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  • Pitching Misfits of Avalon

    This month I’m gonna talk about pitching. I will do more than one post on this topic because pitching something work for hire like Buffy was very different from posting something creator owned.

    So Misfits of Avalon was a bit looser than other pitches I’ve done because I had already worked with Dark Horse Comics. So they already knew my art and writing. So these were the only images I sent them.

    They’re very rough and if I were sending it to someone else I would have sent them something more refined. In fact, I’m currently working on a pitch that has 4 sample pages, a cover, and a whole mess of concept art. But the important bit of the pitch was the cover letter and synopsis. It’s basically 3 parts.

    PART 1: The plan and goals of the series. 

    This is where I told Dark Horse what I wanted to do with Misfits and why I think it would sell and who it was the target audience. This is what I wrote:

    Misfits of Avalon is a magical-girl graphic-novel series with an Arthurian twist: Four misfit teens find themselves empowered with aspects of the Irish goddess Morrigan, and are soon fighting to defeat King Arthur, reborn with sinister purpose. But as they struggle to get the hang of their powers and learn to work as a team, they’re faced with a still greater challenge: the discovery that they may not be the good guys in this story.

    Magical-girl manga has seen a resurgence in visibility and popularity thanks to the recent re-release of Sailor Moon; the art style and connection to King Arthur and Western myths extend Misfits of Avalon’s appeal beyond core manga fans. As a webcomic creator, I’d like to bring in new readers and appeal to my existing fanbase by serializing each volume on my website daily and then taking it down once the books are released.

    Misfits of Avalon is currently slated to be three volumes, each about 150-200 pages.

    Here you can see I gave Darkhorse the basic run down in one or two sentences. I also explained why now was a good time to get Misfits out in the world and who I think it would appeal to and why it will sell. Here is also where I told them I want it to go online first. I also told them how long Misfits is.

    PART 2: Plot Synopsis 

    With the businessy side of things out of the way I told them want Misfits is about in more detail. Here:

    BOOK ONE

    The first book is split into 4 chapters, each from the point of view of one of the girls.

    In part 1 Morgan is approached by a talking black dog named Urien, who tells her she is destinyed to fight the enemies of Avalon. While trying to get away from the dog, she runs into her frenmey Effie. Urien then recurtes Effie as well, just as a stone suit of armor attacks the park. The two girls have their first test and bickering between them almost causes their defeat.

    Part 2

    Morgan and Effie are give a mission from Urien to investgate a string of fires in a gated community. Happy for the reason to class, the girls are happy to get to work. However, sleath is not their strength and they must soon run from security. They discover a goth girl named Kimber is behind the fires. Morgan and Effie insult Kimber for being “just a kid” and a fight breaks out. Urien breaks up the fight by recuiting Kimber to the team. Security then arrives and arrests Morgan and Effie for trespassing.

    Part 3

    Part 3 starts with the newly formed trio losing a fight to a stone knight. They are saved at the last mintue by a mysterious figure. Urien scolds them for their bicking and lack of focus, before sending them to examine a monster at the parks lake. There they battle the Lady of the Lake and are forced to retreat. The myterious figure then returns and reveals herself to be the 4th member of the team, Rae. Rae formualates a plan, so when working together they easily win the day.

    Part 4

    The girls investgate some Arthurian legends based on a guess Rae has about the enemy. They then head to the park where all the battles have taken place and find a tunnel that has because closed to the public. Inside the tunnel they fight more stone knights until they face their leader, King Arthur. While fighting King Arthur, their hostility to each other is their downfall. King Arthur colaspes the cave so the girls can’t find him again, forcing the girls to flee.

    Book 2 would focus on the girls improving their team work and going against their new found foe King Arthur. Meanwhile, Morgan begins a romance with a boy she meets named Lucius, only to discover at the end of the book he is King Arthur.

    Book 3 Morgan uses her connection to Lucius to discover King Arthur’s plan, to release Merlin back into the world and reestablish Camelot. They girls arrive too late however and then engage in an epic battle with the newly released wizard.

    As you can see book 1 is the most detailed run down. That is because Book 1 would be started on immediately. So they needed to know what to expect and how much I’ll stick to those details. Book 2 and 3 were more far off and could change as things get refined so I kept that as broad strokes. Most importantly I told them the end. I eventually changed the end to something that worked better with the story as a whole, but publishers need to know you have an end when looking at pitches.

    PART 3: The cast

    This is basically what it looks like on the tin. I told Darkhorse who all the important players in the book were and what they would be like. Here is what I wrote:

    Morgan is the leader of the team. She’s a sarcastic tomboy with a grudge against the world. Her outfit is themed after a raven and her powers are all wind based. Morgan’s good at most things that aren’t school. Because of this she’s got a rivalary with pretty much her only friend Effie.

