Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Habit

I buy certain things out of habit, or brand loyalty. I shop in the same stores because I know where everything is, I’m familiar with some of the folks who work there or I’m treated ‘right’ for being a long-term customer. I get up each morning and feed the cats, make the coffee and turn on The Weather Channel. It’s habit, routine, ritual.

When I participated in November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I built the habit of writing every single day. It’s the only way to get 50,000 words in a month or less and when it was done, I was looking for something else to do. I’ve made music, mini comics and tried any number of creative endeavors over the last twenty years to varying degrees of success. Habit and obsession are opposite sides of a very thin line and there are expressions of emotion inside me that have to get out, one way or another regardless of the form. The idea of combining all these loves into writing short stories and selling them on a monthly basis as a kind of ‘fiction single’ the same way that iTunes sells songs was appealing. I think I got the idea for this from my habit of reading Warren Ellis’ website and getting his Bad Signal emails, so I’ll give him the credit for it but I’m actually going to do it.

What jasonarnett.com is about is trying to get some folks to build a new habit of coming to the site once a month to decide if they’d like to buy a short story for a dollar. I’m aiming the site at comic book folks who aren’t reading a lot of prose or don’t have a lot of time to read prose but want something different than comic books on occasion. These stories are pulpy in their construction, along the lines of Walter Gibson’s The Shadow, Lester Dent’s Doc Savage or Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars. They vary in theme and genre in the way that Old Time Radio shows like Quiet, Please, Lights Out, and Suspense did. Interconnected, the stories are also influenced by the present day storytelling of Matt Fraction’s Casanova and the aforementioned Warren Ellis’ Fell, a new kind of comic book where a big story is crammed into a smaller than normal space.

It’s my hope that I can get readers to build the habit of trying out something new for a minimal amount of money by delivering the Jason Arnett brand of story. I’m still seven weeks out from the ‘official’ launch of www.jasonarnett.com, but I’m working to get it ready by writing every day, usually before I go to work. I have six stories in various states of readiness, with another in the plotting stage as I write this and hope to have that one done and at least one more in progress on launch day. Since the first story will be free, that means the first six months, at least, will have fresh content. These will constitute the first half of the first year of the site. I pledge to give you increasing quality and consistent delivery. When you buy one of my stories, I hope you’ll come back to buy more and tell your friends.