Wednesday, 22 June 2011

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.8

Make Your Own Comic Book: Writing Dialogue
This is perhaps one of the hardest things to write. You want your characters to convey information but also sound natural doing so. This comes down to how well you know you characters. Your characters cannot all sound the same because they should all have different personalities. I suggest reading and studying a few scripts from your favorite television shows. There are a few sites that allow you access to some old scripts. I suggest your favorite tv hows because you know (or should know) the characters well. You know how each one talks. You know what they would say and how they would say it. Also some of your characters may with hold information from other characters. For the most part dialogue should convey important information. But what your characters don't say is as important. Get down what your characters have to say and come back to edit and perhaps re-edit what they say. There is no hard fast rule but try to have them sound natural. Study the dialogue in your favorite comics. What do the characters say? What don't they say? It's all about driving the story forward. Even something that reads as trivial should be placed there to set a mood for what is about to come. Like the calm before the storm. I just lightly touched on the basics of dialogue in this post. There are plenty of books and exercises designed to help achieve a better understanding of this topic. Almost all them devote page space to tell the would be writer that the purpose of dialogue is to move the story forward. In fact all the elements of writing and pictures should move the story forward by either setting a mood or tone or give information that is vital to the story. If you're not doing this, you're not telling a story. I will reexamine the topic of dialogue at a later date. For now, just write enough dialogue that helps tomove the story forward.

Now I must be getting back to my own script.

Demon Hanzo

Thursday, 16 June 2011

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.7

Make Your Own Comic Book: Writing The Script.

By now you have most of your ideas about what your comic book is about and what our characters motivations are. You should have a general outline for your story. If you're writing a huge epic then you have to decide where the first issue takes place. Will it be the middle of the story arch? Will it be at the beginning? Will it be somewhere near the end? Are you unsure as to where it should start? I can't give you these answers as they are personal and should reflect the type of story you want to tell. What story do you want to tell? That's what you need to write about.

Also there is other questions to consider. Are you going to illustrate the story yourself. If so you only need to write as much of the story that is relevant for you to illustrate it. Some just write names( in Japanese manga names are a rough layout of pictures and words. You might think of it as a rough draft of what a comic will look like and read like.) If you're teaming up with an artist you have to consider if you want him to have control over panels or if you want to tell the story panel by panel describing each shot. In other words how much lee way are you willing to give your artist in terms of creativity? One thing is certain though, your artist is not a mind reader so if you leave out important things from your script and he comes back with something you don't like, for instance wrong location, wrong costume, wrong facial expression, it is the failing of you the writer for not including it in your script.

Here's a couple examples. Let's use an example of Bernhold walking up to some one and punching him.

A script that offers a lot of freedom to the artist might have this type of a format.

Bernhold walks in the castle corridor.(caption: Empryean rots from within. ) He surveys the the corridor and spots Cobus.( Caption: Cobus, The new captain) Cobus unaware of Bernhold Wyld, is standing in a door way.( Caption: The new Justice). Bernhold walks unnoticed towards Cobus.
Cobus is spun around Berhnhold and Bernhold Punches Cobus in the face. Crack. Uuuff!(caption:He's Corruption incarnate).

If the writer wants some thing more specific the same story should be told with as many panels as the writer sees fit. I feel the above is about a pages worth of action but it could be only half a page worth of action to someone else.

A more specific type of Script.

Panel one (medium shot)
Bernhold walks in hugging close to a stone wall to avoid detection.

Pannel two etablishing shot

Castle corridor. Both Bernhold and Cobus are seen at opposite ends of the castles corridor.

Panel three(meduim shot of Cobus)

Cobus is standing in a doorway we see his face in a weird type of sneer.
Caption reads  Cobus, The new Captain

Panel four (meduim long)
Berhold walks towards Cobus from behind unnoticed
caption reads  The New justice.

Panel five (medium shot)

Bernhold grabs Cobus shoulder and spins him around
Caption reads Corruption incarnate

Panel six

Bernhold punches Cobus in the face shattering Cobus's jaw. Sound effect: Crack!
Cobus says: Uuuff!

