Monday, March 07, 2011

Ask Me Anything #7

It's the first Monday of the month which means it's time once again to Ask Me Anything. This means that in the comment section you can ask me anything you want and I'll do my best to answer. Whether it's about my work, what inspires me, the last book I read, what I had for breakfast, favorite animal or anything at all, and I'll either post my answer in the comment section as well, or answer it in a special post all its own sometime later in the month.

Please take the time to view the previous questions so that we don't wind up with a lot of repetition. You can see the previous questions by visiting Ask Me Anything  #1#2 ,  #3#4#5 and #6.  Answers not found following the questions can be found in the archives section for each associated month.

Now ask away.


Michael Jones said...

I've recently read a couple of Fables TPBs (the only comics reading I've done in a LONG time) and in #8 there was an Easter Egg of the complete script to Fables 50.
I found this to be as fascinating as the illustrated story itself and wonder if this is in a similar style you'd use to convey your thoughts to your artist. (Panel breakdown, descriptive outline, colouring & lettering suggestions, etc.)
Does it differ depending on the tale, the artist, etc.
Just curious...
ps. odd bit of synchronicity, my word verification is "readit".

John Rozum said...

I've been reading Fables as individual issues and don't have any of the TPBs, so I'm unable to check to compare. Unlike plays and screenplays the world of comics has no set format for scripts. I imagine that at a minimum, there are probably dozens of different formats being used, and that many comic book writers have just invented their own.

My own format changed a bit over the years. When I started I used one that approximated accepted screenplay format, but at some point shifted to the one I continue to use now.

I don't recall ever really reading anyone else's comic book scripts, except for during a few crossovers and co-written projects I've been involved with which came after I started using my current format, so I probably just designed it on my own.

You can see an example of it by visiting my companion blog for kids:

Sean Cloran said...

Feel free to disregard any or all of the following questions:

If you were granted three wishes what would you wish for?

Can you recommend some short stories that you think are great?

What do you find the most challenging about writing for comics?

Do you have any advice on writing a short comic story? (such as 8 pages or less)

Thank you.

John Rozum said...

Sean --

I'll take on your two comic book questions here, and tackle your short story question later. I've never been good at answering those questions like the three wishes, or what superpower would I like to have, or which five actresses would I most like to sleep with, because there are too many considerations to take in. For me anyway.

The most challenging thing I find about writing comics are basically that I hate the rigid 22 (now 20) page format per issue. I can often tell a whole story, or installment in 18 pages, but would sometimes like 24. I'd rather see the whole monthly format done away with to be replaced by full storyline graphic novels that don't require so many cliffhanger endings or rigid 22 page sections. That and sometimes I wish I could draw my own material, which is not to say that I've been unhappy with the artists I've collaborated with, I'd just like to do the whole thing on occasion.

My advice for writing the short comic book story is to keep it simple -- one idea. If you try to fit too much in you won't be able to. Keep it simple and you'll find you have a lot more room to breathe and get the pacing right.

I hope that helps.