    Effie is a cocky flirty girl. She is always decked out to look her best in her unique glam rock style. So much to Effie’s disappointment her armor is themed after a cow and her powers are earth based. She’s usually overshadowed by Morgan in most of her life and wants to prove she’s as good as she thinks she is.

    Kimber is the youngest member of the team and is full of disaffected scorn She wants to fight bordom more and evil. Her armor is wolf themed and her powers are fire based.

    Rae is the most pleasant of the team. She’s smart and polite. The few times she’s making sure the team stays on focus. Her armor is eel themed and she has water based powers.

    Urien is a black talking dog sent to guide the girls. He can take a human form when needed. He’s eternally frustrated and grumpy because of what’s he’s been given to work with.

    Lucius/King Arthur is good natured goof ball. He wants to do the right thing and make people happy.

    If I didn’t know Dark Horse I would have told them who I was and why this book is similar to their other books. It’s important to be familiar with the publisher you are submitting too.

    In Summary:

    I didn’t get a whole lot of feedback during the pitching process except that there was a brief discussion about if Misfits should be in color. The answer ended up being no because of the cost of paying a colorist (I didn’t want to color it).

    Anyone who is reading both this and Misfits of Avalon can see I changed stuff between the pitch and the final book. But those changes were made while the book was already picked up and didn’t effect the pitch.

  • The Better to Find You With page 48 is up

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    The Better to Find You With page 48 is up.

    If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! Right now page 52 is up

  • The Better to Find You With page 47 is up

    20170124

    The Better to Find You With page 47 is up.

    If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! Right now page 51 is up

  • Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 2 part 2

    page 37 – 39

    The clean up bit was mostly set up for how Buffy defeats the tiger. It was also to get Willow to contribute a little more to the story, since it’s very Xander heavy.

    page 40 – 47

    Bakeries opening early enough that Buffy has probably seen a few open during patrol. It would also be a good time for the tiger to attack. Also Just Desserts was one of the possible titles for this story. This fight was mostly to show the tiger’s skin is impenetrable. I’m not so great at fighting quips. So the dialog in this scene took me the longest to write. Fry of the Tiger is also one of the possible names for the book.

    page 48 – 49

    Buffy describing the fight is a way to make things that the reader might not have picked up on more clear, without 100% spelling it out. I also made sure Xander mentioned how good the pastries were to hint at what will happen to him after he cheats in Mr. Blake’s class.

    page 50 – 53

    I really like Yishan’s drawing of Mr. Blake eating that cookie. Close ups of people eating are always unpleasant. Xander cheats. When this book was first advertised, someone commented that Xander buying sweats to pass off as his home ec homework is the most Xander thing they’d heard. I was glad to heard that. Anyway, I wanted to make sure Buffy knew Maria was missing in class so she can put things together in the next scene.

    page 54 – 57

    Since this is aimed at younger readers, I was told it needed a clear theme/lesson. Willow and Buffy basically spell it out here. Kinda how you get lines in Buffy episodes like “I had one drink and almost got eaten by a giant snake”

    Exposition time. I also like it when someone suggestions something as a joke solution and that is the real solution. And I always like it when Buffy puts two and two together.

    page 58 – 61

    Buffy’s fight with the tiger is kinda goofy here. He looks very cute when Buffy boops him on the nose. Here his eye gets injured to hint at the key to getting past his fur coat.

    page 62 – 64

    Giles suggesting the woods while Buffy remembers the Rain Forest Cafe type place, I thought would be a fun beet. Both are reasonable.

    I put in that Maria and Ms. Miller should look really tired while Xander is added to the group.

    page 65 – 70

    Teamwork makes the dream work. The cutting back and forth between Buffy fighting the tiger and everyone else hiding chemicals in the meal is to make things interesting. Buffy then stabbing in the eye while distracted is the solution. When I first submitted eye stabbing I got the note that this might be too violent, so I suggested cutting to a silhouette.

    page 71 – 72

    Fun little wrap up with everyone’s hard work getting shown off. Also doubling down on the lesson. Note that no one has eaten Xander’s cupcakes. I love how that middle panel came out on the last page where Buffy and Xander are Willow’s painting which would be were the reader is.

  • New Dirty Old Ladies on Love Triangles

    Spike, Amanda, and I have a new episode for you all. We talk about Love Triangles and how they are used in stories we like and when we dislike them.

    Give it a listen here or subscribe here!