I've struggled with an appropriately dramatic way to make this announcement, and have come to the conclusion that the best way to do it is in the following style:
I'm writing a story for the second volume of Star Trek: The Manga.
Pretty cool, huh?
If you're unfamiliar with the first volume of Star Trek: The Manga, TokyoPop and Memory Alpha have all sorts of exciting details for you, some of which look like this:
Like that television classic, these new journeys venture into the terrain of social politics, personal reflection...and bare-knuckled brawls between the dashing Captain Kirk and the galaxy’s most cunning alien species. Vulcan science officer Spock's unflappable logic, Doctor “Bones” McCoy’s flare for drama, chief engineer Scott's perpetual struggle to keep the warp engines online, and the never before told origin story of one of the Star Trek universe’s most popular adversaries, all come at you in a fresh, new style.This came my way about a month ago, when Luis Reyes, the editor in charge of the project, wrote to me that he'd heard I was into this sort of thing, and that I "may be interested in contributing."¹
Initially, I was terrified at the prospect of creating and writing this story, but this voice in my head kept saying, "Dude, this would be so cool! Come on, man, let's do this!" Ultimately, I decided that if I'm going to truly call myself a Writer, and if I'm truly going to write that novel someday, I've got to tackle fiction sooner or later . . . and what better way to test myself than with characters and a universe that I already know?
Of course, as soon as I got to seriously working on it (and had Kirk say"Captain's Log . . ." for the first time) I realized that even though I have a bit of a safety net with this project, the very fact that I am writing an original series Star Trek story means that the safety net is actually built out of barbed wire. And there are alligators crawling around on it, and monkeys with BB blowguns are constantly shooting at me while I walk across the high wire from "I have an idea" to "Okay, it's done!" Thanks to the tireless efforts of my friend Andrew, I haven't had to worry too much about falling off the wire (and I owe Andrew a huge debt of gratitude, because at one point I was ready to leap off the wire, and he talked me into staying on it. In fact it's not a stretch at all to say that this project wouldn't exist without Andrew's participation, and since I know he won't accept the credit he deserves, I'll just give it here) and throughout this entire process, what hasn't killed me has definitely made me stronger, so to speak.
Those of you who've read The Dilbert Future -- especially the last chapter -- may be interested in this next set of non-coincidental apparent coincidences:
- I've recently spent a lot of time reading and rereading some of the classic graphic novels of the last decade. A couple of them, Absolute Sandman and Absolute Dark Knight, have scripts in them, which I read long before this opportunity came my way. In fact, I studied them, because I thought, "Hey, I may write one of these someday in the mysterious future."
- My son Ryan conceived and wrote out a graphic novel of his own a few months ago, and for Christmas I gave him the Will Eisner books on Comics and Graphic Novels to use as a reference -- he was kind enough to loan them to me when I accepted the job.
- Around the same time I started writing my TNG Reviews for TV Squad (which are on hiatus until I hit my Manga deadline on Friday,) I found a complete set of TOS DVDs for the stupidly low price of like 79 dollars (that's a dollar an episode, dude. If that wasn't a sign that I was supposed to buy them, I'll have to retroactively come up with a better reason to justify the purchase. Retrocausality FTW!)
I can't reveal anything about my story, though I wish I could tell you the title, which I love, and the artist, who I also love, and one of the other authors in the collection who may or may not out him or her or itself in the comments on this post . . . but I can tell you a little bit about the process:
This hasn't been easy. In fact, there have been a few days when I've been so plagued by insecurity, I've wondered if I'm up to the task, and questioned the sanity of stepping out of my comfort zone and accepting the challenge. Mostly, though, it's been exhilarating and terrifying all at once. It's like a roller coaster in my mind, man.
As I worked on it today, I realized that I had to throw out one of my favorite scenes, because it didn't serve the larger narrative, and it wasn't worth the hours of rewrites to force the narrative to accommodate it. A few times, I've found myself very pleased with some clever bit of dialog or stage direction, only to realize that the authenticity of the story and the characters was lost as a result, and I've been forced to wipe it all out. Strangely enough, it feels good to do both of these things, because I understand that this is a something real Writers have to face with some degree of regularity, and each time I do something real Writers do with regularity, I take one more step toward feeling like I've earned the right to be counted among them.
TokyoPop hasn't written an official press release about this project, yet, so this may actually be the first tube on the Internets that talks about it², which is kind of cool. There is a release date, but since they haven't made that information public, I'll just say that it's in the Mysterious Future.
Yeah, so . . . that's what I've been doing. Pretty neat-o³ huh?
¹As we've worked together, I've learned that Luis is all about the understatement.
²Don't worry, I have permission to talk about it.
³Sorry. Sorry. I've been looking for an excuse to say "pretty neat-o" for weeks, and this is the first non-sarcastic opportunity which has presented itself.