The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Settling in to keep trying this new tack again. I did a few pages yesterday, transferring over to GN format, and it went well. I'll hit a problem that was glaringly huge in the first version; so huge that I skipped over it and moved farther into the ms so that I wouldn't have to deal with it. It'll be very telling to see if I can solve it in this format or not. The problem was: a good 14+ pages (double-spaced) of dialog, all setting up and giving backstory.

For this story to work as a GN, it'll have to stand completely alone, even though it's a sequel. It's still in first person, but I think in a GN (this is one of the aspects of GNs that really appeals to me) I can skip around pov's without losing the reader. I think I can give backstory in real time, not in dialog or in thought, so it doesn't bring the story to a screeching halt. (I have no idea why a visual flashback doesn't throw the reader off the way a prose flashback does.)

One thing I don't have a feel for, though, is pacing. I know that 14+ pages went on waaaay too long in prose, because I can feel myself getting bored and impatient when I look at it. I don't have a good feeling for how to pace a GN. The only times I get bored or impatient with a GN-type thing are with some of the manga series where people are fighting interminably, or where there's a cute little interlude of a running gag about a character's personal quirks. Usually where people stomp each other's heads and it's supposed to be funny. But I don't think that bothers me because of pacing. I think it bothers me because I'm being forced to leave the story behind for something that's completely unnecessary, and often way out of line with the tone.

I don't see anything in the index of either of my Scott McCloud books (Understanding Comics, Making Comics) about pacing. I remember reading something; maybe it was when I was flipping through something in a bookstore. Most books about writing GNs or manga are all about drawing and have very little to do with storytelling structure or stuff like that. Maybe artists instinctively have a sense of pacing a visual story. I sure the heck don't. I just can't see this dialog going on for very long in this format either, because how many times can you look at pictures of two people talking before you get bored?

Although I swear Death Note had frames and frames and pages and pages of people thinking. Just thinking, either in thought bubbles or ostensibly out loud. They were thinking about what they were going to do next, what the other person might do next, what they should do to make the other person think they were going to do something they weren't really going to do next. That's the only manga that's ever taken me an hour per book to read--and that's because of all the thinking.

However, my characters' thoughts are not nearly that detailed or that involved. So. We'll see what happens as I work on it.

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