on a long run, on a long run

I've had this idea for a one-shot comic kicking around my head for close to a year. Until yesterday, I hadn't done anything with it.

Yesterday, I wrote out a page-by-page breakdown for the story*. Today, I wrote the first five pages, and stopped when I ran out of gas a few hours later. I'll pick it up tomorrow, and keep going until it's done. If I can do five pages a day, I'll have a first draft done before I go to PAX, which is great because I can just leave it alone and let the second draft start cooking in my head while I'm playing games.

I'm not going to discuss any details about the story until it's done, but I can say that I'm aiming for 22 pages in a 1970s indie style. At the moment, I have about 18 pages, and it's a little tight. I may be able to open it up a bit and spread some of the pages out to get to 22, or I may just keep it as-is and end up with four more pages of story when it's all done. Or maybe I'll do 18 pages, and have my friends make fake ads for the other four pages, like the books I loved from the 70s and 80s. I can do whatever I want, because this is my project for me! YAY!

This is the first purely creative writing I've done all year, and even though I don't even know if it'll be published, it feels so good to be writing, to not be hung up on making a perfect first draft, or to have my creative impulses drowned out by the Internal Critic. I'm writing. I'm creating. I'm telling a story! I'm looking into my head and scraping out what I find in there, and it feels really, really good.

 

* That's a trick I learned from Warren Ellis: I write down "PAGE ONE – BLAH HAPPENS PAGE TWO – THAT THING HAPPENS" and pretty soon I have the whole thing plotted out, so the writing is pretty much connecting the dots … or hanging meat on the skeleton, which is probably how Warren would put it.

29 thoughts on “on a long run, on a long run”

  1. I can appreciate that feeling! When I get a chance to work on creative fiction, I am on a different planet! It’s the best feeling in the world :) (The life of a freelance writer- making my own hours, doing as I please…I should stop complaining.)Hope your future is filled with more moments to write creatively.
    Love seeing you on the screen but truly enjoy reading your words on the page. Keep those books coming!

  2. I applaud your efforts to write a comic, I personally am working on my HHGTTG Fan Fic Follow up, random blog posts, and a web series thing called The Year Between. I’m 4.5 episodes into my web thing and had to take a break. Its getting intense and I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I planned the entire story but some parts were vague and now I’m crunching the vague parts.
    Check out my blog. http://vortexian.wordpress.com

  3. I usually write some really lame outline in the form of a chart. One column is headed for each chapter, the second column tells me where/who info, and the third column gives some brief detail. I only really fill things in if there is a great line that comes to me while I’m sketching things out. Maybe Warren’s idea would work a little bit better – it allows plenty of space for additional details without inadvertently glancing down to see the notes for the next segment.
    Thanks for sharing your excitement regarding your new project. It’s really awesome that you are taking on a realm of writing which you yourself enjoyed reading so much as a kid. Have fun along the way, OK? And let us in on the details when you feel the time is right.
    Ang

  4. If you are ever looking for artists I can find you a ton or if you have a penciller but need an inker I can help with that too. Glad to hear you are writing. It is ALWAYS wonderful to get back to being creative in certain areas when you haven’t had the time to touch upon them.

  5. I do the page-by-page breakdown before I start scripting, too. If I get to a particularly sticky point, I’ll even mock up a page (with my very-much-less-than-awesome drawings) to give it a push along.
    Nice to hear that the creative juices are flowing, Wil!

  6. When you’re doing this writing, are you using paper and {pen,pencil,quill dipped in blood} or a computer? What prevents you from going back and “fixing” something so that you stay _writing_ rather than editing? Just curious what others do to stay “in the zone”.

