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johnjohn
01-29-2015, 10:45 AM
Hey folks, I'm requesting links for some information on learning the basics for writing.

Now before anyone rolls their eyes and thinks 'Just go through what's posted idiot' hear me out please.

I have done searches and looked through the stickies on this page, and there is a lot of information and guides. However the more I look the more I realize how little I know so I'm not sure where to begin building a foundation to properly interpret what I'm reading.

What do I know?
To be safe I'm going to say 'Not a god damn thing'.
What am I looking for?
Basic 101 'start from scratch stuff' to begin learning so as I learn I will begin to understand what I need to look for to continue learning.
Am I expecting that a few hours on a web page will enable me to write like a pro?
No.
Nice fantasy, but we live in the real world where this sort of thing takes years of learning and practice.

I am looking into courses in the colleges and universities around me, (thankfully there are quite a few so it's really a matter of when the course begins) and I understand that people are busy and don't have time for hand holding or to mentor a rookie; so I appreciate the time someone takes to read this and suggest what I should be looking for or drop a link.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this.

Alyssa
01-29-2015, 08:53 PM
You're looking for information on how to write, not just writing for comics, correct?

You learn how to write by doing two things:

1) Read a lot. Read quality books in every genre, but especially your chosen genre/s. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read novels, short stories, comics, film scripts. Read every day. In the back of your mind, you'll be picking up important writing tips.

2) Write a lot. When learning to draw, a lot of your progress has to do with how good your muscle memory is. Your hand learns that in order to draw a face, first it has to draw this, this, and this. If you don't have lots of hours with a pencil, you won't be very good. Writing is the same way. In the beginning, you'll strain over every single aspect of writing. It isn't until you write a lot that things will start to sit comfortably in your mind. Form a routine of writing, so that your brain learns that at this time of day, it's time to turn on the creative juices.

Here are some books that helped me:

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902X/

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-10th-Anniversary-Memoir-Craft/dp/1439156816/

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Solution-Actions-Great-Heroes/dp/1615930841/

johnjohn
01-29-2015, 08:59 PM
Yeah, I want to get a good foundation of writing in general first and build from there.

A friend of mine mentioned the 'Dummies' series so I was thinking of picking up the one on grammar as a starting point.

Alyssa
01-29-2015, 09:00 PM
Just as a side note; I believe that the vast majority of courses on creative subjects are a complete waste of time. Unless the school is full of teachers who are very successful and currently earning their living through their art, chances are you're going to be learning from hacks. It'll be the same tired information you can pick up on any random blog post.

An example:
"We'll teach you how to get to know your character. You'll be able to fill out massive character sheets that list everything from your character's favourite colour, to their habit of hair-flicking when they're nervous."

News flash: this kind of crap won't help you be a better writer. But students are happy with all this stuff they've "learned", because they've got binders full of info on every minuscule aspect of their story and/or characters. Unfortunately, they've spent so much time writing random stuff like this, that they never actually learn how to write prose.

Again: read a lot and write a lot. That's a heckuva lot cheaper than doing any course, and you'll get a lot more benefit from it.

Alyssa
01-29-2015, 09:01 PM
Yeah, I want to get a good foundation of writing in general first and build from there.

A friend of mine mentioned the 'Dummies' series so I was thinking of picking up the one on grammar as a starting point.

Your mileage may vary, but I've found that the majority of grammar rules won't stick in your head unless you use it. I think The Elements of Style contains enough valuable info on grammar to hold you over.

Schuyler
01-29-2015, 09:11 PM
I know you asked for stuff about writing and not just comics, but have you checked out Steven's pouch of nuts?

It's right here in the DW forum. It's under Comixtribe at the bottom. If you go into pouch of nuts it will list a whole plethora of articles that Steven wrote. Some of them include some basic writing tips.

Alyssa suggested The Story Solution. I have that one. I must warn you though it is very formulaic, not a necessarily a bad thing.

