A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CORA3 :: update

It's been difficult getting the third chapter of CORA on its feet. I'm attempting to tell 18 years of Rose Callaghan's life in 80 pages. The story will focus almost completely on Rose, from age 4 up to age 22 when she decides to leave home in search of her missing brothers.

(I've added some rough panels to show how I've been working. This is what the first stage of writing and drawing looks like).

My approach to this book isn't any different than the others, although this time I'm drawing scenes out of order, which I have not done before. Call me crazy, but I'm letting the book define itself; I'm drawing the scenes I know I want and then figuring out how to piece them together as well as create the proper pacing. It's tricky business but as I've said in other posts, very liberating. What I'm coming up with is vastly different from what I imagined the book would be. The story line is essentially the same, but the path has changed.

This kind of outside-the-box, on-your-feet thinking is good story training. It really gets your brain working to come up with the best and most honest solutions. For most scenes I know the intent, but not how it will play out or what the character "business" will be. I read the incomplete story over and over and work it until it feels right.

Sometimes I get what some friends and I call a "story hangover" where you think your story's working great, wrap for the day, re-read it the next day, and say to yourself: "what was I thinking?? This stinks!" The drawings might be there, but the emotion just isn't hitting. When that happens move on to another part of the story you know you want and give the tough stuff some time. The solutions will come.

More soon...

CORA3 Status:
50 pages roughed
5 done


artgeek12 said...

I know that throughout all the books, you move from past to present but when writing the main story, do you find yourself stopping frequently to fill in back story? As i write, i always come to a point where i feel i need to flesh out the history of an event or person and that seems to slow down the progression of the main story. I guess on some level i feel that in order to write a more in depth story "I" need to know everything about the world i'm creating. Any tips?

Bill Robinson said...

Ohhhhh man, I am so excited. Can't wait to see more. Whats the est release for Cora3?

Ted M said...

artgeek- this is the first set of characters I've worked with in the comics medium so it's all still a learning process for me. I only reveal backstory when it informs something new about the character, moves the story forward in a dramatic way, or supports a moment in the present.

I intentionally left the sisters' upbringing missing in Rose and Isabel so I could fill in the gaps in a dramatic way through flashback. This a well-used structure in storytelling. (LOST is a current example of this).

The first chapter of Cora has a recap for the sole purpose of letting new readers know it's a sequel and to give them something to start with if they haven't read R&I.

I didn't know the sisters' complete backstory when I wrote R&I. I knew Rose was the troubled one and had adversity and violence in her life. Isabel was the more stable of the two. I knew they were born in 1842 in an area that became West Virginia, etc etc. (the basics).

Two things: you need to know your characters well and how they act/react to situations, and you need to know about the world they inhabit. What are the rules of that world?

It may require you to write out more backstory if that helps you. It all depends on how comfortable you are with your characters.

Bill - Thanks! I'm planning for the book to be done in August for a September release.

Le'von said...

hi this is Le'von. I have been visiting your booth at Comic-Con and have made it a tradition to buy your book each year.

I spent my entire lunch break searching for you and voila, nothing.

Well I hope things are well and I can't wait for Cora 3.