This is an unusual Sunday here at Elephant Words. It’s the first since the beginning of the site not to feature a new image to spark the imagination of the writers.
The site has been running since July 2007, and it’s probably the creative endeavour that I have been most proud of in my life – unless we’re counting fatherhood as a creative endeavour, which would be a bit pedantic of us.
Elephant Words started from a relatively simple seed. I wanted to write more, and needed motivation. I realised that the easiest way to trick myself would be to get other people involved, make a commitment together, and let guilt fuel me.
It really worked!
I’ve done a lot of writing that I think is pretty great because of Elephant Words. But I’m more proud of the writers who’ve written for the site.
Experienced authors and nervous beginners. Prolific, motivated folk, and people like me who were incredibly grateful for the nudge. Already established creators, and people on their way to actual writing careers.
A few old friends, and a whole bunch of strangers, many of whom are now close pals as well.
The site runs on a pretty unusual – probably unique – engine; six writers on the roster at a time, and six week schedules that give each writer a different length deadline each week. It’s probably not obvious to most readers of the site how odd that is, but it makes for an exciting writing challenge, and it gives the work of the writers a really interesting energy.
But the truth is that it’s become more and more difficult to keep people working to that schedule. Mainly, life and other projects have made it more difficult for me to pay as much attention to the site as I’d like, and that unique engine has faltered due to poor maintenance.
SO – a sad end, and a new beginning. Elephant Words is going to take it’s first proper holiday – probably only a couple of weeks, but after eight years, that’s a big deal. And when it comes back, it’ll be with a simpler writing engine, and a bit more energy!
I want to offer a huge personal thanks to everyone who’s been involved with the site, writing and reading, and who has supported me during it – mainly my wife Amy, who had only known me for about a year before I embarked on this project, and has been incredible throughout.
And also a special thanks to both Andrew Cheverton – one of my oldest friends and one of the best writers I’ve read, who was a sounding board for me when I was first coming up with the site, and was also the first person to commit to writing for it – and George London – who I’ve known his entire life, and who has been my partner in crime within our family, and also more recently in the running of the site, as well as writing the final piece.
Elephant Words has hit the end of another six-week stretch, just a few days after entering it’s third calendar year!
2008 was a great year for the site, with hundreds of awesome pieces of writing from more than a dozen damn fine writers. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the superb standard set at the site, and to our readers!
We’re starting – well, almost starting – 2009 with a bit of a roster change here at EW.
First up, Andrew Cheverton and Dan Lester will each be taking a well-earned holiday from the site.
Andrew Cheverton is one of the site’s founding contributors, and a driving force behind the site’s creation. He’s also the writer of several awesome comics, most notably the epic Western series, “West”.
You can lavish adoration and attention on Mr Cheverton at Angrycandy.co.uk.
Dan Lester has been writing for the site since July 08, and his contributions have always been excellent, often irreverent, and sometimes just dang confusing.
He is the creator of several comics and videos and such, and can be found at MonkeysMightPuke.com.
Thanks for all the great work, gentlemen, and we hope we’ll meet again, some sunny day!
But as we say goodbye to these two great writers, we welcome two brand new recruits to the intense story-generator that is Elephant Words.
Bridgeen Gillespie is a comic writer/artist and illustrator, and is the creator of “Mr Maximo & Rabbit”. You can find out more about her at koniption.blogspot.com.
Suzi Rose is as yet, a mystery wrapped in an enigma. She is also a darn fine writer.
Bridgeen’s first post on the site will go live on Tuesday, and Suzi provides this week’s Sunday image, and will be posting next Saturday. Please remember to drop by and say hello in the comments to their posts, and give them both a warm welcome!
And remember, you can contribute by writing your own stories based on the weekly Elephant Images and telling us about them, or just showing your appreciation in the comments sections of the daily posts!
Happy New Year, everyone… And happy reading and writing in 2009!
Ladies and gentlemen, please raise a glass to send off the outgoing Elephant Contributors, and see in the new ones.
Many thanks to Chris Beckett and Monk Eastman for ably contributing to the site for the past six weeks. They have both written some awesome work, and it was good to have two of the site’s earliest supporters on the roster.
And thanks, also, to Xander Bennett.
Xander is officially the longest serving writer on the website, having been a founding contributor, and never having taken a break. His leaving should be considered an historic event. Xander has consistently brought excellent pieces to the site, and I hope he will take as much away from the experience as he has brought to our readers and his fellow contributors. I’m certainly going to miss him, and hope we’ll be able to get him back for guest spots in the future.
Also, we welcome two new writers to the site.
Lee “Budgie” Barnett is a veteran writer of flash fiction, having gained a large following for the flash fiction challenge pieces that he has put up on his LiveJournal site – and in some ways, his work there served as part of the inspiration for the creation of Elephant Words, so it is a great pleasure, after having him provide a guest piece this week, to have him along for the next six weeks.
Also new to the site is Matthew Hartwell – Matthew responded to an open call for contributors at Panel And Pixel, and the sample pieces he sent over were incredibly fresh and imaginative, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he writes for us.
Budgie’s first EW piece as a full contributor will be posted on Wednesday 10th September, with Matthew’s debut following on Thursday. Please make sure to read and comment, by way of warm welcome!
Oh, and I’ll be back on Monday. But that’s not as big news as the others.
Thanks again to all of the outgoing and incoming – and continuing – writers! It’s a great pleasure and privilege working with you all.
This week at Elephant Words sees the biggest change around thus far in the writing roster, as we take our first birthday as an opportunity to shift things around.
