Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inspiration Avenue: "Inspired By Words"

Hello, I.A. Lovelies (-: I am a big fan of words and pictures together, so, I am submitting a page I did from the "Samurai" project story I've mentioned before on here ("The Warrior and the Nightingale), for the "Inspired By Words" challenge.

The "Samurai Graphic Novel" is an anthology that came out in early 2011. I wanted to submit a page from my story in it it for this challenge, for a couple of reasons:

1) Comics put words and pictures together, which is what this challenge is all about.

2) Two characters in my story are actually originally from Oscar Wilde's story, "The Nightingale and the Rose," and I thought it fitting to show work which also has references to characters created by someone so important in literature as Wilde. Plus, he was a huge inspiration for my story in the first place.

3) While I was working on the story, my editor instructed me to have two pages in my story read more like an illustrated text, to break it up from the comic book format of the other pages-- so, here is one of those pages.

"The Warrior and the Nightingale," is about a girl who goes to the Underworld to try and bring somebody back, for a person she loves. In order to even attempt this, she has to get past the guardians of the Underworld (a talking Nightingale and Rose Tree, which are the characters from Wilde's original story), and defeat the Rose Tree in a Samurai style battle.

The Rose Tree is unkind, and mocks her desperation in coming down in the first place. Trying to goad her into fighting him, preying on her several weaknesses (which happens on the page after this one). The Nightingale is kinder, and wants to dissuade the girl from risking her life in the name of love. This is because the Nightingale herself did exactly that, and it was for naught. The page below is the Nightingale explaining her story to the Girl-- and this part is a retold version of Wilde's actual story, "The Nightingale and the Rose." If you like, right click and open the picture in a new window to make sure the text is big enough for you to read.

I have a saying I've been saying for the last couple of years: "Sisters, this is not the way." I say it in jest, but I'm serious about it, too. The main character in this story is at a Code Red for "Sisters, this is not the way," for how little she cares about herself and how desperately she is focused on saving her relationship.

Without naming names (and no disrespect to anyone who likes any such franchises-- I've not much room to talk, since "Phantom of the Opera" is one of my favorite plays/books ever, and an example of a love story that is not necessarily one to emulate, although not for an embarrassing lack of trying in my youth), I have a huge problem with certain adolescent literature that's out there, aimed towards girls, and where it's hinted at that self-destruction to get a boy's attention is good and romantic, and that giving up absolutely everything in your life is also, generally, a good idea. In my opinion? Red flags, bad ideas all around. Compromise, working together with a partner? Yes. Going cliff-diving, to hear their voice? No. Which, I only mention, because the main character's choices and actions in TWATN are flawed. Similar to the choices of the original Nightingale, really.

I don't want to spoil too too much of the story or book ;-) But, as this is a post about art and words, I'll include some more of my own to describe the overall themes. It's an excerpt from my particular interview that the Editor conducted with all the creators:

"My story came from the idea, originally voiced by Oscar Wilde (and also by the girl in my story, "The Nightingale And The Warrior"), of: "What a silly thing love is. It is not half as useful as logic, for it does not prove anything."

People talk about how love has no logic, passion makes people mad, and all the rest of it. Usually, that's discussed in a positive context. Love can be beautiful, but I think it's interesting to explore the other side of it. A lot of times, people do crazy things for love, but it's to their ultimate detriment. Any time someone has to give up something for another person, make a grand gesture for someone else, or make a big change to prove said love, the person putting forth all that effort may not even not benefit from it. Giving up one's career, or converting religions, are oft-cited examples, but there are tons of them.

In any event, I don't think it's a good idea to give up a part of yourself for someone else. But it happens all the time. In Oscar Wilde's story, "The Nightingale And The Rose," the Nightingale is a perfect example of this. As in my story (and the reason she tries to dissuade others from making the same mistake), she gave up her life for love. And unfortunately, the person she gave up her life for didn't care. She was giving her life for the idea of love. I think it's equally powerful, and perhaps more painful, if a person does that not just on an idealistic basis, but for another individual. That's where the girl and the boy part of my story comes in.

As far as the art goes, I wanted to show the emotions of the characters, as well as get the overall feel of the story. I felt that the body language and facial expressions of the characters was important, not just with the human characters, but also with the Rose Tree and the Nightingale. I think the expressions of the human characters and the Nightingale vary between hope, grief, and anger, although the Rose Tree is allowed a few evil smiles. He does take a perverse pleasure in taunting the girl, even if he feels bad about it later. But overall, I wanted to create a sense of foreboding, which is why there are distance shots, silhouettes, and the like with roses, thorns, and birds, up until the protagonist's descent to the underworld. All that foreshadowing is also supposed to mirror the girl's own misgivings, since in her heart of hearts, she fears her mission is pretty much failed before it's begun. Yet, she can't acknowledge that possibility to herself."

Anyone who takes even a passing glance at my blog or Social Media stuff knows I am obsessed with "Black Swan." Funnily (and unhealthily? Sad.) enough, I created this story before I even saw that movie.

I suppose girls who take extreme actions, are too intense, are willing to destroy themselves for what they want (ballet and love, in B.S., and merely love, in T.W.A.T.N.), and have a thing for talking/anthropomorphic birds must have been in my brain subconsciously :-p

Here are some links related to this challenge:

The challenge itself:

A link to the whole Anthology I have mentioned:

And, I will end with some "Sisters, This is Not the Way" ranting, excerpted from the aforementioned blog interview:

" is important, but not at the sake of one's safety or dignity... grief is what it is. Nobody should take advantage of someone else because... pain, and nor should a supportive person think that all the love in the world can fix it... the choices of the main character in my story are not something to be emulated, and... love and respect of one's own self should, again, be above what others ask of you. My story is not to glorify self-sacrifice in the least, particularly for parties that don't deserve it. I do hope that men and women alike enjoy it. I know there is a lot of pressure for female creators to create strong female characters, which I feel that my protagonist is up unto a fairly obvious point in the story. However, I wrote the story from the point of view of a person-- people of all genders have been there, and anyone can react drastically to disappointment and heartbreak. And hey, it's a fantastical enough story, she might just be able to come back. Personally, I love a good resurrected Dark Phoenix kind of tale."

For anyone who actually got through this tl;dr craziness of a post, thank you very much for your reading and patience! <3


Diane ~ said...

wow this is strong and bold! It is obvious that you put a great deal of thought and passion into your piece! Thanks so much for entering the IA challenge Donna!

IMGIRL said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your submission. If it is crazy, then it's crazy good! You have a way with words and an imagination to bring them to life! Great work and Inspiring!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Novels are not my forte, so I was totally unfamiliar with the players in your scenario and original book. However, it didn't take me long to get up to speed when I read the page you included for this entry.

I'm not sure which is worse, bullying, or acting out when it comes to teens. In this time of increased social media, the signs are easily seen, and the "role models" are everywhere. I am super impressed with this piece and I appreciate how you bring social awareness into play. Great piece!

Claire said...

wonderful entry and a great post!

craftydvl said...

Thanks everyone! I know the subject matter isn't really the lightest (and that's even without revealing the full direction the story goes ), but I'm glad it is affecting all the same <3 Also, thank you so much for posting the link to the whole "Samurai" book :-D Again, thanks everyone for your wonderful art postings and kind comments in turn.