I’m not sure how many of you are even aware of the fanfic I wrote, entitled G.I. Joe: The Price of Peace…I wrote it a loong time ago, probably going on ten years. This was before Devils’ Due, way before IDW, and even before Hasbro announced that G.I. Joe would be coming back to retail full-force. This was written in a G.I. Joe fiction vacuum, with the assumptions that any continuation of the G.I. Joe universe had to be a product of one’s own imagination.
I kind of surprised myself when it was all said and done, and the story clocked in at over 300 pages, but it’s probably one of the things that I am most proud of in my online G.I. Joe history. The story (to me) felt organic, natural, and really kind of told itself as it trucked along, and yeah, to a point I think it holds up today.
Certain things happen within the confines of the story that may have influenced other media at the time, though I have no clear proof of that, of course. Perhaps it’s just something I like to believe to make myself feel better. 🙂
I’ve had the fanfic posted to my Fanfic page all along, but I know the html formatting is kind of a nightmare, the navigation isn’t great, and especially if you’re reading a 300+ page monster, I would think you’d like it as cohesive and readable as possible.
I was introduced to Smashwords by fellow G.I. Joe nerd Don, who has already posted his great Tales From Castle Destro books there, and decided I wanted to get my stuff up there as well. It’s a terrific self-publishing source that allows you to essentially publish your own books. I’ve got mine listed for free, for obvious reasons, as making money off of the Hasbro brand is…well… sorta illegal. The great thing about Smashwords is that it auto-formats the book for web viewing, as a downloadable PDF, or even converted to formats friendly to e-readers! It will, hopefully, make the fanfic a lot more accessible to a lot more people. Not only did Don tell me about Smashwords, but he spent a lot of his own personal time assisting in the formatting of my story for Smashwords and really went out of his way to help get it posted. I owe him a huge debt of thanks for that.
Keep in mind this book was written a long time ago, so you probably want to go in the “way back machine” to what the G.I. Joe universe was like back then. It was also the genesis of my Dio-Story universe, so fans of that storyline can certainly brush up on the history there as well.
Check out G.I. Joe: The Price of Peace right here. I would imagine the (much shorter) follow up, The Cost of War will be up shortly as well.
So you’re all set to produce your first Dio-Story. Congrats! But having the script, having the software, and knowing how to make the Speech Bubbles is only a small part of the story. The next small step is knowing where to go for all of those funky fonts, customized word balloons, or stock images that you might need to move forward.
You know, I was considering skipping this one entirely, just to tick off Mike, but I know a lot of people have been wondering about this, so I figure in spite of my desire to tweak him, I’d help other folks out. 😉
I’m going to cover a few different ways to produce the desired speech balloons, using a few easier ways to do it first, and then finishing off with my own personal way. Some of these methods require specific software, though some of it is easily attainable. To demonstrate the Speech Bubble Creation methods, I’m going to use an image that I am planning on putting into a review coming up shortly. I’ll try each method and let you determine which one works best.
When I did the poll for the Making of a Dio-Story subjects, the scripting/storyboarding won out, but it just barely nicked this topic… “Recommended Software”. I get this question a LOT. What do you use? How do you use it? Where can I get it? It’s not all as easy as a one sentance answer, but I’ll give it my best shot, anyway.
So I gave folks the chance to choose what they wanted me to talk about first when it comes to the long, complex process of making a dio-story. Overwhelmingly, people wanted to see the scripting/storyboarding process, which of course, is one of the more complex parts of producing these works of fiction. I will do my best to outline the long road I take between concept and production for these stories, and hopefully some folks find it entertaining, useful, or maybe even both.
I won’t pretend to be a great writer (or even a good one), I know my own limits, after all. But something I can admit to at least being somewhat effective in is presentation. Even if my story or plot is somewhat weak (by my own admission) I can usually zap it up a little bit with some loud colors, big explosions and fancy special effects to supplement the story. In a perfect world, I would be an expert story crafter, but I honestly don’t feel like I am, so if I can “pretty things up” to overcome those shortcomings, I’m all for it. Because I tend to use some more elaborate special effects, I’m often asked how I do certain things or accomplish certain tasks. I really only have one answer all-encompassing answer: Lots of time, lots of “on the job learning” and almost ten years of experience at this point.