A book that I have not read is Save the Cat. A friend of mine swears by it though.

I'm like you, I want to learn to write.

Good Luck,

-Sky

johnjohn
01-29-2015, 09:15 PM
Alyssa - Gotcha, I'll check the bookstore for the 'Elements' title tomorrow.

I get what you're saying about the classes, and there's probably a great deal of truth there.
God knows some of the chefs in culinary schools aren't a shining example of success.
But I probably will try at least one class to get a feel for whether or not I get much from it, always best to give something a proper investigation before fully forming an opinion.

From what I've experienced and seen so far writing seems to be a lot like cooking, just because you had someone teach you the rules doesn't mean you can cook.
It's something that there has to be a natural flair and passion for, and the rules are really just guidelines to get started as you find your own approach.
I've worked with a number of people that I simply can not understand how the hell they got through culinary school or passed their certifications, I'm willing to bet writers feel the same thing.

johnjohn
01-29-2015, 09:20 PM
Schulyer I have gone through his stuff and I will continue too, but I also want to develop a foundation so I understand what he's saying a better and don't go into information over load.

I did get a good chuckle out of his piece 'You're not Special' though.

I have a lot of respect for Steven, (even after being on the recieving end of a quick evaluation or two by him :p).
He was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions for an article for me, and after reading his replies I respected him even more.

Schuyler
01-29-2015, 10:00 PM
Schulyer I have gone through his stuff and I will continue too, but I also want to develop a foundation so I understand what he's saying a better and don't go into information over load.

I did get a good chuckle out of his piece 'You're not Special' though.

I have a lot of respect for Steven, (even after being on the recieving end of a quick evaluation or two by him :p).
He was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions for an article for me, and after reading his replies I respected him even more.

In some ways I agree with what your saying.

It was all over my head at first. Then I tried to write some, and I grasped a few nuggets. I think that's what we have to do.

Have you read Understanding Comics? It won't teach you how to write but it does talk about the mechanics of comics. The same author wrote Writing Comics and Reinventing Comics. Those books are all awesome, and they are in comic book format!

Steven has helped me tremendously. I have nothing but good things to say about him.

-Sky

Steven Forbes
01-29-2015, 11:39 PM
I think both of you are trying to make me blush.

Ever see a black man blush? It isn't cute...

Stewart Vernon
01-30-2015, 12:26 AM
Read and write... research and practice... and be prepared to take criticism.

If you aren't willing to hear negative stuff, you might as well stop before you get started. Some want to get into things either because they have good ideas OR someone told them they had good ideas... and whether they do or not, they aren't ready to execute them properly, and people with experience will smack you back to reality a bit.

Critics aren't always right... but they aren't always wrong either. I wrote something on my blog about why people need editors and the nugget of that applies here.

Even if you think you are doing everything right, you are writing for an audience and if your audience doesn't "get" what you are conveying then you aren't doing it right.

You can be disliked because you idea is poor OR because your execution is poor. If one idea fails, you can move to another one until something clicks... but if you aren't executing your ideas well, then you'll never know if you had a good one!

johnjohn
01-30-2015, 09:32 AM
Agreed completely.

It's a nice fantasy to think you're going to be one of those one in a million who'll knock it out of the park first time up to bat, but reality is a whole lot different.

I think both of you are trying to make me blush.

Ever see a black man blush? It isn't cute...

I'm trying to get a visual in my head of that.

paul brian deberry
01-30-2015, 03:47 PM
Visit Chuck Wendig (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/01/31/25-things-you-should-know-about-story-structure/) his how to rambling have helped me more than anything over the last year.

Robert_S
01-30-2015, 04:45 PM
ead is Save the Cat. A friend of mine swears by it though.


I wanted to chime in to say Save the Cat is a terrible book. It's the most hardline formulaic book I've ever read.

