Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One
Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.
I guess this is the year to make things happen. Okay, so how do I do this then?
As some of you may already know, not only have I been scratching away at the podcasts, I also have a little story project that’s been bubbling away in varying states of hiatus over the past few years. Perhaps past few years is a little misleading as the origins of this project can be traced back further than a decade.
It was around 2008-09 that I developed the series bible for a 12-part animated series called Aramis Gothboi (or My Wet Nurse Was A Zombie). One pilot script and a two-thirds complete series bible later, it became readily apparent that the project was much bigger than what I could hope to have delivered on my own at the quality I desired. Fresh (dropping) out of film school, I put the bible aside to focus on more achievable short-term goals.
About three years later I revisited the world of Aramis with an idea that perhaps his story should become a graphic novel (far less drawing involved than a cartoon, but still a huge undertaking for one person – forethought was not my forte). With this new goal in mind, I dusted Aramis and the Worm Boys off to review and rewrite them. This process saw my two-dimensional characters being developed a little further than the simple impressions that they were, and I also took up the task of sketching each character on paper. Drawing my cast was extremely useful in helping to bring them into focus.
Soon enough Aramis, Jo, Noodel, and Loofah took on lives of their own and as I reworked that TV pilot script into a comic script, it soon became clear that each character might each have their own story to tell.
As I designed more characters, it soon became clear to me that perhaps my quirky little drawings didn’t have the nuance I felt they deserved. I wanted to be able to express a wide variety of emotions that would connect with an audience – I just wasn’t that good at drawing yet. So I put the scripts aside once more, and also the drawings, but it would not be the last time I heard from Aramis and friends. In a few years I would find Jo pretty much demanding that her story be told.
It was in 2016 that I found my way back to formal education. This time, however, I was determined to finish what I started. In the years that followed I dabbled with different writing styles (and genres) and made the effort to develop characters that dealt with mature themes and situations, but Aramis and company were not content to sit idly by as I tried my hardest to appeal to adult sensibilities. In fact, I’d say the reason for their return this time was that I was taking everything just a little too seriously (detrimental to anyone’s health, really), and all the Worm Boys wanted to do was play.
Do not ignore your inner voice. If you’re having a bad week and it says stuff like I wonder how many cats live in this street, you better make it your business to go for a walk and find out.
It’s five by the way (that I can confirm).
There are some things you just need to do. That thing for me was using the opportunities I had to pick up elective courses in writing for children and YA to revisit the world of Aramis Gothboi.
It was through these classes (and the invaluable help of my writerly cohort) that I was able to reshape the story from those old scripts and bible into something that would work as a novel, and now I’m now ready to get to work and finish the thing.
With a manuscript of 7,092 words so far (plus character and chapter notes), my goal is to push this current draft up to 20,000 words – that’s only another 12,908 to write.
At 500 words per day, I could theoretically do this in a little under a month using a NaNoWriMo-style time frame, but because I’m a human with work and life to contend with in the meantime, I’m not going to approach it this way – I simply can’t afford the burnout that I’m sure I’d suffer.
Instead I’m taking a more measured approach. The project will commence on the first day of March with the aim of reaching my goal by the end of May. This plan, I think, is highly achievable with realistic milestones that will allow enough breathing space for distractions both unexpected and unavoidable.
I’ll report back here every week or so to let you know how I’m doing. Unlike previous efforts I won’t share all my work here (sorry to disappoint, you’ll just have to wait until it’s published to read the story). That said, I’ll be sharing all the highs, lows, stumbling blocks and lessons learned in the process, and a running tally of the almighty word count.
And for a bit of fun I might even share a few more artefacts from the archives of the comic development days.
If you’re writing too, I’d love to hear about it. What kind of milestones and rewards do you set for yourself to get the work done? Let me know in the comments!