After some brief distractions, I am back writing fiction again. Specifically, working on a short script to submit to 2000AD. They require all writers to start off by writing a five page short. I have nothing better to do, so I decided to take a crack at it. The tentative name for this project is “Star-Crossed.” I don’t reckon it will change, but we’ll see.
All my stories typically start of as a couple sentences or paragraphs on one of my various “idea” documents I have flying around my various computing devices. I then pick one of those little ideas and start brain storming on it. What interesting characters are in this story? What places will they visit? Is there a theme or a message I want to get through? Though I typically don’t write with a message in mind, it usually only appears after I start developing the idea. If you try to hard to have a “message,” it often feels forced and insincere.
Since Star-Crossed is so short, I didn’t really bother outlining the story. Instead I jumped right to a crappy rough layout. Here is an example (now with 100% more pork chop stain!)
This gives me a rough idea and a visual reminder of how many panels are on the page and their general layout. As you can see from this page, a large portion of the content got cut. This is simply for the sake of saving space. This is actually the first page of the story, and in the current draft, it only makes up half of the page. Having only five pages to tell the story, I really had to cut the fat. Speaking of cutting the fat, that stain is from accidentally cutting through both a porkchop and a paper plate. I learned an important lesson about not eating where you shit… wait… I’ve got that wrong…
Anyways, moving on!
Sometimes I will even sketch out a panel to give myself a better idea of what I’m writing. If I do this, it’s usually just a wireframe or stick figure characters and any essential props. This is helpful, because a lot of times when I’m doing a rough layout I get in a hurry and just start filling the frames with sentences or sometimes only a couple words. While that’s okay to get something on the page, sometimes I need a little more. I’m not really a details sort of person, so getting the important stuff on a page in front of me can help ensure I don’t do anything stupid. Here’s a little something I sketched to represent the first panel of the above layout. It’s a little more finished than most panel mock-ups I do, but I just got a new drawing program for my tablet. Wanted to try it out a bit.
Then I just sit down and pound out the script. Then I revise it… then I revise it again. Then I change it from a comic script to a novel… then back to a comic. Then I never submit it anywhere.
And that kids, is how you too can write stories and never get published too!