Milestone

I haven’t finished Script Frenzy yet, but I’ve finished the first issue in comic book series I’m writing. It’s not the end but it’s an end and it’s a pretty damn satisfying.

I’m also ahead of where I wanted to be for the day, so I took some hands-off-the-keyboard time and went to read some of the scripts I had, which the writers had posted online at various times for issues of comics I own. It’s amazing to see all the beats that these pros hit when they’re scripting an issue–all the little ways that they pace a story and bring it to life, all the little details and cues that they hide. It’s the sort of thing I wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate if I hadn’t been doing it myself, and doing it poorly. More and more I’m seeing all the little things I’m doing wrong with my script, but spotting those mistakes is the first step towards doing it right.

One of the things I’m picking up on, the sort of thing that probably comes more naturally with experience, is the use of space. I’ve been playing around a lot with the number of panels per page, and the size of the panels, since this is what provides the pace in a graphic novel, but I’ve noticed that I generally avoided putting a conversation between two people in the same panel. As a writer of prose, you have no choice but to focus on one thing at a time. If someone’s talking in a novel, you can’t interleave someone else’s dialogue into the middle of it. If you’re looking in a particular direction, you can’t also be looking in a different one as well. In a graphic novel, it’s perfectly normal, and often desirable, to represent a portion of a conversation between two or more people in a single panel, with two different sets of dialogue balloons, but it’s the sort of thing I had to notice, and then train myself to do because it goes against the nature of everything else I’ve ever written.

So, still writing. Still learning. Best of all, still having fun. It’s wonderful to have a story fall together as well as this one.

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