Production of DCR.3 wrapped this weekend, clearing the way for me to Get Serious about DCR.4. Originally titled Seasons in the Abyss, now tentatively titled Diatribe, the chapter has a full outline and partial script and will need an extensive amount of development within the next month if I’m to shoot the images I’ll need for the opening at an appropriate time of year. I’m in a position to chew on this while getting work done on paying projects and wrapping up a few other things – script development isn’t nearly as onerous as page production, especially given the fact that it’s half done already.
When I tell writers that writing comics is the easy part, the writers who write frequently bristle and get pissy with me, whereas the writers who also work on the art side of a project have a tendency to agree. They’re different challenges – while they use different parts of the brain in different ways, there’s no disputing the fact that once something pops into your head, writing out a description takes a hell of a lot less time than drawing, modeling, photoshopping or otherwise rendering the image – especially if, as the writer, you know exactly what you want on the page.
This applies to the next chapter in spades. While script development has been relatively straight-forward, visually realizing what happens in chapter four is going to be one hell of a challenge. The beginning and end are straight-forward, chapter five is straight-forward, but the middle (the majority) of chapter four is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around from a feasibility standpoint. It’s some seriously major plot stuff, both for DCR and for the story as a whole, and I’ll need to be at the top of my game just to get the layouts right.
I don’t know how long the script will take – I’d like to shoe-horn it in over the course of the next month in addition to other obligations, and would like to have the critical assets modeled and page production under way by some point in October. I don’t want a repeat of DCR.3, where the cover goes up in November and I spend the next four months in an alcoholic haze. I want this thing to go cover to pages quickly, and I’d like production to be as regular as the latter two-thirds of DCR.3 was.
That said, there’s a few website-related details that need taken care of over the course of the next month, as well as some back-end bit-shifting. Here’s the list:
1. The Hemera crew needs to be added to the Cast page. I may split them into ICG and Addicaines, I may lump them into Heirotus, I may use this as an excuse to play with tags a bit further down the road. There’s a skeletal writeup already done – I just need to flesh it out and select headshots.
2. I need to audit the metadata. Technically I need to do it for all three books, but DCR and TV get priority, as between the two I’m looking at just under 80 pages that need to be proofed versus the 350-plus of The Dualist. Metadata for both books will be back online within the next couple of weeks. The Dualist will take longer – I’m currently thinking of it as a winter project, and I’m thinking on ways to re-jigger the CMS templates to hide/disable unaudited sections while rolling out the revised material.
3. As part of the audit I’ll be creating disk-side metadata files for each page. I’ve already done this for DCR.3, and for TD2E in bulk. In this case I’ll be extending it to all pages, and that’ll be part of an effort to get the file hierarchy for The Dualist reorganized – something I’ll be starting today or tomorrow. The original pages are in an original chapter directory that’s a sub-directory of each new chapter, and long story short that’s made it a bit disorienting to find color palettes and other reference material on short notice.
4. I’ve been threatening to edit and add to the glossary/Universe and refusing to actually do it for so long that this is effectively the list item that cried wolf. There’s a lot of work to be done, and there’s enough material on “paper” to justify spending some time at least editing the existing entries. While I doubt this will actually happen (beyond adding the Hemera crew), there’s always the possibility that it might actually get done at some point.
5. DCR.3 needs to be typornographed. Rather or not xeno will actually remember to do this is anybody’s guess.
One is happening soon, Two is happening soonish, and half of Three will be done today or tomorrow. The third item means nothing to readers, so it’s best to get it out of the way quickly. Five isn’t a xeno-only thing – if you find a typo, feel free to contact me or leave a comment!
That’s the short term between-chapters plan. With a bit of luck and a lot of effort this stretch of downtime will be a short one, and I’ll be back on the stick before the year is out!