There is no flexibility in it. By Snyder's formula, Rocky would never have been produced.

johnjohn
01-30-2015, 07:24 PM
Picked up 'Elements of Style' today, my wife has a book entitled 'Analytical Writing' but from what I understand that's more to do with acedemic structure and maintaining your position during the presentation of your thoughts and arguments.

Robert_S
01-30-2015, 07:40 PM
Picked up 'Elements of Style' today, my wife has a book entitled 'Analytical Writing' but from what I understand that's more to do with acedemic structure and maintaining the your viewpoint presentation

Elements of Style is more a grammar book and that is fine, but it's also been criticized as being not particularly geared toward creative writing and hypocritical, with a touch of behind the times.

However, it will serve.

A book on creative writing will assist as well. I have Word Painting but you should be able to find others on Amazon. I have mine as a leftover from a creative writing class at a local U.

I also have a few books on sentence construction.

I read a bit of It Was the Best of Sentences, it was the Worst of Sentences and hated it. The examples sentences the author put out as good examples were terrible to read. Short, mechanical, click, click, click.

I have Building Great Sentences which is the transcripts of a Great Courses video lecture and I like this one, but the author advocates longer sentences. I advocate a varied length by what is most poignant and needed.

Charles
01-30-2015, 08:24 PM
Hey folks, I'm requesting links for some information on learning the basics for writing.

Now before anyone rolls their eyes and thinks 'Just go through what's posted idiot' hear me out please.

I have done searches and looked through the stickies on this page, and there is a lot of information and guides. However the more I look the more I realize how little I know so I'm not sure where to begin building a foundation to properly interpret what I'm reading.

What do I know?
To be safe I'm going to say 'Not a god damn thing'.
What am I looking for?
Basic 101 'start from scratch stuff' to begin learning so as I learn I will begin to understand what I need to look for to continue learning.
Am I expecting that a few hours on a web page will enable me to write like a pro?
No.
Nice fantasy, but we live in the real world where this sort of thing takes years of learning and practice.

I am looking into courses in the colleges and universities around me, (thankfully there are quite a few so it's really a matter of when the course begins) and I understand that people are busy and don't have time for hand holding or to mentor a rookie; so I appreciate the time someone takes to read this and suggest what I should be looking for or drop a link.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this.

As you begin your descent into Dante's Inferno of Writing, know that my sympathies are with you. Can I interest you in a nugget, 'ere you disappear out of sight?

Not that I have any vested interest in detaining you from your appointed hour with the Link Farms of Never-Ending, mind you. Nor is it my desire to stand between you and untold years of boredom and drudgery - if, indeed, that is truly your heart's desire.

The key to writing is talking. The biggest obstacle to writing well is not a lot of the crap that you will undoubtedly read about. Rather, the biggest obstacle is you.

By that, I don't mean that the core problem lies with what you don't know. Rather, the fundamental nexus of writing well is sharing - what you know, what you feel, what flows through the very fiber of your being.

My own experience over the years has been that people possess a dreadful tendency to hesitate. More often than not, they will hold back, rather than to simply allow themselves to ease into the trick of talking in written form.

Recently, I explained to my son, while trying to assist him with his homework, that he already knew how to punctuate, and that he did it, automatically, every time that he talked. He, of course (and as to be expected), looked at me like I was crazy. What a bunch of crap, he no doubt thought.

But, a half hour or so, later, he was less of a skeptic than when I first began explaining it to him.

After you read countless books, and after you explore an endless number of links, you will still find yourself faced with the God-awful task of trying to figure out how to assimilate the knowledge presented. Knowledge is not the same thing as experience. That much is obvious on its face, I know, but it is a point that I think is well worth underscoring.

What is it that you want to master? Every style? That would be tantamount to trying to best Galactus. Good luck with that!

You've already set off onto your journey down the Yellow Brick Road of Writing. How long will you allocate to each aspect of writing? Just whatever is necessary? Just whatever it takes?

