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Comic scripting - Invisible words? Too many words? Words? (WriteBlog #9)

And now, a change of pace: a blog not about NaNoWriMo. About six blogs ago, I wrote about a bunch of short pitches I was putting together for some comic stories. Well, while I busied myself with bashing out a novel-third in Nov, I also heard that two of those had been accepted. So, yes, if all goes well, two shorts by me will appear in GreyHaven anthologies in the future. Good times.

Now, since I only had to write paragraph-long summaries originally, this news also means I must now write the scripts for both these stories. So, that's been my project since NaNo finished. How's that gone?

I haven't written any comic script since my failed Script Frenzy effort of 2012 (Remember Script Frenzy? Remember the awful portmanteau "screnzy" which used to send a shiver up my spine?) so these muscles have needed to creak back into life. I've read a lot of comics lately at least, so remember how the storytelling works, but describing stuff? In detail? To an actual collaborator? New territory.

Lots of words no-one will ever get to read. Lots of trying to get across what needs to be there without imposing too hard on the artist's freedom to do something interesting with the page. Lots of reading comic scripts and script notes by comics writers online to see if it helps. I don't yet know who the artists will be, so I'm trying to make the script as everyone-friendly as possible.

Trying to also avoid the rookie comics writer's mistake of overloading panels with text, because even if it seems like nothing to me on the script, count up the words and compare them to an existing comics panel and I suddenly realise that, yeah, put those bad boys down in word balloons and the art may as well be a blank space. Which, at least, saves a lot of work by the artist.

So, hard work, new skills. Nonetheless, I still love comics as an art form and the idea of seeing my stories in arted and printed form makes it all seem worthwhile. So I've gotta finish the first one, start the second one... maybe buy some Christmas presents or something too? It's strange new territory, but after burning the candle at both ends prose-wise during NaNo, it's kinda nice to be working in this different structure for a while.


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