My main fiction writing these days is slowly chipping away at the final script draft and layouts of WHERE YOU BELONG, the long(er)-form comic project I’ve been brewing and working on for the past year. Figured I’d throw something together for those interested in just how I’m doing it.
The whole first script draft is done in these little faux-Moleskine notebooks I get for cheap, rough dialogue and direction as well as page layout. Pretty much everything I’ve ever worked with starts on paper in a notebook, I very rarely start straight at the computer. I remember hearing Ed Brubaker talk about how when he first started just writing comics instead of writing and drawing, he’d put rough layout “maps” of how he thought the page should look at the bottom of each one for the artist to reference. From what he said, the artist hated it, but for me, it definitely helps since I’m only doing it for myself.
The next draft of each chapter (I’m actually working in chunks of two to four chapters at a time) get polished and redone onto the computer. I use Evernote to write and cloud-store a lot of stuff these days, I can access it from my phone too, which is good. This is where I expand on stuff, change things, etc. The computer draft is the final draft of the script in terms of dialogue and page layout (some pages take longer to crack than others).
In terms of “thumbnails,” I take copy paper and turn it sideways, getting a 1/3 to 1/2-sized version of a page to figure out panel borders, dialogue bubbles, bleed, etc. I can crank through these real quick, I use a pencil and some Sharpies, and it helps to visualize how the story is going so far. Some of these thumbnails are detailed, some are super-rough, it depends on whether or not the page has a lot going on.
My comic art is simple panel-wise compared to other stuff, but this is still the most ambitious comic thing I’ve done so far.
From these, I’m going to work towards final pages, so this way when it comes time for the final pages, I’ll have a final script draft plus the page layout guides.
Blogging about it (blogging and posting something on a semi-regularly basis in general) helps to keep me on track with getting anything done as well as feeling some level of productivity as writer. I like to say I’m of the school that as long as you do something every day, that’s what counts, and you have to try to do it every day in some fashion. Then again, I also want to only work on my own terms and at my own pace, so what you get is bits and pieces done whenever I have the time and energy (but I’m not dedicating that time and energy to other things, because I’m only human).
Whatever, I had a point when I posted this. WHERE YOU BELONG will probably start appearing in some fashion in 2016, most likely online in a serialized fashion.