Top Cow finally announced the winners of the Top Cow Talent Hunt and… I came close.
My script won a “runner up” position in the competition, so I will be paid to write a 6-8 page story for Top Cow, which they will include in an upcoming anthology book. I’m thankful that a company like Top Cow gives people the opportunity to do this and I’m excited to write a really great 6-8 pages that will hopefully blow some goddamn minds.
That all being said, I’d like to offer up my experience writing, and entering this contest while also allowing you to read the script that I submitted, and the current, final draft which exists after I took a five month break not looking at or thinking about it, and then found a lot of things I felt could be sharpened up.
Full disclosure: I had never read a Top Cow comic before deciding to enter this contest, so I went and found the first five issues of The Darkness (the only Top Cow property I’m somewhat familiar with – I did read comics in the 90’s after all…)
So, I read the first five issues of The Darkness and… I still didn’t understand anything about the world, mythology or characters. I couldn’t even tell if the main character, Jackie Estacado, was a hero or a villain. I decided to simply look up the Wikipedia page for The Darkness instead and to write a script based off of the basics that I could glean from these limited sources.
The rules of the Talent Hunt stated that you had to frame the story as a flash-back, one which was narrated by a current character, but one who was not featured in the main story. That made it easier for me, because I could create a character that didn’t have to be a slave to a continuity I was unfamiliar with. It freed me up to only have to know the basics, just enough to couch my story within, so in the end, my unfamiliarity with The Darkness world didn’t matter much.
I have always wanted to write a story which takes place during the great fire of London in 1666, originally I had envisioned it as a separate story involving murder and witchcraft, but I thought that context might fit well for The Darkness too. So I took that germ of an idea, inserted a few real people and locations which were intrinsically linked to said fire, and created a revisionist history that incorporated The Darkness.
After coming up with the initial idea I wrote the script in two days, then I ignored it for a week, went back through doing a quick edit and decided I was done. I’m pretty sure this was a mistake… I didn’t devote any real time to it (I was crazy busy during all of this time, so it was a low-priority for me) and I only did one edit on it before submitting it.
If I could go back I’d make sure to edit, edit, edit edit and tighten that thing up like crazy before I sent it. Perhaps that would have pushed me above “runner up” – perhaps not. All I know is, it was great fun and even though I certainly have some regrets about how seriously I took it, I still think I wrote an interesting little slice of comic fiction.
Without any further adieu here they are for you to read, dissect and shit all over if you so desire: “Baptism by Fire”