Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What will we make of the New Year?

The year 2011 is only a couple of days away.

Was it not just yesterday that my family and I were eating specially made snacks and watching the Times Square Ball drop on television to usher in 2010? Heck, it was only yesterday that we were all running around worried about Y2K.

So with the New Year this weekend my blog, like so many man others, must provide something to celebrate it. There’s an unwritten rule, (or it’s written on someone’s blog). Should I write an End of the Year Wrap Up, or the proverbial New Years Resolutions? Neither sound very enticing, but stick with me and lets see where this takes us.

What will the New Year bring? More importantly, what will we bring to the New Year?

That really is the question, isn’t it? What are we going to do to make the New Year better than the previous one?

A year ago I had written a novel as part of Nanowrimo. Once completed, I set it aside and wrote the first draft of a second, much better novel. Now, a year later, I am nearly finished with a fourth draft of the novel. In this next year, I WILL finish it, find an agent, and have the novel published. You’ll all buy it, right?

A year ago I was unemployed. I’ve been unemployed for several years. Today I am employed in a short term, part-time job that I thank God for every minute of the day. In the year to come I WILL BE employed in a full time job. My desire is to be working at one of the animation or television studios, preferably as a scriptwriter. Even if I cannot have that, IT MUST be in the Burbank/Glendale area. It must be there so I will be near my fiancée.

Three and half years ago we became engaged. I called her from Ireland to make it official. Now in this coming year, I WILL do everything possible so that we will be married. We will marry in the eyes of God, of family, and friends.

FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY will continue as we celebrate it’s tenth year as a webcomic. I will continue to write the REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST and find a conclusion.

I know not how any of this will be accomplished; with God’s guidance I intend to do everything possible to make them all happen.

Everyone is welcome to help.

Hey, a year ago I could barely manage to post my blog annually, now I have something up practically every week. I even have a regular following. Thank you all.

Have a blessed New Year, may it be everything you make it, and accomplish all you set your mind to.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and to all—Get out of my way!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and to all—Get out of my way!

As wonderful a time of the year that Christmas is suppose to be, more often than not we hear people grumbling about not finding the right gift for the right people, or standing in line to buy the wind up monkey pocket vacuum because they couldn’t really find anything else. More likely they complain and curse about the parking lots around the shopping malls. “I only came for one thing, and spent an hour looking for a space to park.” So did everyone else, fella.

The other day a woman practically cursed out my mother who was only being nice to let her enter the store first. Thousands of people show up in shopping malls between Thanksgiving and Christmas that never go near those stores the rest of the year and we complain that they’re always in our way. Remember we’re a crowd to someone else.

As terrible as that all is I want you to think of something. Think of a young couple caught up in a crowd far worse then the one you were in today.

They had traveled a distance from their small town until they reached the city. Though the city is where the man’s family came from they may have been there before. The crowds have over flown the city having come from far and wide. To make matters worse none of his family wants to have anything to do with them. His aunt and uncle refuse to recognize them. His cousins would walk on the other side of the street when they approached.

Why was this?

Simple, they’re all offended by the fact that his young wife got knocked up before they were married. She claims the Holy Spirit visited her one night. So his family sees the girl as an adulterous (I chose not to use a stronger word) with a bastard son on the way. A ruin to the entire family.

Because of this none of his family will spare a room or roof for the young couple to spend the night while they’re in the city. They couldn’t even find a corner at the local pub. Someone finally took pity on the pregnant mother and let them spend the night out in the garage.

If it was today, imagine them in the back of the mall parking structure, stuck between SUVS in compact spaces. After all, the animals around them probably belonged to everyone who had traveled to the city for the census.

In the most crowded and dirty of cities a child is born.

So remember that on this Christmas Eve when you’re running out to find that last minute gift, for that aunt you forgot, and must fight the parking lot hordes rushing for the mall. Remember that Joseph and Mary struggled through far worse crowds in far dirtier environments and the gift they brought into the world is far greater than you can get at the mall or online.

On this eve of our savior’s birth, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

God Bless,

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Bat-Signal from out of my past.

My job working on the Alumni Newsletter for the college I graduated from involves a lot of sitting at the computer and writing (Guess what I’m doing now.) Every so often I get to do a little something fun in researching the stories we may include. Recently I was giving the link to the college library’s archive. It includes photographs from through out the school’s nearly one hundred year history. The archive also provides every single issue of the student newspaper from when it began in 1923 as the Weekly Torch on to becoming The Hornet

Which includes the three years I worked on the paper.

Here’s a bit of trivia. When I attended the college they were just instigating a smoking ban in the student center and cafeteria. Today, they have declared the entire campus smoke free.

So I couldn’t help but to look at all the cartoons and illustrations that I drew for the paper, and the articles I wrote. One of my first editorial cartoons won an award for the school. Only wrote a few news stories, but did contribute multiple times to the Opinion, Entertainment, and Feature pages. I even got the opportunity to have a science fiction story published in the paper.

Not surprisingly I wrote about comic books on numerous occasions. In my memory the greatest of these was when I was given an entire page of the newspaper. The February 3rd issue was still a few months before the original Michael Keaton / Jack Nicholson BATMAN would reach the theaters. But I chose the time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Batman’s creation. (You can work out hold long ago that was, and how old I am, I don’t care.)

Along with talking about the history of the character, and providing a tone introduction in Batman’s own words, you’ll find some other interesting points. To the right of my fully painted image of the Dark Knight, you’ll find an article with a by-line that reads Michael Campbell. Young Mr. Campbell was always the fantasy version of myself that lived inside the DC Universe. What greater correspondent could a newspaper have? In the fictitious article, Michael gets to interview Commissioner James Gordon and meets his wheelchair bound daughter Barbara.

I had forgotten I had written another article for the page entitled: ROBIN: THE CONSPIRACY OF MURDER about the “Death in the Family” story line and how readers got to decide the fate of Jason Todd. I even quote Denny O’Neil: “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back.”

Lastly in the bottom corner was the only advisement that helped pay for my Special page. Sadly Adventureland Comics has long gone out of business, but it was a great little store from which I bought my weekly haul of comics and just a few blocks from the college campus.

You can read the page at the Fullerton College Library Archive. Go to Page 6 of the issue.

I’m embarrassed by the mistakes I’m finding, yet am still quite happy proud with how it turned out all these years later. It’s good to remember where we came from to know where we’re at and where we’re headed.

To think that I am still writing about super heroes and comic books after all this time. Wonder what Michael Campbell is doing; I should probably look him up.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spellchecker can be your friend, but don’t let it be a crutch.

I write the above, and this blog, not just to teach those who need to know, but to acknowledge I have made the mistake of relying too heavily on computer spellchecker programs many times.

If you can’t recognize your own faults and learn from them, how can you teach others?

That squiggly red line for spelling mistake, the squiggly green line for grammar, they show up regularly in my work, and I try my best to squash the squiggles. (Squash the Squiggles. Would that have made a better title?)

