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  1.  (7632.1)
    If only people knew how peculiarly sweet this is.

    I really want to know this whole story now...

    There are already some really great questions in here, so for now I'll just say hi, sit back and enjoy.
    • CommentAuthorWelland
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    What tips would you give a wannabe writer with , no degree or learned schooling in writing other then two G.C.S.E’s in English lit and language, no working experience as a writer and no real clue where to begin…………I know big ask.

    Sure you have hundreds but just one or two will be a great help to me
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Second, in what ways has having child(ren) affected your work, both in the obvious ways, such as scheduling, and maybe less obvious, like what sort of projects you take on?

    Well, the obvious: my time isn't wholly my own the way it used to be. I spend more of my waking hours managing the household--planning meals, loading the fucking dishwasher (it feels like I do this three times a day), doing laundry, picking up after Henry, planning Henry's time, etc.--than I do anything else. Standard mom stuff. It's amazing what the addition of one tiny human being does to the workload.

    Also probably obvious: I don't know that I could write about violence against a child right now. I'm hyper-sensitive to things that involve little kids--news stories, fiction, whatever. Before HL was born, I was a real junkie for those awful TRUE CRIME shows on cable. I collected books of crime scene photos! Can't bear them now. I'm told this will eventually pass--or lessen to some degree anyway--as I build my parenting callouses, but right now... I'm still just too raw.

    (I should also say that I'm not particularly bummed--I mean, it's not like I have this awesome baby-murder story in me that I'm denying the world at present.)

    Less obvious:

    I've been pretty coy about my creative work for most of my life. It's convenient for me to blame gender-programming--but that's a tangent that, believe me, you don't want to encourage--but after a certain age, that's just an excuse anyway. (Like people blaming their rotten childhood's for their behavior at 35. Let it go. That made some sense when you were a kid but you don't get to point fingers when you're wearing the big boy pants.)

    The combination of my age and the extreme limits on my time has taken those luxuries from me--I don't get to be coy; I don't get to be a perfectionist. AND THAT'S GOOD. That's very good. (My own mother would say, "It's shit or get off the pot time.")

    This doesn't mean I don't slip. I mean, when Ellis asked if I wanted to do this residency I hemmed and hawed and kicked at the sand. The familiar, "What? Little ol' me?" dance. Luckily, my corner man doesn't abide that crap.

    (Also interesting, my output has at least doubled since we moved to Portland. The obvious factor is that HL is in out-of-the-house care 5 days a week. But probably just a big: I have an office with a door. A Room of One's Own, if you'll permit me.)
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    I have just started working on a graphic novel with a writer. Its my first one. Do you have any advice that can help keep this process smooth and productive?

    Tell me more. You're the artist? Is this work you're doing on spec? For fun? For a publisher? Are you working from a full script? Did the two of you develop the idea together or did one approach the other?

    Fill me in.
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Howdy, Kelly Sue.

    I've always wondered: how does the whole "manga translation" process work? Do you translate the dialogue straight from the Japanese, or do you receive a rough, literal translation, and then go through and stylize/remodel the translated dialogue? It seems like it would be interesting work.

    Thanks in advance.

    Sure. It's not all that complicated; it's probably exactly what you imagine...?

    --I get a "literal" translation [no such thing, really, but let's keep moving]. I work with some ace translators, but Joe Yamazaki is a the guy I always request. He's top-notch.

    (I have studied Japanese, but I'm far from fluent. Even if I was fluent, I suspect I'd still want to work with a native speaker. It's just my opinion but I believe there are cultural nuances that get missed by non-natives. I see it all the time in fan-subs. Anyway, that's just my preference, I'm sure there are non-native translators out there who would disagree.)

    --The first thing I do is read through the script document.

    --If it's a new property (read: an early volume, a series that's new to me or a one-shot), I hit the web and do my research. I read fan subs, wiki pages, review sites, etc. I want to know what's been done before and what, if any, translation issues people have already encountered.

