I suck at endings.
If there are really two types of people in the world–ones who start projects and ones who finish them–I am definitely of the former variety.
That said, for every beginning there must be an end.
Today I reached an end: the writing for the final episode of Songs of Albion is done, although there’s still polishing and Hilary is still working on the illustrations, without which nothing is really complete, and Albion is as much hers as mine. But I’m going to take a pause and celebrate my own small ending.
It hasn’t been an easy journey getting there. Hilary and I have been talking about this for about three years, trying on ideas of form and character, and finally striking what I think was the ideal balance of short, 140-word episodes accompanied by square illustrations. Just getting the division of the page balanced in the right way was no small feat.
We’ve been working on it in concrete detail for a year and a half. We planned to run it for a year and see what kind of audience we got–negligible, as it turned out–and then decide what to do.
The plot has evolved through time, with the death of Sir Hyphen-Dash only coming in rather late in the day, a few months ago, as I looked for a way to bring it to closure on Midsummer’s Day in the Year of Our Lord 2012 (2765 a.u.c.)
I’m pleased with a lot of things about this tale. We’ve explored new ground, created an art form that hitherto didn’t exist, between the webcomic and the serial novel. We created a collection of interesting, unique characters: Marlowe, Cat, Drunais, Grace, Hope, Felicity, Lady Belinda, Don Diego de la Vago, Captain Stone, Mate Morse, Marie the Mermaid, the ship’s carpenter (OK, we stole him from Star Trek), Tuc the seal king, Daphne, Skeezicks, Athis, Dagan, Siduri, Bil, Slash, Ea, and the ever-inscrutable Rothgar the sea bear.
That’s 22 characters spread across 161 episodes of approximately 140 words apiece, every one including a gorgeous illustration. I’ve not stitched the whole thing together yet, but we’re running on for 22,000 words, so I guess that’s 1000 words per character.
Rich, dense, evocative stuff.
But it didn’t find an audience because I suck at marketing far more than I suck at endings. Despite Hilary’s stunningly beautiful images it just didn’t grab people. The few who read it liked it, but it didn’t propagate.
Still: the writing is done, and I’m immensely proud of it. Speaking for myself, I’ve had a lot of fun and learned a huge amount, and working with Hilary is always delightful. One couldn’t ask for a better artistic collaborator. That others generally failed to appreciate our work is a deficiency that will be remedied in time.
Hope, like art, is eternal.