The Next New Thing by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “The Next New Thing.” Enjoy!
In the past I’ve discussed my evolving style and methods as I continue to learn the art of comics and the graphic novel. When I look at my past books I can see clearly how my drawing is changing to suit my voice. This graphic novel, Queensgate, contains mostly my hand-drawn frames, and I’d incorporated traced pictures of photographs I’d taken on my first trip to London. Just as I was wrapping up the first part of this project I decided to include pieces of the actual photographs along with the traced portions, to go with my other hand-drawn frames and — voila—a fresh new look for my third graphic novel!
Have you ever been struggling with ways to give your project that little something extra only to finally let go and see where it takes you? Sometimes the best ideas may be late to arrive but their tardiness kept you focused on building the foundations of your project based on all you’ve learned before. The final part of the process could be where the new resides, and this new thing you’ve decided to do will pull you forward. No matter how good you may be as a writer or artist, the fact that you continue to learn and improve, to innovate, is what will make you better at your craft. Never shy from trying that new thing in your work—it may be just the thing it needs!
Be aware, the new thing often happens by accident (or maybe it’s just fate dressed up as serendipity). Last night I was watching the film Pollock, about the artist Jackson Pollock. Pollock (played by Ed Harris, who also directed the film) was already becoming regarded as an artist of note, however he was struggling along seeking recognition and monetary support for his work. One cold winter morning he goes out to his studio, lights the heater and, preparing to work, spills some paint on the floor. As he observes the spilled paint on the wooden floor he sees a lightness in the shapes made by the spilled paint that he’s been unable to capture when putting a brush to canvas. He begins to experiment with this new thing, embraces it, and the rest is history.
When Jack Kerouac grew weary of hearing the typewriter bell ring each time he reached the end of a line of prose as he typed On the Road, he went to a stationery store and bought a roll of teletype paper so that he could type fast, furiously, continuously as he composed his landmark picaresque novel that would capture the imagination of young America in the 1950’s. He was writing in a new style and finding a new way to do it, and – yes, the rest is history. Did he and the other original Beat writers (Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs) know that they were launching a new style of literature that would take the country and the world by storm? Even if they did, it wouldn’t be until the 1970’s until literary critics took them seriously, but their work became popular just the same, sparking controversy, outrage and even court cases that would become the stuff of literary legend.
Even if it does happen by accident, it takes guts to pursue the new thing, and if you’re a writer or artist working hard at your craft you likely already have the tremendous fortitude it takes put yourself out there, so take it a step further and be a true innovator in your work. Embrace the new idea, the new method, the new look, the new style! If it revealed itself to you, you owe it to yourself and your audience to give it a try!
Happy writing—and here’s wishing you a most creative and joyful summer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Georgia, Nevada McPherson lived in New Orleans for many years and now lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is a professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from L.S.U. She’s written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, one short screenplay, a short play, short stories and two graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons. She’s currently at work on her third graphic novel, Queensgate.
For more information about Nevada and her projects, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.