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GregF's Blog


Havin' A Heat Wave

Posted by GregF , Aug 03 2006 · 945 views

Almost too hot to write here in sunny CT ...

Started BL #7 today -- I want to spend some of it dealing with an issue that has been brought up a few times lately, namely why don't Toa kill their enemies? And is that a reasonable stance to take when you are fighting for the safety of millions? Is the code of the Toa important, or is it outmoded when you are up against beings like the Piraka? (It's more fun to write if the books aren't just plot, but actually are ABOUT something.)

Some really exciting plans in the pipeline for 2007 and 2008. BIONICLE will get a big push from LEGO again next year, as it did this year, so the company is still solidly behind it. (Now the fans just need to be ...)



Off To San Diego

Posted by GregF , Jul 16 2006 · 1,032 views

Last blog entry before heading to San Diego on Wednesday --

This weekend was my birthday, so I have been mainly staying away from the keyboard and trying to chill, since I know next weekend will be insane (Comic-Con always is). There is no tired like San Diego tired ...

Had a really great BIONICLE business team meeting on Friday, to discuss 2007 and start talking about 2008. This is very different from the story team -- it's a US-only group, consisting of the Brand Director, Brand Manager, Assistant Brand Manager, PR, co-promotions, in-store, Sales, Shop At Home, Brand Manager Community, licensing, art, and myself representing both the story team and the LEGO Magazine. We talked about strengths and weaknesses of the line, and any challenges we felt would need to be overcome going forward. Everything I have heard from everyone is that barring some sudden and unexpected sales collapse, BIONICLE is in no danger of going away -- but we still need to take steps to keep it fresh and to appeal to new fans. What today's 9 year old expects from a line and from media is very different from what a 9 year old five years ago expected.

One of the nice things about the meeting was that I got to read a little of the first chapter of BL #6 to the group, which was fun and sparked a few ideas among the group. Nothing I can share yet, but still kind of cool.

Those of you who have received your July magazines already will have seen the teaser ads for "Free the Band" -- the big national BIONICLE promotion this year. I don't have a ton of details on this yet, but I do know the prizing for it is awesome.

Hope to see some of you in San Diego!



July 1st

Posted by GregF , Jul 01 2006 · 1,369 views

Still at work on the Atlas -- just finishing the chapter on Roodaka's island, which is my favorite part so far.

Got a nice surprise the other day -- BIONICLE Adventures novels in Russian! (At least, I think it was Russian -- we thought it might be Greek at first, but then someone told us no, it was Russian.)

Time to take a break from writing, play some World of Warcraft, and then take my wife up to the mall for some shopping. Tomorrow is more writing, Monday is another outing, and then Tuesday I have to revise the EXO-FORCE book. So keeping busy!

Couple of notes -- there is a BIONICLE co-promotion planned for the fall, more on that when I get it. And the big national BIONICLE promotion/contest gets announced in the July magazine and comic book, and starts in August. Not THAT clear on the details yet, but the prizing is pretty cool -- and different, not the same thing we always do.

Oh, and another question today -- what kind of BIONICLE content would you like to see in LEGO Magazine? Are there behind the scenes things you would like to know, or building tips, or anything like that? We have an opportunity to do some more substantial articles for the mag, so I would be interested in your opinions.



News And Notes

Posted by GregF , Jun 24 2006 · 1,281 views

Hey guys,

Just some more tidbits from the world of BIONICLE --

-- Comic #3 is finally done and releasing to the printer on Monday. It is a little behind schedule, but through no fault of Stuart's or DC's -- we had a hold-up getting them sets they needed for art reference, so it threw things behind. Overall, though, it may be the best issue we have ever done -- the writing is better, the art is gorgeous, lots of action. For those of you who have read Book 3, a lot will be familiar, but it is still neat seeing what Stuart does it.

-- Getting all set for Comic-Con. My wife is going to come out with me, though not sure how much she will be at the booth (she may just explore San Diego while I am working smile.gif ) The con is always fun, but exhausting!

-- BIONICLE Atlas is humming along -- just about to explode a revelation about the Mana Ko you didn't see coming smile.gif The book is going to feature maps and original art by LEGO illustrators Jeremy Brazeal, Toby Dutkiewicz, and John McCormack -- Toby is working on an illo of Karzahni (from BL #2) right now!

-- Next story meeting is tentatively set for August, hopefully in the US. With Leah back and some shifts around in personnel, it is going to take a little bit for the team to gel again. But I think we will slowly get things moving in the right direction again.

-- Everyone is anxiously waiting to see how the Toa Inika do in stores. The Piraka have been a step in the right direction; now we need the Inika to keep the momentum going into 2007. When you have been out for six years, stores can be very quick to decide the line is dead if you get a release that doesn't do well. So we need the Inika to outsell the Visorak.

-- And finally, a question -- outside of BZP, do you talk about BIONICLE or LEGO building with anyone else?



