Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Stretch

So there's two days left on the official NaGraNoWriMo calendar and I finally finished plotting my story out page-by-page last night. It was tough - as I ran into some serious writer's block last week and didn't produce anything for six days (I assuaged my conscience by drowning it in Elder Scrolls IV and several movies). Currently, my plot calls for about 250 pages, but I think it will probably balloon by about 25% as I nail down script and art (which will actually take me to right around where I had originally planned to be).

So, while it's not realistic to imagine that I could have the script finished by tomorrow night, I'm still pretty happy with my progress. My new goal is to have a second draft of the script delivered into a critical friend's hands for review and advice by New Year's.

I'll post my final NaGraNoWriMo progress on Friday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Half way and way behind

We're half way through the month and I am WAY behind. It's not that the ideas aren't coming, I'm just not finding the time to actually writing the scripts. I have only fifteen pages fully scripted, but I twelve more pages plotted in detail and a brief outline that would probably make for at least 100 pages. The ideas are coming but the page count it not.

But I'm not giving up! I'm going to push ahead and kick some butt. Seriously!

No, really!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Ob-Stackles in My Way

The amount of research I've had to do (and will continue to have to do) is really hampering my progress. (And I reeeeeally need to interview some blind and deaf people still!) So far, I have 120 pages pretty strictly plotted, with pretty loose scripting. Every time I get twenty-or-so pages further, I stop and think to myself, Waitaminnut... would that even happen? And then I have to get several hours of research in. And about half the time, I've had to go back and reformulate the story to keep it at least plausible.

Still, progress is pretty steady and I should definitely have all the pages plotted out by month's end. I'm pretty sure that a full script is unrealistic at this point, but if I can have all the pages plotted and about 150 pages scripted, I'll be very excited.

I'm beginning to include more action than I had originally intended, fearing that the story wouldn't have enough draw if I stuck merely to the cerebral. Now I'm fearing that it'll be too "light." Too—pardon the term—comic booky. Really, I think I'm making a great editor for myself as I'm so brutal toward my ideas in my need to produce something that isn't cliche. At least, that's what it's like in my head.

Here's hoping the world in my head bears some resemblance to reality as others perceive it!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Smell a Plot

After getting five pages into my script, I realized that I couldn't just improv my way through. My story was too complicated and too winding. No this wasn't remotely Bendis's Daredevil, but I still needed some serious structure before I could continue.

So for the last couple nights I've been plotting. In my Influence-notebook—I'm going to various coffeeshops, pubs, parks, fountains, etc. and hand-writing the whole thing before moving on to digital; it's just easier to scribble notes and ideas down and sketch out layout ideas on paper than in Textpad). Anyway, in my Influence-notebook, I've layed out three columns: Page, Time, and Location.

These let me easily delineate story-pacing (both general flow and placement of anticipation/reveals). I can say something like:

14-15 1970;
Junior High
Pemberly; The sitting room to caverenous walk-in closet; A rousing game of spin the bottle—Darcy has just spun Miss Elizabeth Bennett; her distaste is facially evident. But peer pressure being what it is... Etc.
16 1991 Pemberly; The same closet; on the floor—Darcy chides Elizabeth for her childish prejudices; and Elizabeth laughs at Darcy's long-past discomfiture at her visible rejection of him. Things get steamy. Naturally.

I wasn't sure how well this would work and it's been tough essentially pre-writing every page before I get to write it for reals, but in the end, it should make my scripting task much easier.

Annnnnd, it's revealed the areas I'll need to research before I can even hope to write a certain segment realistically. I had gotten fifty pages of good plotting accomplished in this manner when I came to a section that I absolutely needed to research before I could touch it. And since I can't know how many pages to devote to this section, it's rather hard to proceed. In order to continue plotting to some degree, I've temporarily abandoned my more rigourous plotting for a more general order of events. And since my research begins tonight, I hope to be able to accurately plot those pages by week's end. I hope!

[[ Update: I have no idea why the table is so poorly rendered (esp. in IE). I've tried numerous fixes. One worked but destroyed the post in IE for baffling reasons. So, I've left it and hope the reader will be understanding. ]]

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Working Title

The working-title for my graphic novel is Influence and although I'll keep the specifics under wraps, I will say that it's largely psychological drama with a very slight sci-fi/fantasy element that operates as the story's MacGuffin. I've written five pages so far, but scrapped two (I may stripmine one of those two for later use in the story). I don't suspect that I'll be able to finish all 300-odd pages of the story by month's end, but I do hope to get at least the 175 pages for which we're aiming.

My page scripts look similar Dark Horse's but have a bit more freedom, I think, for scene and character description. I've also taken to drawing out the panel layouts with text positioning for each page (no art layouts, just panels), so I can keep a better feeling for page flow. I have a bit more freedom in my scripting because no one else needs to see my script - as I'm planning on being the book's artist as well (maybe I can do that part for NaGraNoDraYear).

Also, some helpful tips to writing well are collected under the title, 50 Tools that can Increase your Writing Skills. They aren't ones that can't be found elsewhere, but it's nice that they're all collected in the same spot.
And I suspect that NaNoWriMo is the reason this set of helps is so high on the listing.

Script format

I'm curious as to what sort of script format you all are using. I'm pretty much following the Dark Horse format, because it seems to make the most sense to me.

My Monster

My GN is tentatively titled "My Monster." It's the story of a fifteen-year-old boy who, while exploring some caves, accidentally frees a large hairy friendly monster from a couple of inept Men in Black. The twist being that the monster can transform into a cute teenage girl. Hijinks ensue.

I have my first four script pages written. Just 171 more to go!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What's the big idea?

So it's finally here! We've got to start writing something today, so we all probably have figured out the general concept of our graphic novels. What's yours?

Mine will be a scifi/adventure story taking place in a near future where virtual reality has become so advanced that the entire country regularly engages in a combat game twice daily, all taking place withing the blink of the eye. Think of it as playing Unreal Tournament in the real world, in your work place or on the subway. Things blow up, people blow up, but once the fifteen minute game is over, things go right back to normal and you're right where you were before the game started. The story will investigate a world where ultraviolence is a normal part of recreation, where corporate entities are like gods shaping reality and what happens when a society so used to pretend violence is confronted with very real, very deadly acts of terrorism.

I envision the book I am writing this month to be only the very beginning of a saga. A "Book One" if you will. I can't wait to finally start.


This is it, the first day of NaGraNoWriMo!

Were I a younger lad, I would have stayed up to midnight and started writing right at 12:01am. I opted for sleep instead. And I've got a day from hell today so I'm not likely to actually get started writing until tomorrow (when hopefully I'll get some quality scribing time in!)

Good luck everybody!