Keeping up with my free short stories every month, this time around I went with a different style and dove into an epistolary style, where each part of the story is a short entry from the protagonist – Dr Harvey Bollard – as he details an excavation of something that shouldn’t exist. It may have been inspired by my recent obsession with The X-Files.
After a wee hiatus, Project Dark House is back in action with another freebie posted on IrishComics.ie. I finally got to work with a bucket-list artist, Lane Lloyd, on a creepy, genre-diving story called The Faces of the Many.
Entirely inspired by the fact that Fractured Realms is currently funding on Kickstarter, I wrote a short story about a god – the last god – encountering the last humans on Earth, following a sort of apocalypse scenario.
While Project Dark House is between comics at the moment, I decided to delve into the world via prose fiction. Masquerade is a weird story that looks at identity, because apparently existentialism is my brand when I’m writing these days.
Short stories are always a fun way to force myself back into writing. To get the ball rolling on 2023, I wrote Spare a Thought, a story with a telepathic virus of sorts set in a small Irish town with too much to say.
Last week, I launched the Kickstarter campaign for Plexus #2, just before heading to Thought Bubble to table for the first time at the show. In keeping with the excitement I usually feel on the back of a big comic-centric event, I decided to share the workshop I put together for Octocon on writing comic scripts. Check out the slides below, and don’t be afraid to get in touch if you have any questions! The text below is a direct import from Twitter.
In October, I ran a workshop for @Octocon named very simply ‘How to Get Started Writing Comic Scripts’.
Let’s make a thread using the slides from the workshop. I’m still fairly buzzing about comics thanks to @ThoughtBubbleUK this past weekend.
Okay, really simple intro first. Who am I, and what have I written?
We get the ball rolling. The whole point is to communicate to the art team what you’re trying to achieve.
Include all the necessary info, try not include any padding.
There’s no standard format for writing comic scripts, but when working with a script, you’ll want to include key details like the number of panels per page, details for the artist, reference images and dialogue and captions.
The ‘Marvel Style’ of writing scripts varies according to the writer.
It’s written as prose, rather than in a script format, and can make the artist’s workload greater. Some artists still like working in this manner.
Sample from The Hawthorns in Turning Roads.
Comic scripts are a numbers game, sometimes.
Key things to remember: don’t overcrowd a comic with panels!
@2000AD is a larger format publication, with recommendations for 5-7 panel pages. For US comics, aim for 3-7, but average 4 or 5.
Panel count affects the story’s pace.
For dialogue and other text, be wary not to fill the page.
Leave room for art. Trim back your dialogue and captions.
2000AD guidelines say no more than 3 text spaces per panel, and no more than 25 words per text box per panel. Scale down for US comic size pages.
While most writers aren’t artists, you can still practice layouts from your own scripts.
The image below shows the sort of page flow you should aim for. Can’t recall the source, my apologies.
Writers should always be wary of what’s going on after the script has been written.
In print, page turns are obvious. They’re what you get when you turn the page. Surprises, twists, big reveals, they have greater impact on a page turn.
Those will be your *even numbered* pages in print.
In digital formats, every page offers a chance at a reveal.
Remember that as a writer, you’re just one part of a team.
Learn what everyone does in the creative team, and everyone’s lives will be that little bit easier.
Following on from the publication of The Fiend in the Forest earlier this year, I worked with Gavin Fullerton to produce the second story from Project Dark House. Dead Ringer is an 8-page story about identity and faceless violence. With a monster, for good measure.
To celebrate the launch of IrishComics.ie, I teamed up with Clare Foley on a new short horror. The Fiend in the Forest is the first completed work in what I’ve taken to calling Project Dark House, a weird little universe of original cryptids.
This past weekend, Octocon 2020 took place online. It was an opportunity to keep the convention running, even in the face of a global pandemic, spreading members’ attention across Zoom, Twitch and Discord for a free weekend celebrating fandom and genre fiction. I was fortunate to be offered a Dealer Room channel on the convention’s Discord, as well as one for Cupán Fae, where we could talk about our books.
New Editions of The Black Pages
In a pre-Covid world, new editions of The Black Pages would have debuted at the convention in physical form, rather than appearing as an Amazon link. Thankfully, even a global pandemic doesn’t stop authors like me releasing new editions of their books that tie together for the first time since they became a series in their own right.
The new editions – which I’ve been calling my Spellbook Editions – mark a change in the design for the series to keep it consistent and interesting, while also serving to reduce my stress levels when it comes to creating new covers!
The Magic Man: Book 2
On Twitter, I mentioned the cover reveal for my next book. I’m delighted to share it publicly for the first time: the cover, title and release date for the second book in the Magic Man arc of The Black Pages.
The book has some overlap with Second Sight for Sore Eyes in terms of its timeline, with the other side of Arnold and Gary’s story being told. I’ve been dying for the release of this book, which is nearing the point of formatting for publication.
New Cupán Fae titles!
It wouldn’t be Octocon without a Cupán Fae release. This year, thanks to the cancellation of physical events, we pushed our summer release out for a double-bill for Octocon.
I have stories in both anthologies. In Fierce & Proud, I tell a tale of discovering one’s sexuality later in life in Man in the Mirror. In our punk book, Fiercepunk, I have Biopunk and Flowerpunk stories, Accidents Happen and The Central Fae respectively.
Creating these books was a blast, and this time included three authors’ debuts with us!
Until next time…
I’ll have more updates soon, and a few extra bits and pieces as we near the launch of State of Despayre in November. In the meantime, I’ll be working on getting the book ready to go, and prepping for NaNoWriMo 2020. If you want to keep in touch, I’ll be starting my newsletter this month. You can sign up below and get your hands on a collection of stories from Tales of the Fantastical. I promise I won’t spam.