JARED GNIEWEK is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in Tales From the Crypt, Earstage, and Audio Movies, and he is former lead vocalist of the band Snaggletooth. He is also the creator of the minicomic project GULP! and the webcomic Gamer’s Guilt. Jared is a karaoke DJ in New York City, and his current webcomic Scary-Oke has appeared online since 2009.

We’re very fortunate here at Gamma Minus to have snagged Jared Gniewek as an author for the upcoming Cold Comfort  audio drama “A Crossfade to Terror”, which takes place within the world of Cold Comfort. Listeners will be able to learn more about the lore of the game and who knows, maybe find an Easter Egg or two ;). A Crossfade to Terror: Episode 1 will be released in the Fall of 2017, so make sure to check back!

CC: How did you decide to become an author? What formats have you worked on?

Jared: I’ve always told stories. Whether through play, drawing, talking, songwriting or structured writing of prose or scripts. It’s just part of me and was never a decision. I’ve been published as a writer of short stories, comics, and audio plays (this one is my third).

CC: How would you describe your style of writing?

Jared: A long gestation of ideas followed by frantic spastic structuring and then a relaxed polishing.

CC: Tell us a little bit about your process.  When do you work? Do you keep a strict schedule?

Jared: No. I work loosely due to my busy work schedule. The hardest part is the earliest stages of getting the ideas to blossom. That’s done constantly as I do other things, the gears are turning for long periods.

CC: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Jared: The work of others. I often like to invert stories or imagine pre existing stories with changes in character actions or settings or subtext. I am often disappointed by overly structured work of Television and Film and try not to give people what they want in a vessel that feels too pandering.

CC: Can you dismiss from your mind whatever project you’re on when you’re away from your computer?
Jared: Never. It’s always on.

CC: Do you do any rewriting as you read up to the place you left off the day before? Or does that come later, when the whole is finished? How much rewriting do you do?

Jared: I do whatever is necessary to make sure the piece and all its wonky components work together and are not at odds with each other and the feel of the whole. I find it’s best to resist overpolishing as you go and it’s better to get a full spine outline, then a full script, and finally a polishing stage done on the entire piece rather than hitting the harsh parts too hard at the front. Better to attack the project holistically if you can.

CC: What’s the weirdest project you’ve been commissioned to do?

Jared: I was hired to illustrate a rather childish comic story with a script that needed so much reworking that I may as well have had a writer credit. It was about a lad who got superpowers from masturbating to National Geographics.

CC: What are the challenges of writing audio dramas compared to graphic novels or other formats?

Jared: Trusting the director to set the mood/setting with sound in such a way as you not having to telegraph every detail of action through dialogue. Showing restraint is where audio drama becomes magical. It’s similar in that you hope the person illustrating your work for a graphic novel or comic is focusing on the action outside the purview of the script. It’s better to enhance than doubly express the same action.

CC: What were your favorite comic books as a kid, and why?

As a kid…Marvel and Batman. I liked the swarthy heroes and their masculine punching of foes. I also liked the ease of obtaining awesome underpants to dress up as these dudes.

CC: Is there a certain genre that you prefer? Is there one that you loathe?

I guess Fantasy in the broadest sense is my bread and butter. Big sloppy full-hearted Fantasy stories are what i like to read and what I like to attempt to produce. I don’t care for most mysteries. I find the act of obfuscation on the part of the writer tends to be inelegant and clunky. I find I can’t enjoy it for what it is and tend to “game” it and attempt to out-think the creator of the work.

SCARY-OKE, scary monsters sing karaoke. What else?

Gamer’s Guilt..we’ve all had it. Amirite?

CC: Are there any authors that you look up to, that have inspired you? Who are they, and why?

Jared: Ray Bradbury, of course, for his lyrical and wistful style. Not to mention the elegant ideas executed to perfection leaving the readers with a sense of completeness in even the shortest stories. Richard Matheson for his subtle hammering of character and motif. Harlan Ellison for his understanding of that dream-place where character and plot intersect naturally with nothing ever feeling forced, though I’m sure he’s rammed plenty of square pegs into round holes in his career, he has direct hard strike that cuts to the quick of the story’s core.

CC: Of course I have to ask this…do you suffer from writer’s block sometimes? If so, how do you deal with it? Any tips for our readers?

Jared: I never suffer from writer’s block. I suffer often from typer’s block. The period of engaging your own headspace is as crucial as every bit of time hammering it into a file. The best way to get working when your ideas aren’t fully gestated is to pick the most fun part, the one you’ve already locked in, and focus on getting it down and then work around it.

CC: How did you approach “A Crossfade to Terror”? Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

Jared: I wanted a pastiche of different characters dealing with different aspects of the world events leading up to the action of the game. I tried to basically build tension with the payoff being the chaos and violence one would expect from this style of play. For that, I dug through the awesome world building files that they had constructed and pulled the bits I found compelling and started assembling sounds which inspired me. Then I made up a bunch of people and had them say stuff.

CC: Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit about your future plans for “A Crossfade to Terror” series?

Jared: Well, I’d love to expand the world a little and tell more stories. I loved that World War Z by Max Brooks for the way he painted a larger picture than the sum of the parts. There are an infinite number of stories one could tell in the context of this richly developed game world. There are many tones that can be hit emotionally in times of chaos.

You can check out some of Jared’s comics here at Scary-Oke and follow him on Google Books or Twitter.

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  1. […] by: Jared Gniewek Cover Art by: Dam Na Sound Design: Craig Owen Directed by: J.J. Costello Starring: Lucia Cifarelli […]

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