It doesn't matter so much the format of the writing, the only rule is that the writing should be clear and should contain all the detail that  you want your artist to include. If your ideas are vague and the artist gives you something you as the writer don't like, you have yourself to blame. If you're drawing it yourself you only need to include whatever information relevant to help you draw the story. If you are collaboration with some one I suggest you talk with them frequently so that both of you understand what is going on and how the project is progressing. Keep in mind a collaboration is a give and take relationship. It's both of your ideas being combined to produce a comic. If you as a writer don't like this idea learn to draw. If you as the artist don't like this learn to write. If you can't do that, learn how to work together, or find someone who best matches your vision and work with them.

If at all possible I'd suggest leaving out sloths as collaborative partners.

Monday, 13 June 2011

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.6

Make Your Own Comic Book: Plot out your story.

You have an idea already of what your story is about. Now you need to plot out you story.There is no one way to do this. I suggest another free writing session. It doesn't matter if its rough you are just getting ideas down on the page. If you know your characters motivations it should be easy to write. The best way to write is too add conflict. A story without conflict is just the mundane events in our lives. Try to make it difficult for you characters, to get what they want. If some one wants money but refuses to work for it try to force them to. The characters may resist and have an attitude about it ,but they may reluctantly do it. You can flesh out simple concepts too. They might hate to work because they see it as degrading and when they accept the fact that they have to, have someone come along and add to their degradation.

Mark wants money but doesn't like the fact of working at a burger joint to get the money. He sent resumes to a bunch of different places and received no callbacks from any of them. However Burger Joe employees always approach him to offer him a job. He always rejects but today he reluctantly accepts. He starts working there and his first day he thinks about how degrading this is and hopes no one will notice him. However someone does notice him a girl he likes. She's cheerful and makes fun of his dorky outfit. He can't believe he is doing this job.

It doesn't matter what the motivation for you character is. If you make it to easy for them there is no story. Only events. Of course you could also change what you character wants. For example what if Mark had won the lottery. He has his money and he got what he wanted, but if you make a story of how every where he goes this money brought him nothing but trouble the story becomes more interesting. You could make it so that he wants to get rid of this money. So when he gets rid of it what happens? How about he comes into more money. And every time he gets rid of the money bad things happen and he ends up with more money.

The point is to make it hard for your characters. The stories people remember are the ones in which the goal is hard to achieve. People are interested in the journey to the goal. If they ever get to achieve the goal one of two things needs to happen.  Either the goal is achieved through a logical work or effort. Or the goal once achieved is changed to a new goal.

Plot down scenes for your character. Each new obstacle can be a new scene. Each scene can contain several tiny obstacles.  If you can think of only the middle of the story start there. If you can only think of the end start there. If you can only think of the beginning start there. If you have a scene in your head and are not sure where it should fit start there. You can work backwards and forwards in any scene. Most people like to start close to an origin story or the first events that led to the protagonists predicament. Start some where and build on it.

You can't work with nothing so put something down on the page. Look over your notes and try to get a story going. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.5.5

Make Your Own Comic Book: Do I Have To Know Every Character Inside And Out?

The answer is no. But you still need to know enough about the character to be able to write them effectively. You can always flesh out minor characters later on as well, if the need should arise. You can use one sentence statements to keep track of you characters motivations.

For the most complex characters you don't have to give them back stories right away. You can always develop these later. You do need to know what your characters want and why they want what they want. That's it. If you know some ones motivations and why they are motivated to do it it becomes easier to write them.

Here's the motivation for a character in my "secret script". He's a minor character in fact he's a toadie.

Hunter J. Preston. Simply known as (HUNTER)

Wants to be accepted by his social peers and is not afraid of doing the wrong thing to get what he wants.

Motivation is all about wants. What does you character want and how will you character get it. That's what it boils down to. For instance many people want money. What are people willing to do to get it? It depends on personality of the character and their back-story.

Would an introverted person become a door to door salesman? You could force them to try. Most likely they might be nervous or in the case of Agoraphobic persons become extremely anxious every time they try to set foot outside their front door. 

Find a motivation(s) for your character and ask what will they do to obtain it. What won't they do? How do you know this?

Luffy for example wants to be the Pirate king. He also has some other motivations namely food and Nakama (comrades). He will not sell out his Nakama in any circumstance, not even to obtain one piece and become pirate king. We know this because we see instances of this throughout one piece.

