Chiseling it out...
Before writing a single word of script, write a sentence that wraps up your comic. Not a pitch, but a summary that captures the essence of what you aim to convey.
**It is recommended that you read our previous post on writing comics before continuing. Click here to read "Before you start writing comics, read me."
Sum up your story
Writing a comic is much like drawing, you must sketch before you can define. That's what this sentence is, it's your story in its roughest form. A distilled summary that should also evoke the emotion you plan to convey in your story. At the same time, it is still very general and flexible and can change and grow as it is being crafted. The more thought you put into this sentence, the easier it will be spun into pages.
Elaborate on each Page
In numbered order, expand that original sentence to one sentence per page, describing the action. Get as descriptive as you need to to see it in your minds eye. Now would be a good time to plan ahead a little and try to think of pacing, panel count, page composition and story structure. Don't get caught up describing any one panel in particular, try to explain the sum of what all the panels in the page accomplish.
Write your Panels
Here is the fun part, writing your panels. Everyone does this differently, personally I like to start by creating a setting, picking an angle then moving into action and finally dialog. I write dialog last because I try to tell as much of the story through action. No matter how well thought out you think a script may be, always be open to change elements as they arise. Part of writing a story is letting it grow, so don't force elements that have made themselves redundant or irrelevant.
A sentence to sum up the story:
"Ruthless catches crooked cops witness tampering and kills them."
A sentence to explain each page:
1. Introduce setting & situation: Crooked cops in a back alley.
2. Rising action: Ruthless arrives, tension rises.
3. Climax: Ruthless kills them all.
**Disclaimer, this is not a commercial script format. It is my personal short hand, I write for myself, so I don't require too much detail. If you would like to follow along with the Ruthless #1, Click here to download ARSENAL #1.
1. OPEN ON: BEV Exterior, Alley. 2 plain clothes officers and a cholo stand around. Cholo has a duffel bag in his hand.
COP 1- Here ya go. Fresh out of the evidence locker.
2. Close up of Cop 2 as he snorts cocaine.
COP 2- SNORT!
3. Wide shot of the Cholo and Cop 1 talking with Cop 2 in the background checking his head after a bump.
CHOLO- Cool. I’ll have my cousin fill out your witness form. He-
COP 1- Just have him sign it, I’ll fill out the rest.
5. Suddenly, headlights & red/blue lights blasts the trio, the siren blasts.
6. Wide angle behind the trio, they are in silohette.
COP 2 - The fuck?
COP 1- Relax, It's probably just some fucking' rookie.
CHOLO- Yeah? Well, get rid of him, vato.
1. Cop 1, Illuminated, approaches the car with his badge in his hand. and both hands in the air.
COP 1- Stand down, L.A.P.D.
2. The driver’s door opens, An officer steps out, his face is in shadow.
3. Close up as Cop 1 shouts, already having lost his patience.
COP 1- L.A.P.D! Turn those fucking lights off!
4. Cut to: Two man shot of Cop 2 and Cholo as they look at each other.
COP 2- Be cool. He's got this.
5. Cut to: Close up of Cop 1, now furious.
COP 1- I said L.A.P.D. asshole! Detective Troy Hamlin! Vice! Who the fuck are-
6. Cop 1 head is blown clean off.
1. Extreme close up of Officer, revealing police uniform, but not his face. Officer cocks the shotgun as a spent shell flies into the air.
2. Cop 2 is shot in the shoulder as Cholo runs behind him.
3. Same as Panel 1.
4. POV of barrel of shotgun as it points at the Cholo's back as he flees.
5. Reverse angle of Cholo as he is shot in the back, his duffle bag flies into the air.
6. Cop 2 looks up, bleeding.
COP 2- I…know you…
7. WEV of Ruthless, revealing the face and uniform as he blasts Cop 2.
CONCLUSION: Distilling the story to a single sentence and expanding on it just might be the approach you need to tackle your story. It offers a natural progression through your story while allowing you to know where all parts fit in relation to one another. I'm pretty sure I didn't come up with this method, but I did stumble into it independently, and I must say, it is my favorite method for writing short stories. Use the comments section below if ya got any questions on this method.