Dredd to Writes

That title is overburdened with puns, and I apologise for that.

So, I was in Enniskillen recently, and was chatting to the guys that put together the 2000AD fanzine Sector 13 – issue 3 out now Dredd fans!

I mentioned that I have an old script that I wrote a while ago, a 12 page Tale from the Black Museum (it’s a fun little idea I think) that I’d pitched to Tharg and he’d rejected it (for sundry reasons, only three them amounted to “this is terrible”). Actually, for funsies here’s the plot:

We open on Henry Dubble down in the black museum’s basement where he’s fishing out giant, Justice Dept 1 issued “Life Candles” (issued by the City to all citizens at birth in the event of one of MC1’s regularly scheduled disasters) and he starts telling the tale of the House Of Mega Wax. A run down waxwork whose business has been destroyed by the city’s new craze of competitive eating. A solitary fat tourist stumbles in, as they’re despairing over their bills. He dies, they panic and hit on the brain wave of converting his body into wax using the plot-convenent alien waxweavils who can eat anything and secrete wax which they use to make a Two Ton Tony Stubbs waxwork. This starts the business with a new plan: invite fatties, kill them, make unbelievable large waxworks attracting more fatties… and create the greatest House Of MegaWax ever seen. All is going great, when, on a visit from the Mega City Obese Orphanage and Family Free Fatties Association, they take the fattest orphan off to the side intending to do him in, but the plan is ruined when the fattie unzips and reveals he is, in fact, Judge Dredd and two other judges in a large fat suit. They fight, Dredd wins. Henry Dubble closes the story by revealing what happened to all that wax and the waxworks: they remain in constant use creating the Life Candles, nothing goes unused in Mega City 1.

I think Matt’s biggest problem was there’s almost certainly a touch of old fashioned silliness about it.

The chaps at Sector 13 liked the idea, and said they could print it, but it would need to be split in half. Now, tbh, I’m not keen on splitting a stupid one off in half, it doesn’t have the weight (no pun intended) and I’ve worked on fanzines before and I know the time delay between issues can run to several months, killing any possibility of a story carrying momentum.

So I mulled it over on the drive up from Enniskillen and thought I could write up a different script that is shorter, and I came up with something that I thought would be fun. I wrote it up in a blitz and sent it off to a few readers who’ve come back with a collection of notes.

This, in itself, has been instructive – getting good notes from several sources has sort of had my head turning – it’s impossible to implement every note (and some of the core ones are actually contradictory) so I’ve got to figure out how to rewrite it while keeping my own voice in it.

It’s also taught me, next time, be more selective, one good reader at a time, maybe.

On the plus side, the notes I got were more additive than anything nothing critical of my writing so much as suggesting elements of the plot that could do with being altered one way or another (one key element in particular had notes suggesting I do thing A, and notes suggesting I do the mutally exclusive thing B)

Once done, I’ll send it to Matt. I’m not terribly convinced he’ll pick it up (I mean there are so many good dredd writers) but if he doesn’t I may end up writing / drawing it for myself since it’s got some fun visuals going on in it.

I still have to do Couch to 80k week 8, the proper writing week, but my aim all along was to write some comics and this is a proper comic script, so I’m happy about that.

Understanding Clip Studio Paint’s Cloud

If you’re not a comic artist, you may not know this, but Clip Studio Paint has become the best general bit of software for comics artists for drawing and managing projects. There’s still a lot of artists working within Photoshop, but CSP has a toolset designed for Comic Artists.

Six months ago, CSP finally released a version that works on the ipad pro and it is, in my opinion, the single best demonstration of what an ipad pro is capable of. CSP + iPad Pro + Apple Pencil = Everything you’ll need to draw digital comics.

