The classic American war novel.

The main thing that I’m working on is a novel. Its a braided narrative epic set in 1932 in an alternate universe where World War I never ended. It follows a group of characters as they try to start peace talks between the warring nations, but a conspiracy unfolds to stop them. Not only is it set in this crazy world where America stays out of the war, but it also has fantasy elements. One of the main characters, Gren, is a soldier for the Ottoman army. Every time he dies he wakes up a few hours later, totally reincarnated. He’s pretty traumatized after being in a 15 year long industrial war. At the beginning of the story, he learns of a plot to kill the Ottoman emperor, which would halt any peace negotiations and send the world back into war.

I want to create something that’s Game of Thrones scale of world and complexity. Turns out that’s really hard, but also a lot of fun. Before this, I didn’t do much in the way of outlining a story. And it’s led to a lot of novels that dead end around the 8th chapter. I folded on my pride and am writing a character outline for every story in this book. So far it kind of looks like this.

Each row across the top is a country involved in the war and their own little fantasy history that I concocted. For example, in this story, the Ottomans plowed through the French line in 1922 and marched on Paris. They sacked the city and executed their royalty. It lead to a worldwide ceasefire that lasts for 10 years, up to the point where the novel begins.

Each column under the countries are the characters. The far left is about Kayla and her dog Misha. Just to the right of that is Gren, the resurrecting guy that I mentioned above. The creepy dude in the middle is a Navajo Skin Walker (google it, they are awesome). And below that is a picture of some Sikh warriors in World War I.

I like WWI as a topic and time period because it was this really strange clash of old and new. Armies like the French Army started the war still wearing Napoleon era uniforms. The Prussians had those cool pointy helmets until later in the war when they switched to the stereotypical stahlhelme. There were horses and dogs that charged against artillery fire. It was a sad, brutal and insane world.

And it kind of marks the end of exploration. After that, the borders are drawn and that’s the world. I miss stories about exploration and world building.


Sometimes it feels like I do nothing all day. I love doing nothing, but the fake kind of nothing. Nothing Sundays, where you survive all day alternating between coffee and frozen pizza. Where picking up the remote to start Netflix seems like a momentous show of force. But now you’re just watching the first fifteen minutes of each episode of Breaking Bad until you “find the one you like.” Those are the days that make me excited to get up the next morning and actually do something. If I had a real job, maybe I’d even be excited to get up and go to it.

But the kind of Summer nothing that I experience is a lack of accomplishment. Like I’ve woken up, took a couple of breaths and then I’m in bed asleep again. It’s not really the case, but I look at all the stuff that’s out there already, and all the shit that I want to create and feel constantly late to the game. That because I’ve been treating writing like a full profession for the past two years, that I should already have a novel and movie deal under my belt. Right now, I have all this time and instead of pumping out an Eisner winning comic, I’m writing a blog post about nothing on a website with nothing on it. Its so hard to remember just to write the next story I have, instead of trying to write the best story ever written.

The summer makes it worse, the insanity of going outdoors makes me into this borderline nuts-o hermit. There’s this fiery moat surrounding my house, while anyone I know that lives out of town is posting pictures on Facebook of themselves on vacation at a lake, or on top of a mountain. The Summer forces me to this cliff of insanity and I’m creating all this content that builds up and builds up in my head. But I don’t sit my ass in front of the computer and type it out. Stacked across every table in my house is a notebook. Each one scratched and scribbled throughout like Ray Finkle’s diary.

Then I start to think that all this nothing should add up to something. But I have no accountability to type it. There’s no teacher cracking the whip for a story, no boss hovering over me, and no responsibility. That’s the thing I need to figure out: how to keep my ass planted firmly in this chair and typing, instead of banging my head against the wall and cursing myself for not writing more.

The 100 day project has rekindled my love for drawing. I didn’t think that a hashtag project like that would keep me accountable, but it did. So, I’m hoping that a new blog will keep me accountable with writing. If I can post on here a few times a week, I’m thinking every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and just talk about what project I am currently working on, I hope to keep myself more focused.

I have a few projects that I am knuckle deep in, and over the next few blog posts I’ll explain each one.