for now, I’m holding it all close to the chest. Just “sci-fi fantasy for youth” is as much as I’ll say except to VERY close friends, and my kids–who are absolutely my best fans and would never do something so vile to my story. How is it that my kids have more sense than some adults?

        Is it jealousy, I wonder, that makes people do that? Or do they just not know how personal it is?

  • Lol yass. My dad always wants to here about my stories and I tell him and he’s like “Okay then. That made no sense.” Oh. And I once made the mistake of trying to explain a story to my science teacher. I think she might have docked some points because of that…

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