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London Expo Oct ’09

I wanted to sum up the event, but so much had happened that I feel a little overwhelmed every time I try to put it all into words. Let me just run through the highlights.

London Expo, quite honestly, Rocked! I always look forward to this event, but this year more so, as it marked the release of my new book, Talking To Strangers, which is now available to buy online.

The Artists Vs. Writers showdown was fantastic fun, with us Writers coming out on top, surprisingly by beating the Artist’s at Pictionary, no less! We received equal points for the word game Taboo, mind you. I hope they do it again next year. Not sure they’d invite the same teams again, but I’ll definitely be around to watch it! Quick Edit: Nana took some photos of the Showdown here.

Didn’t really buy much this year. Picked up a copy of Morris The Mankiest Monster by Sarah McIntyre, because we like her a lot and her artwork is always worth owning! Got a copy of Derek the Sheep signed by Gary Northfield, a very nice guy with a wonderful sense of humour. It shows in his work. From the Sweatdrop table, I grabbed Selina’s latest titles, ‘Sunny’s Field’ and ‘Bellringers 2′ (not yet available online, but hey, did you know she launched a new webcomic? Go check it out!)

Finally got round to picking up a copy of Nana’s new book, Twelfth Night (did I ever get round to mentioning that Faye’s book, The Merchant of Venice, was out too? … I didn’t?!? *shock-horror* I should be shot!!).

Caught up with Paul and wrangled a signature out of him on a couple of artbooks. Lovely work, as always! How I wish he’d release a new comic both written and illustrated by him. It’s been too long dude!! … Quizzed Kate with regards to when her collected book, The Spider Moon, will be officially released. It’s fairly soon, so keep an eye out. It will be in HARDCOVER!! I’m quite excited about that.

What else? … Oh, never had this happen to me before – Had a gentleman recognise my name off my badge, turned out to be a Clarence Principle fan and seemed genuinely excited to learn that I had a new book out. Nice guy, called Ennis I believe? Gosh, hope I got your name right dude! I suck at remembering names.

I’ve had people walk up to the Sweatdrop table many times to tell me how much they enjoyed Clarence before, but those were people who actually came looking for me. This time round, it’s been a varied mix of people returning the next day after reading the new book to tell me how much they loved it! Wasn’t expecting feedback that soon. Great feeling, that.

Due to carrying a lot of books to the event, I wasn’t able to bring my camera along. So instead, here are some photos from Joanna’s camera that both her and I took. Also, have a link to Flickr with a collection of everyone else’s photos!


The latest Sweatdrop Podcast is out. Always worth a listen for fun and giggles. A little drinking game for you: Take a shot every time someone says “Yes” XD see how long you last.

Emma Vieceli has launched Dragon Heir: Reborn – totally redrawn and available as a webcomic online.

Also, I’ve been invited to take part in a fun event at the upcoming London Expo on Sunday 25th, 14:00-14:40. Details follow –

Expo showdown – Writers Vs Artists

The concept: Two teams of 5. One team of Writers and one team of Artists. Two rounds. One Pictionary and one Taboo. You see where we’re going with this! We’ll finally find out who is in fact better. Writers or artists!

The Writers: Tony Lee, Antony Johnston, Kieron Gillen, Andy Diggle and Fehed Said

The Artists: Dan Boultwood, Ben Templesmith, Jamie McKelvie, Jock and Faye Yong

Should be a laugh, especially Pictionary. My Art Skillz!! Come, let me show you them XD

Your Character is Showing

A few weeks back, I’d reached a critical moment in the script, on a scene that I had been planning to write for months. It’s a turning point in the character’s psyche, but a difficult one to capture and wasn’t at all sure how to tackle it. I punched out the scene, tweaked it a few times and believed that I’d executed it well enough to pass it on to the artist for feedback.

The artist felt the character was contradicting himself. Unsure what his motivation behind this sudden random act in the scenario, left her feeling unsettled.

I’d considered this myself in the past and had at one point intended on coming back to this moment in a scene later in the story and allow the character to explain himself, but after more thought, I felt it unnecessary.

I was ready to compromise, however, and had set aside some time to tackle the dialogue in that later scene to discuss the ‘random act’ situation.

Reading through my book one evening, I came across a rather insightful passage that I shared with the artist a week later. It read -

Generally, the more the writer nails motivation to specific causes, the more he diminishes the character in the audience’s mind. Rather, think through to a solid understanding of motive, but at the same time leave some mystery around the whys, a touch of the irrational perhaps, room for the audience to use its own life experience to enhance your character in its imagination.

# Robert McKee

So it seems I was on the right track after all. I was filled with a new found confidence that I do actually know what I’m doing. However, I was still in the wrong as well.

I had failed to explain my character’s motivations to the artist. Of course it all makes sense to me, I know all the intricate details of my character’s every thought. Failure to communicate that to the artist is an amateur mistake.

I usually convey these things verbally, rather than put them in the script. Obviously, it all might have made more sense if she had the full story from beginning to end, but as it is a work in progress, you should always bare the details. It falls under the same principle as a Director explaining the character’s motivation to an Actor.

The conflicts we put our characters through often rely on some form of life-experience. As the artist said to me, “that was a case where I didn’t have any real life experience of my own which I could superimpose on the situation, so it just didn’t make sense.”

I don’t like spoon-feeding the audience, but at the same time, I don’t want to be far too obscure. There lies the problem.

I believe the answer is to understand your audience. But that’s a discussion for another day.

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