kreativedragon asked: I'm a novelist by nature, but after following you and your wife for a while now I have been deeply inspired. So... Do you have any advice on where/how to learn to write comic books? It seems like a foreign format to me, and I'm sort of scared.
well… there’s no Right Way, there’s no One Way, there’s no rules. There’s just what works for you to best communicate to your artist. Nobody but they will read your script, remember. So writing with someone in mind is a huge asset.
It’s all just choices. Boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes. Moment, Frame, Image, Flow, Word. Beats, Actions, Subjects, Scenes, Aspects, Imagery. Why does Box A work beside Box B? What do boxes A-F mean for Box Zero, the page itself? What about this page and the next? And the next? And a hundred pages from now?
Here’s an exercise: find a comic you love, find a comic you hate, find a comic you are utterly bored by. Sit with them open beside you. Write a script backwards out of it. What words do you have to put on a page to communicate what, say, Frank Miller communicated to David Mazzuchelli to get whatever panel of BATMAN YEAR ONE on the page? Write a script out of a finished book you love.
Then out of the one you hate. What does it teach you? Do you feel sympathy, empathy? Do you feel superior, do you feel angry? Write it well. Write it as best you can. Where these choices made or were they arbitrary.
Find the boring one. Why did it bore you? Can you write the script so it’s exciting? Watch this — add exclamation points after every sentence! The tone changes — completely! It’s almost a trick! It’s obscene and unfair! And yet there you go! What if you go back to the script you hated… and replaced all the periods with exclamation points?!? I bet the script reads totally different!
Write them all as long as you need to; maybe try using every word you can. Don’t worry about how long your manuscript gets, just go, make sure you’ve covered ever option.
Now maybe use as FEW as possible. What Would Cormac McCarthy do? What Would Amy Hempel do?
Now just make it a list. Like you’re shopping.
And then maybe try just playing with making your own stuff up. the paper’s not precious — write long, write short, just write. Write for an artist that’s smarter and better than you, that’s the real secret. The rest is just hard work and practice and thought and choice.
Reblogging for obvious reasons. The exclamation mark thing ALONE is gold. Punctuation is an insanely useful tool and not just for dialogue.
These gentlemen speak the truth.
I can’t tell you how the tone changes using exclamation points. I’m generally against using them. This advice is also the process that I followed years and years ago. I forget who told me to do this, I think it was David Gallaher, writer of the fantastic High Moon, one of the many pioneers in digital comics.
Straight from Danger Diabolik: Apocalypse-Ready Cabin Built on Top of Missile Silo is for Sale in Saranac, NY.
Yeah, this is right down the road from me.
I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?What is true for writing and for love relationships is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know where it will end. — Michel Foucault, via Ryu, and that is true because through writing (and love) we get to look back on how far we’ve progressed.
(Source: no-taboo, via shaped-by-karate)
In memoir, you have to be the person put down on a specific landscape making your way without benefit of hindsight. You also have to be a wiser narrator, but not such a wise narrator that you’re standing on the cliffs of old age throwing rocks at the kid running across the plain. That’s a tricky balance. But it’s the requirement of writing memoir, to try to be all of that. Try not to take it so seriously. So that you assume it’s not the last utterance in a life; it’s just another utterance, and there will be more. — Bill Ayers on The Rumpus.
Last week in Michigan, I was really excited to be in a comics store. Finding one in anything less than an hour’s drive in the Adirondacks is a tall order.
Avenger’s Christmas Annual #1. You know what you want to do? Click through that image for a preview.
Kathryn Immonen and David LaFuente back together again is math I don’t have to do. It just works and I needs it my precious.
Happy birthday dude. Thanks for the sex crimes, ya girl Tong, and for giving people a reason to not go ‘really?' when I tell them Hawkeye is my favorite superhero.
Happy birthday, Matt. You’re a great dude. Hope your day is fantastic.