7 March, 2004

Well, I have begun work on Episode Four of String Finger Theatre, and its working title is "Revenge of the Third Dimension" so we shall see how it goes. I've got a lot of the basic ideas worked out. I know how it starts, and a pretty good idea of how it is going to end, which will be a little on the simply-silly side like how they needed to find a hedgehog and tell the Beast that Forgot Time the time in Episode Two. I also know some of the middle, but it still remains to be seen how much of this will actually go off as planned. Mike, Cat and Zed will all have big parts; although, it'll certainly focus on Mike and Cat. Three main characters standing around is just so darn much to deal with for any given comic. Besides, Cat and Mike play off each other very well while Zed is just a little over the top. We'll also get to see Carmack and maybe even some of the other cast members from Episode One. After all, I'm already pretty much decided that this new episode is called "Revenge of the Third Dimension." Is that a big enough hint for who might show-up?

Hopefully, this one will go more smoothly than Episode Three. Oh, which is still playing out before your eyes three times a week. I don't mean to imply that Episode Three sucks. Well, maybe it does. You tell me. Overall, I think it is funny.

The problem with Episode Three is that the plot sort-of broke down. Well, I was never really certain how it was going to go to begin with. I just started working on it because I knew that I really didn't want to have a break between Episodes Two and Three. A long time passed between Episodes One and Two, didn't it? I didn't want that. So, I started working on it while worrying about how I was going to wrap it all up. Never a good way to work

Even The Faire Folk of Gideon has a basic outline.

Maybe, that was the problem. I was trying to write The Faire Folk of Gideon as spontaneously as possibly, and the damn thing really held together. I didn't know what was going to happen from chapter to chapter, and it worked. I mean I knew in basic outline what was going on, but I never planned in any great detail. I wanted it to be just this monstrous out of control thing, and Book One held together.

So, I let that happen with Episode Three of String Finger Theatre. I didn't know exactly how it was going to work out, but I figured it would because of my experience with The Faire Folk of Gideon: Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Oh, well, I should have known better, and writing Episode Three turned into just a bit of a nightmare while I tried to figure out what was going to happen.

Or, maybe I should just stay away from hard-boiled detective fiction? Or, just stay away from things that are intentionally overly complicated?

Yes, Episode Three keeps double-crossing itself on purpose. Yeah, that was it. Just try to keep the plot of Episode Four a little simpler, and I won't give myself such headaches over the writing.

I shouldn't bash the creation of Episode Three so much. People will think I don't like the comics, and it really does hang together in the end. That just impressed the hell out of me. Sure, it is going to take Mike something like four comics to explain everything, but I was just so jazzed that it all worked out.

At least, I know how Episode Four begins and ends.

Actually, the biggest headache has been the transition. I couldn't think of what to do, and I really wanted something to go between them. The trend just sort-of started by accident with those two comics at the beginning of Episode Two that didn't really fit in with the rest of the action so I made them a link. Oh, sure, I know they kept talking about them constantly for the rest of the episode, but you know what I mean. So, after that little transition between Episodes One and Two, I knew I had to have something between Two and Three, which I think went very well. This just left me with the problem of what to do between Episodes Three and Four.

I actually thought about just starting off Episode Four without a transition. No reason why I couldn't. Then, it hit me, and now I've got a linking bit that is something like six comics long.

I'm really curious to see how long "Revenge of the Third Dimension" is going to be. In my dream world, it'll be able to go a few rounds with Episode Two, but I don't want to push it. I don't want to add complications just for the sake of complications. Of course, if something as unexpected as the door just fixing itself comes up, I am going to run with it.

21 March, 2004

I haven't been much in the mood to write anything here. The weather has just been too damn hot for one thing. Oh, no, this is San Francisco. You don't need air conditioning. They don't build buildings with air conditioning around here. So, the office has just been one step below completely unbearable for the past two weeks. Hot and stuffy and hard to think. The real joke, of course, is all you had to do was step into the hallway and the temperature dropped by a good five to ten degrees. Pisses me off.

Oh, well, I've gotten some work done on episode four of String Finger Theatre. It's cute. It's a little plot heavy at the moment. Well, I'm really making an effort to reign it in. I don't want them running off on too many wild fancies. They need to stick to the task at hand. At least for now, anyway.

Actually, this is starting to bug me a little bit. I'm worried that things have been too serious and plot driven, and I think it is because I've been trying to keep things moving. So, I've been debating exactly what I want to do about this in the long term. Do I want to relax and let them spaz out all over the place or do I want to hold them to events? Looking over this last bunch of comics, I can see the comic becoming absolutely event and plot driven and also becoming totally serious, and I don't know if I want to do that.

I want this to be silly. I want this to be goofy. String Finger Theatre is supposed to be a lark and a reaction against how depressingly serious the world can be these days.

So, I've been debating how I want things to proceed. One option that I'm seriously contemplating is to let the comic hibernate again just like it did at the end of the first episode, but this idea bugs me. I want it to keep going. I want to keep posting something, and I want to hope that people are going to keep looking at it. There are somewhere between thirty and one hundred people who check out String Finger Theatre on a regular basis. I know. Pathetic. But, there it is.

The other option I am considering is to go ahead and let the comic become totally serious, and I don't mean a totally serious comic book adventure type of thing like I've got going now. I mean that String Finger Theatre would shut down completely as we know it, and a totally new type of stick figure storytelling would take place. It would be somewhere between comic stick figures and American Splendor if Harvey Pekar had never found people to illustrate the comic.

Hey, I can do anything I want. String Finger Theatre can change any way I want. It's why I chose the name. The original thought was so I could follow an anthology format, and I wouldn't be utterly locked into the cast and crew of characters I've got going.

So, this is just the kind of stuff that I've been thinking about and contemplating. I'm sure all thirty to one hundred of those people who check out String Finger Theatre now would just vanish if I changed the format, but what are you going to do.

I wanted to do something silly. I wanted to do something funny. I'm going to continue doing that for as long as it feels like the thing to do, but I don't know. Things may change. I may need to try something different for a while.

Besides, I really haven't gotten anywhere with my music since I was crowing about it so long ago last year. I finally finished the first crap dance piece I was working on. No, it will never appear on the website. It was little more than an exercise. I've spent two whole days with a dozen measures of the next exercise crap dance, but I'm kind of frustrated with it.

See, there is just no time to work on this stuff. I knew this would happen. I just knew it. I'm not so dumb that I'm going to overwork myself to exhaustion and death. It's just not going to happen. So, things get left behind. They are ignored, and music is still the thing getting ignored, which just pisses me off.

Maybe, when I finally finish The Etymology of Fire, I won't jump straight back into The Faire Folk of Gideon I might spend the time that would have gone toward that in refreshing my music muscles.

Oh, well, we shall see. Oh, yeah, and I also haven't had any more time to find a printer for the mini comic version of String Finger Theatre. I just have absolutely no idea when that is going to happen.

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