I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo. So, every day this week, a bit of short writing about Stormbreak, the graphic novel I’m going to be doing. I thought I’d start today with a bit of history of the beast, a little meta-text before the main event, as it were.
A couple of years back, I was working in Putney, and one afternoon in early summer, I was crossing the bridge over the Thames there in the electric closeness one finds just before one of those apocalyptic summer downpours when the sky cracks open and it rains fit to wash away the sins of man. I got indoors, sat down, and wrote a couple of short paragaphs about that feeling, for no particular reason other than to try and capture it in ink. I thought that’d be the end of it.
But something in it kicked and bounced about for a day or two, and I found myself with a few scrappy notes about a man called Tim Sussex, and images of Edinburgh’s Scott Monument shattering into chunks of lethal gothic masonry. But not a lot more. I knew I had a story I wanted to tell, but I just didn’t have all the bits. So I went scrabbling through the “ideas in development” folders I keep on my computer, and pulled bits together.
I grabbed Emma Chappell out of a file marked “Sideways Bar” my own warped take on the sort of concept Spider Robinson came up with in his ‘Callahan’s’ setting, a bar full of freaks and mutants with horrible stories and pasts thay couldn’t quite seem to escape, beneath the arches of a London railway bridge.
I found the power armour suits in a thing called “Phobos Station 13”, a sci-fi horror piece that they’d never really belonged in in the first place. For a while, I found a copper in “20 Scarlet Years” before deciding that no, he belonged in there, and cutting his part out of Stormbreak entirely, giving the story wholly to Tim and Emma.
The bad guy, like Tim, belongs in this story, and nowhere else, really, although if you squint, you can see traces of Matt from ‘Rust’ in Tim – they’re on a similar sort of journey, although Tim’s ends a lot more happily that Matt’s, which is not to say that Tim gets a happy ending…
Tomorrow: Meet Tim Sussex…