31 August 2009

Hope Larson

An interview that was originally posted on the comicscomics blog between Hope Larson and Dan Shaw. I really enjoyed it as it goes in to one of my favourite subjects on comics, that is the writing and editing of them.
Here is a snippet or you can read the whole thing here

This might be a dumb question, but did the editors/publisher approve anything before the first draft? Did you submit to them X # of completed pages, or does it all start with words- a paragraph summary of the project? And, for the draft that you're talking about in the first stage, is that all in words or does it have drawings too? Could you describe what that draft/script is like? This is interesting because your publisher/editor is accustomed to working on all-word books, so they probably had to invent a model for doing this that isn't like the Marvel Method.

Larson: It's not a dumb question. I know people sell stuff off outlines all the time, and I think at this point I could, too... But I have a really hard time with outlines. I've tried outlining before, and I just get stuck. My writing process is fairly intuitive–I figure out what I'm writing as I write it–so it's usually best for me to just sit down and write a script. The worst that can happen if I write a script the publisher doesn't want is that I'll take it somewhere else.

Everything I've sold has been off a complete first draft of a script. Gray Horses was a complete script and some sample comic pages. Same for Chiggers. Mercury I sold just off the script and a couple character sketches.

A script for me is all words. I do think about layout, or how things will look on the page, but that isn't usually reflected in the script. My scripts look more like screenplays–and they basically are screenplays now that I've starting writing everything in Final Draft. I don't even break down my scripts into comic pages until it's been edited and locked in, although I usually have a rough idea of how many pages I'll need. And I don't break a page down into panels until I sit down to draw that page.

As for my editors being used to working on all-word books, most of them have been comics fans, and most of them have worked on picture books. It hasn't been a completely new language to them, for which I'm grateful. There still isn't a standard model for comic scripts in the publishing industry; at least not one I'm aware of. I just do what works for me.

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