Up until now though, CSP on ipad and CSP on desktop haven’t really connected, but now Clip Studio have introduced their cloud to allow you to work between desktop and ipad. For many artists (well, ok, for me) this is essential. I work on a 27″ cintiq at my studio, and I want to be able to pick up my 12.9″ ipad pro and walk out of the studio (don’t get excited, it’s literally a tiny room in my house) and work either in another room (the living room! Where my family are!) or head off on holiday with it. So I’ve been waiting for the CSP Cloud to arrive.

And it’s … well… it’s not great.

Firstly, I use the phrase Clip Studio Paint and Clip Studio interchangeably, but the software is actually split in two – CSP is for drawing and CS is for general management/connecting to the cloud (it’s actually not terribly clear why this should be the case, the CS part of CSP didn’t exist up until recently and on the ipad, much of what it does is redirect you to the CS website).

CS added cloud management. On dropbox and Apple’s Cloud there really is no need to manage, they handle all syncing of files in the background so when you sit down to work and go to open a file it’ll either download the most recent version or it’ll let you have the one that it’s stored locally, and upload that in the background. Dropbox seems to do this better than Apple’s Cloud, though neither system is perfect they never feel like you can’t trust them.

CS has went its own way with the cloud.

Now I have some sympathy for them, files in CSP can grow to massive sizes – I’m currently working on one project that’s 800Mb (20 pages of lineart, multilayers on each) so it’s hardly practical to download/upload that every few minutes (though, that said, CS multipage documents are actually directories with many individual files, so the updates are probably more like 10-20Mb)

But here’s how it works, firstly you tell CS if you want files to be synced to the cloud – you can pick existing files or new files. This selection is all done within CSP

cloud-desktop.PNG

You can see in the image the little switch beside each file indicates if the file is to be stored in the cloud, and those where the switch is turned on have a little blue cloud icon which means “synchronise this file”. This is all from within Clip Studio (which you access from Clip Studio Paint on the desktop)

These files are located across my hard disk in directories of my choosing (as opposed to apple’s Cloud or Dropbox where you nominate a single directory and everything within it is synced to the cloud).

I like the flexibility but I’m inclined to think Apple and Dropbox are right, nominate one directory and at a glance I know what’s on the cloud.

The syncing happens when you first open Clip Studio or if you request a file to sync.

Now, there’s also a CLOUD Tab which shows files that are in the cloud – It’s possible to have files in the cloud that are NOT on your local device. So, from the cloud tab you can request those files to download, they are then stored somewhere on the computer within Clip Studio’s file structure. This makes it hard to know if you’re backing up files (again, if they’d gone Dropbox/Apple method you’d know exactly where the file was and could back them up within breaking a sweat).

I store my local files in two locations: an archived / backed up Artwork folder, and a Dropbox folder called “Live Projects” where anything I’m working on can be held, and I know it’s on a cloud and accessible across devices. This requires zero effort on my part to make sure the files are all synced, they just… work.

cloud-download

Here’s the first bit of cloud insanity, this is the list of files on the cloud – you can see two options on each of these, one (the orange download button) means “Download and Overwrite” – ie, sod whatever the file is I have locally, just download the one that’s on the cloud (I mean, surely this should be ‘Sync’ files? what if you accidentally hit that and wipe out two days work? I’m getting the heebie jeebies thinking about it)

The second button (the blue cloud download – and god help you if you’re colour blind, would they look any different – not much I’ll wager) is “download  all as new” which, I think, means “I don’t think you have a local copy of this, so just download it”.

Why not just replace both buttons with a single “SYNC” button, it’s job? find out if there’s a more recent version locally or on the cloud, and download the cloud one or upload the local one. If there’s no local version just download it.

No need for two buttons.

Further, please give me some indication of what’s new on the files! Dates would be good! It would also be helpful to enlarge those thumbnails, or give me link that shows every single page within a document, then I can see at a glance if something is missing.