Until and unless you come to grips with where good writing originates, then you'll still be in that Kansas of a place where you first started. It comes from the heart, and from the imagination. It doesn't come from links and from books. You can gain a lot of information, and you can acquire an enormous amount of knowledge. But, compiling and implementing and executing all of that data and instruction comes at a price - namely, you can still end up being a shell.

I'm not saying any of this to knock anyone else's advice. Rather, I'm merely trying to highlight a different approach - one that I, personally, think is a better path to becoming a better, more effective writer.

For whatever it may be worth. . .

johnjohn
01-30-2015, 09:19 PM
Minus having cutting boards thrown at me and being screamed at that sounds a lot like my chef's apprenticeship.
Yaaaaaaaay

Schuyler
01-30-2015, 10:40 PM
I wanted to chime in to say Save the Cat is a terrible book. It's the most hardline formulaic book I've ever read.

There is no flexibility in it. By Snyder's formula, Rocky would never have been produced.

Yeah, I don't like formulas. And, that's why I didn't buy this book as soon as my friend suggested it.

Story Solution is also formulaic, but there is information in it. Just learn things. But, never trust everything you've learned. It's easy. Hehe...

-Sky

johnjohn
01-30-2015, 11:14 PM
You've already set off onto your journey down the Yellow Brick Road of Writing. How long will you allocate to each aspect of writing? Just whatever is necessary? Just whatever it takes?

This is a great question.
Unfortunately my answer may not be so great, but here it goes:

My background is cooking and music, (bear with me that will relevant in a moment after I blather on for a bunch of lines) and like writing both have many different styles, and when you're learning you are encouraged to dabble wth as many styles as possible.
For most people the relevance of this goes in one ear and out the other,but sometimes people get the edge of somehing and it really impacts how they view what they do.
It ignites a spark in them and they run with it, and after a while they become profiecient in their artform without realizing it.
For me with music it was playing in a free form jazz rock band, with cooking it was learning how to cook Indian/Pakistani food authentically.
A light just clicked on and suddenly all kinds of things that I never understood before made sense, that was when I actually started learning and realized that the more I learned the less I seemed to know.

Back to an actual answer - my plan is to learn some basic grammar and rules then experiment with different styles and approaches to writing doing a mini project in each and allowing that click to occur on it's own so I will develop an idea for understanding when a piece is flowing or not; and then feeling my way though each piece learning from (and building on) my mistakes as I go.

Schuyler
01-30-2015, 11:30 PM
This is a great question.
Unfortunately my answer may not be so great, but here it goes:

My background is cooking and music, (bear with me that will relevant in a moment after I blather on for a bunch of lines) and like writing both have many different styles, and when you're learning you are encouraged to dabble wth as many styles as possible.
For most people the relevance of this goes in one ear and out the other,but sometimes people get the edge of somehing and it really impacts how they view what they do.
It ignites a spark in them and they run with it, and after a while they become profiecient in their artform without realizing it.
For me with music it was playing in a free form jazz rock band, with cooking it was learning how to cook Indian/Pakistani food authentically.
A light just clicked on and suddenly all kinds of things that I never understood before made sense, that was when I actually started learning and realized that the more I learned the less I seemed to know.

Back to an actual answer - my plan is to learn some basic grammar and rules then experiment with different styles and approaches to writing doing a mini project in each and allowing that click to occur on it's own so I will develop an idea for understanding when a piece is flowing or not; and then feeling my way though each piece learning from (and building on) my mistakes as I go.

You're awesome. No kidding. I'm not a big free form jazz guy myself, but I am also a musician.

You have done some cooking, and played some music. So, you know that formulas work to a certain extent. I am not trying to insult Robert, but we cook with a recipe before we branch out. We play music in a scale, then maybe we add a note from another scale. We write music in a verse, chorus, verse format. Then we add two chorus's together, because it feels right. Then we write a verse, bridge, verse. As Elzar says, "Knock it up a notch."

