Monday, October 30, 2006

The Muster

For my own personal preparation, I've been consciously avoiding books that might influence my creative choices. I'd like my work to be as little derivative as possible and I fear that if I indulge my favourites to near my period of production, I might be more apt to unconsciously reproduce their idiosyncrasies.

I'm excited for my concept because I think it's a pretty original take on things; but I'm also highly conscious of how easily it could slip into trite cliche. I'm going to prepare a list to glance over at the end of each day - to keep myself from falling into common traps. Or at least I hope to keep myself from those traps.

I thought about glancing through Robert McKee's Story in preparation for the push, but ever the second-guesser, I decided that even that kind of influence was something I'd prefer to keep at distance - at least until the rough draft is complete.

For the most part, in these days leading up to 1 November 2006, I'm simply allowing my ideas to wash over me, occasionally grabbing on and fiddling with an interesting wisp or two. I'm excited but trying to be calm. I know that if I put too much personal jazz into my writing, I'll end up skewing whatever mood I'm attempting.

Deep breaths. That's the ticket.

Getting ready for NaGraNoWriMo: The Books

With only two days until the start of NaNoWriMo, I can almost feel the collective creative energy that is about to be released in November sizzling in the air. There's not much time to get ready for the (graphic) novel writing marathon, but I've got a few ideas that might help.

It doesn't hurt to read up on the art of comic book writing. Personally, I'll be re-reading chapters from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics for pointers on storytelling. I'm sure that McCloud's new book Making Comics would be helpful, although I have not yet read it myself. There are also other books about comic book writing by industry heavyweights such as Alan Moore, Dennis O'Neil, and Peter David.

And even though we aren't following the rules precisely, No Plot, No Problem, the book written by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, should over plenty of applicable pep-talks, tips and advice.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to read some good comics while your writing. Pick up something that is similar to the idea you have, or by a writer who's style you wish to emulate. Don't be afraid that you'll end up ripping off other comics. There is no shame in looking to a published work for inspiration, especially since that's what all prose writers worth spit have done since the very beginning. By reading a good graphic novel while you're writing your own you'll be able to pick out the parts that work and the parts that don't and translate that knowledge into better storytelling for your original ideas.

November will be here in less than 48 hours, so we've got to be ready and there's no better way to prepare for good writing than with some good reading.

NaGraNoWriMo Starts Wednesday!

This blog is for participants in National Graphic Novel Writing Month.

An offshoot of NaNoWriMo, those of us participating are attempting to write a full script for a 175-page graphic novel during the month of November.

If you would like to participate and be enabled as a poster on this blog, email me (Dave) and I'll set you up.

Good luck!