More About... Dinner Date.

Thought I'd give you folks who read this blog a little bit more info about my first ever published story: Dinner Date. So here we go with a some juicy insider notes/facts... 

The idea... Dinner Date came about from the experience I'd had through having multiple stories being rejected before I pitched it. A big issue with what I was pitching (one of the comments that stuck with me) was realism. None of my stories seemed 'real' enough for the editor. So I sat down and thought about what would be truly terrifying to me and could potentially happen in real life... And that was Dinner Date.

The title... Dinner Date's original title was "I Only Have Eyes For You" after the Flamingos song of the same name. There's something haunting about that song. Every time I listened to it I could close my eyes and visualise the whole story played out to that song. You can listen to it HERE. Obviously if you've read it you can tell why it's called Dinner Date. Not the cleverest of titles but hey, it works.

Finding the artist... This goes back to before even my first accepted story (Greed and Other Human Compulsions) had an artist and it involves that strips artist, Shaun Speight. You see, Shaun approached me and asked if I had anything he could draw. At that point, I think I had the two horror stories done and accepted (might have had my first sci-fi one accepted too, I can't remember) so I asked Shaun which one he'd like to see. He asked for the two page story, Dinner Date. He liked it so I approached editor Bolt-01 about Shaun drawing it. Bolt-01 ended up giving him Greed instead.

I assumed after that, the stories were going to be handed in the order they had been accepted. Which meant I could be sure that the next person I approached would be drawing Dinner Date. I didn't have to think too much about who I wanted to draw it. I approached Darren Stephens, an artist I'd seen on Twitter and on the 2000 AD forums (where I noticed he had worked for 2000 AD also.) and the rest is history. I really like Darren’s style, it’s rough around the edges but in a good way, I thought it was the

I honestly didn't expect Darren to agree to draw it, or anyone for that matter. Not because I thought it was a terrible story or anything, it was more to do with the subject matter at hand. Luckily, Darren didn't mind!

From Pitch to Publication... The pitch for Dinner Date was sent to Bolt-01 of FutureQuake Press on 18th June 2013. Something Wicked #10 was published on 2nd November 2014. That's over a year and four months from pitch to publication (patience: learn it.)

The script took a few drafts (three in total I think.) It mainly took that many because trying to cut the story down to two pages was quite difficult. Dinner Date was originally pitched as a five page story, it was only when Bolt-01 emailed me and asked if I could do it in two pages that it became two pages...

This is the shortest one I've done so far, but the idea of pulling off a one pager does excite me. I think that was about a week or two of that time before it was put to FQP's dreaded 'waiting for artist' folder. The rest of the time was spend looking for an artist/waiting for artwork.

I'll tell you now: whatever it is you are doing, find your own artist for it. None of my stories so far have been completed because it's been handed to an artist. I've found the artist, or the artist has found me. Looking at my emails now, I can see that Dinner Date was commissioned on May 23rd of this year. so that's a long time where I wasn't actively looking for an artist myself, it was just sitting in that folder, waiting for an artist to fall on top of it...

Same thing goes for my first story really. Spare a thought right now for Greed and Other Human Compulsions. Accepted March 2013, it’ll be published in November 2015.

These things take time but if I had any advice for you, it would be: 

Find your own artists. It’ll save you some time.

Darren Stephens is available for commissions. For more info, check out his Twitter page or his new Facebook page.
You can buy a copy of Something Wicked #10 which features "Dinner Date", a two page story written by me with art from Darren Stephens here:

There’s a 1st look at Greed and Other Human Compulsions at the FutureQuake Blog.
More About... Dinner Date. More About... Dinner Date. Reviewed by Chris Tresson on 13:46:00 Rating: 5
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