Today, I copied a series of seven questions which are supposed to make a story better. They came from a guest article “7 Questions that Will Transform Your Writing in the New Year” posted on Joe Bunting’s website The Write Practice by book coach Jennie Nash. The seven questions she asks (which I have physically taped to my physical wall in the Scriptorium) are:
- Story Basics. What’s your point?
- Audience. Who will care?
- Competition. What else is out there?
- Story Structure. How will the product look and feel?
- Objective. How will you measure success?
- Marketing. How will you reach your reader?
- Project Management. When will you launch?
These are good questions to ask about any story, but especially for a project as big as a novel or Adam’s Fall. How do I answer these questions, now?
1. Story Basics. What’s your point?
The point of Adam’s Fall is that God loves us in our totality. God loves all of us and he also loves all of each of us. Flesh is the manifestation of spirit and a loving God has gifted us with flesh to work out our purposes in the world and bring us to our highest fulfillment in God’s will.
2. Audience. Who will care?
People who will like this story will approach it from several directions.
- From one direction will come people who are interested in beautifully-rendered graphic storytelling. These people will be drawn to the expressiveness of the drawing and its ability to tell a compelling tale. These will be people who do not mind nudity, sensuality or eroticism depicted as long as it is well and tastefully done and furthers the story.
- From a second direction will come people who are interested in the story of a person who undergoes a radical spiritual transformation which allows him to view the sacred and Creation in a new way. They will be drawn along by the story of Adam and want to know how he manages to find the love, joy, power and freedom promised in the tagline.
- From a third direction will come those who have an interest in the homoerotic, the nude body and the sensual. These men and women will be drawn by the frank, tasteful depictions of sensuality and intimacy among men and others in the story as well as the affirmation that homosensuality and homoeroticism are, in and of themselves, good and blessed by the sacred as valid manifestations of spirit’s movement in the flesh.
Anybody have any ideas on what other audiences this might reach?
3. Competition. What else is out there?
This is an easy question to answer, but also a troubling one. There is no competition. That also means no market has yet been created for this gemisch of the spiritual, the erotic and the fleshly. There are, however, some genres or markets that come close.
The closest “relative” of Adam’s Fall would be the comics of Alex Woolfson and Yaoi 911. I’d like to copy Alex’s creation of community around The Young Protectors as it has come together and engage that community to the extent that that community funds a significant portion of bringing the story to light.
- One market is the vast number of people creating and experiencing homoerotic comics on the web and in other media.
- A second market is the vast number of people who consume homoerotic visuals on the web or in other media.
- A third market is those who buy and read (or find for free) stories in the M/M romance and related genres.
What other works out there do you find have a similar concept to Adam’s Fall?
4. Story Structure. How will the product look and feel?
The product is an elegantly navigable, lightly animated webcomic in landscape orientation (so folks don’t have to do any scrolling), in Flash format (or whatever format is most suited to online webcomics at the time of production).
The story is told in clear, sensual imagery and lucid text. The story is divided into four books, broken down into episodes, further broken down into scenes or sequences. One can read the story a scene at a time, an episode at a time or, evenutally, all the way through.
The story will roll out as a serial, one scene at a time, perhaps weekly or every other week.
Notes on various phenomena (such as explanations of scriptures, archetypes, myths, etc.) provide context and resonance to the story that readers might not otherwise have access to. Links to Wikipedia and other sources further flesh out the rich viewer experience.
Along the way are opportunities for readers to comment on the story or themes in the story and interact and build community with each other around the themes of the narrative.
At the end, if people are interested, a sequel will be crafted following Adam’s life and development of an intentional community around his newfound spiritual vision.
I don’t want to create comic books, but I might be persuaded to, if this is something the community is willing to support and pay for.
Extras might include notes on the themes of Adam’s Fall, ruminations on scripture. The thousand and one journal entries about Adam’s Fall (that will be fun to compile).
Extras might include drawn, but discarded scenes, backstories, outtakes, etc. There will be optional extended scenes with more explicit eroticism (especially with Stephan’s exploits and Anthony’s exploits).
Visual extras might include bookmarks, wallpapers, concept art, sketches, storyboards, etc.
I might include a full script on a DVD.
What else do you think people might be interested in seeing, having or experiencing as a result of this project?
5. Objective. How will you measure success?
Success for me will be measured primarily by getting the story out there on the web for people to enjoy. A close secondary measure of success will be the number of people who truly engage with the story and take ownership of it in a way. A third measure of success will be seen in the community which arises around the narrative and the discussions about what the themes of this text mean in real people’s lives in the real world.
I should not forget other measures of success, however. I want to do this without going broke. I want to pay artists and animators and maybe some programming people to make this a reality and have them happy to work on/have worked on this project.
What markers of success would make Adam’s Fall a treasured experience for you as a reader/co-creator?
6. Marketing. How will you reach your reader?
I intend to use online social networking to spread the word about the project as it is coming together and as it is realized in the real world. I think a Kickstarter campaign would be a good thing to do to raise funds and interest about the project so artists of many types can be paid.
I am currently building community in several areas, the webcomics community, the homoerotic webcomics community, the gay community, the M/M consumers’ community, and to a lesser extent, communities of people who are interested in the overlap of the spiritual and the erotic or the sensual.
I’m way open to ideas on this.
What ways do you think I can reach out to people who don’t know they will love this online graphic novel as soon as they discover it?
7. Project Management. When will you launch?
I would like to have completed this project by 2020, God willing.
I would like to have a script finished by the end of 2015. This is eminently doable. I need to do more research and raise funds before I know how long it will take to draw, color and present the story and determine if animation and/or sound will play a part in the presentation of the tale.
Will anyone stick around for such a long project? Alex Woolfson has managed to do something similar with Artifice and The Young Protectors, so I think we can, also.
Thanks for coming along with me on this journey through the Adam’s Fall project. Let me know if there is anything you’d like to volunteer to do (I will be unveiling a wish list of job descriptions), or if you know of someone who might be perfect for some aspect of bringing this project to completion and wild success.