First up, we say goodbye to three of the site’s founding contributors:
Josh Hechinger, our very own Young American, is moving on to free up more time for his many other writing projects. First and foremost a comic creator, Josh has used EW as a way of flexing his prose muscles, and his pieces have always been energetic and with added AWESOME!
Rol Hirst has strayed away from the site before, but finds it difficult to stay away from EW for too long, so I shan’t eulogise him too much, beyond saying that I don’t think he has written a single dud piece, though he will almost certainly argue this. With any luck he will take his time away to work on projects that will show everyone else what the readers and writers here already know; that he is a great writing talent, and he should already be being interviewed about his latest novel on Richard And Judy’s sofa.
(Mainly because, you know, he’d hate it.)
Douglas Noble was already a critically acclaimed and hard-working writer and sometime comic artist when he took on EW, and this last year has only seen him get busier. He has treated EW as an opportunity to workshop ideas, and his writing has always been thoughtful, literate and brilliant. Knowing Douglas, he probably has big plans for the future.
All three writers will be missed incredibly. Quite honestly, the site couldn’t have existed, or have been as creatively successful as it has been, without all of their work and commitment, and I hope that they will stick around to see what happens next.
Nicolas Papaconstantinou (that’s me) will also be taking a six week break from contributing to the site, to recharge his batteries.
To take over from the outgoing writers, we are welcoming some familiar faces, as well as some altogether new blood:
Chris Beckett has been supporting the site from the very first week, and has regularly contributed pieces to the forum area. He is a versatile and talented writer who has found himself quite busy in the last few months, so we are very lucky to have him for the next six weeks.
Andrew Cheverton, comic writer and artist extraordinaire, is another founding writer at the site, and is making a welcome return for a six week stint, starting today. Andy was a prime mover in encouraging and helping me to put together the site in the first place, and he tends to use EW as an excuse to write outside his comfort zone, so it is always cool to see what he comes up with. When his work thrills you, you stay thrilled for a while.
Monk Eastman is the talent behind the shared-world flash-fiction site “50 Years From Now”, and he has very kindly agreed to fill-in at EW for the next month and a half. His writing at 50YFN is pretty smart and rich stuff, so it should be interesting seeing what he does with the lunacy that is the EW schedule.
And finally, we welcome Dan Lester as our new regular contributor. Dan is a bit of a guerilla creative, using his website and small-press comic Monkeys Might Puke to showcase his slightly lunatic short movies, comics and other shenanigans. I have literally no idea what his contributions to the site are going to be like, and that is pretty exciting all by itself.
Thanks again to all of the outgoing contributors for their stellar work, and to all of the incoming writers, we look forward to seeing what you can do!
And to all of our readers, because we know that you’re out there, thanks for reading. Remember, if you like what we’re doing here at Elephant Words, please give us feedback, either in the forum or the comments, or if you’re a bit shy, by using the ratings. And if you fancy a go at making something up after seeing one of the pictures, well, what’s stopping you? We’d love to see what you come up with!
Today, we say goodbye to one of our founding Elephant Words contributors, and at the same time say hello again to another.
Andrew Cheverton has decided to take some time out to devote himself more fully to some comic projects that are close to his heart.
Chev has been with the site since way before launch, and in fact Elephant Words may not have happened if, over a couple of phone calls and trips out for coffee, he hadn’t offered words of enthused encouragement when the idea first started buzzing around in my head.
Chev’s writing has a versatility and class to it that will be missed. He has approached every week as an excercise in delivering quality work, and has put an awful lot of time and effort into making his pieces interesting, and I think it shows. We look forward to seeing what he gets up to, and hope he’ll still drop in and read the site, and won’t stay away as a contributor for long.
Taking on Chev’s slot, at least for the next six weeks, is Rol Hirst. Regular readers will notice that Rol returns only six weeks after taking a break from contributing, and we’re incredibly grateful that he’s back to take on the Elephant challenge.
Rol was another of the founding writers on the site, and his work is always funny, always smart, and often incredibly insightful. He’s also one of the most supportive and generous of the writers we have here, and it’s great to have him back, for however long we get him!
Good luck Chev, and welcome back Rol!
Elephant Words contributor and all round nice guy, Josh Hechinger, has a comic book coming out in a couple of months.
It’s a Western, written by Josh, and drawn by mpMann, and it’s looking pretty sweet.
Following Josh, you’d think that he’s obsessed with frenetic, Asian influenced action, but Grave Doug has a nice authentic Western voice to it that I’m sure you’ll all dig.
The Grave Doug Freshley #1- Previews order code – FEB083472 (I’ve left it a bit late, but your local comic shop should still be able to order that baby for you)
This week’s image is up, and another round of daily burst fiction starts here at Elephant Words, beginning a new six-week run that, for the first time, sees a new writer added to the roster.
After an intensive audition period, during which all of the proffered stories were rated by the readers and ruminated over by the EW writers, site creator Nick Papaconstantinou has made the decision to offer the unenviable task of replacing departing writer Rol Hirst to David Baillie, whose story Broke Down? Again? is available to read (or reread) here.
David will literally fill Rol’s place in the schedule, with his first story posting on Friday the 15th of February. For a taster of his work, David’s website features a large selection of his comics and prose.
Our thanks to all of those who sent in their audition pieces; we hope that you will continue to read and enjoy the site, and perhaps contribute future stories in the Forums.
It goes without saying that everybody here at Elephant Words wishes Rol all the best with his future writing endeavors, and that one of those will include a return here as soon as he is able. Naturally, his website will continue to offer readers the opportunity to read his work, as well as updates on his new writings and publications.
In the meantime, the stories start here again tomorrow.