So, after a bit of time away from the process, this weekend saw me make some progress on The Project. I realized that I had too many things fragmented, scattered in several places, both physically and in my mind. This means that when I come to pick up where I left off (and breaks from it – sometimes long ones – are necessary since I have my Physics Professor gig which is first and foremost, you understand…) it can take all the available time to get back into the saddle since I am pulling the fragments back into foreground. So I’ve decided to sharpen up the process a bit and try harder to send clear notes and assignments to myself in the future. For example, as writer, I need to prepare things so that they are in a good final state with clear conventions in a full script, so that when I come to it later as penciller, I’ve got all I need to get stuck in and move things along, sending messages along to future me at the next step, and so on. It means I’ve got to do less of the business of leaving things un-fleshed out because I think I’ll do that bit at a later stage – That later stage might be months down the line, and by then I’d have forgotten the core of the idea that I was going to build in at that point… You get the idea.
So my task for the next several sessions is to turn all the stories I’ve written so far into full scripts, and finish the bits that are unfinished in each one. What do I mean by full script? Well, over the last two years I’ve done a lot of it in notebooks and in pages files on the computer, but not consistently, as I’ve a bad habit of geting bored with the process and itching to draw… A full script is a bit like a screenplay, or a play. You might have seen them for those art forms, but not realized that graphic novels have them too. For a graphic novel (for my purposes at least) it is a lot more detailed since I am also designing all the layouts and using a visual vocabulary right up front as well. (So I describe all the panels each page has, and what is happening in each panel, and who says what, and so forth. Some graphic novel scripts are not as hugely detailed as mine since the writer is leaving it up to their collaborator, the artist, to make lots of layout and framing decisions. But I’m my own artist and so I get to build those decisions in at the writing stage, which I hope will strengthen what I’m doing…but the point here is to get them into the script clearly for when I come back to do the next stage.) In the process I am also doing thumbnail sketches that will be the basis of the full page design when I come to it later as penciller/inker/colourist/letterer, the other traditional roles in this type of (usually collaborative) endeavour. See above for some, and earlier posts on how the transition from thumbs to finished page can happen..
On Sunday I turned all of one of my stories into a fully written script, with all the thumbnails I need done. I like the result a lot. I’ve been playing with some free scripting software to ease the process of working in all the tabbing and formatting that is visually helpful on organizing the script pages, saving a lot of time, and providing a bunch of other useful features such as globally tracking characters, locations, etc. I’ll probably get Final Draft at some point (there are other projects that sometimes call for it, especially when there are collaborators) but for this solo project I am using the rather good Celtx, which is free (for the basic version, which is more or less all I need).
Time to start on another!