(Caveat: I think the cloud feature was rushed out, I’m not convinced a cloud feature is an easy feature to build – if it was Apple would’ve got it right first time, and apple didn’t and it’s full of smart people)

Previously, Clip Studio Paint worked with a company called Smith Micro – Smith’s job was largely about localisation and making sure the app was ready for an English speaking market. Now, it often meant the English language app was lagging behind the Japanese app for updates, but it did mean that the English within the app was understandable and made sense. Now, sadly, there’s a sense that the English is only marginally better than a google translate button. Ok, we’re not the largest market, but it really can make it difficult to disentangle meaning from some of the menu items, etc.

When you are syncing there’s a deeply useless syncing interface that tells you (unhelpfully) “DOWNLOADING!”

downloads-cloud

Ok, hand on heart, the title “Comic” is my fault – the ipad version tends to default to names like “Comic” “Comic-1” etc. and you tend to forget to change it. That said please tell me stuff… tell me how big the file is, tell me what percentage is updated, tell me how many pages it has (here? one page, but many of them have multi-pages? TELL ME!)

It’s missing a lot.

I wish I had something better to tell you, I think the cloud will get better, but it’s clearly the direction they’ve decided on. I’ve paid for an annual sub because – at £55 – it’s worth it to me to be able to up sticks and work somewhere else away from the studio and honestly, CSP is the best drawing tool I’ve ever used, hands down. I honestly hope they build out the interface more so I can use dropbox where I wont spend any time at all worring in case I’ve accidentally over written a newer file from the older cloud based one.

Free Comic Book Day 2000AD Regened

I love 2000ad, I’ve always loved 2000AD. While I’m pretty sure I was reading it from prog 1 in 1977 (age 7), my earliest distinct memories of the strip proper start around 1980 (age 10) and the Judge Child Saga, and building Justice-1 out of computer punch cards with my uncle.

In my memory that Punch Card justice-1 was a perfect replica of the space ship, including a Bike bay with tiny paper card based figures of Judges Dredd and Hershy ready to head off on their Lawmasters dispensing justice to the alien and weird.

Pretty sure it was bobbins though, but my point is: 2000AD runs deep.

Getting to draw Dredd was my single ambition for a long long time, though ambition is wrong, it felt like having an ambition to be the first man on the moon – yeah, sure, someone did it, but it could never be you.

Now, of course, I’ve kids on my own. I still read 2000AD and it’s grown up with me – content shifting from goofy childlike dream states to more sombre, serious, adult contemplative stories about mortality (and knob jokes) – like most, I lost touch with it in the early 90s, regained it and am off and on again reader depending on what’s in it and whether I have time. I tried to get my oldest son interested, but it was never his thing. My youngest on the other hand – well, he’s an avid reader, he loves to draw and we’ve subscribed him to the beano. But 2000AD. Well… 2000ad is a smidge too adult for him (a rather large smidge). But, free comic book day bought 2000AD regened.

Now, I’m on record as saying lots of time that I’d love 2000AD to go younger – things I’ve suggested in the past include: shifting the megazine to a younger readership (the meg was always supposed to be the adult version of 2000ad, allowing them both to have a distinct voice, well, let’s accept 2000AD readers will never change, but Meg readers can be broadened? right? that’s my theory) if not that then, you know, selecting reprint material that skews younger and bundling it in to a reprint comic that’s packaged in a way that you can give it away to nephews, neices, sons, daughters, etc or, and this is the real stretch, just launch a cool all ages comic, talk to the guys doing zarjaz and turn that in to a professional publication with kid friendly fare.

Anyway, none of those things are likely to happen, but that said, I was taken aback that, this year, 2000AD decided to to create a younger reader title for free comic book day – and it’s a fun little package. Presented by Jako-Jargo, Tharg’s nephew – it boasts a CADET Strip (great Neil Googe artwork), a Strontium Dog (basically Johnny Alpha gets his licence) an insane-only-from-the-mind-of-Henry-Flint Board Game called Chet Jetstream (a sort of choose-your-own-snakes-and-ladders) a neat little future shcok Humancraft (pretty sure this should be an ongoing series, somehow) and a DR and Quich hijack free comic book day (plus an insanely detailed Intestenauts advert).

