Story Writing Status
The story is turning out even better than I had hoped but it will still need to go through several more drafts before it is ready to be turned into a graphic novel. The first draft seems to always takes the longest to write because everything is new and I’m trying to get every idea I have in my head to fit into it. Once I start writing the revised drafts, those shouldn’t take anywhere near as long to write/edit/re-write.
I want to make sure I properly flesh out the characters and make each word of dialog count (two things I messed up last time around). I’m also focusing a lot more of each character’s motivations which is something I really messed up last time around. In the current draft, it makes sense for everyone to be where they are and doing what they are doing. All the changes I’ve made so far are making the novel more interesting to write. I’m hoping that translates into being it far more interesting to read as well, once it’s finished of course.
At the moment I am working on the fifth chapter (number of chapters is subject to change plus there is also a prologue and there will be an epilogue). The chapters for this new novel are much longer and more detailed than the old novel. Still, I am making good time with my writing. I should have the entire story draft finished before the end of the week.
Research and Reference
With the suggestions of some friendly people at a forum I frequent, I purchased two books to help me create a much better graphic novel this time around. I look forward to reading them, using them as a guide, and constantly turning to them for reference as I work on each stage of production. The books I ordered are Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner and Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud. My local library didn’t have either and I need these books on hand for the months to come so buying them was the best choice. There are tons of “how to” books out there so I was lucky to finally get some recommendations on which ones would be the most helpful to me.
So far I have read the opening chapters of Making Comics and it is already helping. I plan to read through the entire book (or at least more of it) once I finish the first full draft of the story so that I’ll be better prepared to revise and write the next draft. I’ll also read the other one too. I just picked Making Comics first because it was the first to arrive.
I have more story-based research to do as well. (Thank goodness for Google and Facebook!) I’m trying to create a balance between real concepts and fiction that I’ve made up for the sake of this story. I need there to be some real-world concepts, names, locations, etc. to make the story more believable/relatable. At the same time, to be original is ideal. I want to thank my friend Fractured Strat for helping me figure out what real-world firearms to give the characters and for some suggestions about Shelby’s backstory.
Concept Art Creation
I so far have four brand new character concepts ready for you to view. They are Shelby Bly v4, Joel Rio v2, Maia Avanti v1, and Marissa Nimway v1. All four still need some work so there will be more versions to come (no idea yet how many before they are ready for final publishing). In the next update I will be adding concepts of the characters Bianca LeVeau, Nick Piper, and Devin Isoba.
After seeing the concepts grouped together for the first time on this website, I noticed that Marissa Nimway has a significantly lighter skin tone than any of the other characters to the point that it doesn’t look realistic. I’ll be fixing that first in the next round of concept art. (I took a quick look and realized that the reason for this is two fold; I forgot to update the shaders to my custom set and the base skin textures were too light.)
I also plan to create location concepts (I have four planned so far) and some object concepts including the novel’s “mcguffin”. Everything takes time when you’re the sole artist/writer working on a project so please be patient.