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Old 09-13-2018, 01:04 AM   #1
fourth_world
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Too Much Info? (Outlining Help)

Hello! It's been a while, everyone!

So I don't know if this is the right spot for this discussion (I know a mod will let me know otherwise.), but I've been toiling over a single comic project for about three years now.

I've been coming up with ideas for a short comic and it's slowly expanded from a 15-page comic to now a 40-page comic. There's a ton of emotional depth and room for character development that couldn't exist before.

The comic itself came out of a challenge to myself to write a talking heads scene that an artist would actually want to draw. It's two people at a diner breaking up over one's drug addiction from the person breaking up's POV, but it's much more complex and dramatic than just that.

I have the primary plot of what happens to the two characters at the diner. The challenge is that I have a B-plot of their relationship in flashbacks from one of their perspectives (and sell that they once loved each other), a C-plot of that character's one traumatic childhood memory that plays into both the relationship and the conversation at the diner, and miscellaneous single-panel flashbacks that add context to certain lines of dialogue. (The miscellaneous single flashbacks only happen like three or four times.)

Since I'm trying to actually write page summary outlines to help me make heads and tails with the script and I keep getting lost. I think, as you can probably agree, I have too much. However, these flashbacks are important for the story. So I feel like I need to be more selective of what moments I show, but I also don't know what I can just leave to dialogue/exposition.

I feel like I have too many separate memories and don't know which ones I should keep.

How do I decide what should make it to the script?
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:19 AM   #2
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It's not very scientific or helpful, but it's pretty much a gut feeling. Because you're writing the story and understand the characters best. It is really about what YOU feel fits.

Remember you're writing what you want to read.
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:56 PM   #3
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Kill your darlings.

If it doesn't drive the story forward you've got to cut it out no matter how cool or awesome you think it is.
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Old 09-15-2018, 02:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourth_world View Post
The comic itself came out of a challenge to myself to write a talking heads scene that an artist would actually want to draw. It's two people at a diner breaking up over one's drug addiction from the person breaking up's POV
nobody wants to draw THAT
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:44 PM   #5
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If you haven't already, I'd check out either Shawn Coyne's Story Grid, or Andy Schmidt's Comics Experience Guide to Writing Comics. Both deal with outlining and both seem strongly influenced by Robert McKee's Story. Coyne's tools are good for analysis, because when you put your existing story in, the flaws will jump out, and you either cut that or modify it to do something useful.
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:32 PM   #6
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An idea of which memories move the story forward and which ones do not (or advice on how to tell) can only be determined by seeing the particular story.

I would suggest taking out anything you think is borderline, then read the through the entire story without those. Does it still make sense? Does it still work?

Or start a fresh outline with only the extreme basics, for example: Luke is stuck on a farm - Luke meets old Jedi and learns he has the force - Luke blows up Deathstar. Then slowly build it out from there, only adding what you need to get to the next section of your story. Instead of focusing on A,B,C plots, maybe think about it in terms of acts only until you get everything nailed down?

The best way would be to get a second pair of eyes on it. Have a friend you trust to tell you the truth read it, even if they aren't writers you'll be able to learn from how they reacted. Give them the 15 page version you had and see if they understand what is going on. Give them your 40 page version and see if they are bored or got lost.

There is a reason why writers have editors, why directors usually don't edit their own movies, you get too attached to your creation. I would guess that a lot of what you feel is necessary, is not necessary.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:18 AM   #7
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Only keep what is moving the story forward
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Old Yesterday, 01:27 PM   #8
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Do you really need the flashbacks? I think, in a piece like this, where the focus seems to be the dialog and the acting of the characters, that you have to suggest more than show and you need to have confidence in your artist to carry the script to fruition.

I don't know the details, but maybe you can tighten the main story a bit to make little reactions and gestures matter more, to make them have more weight in their interactions.

Also, if you have ten pages full of dialogue, a couple of pages of silence and focusing on character actions can have a huge impact.

I guess what I'm saying is that you need to decide what are the main plot points and then you just have to find the most interesting, effective way to reach there.
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