So, I found myself considering a proposal to create something new: an illustrated TG story.
SteeleBlazer, proprietor of the fantastic Mighty Female Muscle Comix website, who also maintains an excellent site on Deviant Art, started it off with an email proposing that we collaborate. He wanted us to create a story together, working out the details of the plot and characters, and he would offer suggestions and tweaks and edits, then add pictures. I thought– hell no.
My reaction had nothing to do with SteeleBlazer. I had a previous unpleasant experience with a potential collaborator that made me very reluctant to even think about working with someone.
Besides, I enjoyed the autonomy writing and self-publishing my books gave me. I wrote what I wanted, how I wanted, when I wanted. Why change that?
And yet, the idea intrigued me, and I thought – maybe it is time? Maybe I should give this another chance? So I sent an email, and the two of us laid out some things and got some clarity established as to how this project would work. Between my previous unpleasant experience and my discussions with SteeleBlazer I had read Twyla Tharp’s book about collaboration, and I had realized that for it to work there needed to be clear understanding of how we would work together before either of us committed. We established that, and then….
Disaster! The worst experience of my life!
Not really! Actually, I have had one of the best creative experiences of my life, and I am so happy we worked together and created a really special project which I think is going to be called Lift Like A Girl.
It takes place in a small town in Iowa, and follows the lives of some typical high-school kids as something strange begins to happen: the girls all start to get really big and strong, while the boys struggle to maintain muscle and find themselves getting smaller.
For both SteeleBlazer and I, the story is very much about what happens to the minds of the characters as their bodies change, and the ways it impacts how characters see themselves and interact with others as males become the weaker sex. It explores how high-school dynamics might change in such a world, and it was loads of fun to create! We look at the changes from a variety of perspectives. Esther, seen above, is a mousy intellectual nerd with a crush on a star athlete. Mallory is a pretty, popular girl who is all about fashion and trends:
And Kat is a gloomy goth-chick:
We also see the world through the eyes of Derek, the stud jock Alpha Male of the school and Jack, a member of the swim team.
This story is a true collaboration, and I feel a seamless melding of our respective visions to create something that is certainly different from anything I have written before in a variety of sometimes nuanced ways. I don’t want to give away too much away, but I had so much fun writing this, and I have to say that even days after completing the story I can’t stop thinking about these characters as they pop up in my dreams, while I am driving, eating… all the time!
It’ll be available soon!