In my last post, I alluded to some kind of epiphany that helped change the course of my early thinking about my mini comic (I was calling it “Winter Story” at this early stage). Well, it wasn’t really an epiphany so much as a brick wall.
Again, everything sort of happened at once, so I’ll try to break down how the whole thing broke down:
I started getting tighter on my plotting for issue one, typing out what I thought might be some solid panel progressions & realized that, in order to hit the right notes & hit my 8 page mark, I was going to be using material that I thought would have carried me well into issue 2. So my plots, & written breakdowns, were turning out to be worthless.
I also realized that much of what I thought would fill pages in issues 2 & 3 wasn’t really visual – I was writing too much & not connecting it to anything that could be dramatized.
I did some rough thumbnail panel breakdowns for the entire 8 pages, calling out the sequences & blocking. This led to my biggest mistake…
I started drawing the pages – but out of order, because I didn’t think it would matter. However, as soon as I committed something to page 4, it set up page 1 or 2 or 3 or 5 in ways that were really constricting. Maybe if my plotting had been expertly tight or if I had been committed to it, it might have been okay. But I was more committed to riding out the process than filling out a spreadsheet.
So one afternoon, I had the plot up on my computer screen. The rest of my desk (which is actually an old Formica & chrome kitchen table) was covered with half drawn pages, a few panels that I liked & had clipped from pages I had already scrapped, & a few random sketches. I thought, “This isn’t how the story is supposed to work.” Then I thought, “This isn’t how ANY story works.” I was trying to dictate how one thing moved onto some new thing & I was getting all twisted around.
It was getting dark. I stared out the window & saw a few geese honking across the sky. That’s when I realized that even though I needed some autobiographical scaffolding to build this story, I was not writing+drawing an autobiographical comic book.
This story isn’t about me.
What came next happened in a flash. Literally. But later for that. As in, to be continued!