Comparing the Short Story and the Comic Script– First Experience of a Fiction Writer

Is anybody willing to accept a short story of 5,468 words? Urk. I really think I’ve gotten things a way bit out of hand here. I’ve had too much to say, or write.

Sorry for the delay folks. What with finishing a new article for the local newspaper and another short story, it has been a pretty good week for this beginning writer

Anyway, I’d just finished editing my earlier science fiction short story draft (titled Sub Dio) and making a comic script out of it. I’m not a professional comic writer or anything so I’ll just be blogging here my experience in my first attempt at making a script from my draft.

Writing a comic script is so much different from writing a short story. In the short story or novel, you the writer conceptualize. In comic writing, you put on a different hat. You visualize.

Here’s an example taken my just finished short story Sub Dio:

Yet there was something bugging me looking at him now. There was something familiar about —-. That’s when it hit me.

He was that bombshell blonde that pushed me aside earlier. Holy shit. He’s a crossdresser!

From Sub Dio Comic Script: Chris is the narrator of the story.

NARRATOR: But there’s something familiar about —

Chris became shocked.

NARRATOR: Wait a minute!

Close-up on Chris’ eye open wide with shock.

The panel shows a flashback of the blonde girl in the black dress bumping into Chris earlier.

NARRATOR: Holy shit. He’s a crossdresser!

In the comic script, you have to be more detailed. The character is always doing something. You have to take note of the pacing, close-ups. And pictures, you gotta think what kind of picture would this panel have and would it match with this thought or conversation?

In a short story or novel, you can employ what I call cheats and not explain everything that happened to the reader. He/she can just fill in the gaps. However, with the comic writing it’s a different story.

FROM SUB DIO SHORT STORY:

I saw with a sinking heart however, that fate wasn’t on our side. We were losing. Baldy managed to knock Fly to the ground. The accountant was beating Paul to a pulp. Their fight took place so fast that within seconds Paul was sprawled unconscious on the ground.

What’s one paragraph in the short story becomes two (see below). I can’t just stick that one paragraph in a box in a comic. The reader will be asking, “Huh? What happened? That’s it??”. They need to see some action.

FROM SUB DIO COMIC SCRIPT:

The accountant stood on the sign of Old Farmer’s. Paul looked up. Close in on Paul’s fist clenching his kendo sword. In a flash he disappeared and reappeared beside him to bring down his sword on the guy’s head. The guy blocked it. Paul’s eyes widened in surprise before the accountant punched him on the face. He reeled in shock.

NARRATOR: However fate wasn’t on our side.

Baldy flipped Fly over and hit her. She fell to the ground.

Wherever Paul escaped, the accountant was waiting for him. He punched and kicked him continuously. Paul’s hand slowly let go of his kendo sword to fall to the ground. At the same it fell, the accountant dealt one last crushing flow and Paul dropped to the ground. The panels of the descent of his sword and him are placed side by side to show him and his weapon falling at the same time.

FROM SUB DIO SHORT STORY:

“You looked absolutely dumbfounded,” I said. “-that this place is a mess.”

“It is.” Fly said.

FROM SUB DIO COMIC SCRIPT

Fly looks dumfounded at the scattered remains of junk, torn newspapers and broken china in her living room. The pictures on the wall are hanging in the wrong angles, chairs are upturned, the stuffing on the couch are pulled out.

There. Self-explanatory. Obviously, in the comic the artist can just pencil in the character’s expression so there’s no need to state the obvious. However, I can’t cheat like I did in the short story. I have to be very descriptive in the setting on the comic script in order to guide the artist.

So I had to tweak, rearrange some scenes for the pacing or for dramatic effect and delete some, no a lot of *sob* great lines and prose from the story which would be totally unnecessary for the script.

Tonie started on the storyboarding yesterday. She drew three panels for just three sentences. Three sentences. I was shocked. Those three panels would take more work than I did just scribbling them in mere minutes in a scrap piece of paper. She asked, “Does this take place in broad daylight?” and I mumbled, “Maybe.” because I seriously don’t have a clue. I didn’t have a clear description of what other minor characters looked like either or what the rest of the characters would all be doing specifically in a scene. Ask me about their emotions and I would burst into a superfluous symphony.Besides all that pacing, background, panel size and character details, the artist also has to think of how much shadow does this scene have and which perspective will he/she draw this scene. Too many details! Sometimes I’m glad I’m a writer, not an artist.

But it was an interesting experience making the comic script even though I think my first attempt still had the shadowy remnants of its older form. Next time I’d like to try my hand at creating an original script rather than adapting it from a short story or *gasp* novel.

For more information on Comic Writing, visit these sites:

Writing Comic Books

Writing for Comic Books

Update: The short story excerpt of Sub Dio has been already been posted. Click here to find out what really happened.

Other related posts:

Why I Write

Writing Updates-The Magic of Storytelling

Can Aliens Breakdance?- Sub Dio Short Story Excerpt

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2 thoughts on “Comparing the Short Story and the Comic Script– First Experience of a Fiction Writer

  1. Best Electric Scooters for Adults says:

    Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but
    I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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