Notes From Billund

Posted by GregF , Jun 16 2006 · 1,277 views

One more day left in my BIONICLE week in Billund, and thought I would share some notes:

-- Piraka are doing very well, outselling the Toa Hordika and Visorak from 2005. Everyone is very pleased about that.
-- Saw the first Toa Inika commercials yesterday, which were just great. Very different, but still true to the feel of the characters and what they can do.
-- Got some details on some big promotions and some big web news you will be hearing about in the coming weeks.
-- Saw the whole range of 2007 sets for the first time -- they blow away anything ever done for BIONICLE, individually and as a group. The most differentiated sets we have ever done, they make the 2001 Toa look like clone sets. I was impressed with the Piraka when I first saw them, but if the 2007 sets are a sign of the future of BIONICLE, the future seems very bright.
-- Lots of story discussion on Wednesday. As usual, the story team fought a lot smile.gif Wouldn't be a story meeting if we didn't, because everyone involved in BIONICLE gets very passionate about it.
-- Found out that as of the end of 2005, over 600,000 BIONICLE books have been sold and 11 were on Barnes and Noble's Top 500 list. Sales are a wee bit softer this year, which is to be expected after a series has been running this long -- but the books are now making it into more places, like Spain and France, with activity books slated for a lot of other places -- so go buy books smile.gif



Off To Denmark!

Posted by GregF , Jun 10 2006 · 505 views

I leave on Tuesday for Billund, Denmark for BIONICLE meetings -- one afternoon of 2007-2008 story meeting, and two days of what we call "big bang" meetings where we talk with all the reps from the different market areas. Hopefully, they will be productive meetings and everyone will come out of them excited about BIONICLE 2007. (They have even asked me to read part of BIONICLE #6 there.)

After I am back, it is a month home and then off to Comic-Con in July. Fortunately, EXO-FORCE #3 is almost done, so I can start work on the atlas while I am in Denmark.



Quick Note On Writing ...

Posted by GregF , May 29 2006 · 1,032 views

Bink posted in my last entry asking whether the time I spend on a book includes outline and plotting as well as the actual writing.

Answer is basically no, because I do not outline my books. I don't want to know what is going to happen ahead of time, it gets boring then. I like to be as surprised as my readers when the pieces fall together. That is how I have always written, dating back to when I first started -- I avoid outlines like the plague, I think it robs writing of its spontaneity.




Posted by GregF , May 29 2006 · 925 views

BIONICLE Legends #6: City of the Lost is done and on its way to Scholastic!! Hope folks like it ... it's a little different than the other books I have done, in some respects, but I think it holds together and has a nice cliffhanger ending.

Tomorrow I am in NYC to meet with my editors and brief them on BIONICLE and EXO-FORCE 2007, and discuss some other issues. Then Wednesday I start EXO-FORCE Book 3, which is due in two weeks (and has to get done in less, since I leave for Denmark on the 13th).


More Notes ...

Posted by GregF , May 28 2006 · 794 views

It's looking like Book 6 will need a polish -- need to shift some Matoran roles around and the villains need to be more evil. Unlike some previous years, we are not just abandoning the high priced sets as we enter the new year -- a lot of the summer '06 characters will continue into the '07 story in some way, shape or form, which I think is good for the story and fair to the people who went out and bought the sets.

Just told the BIONICLE bosses in Denmark how this book ends -- hopefully, they will be okay with it. Hard to sit and write sometimes on these beautiful spring days ... but best to do it in the morning, so I am done by the time wife wakes up in case she wants to go out.

Amazing how much we have been able to keep secret this year. There is a LOT BZP doesn't know yet, even about promotions and such this year. I guess unlike a movie year, you don't have a lot of sources for leaks. The movies needed to be promoted, so a lot of info and images had to get out early. I think people are enjoying this year more because they don't know everything already.

Figured out this morning that -- counting novels and anthologies only, not comics or guidebooks -- I have written about 340,000 words of BIONICLE since mid-2003. Kind of scary smile.gif (My wife always gets a laugh when I say something like "Only 6000 words left to do!" on a book.)


First Attempt At Blogging

Posted by GregF , May 27 2006 · 975 views

Saturday morning, and still 6000 words to go on BL #6. Behind schedule, especially with an EXO-FORCE book to be started right after this. Sometimes, when you hit the three-quarter mark, the book picks up speed and finishes itself -- sometimes you are still pushing the ol' sled uphill. smile.gif

Eventful month coming up -- meeting with Scholastic on Tuesday, then off to Billund for BIONICLE meetings, and then a week of LEGO Club meetings. Going to be hard to squeeze writing in with all that. As I always tell people, any day I am not in front of my computer writing is a wasted day.

Other than that, just trying to decide if it makes sense to replace chunks of my comic collection with those new "40 Years of ..." software sets Marvel has come out with. Downside is you have to read them at your computer (they're Adobe PDFs) -- upside is 11 CDs are a lot lighter than two or three long boxes of comics, and I do need to winnow my collection down so it doesn't take up so much space -- space being at a premium since I got married. Anyone own any of the software sets? Any thoughts?