These formulaic books do not have the answer as they promise, but they are not totally wrong either.

-Sky

johnjohn
01-30-2015, 11:37 PM
My bass instructor in college said that theory explains what you've done after you play what feels like it fits, my chef in culinary school would tell us repeatedly not to get hung up on food theory and classic approaches because in the real world there isn't always going to be the perfect circumstances to pull it off.

Now when I'm recording and I get stuck I dig into some theory to point me in the right direction; likewise with cooking whenever I'm struggling for an idea I just fall back on classic techniques and dishes.

I am approaching writing with the belief that the same holds true.

~edit~ It seems that I am also approaching writing with my spell check off.

There is uaually no cast in stone way for how everything should be done, but what doesn't work (and why) is usally pretty set.

Alyssa
01-30-2015, 11:53 PM
Story Solution is also formulaic, but there is information in it.


Even if you ignore the whole "23 steps" thing, I believe The Story Solution has enough good advice for new writers to make the purchase worth it.
The "23 steps" method might work over the span over a large graphic novel (or series arc), but it's too involved for a one-shot or short story. That's when it's important to understand why certain advice is given, and apply that to your story, rather than following a method blindly.

I still maintain that the best way to learn how to write is to read a lot and write a lot. Diving down the rabbit hole of "how to write" resources can lead to you popping out the ass-end of a 3-year writing drought, wonderin' what the heck happened.
Ask me how I know. :har:

Schuyler
01-31-2015, 12:28 AM
My bass instructor in college said that theory explains what you've done after you play what feels like it fits, my chef in culinary school would tell us repeatedly not to get hung up on food theory and classic approaches because in the real world there isn't always going to be the perfect circumstances to pull it off.

Now when I'm recording and I get stuck I dig into some theory to point me in the right direction; likewise with cooking whenever I'm struggling for an idea I just fall back on classic techniques and dishes.

I am approaching writing with the belief that the same holds true.

~edit~ It seems that I am also approaching writing with my spell check off.

There is uaually no cast in stone way for how everything should be done, but what doesn't work (and why) is usally pretty set.

I think, what your bass instructor told you was true. I would never tell a drummer that. Also, just because bass is by feel does not mean you can play what you want. You are generally gravitating towards a note in the chord because it feels right. In fact, you have to.

Stewart Vernon
01-31-2015, 01:37 AM
Keep in mind too that there is writing, and there is also writing.

I have ideas... I have written ideas... I have written some pretty good prose, in short doses. I'm a short-story guy much moreso than a novel writer.

BUT...

I am still struggling with script-writing, particularly how it would be done for comics or for movies/tv shows.

I posted a script here a while back just to get myself pounded into submission a bit. I got the strong impression that I was mostly right... that I had a good idea, but was crap at writing it into a script.

I could write it as a short story... or I could explain it to you... but that is light years different than writing a script that makes sense for other people to work with and create something based on your idea.

Just another thought to throw out there. I've participated in a couple of writing challenges here, which have been good for me. I'm not where I ought to be, but I'm learning along the way and not harming any animals in the process! :)

Stinty
01-31-2015, 05:21 AM
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I only recently (about eight months ago) started to take it seriously and see if I could do it. Comics were my thing, so I set about learning all I could.

One and the first and best resources I discovered was 'Pouch of Nuts'. It covered everything I needed at the time. I read all of it over a period of weeks, and it really gave me a grounding in the comic book style of writing.

I also grabbed several other books: Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics, Brian Michael Bendis - Words for Pictures; and the DC Guide to Writing Comics. I am a constant DW forum lurker, picking up information and tips everywhere I could.

I wrote a lot, too. Got a lot of crap writing out of the way. Submitted to several anthologies (small ones, and both didn't get off the ground). Submitted a three page horror short to a horror publisher and was accepted (to be published this year). I also submitted an eight page crime short to an anthology, which was also accepted - and I got paid for it!

