I had the opportunity to take part in an unofficial fandom magazine where I was able to write a comic script for the very first time. Another fan, an artist, volunteered to draw the story, if I provided the script.
It was going to be just like a short story, right?
…not so much. Writing comics scripts is an art of its own.
I like to write a lot of internal dialogue. How two characters can interpret the same event differently. How people decide how much of their true selves to show. How characters talk themselves out of–or into–giving in to their impulses. I find it interesting to explore how characters think.
Internal dialogue is a lot harder in comics. I was still able to do some of it, using small narration boxes, but I had to make an effort to put as much as possible into dialogue and visuals so that the artist could show the characters actively doing things.
Speaking of dialogue. Nobody likes word balloons that cover half the panel. To give my artist room to showcase their art (and show what the characters were doing) I had to prune out every non-essential sentence. Then prune again. Is there a phrase that would convey the same meaning as a sentence? A word that would convey the same meaning as a phrase?
“Talking heads” are boring. For every panel, I didn’t just write the dialogue. I also had to describe what the characters would be doing in the panel. Comics rely on the art and the dialogue complimenting one another and telling the story together.
And on the topic of collaboration…someone else was doing the art, and I had to take that person into account, as well.
Come back tomorrow for How Not To Torture Your Artist.