Hello, if you came late to the party, the after-party is at BigTroubleInLittleCanton.Org
Strange things skulk the night in Canton, Ohio. A faith healer who carries a knife. A biker who heads a gang called The Four Horsemen and makes explosives in his spare time. A supernatural entity of unknown origin, returning to the mortal plane after decades of imprisonment. A shape-shifter whose preferred method of transport is flying aloft on monstrous wings. A man so unnaturally strong he tears apart a police car like he's snapping into a Slim Jim.
And those are the good guys.
Big Trouble in Little Canton is a serialized fiction project, delivered to you ten times a year for at least two years in electronic format, and readable on your computer, Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other device.
It's a supernatural story, set in northeast Ohio, grounded firmly in that landscape if not in reality.
Funds raised here will go towards paying the graphic designer, my co-creators, and the artists. Whatever's left over will be used to pay my child's babysitter so I have a little spare time to write the story.
I DON'T LIVE IN / HAVEN'T BEEN TO / HAVEN'T HEARD OF OHIO. WHY SHOULD I BE INTERESTED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CANTON?
I'll get to that in a couple of paragraphs. Read onward, or skip one section ahead and then come back. I'll wait here.
LOTS OF STORIES HAVE MONSTERS AND ACTION. WHAT'S UNIQUE ABOUT BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CANTON?
Part of what I'm interested in, aside from telling a good story, is conjuring up a little local mythology, and those of you who buy in above the minimum are going to have a hand in helping me create that mythology. You'll place characters, Ohio locations and landmarks, names, and even words into the story. It's my job (and part of the fun) to figure out how those things come into play in a meaningful and cohesive way.
Mythology doesn't come from one person, it rises from a collective consciousness. My collective already includes several Ohio creators who have helped (and will continue to help) conjure up characters, locations, and plot. This project would have never happened without those creators: Ryan Siggelkow, Corey Paulus, Matt Caley, Brenna Caley, and Mitch Caley. They are the world-makers. They are the dreamers of dreams.
Should you choose, you can also become a world-maker. If things go the way I'm hoping, a troupe of Ohio artists will become world-makers as well. This is a grand interactive experiment, an act of creation, and an art party, The basic price of admission is quite reasonable: about the cost of a fancy caffeinated or alcoholic beverage, and, if I may be so bold, is likely to contain more joy and satisfaction per ounce than those similarly priced diversions. I guarantee, at the least, that it will last a lot longer.
So, step right up ladies and gentlemen! Hurry, hurry, hurry. The circus is coming to town. You can watch in safety. Or you can run off and join it, never to be seen again. Follow me, I'm the pied piper. I can't guarantee exactly where we're going to wind up, but I can promise that, as your tour guide, I'll do my best to make sure you have a hell of good time getting there.
I DON'T LIVE IN / HAVEN'T BEEN TO / HAVEN'T HEARD OF OHIO. WHY SHOULD I BE INTERESTED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CANTON?
Excellent question. To which I'll first reply, "Why do you like to read?"
Is it to learn about places you don't live in, haven't been to, haven't heard of? That is why you should be interested.
Is it because you like action, horror, humor, unusual characters, the power of words, the joy of discovering something new? That is why you should be interested.
A location means nothing if it's not populated with interesting characters and punctuated with imaginative dialog and situations. First and foremost, I want to deliver a good story. I'm sure you've enjoyed books, t.v. shows and movies that were set in places you'd never been to, hadn't heard of, or wouldn't even think of visiting unless an old school friend lived there. In those entertainments, you don't know how much of the content is based on reality and how much is made up just because writers like to make things up, and that's mostly irrelevant as long as the characters hook you.
I can tell you this: You might get a little more out of the story if you are familiar with Ohio. There might be some in-jokes you might not get. You might learn a few new things.
Big Trouble in Little Canton is not going to be a history lesson, a geography lesson, or a thinly veiled attempt by the local tourism bureau to drum up business. I mean, the first two locations in the story are a strip club and a fireworks retailer. And if we do get around to visiting some bona fide Ohio landmarks, I'd lay odds something goes down there that will make the tourism bureau cringe.
IS THIS STORY GOING TO HAVE VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND ZOMBIES?
