(P.S.) Status of the Hitherby Dragons Print Books

Posted on November 15, 2010 by Jenna

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Dear friends,

I felt that I should take a moment to update you on what’s up with the Hitherby Dragons books.

When I came to China, Hsin and I agreed that Eos would print a series of illustrated Hitherby Dragons volumes. Discussing this further, we concluded that a mix of illustration and graphic novel format would be best: adding basic illustrations to most of the legends, but converting most of the histories into comic form. The stories are more of an ambiguous case; I’ll discuss what I want to do with them at a later point if at all. (You may just see it when the book comes out.)

A local artist, Tokyo by name, proved to have an extremely fitting style. The language barrier is problematic, so not *every* piece is like I’d like it to be, but her work is charming, and many of the pieces actually add something to the story, improving on my original vision for both the legend and the accompanying art.

The graphic novel portion proved more problematic.

I was discouraged to find that I’m bad at scripting comics, specifically in the sense that it takes me about as much time to script a page of comic as to write 1,500 words; and the result isn’t awesome; and then, after translation into Chinese and being handed off to a local artist, all of my attempts at doing awesome visual things are ignored, all my attempts at clear explanation are lost in translation, and nothing terribly awesome gets added.

Practice may make perfect in timing, and we have access to more artists now than back in April when I tried this; but it was horribly discouraging on every level.

I sought out help from an experienced comics scripter in my friends circle.

He told me that there was too much conceptual depth; that I needed to spend serious time with the artists nailing everything down and making sure they understood at least as much about the story arc as, well, regular readers, before it was feasible to even do The Monster (I/IV).

Right now, accordingly, it’s on hold until Eos has budget to solve these problems, which is to say, until we find either:

  • a manga artist with enough English fluency to read Hitherby;
  • a manga artist, plus a translator for Hitherby and myself into Japanese or Chinese as appropriate;
  • a Western-style comic artist, plus someone to help me through the scripting process, plus a translator for Hitherby and myself into Japanese or Chinese as appropriate;
  • someone smart enough in all relevant areas (Hitherby, comics production, project stuff) to help me figure out a fourth/fifth answer.

An alternative is to give up on including comics sections.

That leads to another issue with the illustrated books, which is, Hsin is increasingly interested in doing it *as* comics/graphic novels, if we manage to find solutions to the above. I’m not sure how I feel about that; on the one hand, it’s the awesomest thing ever; on the other, it’s going to cost a lot of the coolness that is only in the language and not the events, and it’s going to take like twenty years rather than six to get the currently-written part into print if that happens.

It’s a little stupid that these things are problems. I feel a little bit like someone’s given me five million dollars inside a meter-thick pizza box and said I can only have it if I eat the whole box. But that I can have as many years as I need! I’m also not sure whether the problems mentioned above are reasonable or because of failings and/or arrogance on my part.

Anyway, I put the project on hold while trying to get Nobilis *out* already, but I’ve been assured by various parties that all the zillion things not done there are happening in the next two weeks, so this’ll be on the front burner soon.

(P.P.S.) Status of New Entries

While I’m at it: I’m not going to think about new entries, for the most part, until the following things have happened:

  • I finish annotating/categorizing the archives. (5/6 complete, but slow.)
  • I review/finalize that part of things.
  • I finish making the necessary changes to build coherent publishable volumes out of the archives. This is mostly done for chapter 1 & 2 and barely started for chapter 3—the only part of it I’ve been doing as I go for chapter 3 is occasionally removing a site status or me status note or moving an entry to the compilation of removed entries.

Part of me is eager to get back to doing entries, but I need to have it all clean and clear in my head first so that I can actually get back to Liril and Micah rather than just writing random legends, and that’s hard even for me. (I want to hit the ground running if I do start posting again.) However, I can’t say for sure that *all* I need to do to start doing entries again and finish this thing up is have it all clean and clear in my head; maybe there’s other conditions that I don’t know of because I haven’t jumped that wall.

Best wishes,