I’ve been trying to think through why it was that Monday night’s class annoyed me as much as it did.
Perhaps it all boils down to jarred expectations. I went away and did what I thought was our homework: I took my selected pitch, I fleshed out the characters and considered the stuff that I’d need to address in a first issue, and developed a story that, I felt, gave a useful introduction to the setting, the characters, and the overarching themes, and also had a bit of action/adventure for fun. I broke down my story into a story map — I know exactly what’s happening on each page. I’ve already had to hack and slash some of the stuff that I wish I had room for. But I was really happy with the story and wanted to feel good about it a bit.
After being so excited to get to class tonight, actually attending pissed me off. Mostly because I feel like we were asked to do a bunch of prep that never got used. And I think I’m going to hate next week — it sounds like we’re being asked to work out partial scripts in class. I’m beyond the point of wanting to toy around with structure and skeletons; I want to do the hard work of actually bringing the story to fruition now, and I doubt that working that out in class is a productive way to do that.
Bah. I want real homework.
I must have really turned a corner on my apprehensions of my Writing class because I’m really excited about tomorrow’s class and I CAN’T WAIT.
Tonight was “pitch night” at Writing for Comics Part 2. We were instructed to bring 3 ideas for new on-going series (or, perhaps, a longish graphic novel), and we’d each pitch our ideas to the class. Ty gave us a bunch of key things that our pitches needed to cover off, and he’d critique how well we “sold” the ideas, and the class would ultimately vote on one of the three pitches. The winning pitch essentially becomes the idea you hafta run with for the final two classes (and final writing exercises).
Some of the ideas were grounded in exercises we’d done in other classes. For example, one of my favourite ideas from a classmate involves a group of Catholic priests/exorcists who fight demons and perform martial arts. The guy who presented this idea had sketched out elements of this particular story world in the world building exercise, and fleshed out some characters for the world in our character archetypes exercise. Tonight, he pitched it, more formally, as “The Exorcist from U.N.C.L.E.” and it’s the one I voted for (and, conveniently, the idea of his that “won”, so I look forward to seeing the actual story).
I’ve been taking this course for the last few weeks: Writing For Comics Part 1, taught by Ty Templeton. Ty used to do this gig as part of the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, but he’s now put out his own shingle that reads “Comic Book Bootcamp” at the new Comic Book Embassy in Chinatown.
The course has challenged me, I must confess. Not in the sense that “it’s hard” but rather that what he’s teaching feels very formulaic. His style is very much about teaching these template structures for different story types: Plot-driven stories, Character-driven stories, etc., and then explain to us how to fill in the details. For my part, I find that my brain wants to resist these structures as somehow a dumbing down of the writing process.