A great thank you goes out to all who have stuck with me and reading both my blog and my serial ‘Revenge of the Masked Ghost’ for the last several months. Not only because I’m really glad to know you like my work, but that you’ve put up with a ton of mistakes slipping through. (Look there goes a red squiggly now; I just typed ‘miskates’. Interesting sounding word, but wrong.)

Went back and reread my book review as well as the Megamind blog, and I’m embarrassed by how many mistakes were in both of them. Really surprised when a totally wrong word shows up. Spellchecker can’t help with those. Have no excuse for any of it other than to say I write each blog (including this one) rather quickly at the last minute. Shouldn’t do that, I know. I did correct the mistakes in those entries.

I didn’t get hired for a writing assignment recently because the client found spelling mistakes in the writing samples I submitted. He thought I had a lot of good ideas, but couldn’t sit over my shoulder and correct each mistake that came along. Of course, he’s right. Even though there would be an editor on the project it’s her job to fit it into the over all theme and format of the book, not fix each and every wrong spelling or misplaced comma. Those should have been take care of long before it gets to the editor’s desk.

Lesson learned. I’m trying very hard to correct every mistake I can possibly find, though I will invariably miss something.

Sometimes I think the spellchecker is wrong. Is the word ‘correct’ used correctly? Computer says it’s not.

I admit to having a problem with ‘sound-a-likes’ such as ‘then’ and ‘than’. I need to pay more attention to that.

Next lesson. After you’ve squashed the squiggles, print the darn paper out and read it.

Yes, we’re supposed to be a paperless society, but it’s not going to happen. Print it out and take a pencil to it. There’s something even better you can do to find mistakes, read it aloud. It’s embarrassing, sure, but find someplace you can be alone and read to hear your own words. You may even find that the words (even spelled correctly) aren’t the right ones after all. Hearing is far more powerful then sight when it comes to catching problems.

When I’m finished with this blog, I’m going to follow my own instruction and print it and read it aloud.

Lastly, there are people who see bloggers as the new journalists of our society, if so they should at least try to learn the proper style of newspaper and journalistic writing and that includes getting your words spelled right.

I may not go back and correct every mistake in all the blogs I’ve written, but do intend on proofing again each of the chapters of the serial.

Again, thank you for putting up with my bad spelling, because without fixing that I can’t truly say…

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Friday, December 3, 2010

Anxieties, we all have them I know, but...

As I write this, my father is heading to the doctor’s office, five days ahead of his appointment. He’s okay, but has had an odd rhythm to his heart beat for the last couple of weeks. He had a pace maker for several years now and maybe it just needs some adjustment. His regular doc said to see the heart specialist a little sooner just to be certain.

I mention that in starting this blog out of concern for my father. He has supported his son for so many years, far more than what should be expected of him. I love him and the rest of my family very much.

I’m at the point of my life that I should be taking care of my parents, be married and have a family of my own.

But that’s not how things are.

Am not blaming this ‘economic down turn’ or recession, or whatever you call it, for the situation I’m in. I’ve been here a whole lot longer then that. Certainly cannot comparing myself to so many people out there who are suffering far worse.

But I feel guilty not being a better support to my family, or to my fiancée. A fiancée who has been so patient with me, that if it wasn’t for my financial situation I would have married her years ago. Should be at her side constantly, but I’m not and that makes me feel terrible.

I am blessed with the current job I have, but it’s only two days a week and will end in February. I don’t know what I am going to do next.

Also, don’t know what else I can do to find a job that I’m not already doing.

I’d prefer a job at one of the studios, especially in animation, but it doesn’t have to be; “I’ll bring my own broom.” A long-term job does need to be in the Burbank/Glendale area so I can be near my fiancée and she can keep her job once we’re married. Suggestions?

Don’t mean to run down this path again and complain to you all about my problems, I’m just in the mood to write this out as I wait for my dad to get back home with a report from the doc.

You know, as bad as yesterday’s headache was (I see people are regularly reading the blog about my killer headaches), it’s really nothing compared to worrying if your parent’s heart is going to stop.

My dad just got home. The doctor was able to explain to him what the odd rhythm is, and that the pace maker has recorded a whole lot more of them. He also explained why my dad has been feeling them more often recently.

It turns out not to be anything to really be concerned about, thank God. So with the answers provided the anxiety is gone.

But that doesn’t stop me from worrying about him and the rest of my family and praying that I can do more for them.

Thank you Lord.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am Thankful for all that the Lord has given me.

I am Thankful for my family who has supported me through thick and thin.

I am Thankful for my fiancée who has so much patience.

I am Thankful for the part time job I currently have.

I am Thankful to you for reading my blogs and my serial and comic book.

Most of all, I am Thankful for Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. God Bless.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Road is Narrow and Long, but full of Curves.

A couple of weeks ago I told you that I finally got a job. I still have it, Thank God.

As I got started it soon became obvious that I’d be doing something a whole lot different than I expected.

While I am a writer with a background in comics and animation and fully intend to continue to do more of both as well as episodic television and my novels, I had gotten to the point that I had to find a job outside the entertainment industries.

In the past, however, anytime I moved off my original path things never went well and I found myself guided back on to the road of my goal.

So what does this have to do with my current job? A lot, actually.

Through people I know personally I got an interview at my local community college. The very college I got my AA in Drawing and Painting. What I understood the job to be was as an office assistant, using Word and Excel and answering the Phone. Well, that’s not quite right.

What it turned out to be was managing and writing the Alumni News Letter.

Wait, did you read that right? I’m writing. I actually have a job writing. You don’t know how thrilled that makes me.

Not only am I just going to be writing the “look what’s happening on campus” and the “we need money” articles (I’ll do those too), but I’ll also be writing more creative articles about the people and the history of the campus.

It’s not animation or comic books, but its still back on the path where I belong.

I’m a writer, and I’m writing. It’ll only get better.

My point in all that ego boost is that many times you will hear that no matter what you need to stick to your dream. If you love it, no matter how hard it is, you’ve got to keep at it no matter how hard it may seem.

And this is where I return to the road I began on. Where you want to go, your goal is on a long narrow road. As long as you keep moving forward you’ll reach eventually. Sometimes that road has a lot of bends and curves in it, and it feels like its taking you far from your goal but what its really doing is taking you on the scenic route so that you’re all the more prepared for the goal when you reach it.

Enjoy the road, its an adventure.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can I write a Book Review? - PAST MIDNIGHT by Mara Purnhagen

As mention previously, Twitter has become an excellent networking tool as I make contacts through out the entertainment industries: I’ve gotten to chat with fellow writers, comic book artists, animation producers, and publishers.

Because of networking with those publishers I’m doing a something different with this column. I’m writing a book review. Or, I hope I am. Those familiar with my writing will know this won’t be an ordinary book review.

Through Twitter I connected with Harlequin Books when they made a request for bloggers to read a few of their Paranormal Romance novels and write about them. So that’s what I’m doing. Harlequin provided a list of books and I selected three to read and see if this was possible for me. If from the first of these is any measure, I chose rightly. So…

Tonight’s ghostly tale is:


by Mara Purnhagen

Published by Harlequin TEEN

It’s hard enough for a normal teenager to make friends when they move into a new school, and the greatest fear is that their parents will embarrass them. For Charlotte Silver, who sees herself as far from normal, being embarrassed by her parents is only a small part of her horror. Her family are paranormal investigators with the intent of disproving the existence of ghosts. This time the ghosts have chosen to prove they are very real by attaching themselves to their daughter. Charlotte must discover if the ghosts are haunting her or asking for her help while trying to maintain the semblance of a life at school.

