Friday, February 18, 2011

A monster called Power Out

SO, a little while ago I was told to STOP working on Power Out. I needed to reassess, rewrite, and edit what I already had, and then the book would be much easier to bring to publishers. I did exactly that, even got an editor to go through Power Out and make it more structurally sound. I have to say, I was very happy with the results: the characters, the story, the tension, it all just worked together better.
The elderly neighbor is a MUCH better character in the rewrite

But then something bad happened: despite the re-writes, Power Out still hasn't found a publisher. I haven't brought it everywhere, but it's got rejected from enough places that I've decided to stop shopping it around until it's finished - a project ready-to-go, naturally, is an easier sell than something that needs more work, and as Power Out is largely silent at parts, it leans on the artwork more than other stories.

Power Out is quiet
Piece of cake right? Problem is, there are around 120 pages to work on - most of those are new pages, but there's a significant chunk of work to be done inserting / replacing pages in earlier chapters. This is a lot of work.

I'm trying to get everything done by SPX in September, but perhaps that's optimistic. It's also quite a slog to produce this work knowing there may be no home for it, that I might not make a dime off of it, and that I'm going to continue to live off the hospitality of my family - right now I'm living with my sister in Santa Fe, and I'm likely to move back to Massachusetts soon.

I have to finish this book. I know my sense of self will suffer some pretty irreparable damage if I don't. But it's a long, uphill slog. It takes me a full day, like, a twelve hour full day, to draw, ink, letter, scan, and color one page. There's 120 to go...

I'm trying to move forward - my plan is to update Power Out once a week, continuing with the story from where I left off in chapter 3. After completing the third chapter, I will split my time between moving forward with the fourth (and!) chapter and going back redoing pages from the earlier chapters (mainly the first).

That means I'm doing the third and fourth chapters built on a foundation that I haven't shown to readers yet. So, some things might seem a little weird or confusing. Feel free to ask me if you have specific questions, but I don't want to write "spoilers" here.

Who's this chick?
I'm hoping the regular updates will get me on a better schedule with people who read (and maybe enjoy) Power Out and add some extra motivation to finish the work - I don't live in New York anymore, so I'm pretty isolated. I really do appreciate the comments people leave on the book (even when they nitpick:) ).

I'll be starting a kickstarter project soon to self-publish the next volume - I hope you will contribute. I'll have more information on that soon.

Hope this doesn't sound too bleak - a friend reminded me that about a year ago I was winning and being nominated for awards left and right, so luck changes pretty fast. And as my brother has told me, all you need is one piece of good news. I'm working on a new kid's pitch (after the last one got rejected, and the new ones I've been working on haven't really captured my imagination), and when I describe it to people, they not only instantly "get it" but seem to have real enthusiasm for it. Will publishers? Hope springs eternal...


Simon Fraser said...

Congratulations Nathan, you have now become an example we use to scare Interns with.
Nathan Schreiber = Pharonic Ambition.
But heck, who would talk about Egypt now if it didn't have Pyramids? wait

New pages look good.

Mike Sudduth said...

Hey Man,

I know you don't know me (except for one comment I posted about Trish last year), but I accidentally stumbled on your work through other blogs I follow, and I gotta tell ya, it's really great stuff. And it's awesome that you're so ambitious not just with getting your story published, but also just finishing it. It's really an inspiration for me to work more. I haven't read any of it because I've been hoping you would get a print version that I could buy. Just saying to keep up what you're doing, and all your hard work will be rewarded.

That's the 2 cents you get from a dude ya don't know.

Gabrielle Berlinger said...

I'm so impressed with the new pages, the persistent effort, the creative juices flowing despite the sometimes uphill ascent. Major inspiration as I inch toward my own project goals, slowly but surely... and awesome to look at / read. Beautiful artwork!
Keep it coming, man, and enjoy your new digs. Hope I can visit you out there - I love that part of the world.

KMB said...

Good God, Man! The new pages are stunning. Don't lose faith. This work is the real deal. A publisher will get it once you hand them the whole thing. I have no doubt.

Anonymous said...

I just picked up a copy of Power Out today, on impulse, knowing nothing about it. And I don't regret it -- it's great! There's so much to love -- the little transitions between scenes, the abrupt shifts between the surreal and the everyday, the spooky symbolism, the persistent mysteries of the plot, the fact that you make me care about a kid who seems like a complete cipher, saying and doing almost nothing. It's a story that ought not to work in theory, but up to now it very much IS working. Keep it up, please! I'll keep reading online (though these little gifs are a strain to read sometimes) and I'll buy the books as they're published.

Anonymous said...

I believe in you, and your ability to finish Power Out. I enjoy it, and the wonderful, minute details you put into it. Lots of hugs and baked goodies from me if I ever see you again ^_^ <3

Ben Towle said...

I'm in a similar boat myself re. publishers. I think it's pretty bleak out there as far as getting a GN published if it's not in a pretty narrow genre field (specifically, memoir). People are saying it's really, really difficult to sell an un-finished project right now.

Here's the thing though: for me, if I'm going to complete an entire book on my own time, without any advance from a publisher, then I'm not really inclined to give up rights to my work at that point. I mean, that's the traditional exchange, right? You give up a stake of your work in exchange for a modest advance that lets you complete that work a bit more quickly. If that's not on the table and I'm going to do a book 100% on my own time, then I'm just gonna keep it creator-owned.

(And..those pages you posted look fantastic!)