the journey for graphic novelisation: a call to artists

Eddy Book cover full

As some of you know, I’ve been trying to make a graphic novel for a few years. Three, actually. I’ve written two, that are now unpublishable, except  through me doing it privately, and for free. I’ve talked about this before. Many times. I made one graphic novel for the lovely Chelsea’s birthday last year using photography from Natsumi Hayashi. I made another one that’s much more dark and surreal using the photography of Kyle Thompson. In the first case, I was unable to get in contact with Natsumi Hayashi, presumably because I’m sort of no one, and she has an agent, and she’s Japanese. I think it’s mostly the Japanese thing, really, since I can’t get in communication with her. The second, Kyle Thompson, I contacted him about the project when I finished it and asked what he thought. He liked the idea but said he’s currently in making his own artbook, so he doesn’t want photographs he’ll be using seen in a different context. Oh, it should be noted, that I approached them both with fully finished products. I thought this would be better because it would show them that they needn’t do any work for this book to be made. They’d just need to give me permission.

It’s been sort of disheartening, to write two books that you’re pretty happy with knowing they’ll never see the light of day. Or maybe they will, when I’m famous and people want all the nonsense I’ve ever written, and people will pour through the archive of this site for all the random things I’ve written here about so many stupid things. Hopefully they’ll linger on the pretty things.

Anyrate. It’s been disappointing. I’ve been unable to get an artist attached to doing a project with me, either. Which is understandable, since producing original pieces of art is considerably more time consuming for them than it is for me to write 10 to 1,000 words in response to it. I should maybe say here that the first one I wrote with Miss Hayashi’s images is about 7,500 words and uses about 30 images. The one with Mr Thompson’s work is about 7,000 words and uses almost 100 images.

See, the idea, for me, is to write a book using text and images, but not really in the way a graphic novel is traditionally thought about. I don’t want tiles with a few words per picture. I want full page pictures on one page, and then text on the next page. So we have image on the left page, text on the right, and you view both of these at the same time. In many ways, I want it to be a showcase for the artist more than a novel by me. We’d be co-authors, of course, but I want the final product to be a book you can sell at your gallery opening. The images are there, and then, if you care, there’s also a narrative that goes with them. It’s a coffeetable book with hopefully a little more to offer, even if only a handful of people will read the text from beginning to end.

So why make this post? Well, I’d like to open it up to the world at large. Or, at least, the people who follow this blog. But what I want to do is make a graphic novel in any way I can, which, I think, right now might be easiest by opening it up to anyone willing to draw or paint or photograph an image.

That means you. Any of you reading this. Send me a picture. Any picture, as long as it’s by you, or taken by you, or whatever. It needn’t be of a figure or anything like that. It can be a photograph of a place, an abstract image of a feeling or sensation or memory, or even a tree monster sprouting babies from its limbs. Give me whatever you want or have, and I’ll write something specifically for you about the image, or in response to it. Then I’ll send it back to you and we can sing and dance.

Or, if you’re reading this and want to do a full book with me, please contact me as soon as you can! I would absolutely love to work with you, whoever you are.

But, yes, that’s my pitch of the day. Either write a comment below, send me a message on facebook, tweet at me, or whatever. If you’re really looking to get fancy, send me an email at ejrathke at gmail. Oh, also, if you want to see the graphic novels I mentioned above to get an idea of what I’m looking for, or at least what I’ve done before [I’m not looking to repeat what I did with them, but it should show you how I work on this sort of thing], feel free to contact me however you can.

I look forward to working with you. And if you know someone else who might be interested, share this with them. Hopefully I can get something going soon.

new novel

Some big news: my novel Noir: A Love Story will be coming out July 2014 from Civil Coping Mechanisms. CCM is doing awesome things and I’m super excited to be a part of their growing catalogue, being published by the same people who published one of my favorite writers, JA Tyler, and my favorite title by him, Water. Check out the whole catalogue here and see what’s coming here.

So what is Noir: A Love Story? I’ll keep it short for now, but more will come in the year ahead. A whole year. It’ll probably be best for me to just not think about it until next May. Anyway, Noir: A Love Story is the first novel I ever completed and I did that a little over two years ago. Or, not a little over, more like 30 months ago. I’d say it’s been a long, hard road to publication, but that’s not true. I mostly sat on it, which is problematic, but I’m getting better at submitting things. Anyway, it started from a joke, betting myself that I’d write a novel by Friday [this only a few months after finally becoming comfortable with being a writer who would never write a novel (I now have five written)], and so I started the following morning and by Friday I had a first draft. Saturday I read through it, amazed at what I had, and then I put it in the order it’s in now. I honestly expected to spend months editing that novel because of how quickly it came out, but I truly believe it came out just about perfect, and it remains, more or less, untouched since that Saturday when I shifted all the chapters around to put them in the best order.

I had always wanted to read a novel that could be read in any order but had never found one till I came across Richard Grossman’s The Book of Lazarus, and while my novel and that novel share no similarities, I’d say that’s one thing I accomplished with Noir: A Love Story. There are twenty six narrators all speaking about two people whom they didn’t know or barely knew. It is a detective novel without the detective. It is magic realism and american. It is habitual suicide and the howling frustrations of youth. It’s a novel about many things but all of that’s up to the reader. I could keep talking about this forever so I’ll probably just stop.

But one thing: I’ve written five novels and hundreds of short stories and I honestly believe this is my favorite thing I’ve written. That changes, of course, with each new novel written, but this one keeps coming back to me. I think I’ve perhaps written better things, but nothing that I love quite so dearly as this.

But maybe that’s everyone’s first novel.

We only get one first love, yes?

Anyrate, tracked down the post I made immediately after finishing it. Take a look at September 3, 2010 and see how the process went.

Oh, too, about 3,000 words and 44 pages into the new graphic novel. It’s highly surreal and more a collection of moods and short journeys by an eternal transdimensional man who forever lives his life over and over in different iterations but never remembering the previous world he travelled through. Really digging it and hoping to be done soon. My first graphic novel only ended up being about 8,000 words, and while this will be longer, it’s also much less narratively focused. This is my soundtrack by Ludovico Einaudi:

I’m enjoying the writing very much. I’ll leave you with an image by Kyle Thompson:

Take care, StarChild.