Now, I’m glad I enjoyed this, but that’s hardly the point. The point is… what will a typical 9 year old make of it, and for that, I have to ask Thomas… and he says:

“I liked it. No wait. I loved it. It was my favourite thing at Free Comic Day. I like Cadet Dredd Or Humancraft Or DR & Quinch or Chet Jetstream or wait.. that’s all of them. All of them”

So, what next?

Well, he liked Cadet Dredd so I gave him my Dredd book 1 to read, he read the first story and enjoyed it (it’s a bit of a massive book though, so I’m rationing it). I also selected ONE future shock from the Big Book of Alan Moore future shocks (specifically the story about the werewolves in space). Tom loves Goosebumps and I knew he’d enjoyed the twist, and he really really did.

I have no idea what 2000AD’s plans are beyond this, whether this was a clever ploy to get adults to start shoving older material into their kids sweaty hands (after all, you can no buy a fantastic amount of 2000AD reprint material) or whether it’s some under the radar skunkworks test to see if there’s a market for the material.

In either case, it’s good and Tom and I got a lot out of it, I hope 2000AD see there’s a value in an ongoing book like this, Tom certainly loved the anthology format and even though he found a lot of it unfamiliar (he called it “Docter Quinch” before I corrected him) he’s a quick study.

Anyway, well done tharg and all your little editor droids. Here’s to what’s next.

Couch to 80k Week 7 Done and dusted

Let’s see. To recap day 4, a pause on writing and a little chat about building an ideal schedule, with a 10 minute window to write one out. These are the sorts of things I’m never sure I’m right or wrong – born partly out of the fact that there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do them, and partly because sometimes I’ll do something so quickly I’ll spend 8 minutes staring at it thinking “surely I’m wrong on this”.

So, a schedule of sorts, I think if you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m half obsessed with schedules. I mean, I never manage to stick to any of them, but I don’t half spend a long time thinking about them. So when Tim asked on day 4 about your perfect schedule it took one minute to write out my answer. And it’s this:

I mean, it’s not ambitious, I don’t think, and it’s pretty doable. Real life gets in the way, of course, and I get in my own way. But that would be as good a day as you could hope for. The Drawing in the schedule is my day job though, but I typically draw until 1am, so 12pm is a good stop point for me. And 2 pages of comic writing SHOULD be achievable within 3 hours (it’s wildly unambitious if anything) but doable.

Of course, I will never ever get to do it. But you know, live in hope.

Day 5 was a rewrite of the Day 2 climactic scene of my novel (remember, it’s all about writing a novel, even if I had intended to do just do this course to help me build up to writing a comic, I ended up having to come up with a novel – it’s not brimming with originality, if anything it’s basically the Masters of the Universe film or John Carter – normal schlubb finds himself the centre of a galaxy wide revolution and with the help of aliens, a princess and robots has to destroy the creature taking over the universe, then he goes back to his day job. The only unique point is, in the remix, the hero really leads the dullest life imaginable, and goes back to it a changed man).

Anyway, day 5, rewrite, that was fun, taking the final scene and giving it a different spin starting with the words “that’s not how I remember it…” (and, for your reading pleasure, or for you to completely ignore, that bit is at the end of this longish post)

Day 6 – today’s task was to write five scenes that are important key points in the novel. Remember, I’m not coming to this bootcamp with a novel fully formed, my main ideas are comics, so I’m making this on the fly, but even so, I was happy with some of the scenes.

Kind of mad I’ve been at this for 7 weeks (a little longer if you count some of the mid-week gaps therein).

Week 8 will be basically timed writing, taking this first steps and moving towards a full length novel with them. I’ll do that last week, though I’m not convinced I have a novel in me.

After that, as per various recommendations, I’ve bought Ursula LaGuinn’s “Steering the Craft” (such a great title) and will hope to spend a similair amount of time per day doing the exercises in that book.

