Monday, September 27, 2010

Progress Report: 9/27/2010

Short report this week, and I almost don't want to mention the most interesting development, because it's not anything solid yet. But at the risk of jinxing myself, there is an agent who asked to see the whole manuscript of Rose & Jade after reviewing my submission and the first three chapters. After the steady Chinese water torture of "Thanks, but no thanks" responses, even to this much interest is very encouraging indeed.

I'll let you guys know what she thinks. Fingers crossed...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Progress Report: 9/13/2010

Sometimes, a couple of weeks go by in a blur, and you look up to say, "What happened?"

Ever have that experience? Yeah, me too.

In terms of progress, more queries are out to more agents. No nibbles yet, and the search continues. Don't let anybody tell you this isn't a grueling process.

What's also grueling is the novel intro to Thunderstruck, and I'll tell you why. It's Sharon's situation as she's paralyzed. If you go back to the beginning of the strip, you notice that I don't spend a lot of time on Sharon's wheelchair days. That's mostly an evasion on my part, trying to get on with the lightning bolt and the magic and stuff. It's also a bit of a cheat.

So on this go-round I wanted to give Sharon's wheelchair life a fair shake. That means doing the research on what it's actually like paraplegics in day-to-day life, which is exactly the sort of legwork I was lazily attempting to avoid when I set out on the comic. And I find myself writing about a group of people from an outsider's perspective, and wanting to make sure I don't drop the ball.

Sharon is depressed. Now, the stats suggest that people with paraplegia are more likely to be depressed than the general populace... except it's fiendishly hard to get a read on how depressed the general populace is. And one aspect of a severe spinal injury is that you by necessity end up seeing the doctor more often than the average joe, and therefore you've got professional eyes looking for depression. So one could suggest there isn't as big a disparity as the study I linked to above suggest.

But even more so, as I research and read what more paraplegic's have to say about their condition, I want to do right by them. It's natural for someone with all working limbs to look at someone in a wheelchair and think, "Boy, I would be depressed as hell if that happened to me." That's a pity reflex. It's understandable, but it's also kind of condescending. There are a lot of paraplegics who justifiably get pissed off at that, and say, "You may think there's something wrong with me, but I don't. I love my life."

When you're writing a character, it is that one individual. Sharon is supposed to be representative of Sharon, not an entire group of people. As things stand now, though, I don't have any other wheelchair-bound characters in Thunderstruck, so in a way, she does stand for a whole group of people. Which is both fair and unfair. For instance, if you see a story where you have one woman who is an absolute beast, it's always nice for there to be at least one other woman character who is more sympathetic, so you don't come away thinking, "Man, that author has some screwed-up ideas about women."

So that's the balancing act with the early Sharon chapters of Thunderstruck here. It's going along.