So it’s been a year.

It’s been a hell of a year.

The bad news is, well, 2020.
There were long stretches where I couldn’t handle working on this story. Usually the hyperbolic world the story is set in provides enough distance to keep the heavier stuff from feeling personally threatening. But this year, many things, even the really out-there things, suddenly felt way too real.

The good news is, I did a lot of work on the gestalt of the story, which while it won’t help me immediately release book one, still gets me a good deal closer to finishing the whole thing. And so…


1. Finished Script
The biggest thing that happened this year is finishing the script. For those curious about process, I wrote the script in InDesign so I could track page turns. I need to know where page turns are to control the flow of information, and the pacing of the script overall. InDesign also allows me to insert sketches or finished pages as I go.

Every page as of 10-20-2020.

The full script is 615 sides, and will be split into 8 “books”. Honestly, it shouldn’t be broken up at all: it’s not at all episodic. But given the amount of time it’s going to take to draw, the initial release is just going to have to be in chunks.

All eight cover designs.

2. The script is, as always, difficult to talk about without spoilers. But if you don’t mind spoilers (I don’t), and you’re cool with the fact that probably none of this is going to make sense out of context, here’s some of the biggest decisions I made:

–    Big change to Jesse’s backstory, but pretty small change to actual script: Most people do NOT know who Jesse is by sight, he was only charged with murdering his roommate, and only people on the fringe tend to think he’s the Cabinet Killer. That makes it easier to explain Kaya’s skepticism as to his culpability. It also helps clean up Jesse’s own description of his backstory, and the disagreement he ends up in with Kaya about it (for reasons to complex to go into here).
–    Kaya’s interest in “truth” as a concept has been turned up a notch. She’s more invested in the way she understands the world to work than she used to be, and will openly push back when people propose explanations of things that don’t fit her model. It makes her more abrasive, more capable of driving scenes, and more grounded.
–    I clarified how the ecosystem of the area works, and gave 1616 blocking to observe and test how it works, so that they have a relatively understandable explanation for why this de-mining process is counter-productive. (This will make more sense once we get past book 2.)
–    There were a couple moments where Jesse used a bit of persuasion to expose parts of Kaya’s backstory and motivations. It felt passive-aggressive and unmotivated, especially given his dwindling interest in his own safety. Now, after the first time he apologizes for threatening her, he only asks gentle clarifying questions, and tries to understand her state of mind.
–    There are jerks who give Jesse and Kaya a hard time at the midpoint. They now show up again later to keep the pressure on, post-crisis.
–    Kaya never apologizes.


3. The most important tertiary characters have character designs. Most importantly, Jesse’s college roommate, Thomas.

4. I upgraded my computer to a Surface Book 3. I’ve been having trouble with my SP4 for years, and it feels GREAT to stretch my limbs with a dedicated graphics card, 32 gigs of RAM, and a full terabyte of hard drive space.

5. I sent away for another proof of book one. The changes I made this year affected more than half the pages, and I need to check colors and legibility again.

6. All the pages on this site need updating. So, uh… be right back after I export, format and re-upload a hundred and something pages. ?