Friday, March 27, 2009


The other night, I was waiting for Suzanne to finish working so we could leave. Things have evened out a bit at work and I've been able to get in some training time on the various software packages I need to know, albeit self-teaching through online resources. My head was swimming after staring at my monitor for so long so I decided to take a break and try to bust through that artist's block I've been suffering from. I tinkered with a few things, not really into it and then it dawned on me. Why am I wasting my time drawing my fourth ROM illustration when I have a project to work on?

Excited, I grabbed a fresh sheet of paper, sharpened my Col-Erase pencil and it just flowed out of me. This was what I needed! I started doing character sketches of one of the characters in my story. (The working title, which will most likely change for various reasons, is THE HAMNER'S MILL HORROR.) His name is Eamon Ferguson and I think he may be my favorite character in the story. Actually, his contribution to the plot is minor but, for some reason, I've taken a shine to him. He's the most fully realized character in my head and his arc is the one I have most figured out.

One of the problems I've noticed with most of the stories I've written (yes, I've actually finished some) — and this is a crutch and the sign of a crappy writer — is that my main characters are usually based, in large part, on me. Which unfortunately means they're effing boring! I'm working on giving Johnny some more interesting, plot-related character traits so he's not just a cypher. You can spot those a mile away. My one complaint about the Harry Potter novels (which I loved) is that Harry was hard to root for. J.K. Rowling populated her stories with so many interesting, unique characters that Harry was just blah by comparison. Maybe she intended him to be an "Everyman" that the reader could identify with but personally, I'm still trying to figure out if I even like Harry. I don't want that to be the case with Johnny.

Though you wouldn't know it from his expressions above, Eamon's not a bad kid. He's what Mike would have called "a little firecracker." He's just an earnest kid who was full of joy and enthusiasm and spirit who suddenly has his world turned upside down and has to find a new way of looking at things. The one thing he thinks will save him is denied him and he'll do anything it takes to get it, including...well, hopefully, I'll write the damn thing out and we can all find out together. Eamon's the kind of kid that just says what's on his mind without considering the consequences. There's no firewall between his brain and his mouth. His good friends realize this but for others...

Eamon is based on a couple of kids I knew growing up, one of whom was and is one of my very best friends and has posted here before. I took a little bit from both of them, threw in a new backstory and some red hair and got Eamon. I like his first name but though I wanted an Irish surname for him, Ferguson is just a little...obvious. So I'm going to rethink that. Any suggestions?

Tomorrow, we have the 10K race to run. Or, in my case, walk. This will be my first time not running. It's a disappointment but my back is feeling better than it has in months and I don't want to mess that up. I've got to work the rest of the weekend so there won't be any recuperating time. Still, with all that going on, I'm hoping to get in some more sketches or even some writing time. I'm pretty excited again and would hate to lose momentum.

Oh, be sure to check out Christian's blog. He's posted some character sketches of his own. It seems we both broke through our blocks at the same time (though I think he beat me by a day or so) and under similar circumstances. Christian's got his own project in mind and I have to say, I'm pretty excited to see what he does with it.

Have a great weekend.


Tim Perkins said...

Hi Matt,

I love the look of your new character, Eamon.

I love drawing kids myself, so much fun to do.

I can't wait to see more of your work here.

Good Luck with the 10K race.

Best Wishes,

Warren said...

Great sketches, Matt. Eamon looks anything but boring. And don't worry so much about putting too much of yourself in your characters. I think every writer does that. I don't think there's a way to avoid it. Stephen King probably thought Jack Torrance was dull when he first started writing the Shining.

Christian D. Leaf said...

Eamon's a good looking lad. I'm also looking forward to what you're gonna do with this story. Get cracking, boyo.

How'd the 10k?

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,
Eamon looks awesome.

Keep up the sketches & get that story printed for us to read.
If you've finished some other stories, draw them up & get them printed as well. At least put out a preview (maybe even if it's only on the blog), perhaps the readers won't find them as boring as you think.

Anyways, I, unfortunately, haven't had time to come around to the blogs as regularly as I used to. When I do get a chance, I back track to see what I've missed, but then I don't comment because you guys (which includes the other blogs I read) have moved on to other posts.

todd said...


finally, i too am back!
been reading--not the watchmen one though...--but haven't had a chance to comment.
eamon sounds like a great ride and, once again, you should stop being so hard on yourself. you're a great writer but you won't let yourself believe it. believe me. whenever i think/wonder if something i'm doing seems a bit too derivative of something else (and we all know that all the stories have been told already anyway...), i make a slight adjustment to make it NOT like that thing i thought it was like. get it? just trust yourself as a writer and you'll be fine. you've got a great imagination! go ahead and let it loose. if it gets out of hand, THEN you can challenge yourself to figure a way out!

sorry for the rant, bro.

also, i think ferguson is scottish.
what about callen or fitzgerald?


Brian said...

Your love and enthusiasm for the character really come through in those sketches. Great stuff.