  7. Hey there, Wil,
    I’m curious: Have you checked out “On Writing” by Stephen King (2000)? It’s helpful up to a point, but Mr. King really doesn’t explain HOW to write, but more so, how HE writes. It’s helped me a tad a time or three, but you’ve got to have quite an open mind when getting into “On Writing” & give it a chance to soak in to be able to use any of the suggestions or examples, so to speak. Me: I normally have had a picture in mind, or a sort of “film” mapped out in my head of a story I’d been thinking about & wanting to put to pseudo-paper (aka: MS Word). Once I’ve “watched” this “film” of a story in my head a few times over, I begin to write it down & keep going. Later I review & edit. But it’s all mapped out in my head before I ever write anything down. I’ve never published; I think it’s because when I read it back to myself it sounds idiotic, or as if an eleven-year-old wrote the words down! HA! But it’s the actual laying-down-the-words, the corporeal, tangible action of typing it out that gives my own writing any worth to me, personally. So, to all: do what feels right & write what you feel! It’s really the only way to push forward & break through.
    By the way, Wil, why do you think you’ll only write 22 pages? Maybe once you get going, you won’t be able to stop at page 22! Just saying, a comic might turn into something more! …one never knows… :~) Thanks for sharing. Cheers!
    Best,
    Ginger
    ps: I just realized one of the main character’s names in one of my very few stories is ‘Wil’…yes Wil w/ one L. Hmmm… (no foolin’) Take care.

  8. Hey there, Wil,
    I’m curious: Have you checked out “On Writing” by Stephen King (2000)? It’s helpful up to a point, but Mr. King really doesn’t explain HOW to write, but more so, how HE writes. It’s helped me a tad a time or three, but you’ve got to have quite an open mind when getting into “On Writing” & give it a chance to soak in to be able to use any of the suggestions or examples, so to speak. Me: I normally have had a picture in mind, or a sort of “film” mapped out in my head of a story I’d been thinking about & wanting to put to pseudo-paper (aka: MS Word). Once I’ve “watched” this “film” of a story in my head a few times over, I begin to write it down & keep going. Later I review & edit. But it’s all mapped out in my head before I ever write anything down. I’ve never published; I think it’s because when I read it back to myself it sounds idiotic, or as if an eleven-year-old wrote the words down! HA! But it’s the actual laying-down-the-words, the corporeal, tangible action of typing it out that gives my own writing any worth to me, personally. So, to all: do what feels right & write what you feel! It’s really the only way to push forward & break through.
    By the way, why do you think you’ll only write 22 pages? Maybe once you get going, you won’t be able to stop at page 22! Just saying, a comic might turn into something more! …one never knows… :~) Thanks for sharing. Cheers!
    Best,
    Ginger
    ps: I just realized one of the main character’s names in one of my very few stories is ‘Wil’…yes Wil w/ one L. Hmmm… (no foolin’) Take care.

  9. Always nice to do creative writing for fun. I’m working on a movie script called ‘All the Wrong Ones’. Got any idea of who/where I should take it to get it on screen once I’m finished?

  10. I love hearing about other people being successful at writing when they’ve got an idea in their heads. I’ve had a couple stuck in my head for years and I may have even written an outline for one, but ideas keep coming at times when I have to be responsible for doing something else and by the time I can get to a recorder or computer they are gone. I liken this to the difference between people who are supposed to write for a living and people who like stories. Can’t wait to see how you go about bringing it to fruition. :)

  11. Wil. I do a lot of creative writing myself, but mainly stick to the scifi short stories. I’ve always thought about doing a comic style story line, but wouldn’t even know how to begin.
    When you say you’re writing page by page, are you simply imagining the panels in your head, and writing the dialog for that panel, along with any narrative we see in the ‘yellow box’?
    Or do you outline like any other novel or short story, then break things down in to panels?
    Reading this post has inspired me to do some writing tonight I think!

  12. Hi, Ever think about a “Big Bang Theory” comic book? I always enjoy the show just ever so slightly more when you are a guest. The rivalry between Wil and Sheldon always gets me, since Sheldon idolized you until you didn’t give him your autograph.

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