Tag Archives: patreon

A Look Into the Future

Fandom 150I’ve been a little more quiet on the writing front than I feel comfortable with, but there’s a reason for that. When I get deep into various projects, I tend to talk about them less because I guess I don’t want to reveal how the sausage is made before it’s presented. When I push a story out into the world, I want the story to stand on its own — I don’t think the audience should have any thoughts on the author and the trouble or decisions he made to have the story turn out the way it did.

Right now, I’m working on “A Stable Love” and having a lot of fun with it. The characters are surprising me, and that presents new challenges for me to think about, and the writing has been relatively smooth as I march towards its conclusion. I was having a lot of trouble with the first part, which I thought I needed for set-up, to establish the characters and the central issue, but when I got rid of it and moved the beginning of the story ahead, the world just opened up and things became a lot easier. I’ve shown the customer what I have so far and received an enthusiastic response, so that’s incredibly encouraging.

I’m working on another story for MegaMorphics, an old-style APA, and its fall issue. I want my work appearing there to be a bit more polished and considered, which means working on it before the deadline! I have an idea for a Halloween story that I’m pretty excited about; I hammered down the idea with another contributor in hopes of a collaboration contribution — I work the story, he works the art. I’ve never written a story like this before (it’s horror), and I’m trying to do a few things that I’m not sure about. It’s exciting but difficult work, and I’m looking forward to how it will turn out.

After that, working on a story for People of Color Destroy Science Fiction that I’m really excited to tuck into, and the prize story for a very generous fellow who donated the most towards my Clarion Write-A-Thon during week 6. I’ve given both of those some thought, and I think when I actually sit down to write them, the work will come relatively easy.

This is a completely new experience for me. As much as I love writing, it’s always been extraordinarily difficult. I have perfectionist tendencies that have caused storms of anxiety, and that makes it hard to see anything but the mistakes. I’ve never been able to write shitty first drafts; I know writers who create such polished work right off the top of their head, and it’s impossible not to compare yourself against that. My character work is never where I want it to be, and when the characters actually begin to live and breathe and deviate from the plot it legitimately freaks me out. I have no idea how to handle that.

But that’s the state that I’ve always given lip service to wanting to go. Writing, for me, feels like being a conduit for something. When the ego drops away and I’m connected directly to the story, it feels like I’m possessed by something, transcribing an event as being dictated by someone “not me”. When a story is really flowing, it’s an out of body experience. And I know how crazy that sounds, but it’s true.

For the longest time, I’ve never trusted myself to tap into that. Knowing the history of mental illness within my family, and dealing with my personal experience there, I’ve been very afraid of indulging any tendencies that could exacerbate those issues. Does writing make me crazier? Is it likely that one day, when working on a particularly intense story, I could have some kind of schizophrenic break? My life unfolded the way it did because my mother did not have any semblance of reality, was paranoid, unable to take care of me. I couldn’t live with myself if I forced my husband and my friends to go through that.

I didn’t even realize I was having that thought before doing the work I’ve been doing in my Anxiety group class. And realizing that writing, mental illness and anxiety had coalesced into this huge mental knot is ultimately freeing. I’m more willing to take risks with it, just because the feeling I have when writing is worth it. And that means I’m more willing to make mistakes and learn from them. I no longer catastrophize the consequences; if I fail, I can come back from that. With my mental illness, I trust my medication, I trust my self-care process, I trust my behavioral therapy, and I trust my support network.

For the first time, being a writer isn’t some distant dream for me. It’s who I am, and it’s what I do. And I’m so very excited that I have an opportunity to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, that I get to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.

I have an idea for a serial story originally released on-line. It’ll be furry stories, sci-fi and modern fantasy, adult. Right now, I would love to write about 1500 words a week, release that part in certain places, then collect three or four parts into a chapter that’s released in a more polished form elsewhere. Once the story is finished (I’m thinking anywhere from 8 – 13 chapters per serial), hopefully I can polish it further, and release it as an ebook or self-published novel.

In order to work on this project, I’m launching a Patreon. Folks familiar with my furry work should know what to expect from the Jackalope Serial Company: stories about growth, personal and otherwise. When I’m ready to go live and work on the serials directly, I’ll post a link with more information. But for now, I just wanted it out there. I’m expecting to be ready to go with it by the beginning of November.

