Working on the door prize

The book launch party for Nineteen Tales will have door prizes, and as one prize, I’m doing a drawing of a scene from my story. I’m starting with experiments and reminding myself how I draw… important artistic note: the water colour goes on before the india ink…

The next day: test drawings for the door prize. ?

One drawing is watercolour and pencil only, the other has india ink added.

This is the same technique I’m going to use for my story Parts.

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It came!

It came! Nineteen Tales of COVID-19, the compilation I submitted a story to! ? (I changed the pictures when I realized how many crumbs were on the kitchen table… now it’s in front of my computer.)

The compilation was organized by the awesome Jackie Brown of Jackie Brown Books. The writers all have some connection to Durham Region (for example, I grew up in Whitby).

Yes, I also designed the cover and laid the interior out.

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Listing of various works

This is a listing of various works I have done.

High school 1976-1981

The grade nine sketch. The stories: How Yukon Picket Obtained Salt (grade 10), The Thirteenth Upheaval (grade 11), Virnalian Ranger (comic in co-op newsletter, grade 12 or 13). The Map (detail; grade 10).

Architecture school, Waterloo 1981 to end 1982

First sketchbooks.

Electronics school, Brampton 1983-1985

Toasterman. Electronic Monsters. (I was the only guy in electronics school with a sketchbook.)

Oshawa 1986-1989, then Mississauga 1989-1992

Random sketchbook work. Large drawings as gifts until 1990.

Animation school 1992-1993, then continuing in Oakville 1993-2001

Evelyn’s Story (the World of the Woolly Mountain Incident). I discover Esperanto (for real this time). The Devilbunnies newsgroup and shared fiction. In summer 2000 I go to the Kultura Esperanto Festivalo in Helsinki (music video segment– cut short when I ran out of tape (yes, tape)).

Toronto 2001-2009

Scaffoldworld (the beginning). Plotting problems extending it. Start learning about story design. Start going to LIFT, the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, to attend its screenwriting group. French lessons. Japanese lessons (really regret leaving Toronto and quitting these).

Bancroft 2010-2011, then Sutton 2011-2012

The layoff. Go to Bancroft to work on solar-powered houses. Doesn’t work out. Look for work in Sutton. Meet Shawn Shepheard when he led a job search group at Yorkworks. I draw Shawn’s Sugarfree Shawn comic.

Web development school, Durham College, Oshawa 2012-2014

Cara Coulson’s children’s literature class. Mary-Rose Thaler’s graphic design class. Linda Cheng’s graphics programming class. The rabbit video. The BUNIX login. French immersion in Jonquière summer 2013. Exploration of Kickstarter.

Peterborough 2014-2018

Sketchbooks and attempts at programming. The ATM Fee Finder. Second attempt at Time Warrior (website, video, and shirt this time). Visits to LIFT.

Belleville 2018-

Parts: An Industrial Fantasy. Meet Jackie and the DRWG. The compilation Nineteen Tales of COVID-19 and the story The Rabbit Hole.

“Writing Prompts” on Reddit

I recently stumbled across a group on Reddit. This particular group is called Writing Prompts, and the topics are story suggestions, meant as practice for writers. People reply with story segments in comments.

I was alerted to one topic by a text announcement on my phone. The topic was:

 "People gain superpowers the day after meeting their soulmate. When a hot young celebrity does so the day after a meet-and-greet, they're desperate to find every person who they even just shook hands with that day."

As I got ready for work, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. As I worked on the assembly line, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At lunch, I read some of the story segments others had posted in response, and I plotted a continuation and thought of all sorts of details.

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Back and Forth Between Scrivener and InDesign

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Jackie introduced me to Scrivener, a writing program. I wrote a draft script for Parts in it, using the Comic Script template provided with the program, and tips from its author Antony Johnston.

This format gave me automatically-incrementing page and scene numbers, which are adjusted on output. There were paragraph formats for character names, dialogue, narration, and more. It was a lot like the well-known screenwriting program Final Draft.

Final Draft itself is of course one of the well-known programs for screenwriting. It allows the writer to manage characters and plot points and make sure that all the loose ends are tied up. I believe that there is a detailed script output goes so far as to tabulate what characters (and therefore actors) and locations and even important props are in each scene (clearly useful in panning the shooting of a movie).

I have found that graphic-novel scripts are a lot more like screenplays than regular prose novels, and I tend to think more in pictures than text when creating story. I considered using Final Draft for my script, but decided to try Scrivener, as I found that Scrivener was a considerably lighter program, aimed more for writing.

However, Scrivener (and Final Draft) are text only. Parts is going to be a graphic novel. I decided to lay it out in Adobe InDesign, which I had used before. In InDesign I can design pages, choosing page size, margins, fonts, and so on. Then I cam import and place artwork. InDesign is much more flexible than Scrivener in the way that it can size and arrange artwork on a page. It places images and text in “frames”, which can themselves have different shapes and outlines. I immediately thought of dialogue boxes and word balloons in comics.

Ideally, I would like to write the script in Scrivener (or Final Draft for that matter), and export it in such a way that the structural information of the script is preserved. It would include not just a piece of text, but some record that the text was a piece of dialogue spoken by Character X.

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