Thursday, August 27, 2015

Process Post: Short of the Week: Ambush
4:46 PM

Process Post: Short of the Week: Ambush

Brannon here - dropping a quick blog like it's hot for Ima. So I'm currently hard at work putting the finishing touches on my first Short of the Week. (If you're not sure what that is, check this link for some more details on the upcoming Short of the Week). However, as many of you who know me, you also know that I rarely do anything the same way twice. I know, I know - I'm trying to get better and hopefully this whole Short of the Week thing will force me to do so, but only the Lord knows and only Time will tell.

That being said, when I first started floating the ideas about doing a Short of the Week, I had some pretty ardent response that I should not write anything at all until I did a new installment of my Tenet's Tales series. If you're not familiar with them, you can check out the first one here, or by clicking the cover here:

How ya gonna argue with that, right?

Now, I LOVE my Tenet stories, but they are very hard for me to write because they take a lot out of me: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Generally, they take me a while to churn out because I have such high expectations for them (there are actually some Tenet stories that I've been working on for years and am still not done).

But, a request I had, and I could not say no.

So, armed with that request and the vaguest idea in my head, I dove in. At first, I was thinking that I would write a story about Tenet that I've been mentally batting around in my head for a while. The story is based on this image that I had done several months ago by the extremely talented Tazio Bettin from Italy.

I own this particular image and commissioned it from Tazio with the simple instructions of "Hurt Tenet", which is one of my favorite things in the world to do. ;) I had some smoky, insubstantial concepts about what would happen to Tenet in the story and where he was, but I had not really nailed down an opponent for him at this point. As I began thinking about who or what could be opposing Tenet in this new tale (which I had tentatively named "Fiery Darts"), I began my usual process, which is scouring my files and the internet for cool images.

I am a very visually-inspired person and I get most of my "idea seeds" from images. Images that I've taken, created, purchased, or simply collected over the years. I hoard them like Smaug hoarded gold and much like he and his scaly brethren, I often pour over my treasures, seeking the knowledge hidden within each one. In this case, I stumbled across this image and everything about the story, in an instant, changed.

The image is by Kayla Mayer on Deviantart and the concept knocked me on my rump. All of these questions popped into my head that I wanted answered and I was super excited about the opportunity to write about the discovery of those answers. I pounded out an outline in about 2 minutes flat and that's pretty much what the story is today. This image and the new story it helped to spawn also led me on an exciting scavenger hunt for my antagonist, who I knew I wanted to be "manticore-like" but not just an ordinary, plain-old manticore. (Yes, I know how peculiar that sounds...) This burning desire led me down some very cool thought paths and eventually resulted in the creation called a Hezikim, which you just might get to meet in the upcoming Ambush, my first official Four Fools Short of the Week and the next installment of my Tenet's Tales!

Oh, by the way, that image up at the top is an actual in-work draft of the new cover of Ambush, which I commissioned yesterday (yes, you read that right: yesterday) from the stunningly awesome David Guyll. The two roughs I got to choose from for the layout and design of the final cover are below.

Let me know what you think. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts., about this post and about the upcoming Ambush!


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