Hopefully that said everything it needed to with out any spoilers.

PAST MIDNIGHT drops us quickly into Charlotte’s life and relationship with her family. How she both admires and is jealous of her sister Annalise, and how she feels ignored by her parents who are always into their work.

Then introduces her and us into the world of a new high school.

I was very pleased that no time was wasted on the “new kid” cliché of being scorned by everyone else. Yes, there is one who doesn’t like her and makes it well known, but Charlotte is a strong girl doesn’t let it get to her and is soon making friends and fitting in with out too much trouble.

That’s when local secrets are discovered and the ghosts go bump in the night.

I won’t go on any further about the story, other than to say I really enjoyed Mara Purnhagen’s take on both the supernatural and the natural world of high school. All the characters were interesting and multi-dimensional, and not one cheerleader acted like a ‘cheerleader’. That alone was refreshing.

One other reason I enjoyed PAST MIDNIGHT was its ease of reading. No, I don’t mean it was a simple book, by no means. Charlotte and all her friends are intelligent and worth getting to know. What I mean by ‘ease’ is in the practical ability of reading it.

Let me explain. Though I know the sales of e-books are increasing, I haven’t yet purchased a tablet reader like a Kindle or iPad, (if you’ve read my previous blogs on my job search, you’ll know why). In the past I have found reading extensive amounts of text on my computer monitor to be tedious and I would quickly loose interest and move on to other things like drawing my comic book or my own writings. (It’s also why I don’t like my blogs to be extremely long.)

I say all that to make a point. When I opened the pdf for PAST MIDNIGHT, I placed it on the right side of my monitor to read while working on other things. The intent was to read a little at a time, but quickly found myself distracted from my work and returning to reading the novel. With each new page of Charlotte’s life I wanted to read more and was never once bothered by the fact it was on the screen.

Maybe it was because Purnhagen’s writing style is smooth and similar to my own, (more likely it's a whole lot better than mine), but I actually found it difficult to stop reading and was hoping for another chapter after the last.

Even though I’m not a teenager (by a long shot), this was an enjoyable book worth my time, and I am truly interested in reading Mara Purnhagen’s other books (there are two sequels to PAST MIDNIGHT in the works). This time I’ll even purchase them myself.

Now if only I had a tablet to read them on.

That was an interesting little experiment. Let me know if you think I should do other book reviews, or comic and movie reviews (My blog about Megamind earlier this week doesn’t count. ). I’ve still got two more of the Harlequin books to read; even if I don’t do reviews will let you know what I think.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

(Who looks forward to having someone write a review of his novel when it’s finally published.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

That was a good movie, I had nothing to do with it.

Wow – That was a really good movie, and I had nothing to do with it… kinda.

As part of my continual desire to work in the entertainment industry I have taking many temp job. Not as many as I would like, in the areas I would have liked, or for as long as I would have preferred. They have varied in the different types of companies and departments I’ve worked for.

The jobs have mostly been desk jobs, answering phones, typing, and filing.

One job I had a few years ago was at one of the major motion picture studios. Which in itself is a thrill to me, being able to walk the studio lots is really exciting. I don’t care if I see a celebrity or not, this is where the magic happens. I am part of that magic.

This particular job was actually for a producer and his production company that was leasing offices upon the studio lot. His regular assistant was out and I filled in for a couple of weeks. I answered the producers phones, arranged conference calls and meetings, filed, and arranged delivery of scripts and other required necessities. Another assignment I handled, usually during the down times of the day, is what is called “Script Coverage”.

Numerous scripts are delivered to the producer each day ending up in his ‘slush pile.’ Agents, representing their client writers, send these scripts with the idea that it would be ideal for the producer to consider it for production. The producer, however, doesn’t have the time to read each and every one of these scripts; it just isn’t possible or he’d never be able to get anything else done like produce that movie you worked so hard on to write.

So one of the producer’s assistants (little old temp me at the time) reads the script for him and writes a brief summary about it and whether he should consider purchasing the script and eventually producing it.

While working for him I read multiple scripts, wrote up my thoughts about them and if I thought they would make good movies or not. Two of the scripts were terrible, one was interesting but I wasn’t certain could find an audience in the current market.

The fourth script was a super hero movie. As a comic book fan this was something I could get into even if it was bad. I also recognized why the agent had sent it to this producer for he also has connections to comics. So when nothing else was going on in the office I sat down to read it.

Interesting. This is a super hero movie from the point of view of the super villain. I like. Oh, that next bit was unexpected, and the villain wins. Or does he?

After finishing the script I wrote up my summery and opinion and told the producer that he might like this one, and to consider it.

Several days later my temp job there ended as the regular assistant returned.

A few years have now past and a certain big headed, blue skinned, super villain is stomping all over the adverts for an upcoming film. Okay, another super hero film, cool. Then in the last couple of weeks before the release of the film they start showing a new series of commercials for it with certain scenes that seem very familiar. So I was very curious to see if this was the film I thought it was.

So yesterday, my fiancée and I got the chance to attend a studio movie screening:


I sat there enjoying the entire film, and loving the fact that the audience was laughing at all the right places, and the story held together very well.

About ten minutes into the film I no longer had any doubts. Here before my eyes was a successful animated super hero film, and it was the script I had read several years earlier. I got a bit of a thrill of that. Especially since I had written up positive Script Coverage for my producer.

Megamind had an opening weekend as being number one at the box office earning $47.7 million dollars (according to the Hollywood Reporter).

As much as I would like to believe that what I wrote about that original script got this movie produced, I know that isn’t so.

Remember how I said that agents send out copies of their client’s scripts to producers. They do, to multiple producers and studios. The producer I was temping with at that time was probably only one of many that received a copy of the Megamind script. He did not produce this movie, nor did the studio where I temped.

Somewhere out there in the great Hollywood wasteland is another assistant, maybe a temp, who wrote up script coverage, which made it to the right producer at Dreamworks. I tip my virtual Script Reader’s hat to them. Maybe they’ll read one of my scripts someday soon.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A change in the weather, a change in the Deadline.

Hey, look, it’s Thursday evening and time for my weekly brain dump of a blog.

Thanks everyone who has been taking time out of your busy schedules to read my rambles. I really appreciate it.

This blog was always supposed to be about my writing and about my career. Sometimes, however, it became a place for me to vent and complain. I don’t want that to happen regularly.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my job search and how it hadn’t been going well, so I have been devoting a lot of my time to writing and drawing the webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, my novel, my serial REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST, and this blog and pushing to keep a deadline for each one of them as if I was on a paid assignment.

It looks like my deadline schedule is about to change.

I have a job.

(I can hear you all cheering out there. No wait, that’s a cricket outside my office window.)