So, I guess what I'm say is - read, write, and get the best advice you can. Pouch of Nuts is fantastic, an invaluable resource. Use it well, and you'll get a lot out of it like I did.

Robert_S
01-31-2015, 10:52 PM
Yeah, I don't like formulas. And, that's why I didn't buy this book as soon as my friend suggested it.

Story Solution is also formulaic, but there is information in it. Just learn things. But, never trust everything you've learned. It's easy. Hehe...

-Sky

I like Truby's "Anatomy of Story". It seems more like a framework as opposed to a cookie cutter structure. Truby says it's not intended to be hard and fast rules, because the inciting incident can actually happen before the story begins and even fall outside the story's narrative.

I do like a bit of "Dramatica" but it's academic and hard to follow in a lot of places because it doesn't provide enough concrete examples.

Robert_S
01-31-2015, 10:53 PM
I am still struggling with script-writing, particularly how it would be done for comics or for movies/tv shows.

I posted a script here a while back just to get myself pounded into submission a bit. I got the strong impression that I was mostly right... that I had a good idea, but was crap at writing it into a script.


It takes practice to decide what is the right moment in time of action to paint the picture. But you can direct a comic/graphic novel in your script (camera angle, zoom factor, etc). You can't do that in a TV or movie screenplay.

Robert_S
02-01-2015, 04:11 AM
Even if you ignore the whole "23 steps" thing, I believe The Story Solution has enough good advice for new writers to make the purchase worth it.
The "23 steps" method might work over the span over a large graphic novel (or series arc), but it's too involved for a one-shot or short story. That's when it's important to understand why certain advice is given, and apply that to your story, rather than following a method blindly.


One of the reasons I like "Anatomy of Story". There is only seven base (21 for a large work) steps, but these apply to main story, B-story, any sub stories, short story, one-shots, etc.

There is 21 steps you apply to a larger work, but seven is the base that even a short story or one-shot should have,

Stewart Vernon
02-01-2015, 06:45 AM
It takes practice to decide what is the right moment in time of action to paint the picture. But you can direct a comic/graphic novel in your script (camera angle, zoom factor, etc). You can't do that in a TV or movie screenplay.

Yeah... and some of that is what I wrestle with... In prose, you try to paint a picture BUT you also want the reader to contribute and fill in some of the picture too. That's part of the fun of reading a novel, imagining what the world looks like based on some but not all of the description on the page.

With a comic, you will have pictures so a lot of the reader's imagination is "fixed" or taken away... which means as a writer, I have to decide on some more details than I would otherwise in order to write the script for an artist to draw.

IF I were working in a collaborative effort with an artist he (or she) and I might bounce concepts back and forth and I could be less formal... but that wouldn't help me learn the proper way to write a script that I could give to any artist to run with... so I'm still muddling my way through all of that.

I think the "contests" here have helped me a bit too. I'm not sure how it seems to others, but I feel like I have made some leaps just through participation in those... which goes along with the "practice practice practice" mantra.

johnjohn
02-01-2015, 10:07 AM
Executive decision time.

I purchased The Elements of Style, so I'll go through that book while writing each day, applying what I have been reading in Elements. Also I will be reading each day, something classic perhaps Victorian era but NOT the Brontes; dear god not the Brontes.
I have previously attempted to read a couple of Bronte authored books and it was the mental equivalent to catching oneself in their zipper.

Thank you everyone for your input and time.

SamRoads
02-01-2015, 01:12 PM
'Save the Cat!' is an amazing book. More condensed wisdom in its 8 chapters than any other work of non-fiction I've read.

However, it is very (very) clear that what it teaches is formulaic Hollywood style film spec scripts. Many of the best films are not from this formula (e.g. Rocky).

My advice would be to read it twice, but to also be aware that it only covers its subject and that the field of writing is 100x bigger than Save the Cat!

zenbubble
02-02-2015, 02:30 AM
be prepared to take criticism.

This advice is pure gold.

