As part of the Kickstarter I’m currently running for issue #2 ( CLICK HERE www.tal-nor.com/ks), I wanted to give a behind the scenes look at how I go about making a comic. It all starts way before the script. I begin by throwing some ideas down on paper by hand. Notes about plot lines and things I want to accomplish within the story. It’s a tool I use to brainstorm ideas and to start getting the ideas to a coherent form. These pages pile up, some of them get lost, some of them get thrown away as I decide what direction the story will move in, but most of them I’ll keep a reference while I write the outline and even sometimes the script. Here is an example of an early note about issue #2, I’ve blacked out the spoilers, please forgive the handwriting and poor spelling.
The objective here wasn’t to get the whole story down as much as it was to discover the shape of things. It was also a way to get to know one of the characters. My writing process is character driven. I do a ton of work getting to know each of the characters before I start writing. I like to know who they are, what they want and what they need before I start. Once I know that, I’ll just put them in a situation and see how they react. At that point, it as much them telling me what happens as it is me making stuff up.
The actual killing, the first two pages of the book, came to me all at once and I saw it very clearly. What wasn’t so clear was who the killer was and how it all went down. To figure that out I had to write a suspect list:
You can see here I have a pretty long list, with people and an idea for their motive. Some of these suspects got cut for space (comics only have so many pages). Other it turned out were figments of my imagination and don’t exist in the world of the final comic. Remember until it’s in the final, published comic, it’s not real.
After I wrote up all of these notes, realized I needed to delve more into the back story of this town and the people in it. These are things I needed to know so I could get a better handle on who everyone is and the events leading up to the comic. I ended up writing about 10 pages of prose spelling out the what happened before the comic. These pages were really helpful in working out just who did the murder and why. These pages are also something no one will ever see. Partly because much of it is kind of boring and some of what I wrote is full of salty language. I drew a bit of inspiration for this town from the show Deadwood. Now, if you’ve seen Deadwood, you know that it is just about as far from an all-ages show as one can get. I want my comic to be OK for a younger crowd to enjoy. So, all that writing had to be confined to the realm of research and for my eyes only.
Once that was done, I start plotting the book in a bullet point fashion. This outline will serve as a road map for the script. One which I take several detours from as I write. It also one that would have taken to a different place than the actual book, if I had followed it to the letter. Unfortunately, it’s full of way too many spoilers to share in an edited form.
Tomorrow we’ll pick up with a page from the script and rough pencils that Kelsea developed from them. Until then, thank you for your support and please help spread the word about this Kickstarter. You can use the shorten link www.tal-nor.com/ks