– I build an outline for each arc with major story beats, some specific scene notes, maybe some important dialogue. For an issue, I start by just numbering 1 through 22 and writing a brief description of each page. Sometimes after that I’ll go through and breakdown each page into very brief panel descriptions and build from there. Other times I’ll just start at the beginning and build the whole thing as I go. It usually just depends on how long I’ve had the story in my head and how nailed down I’ve already got it. My best days of writing, when I can churn out 12 or more pages, are always preceded by several days of no writing at all, but instead just a lot of thinking, so by the time I’m actually sitting down to write, the story is already nailed down and all I have to do is get it on paper.
– The first five pages and the last five pages of any script are usually pretty easy. It’s always that shit in the middle that’s hard.
– I always aspire to have something memorable on every page, whether a line of dialogue or an action or what. I certainly don’t always achieve that, but I try.
– I write people throwing up a lot. I write sour looks and stern stares a lot. I use “fuck” a lot. Just making note of all that.
– I try not to dictate camera angles or set up shots. I always figure that’s best left to the artist.
– I can’t listen to music or watch TV while I write. I’m too easily distracted.
– I try to always talk my dialogue out, to say it out loud. Would sometimes make for an interesting listen, no doubt, if someone happened to be passing by the window.
– I break the supposed dialogue rules all the time, in terms of how many words you shouldn’t exceed in a given balloon or panel. Maybe I shouldn’t it, but fuck it, if the story needs it, it needs it. I don’t feel like I’m overly wordly overall though. Maybe I was a couple years ago when I was first starting out, but these days I truly appreciate a great silent beat. It may sound weird, but I love being able to take out dialogue or narration from a page because you realize that you don’t need it, that it’s all there in the art.
– I suck at coming up with character names. I’ve reused lots of the same names, usually of people I know. When I was in college I would always flip through CD liner notes to find good names, but these days all my CDs are packed up in boxes in the basement. I try to keep a list where I jot down interesting names I encounter. The sheriff in SCALPED takes his name from a road sign I passed years ago in Ohio for the town of Wooster. I used to also keep a notebook for jotting down interesting bathroom graffiti, though I’m not sure anything useful ever came of that.
Okay, enough of this. I should be doing actual writing now.