I used to get all huffy when somebody criticized my work. Took me ages to work out that they were just trying to help me.

Listen to EVERYTHING that people tell you, and then weigh each piece of advice/criticism without letting your ego get in the way, and you'll find your work getting better and better.

And read Brian Bendis' WORDS FOR PICTURES and Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente and Colleen Coover's MAKE COMICS LIKE THE PROS.

Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS is also invaluable.

-Chris

Charles
02-12-2015, 02:59 PM
~edit~ It seems that I am also approaching writing with my spell check off.

Good. Create by writing without your spell checker, and then turn it on, after you finish. Take note of what it is telling you. Some software programs will do more than just spell check. Furthermore, many words can be spelled correctly, but be the wrong word for the instance selected. Spell checkers automate the process of making a different kind of error.

As an aside, if Shakespeare had used a spell checker, then he wouldn't have invented so many words.


Back to an actual answer - my plan is to learn some basic grammar and rules then experiment with different styles and approaches to writing doing a mini project in each and allowing that click to occur on it's own so I will develop an idea for understanding when a piece is flowing or not; and then feeling my way though each piece learning from (and building on) my mistakes as I go.

The proverbial long, slow boat to China comes to mind.

You can become a grammar Nazi, without learning how to write. You do know that, don't you?

If I may suggest, consider trying this, instead: Write letters, with no two letters being the same, nor covering the same subject matter. Not letters, as in the letters of the alphabet, but rather, letters as in written correspondence of the kind before e-mail claimed the throne.

Don't just write, though. Make the letters interesting.

If you have no one to write a letter to, then create a dedicated thread, here, and write to me. I'll try to write you back, as time allows.

If you want to write comic books, specifically, then you are going to be writing in what I term a segmented form. It isn't standard writing. It is a far more structured beast, compared to writing free form. Comic books also tend to be exercised in condensed storytelling.

If you want to expedite your conquest of punctuation, then use a different color for your punctuation. The reason is to train your eye to slow down, and much punctuation is heavily weighted toward pausing or stopping.

For whatever it may be worth.

SamRoads
02-19-2015, 10:16 PM
I'd like to write in defence of structure and formula. I'm also a bass player and I think I learned the most about bass lines from studying Bach, who is basically the daddy.

Every time I improvise a walking bass in a jazz band, hit the root notes in a rock band or explore a secondary chord inversion in prog, it all fits into classical music's (breakable) rules.

Freeform jazz is a place where you can avoid structure. But freeform jazz isn't very popular except with other people who play freeform jazz. :D

Bringing this back to writing, I suggest that stories have as much structure as music, and the best stories understand some of the universal 'rules' of story. Even the outliers like Memento still follow plenty of the 'rules'.

And, if you plan to collaborate, you'll find it dozens of times easier if you can use the same language as your colleagues.

johnjohn
02-21-2015, 09:15 AM
Also a bass player myself.
Thought I knew how to play until I went to school for bass and realized how many basic things I was doing wrong and started over.
Man that was disheartening, but it was time well spent and I had a lot more success with playing after I did that.

As I mentioned in the thread I had about formatting my plan is to do the exact same thing with writing, based on my previous experience it's a good approach to getting past bad habits which one can develop that will plague you over and over as you try to improve.

I do have a couple more pieces that I have committed to writing then I'm going to pause and rebuild.

Robert_S
02-21-2015, 07:13 PM
I do have a couple more pieces that I have committed to writing then I'm going to pause and rebuild.

You can fit any piece into almost any theory. Truby has his, Dramatica has its own, Campbell has his, DC and Marvel have theirs.

I'd recommend picking one that gives a clear structure, but is fluid enough to give the writer the freedom to tell his/her story as they envision it.

johnjohn
02-21-2015, 07:14 PM
Good idea, I'll look into those and play around.

