Thoughts on Comic Writing Process

I am learning more about writing every day and I’m trying not to over analyse or stop making progress. 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 my Jack Astro comic 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.

Method

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, where they are going to, what are their aims and goals etc.

You can then build a cast around the main character that will interact with them in interesting ways. Pretty soon you will be imagining key interactions that these characters would have and they begin writing the story themselves.

Scenes

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.

As you build upon these moments and interactions you will more clearly define the character and it will become easier to define your story. You discover what the story is about like an archaeologist finds bones. He then 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, and with one key piece it becomes clear how the skeleton is constructed. Then you can re-build it and find it’s true form.

Wow, that was a good analogy. I’m gonna run with that!

My Comic Book

I’ve drafted the whole book and have scripted dialogue too but this is all slowly being refined and tweaked as I finish the comic 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.)