In my desire to try and get this blog updated weekly (which seemed like such a good idea at the time...), I'm going to post something I try and avoid talking about as much as humanly possible: the writing process.
I generally hate reading blog posts about people's writing processes, because they're not mine, and they're as alien to me as the Martian language. And, if I'm being brutally honest, I find them dull and pretentious; the ones I've read are usually filled with stuff like "Well, I meditate in front of a lump of asparagus for twenty-three minutes before I sit down to craft my tales" and "I must achieve the right frame of mind by stroking my Mr Stay Puft toy's belly before I can put fingers to keyboard." And this is where my attitude to writing in general clashes with other peoples.
For the last few years, I've concentrated more on writing comics than prose (and, yes, the rumours are true: both require different skill sets to do effectively), and I think this has led me to adopting a far more...focused attitude to writing. I've turned out a significantly higher amount of work, and my list of published work has increased, too. More importantly, though, the way I think about writing has changed significantly. I've begun to look at it more like a job, something I have to do even when I don't want to (helped by the fact that I've agreed to write stuff for people and actually had to do it even when I wasn't in the mood). On top of that, there's been some upheaval in my personal life over the last couple of years which has taught me dispense with pretension and just to be able to sit down and write where ever and whenever I need or want to. As a result of that my writing process has been streamlined considerably, and, basically, goes like this:
- I think of an idea. I let it foment a little, maybe send it off to play with some other ideas kicking around my head, or maybe I just start putting them together like LEGO blocks and see what fits.
- When I have something vaguely story shaped, I write it down very roughly (spelling mistakes, bad grammar and all)
- I begin to break the story down into script form, sometimes using bullet points (with one point being a panel)
- I write the first draft of the script.
- From there, I'll usually leave it and come back to it and re-read and re-write.
Everything in between points 3 and 4 is simple logistics. And by that I mean, figuring out how many pages I have to fill, how big is the publication it's going toward, how many scenes I'll need and how many panels per page I'd need to tell the story completely.
And that's pretty much it. There's still a lot going on around me that means I can't afford the luxury of "set writing hours" or "set writing days" yet, so I have to make do around the chaos. But I've found that liberating, and, more crucially, it gives me time to get away from the keyboard and think; I can work ideas around until they're something worth using and then scribble them down.
So, there you have it. My obligatory writing process blog post. It may differ from yours, or others that you've read, but, really? I don't care. It's my process and that's all that really matters. Now let us never speak of it again...