Thoughts on Writing Process
I am learning more about writing every day and I’m trying not to over-analyse and psyche myself out of making progress. Somehow I think a gut feeling and a natural unencumbered approach to writing is what works in terms of being fun to read.
At some point though it’s good to look up and check over what you’ve got and apply some structure and theory to the story.
Chapters 3 and 4 of Jack Astro are complete. I actually drew these chapters first as I knew these scenes would be in the story even if I hadn’t worked out the FULL story yet.
My method – if I have one – is to develop characters first. I will usually come up with a visual (since i’m a cartoonist) then I can think about their backstory, where they came from, are going to, what are their aims and goals etc.
Then you can build a cast around the main character that will bounce off them in interesting ways. Pretty soon you will be imagining key interactions that these characters would have.
So the second thing to develop is scenes. I construct interesting moments that let you discover how the characters might act. In this way you can let the character’s personality/history/goals write the story. And as you build upon these moments and interactions you will more clearly define the character and it will become easier to define your story, and in a way – you discover what the story is about like an archeologist finds bones and constructs what he thinks the dinosaur looks like.
Halfway through you might find a bone that completely changes the structure of the dinosaur. You’ve been trying to fit these bones into the wrong shape but with one key piece it becomes clearer how the skeleton is constructed and you can re-build to find it’s true form.
Wow, that was a good analogy. I’m gonna run with that!
I’ve drafted the whole book and have scripted dialogue too but this is all slowly being refined and tweaked as I finish pages.
The third and fourth chapter have been given a rewrite script wise now that I have a clearer idea of how the characters talk and interact with each other. But the scenes were right. I knew these things would happen in the story. The script is just deciding whether to put scales or feathers on it 🙂
I’m also adding pages here and there to flesh it out now I know how it fits in the full story. I think on the next book I will draft more of the story in rough thumbnails/pencils before committing to finished art but like I say – I’m still learning and refining my process.
I gave myself a deadline of launching the comic online so that I will forge ahead because I could tweak the story forever and it’s important to remember that nothing is perfect and finishing things is the goal. Then you can take what you learned on this and apply it to the next thing (I’ve already got the next project swirling in my head and shouting for attention.)