I’ve also reached out to a few friends about the Furry Mental Health podcast; the person I know with the best equipment and knowledge for it suggested that I present a proof of concept to him for six shows, with subject matter, segments outlined, all of that. It’s a solid recommendation, and I’m working on that. I would like to start recording THAT at the beginning of the new year, with episodes coming out in February or March.

So that’s my plan for the rest of the year. Full steam ahead on short stories, getting the Jackalope Serial Company off the ground, putting together a first season of the Furry Mental Health podcast. I’m incredibly excited about all of this, and I can’t wait to actually share finished stuff with you very soon.


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The Patreon Saint

Reading 150I’m a grown-ass rabbit, and I love comics. They’re a fantastic medium to tell a story with! The best of them marry arresting visuals with great dialogue in ways it’s very difficult for anything else to do. You can travel thousands of miles or thousands of years in time from one panel to the next, and if you do it right the reader just accepts it without missing a beat. My favorite comics combine wonderful, likable characters with amazing settings that you just can’t look away from. You guys, they really are the best.

With the rise of the Internet, comic creation has become a much more democratic process. Comic strips like Penny Arcade or PVP or Order of the Stick have gone from side projects to astoundingly enormous enterprises thanks to the steady growth of their fanbase, and the willingness of the audience to help creators maintain and expand their vision in exciting ways. I really dig this direct feedback; audiences can react to comics in real-time, creating a dialogue between artist and reader that’s electrifying for both.

One of the most recent mechanisms for that direct feedback and support is Patreon, a service that artists, essayists and creative types of all sorts can use to ask for monetary support from their audience in exchange for early access or special features surrounding their work. It’s very exciting to me to see a community build up around these artists, willing and able to support them to do more of what they love. So I joined, and immediately found a few projects that I think are well worth sending a few bucks a month. Here they are, as a sort of signal boost. If you aren’t quite sold on supporting them, that’s fine — but I highly encourage you to go to their website and read their work. It’s all great!

Rick Griffin (Housepets!) — I think this guy is the most established of the folks I’ve found so far. He’s been writing Housepets! since 2008, and his artistic style has improved greatly since then. In addition to the webcomic, he writes and draws other comic stories, has self-published a few furry sci-fi novellas and even does personal commissions when he has a break in his busy schedule. I really like Housepets!, but I’m really intrigued by his other projects too. I love that he’s dedicated and productive enough to flex different muscles, creatively.

Kory Bing (Skin Deep) — This is a long-running comic that I’ve only recently discovered. I fell in love with it immediately, though. Skin Deep is about a shadow world of fantastic creatures living among and along-side human beings, and what happens when a college student is suddenly thrust into that world. The kernel of the story is nothing new, but what really stands out are the characters and the richness of the setting. I could spend ages reading about Michelle, Jim and the gang, living their lives in amazing, lived-in places both fantastic and mundane.

Root (The Dawn Chapel) — The art here is just top-notch. SO GOOD you guys. I’m not even playing around. Root has some of the most gorgeous, colorful watercolors I’ve ever seen — just about every panel of his comic is print-worthy. The Dawn Chapel is an anthology of sorts, where he takes you to many different worlds filled with great characters and amazing stories. There have been early viral comics, including Firefox and the Singing Birds, but his longer stories (like his current one, The Way Back) are so enjoyable.

Jen (Thunderpaw) — I’m not sure HOW I discovered this, but Thunderpaw is a great motion comic in the growing genre of “pet apocalypse”. Ollie and Bruno are anthropomorphic dogs whose masters have disappeared and world appears to be in chaos. Divorced from every comfort they’ve ever known, they have to find a way to survive in this strange and dangerous new world. Jen has created a kind of comic that I’ve really never seen before, and it’s GOT to be intensive to make each new page. But she’s taking advantage of the “webcomic” format in a really exciting way!

Louise Wei and Dave Hodgkinson (Panda and Polar Bear) — This comic kind of goes the other way; it’s a really simple, spare slice-of-life comic strip that immortalizes anecdotes between small but feisty Panda and enormous, grumpy Polar Bear. It’s cute, and Louise makes the most of every brush-stroke and word of dialogue. The style is irresistible to me, and I have to admit I’m a big fan of Polar Bear.

There are a LOT more comics, short stories, essays, photo-journals, games, podcasts, craft projects and other things to support on Patreon. I’m really stoked about the ability to help creative folks follow their passions and build this community of supportive and passionate fans. Do any of you guys use Patreon? If so, what are some of your favorite projects there? Feel free to leave a comment to point me in that direction!

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Comic Books, Furries, Reading


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