This past week I completed the plotting for 3rd World's revamp. That's the first step in the rewrite, and it has shown me that a massive condensing was not only feasible but necessary. When I think back I finished the main writing work on 3rd World over three years ago! I was making a lot of rookie mistakes that don't need to be in a project as important to me as this one.
My process began by respining 3rd World. All of my long form stories start from a story spine which outlines the major events that occur within a particular issue/chapter of a story. The spine allows me to think out a logical progression of events that lead through to a well set up conclusion. The spine starts very broad and gets into more and more manageable chunks until I can get to the literal scripting of the page. Since I've already written this story half a dozen times at least I know where the story is going and that I had three main beats within each issue. Step one involved rereading each issue and pulling out the three tentpoles of the issue. Next I decided how many pages I needed to devote to covering each tentpole of the spine. I gave myself 10 pages to work with for each issue of material. In this way I've condensed the 440 pages of the previous draft into a healthy 200 page story. There will be less breathing room, but a lot more action per issue this way.
After denoting a certain number of pages for each tentpole I micromanaged further. I wrote a rarely complete sentence or two to explain the events that needed to happen on each page to complete the tentpole event in the space I had allowed. This was all still very maleable and if a fight needed an extra page here or an conversation needed an extra page there I was still at a place where it's very easy to massage the page out of a different tentpole. This is similar to the plotting I've done for Awful Lot. Proof positive that I'm learning new tricks from writing more often (duh I guess).
After that I moved into the literal scripting of the comic where I'm putting in all of the panel details and dialogue. It's a little less verbose than the previous scripts were. Timothy has drawn all of these events before and we're going to be reworking all the character models and style guides face to face, which saves me in descriptions in the script. The hardest part about this first chapter is it's the one where I'm actually reworking the sequencing of events. Lady Arachne is going to be appearing much, much earlier on to show the readers the face behind the narration. This was Timothy's idea actually. He rightly suggested that the sooner we get giant creatures, weapons, and the history of the world into the readers heads, the sooner we'd grab their attention.
So that's it for now. I've actually got to get back to scripting, I don't think I'm going to have the complete script finished before I go back to school, but I'd like to try and cover more ground than I have so far. Thanks for reading!
- Jon O