Scribbly
02-22-2015, 01:10 PM
I already mentioned this before, but again, from my POV, the best way for learning how to write a comics script is to adapt a classic prose book, maybe a short prose story, to comics script with a predetermined number of pages and panels per page.
If you can do this successfully you'll learn how to write comics scripts. Guaranteed.

Any classic book that you may like. If not the whole book, try it for just one chapter.
Is a great learning experience that will teach you a lot.

After doing that you can write a book about writing theories yourself.

Robert_S
02-23-2015, 08:34 PM
I already mentioned this before, but again, from my POV, the best way for learning how to write a comics script is to adapt a classic prose book, maybe a short prose story, to comics script with a predetermined number of pages and panels per page.
If you can do this successfully you'll learn how to write comics scripts. Guaranteed.


Hmmm...I know of quite a few that would make good exercises. I couldn't get them published, because they aren't out of copyright, but...

The Lottery
Who Am I This Time? really good love story with odd characters.
Call of Cthulhu out of copyright, but probably already done.

B-McKinley
02-24-2015, 01:00 PM
Call of Cthulhu out of copyright, but probably already done.

The nice thing about adaptations is there's always room for one more. I was working on an adaptation of Nyarlathotep and I started by printing out the entire text and then highlighting with different colors to indicate what sections could be adapated to narration, dialogue, or scene/action description. Lovecraft isn't very big on dialogue so do you end up with a 'silent' comic, or do you invent dialogue to support the narrative?

Schuyler
02-24-2015, 03:57 PM
The nice thing about adaptations is there's always room for one more. I was working on an adaptation of Nyarlathotep and I started by printing out the entire text and then highlighting with different colors to indicate what sections could be adapated to narration, dialogue, or scene/action description. Lovecraft isn't very big on dialogue so do you end up with a 'silent' comic, or do you invent dialogue to support the narrative?

As, soon as Robert mentioned CoC I got excited and got out my Lovecraft shorts. I don't want to do CoC, but I really wanted to do The Outsider. Problem is that comics is a visual medium and thus The Outsider would lose its twist at the end. At least I cannot think of a way to do it, if you can think of one, please recommend it.

In answer to your question, I say write the dialogue. It is the part that you would get to write, allowing some creative input. I think captions would be acceptable too, if the narration is HP's narration, but then you would lose your creative input again.

Thanks for the suggestion, Scribbly, and Robert.

-Sky

B-McKinley
02-24-2015, 05:28 PM
First person POV? Since Lovecraft has dreams as a recurring theme, you could appropriate that them to get you out of corners that the POV would otherwise point you into. (Haven't read the story, just skimmed a synopsis to see what the issue was.)

Back on topic. I think formulas are important to understanding why things work and how to use that formula to enhance the storytelling. If you just write by checking off boxes in someone's list then your story will be lucky if it's described as "formulaic."

Schuyler
02-24-2015, 06:21 PM
First person POV? Since Lovecraft has dreams as a recurring theme, you could appropriate that them to get you out of corners that the POV would otherwise point you into. (Haven't read the story, just skimmed a synopsis to see what the issue was.)

Back on topic. I think formulas are important to understanding why things work and how to use that formula to enhance the storytelling. If you just write by checking off boxes in someone's list then your story will be lucky if it's described as "formulaic."

I thought of POV. But, the guy does quite a bit of climbing and you would have to see his hands. Plus, he is the only person in most of the story, so you end up with nothing but background shots.

I figured maybe the guy sees himself as handsome and so does the reader, but then, that has to be explained, and it has nothing to do with the original work. I think it might be difficult to bring to the comic medium, and maybe not a task for a rookie like myself.

I am in total agreement with you about the formulas. They are good to understand, but I do not think a story can be written by checking off a list.

-Sky

Robert_S
02-24-2015, 09:18 PM
Lovecraft isn't very big on dialogue so do you end up with a 'silent' comic, or do you invent dialogue to support the narrative?

I think quite a bit would be caption based narration, with some dialog.