“It is straightforward for me to be ethical, responsible, and kindhearted because I have the resources to support that.” – Edward Tufte
Lately I’ve been working on a manuscript for a comic book. Having all these ideas bouncing around in my head alongside working with creative people has been tremendously rewarding.
Still, I’d been hesitant about one thing. The hero’s “Why?”. That’s probably the most important thing.
I had all the “What’s” and “How’s” done but I didn’t have a clear picture of why she, “Lady Six”, had to reawaken.
OK, maybe I should explain.
Last year I heard a song called “Tomb 19” by Kansas. It made such a huge impact on me. I was immediately transported to when I was 9 and listening to all these heavy metal albums that were filled with mythological themes and cool shiznit like that.
When I started investigating the song’s backstory I found myself going deep into mayan history and mythology.
One story in particular intrigued me. It was about a woman from Dos Pilas who was ordered by her father to travel to Naranjo and went on to have great success as a ruler.
Now, reading this I had this odd sense of recognition. Something about it felt familiar and spoke to me. When I saw her name I got goosebumps. Her name translated into english was “Six Sky”.
A couple of days later I started developing an idea for a Mayan woman who is resurrected when 14 jade beads are stolen from her tomb by plunderers.
She has to go out into the world in search of these beads. Why? Because they held magical powers, because she was the guardian of the beads, because of the maya calendar, because reasons and so on.
So I had that. But it felt like the story was missing a puzzle piece.
A friend of mine who’s a producer asked me what I was up to and I started telling him about the concept. I mentioned that the story was missing something. He thought it sounded cool and we chatted about it for a while, bouncing ideas.
Then he said one phrase that just made it all come together: “She lived through the golden age…”, and something happened.
I’m sorry if you’re reading this man, but I just zoned out, I didn’t hear what you said after that because the whole damn story came together and I understood her “why”.
For anyone thinking that this was a “eureka” moment I want to point out that I’d been sitting on this problem for about 6 months.
No one sees all the hours spent on ideas and iterations of her raison d’être that ended up filling the virtual trash bin and being emptied.
My point is that there was a lot of hard work involved before getting to this point.
I’d actually made note of including a scene where she cautions people about the dangers of technology and that she’d seen her civilization go under because of it.
What I hadn’t done until now was to understand the power of that sentence.
Her pursuit of the beads were only important to her. What if the beads held such a power that coupled with our technology would end up destroying not only one civilization but the entire planet?
And with that it was complete. I knew what the story was and why we should care.
So, here comes the point. I could’ve easily just glossed this over and merrily skedaddled away and just saying “thanks”.
However, I was reminded of a kindness shown to me. I remember getting credit on a song that I had, in all honesty, very little to do with. They could’ve just mentioned me in the liner notes and I’d be grateful as hell. But they thought I’d contributed something valuable enough to warrant credit.
That’s what I felt was the right thing to do. This guy just said the right thing at the right moment and enabled me to solve a problem I’d been struggling with. Who knows how long I’d have had to work on it?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it means that I’ll make less money off of it. Fortunately, I can afford not to care. It might’ve ended up not making any if it hadn’t been for his contribution. He deserve credit for aiming the spotlight on the right thing at the right time.
Thank you, man.
Have you had problems with splitting credit or royalties? How did it influence your work later on?
Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!