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Writing is a strange process.

Where do I think?  Wherever I can.  Whenever I shouldn’t be.  Doing something else that is routine is when my mind wanders.  How many times have I stood in my shower staring blankly at the wall for minutes on end.  I step out the door and turn towards work when I’m supposed to go to the grocery store in the opposite direction.  Sometimes sound effects escape my lips while I think, the muted crash of a spaceship or the mumbled echo of a character’s scream.  I make faces; their faces. They are me and I am them.  I imagine what they think and what they feel.  It is a brilliant moment in my mind, charged with emotion and power.  It energizes me.

Of course my wife worries for my sanity when she finds me staring at the wall mumbling to myself.  But that’s how I work, by creating an elaborate daydream in my head, often forgetting or ignoring what’s actually around me.  Then once I have it, I sit down in front of my laptop and try to  flatten it into words and pictures.  It never gets all the way there.  In my head I know all the viewpoints, all the angles and all the thoughts.  Putting it on (digital) paper means you have select the right moments for that scene from a continuous narrative in your head.  That’s the hard part.  It never gets as good as it was in your head.  Things that didn’t matter in your head is suddenly very important, like where the characters are standing or the possibility that they don’t have quite enough hands to juggle two swords and the minigun at the same time.  Not to mention in comics you need to choose the right moment to capture the essence of what is happening without being able to tell the reader.

After a struggle, I get this moment onto a page or two and instantly loathe it.  However, a loathed page is better than a blank page as it can potentially be hammered into something worthwhile at a later date.

I love writing. I love forcing stories onto paper and laboring them into something semi-coherent.  But it is not a linear, mechanical process, at least not yet.  I cannot sit down and bang out page after page.  Perhaps this is merely my lack of discipline, but unless I have the kernel of the scene in my head before I sit down, nothing will make it onto that paper.  Thus I must conclude: Writing is weird.

How do you create?

4 Comments

Heh. Fairly similarly. As a kid, I would concoct these elaborate stories to play pretend in while doing household chores. I'm discovering that this is usually still the best way to mull over ideas. The hard part is actually writing them down in a coherent stream, followed by trying to link these disparate scenes together into a viable time line. I agree. It's an odd process. I had two major elements suddenly join together the other day while I was trimming a tree in the yard.


I haven't had a yard since I moved out of my folks place but I have fond memories of mowing the lawn while muttering stream of consciousness poetry. The poor ride on mower butted heads with a couple of trees while I was doing that. Probably a good thing I don't own a car at the moment.


I'm an artist pretending to be a writer (because I have as many problems with writers as writers do with artists), so this may not be conventional.

I start out by lying in bed, watching a movie in my head. I commit the better scenes to memory, then sit down with a blank sheet of notebook paper. Five years of working in IT has taught me to take a large problem and break it up into smaller problems, so this sheet of notebook paper has a description of every page, one line per page, just to see the flow of the story.

From there, I flesh out that one-line description into panels and dialogue. Then come the thumbnails, as I fiddle with composition and layout.

Once that's done, I draw the page. It takes a day (sometimes two) to script out an entire issue. When I'm actually lettering the page, I'll make adjustments to the dialogue if necessary.


Hi Adam

Personally I'm just impressed that you manage to grind out a full script in two days like that and if Locus is any judge, very good ones at that. On nights that I'm writing, two pages of script is an accomplishment for me and then I rewrite the whole thing afterwards. I'm not currently planning out the scripts per page like that. I have a list of scenes but maybe laying out a goal for each page will help.


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