There's a funny thing that happens when you live with a story for a long time.
You forget what is at the core of it.
Like scenes that require the phrase 'trigger warning', which didn't even exist back when this story was first thought up.
This isn't just an artistic collaboration, no this presents actual graphic images of self-harm.
So let's talk about that.
Charcoal is a comic book published by the American sci-fi publisher Tor.
It's based on a true story.
When I was in high school there really was a girl who had her house broken into.
Then the kids who did it switched schools and were now sharing a classroom with her.
They were bad kids. Smirks and grins.
So she made a painting to get her revenge on them. I don't know if they ever saw it. But it hung up in one of those student art alcoves.
There was another girl I knew. One day after school I took a long cut, heading around the outside of the building instead of through the hallways to get to my locker.
And lying on the concrete round the side, that's where I found her. Pale white. With an orange and an X-acto knife lying by her side
I didn't stay with her. I ran to get help. Emergency vehicles arrived.
A few days later her whole gang were gathered round at her house, as she smiled, played with a puppy. Still freshly bandaged.
And I walked around wondering--could no one else see what was wrong?
That there was a profound split between the sort of shared experience we all agree to, the day to day, and this other thing. The wilful negation.
There was no reconciling it.
Except here. In the pages of a short story. Decades later.
There is always going to be a leap that you have to make when you come into contact with that terminal edge. The howling why. There's always that first time.
And it comes with no warning.
I'm really grateful that I got to tell this story with the people I told it with.
It really started as a simple hinge, give and take horror, a = b revenge. There's something else here now.
A little haunted. A little fucked up.
A large part of that was Ho's knack for the uncanny, a real ability to pull deep from the subconscious. I left Stella's sketchbook up to his design, with just the guidance to find what would be monsters and demons for her.
Kalman gave the story shape, and the clock-ticking percussion in those opening images. And Liz Gorinsky was hard on the language, on the beats to make it ring true. Not to mention lighting its spark in the first place.
More to come people.
Thanks for waiting.
It's an incredible thing to make it to the end. That moment when you realize that you've made it! This journey you've been on, this goal you've been driving towards relentlessly is there, completed, in front of you... funny how that applies to me as much as it does the hero of the comic series I've been publishing.
FREELANCE BLUES- 6 issues that took six years of work for myself and my co-creator Mike Leone, an incredibly ambitious goal for self-publishing, before the age of kickstarter and indie-gogo even. Crazy to think even. At times we thought the end would never arrive. Yet now it's here. And you want to know how it feels?
For the final issue, John Lang made this amazing cover.
It feels just like that.
When you're striking out into a new medium you shouldn't spend time worrying about what type of story you should tell. You should tell the story that speaks most strongly to you. Easy to say, not easy to practice when you've got a binder full of premises, treatments or half-cocked ideas. But sometimes it comes simply-- you need to pick a path and just go with it.
A lot of times for me it comes down to a feeling. And that's what TRUNKED is-- I wanted to do something noir, something rural, something inspired by the Elmore Leonard I was reading. But mostly I wanted to dive into that claustrophobic groove that the whole idea of 'choice' seems to provoke in me--where you can have all the choices in the world and still feel trapped. So here we have Trunked-- an interactive fiction written in Twine.
I'm really happy with it turned out-- also with the reception-- that people seemed to really get it.
Paul Hack from Indie Games.com said:
"TRUNKED puts you smack in the middle of a contemporary noir thriller where you are the antihero. It's essentially a point-and-click adventure game, but with words instead of graphics. Like a choose-your-own-adventure, as in most Twine games, you click certain highlighted passages of text to make a choice or otherwise continue the story. Text is actually the perfect medium for this particular game, since for most of it you are trapped within the dark confines of a car trunk (or "boot", for those English speakers across the pond).
The story is engaging and the tension is high, which is a tribute to the clear, screenplay-like writing of the game's author, Ian Daffern. You wake up in a trunk with no memory of how you got there. Using your wits and the contents of your pockets, you must figure out how you got into your current predicament and how to get out of it. Then you must face your captors."
Also got a nice mention over at Kil Screen that you can check out for yourself.
Most importantly -- you can play it by clicking HERE.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
If you're looking for more Twine fiction-- there's an excellent curated collection over at TwineHub that you can find here: http://twinehub.weebly.com/
Coming soon-- http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/monstrosity
I've got a new story coming out in an anthology this summer and it needs your help with our indie-go-go campaign:
Story by Ian Daffern
Art by Martin Macintosh
August- 2013 - Fan Expo