A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tim O'Shea for his "Talking Comics with Tim" column that he runs on Robot 6 at CBR.

Even if you're sick of hearing me talk, I think this is a good read. Tim asked some great questions, and we talked a lot about craft and my thought process, going into something deeper than mere hype. Sample:

O'Shea: Do you have some dialogue lines just pop in your head and you store them to use down the road, or do lines like "You homicide cops, you have it lucky." just pop up naturally in the creation of the story?

Rich: It's a little bit of both. My brain is often working ahead of what is on the page, anticipating what is coming. I know, for instance, there is a line about lollipops that I wrote long before I got to the part in the story where it would fit. It came to me while I was thinking about other things and I had to write it down and file it away. Often, I either have a separate documents of random notes like that, or I might even have pages at the end of the manuscript where notes are laid out in a certain order, and when I reach them, I join those pages into the larger script. In fact, I have a leftover file from You Have Killed Me, the stuff that I never joined up with.

Other times it just comes from being in the scene. I feel a writer has to be willing to let things happen. Sometimes the worst lines are the ones I force, where I plug a hole where I know something snappy will do the trick. In the romance stuff, it actually comes when a character first meets his or her love, and trying to find something to describe that feeling. In Cut My Hair, it was something like how Mason wanted to jump in the air and bounce the moon off his head like a soccer ball. I remember that coming very easy, and some of the lines that came in later books landed with just as much ease, but sometimes it was a tough thing, trying to find something like the moon and the soccer ball, and it ends up like one of those millions of TV shows where the pilot is passed out and a person with no experience has to land the plane. I am the guy in the control tower trying to talk the line into existence, bring the metaphor in for a landing, step by step.

I don't specifically recall writing Mercer's line about homicide cops, but I think that's just one that came with the scene. It's late in the book, so by then I could really "hear" the voices of all the characters, and the writing had become like a conversation between them and me. Most of Spell Checkers is written that way. Like a good conversation in real life, one statement prompts a logical response.

At the end of the interview, I mention Joëlle's upcoming stint on Madame Xanadu, and coincidentally, today DC leaked their January solicitations that include her debut issue. Here is Amy Reeder Hadley and Richard Friend's cover for #19, followed by the marketing text:

Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Joëlle Jones & David Hahn
Cover by Amy Reeder Hadley & Richard Friend
After the shocking conclusion to the previous issue, a 2-part story by guest artist Joëlle Jones begins a storybook look back at Madame Xanadu’s earliest days in ancient, pastoral Britain. The Elder Folk confront the coming of mortal man, and the rivalry between two ageless sisters takes root.
On sale January 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS

Current Soundtrack: Wire, "A Touching Display;" Luna, "Slide;" the Contours, "Whole Lotta Woman"

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