Yes, that’s true, I have a job. Or rather a short term, part-time job between now and this coming February, but it is a job.

I praise God for this job as I would any other.

Being a part time job of only twelve hours a week I should still have plenty of time to write. Hopefully I will find someone who will pay me to write, but I’m still going to write no matter what.

Which brings me to the shifting of my deadlines. I don’t want to really change anything, but know something has to give a little.

Each new page of the webcomic will still be posted on Sundays, and this blog should still be able to make its appearance each Thursday (as you can tell it doesn’t take much brain power). As much as I don’t want to, am going to post the serial every other week. Not only will it ease up my schedule, but I’ll be able to improve on the story.

I intend to post the next chapter this following Tuesday, and then two weeks later.

Thank you for your understand and support. It’s really been great to know that people are out there reading my stories. Know any publishers or producers you could point my way? (Seriously: Does anyone need an assistant for a couple days a week?)

Would love to hear from you either here in the comments section or at my Twitter account: Kevinpsb00

Thanks, have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

HALLOWEEN – I’m dressing up like a Missed Deadline.

Do you remember the very first costumes you wore for Halloween?

I’m not meaning the ones your parents may have put you in when you were an infant. “Oh, isn’t that a cute little pumpkin.” The ones you chose yourself.

Do you remember those plastic sheet costumes? Even as a little kid I thought they were dumb (forgetting itchy and hot). I wanted to be Superman, not wear a picture of Superman. The plastic mask was bad enough, with that dry rubber band to hold it on. We all knew it would never survive the night.

Even though I had seven years of marching in my elementary school’s Halloween costume parades, I only remember maybe three of the costumes from back then. I was Dracula twice, (and a magician using the same outfit), and The Mummy.

After Elementary school I don’t believe I put on another costume. I was picked on enough in High School; I didn’t need another reason, (see last week).

But I did go to one Halloween party during college dressed as Doctor Who. Or as close to being dressed as Doctor Who as I could.

(Has anyone else noticed how writing about Doctor Who confuses the grammar checker in your word processor?)

Back then I was a big Tom Baker years fan of the show but also liked Sylvester McCoy. So my costume, which was thrown together from clothing I had, became a merger of the two. I even took the time to draw red question marks on my shirt collars as was worn by Peter Davidson, Collin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy. Really wish I could have had McCoy’s umbrella. At the time that would have been cool.

No one, absolutely no one, knew who I was dressed as. And so ended my Halloween costumes.

Now I keep thinking about being invited to a Halloween party and dressing up. Times sure have changed since school.

Back in school, High School and even college, no one would have shown up with a Superman t-shirt, and yet now its very common to see such a shirt around town, or a Batman, Flash, or Green Lantern (even a Darkest Night) shirt. For girls the Supergirl or Wonder Woman logos aren’t all that rare.

On top of that dressing up as different characters isn’t all that rare.

When I first began to attend the San Diego Comic Con, there would be dozens of people dressed up for the Saturday night Masquerade. Now those costumes are out the entire con every day.

Not only at the Con but also because of Anime strong influence on American popular culture, cosplay has become a regular part of lie as well. I’ve seen girls wearing catgirl hoods around town.

Then there is Steampunk, which I’m only beginning to learn about, but has some of the most fantastic costumes. Though based on a alternate world where technology took a different turn, there is still something solid and real about the costumes. As wild as the costumes are, they might be something I’d be interested to slip into sometime, if I could afford it.

If not that then I might dress up as Doctor Who again, this time David Tennant or Matt Smith. I think I look like Tennant when he was wearing the pajamas.

Or I’ll just dress up like this Deadline I’m just barely going to make.

One last thing before I sign off.

The webcomic I write with Shannon Muir: FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, is included in a collection that is published. “Webcomics: What’s Cooking” Is a cookbook produced by webcomic creators and it will feed the hungry in both Canada and the U.S. Preorders open up Friday October 29, 2010.

Help Flying Glory save the world in a real way.

Trick or Treat

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Extra Blog - Bullied.

I normally write and post my blog on Thursday, but since I was able to post, both the comic and novel chapter on Tuesday why not try to force the blog to go up Wednesday.

Enough of my normal humor, I’m writing this blog and hope to post it on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 to give my two cents worth related to this being “Spirit Day” and support anti-bullying. I don’t have anything purple to wear today, so this blog will have to do.

‘My two cents’ may be all that my thoughts and experiences are really worth compared to those kids who have suffered so much that they felt that the only way out was by ending their lives. I can’t compare my experiences to them.

With that, I want to at least right about what experiences I did have.

Bullying began for me in elementary school. For some reason because I wore glasses some of the other, students thought I was smarter than them. It wasn’t true, I struggled for every C I got.

There are three bullies I remember from those first years of school. One event turned into some fight that he actually punched me in the stomach and I passed out. The strange thing there is that after that event he and I became good friends over the next months and years. I invited him to my birthday parties even.

The second of these was a guy who got his jollies out of picking on just about everyone, including the teachers. It got so bad that they kept sending him up an extra grade each year until he was finally out of the school. The teachers couldn’t do anything with him. The sad thing is that I recently learned that he was homeless and living under a bridge.

The third of these elementary school bullies I truly don’t remember, but a couple of years ago I was approached by him to meet and have lunch. It was part of his alcoholics anonymous 12 Step program. He had to go and apologize to anyone he had ever hurt or offended, and he remember something he had done to me. I don’t remember, so it was easy to forgive. Would it have been easy if I did remember? I’d like to think so, but don’t know.

In Junior High (or Middle School) I had bullies there as well. To avoid most of them I spent lunch either in my next period classroom or the school library (did improve my reading skills). One bully once shoved a container of what he claimed to be as marijuana into my face. When I knocked it aside and the contents were scattered all over the ground he tried to get my parents to pay for his ruined chewing tobacco. Another kid in the school was a real mean bully. He was physically smaller than the most and so picked on us weaker kids; he created a bulldog attitude to survive. I have no bad feelings towards him, and those that I did washes away the day of our Jr. High Graduation. Whether they were kids seeking revenge, or just bigger bullies than him, grabbed hold of him put him in a supply closet and shaved his head. I had survived those two years (and actually two schools), a whole lot better than he had.

High School wasn’t much better. Again, I spent much of my free time in the library or away from other students as I could. I know that my shyness and staying away from others resulted in other problems in the years to come, but I survived those as well. Though the water balloon in the face that shoved me back into the handle of my locker certainly didn’t feel good.

Once I reached my High School years I had begun to mature in my thinking more in how I handled things even if it was more passive aggressive then most people would.

One day in my Freshman year, I did something no one is supposed to do. I wandered into “Senior Corner” and was quickly approached by two football player sized guys. “Let’s can him.” Before they could grab me, I looked at them and said, “What can? I’ll get in it for you.” They looked at me, realized that I wasn’t going to let them have any of their fun, and then walked away.