Set up a free writing assignment to make sure you understand your characters motivations. Go for a couple minutes on the minor characters each. For the major characters you can go 15-20 minutes if you like. You can always develop them more later on. We just need to put rough ideas on paper.

This is all about getting you to make your own comic books and manga.

The tree sloths are rampaging about, I need to get back to work, so get your characters motivated.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.5

Make your Own Comic Book: Driving The story Forward With Character Motivations

Now that we have an idea on what our story is about, we need to develop our character motivations. This is going to make the writing easier when you make your own comic book. You need to develop characters that feel like the genuine article. They need to be well rounded. You need to know them so well that you can drop them into any situation and know what would happen. 

How do we do this? How do flesh out the characters so well that readers will know what they would do? The good thing about this is you probably already know a few characters like this. 

Let's take Batman as an example. Many of us know that Batman uses his wits to solve his cases.We know him so well that there are some things that don't fit the Batman persona. Let's use an example from the movie Batman An Robin. Yeah I can hear the groans already. Do any of you remember the Batman credit card? I do. I wish I didn't but I do. Why did that not read as genuine? Was it the fact that it was a lame joke? Batman doesn't make lame jokes. Was it the fact that Batman was spending an obscene amount of money? Batman doesn't spend money as such, Bruce Wayne does, but he does so in a way that it is never traced back to him being revealed as Batman. Batman is smart and the credit card reads as plutonium grade stupid.

Could you imagine what Batman really would have done? You probably could and there is no one right answer to the question, only wrong answers to that question. How can there be wrong solutions to a problem that has many solutions that work? Lets talk about tomatoes for  a second. One might use tomatoes in a salad, or in a soup or in a sauce. The same tomato has many uses. The same tomato however one looks at it, should not be regarded as a stain remover. We know the uses of the tomato, just as we know what batman is and what he is not.

The question now is how does this help to flesh out your characters? Well there is no one way to go about this, however my suggestion is to use a few writing prompts. There are many websites that offer writing prompts for you here's one

The key to this exercise lies in your ability to do the prompts as the character whose motivation you are trying to understand. The more you understand you Character the more you can drop that character into different Ideas and concepts. And they will read as genuine. You won't have to force your character to do anything they will do it themselves.

Here's a quick prompt:  Have your character write about deceit.

If we were writing about deceit from Batman's point of view we are almost guaranteed that he would write about the deceit that goes on in the criminal world of Gotham city. He might write about how the criminal mind is like a pack of rats devouring each other. They use the means of deception to gain a strong foot hold on their ascension into the ranks of Gotham's elite. Gotham's political system is full of deception. Crooked lawyers who use there silver tongues to keep the scum of the city on the streets. Crooked cops who are on the take who deceive the public they are sworn to protect. Judges who have sold their souls to achieve  worldly gains. All who deceive the hard working decent citizens of Gotham. It makes me sick to my stomach the lies served in the name of the people. And it oozes. It oozes like a pollution into the system. The system is ailing and needs some one to administer the medicine it needs. That medicine has a name. That name is Justice.

It doesn't matter if it's a little rough. Most likely you're the only one who is going to read it. But also don't be afraid to pull out a line or two you like and add it to a story. This exercise is to help you understand your character, that's it.

Now I must fend off the tree sloths before they attack.

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.4.6

Make Your Own Comic Book: A Cautionary Note

You might be wondering if I am writing and posting the actual script to the comic book I am currently working on. The answer is not really. I am actually working on two scripts. One is the pirate story that I use for an example in my Blog. The other is a different type of story altogether. The reasons for this should be obvious to anyone who is following along. I am using the same process on my other "secret script". The only thing that is different is the story. The same process should apply to any story regardless of the genre. It's taking me twice as long to do this because I am working on two stories.  I may or may not swap the genres from time to time. Please do not be alarmed. The process is still the same. Now make your own comic book.

DemonHanzo's Make Your Own Comic Book: A self Journey To Making A Comic Pt.4.5

Make Your Own Comic Book: Ideas Clean Up

When  doing clean up also set a time limit to force yourself to stay focused. I would give yourself 15 -20 minutes but go to 30 minutes if you need to. Also if you're deciding names give yourself ten minute slots for each name. Don't worry you can always change it later if your you need to.

