Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

This is largely a response to a conversation my dad and I had this morning. Actually, that was mostly on psychoanalysis of writers and critics, but in short, WRITING IS HARD.

I'm a fan of stories. Films, games, comics, tv, its more to me than just pretty pictures. Story is the key- and everything else is subservient to that in my opinion.

In that, I think being a professional writer is quite probably the most harrowing job I can imagine. Firstly, you're an IDEAS MACHINE. To constantly have to generate new concepts from the ethereal mist is harrowing, to walk a line between being absurd/incomprehensible and doing the exact same thing that's been done a million times before is a tricky one. Moving from project to project you also have to compete with yourself; what you've done before and what you hope to do differently/better/as well as. That's not even getting to the actual writing part.

Drawing from personal experience is always heavily on my mind when it comes to writing. Essentially, taking things that make me tick and putting a veiled version of it out there for the world to prod and poke. DO NOT WANT. But heck, that's part of all art forms, and if I had THAT big a deal I'd be off working in Starbucks.

Writing good characters is something that makes my brain go wobbly like trying to visualise a tesseract in my head (which led to a process of stop-thinking-like-a-human in that sort of scenario, but that's a whole different post). Keeping track of characters' conscious, subconscious and feigned thoughts is a delicate balancing act, and finding how much and how to tell it another parallel minefield of scary. They bear the weight of their imaginary worlds on their shoulders. Did I mention that I'm a tad dramatic at times?

That whole sort of thing is scary but enjoyable for me. I've been hacking away at Darklight, re-writing and tweaking bits over and over again for years. I'm not on a deadline.

Flow is the hardest thing for me to fathom in terms of writing. Visually, in static images and in comics to an extent its all laid out in front of you. You can, in one look, see how things flow and match your beats accordingly. Scrolling through documents...something I struggle with.

Getting that all within your word and pagelimit, something I haven't had to wrestle with before. I don't know if that makes it easier or harder, but with cramped space virtual and temporally, I don't envy professional writers one bit. I have had the pleasure of talking to/working with Tony Lee, and the sheer intensity of his schedule puts me in small panic attacks and makes me want to not bother him unless the world is coming to an end.

So yeah, much love for the writers.

(I hope to come back and do a piece on pencillers,inkers,letterers,and editors later. Probably colourists too, but that seems a little self indulgent)

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