A similar event happened during Swimming Class. I liked to get into the water, but was terrified of the diving board and everyone knew it. But on day came the time the coach required us to all jump from the high dive. I got up there and froze. I don’t know how long I was up there, but long enough that the couch came up and pushed me off the board. I splashed into the water. Still never went up there again, but I got past that. But it wasn’t good enough for the class bully. This guy was always kicking at me on the stands or pushing me around the water. Than one day as the bell rang for us to hit the locker rooms I was climbing out of the pool and he turned around and shoved me back in. I fell face first into the water and stayed there. Passive aggressive me won again, because the bully leapt into the water and pulled me out. Realizing that I was okay, he got upset and screamed, “don’t ever do that again.” “Me?” What had I done? The important thing was he didn’t pick on me again.

As stated above, I cannot compare my life to others who struggle not only with the bullies of the world, but how people including their families see them. I have none of those experiences. What I can say is that I survived even if at the times I didn’t think I would.

Wish I could promise that everything is going to turn out okay, “It gets better,” but what I do know is that I survived.

So this is my little blog about my experience being bullied it doesn’t feel like anything. Maybe I’ll still post a regular writing related one tomorrow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shhhh... This place might be blogged.

Went to an industry gathering last night about – Well, I can’t tell you what it was about, we were sworn to secrecy.

Because I can’t tell you what it was about got me thinking about something, and so I’ll blog about that instead.

When the panel began, the representative of the place hosting it reminded us that there was no recording or pictures taken allowed. Before she could finish; the moderator of the panel made the point that ‘blogging’ would not be allowed. Repeating, ‘please don’t blog’.

It made me realize just how much has changed in personal recording devices and how they’ve been implemented over the years.

When my mother was in college, she thought there had to be a way to better study the teacher’s lectures.

So one day she wrote to RCA suggesting they provide her with a portable audio recorder, saying it would be an ideal way to help students study the class lectures if they could listen to it over again. She suggested that if she could have one it would help promote sales to other students once they saw how it worked.

Realize that at the time, even though it was battery operated and considered ‘portable’ this was a reel-to-reel tape recorder that came in its own briefcase like carrier.

The kind people at RCA wrote her back, and plainly said ‘No’. They had no interest, or believe that their recorder could be used in a classroom situation.

My parents eventually did buy a similar reel-to-reel device they used on a vacation trip.

Decades pass and the cassette tape is born. Another battery operated device we could carry but even it was too large to have sitting on your classroom desk. And the placement of the microphone was never good. (I use to record the audio of TV shows with that, this was before we got a VCR.)

That, in turn, led to me getting a mini-cassette recorder, and here’s where we get back to the subject.

I once attempted to use my mini-recorder in a class, but the teacher wasn’t too happy with it. But it turned out that all he wanted was for me to ask ahead of time and not just start recording.

There are places for recorders to be used, and there are placed for them not to be used.

These mini-cassettes turned out to be useful as I went to work on the college newspaper for when I did interviews with subjects. I interviewed comic book artists Brian Murray (Young All-Star’s, Supreme) who had been a student at the college a few years earlier, and science fiction writer James P. Blaylock who was teaching a class that semester.

The mini-cassette eventually was replaced with a digital recorder. Did the job nicely, but came along a little too late.

Now practically everyone has a digital recorder in their pocket or strapped to their belt. It’s called their cell phone. Hey, not only can you record the audio of a teacher’s lecture, you can record the video of him droning on and on while the students fall asleep. Then put it up on Youtube not just for your own use and for other students to study by, but to be watched by the rest of the world as well.

We have so gotten away from the intent of my mother’s original idea of being able to have her teacher’s lecture at hand when she needed to study for the exam.

Now there is an expectation that there will be a recorder of some device in every gathering of more than two people.

Cellphones are ordered turned off not because of that terrible ring-tone you have, but because you might well be recording something.

Signs are put up everywhere with the order that all recording devices can not be used while in this building or listening to that speaker, or watching a clip of an as yet unreleased movie. Heck, when on a movie lot I have to leave my phone in the car because people are so paranoid that the smallest video clip will leak out. Not that they’re wrong in their thinking, but I would have liked to have had my phone. I never use the camera anyway, right.

But even with the order that we can’t use our recorders, things have gone even further than that now.

“Please no blogging.” Live blogging? How is that even possible? It’s hard enough for me to take notes during a panel discussion, let along put it all out in some coherent fashion on to the web, live.

But it does happen.

All you Mac fanatics I am certain were watching the streaming live blogs a few months back as Steve Jobs talked about the latest released of the iPhone, iPad, and MacTV. Remember how he attempted to show off the wireless feature of the camera feature on the iPhone? Remember how it didn’t work? Remember how he had to plead with the audience for everyone to stop Live Blogging because it was slowing down the wifi of the building and he couldn’t do his little presentation? There was so many bloggers there all writing about the exact same thing, that they became part of the story themselves.

So in our little secret panel discussion of last night the moderator was more concerned that secrets would be leaked out in a live blog than they would be through an audio or video recording off your iPhone.

That’s the world we live in now, everything (including this) ends up on a blog.

Beware the power you wield.

Shhhhh… the place maybe bugged – or is it blogged?

And there’s my blog for the week, it’s still Thursday on the West Coast.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

“Four Names of Creative Professionalism”

And not yet live-blogging.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oops - "The Dog Ate My Homework" - Not!

When writing a blog, there is no such thing as ‘the dog ate my homework.’ Unless the dog is a virus that eats up your files, destroys your hard drive and years worth of work is destroyed. But there’s no such virus here, and that dog don’t fight or bite.

After writing up a blog two weeks ago about how important it is to meet your deadlines, here I sit having missed a big one. With no excuse except that I forgot.

I can tell you how last Friday a freak storm passed through our town, didn’t last more then an hour but it knocked out our power for eight hours. I was in the midst of working on the comic page and this through me so behind that I wasn’t able to get the page posted on Sunday like it should have. It didn’t go up until Wednesday (that power outage did give me the time to hand write three pages of serial, but still wasn’t enough).

After posting the artwork for page 6 and jump at page 7 and get going on it hoping that it’ll be posted on time this Sunday.

So I totally forget that this blog was due yesterday.

And that, dear editor, producer… reader is the only excuse that I can give you. I forgot.

Take that, as you will. I messed up, and missed my deadline.

So here I am writing this apology, not only to you but to myself. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to keep my promise and get this posted on time, just as I wasn’t able to get the comic posted on time Sunday.

I’m sorry.

So if there are any producers, or editors, or publishers out there reading, know this: If you’ve hired me to do a job, write article, story, or script, and I miss my deadline. There is no one, and no reason, to blame but myself.

That said I now have to tell myself not to let it happen again. I’ve got this blog (which is mostly filler I guess), and I need to finish the pencils and inks for the next page of the comic, start the next chapter of the serial, my week goes on and I will stick with my plans to produce all this as if I was being paid for all this.

Next time won’t wait till the last minute to come up with a subject for my blog.

Again, oops, I’m sorry.

Let’s get it right next time.

Thank you for understanding.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity – I want my Creativity to be as Professional as possible.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Book Week

It’s Thursday already, and though its time to write this blog again, I can’t believe that this week has nearly slipped by and only now did I realize that it was BANNED BOOK WEEK.