    --Then I start to work. I open up the script document on my screen and the tankoubon on my desk (my book weight is indispensable!). I go through balloon-by-balloon and rewrite. My aim is to produce dialogue that doesn't sound... foreign. Or stiff. (Unless the character speaking is foreign or stiff, obviously.) My, uh, philosophy, I guess, is to try to be as faithful as possible to what I perceive to be the author's intent. I want to show the Japanese (or Korean, in the case of Demon Diary) author the same respect I'd hope for were the shoe on the other foot. I don't want the book to sound like me. I've said this before, but I feel like if I'm doing my job well, my hand is invisible.

    I also don't try to Americanize, exactly. I mean, I'll footnote rather than Americanize a specific cultural reference. But I do want you to forget you're reading the book in translation. I want you to forget everything but the story.

    --The one thing that usually surprises people is that I need to bear in mind the size of the balloon--lest the rewritten dialogue cover up the art. Japanese is generally more spare than English, so sometimes this is tricky.

    --If I need to, I consult experts--be they Japanese experts or, in the case of SLAM DUNK, for instance, basketball experts.

    --Once I've got a complete draft, I read through the whole script out loud. I have another pass at it like that, then I send it to a proofreader who reads it not just for dropped words and misspellings, but also for comprehension and flow. I go through the script with the proofreader and make corrections. (I pay the proofreader out of my own pocket.)

    --Then I turn it in and invoice it. That's it.
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Hey, residency partner *hug* ^_^

    It's going back a little, but I adored your Demon Diary adaptation. It genuinely had me laughing out loud in places ('How DARE you admonish ME, demon?!'). I've always wondered just how much you, as the adapter, have to add to the script - beyond the localisation. Especially in terms of humour; as different cultures are bound to have different senses of humour. As the words match the images perfectly, I'm assuming not too much changes in terms of context, but what would a line like that I've quoted start out as in the Japanese?

    Keep up the awesome work! Can't wait for your new Marvel releases :)

    Thanks, Lady!

    Humor is really tricky. On the one hand, I don't want to impose too much of myself on a script. On the other hand, sometimes the most literal translation just kills the funny.

    Here's an example from SLAM DUNK v6.

    Page 58, first translation:

    Page 58
    1 Sakuragi: Hahaha!!!
    Sakuragi/FX: Hahaha Hahaha
    FX: Dodooon (sound of stand tall)
    Sakuragi: I am a phenom!!!
    2 Taoka: …
    FX: Waa Waa
    3 Hikoichi: No…
    4 Sakuragi: Call me the…
    Sakuragi/FX: Hahaha
    Sakuragi/FX: I’m so happy!
    Sakuragi: The man who brings victory!!
    Sakuragi/FX: From now on!
    Kogure: Sakuragi!!

    And what I turned in:

    Page 58
    1 Sakuragi: HA HA HA!!
    Sakuragi/FX: AH HA HA HA
    Sakuragi: That’s right, people! I am a phenom!!
    2 Taoka: .....
    FX: RAH— RAH—
    3 Hikoichi: Whoa…
    4 Sakuragi: You can call me the Bus Driver!!
    Sakuragi/FX: HA HA HA
    Sakuragi/FX: HEE HEE
    Sakuragi: …’cause I take everyone to school!!
    Kogure: Sakuragi!!

    My sense was that Inoue intended for that to be a comedic moment--the comedy comes from Sakuragi's hubris, but in English it just fell flat. So with the idea that I wanted to be true to the author's intent, I cranked up the language a bit and--I hope anyway--made the humor work.

    Doing the lyrics in SENSUAL PHRASE was a similar puzzle. In some cases, I just needed to rewrite to make the rhyme structures work. In others, however, while we had the rights to the book, we didn't have the rights to the songs, so I had to stay true to the themes but write my own songs. IIRC, all the "little bird" stuff came about in that way.

    Probably the stickiest situation I've ever been in with regard to dealing with humor was in the adaptations of the SLAYERS novelizations. The translator did something I found peculiar--he cut a fart joke, but he let a rape joke stand.

    First, I didn't feel that was his decision to make--that was something that ought to have been worked out between me and my editor. (Had he not made mention of the fact that he'd cut the joke, we wouldn't even have known. That made me mistrust him.) But, okay, whatever, professionals can differ.

    But seriously, you're presented with a rape joke and a fart joke and the one of those that you find distasteful is the FART JOKE?


