Sunday, May 20, 2012

ROW80 Update - May 20 and Storyboarding

Great News! The labor contract our union just agreed to was not NEARLY as bad as it seemed.  They had changed how they tabulated certain workload issues, and it made it look like a huge increase in workload for many association members (and subsequent loss of income for others) -- but there was actually no change, just a shift in language in hopes of better defining certain things.

Without that, the rest of the contract is more an even trade off of good and bad.

To quote Mr. Burns from the Simpsons: "I... don't hate this." 

And I'm much relieved.

A Round of Words in 80 Days update:

Wednesday Day 45 -98 minutes.  Didn't do exactly what I meant to do -- I went off and wrote something on another story.  Then I edited and posted Episode 4, as well as doing the illustration for it.

Thursday Day 46 - 0 minutes. Today was a long day -- a work day, and then a long union meeting afterward.  Very tired.  But I will be starting some new writing goals tomorrow!  I was inspired to go back to counting words.

Friday Day 47 -1670 words.  Did some rough work on some upcoming episodes for The Misplaced Hero, and then did some work on the first chapter of The Man Who Stepped Up.  Not my strongest work, but also not at all hard work.

I did a lot of slacking in the middle of the day and spent too much at the grocery store.  However, even if I hadn't been slacking I probably wouldn't have written much more.  I would have pulled out and read over some notes so that I would have more material fresh in my head for writing tomorrow. I had an idea for a draft/outline style. (see Storyboarding stuf below)

Saturday Day 48 - 1247 words.  Again split between Misplaced Hero and ManWho2.  Not real happy what I'm doing with Man Who, but it's working as exploratory writing.  I'm finding stuff out.

As for Misplaced Hero, I like the work I'm doing, but I haven't done the art for the next ep yet.  It will be a busy day tomorrow.


One of the things I notice about writing this serial is that I'm writing in a particular style just for it -- very impressionistic.  What it feels like, in my head, is a storyboard.  Fast broad-stroke sketches of what happens, distilled down to important details.

I like it and want to learn to do it better, but I also feel like it could very well be a springboard to something bigger.  Or perhaps I should say a foundation which I can flesh out more.

It's like an outline but more ... story-ish

A storyboard, for those who don't know, is a set of drawings that filmmakers and animators (and others) do to visualize the story before actually making the movie.  If you think of an outline as like a screenplay (or something that comes before the screenplay) the storyboards are what fleshes that story out before it becomes film.

They're very visceral -- they're not about what happens factually.  They're about what happens emotionally, in the gut. They're about the audience reaction.  About the story.

And that's sort of what this serial has been feeling like to me -- like a storyboard.  I realize that when I sit down to compile this into a book, I won't just take it as is.  I'll want more atmosphere, and more graceful conversations, with more detail. There won't be changes in the scenes or the story, just a change in presentation.  Because, after all, a book is different from a blog story in how the audience experiences it.

But there is something else:  Instinct tells me that this might be a good tool for writing other things.  That this serial/storyboarding mindset might work as a kind of extra creative form of outlining.  A form of prep work which might even help books which are not suited to be a serial or anything like it.

I'm going to try looking at Devil in a Blue Bustle as if it were to be serialized -- think of it in terms of smaller episodes and storyboard panels -- and see if that moves it along better.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the next episode of The Misplaced Hero.  (And if you missed the previous one, Episode 4 is here.)

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Do you actually *sketch* your storyboard, or are you putting up plot points? I think I remember that you draw really well...I'm sort of limited in that department (REAL limited.) :)

The Daring Novelist said...

No, I'm talking about storyboarding with words. That is, what you are seeing in the episodes of this webserial is like a storyboard.

So an outline would have a summary; these web episodes have an actual scene, but it's abbreviated, like a sketch.

The thing that I think might be useful about it for using this method instead of an outline is that it blocks out the action, and makes me focus on the "now" in planning.

I might do a whole blog post on this, after I've played with it for a little.

Kim Switzer said...

The storyboarding mindset sounds fascinating. I hope you'll write more about it as you work with it more.

Do you find keeping a word count rather than a time count helps you stay more focused?

The Daring Novelist said...

Time count generally keeps me more focused because that's directly what it's about. No matter what the task (writing, editing, brainstorming) no minutes happen until I focus on it.

However, there are two problems:

1.) If I'm really into it, I forget to look at the clock, or start the stop watch. Kinda defeats the purpose.

2.) Whatever I'm doing, I get blase about it after a while, and need to switch it up.

Mostly, I find word counts are great for racking up new drafts.

Minutes work better for editing, or finishing up a mostly completed draft -- when I've got a lot of little persnickety things to do.

alberta ross said...

story boarding sound interesting - will you be able to do a whole blog on how it works sometime - emotional sketching sound good to me - all the best for this week

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Alberta.

I hope to get to more about "prose storyboarding" next week. Still mulling on what I mean.

In some ways, it's really just writing an abbreviated version of the final story. Writing a no-frills short first draft. But it's also more, because it's also a way of breaking down the story.