Advice on picking Names: Start with a general Idea on what Names you would like to give your characters. For instance if your your story takes place in ancient times try to pick an ancient name. That said it does not matter if you already have names for your characters or not. Just make sure the name is fitting for your story. I like the name captian Wyld for my Pirate, but I also know it is going to be set in an older time, hence his first name is Bernhold. If you know the background( ethnicity) of your characters check a few baby names online and search names by origin. They usually have meanings listed with the baby names, making it easier to choose a proper name for your character. You can choose three maybe four names per character that you really like if you're undesicive, and choose to finalize a name later.

Former captian of Guard/ Pirate ( BernHold meaning rules as the bear/ and Wyld meaing wild uncontrolled)

Pompous jerk/ Current captain of the Guard ( Simply known as Cobus which means Supplanter or usurper)

The Queen  ( Catriona form of Kathrine meaning pure)

The revolts  (Wylde Grass, leader is Nolan Wylde a cousin to Bernhold The name Nolan Means famous)

The kindom of Empyrean In essence the purest land.

I suggest you have working names for your characters, as it will help organize things as you make your own comic book.

Captain Wyld Is in or near the castle of Empyrean near or next to queen Catriona. The Wylde Grass factions have risen up all over the country. The Lieutenant, Cobus is urging the Queen to take action to root out these Weeds. Captain Wyld tries to convince the queen to let him speak to the leader of the Wylde Grass to resolve the matter peacefully. The Queen trusts his word and allows him this chance. He Takes his leave and Cobus makes his move. Cobus asks a supposed innocent question does Bernhold hold the queen's interest at heart? Can we trust him to deliver justice to a family member? The queen asks which family member does captain Wyld seek to protect? To which Cobus replies His Cousin. They even name the revolts in his name. The seed of suspision is planted and the queen allows Cobus to investigate Berhold. Cobus has his own hench men detain Captain Wyld with other business.  The revolt goes off as planned and Cobus asks the queen about Captain Wyld's absence. The Queen is still unsure, but knows she must act to secure the peace of her kingdom. Cobus is suggesting the death of Captain Wyld but the queen issues his arrest instead to determine his involvement in the revolts. She then promotes Cobus temperarilly to the title of Captain. Cobus smiles and feigns obedience to the queen. Later we see Cobus meet with Nolan Wylde leader of the revolt and plots with himto overthrow the queen. Captain Wyld mean while is chasing Cobus' henchmen and finally cornering them. When he advances he realizes too late that he is caught in a trap. The revolt goes on as planned and Nolan makes his way to the queen. Cobus had set up the troops positionto the bulk of the revolters, but Nolan came around a route that he and Cobus had planned out. As he reaches the queen Nolan laughs and asks her if she would like to be planted or roasted. Cobus double crosses Nolan and kills him instantly on the spot. The Queen is tricked and gives Cobus the authroity to hunt down rebel factions. Captain Wyld is now viewed as an enemy to the state and is to brought to justice dead or alive. Meanwhile the captured Captain Wyld learns of the plot against the queen and the country. He escapes his bonds, and dispatches of his captors. He reclaims his horse and rides to as fast as he can to the Queens side. When He arrives he is surprised to see that he is enemy of the state. He avoids capture making his way to the queen.  He grabs the queen demanding that she come with him so that he can protect her but the queen calls out for the guards and Cobus arrives on the scene. Captain Wyld makes a plea to Cobus and Cobus responds that he does not listen to the pleas of known criminals. Captain Wyld ecapes capture fighting his way out of the castle and heads to the Docks. He takes a ship and heads out to sea. In the next port he hears news of Empyrean, the kingdom is in civl unrest Cobus is doing all he can to silence the revolts so the rumors are told. A man in the bar has news for Captain wyld. He was a Wylde grass rebel under Nolan and was hidden when Cobus made the deal with Nolan. When Captain Wyld rushes out of the bar he hears a few soldiers talk of plans to invade Empyrean,now that it has become weak. Captain Wyld rushes to sea to protect the Queens honor.