    I restored the fart joke and reworked/toned down the rape bit so that um, it wasn't a rape bit any more. Again, I asked myself what was the author's intent. Did he intend to shock and offend? No, I don't think so. I think he meant it to be funny. Culturally, that just doesn't work for us, so I did what I could to make it funny.
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Hiya, superfan.

    Do you think it's important for creative types to branch out into other mediums of expression?

    I'm tempted to say yes, go where your curiosity leads you! Be bold! "Here there be dragons!" and all that rot. But... That suggests that I had some kind of grand plan and boy... nothing could be further from the truth. I've never felt particularly certain about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'd even hazard the guess that had I been able to focus a bit, I'd be further along. I can't know that, but that's my suspicion.

    The thing is, I'm, uh, easily distracted. I like to try on other people's lives.

    Is your comic book writing informed by your time as an actress, erotica author, editor and vice versa?

    I'm sure it is. I mean, I see myself harping on a lot of the same themes, right? That's because those are the things that I really care about, the things that are of particular interest to me. And the things that get my blood up do so because of who I am--a product of my experience.

    ("Mr. DeConnick" made me laugh.)
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Tell me more. You're the artist? Is this work you're doing on spec? For fun? For a publisher? Are you working from a full script? Did the two of you develop the idea together or did one approach the other?

    Fill me in.

    Oh Cheers.

    Well I had just started drawing again after a 10 yr hiatus working on more far out network / hacker culture based work. I was posting my stuff regularly and someone got in touch asking me to illustrate a few pages of a screenplay they had developed. I read it and it was funny enough for me to loose a small amount of pee. I got back in touch and asked if he would be up for me developing a graphic novel based on his screen plays. So I'm the artist, its for fun but we will be releasing it as a web comic and the writer has got some interest from production companies so the two could compliment each other. I'm kinda doing it for experience and focus. Having two wee kids myself I can only work quite slowly on it. I'm kinda classically trained which strangely I find a hindrance when it comes to working at any speed i.e. its hard to stop myself titting around, standing back and staring at each line to make sure its balanced correctly etc.

    I realised my question was stupidly wide so Ill narrow it down a bit.

    - Me and the writer have never met, should we meet or at least phone each other.

    - What is the most annoying thing I could do to his good work

    - What sort of speed should I be working at? (currently 1 page every 2 - 3 weeks(I got a job, kids, doing a phd and started bodybuilding after a drunken new years resolution to increase my muscle mass))
  2.  (7632.9)
    Wow, that's fascinating. First I should say that I'm very impressed that you adapted Slam Dunk, it's one of the mangas most often recommended to me by Japanese people in a kind of "You mean you haven't heard The Beatles?" tone of voice. And I'm often asked what would be a natural way to express something in English and have to respond - well, in English no-one would even be saying anything in that situation. So I don't envy you trying to tackle that, or trying to adapt the many, many Japanese jokes that hinge on a very Japanese response to hubris or ignorance.

    I'm actually trying to read my first manga in Japanese at the moment, so I've been thinking about that a lot, and it's great to read your take on it. Thanks!
  3.  (7632.10)
    Kelly Sue,

    How would one go about getting involved in manga adaptation? I have an English degree and experience in the "real world" but it occurs to me that there isn't really a definitive career path for adapting manga. It's something I'm interested in pursuing, just not sure how.

    It'd be great if I could just start out small, doing research and that sort of thing. I don't even want money, I would just like the opportunity to gain experience. Do internships exist for this sort of thing?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
    Hi Kelly Sue, thanks for doing this!

    Are there any particular types of stories or story elements that you think just universally DON'T lend themselves to a comics format very well? What do you think are the storytelling limitations of the format? Or maybe there aren't limits, just elements that require more difficult techniques to convey? Are there stories that you think MUST be prose or MUST be graphic to convey a certain effect, or do you feel anything can be conveyed in either medium if you plan it out the right way? I'm working on both prose and comics projects (prose by myself and comics with a great artist partner), and while I love doing them both, I'm trying to develop better mental techniques to use both formats to their fullest, no matter what story I'm trying to get across. I know that one format is clearly more cinematic than the other, but do you have a deliberate way of approaching it as a writer when you actually select a subject or a scene to include? I hope that question isn't too muddled. Thank you!
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    wow, thanks KS- that was utterly fascinating to read! It's like a little insight into a world I just didn't understand before...awesome. ^_^
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Are you guys liking Portland? I remember you guys moved here during the meteor shower. Will there ever be any interesting Portland-based comics heroes aside from when Wolverine passes through the northwest?<blockquote>A Room of One's Own, if you'll permit me.)</blockquote>Oh! Oh! I'm totally naming my next cat "Woolfgang".
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    2. Thanks, hugely, for the time you take to talk to people you don't know particularly. Here and in email you've been damn gracious, and I appreciate it. I especially appreciate because I am not always that gracious, though I'm trying to learn. Which leads to question two, do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert, and how much of each? I would guess you as extrovert, but people often look different online than offline.

