I’m working on the scene-by-scene plan for the next Elf Blood story arc, in preparation for writing it in advance so that I can edit it to bring you a more coherent storyline. This is pretty much how I write all my long scripts; On paper, I’ll work things out as a general plot, then onto a scene-by-scene basis, then all the way down to a page-by-page level. Only once I’m done with that and am sure that the flow is correct, will I progress on to the next stage which is to write the script itself on computer.

Some people ask me why I do it this way, essentially replicating a lot of work; As an engineer, I like to view it in terms of abstraction. You don’t design a program by figuring out all the operations you need, do you? No, define what data you need to put in and get out, you design the flow of said data, you define your variables, and so on and so forth until you get right down to the nitty-gritty of what compared to what gives something else. And, like a data flow chart, plot flow is just EASIER to write down on paper. I honestly can’t sit and plan at a computer. A blank word processor screen is so much more distracting than a blank piece of paper. Perhaps it’s a part adaptation to student life: A blank page is something exciting, an empty space waiting to be filled with something awesome. A blank screen is several thousand words short of a report that’s due in in five hours’ time.

Turns out I’m not the only one, either. I remember Andy Diggle answering a question on his process, and his response was that he and most of the writers he knows work on paper first before transferring it across to a word processor.

The reason that it’s such a common process is, I think, down to the way in which the two media operate: A blank page holds no barriers, and it’s easy to scribble things down, scratch them out, pick them out again when you realise they’re not so bad. A blank page allows you to move in all directions, draw whatever you need to support your ideas, and generally spread out like creative water to fill your available space. Word processing, on the other hand, is surprisingly rigid; You can only type in certain places, and you’re subject to the rules of formatting and whatnot. But that rigidity does tend to mean you don’t actually have to worry about formatting all that much. You’ve got the idea really down and refined, you know where the plot is going, and the characters are probably already jabbering away in your head. Trust me on this one if you’re not a writer, it’s very VERY difficult to shut your characters up. All you’re doing with the word processor from this point on is relaying to the screen what the characters are saying, what’s happening in their world. You’re not so much a creator at this point than a conduit, a reporting function. And that’s fine; After all, that is  the point of the word processor!

But anyway, yes; I’m very excited about the new story. The part about excploring the relationship between SKO and Mara took a different turn than the way I had expected it to, but I think it’s for the better. Mostly because it’s less ‘actiony’, and more uneasy. Well, I think that’s awesome anyway 😛 There’s plenty of action from the KO twins anyway, so fear not ye fight lovers! I’ve also got the sub-story plotted as well, although it needs a little tweaking so that I can hit the emotional sweet spot just right. It’s a story that… Well, it doesn’t directly apply to me, as such. Not really. Some of it half-does and some of it is taken from other people. It’s complicated. More on that later if I feel the need to. But even the sub-story has taken a slightly different turn. As I wrote the ending of it, one character acted in a way I completely didn’t expect her to. But it felt right for her, and for the story.

And the work doesn’t just stop at the scripting, either: The characters are growing up, in as-close-to-real-time-as-a-twice-weekly-comic-can-get. I need to fiddle around with my designs of Mara, Cecelie and the like, to illustrate the fact that they’re no longer girls, they’re young women. It’s quite difficult to do, actually, without going overboard. I mean, I’m not going to slap a massive pair on them and call it quits; Yeah, they need filling out to show that they’re maturing in both body and in mind, but it needs to be done subtly, with enough fragility left about them that comes with being 16. Not a girl, not yet a women etc etc.

Mint’s bloody easy to do, though. Dorky upper-teenage male is… Familiar territory.