Anyway, here’s the rewrite (forgive typos, dangling threads, changes of voice, etc, it’s a draft zero)


That’s not the way I remember it…

He came in, the Accountant. Weedy and desehevevilled. In his right hand he’d forged a sword out of some sort of iron rod that looked like he’d been adjusting a fire with. He really did look ridiculously out of place in the great majestic hall of Aucheron, above him, through the glass ceiling you could see the twin suns revolve around each other, vast streams of energy intermingle.

And in front of him…

Well, my Lord, you stood. Towering over him, senew, muscle and energy, crackling. Majestic in your strength. Armed with eight curved swords, ready to battle against the human to save the great palace, and everyone in it from whatever foul deeds his otherworldy nature would perform.

I saw you confront him, calling him the coward he is, challenging him to best you, in all your powerfull glory. But he could not, and I heard him admit as much. At least, he could not on his own.

I saw him call forth the cowards and traitors who had been, until now, rightfully banished to the edge of the world, they poured in, numbers the likes of which I have never seen. But you were undauted. What where they but as an insect to the tail of the Mighty Orayax.

To my shame, I witnessed the treachery of the Princess – A hex on her name – YOUR VERY DAUGHTER – channelling her energy through him, using your own power against you.

But you were, of course, too cunning for the human. He may hold dominion over the numbers of the sheet, but your power is of such vastness that it dwarves him and all how ally to him.

“This ends now” snivelled the coward, little realising the end was for him, not you.

It was my great honour to be in your presence when you redirected the power flowing from the Princess, to him and then to you. Using their own energy to take out the ragtag group of treacherous villains they had assembled.


And now, five scenes from today’s workshop.

1. Peter’s in the office. This is our first view of his life. It will be a montage scene, of an entire year. His world is small. He goes to work, watches the seasons pass. He sits at his desk. His eyes light up when Julie walks past, he goes home to a small empty flat and opens a tin of beans and decides to just eat it cold. Peter’s life is empty except for the scifi that he loves. A room full of toys. A bookcase full of scifi novels. A set of DVD of classic old british scifi.

2. A dimensional breach, an new world beckons, in the bathroom of Fleming, Fleming and Fullerton. Peter was in the loo, trousers by his ankles, when a princes, a robot and a beastman, beckon him, they need him, they need his help. He runs forward.

3. He’s on a precipace, to the left are the armies of the evil lord, to the right are the new friends that Peter has made. He has to make a choice, sacrafice himself to save his friends, or save himself. Peter chooses, and somehow makes it out alive. But from here he will never be the same.

4. The climax, Peter versus the great monster. Peter’s friends trust him, the princess trusts him, Peter has to win this battle. But he’s not strong enough. Until he is.

5. The return. Peter decides that he doesn’t want adventure, he doesn’t want airships or princesses, or robots or monsters. He goes back to Fleming, Fleming and Fullerton. But he’s changed. He won’t take any more nonsense, and he asks Julie out and ends with a promotion. But that’s not enough and soon he’ll start his own accountancy firm, a changed man.

Making room for writing

I love my job, but it does feel like it consumes every minute I throw at it (and many minutes I don’t).

It’s the nature of it, I suppose, drawing is a calling rather than a 9-to-5. But I’d like to get to 9-to-5 (impossible with kids and family obligations, but it’s a goal, right?)

Don’t get me wrong, outside 9-5 I’ll still be drawing, just not the stuff that is for deadlines.

I think I need to think realistically about what I can do with my free time. Last year I did some acting, and I really enjoyed it. I may still do more (the rehearsals ate up a fierce amount of time, but I did enjoy the regular getting out of the house, even if I lazily drove up the street most of the time).

I’m coming round to the idea of doing one writing/drawing/lettering/colouring project of my own a year. One 40 page THING. A complete book that belongs to me would be lovely. Sure it’d be nice to be paid to do a thing like that too, but you know if I’m paying my bills, then who cares, right? I get to play.