    Hm. I'm probably an extrovert. I'm good at parties and such but I do go through long periods of time where I'd really just like to stay in my house. I'm very much a homebody.

    That said, I'm *definitely* more of an extrovert than Fraction is. He's really good at panels and such--things that are clearly performance-based. But he can be remarkably shy in social situations.

    3. Is there any way I can get advance copies of your forthcoming stuff so that Fantastic Fangirls can preview and review it?

    I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the answer to this question. My best guess is that you should contact Arune Singh in Marvel's PR department...?

    If anyone else knows, feel free to chime in.

    4. Are you at all concerned that "Talullah" will become a trendy name? My son is named Miles, and suddenly I know a handful of kids a couple years younger than him all named Miles. Which isn't a crisis, but I personally *love* having a name no-one else has, and sort of wish "Miles" retained its original scarcity.

    Well, "Kelly" was an insanely popular name in 1970 and thus I go by "Kelly Sue." And Fraction? "Matthew John." So, if Tallulah picks up in popularity, she'll hardly suffer anything we haven't. (I've heard it suggested that the name might catch on because of the Maisy books, but I don't know.) Anyway, Tallulah presents gobs of nickname options. (HL already calls her "Tuella.")

    One of my early picks for her was Bellatrix, but I'm not crazy about "Bella" (my mom has little yippy dog named Bella) and with the Twilight connection... Um... No.

    Anyway, Tallulah is named for Tallulah Bankhead. I wanted a sort of patron saint for her--someone who didn't know when to sit down and shut up. (We won't tell her about Ms. Bankhead's more, um, colorful foibles until she's older.) We entertained Eleanor, too--for Eleanor Roosevelt and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Oh, and her middle name will likely be Louise for Louise Brooks, who said, "If I ever bore you, it will be with a knife."

    5. My partner and I split the housework, kid care, free time, and our jobs as evenly as we can make it. My days off from air traffic control are full of kids and school and home, so that J gets time for her job (she works from home mostly) and time to play Dragon Age, etc. How do you and Matt work it? Do you both work from home offices? Do you split things up by who has deadlines, or by day, or what? What's the hardest sticking point for you guys on time allocation?

    I take the early shift. Mornings start anywhere from 5:00am to 7:00am, depending on when he wakes (usually right around 6am) and I'm on kid duty until I drop him at school at about 9:15. We play, I pack his lunch, get him dressed, make his breakfast and do the morning drop off.

    Then I usually come home and pick up around the house a bit, then take my coffee and go to my office to work.

    Fraction usually gets up between 11 and 1. He deals with emails and phone calls and whatnot until about 4:30, then he goes and picks HL up from school and I start dinner. After dinner we have some family time together then Fraction handles bathtime, story time and bedtime. I clean up from dinner and run the dishwasher. If all goes well and HL closes his eyes at 8:30 like he's supposed to, Fraction goes back to work and works until around 2 in the morning. Then he empties the dishwasher for me and sets up the coffeemaker so I just have to hit the button in the morning. I'm usually in bed by 10.

    Lather, rinse, repeat... That's our basic schedule though and that's regardless of who's on deadline. (There are ALWAYS deadlines. If we tried to schedule around them... well, that would be impossible.)

    Weekends are a mixed bag.

    The "hardest sticking point" is when HL doesn't co-operate. Sometimes he's wide awake at 3am and one of us has to get up with him for a bit. Or, you know, he gets sent home from school sick and there goes my work day. That's the toughest part. (It's not always HL-related, in fairness. I can lose a day of work to phone calls or filing or the minutia of managing the business just as easily.)

