So, Leah and I decided to write a comic book! Wow! GREAT!! Wait a minute. That means…I actually have to write a comic book?! I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to pull this off, so I decided I better school myself in comic book writing. Lucky for me, homework included trips to MidTown Comics, tickets to NY Comic Con, and loads and loads of comic book reading. I also picked up some books on the subject, including Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” and Dennis O’Neill’s “The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics.”
All the while, story ideas for Couri Vine were brewing. I still didn’t quite know where to start, so I set out to create a Story Bible, an only-for-our-eyes description of the world of Couri Vine. Through that process I found the one question with the potential to define every aspect of this story: How on Earth did they end up on the moon?
The answer to that question is contained in a long history of the future: devastation of the planet, a war on Earth, foul play in the universe, and eventually an Air Plague (with a mysterious cause) that forces the inhabitants of Earth to migrate to the Moon.
Our Story Bible is sitting in the Dropbox folder that Leah and I share. What’s exciting to me is that this first story arc (the first four books) is just scratching the surface. Couri won’t even discover her powers until the final pages of the last book. Then, all kinds of new trouble is waiting for her. (insert sinister laugh here)
When it came time to write the script for Book One, I wish I could say that the story just poured out of me. But that’s not the way it happened. I made a lot of mistakes and had to reimagine the story once I actually started typing words. This is the guts of what I learned: writing a comic book is hard. It’s like a puzzle – you think you have this great story that practically tells itself, but then you find yourself counting the number of panels per page and trying to fit in the conflict before the page turns.
Then there are the speech balloons. I had way too many words in my early drafts so I spent a lot of time cutting dialogue and simplifying the story. As I’m writing books 2, 3 and 4, I’m getting better about this. But no regrets – the process has been awesome and I’m loving every minute of it. I guess the best way to write a comic book is just to write a comic book. And then rewrite it. And rewrite it again. And again. And again. And…you get the idea.