Possibly, possibly, and possibly. But Big Trouble in Little Canton will definitely have snake gods, a dead stripper, an ogre who's also a born-again Christian, and an oni (that's a Japanese demon). Oh, and mouseanthropes. That's right, mouseanthropes. Have you Googled mouseanthropes? Because I just did and got zero hits. Which means props to my co-creator Ryan Siggelkow. Because if you can't find a word on the Internet, it means you must have invented it.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN "NOTHING EVER HAPPENS IN OHIO. NOTHING GOOD ANYWAY"?
It's a joke about an attitude that exists about Ohio, even though I don't happen to agree with it.
It felt honest and fun to start with that stereotype, and then tweak it to fit my fiction.
Big Trouble in Little Canton won't be a fawning love-letter to Ohio, but it won't be a smear campaign either.
Over a period of two years, you can get up to ten different postcards in the mail, featuring Ohio locations. The postcards will be addressed to you by characters in Big Trouble in Little Canton. Say, for example, that the picture on the front is of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the back, a character from Big Trouble in Little Canton will clue you into the supernatural underbelly of that place. The things that only the locals-in-the-know know about, and most won't dare speak of. Things you won't find in Frommer's or Fodor's or AAA. Things that, if you talk about them, the MIBs from the Ohio Tourism Bureau will show up at your house to shut you up.
These postcards will be hand-written and hand-addressed to you (or to an address of your choosing). I think it's important that they not be mass produced. My co-creators and I will risk carpal tunnel for accuracy and quality. When appropriate and possible, the postcards will be written out by the person who has created the character.
The locations on the postcards may or may not become part of the story itself. Their primary function is to flesh out the world in which Big Trouble in Little Canton takes place.
That will largely be up to those funding this project.
I see two possible ends of the spectrum: 1) Art is just a small part of Big Trouble in Little Canton, a handful of artworks to spice things up. 2) The art becomes such an overwhelming part of Big Trouble in Little Canton that you can barely get through a page of the story without seeing another arresting illustration or photograph.
At the one end of the spectrum, I will be happy and satisfied. At the other end of the spectrum, I will be ecstatic that the scope of Big Trouble in Little Canton has become so vast. Anything in between those two extremes will be more than copasetic to me.
If you choose to become a patron of a particular artist, you'll not only be showing that artist some serious love, you'll also become one of the world-makers of Big Trouble in Little Canton. You'll help guide what we focus on, and, as a wise Jedi once said, your focus determines your reality. You'll get to choose a passage, character, or location from Big Trouble in Little Canton for your artist to illustrate.
Also, if you choose an Art Reward Tier, you should know that the lion's share of that will go directly to the artist. Just five dollars of that will cover the time spent doing the logistical work it takes to make sure that the art is cohesively and quickly integrated into a monthly electronic "issue" of Big Trouble in Little Canton.
I realize that doing the art in an ala carte fashion like this isn't ideal on some levels, but I needed a way to include the large variety of artists I was interested in a way that was low-risk to the artist, and in a way that each artist could set their own prices, terms, and level of involvement.
If you are very passionate about art being a big part of this project, or about a particular artist, I urge you to fund your favorite artist. If the price seems steep, chip in with a friend or two. Also, look at the reward tiers called VOTING FOR ARTISTS and STUFFING THE ARTIST'S BALLOT BOX, and the add-on TIP THE ARTIST, specifically for those who are interested in supporting a particular artist but can't afford to commission an entire artwork themselves.
Backstage is for those who want their experience to be more interactive than simply receiving each installment of Big Trouble in Little Canton. They'll have access to story content months in advance, and be the people who, if they so choose, assist me in avoiding stupid narrative, continuity, or grammatical mistakes as I electronically publish monthly installments of a story that's still in the making.
Backstage is also the primary mechanism that Art Reward patrons will use to help make the world in their own image. It's their job to "read ahead" by several months so that, when they see a passage, character, or location they want their artist to illustrate, I have enough time to make the assignment, coordinate with the artist, and integrate the art into the text.
Backstage at this point is likely to be Dropbox, because it's an easy and free way for me to share content electronically before it becomes finalized.
DOES THE OHIO TOURISM BUREAU REALLY EMPLOY MEN IN BLACK TO SILENCE THOSE WHO HAVE EVIDENCE WHICH COULD NEGATIVELY AFFECT TOURISM?