This week unfortunately slips under the radar most years. It hardly gets any mention on the news programs, unless they need filler for the last minute of the program and there’s no cat stuck up a tree.

Back when I was in college (all those years ago), the campus library had a window display each year to show the books that some people didn’t want them to have available to the students. I was pleased to see the Library was supporting the week.

Check out the American Library Association’s website for lists of books that have been banned this year.

One year, when BBW came around and working on the college newspaper, I got the opportunity to write an Opinion piece for the Op-Ed page. I wrote it about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and did an illustration to go with it.

Am certain I don’t need to remind any of you the story is about a not so distant future where a Fireman’s job is to burn, to burn books, to burn thought. Anything that might offend or up set someone, not just the state, or someone’s religion, or race, or corporate employer. Why have something that could cause conflict between two people. Get rid of it all, burn it.

Sounds frighteningly familiar to something that nearly happened recently, doesn’t it?

As a Christian I am horrified that anyone would think of doing such a thing was the Will of God, or want to do it for any other reason.

No need to run that in to a rant, everyone has his or her own opinion, just don’t let it be forgotten.

Here are a few books that are on this year’s list that one or more people found offensive:

Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
The Cartoonns That Shook the World by Jytte Klausen
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Twilight by Stephenie H. Meyer
Dragon Ball: The Monkey King by Akira Toriyama

The rest of the list can be found at the link above. It is, unfortunately, much longer than this.

Here’s another list to check out: Because my first creative passion is comic books, check out this link on Huffington Post of the Top Ten Graphic Novels that have ended up on the Banned Book list.

There are a lot of books I don’t like, a lot of TV shows, a lot of Movies. Some I’ve seen and read, others I have chosen not to. I may not like them, but the writer deserves to have his creation exist and to be read. Heck, he deserves to have it liked or disliked, because that’s what makes it alive. People reading it, and discussing it.

Oh, and to my brother and sister fundamentalist Christians; the book that we believe to be the greatest book in the world… The Holy Bible. It ends up the BANNED BOOK list each year as well.

I don’t intent to make this blog political, and I don’t think censorship is political. It simply prevents us to speak, to write, to read, to learn.

If you’ve found my blog, you’re probably a writer, artist, or someone in related entertainment industry, or plan to be. We all don’t want our work blocked, but even if people don’t like it I remind you to make it the best art and story you can make.

Thank you for reading.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DEADLINES – “I’m going to make this one.”

Maybe this week I’ll actually meet my deadline and post this blog on a Thursday like I promised myself.

But worried I’m going to miss the deadline for finishing the artwork of my web comic.

Which got me to thinking about deadlines.

Since I’m “between” assignments right now, I have had to created self-imposed deadlines on myself or I wouldn’t get anything done.

Here are the deadlines I have set for myself right now:

Sunday – The latest page of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY has been penciled, inked and approved and I post it to the web site.

Tuesday – The next chapter of “Revenge of the Masked Ghost” is posted to my note page on facebook (Which maybe moving to its own site soon.)

Thursday – I post my "Four Names of Professional Creativity" blog (hopefully this got posted on a Thursday).

Saturday – Study and Prep for the Sunday School/Bible Study I lead Sunday mornings.

You can find most of the links for these over there on the right, and if you’re reading this you’ve found it already and don’t need the link.

As I’m writing this I am also penciling more of the comic, and working on a novel. One thing I am good at is multitasking, but it doesn’t always help.

I need to have these deadlines, not only does it force me to get the work done it also keeps me thinking in the same mind set as I would when employed to do the work under even tighter deadlines.

If not for these deadlines I’d constantly be finding reasons not to do the work. It’s so easy to get distracted as is (thank you Twitter).

One of the hardest things for me to do is something I really need to do more of. That’s to write spec scripts (samples of my writing, either a movie, a television show, animation, or a comic book). If I know someone is interested in my work and wants to see a sample, or is willing to let me pitch for their project, I can write up a good sample in a short time. However, if I don’t have a goal like that it becomes hard to build up the energy to write. So I need to force a deadline and goal on myself to get it done.

It’s coming on a year now since I decided to participate in NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month ( I had a vague idea for a science fiction novel and so signed up for it. In Nano the writer has thirty days to write 50,000 words of a novel. You don’t have to complete the story, but the goal is to reach that number.

Surprisingly I reached 50,000 with a couple of days to spare, and actually finish the entire first draft.

The problem I did have with the story was that though I knew where it should end up, it was all over the place with far more characters then planned taking different paths to reach that end. Every so often I go back and take a look at it, there’s still something there but I have to rip it apart and workout a detailed outline to put all the parts back together again.

What made it even more frustrating was that about a week into Nano I had an idea for a completely different novel, which would have worked out a whole lot better if I had begun with it. But I had committed myself to the first story and was going to see it through. I paused long enough to write down about a page worth of notes on the new story and then got back to Nano.

Once I completed the Nano novel and feeling victorious I gave myself a few days off and then turned to the second story. And I surprised myself by having the first draft of it done by the end of December.

With Nano I was proved to myself that I could complete a major assignment under a deadline, and the second novel proved that it just wasn’t a onetime event. Though I didn’t have someone else counting down the days I pushed to get it finished before the end of the year, and I succeeded.

Lastly, as I approach the deadline for this blog I want to mention that a Deadline can also be considered a Finish Line of a race. Whether you’ve been given an assignment, or working on a personal project you run for that line. When you cross the finish line or beat that that deadline, if you’ve worked your hardest and done your best work, you’re already victorious. The acclaim, the fortune, the fame, that’ll come later.

And with that little gem I’m just going to make this deadline with about an hour to spare.

Oh, one more thing. I just finished the pencils on the comic page, so I will be able to meet the deadline for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY as well.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Job Search is Jinxed.

Okay now you guys are forcing me to actually write something for this week’s blog. In the last hour the site has received 14 visitors, 27 in the last day. That’s more than I’ve had at once since I began this blog.

Do I really have anything to say that’s worth reading? I’m humbled.

Now, where was I?

I did promise you something about how my job search is going, so I should keep my promise.

Even mentioned in one tweet that I thought my search was jinxed. Don’t really in that. But sometimes it sure can feel that way.

Here are a few examples:

Once I “unofficially interned” with a producer at a 3D computer animation house. I helped him with a few scenes of the he was on while he helped me assemble a good portfolio of work to submit. I modeled props like guitars, trashcans, and buildings, and even lunar traveling tanks. I also did composite work that had a space fly along a street not too far from my house. I then submitted the work to the company itself. A few weeks later I got my tape back and a letter saying I wasn’t ready. Disappointed, true, but the bad part was that very same day while I was there everyone else received their pink slips and the company shut down.

It’s not my fault, I swear.

Another time while working through a temp agency, I got to work for several weeks in the consumer produces division of one of the major studios. After which I received a glowing letter of recommendation from the studio’s rep of the temp agency, they looked forward to working with me again. Not long after that the representative left the agency and I never got another job from the studio or any other company.

What did I do?

