|Illustration by Mark Satchwill|
The site, owned by AOL, was one of several hundred hyper-local sites springing up across the country. (I think there were 300 when we launched and in the last year more of them have appeared. I live in Valley Village, which is right between North Hollywood and Studio City, which has its own patch.com site.)
Craig had a vision--to publish fiction that featured the area--and I was lucky enough to see the ad before anyone else did. (This was, I think, at one in the morning.) He hired me on Monday and my first story was due Thursday. And I was off.
We started so fast that there wasn't really a chance to plan ahead and I was writing to deadline pretty much the whole year. I had so many characters that weeks would sometimes go by before I got back to them. (And there were at least two times when I spelled a character's name wrong and a couple of "continuity" errors on backstory. There was also one storyline where I painted myself into a corner and resorted to a soap opera gimmick to extricate myself.
Generally speaking, though, I'm pretty proud of what Mark Satchwill and I did on Volume I. We're hoping to publish the stories as a novel sometime soon, with the illustrations. Working with Craig is delightful and collaborating with Mark has been a dream. Going forward, he's going to experiment with a more comic book style, and I can't wait to see how that turns out.
The new stories will have a more focused cast of characters--at least initially--and as I mentioned in an earlier post, they'll be more crime centric. (The column is not called "NoHo Nice.") I want to get more deeply into social issues because frankly, the City of the Angels is falling apart. The center is not holding. One of the most-read stories on the North Hollywood patch site right now is about a man who used to own a flower shop and is now homeless. (Read the story here.)
But there will be love and there will be hope and there will be some fun too.
Hope to see you there. Would love to know what you think about the new direction and the new characters.
The illustration here is from Sunday's story, which won't be posted until later. But here's the link to the site. By breakfast time "Elephant Walk" should be available.