Thursday, July 08, 2010

Writing prose or scripts

As I said in Books, movies and writing, I've been reading more books, and I've been working on my prose writing.

I've done some pages. I was neither especially happy or unhappy with them, but I was clear that continued work was a good plan.

But I'd been in a couple of conversations and gone through a couple of thought processes that made me think about comic writing again.

One was reading Do Anything by Warren Ellis.

Do Anything 022 struck me particularly, "Since I began writing this, other comics creators have come to me with stories of Jack [Kirby]. Jack the angry man, Jack the wall-puncher, Jack the bitter man, Jack the betrayed. Jack the furious, who never raised a hand to anyone but never left any building he resided in without the pockmark of fist-shaped holes, they say. He was all these things, people tell me. And there’s the thing that is mentioned without being mentioned, if you see what I mean: Jack the killer. When we write that Jack went to war, and Jack was in the field of combat, what we mean is that Jack took a gun and killed people he didn't know. We make it a small thing, a historical footnote..."

But that may, as much as anything, be a side track in terms of my thinking.

I started thinking about whether I wanted to write a comic book, and whether it was a good idea at all.

Especially whether it was worth the effort it is to find an artist. There's a process to it and one I've not often had much success with.

So, as with all banal thoughts that wander about my mind, I wrote about it on Facebook, "I'm seriously reconsidering my thoughts on writing comics. Finding an artist who I want to work with, is right for what I want and who wants to work with me, and all of that nightmare BS still sounds like a pain in the ass. Too much of a pain? I haven't decided."

A friend replied by asking, "What is Your scripting style like? Does it resemble a screen play? Is Your scripting style structured or loose?"

Well, it sounded annoying to try to explain it, so I went off and dug out the script for "The Dregs", a comic script I'd written several years back for my friend Erech Overaker.

I pulled the following, somewhat at random:
Page 3.

Panel 1 (wide panel) -

A big room, like a garage filled with assorted crap, gadgets and computer parts. Like a Radio Shack threw up. The homeless man is pulling off his long, scraggly beard.

Panel 2 (tall panel) -

The homeless man, Leonard, is sitting at a computer. His hat is off and his hair and beard are now black and his beard is a well-groomed goatee. He is, however, still wearing his homeless clothes.

Panel 3 (tall panel) -

Angle over his shoulder, his computer is displaying an image of several men with long black, greasy hair, they are bloated like aging alcoholics.

What struck me, re-reading it, I like this prose much better than I like the prose in the prose writing I'm doing. I'm not calling it brilliant, or even my own best writing. I'd guess if I went back to my feature screenplay "The Hunt", I'd like it better than that.

I'm not happy with the story, but in my head, a lot of the prose for my Cyberpunk story "Steel Embryo" feels like I even like that better in terms of the prose.

I'm not sure at this moment why that is. Is it a different way I approach writing scripts? Is it that my writing just getting worse over time? If it's the approach, can I find a way to apply that to my prose writing or should I focus more on my script writing? If it's my writing, is it my brain slowly dying with age or something I can put more effort to fix?

I'm not sure yet.

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