I know what the first thing will be (let’s call it “WR”) and I have a notion what the second thing will be and .. really, there’s no point going further than that. The projects are likely to be unrelated to each other, except in that they’re things I want to do.

Of course, that may not happen. I always have plans.

Right now “WR” is a bunch of half written scenes, and a rough plan of 40 pages. I may not be a good enough writer to carry it off, I may not find the free time to draw the damn thing, lettering it will be a pain and colouring – sheesh, who has time for that.

But it feels nice to have a focus, really. Something to think of as a hobby away from the day job.

Maybe this could be my hobby.

(Also: I might write it and pitch is somewhere, which would be an interesting experience if nothing else)

Couch to 80k Week 7 Day 3

I won’t apologies for missing days (as much as I want to) you may well be enjoying the breaks.

A recap of Day 2 : Recall we’ve started a novel (I mean, it was right there in the blurb of the podcast that this is the whole point of the thing, but it still surprised me to be asked) and day 1 was a bunch of “Maybe’s” about what that novel could be about. Well, day 2 was “let’s write the cover blub”. This felt like torture for me, especially since I hadn’t really settled on a novel, though it feels like I’m basically – from my maybe’s and blurb – rewriting John Carter. Except my John Carter is an accountant, and this is probably going to be a(n attempt at a) funny novel. (Though fair warning: my heart isn’t in this chunk of the podcast, since my focus is and remains with writing comics, so I’m trying not to get too worried about the large amount of cliched plots I’m going to regurgitate).

So, recap down, day 3 is … let’s take the climactic end sequence and write it. Can’t know where to start without knowing where we’re ending, right?

I only decided today it might be a funny story, yesterday it was serious, I really am making this up as I go along – can’t you tell?

So, that said, usual caveats apply, there’s stupid repetition, it’s appallingly unoriginal, and wears its influences on all eight of it’s sleeves, here’s the climactic battle scene in “The Call” (or, possibly, “Called to Account”) and it tapers off since my 10 minutes were up, and there’s no way I’m working past the bell…

Peter stood, finally, in the great hall. The obsidian columns lined the marbled flooring. Above him the stars of an unfamiliar galaxy. Home was nothing but a distant memory now. He stood, white shirt, shredded. Power surging through him from the Galoga Root, in his hand he held the Sword of Antimon. He took off his broken glasses. The root not only gave him incredible power, but increased his senses, he no longer needed his reading glasses, so tossed them aside.

Prince Astoria held her breath near the doorway, in the corner of his eye he could see her chest raise and fall slowly, channeling her psionic energy through him.

Gone now, where the memories of working in the Accounts Department of Flemming, Flemming and Fulton.

Gone too, was Peter Aaronovitch.

Now there was only Peter The Great.

Peter The Great, and the Monster.

“Hahaha! You pathetic Worm, so you’ve tasted the root of power, at last, and you think you can best me”

Its voice grated through him. The creatures eight arms bulged and crackled with energy. Each held a sword and it raised itself to full ten feet tall. Stretching the arms out, holding the swords at length, bristling and ready to fight.

“I can’t best you…”

“Not on my own”

Behind Peter the swelled ranks of the armies of the Avalon Guard poured out from doorways lining the hall. Surrounded Peter and the Creature.

The princess continued to concentrated, Peter bowed his head slightly before snapping his head up, and blasting the thing with beams of pure energy from his eyes

“THIS ENDS NOW!”

The creature stumbled back, the army stepped forward ready to attack, waiting for Peter’s word.

Then, suddenly, the creature expanded it’s arms out, the energy swirled around him and poured out to the crowd, blasting through them, exploding people left and right, he’d been tricked. The creature was using Peter’s own power against them all.

He tried to stop, he thrust his arm in front of his face, hoping it would stop the energy, but just as he did so, the Princess collapsed, exhausted. It had been too much for her. And too much for the allies that Peter had spent the last year building up.

