Golden Blasters

end of summer round-up

I’ve never had such a long gap between blog posts before, I guess that means I’ve been busy.

Time to herd some news stories across the prairies.

I sold my sf-horror story, “Empty Mind Came Back With the Pearl”, to M-Brane SF a while ago. It will appear in issue 9. I’m delighted this story will get to an audience. I wrote it at Clarion West, during the week Nalo Hopkinson was our teacher. She described it as the love child of Clive Barker and Brian Aldiss I believe.

I’m co-writing a three-issue comic book, called Róisín Dubh, with Rob Curley of Atomic Diner publications, and the fabulous Sub City chain of comic stores in Ireland.

Rob pitched the idea to me, and I said yes immediately because he couldn’t have suggested a project more suited to my tastes. I outlined the first edition, and once Rob was happy with what I was bringing to the table I proceeded to draft the scripts.

I’m using Celtx, by the way, to write the scripts. The format for comic books is a bit of chore if there isn’t some way to automate the process. The result is a very readable script, although it deviates somewhat from the usual examples, however there is no standard format in the industry.

Writing for comics is something I’ve always wanted to do, but while I was focused on prose and screenplays I didn’t have much time to pursue the goal. I’m pleased and thankful to Rob to land such an opportunity.

I’ve also had a lot of fun getting my head around the new format. The most obvious change is that while writing screenplays it’s ill-advised for the writer to indicate cues for the direction of the film – that’s the director’s job – but in a comic book format you can be explicit about how you would like the story to be laid out visually. This is just one of a number of mental shifts you have to make while writing for comics. I find it deeply engrossing. I don’t think I’ve encountered another form of writing that takes me away from the world so completely.

The third script is in process at the moment, and has to be done by next week as I’m off on my annual horror film pilgrimage to London for Frightfest. It’s the 10th year of the festival – although it’s my seventh year attending – and it’s moved to a new location: The Empire on Leicester Square. I’ll report my opinions upon my return. Those of you who are on twitter will probably get my immediate reactions.

The final piece of news is that Octocon (10-11 October 2009) has launched the First National Irish Science Fiction Film Awards, called The Golden Blasters. The Cork Dynamo (aka filmmaker John Vaughan) is putting together the programme of short sf-themed films from around the world. Guest of honour Mike Carey and I will be the judges for the award. It should be a lot of fun.

Also, during the past couple of weeks I’ve been adding photos and artwork to my Flickr account, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.


  • Nalo

    Congrats on the story sale! When my sweetie and I start working in earnest on the comic around which we’ve been dancing for years, I might ask you about using Celtx. I’ve downloaded it, but haven’t done much experimenting with it.

  • Maura

    It’s really easy to use, and it’s free. The comic book format can be cumbersome in a Word template I’d imagine. The best thing is being able to add in extra panels, or shift panels from one page to another, without any major hassle.It’s not perfect, but it’s simple to use and easy to read.

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