That's just a rumor. I'm pretty sure it's just a rumor. No evidence exists to support such a claim. If you have evidence to support such a claim, do not contact the Ohio Tourism Bureau.
100 backers – If we reach 100 backers, the first 100 backers will receive a bonus Postcard from the Heart of Darkness. The bonus postcard will probably not be handwritten, but I have something fun in mind for this. International Backers please add a dollar to your pledge if you wish to receive this.
$1500 - Art Rewards Unlocked!
$3000 – Backers will collectively choose a Northeast Ohio location to be featured in Big Trouble in Little Canton - UNLOCKED!
$3250 – All backers with a US area code will (if they so choose) receive a phone call from the Ohio Tourism Bureau.- UNLOCKED!
$3500 – The author will commission an additional piece of original art for Big Trouble in Little Canton. - UNLOCKED!
$3750 – All backers will receive at least one e-mail from the Ohio Tourism Bureau.
$4000 – The author will commission an additional piece of original art for Big Trouble in Little Canton.
$4500 – There will be a special Big Trouble in Little Canton event. All backers will be invited.
$5000 – The author will commission an additional piece of original art for Big Trouble in Little Canton.
$5500 – The author will commission an additional piece of original art for Big Trouble in Little Canton.
$6000 – Every backer will get an audio book version of Big Trouble in Little Canton.
POSTCARDS FROM THE HEART OF DARKNESS - Can also be purchased by adding to your pledge - $4 per postcard, or $35 for ten. Each additional postcard after 10 is $3.50. Or get all 30 Postcards from the Heart of Darkness for $100. International backers please add $1 per postcard.
BACKSTAGE PASS - Add $5 to your pledge.
GET A FRIEND INTO BIG TROUBLE - Add $5 per friend. They'll get BIG TROUBLE delivered to them electronically.
TIP THE ARTIST - Money will go into the art budget to commission works from the artist or artists you specify.
TIP THE AUTHOR - Just a reminder that even an extra dollar or two is greatly appreciated.
ART COMMISSION ADD-ON - Available only to those who have pledged NAME-DROPPING, LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION, or CHARACTER BUILDING. Add a dollar amount to your pledge equal to a limited Art Reward Tier featuring the artist of your choice. Then message me so I can check to make sure that the artist you want is available to take the extra art assignment. Yes, this means that you can add a character or location to the story and then guarantee that art featuring your character or location will be in the story.
PERSON OF INTEREST - add 13 dollars or more to your pledge: The Ohio Tourism Bureau will take a special interest in you. The more you pledge, the more they will interfere in your daily existence. Frankly, I recommend that you do not choose this add-on. I have no idea what will happen if you choose this add-on. I cannot and will not be responsible for the consequences. Just remember, I warned you.
11X14 EXTREMELY LIMITED EDITION OCTAVIA PRINT - Add $25 to your pledge. $40 for international backers. The limited edition is one Megan Mars is cooking up especially for Big Trouble In Little Canton. She says: "It will be an edited, darker and creepier version of Octavia. Perhaps a whole different color scheme also."
8X10 ART PRINTS - $13, or 3 for $30 (they don't have to be 3 different ones).
Risks and challenges
I think I've covered several of these in the sections above, but:
1) In case you aren't familiar with Kickstarter, if I don't reach my funding goal, you will get your money back (or, rather, your credit card will never be charged), so don't worry on that front.
2) There is risk inherent in starting any story when there are several unknowns at the outset. Characters and locations are going to be added to the story by you. I'm not sure exactly how this is going to end. I'm not sure how long the story will be when it does end. I'm not sure how much art is going to be in Big Trouble in Little Canton. These are all things I'll have to deal with on the fly. But solving problems like that is as much a creative reward as it is a risk. Because necessity is a real mother.
3) There are unforeseen things that could throw off my release schedule for each installment of Big Trouble in Little Canton. I've tried to build in some safety net for that: promising only 10 installment a year, even though it's possible I might manage to make it monthly; being conservative about what portion of the story I release each time, to give myself breathing room in case of emergencies.
4) The biggest risk, for the both of us, is that you won't like Big Trouble in Little Canton. Part of the reason for the BACKSTAGE PASS is to help ensure that I don't lose perspective, and that I deliver on what I've promised.
5) Learning things about Ohio that mankind was not meant to know.
- (43 days)