Dead. All dead.

Except for Peter and the Monster.

It relaxed, and walked towards him. Still towering over him, this thing with tusks, and arms.

Couch to 80k Week 7 Day 1 Gaze on my Works ye Mighty

(I promise this title is less a brag and much more a “oh look, is there any way I can slip the word “might” in to some sort of pun based title)

Couch to 80k podcast is a writer’s bootcamp with daily exercises by Tim Clare and is part of his Death by 1000 paper cuts blog.

Glad your still with me, if you are, and if you’re one of the few people I’ve chatted to tempted to do this bootcamp too, tell me how you’re doing!

Ok, this week we finally take off the training wheels and begin the nitty gritty of actually writing a novel. NOW… I’m not that interested in writing a novel, I don’t feel I have any great big long form work in me (maybe we all have one book in us, I don’t feel like that – I do feel like I’ve hundreds of stupid stories in me, well, mostly stupid, and that’s fine by me).

A recap of what the bootcamp has covered so far…

Week 1 lists (enjoyed this)

Week 2 Timed free writes (enjoyed this)

Week 3 Using Personas / Masks can unlock content (struggled with this)

Week 4 Stylistic Choices (struggled with this)

Week 5 Emotions (ho boy, this was tough)

Week 6 Metaphors and Similes (struggled with this)

If you know me, you’ll know, my long term aim is comic writing, and I started this bootcamp simply to build the confidence that I could do that. I’ve currently laid out the plot of a 40 page Bondian adventure that I’m chipping away at (I’ll either pitch this to Dynamite or turn it into my own super spy adventure)

But a novel? Nope, no interest.

That said, it’d be a bit of a cheat to get this far in the bootcamp and abandon ship now (though I have form on this).

So today Tim asked us to type up a bunch of things that we might consider our novel about and if you don’t already have a novel, maybe some things a novel could be about. Prefacing each statement with the words “it might be…” so we don’t end up too fixed in our ideas. We want the flexibility to move and change as the writing progresses and to be open to other, potentially contradictory possibilities.

I hard to start with something… and so I began with what I know

(And feel free to ignore the rest, but these are my novel notes… lame, unimaginative, idiotic and raw and ready to be abandoned at a moment’s notice)

It might be a novel about a man whose life is very like mine who goes through an extraordinary adventure and ends with him realising that he has the best life already.

He might work a dull job, as an office clerk, in accounts. Possibly he’ll find something or something that shouldn’t happen will happen to him. Something that suggests the world is deeper and more complex than he assumes (maybe despite his longing for a more interesting life he’s long since settled into assuming it’s never going to get that interesting). He might be a game player, someone whose day time is spend dealing with numbers, he may well keep fantasy figures at his desk. He might be single. Or separated. He may be 30, He may be a virgin.

He might open a doorway to another dimension, or unexpectedly find himself the nexus of some great prophecy, a hero to an entire universe.

He might be required to save the kingdom, the girl, and become king.

He might return to his own world, changed, but glad that things aren’t just as nuts.

His name might be Peter.

He might love a work collegue called Carol-Anne or Caroline, or Carol or Carrie. (Maybe carrie, which he likes because it’s the same as Carrie Anne Moss from The Matrix)

Maybe creatures arrive on earth as he’s walking to work and he has to help them.

He might be an engineer, and maybe this skill will be what saves them?

He might reject the princess. He might sweep Carrie off her feet.

He might have a mild stammer.

He might be glad that the universe is simpler where he’s from.

He might have to fight the mighty villain. (this might be, basically the plot of He Man)

He might say something like “Jesus, what the hell am I supposed to do, I’m just an accountant. I’m not even sure how the coffee machine works!”

And the princess might respond “No, my name is not “Jesus”, nor do I know what a coffee machine is, but you are aCountANT! Hero of my people”

He may be part of a propecy, he may have accidentally altered their future, he may have accidentally altered their past.