A third example was when I had a job interview at another one of the studios. It was to be in a department that handled advertising for the television network and its Internet presence. I met with two executives. The interview went really well, and everything looked like it was going to happen. They really liked me. Then a week later a hiring freeze came down on the entire company. Not only did I not get the job, they didn’t hire fill a position they desperately needed to.

Yes, I know everyone is suffering in this economy and there are a lot of people out of work. I have no right to complain, because I have a family who can take care of me. But the truth is, I’ve been struggling on this job search a lot longer then this ‘downturn’ has been happening. I’ve been searching for a job for a whole lot longer.

I knew the freelancer’s life was going to be hard. I wasn’t fooling myself. If I’m going to be a writer and artist there are going to be times when there isn’t work. So I’ve been looking for a “day job” which I can do when not drawing or writing. I’d prefer to find one of these jobs in the entertainment industry someplace, but I’ve been looking elsewhere too.

Guess what… it’s just as hard as finding that writing assignment.

They say it’s “who you know” that will get you a job. Well, I know quite a few people at several studios, production houses, and comic book companies. But that hasn’t made it any easier. Plus the fact everyone you talk to wants you to apply online makes it hard to be personal and sociable while trying to convince them to hire you.

So whether it’s jinxed or there just aren’t any jobs out there, it’s real frustrating to feel like I’m so close but the doors just won’t open.

Yet, I don’t give, and I can’t really complain because I know there are others who are in far worse shape than I. Did you know that 1 in 7 American’s are in poverty.

My mother is on the board of FULLERTON INTERFAITH EMERGENCY SERVICE that helps family in the North Orange County area. Watching these family line up for two bags of groceries reminds me that I’ve had things pretty good, and I’m quite blessed.
(I’ll go into FIES in more detail another time.)

So I keep moving on. Maybe the “day job” I’m suppose to have isn’t anywhere near the entertainment industry, but I’m not giving up.

No matter what keep going, keep doing. Even where we are at now, we’re all successful, and no jinx is going to stop us from succeeding.

Okay. Done. A day late, but done.
Thanks everyone for reading. I’d like to know your thoughts.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Creative Professionalism

Thursday, September 9, 2010

“Secret Origin of the Masked Ghost”

Secret Origins - Original vs Unique Characters

You didn’t really expect me to tell you the hero’s origin here did you? You’ll just have to keep reaching the chapters of “Revenge of the Masked Ghost” as I post them each week.

For those of you who aren’t following me on Twitter (@Kevinpsb00) or Facebook, I have begun writing a serialized novel which I am posting on my Facebook account entitled “Revenge of The Masked Ghost” You can find a link to it on the right side of this blog, as well as links to other important things in my online life. Check them all out.- - - > > >

‘Masked Ghost’, Ya, I know it’s not the most exciting name, but it says what it needs to. Like writer Mark Waid has admitted, I have a terrible time coming up with character names. Civilian names are actually easier to come up with than costumed nom de plumes. You try to come up with a really interesting name for a guy in a mask and tights that hasn’t been used a dozen times. At least this isn’t the 90’s when all I would have to do is find a way to use the words ‘Death’ or ‘Blood’. Only slightly a joke there.

I’m still proud of FLYING GLORY and her grandma I now call OL’GLORY.

Now on to the origin. Every kernel of a story idea isn’t always original. Especially if you want to tell a tale about mystery men and super heroes. Man puts on mask and fights crime, or avenges the murder of family members; whether he has super powers or just uses his fists, that’s basically it.

That character, his mask, tights, and cape, can be so much more than that depending on what the writer, and the artist, who brings him to life. What makes Peter Parker a great character? Is it his powers, or the death of his Uncle Ben teaching him to take responsibilities for his actions? The Fantastic Four are great team because they’re a family.

I could go on.

Each writer takes a shot at

Now I’m frightening myself, because there’s no way I can compare myself to the greatest writers of the last 75 years of super heroes. I wouldn’t dream of even trying.

The reason why I mention all is that I know at first glance the “Masked Ghost” will appear very familiar. I’ll admit that I really enjoy the original costumed mystery men like the Crimson Avenger, the Green Hornet, and the original Sandman. And my hero has the same type of business suit and fedora. Though he doesn’t have a stereotypical Asian sidekick like to of those did.

(Unimportant aside: The word ‘sidekick’ is in Word’s spell check. Did that word exist before the creation of masked heroes?)

I’ve wanted to write about one of these old style mysterious vigilante’s (realize that the term super hero wouldn’t come into existence for several years,) but didn’t want to do just any story. It had to have something unique about it.

Then about three weeks ago I had a thought; not about the hero himself but what would the family be like if they suddenly discovered he was a masked vigilante. That’s all I’ll tell you about that idea, except to say that from a single thought grew a whole concept. I first brain stormed for about a page, and then for three more pages I began to work out what the first story would be about. A day later I had worked out the beats for a 25 chapter long story. It grew quickly from there.

I don’t know everything about what’s going to happen to our hero and his family, and I know absolutely nothing about criminal he’s hunting. But it’s all coming together, and you will be discovering all his secrets as I do

So why this blog, besides promoting “Revenge of the Masked Ghost?” I want to tell all the new writers out there who want to get into comics and super heroes not to worry if your ideas aren’t a hundred percent original. Whether you get a chance to write for an existing mystery man (or woman) or create one of your own, make the story write come from your heart. That way your story will be unique and special. Make what’s been around for years new and make it your own. I’ve done that with Flying Glory, and hope I’m doing it with “The Masked Ghost.”

On a side note a ghost out of my own past showed up to haunt me last night…

Jordan Jennings (@JordanCJennings on Twitter) of CBO Productions did a review of the first issue of Image Comics SUPREME as part of his Field Guide To the Comic Book Bargain Bin series. He gives a very interesting look back at this character created by Rob Liefeld. What makes this a haunting to me is that comic was my very first professional job in the industry. I drew background and did color comps on several pages. I continued to work with Brian Murray on the next several issues of the series, and also did colors for other books as well. Thank you Jordan for reminding me of the great experiences I had.

Talk to you all next week.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Headache that Ended the World.

This blog should have been posted early this afternoon, and it’s almost 9pm and I’m just now writing it.
I have been working on other things today; penciling the latest page of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY (, as well as writing more of my novel and starting a new story I’m hoping to post online soon.
But all of that got side tracked by a headache that hit me this morning and hasn’t really gone away tonight.
I threatened on Twitter to write about my headache if I couldn’t think of anything else…

I got that close to writing about how I have suffered with it for years, but I won’t go into that.

What I will do is go back to what I’ve been talking about the last few weeks. Taking things that life hands you and turning them into stories. The headache is one major example of this.
I’m really into time travel stories (a major Doctor Who fan, in all his incarnations), so I built this who epic story based around time travel. In this story my main character had to travel back a few days, during which he already existed. What would be the repercussions of such an event.
The easy out was that the time traveler could not be seen by his previous self, but he also had memories of an extremely bad headache a few days earlier and now discovered he had that because he was very close to himself.
So I always imagined that the reason I suffer such terrible headache is that sometime in the future I’m going to have my own time machine and come back and try to visit myself.