    6. You said in Matt's Internship a few weeks back that you live your life publicly because secrets are poison to you. What are the most positive things this approach -- no secrets -- has brought to you, and in what way?

    I want to be careful about this--keeping secrets is definitely something that does me harm, but there's a big space between living publicly and keeping secrets. You don't have to broadcast your business in order to not be keeping secrets, you know? It's just sort of my default setting. I tend to process out loud.

    As Fraction's profile in particular grows, however, we're finding it necessary to... well... to re-evaluate how accessible we are. It's something we're feeling our way through.

    And there are times when there are things that aren't mine to broadcast on the internet, right? Also opinions that I'm wise to keep to myself. I'm learning discretion. I'm just a little late to the party.

    I'm not sure I've actually answered your question. Hm.

    7. Your career path as described by Warren is varied, but looks to always be creative. What are some of your creative goals, realistic and unrealistic both?

    I'd like to write a prose novel. Or FINISH a prose novel.

    I'd like to tackle an on-going comic.

    I've got THREE other 30 Days of Night ideas that I've run by Niles at various times, one of which deals with the Suffragette movement and is very near to my heart. I'd really like to make that happen.

    In less concrete terms, I'd like to get to the point where I've learned to trust the process. I would like to be able to jump and trust that the net will appear. It always DOES and yet, every time I face the blank page I have to go through hours--or days--of hand-wringing, self-doubt, distraction and torture first. I'd like to learn to skip that part.

    I'd like to be more brave. That's true in many arenas.
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    I have a 'technical' writers question, hope you can help.
    I’m in the process of transition between self-contained short comic stories and long format (graphic novel or a series). Since I’m not used to long format writing, what are your advices on keeping the reader interested, not making the story drag,… basically moving on from short to long while keeping up the quality?
    Thanks for your time.
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    Do you spend more time on character voice or onomatopoeia? (I ask because I love doing sound effects, but I struggle too hard not to repeat myself. I probably waste too much time on something that maybe doesn't impact the reading experience much.)

    Hiya, Rich!!

    (Folks: Rich does what I do, only he does it for games instead of print.) (Also, he's a fabulous human being and has the cutest curly-headed boy you've ever seen.)

    Right. So. Character voice or onomatopoeia?

    Well, I may be your polar opposite. Character voice deeeeefinitely. As far as sound effects go, instead of trying NOT to repeat myself, I have developed a vocabulary of sounds that I actually work to keep consistent within a series.

    Here's part of my chart for SLAM DUNK:
    PAA PAA Dribbling the ball.
    THUNK Head-butting.
    SHPP Passing the ball.
    SHUFFLE SHUFFLE Movement of the entourage.
    RR-IING RR-IING School bell
    SHNNG dunk
    SWISH basket
    WHUUP sound of spin
    WHACK sound of Ayako hitting Sakuragi over the head
    HWEET sound of whistle
    BONK Sakuragi gets bonked on the head

    I mean, the Japanese sound effects are consistent, so why shouldn't I be? In addition to saving me time, I think it aids the reader.

    Unless... am I misunderstanding you?
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    What are you looking forward to in this round of the Winter Olympics? Athletes, events, match ups, ceremonies, etc?

    Sam Humphries, you know the answer to this question.

    I want to see White bust out the double McTwist 1260, baby.

    (I love the Olympics--Winter AND Summer--and I'll watch preeeetty much anything they want to broadcast, but in my heart of hearts I want 24 hours of Shawn White TV.

    As Fraction is a big fan of Womens Beach Volleyball, I'm pretty much guilt-free too.)
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
    All right, as Fraction's in NYC, it's time for me to go pick up HL from school.

    Turned in a proposal today, but never managed to run the vacuum; win some, lose some.

  4.  (7632.19)
    The third issue of my comic, COOL KIDS, is about Louise Brooks. Or, rather, attempting to use Louise as a role model. :grins: Thanks again for taking the time to do this -- I really appreciate it.
  5.  (7632.20)
    Anyway, Tallulah is named for Tallulah Bankhead. I wanted a sort of patron saint for her--someone who didn't know when to sit down and shut up.

    Same reason my kid's called Lilith.