Okay, that was really silly and probably a waist of your time, would you like to have a time machine and go back and prevent me from writing this? Maybe you already did and that’s why I have this blasted headache. Thanks a whole lot.

Hey, at least I’m keeping my promise to myself and writing a blog every week. Doesn’t have to be good, does it? Going to go rest this head now.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
"Four Names You Need To Remember"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hitchhiking across the Galaxy to find your Writer's Voice.

What am I going to write about today? I have no idea.

Or rather, I had no idea until about three minutes ago, at which point I checked facebook to discover one of my friends had posted a news article stating that the UK’s television network BBC4 would be airing an adaptation of Douglas Adam’s science fiction comedy novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

So why does this warrant a mention in a blog about writing? Because it reminded me of reading the original novel, and Adam’s magnum opus The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The question I would like to pose to you this week is this: As a writer have you ever found yourself writing in another author’s voice? Was it intentional, or purely by accident?

Years ago while in a college creative writing course I was assigned to write a comedic short story as part of my final.

During that same semester, a friend of mine loaned me his copies of the original Hitchhiker’s trilogy (I have never read the books that followed). As an avid fan of Doctor Who (at that time I was really into the Tom Baker years), I really enjoyed the Douglas Adam episodes. (If you like the Matt Smith run, go check these out). So I really got into his novels.

Hitchhiker was slowly seeping into my unconsciousness as I read the novels that semester. So that when given an assignment to write this short story I found myself writing with Mr. Adam’s voice. Even my teacher noticed it.

Got a pretty good grade on it too.

That wasn’t the only time I ended up writing in another author’s voice. After I read a Sherlock Holmes story, I end up writing certain scenes with Arthur Conan Doyle’s voice. And because I read tons of Ray Bradbury, I can come up sounding like him as well.

That works for some things, and Adam’s voice works for others, but you know what voice really works best for my stories?

My own voice.

Sometimes I think it would be a whole lot better if I could write that that author, or that scriptwriter, but in truth it really wouldn’t be. More likely it’s going to come across as a poor imitation.

I may not be the greatest writer in the world, but I’d far rather not try to imitate the greatest writers in the world. Learn from them, absolutely, but not copy them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if my writing voice has picked up mannerisms from Adams, Doyle, Bradbury, and others, but I sound like myself. Whether I’m writing a short story, novel, script, or comic book, or even my little old blogs here, it’s going to be in my own voice?

Learn the from the voices of the author’s you greatly respect, then go an find your own voice.

Okay, that was nice and short. Actually had a point to it.

Thanks for reading.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Creative Professinalism.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Story - That Grew from Fallen Fruit.

It’s been a week since my last blog, and I’ve promised myself to write more often. So here’s the next one. Kinda.

If you read my previous blog, I gave an example of how stories just come from the most mundane things in life. Like fruit falling from a tree outside my office. The example was a few lines of a story that came to me from that thought (go back and read the blog "Growing the Fruit of a Story" if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Not knowing if there was really a story in those lines and in that fruit, yesterday I began to see where it took me. What follows is a short story entitled “Falling Apples.” It could probably use two or three rewrites, but I want to show you what can result from just writing about anything.

- = -

“Falling Apples”

by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden (c) 2010

Sharon Little lay back in her bed to rest and think. Actually she didn’t want to think. She wanted to put the world away from her and not have to think about the events of the day. Today she had officially broken up with her boyfriend, and had the restraining order to prove it.

Jack had been wonderful on the first few dates they went out on. His only flaw was that he tended to drink a little too much. But then in later dates he began to expect more from her. She wasn’t ready to have sex, but he was insistent. It was okay, but nothing earth shattering like she expected it should have been. Then when he drank he all but raped her.

The hitting began when she refused his advances. Sharon wanted to believe that it was the alcohol that acting and not Jack. But in the morning he was just as mad at her, this time claiming that she had embarrassed him in front of his friends at the bar.

She put up with it for another month, but she was determined not to be one of those women that always went back to their man no matter how dangerous it was. It was after a black eye and broken tooth that Sharon went to the police.

It took another week before the courts would give her the restraining order, and she wondered if there was anything this piece of paper could really restrain. While she was leaving the courts, Jack shouted at her that she was his, and that he’d have her or no one would.
There were many lawyers and police officers that had heard him shout the threat but there wasn’t anything they could do. He’d have to break the restraining order for it to actually do any good.

Now evening had come and she was lying atop her bed. Not ready for sleep yet, but she was exhausted all the same.

As Sharon closed her eyes there was a sudden ‘thump’ on the roof of the house, directly over her bedroom. It was followed by a whisper like rumble and then a ‘thud’ just outside her window.
She jumped at the sound, but quickly relaxed knowing what it was. Just outside the house was a large old apple tree. There was good crop of bright red fruit. Every so often an apple would drop from the higher branches and strike the roof of the house and then roll down over the tapered rafters.

It was almost a relaxing sound, so familiar and safe. Almost a funny sound and she smile at it. Sharon closed her eyes once more.

A few minutes went by and another apple hit the roof and rolled down and struck front lawn with a wet thud. Most of the apples in the tree were over ripe, she had already harvested far more then she could eat. A third hit the ground seconds later, and she was certain some animal was up in the tree getting a late dinner.

Then another struck the roof, then another, and another. A minute late it sounded like a hale storm hitting the house. Sitting up, she could see them falling past her window, like meteors falling toward earth.

With a sense of fear Sharon wondered what could possibly be shaking the tree so hard. She got out of bed, slipped on a pair of sandals and found the flashlight that was plugged into the kitchen outlet.

Flipping on the back porch light she slid open the glass door and stepped outside. With the beam of light ahead of her she cautiously made were way around to the side of the house. It was much darker. She could hear the rustle of the tree up ahead, and more apples hitting the ground.

Nervous to even contemplate the though, she had to speak the words, “Jack, is that you? You’re not allowed to come around here any more.”

There was no response, except that the tree shook once more and apples fell.

“Don’t make me call the cops on you.”

More apples fell.

Getting closer, Sharon raised the light upward into the tree and saw movement.

A family of raccoons was running around the branches of the tree. They were playing and eating apples. They may have also been a little drunk on the fermented fruit.

A smile came to Sharon’s lips and she let out a breath of air.

Maybe things weren’t as bad as she feared.

“Don’t eat too much,” she playfully scolded the little animals, and turned to go back inside.

As she turned, her sandal covered foot struck one of the rotting apples on the ground. It squished and her foot slid forward. The flashlight flew through the air as Sharon fell backwards.

Sharon’s head struck the corner of a brick planter, cracking her skull open.

Apples fell upon her body.

It was the next afternoon when Sharon’s ex-boyfriend Jack was arrested for her murder.
After all, there were more than a dozen witnesses to his threat.


- = -

Well, if you’ve read this far it must not be all that bad, so thank you for sticking with me.
When I wrote the original lines last week I knew this was going to be a suspense story, but knew nothing more about it. So the story was as surprising to me as I wrote it as I hope it was while you read it.

Now the suspense continues, as I have to figure out what to write for next week’s blog.
Thanks for reading and for all your support.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden