I've been tagged to contribute to a project called the My Writing Process Blog Tour. I was invited by Eleanor Davis, who is one of the many talented cartoonists who reside in Athens, Georgia.
1) What am I working on?
I'm currently trying to make sense of an idea that I've had for awhile about people trying to control their dreams through diet. For awhile I had been wanting to write about my personal experiences with trying to control dreams, so I'm going to add these elements in with a love story. A few of my past couple of comic stories have been love stories to some degree. The page count is nowhere near enough to be a book-length graphic novel, unless I really pad it (I won't), so it might be a standalone 30-40 page issue of my self published "Big Deal Comics & Stories".
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My hopes are that for the people who will read the finished product, they will figure it differs from other love story/dream comics. I'm terrified of it being derivative.
3) Why do I write what I do?
There's not really much new under the sun, so I'm not entirely convinced I'm filling some kind of comics void, but I do gravitate towards projects that I'd want to see exist. I like crime comics, ghost stories, romance, surrealism, humor, and sometimes all of those under one roof.
4) How does your writing process work?
The first step is almost always a fairly incoherent out-of-context paragraph I jot down with a skeleton of an idea. From there I write an outline of the events, which is usually just as incoherent as the initial idea. From there I start to write the dialogue and link everything together until it makes sense. Most of the time an ending isn't settled on until several drafts have been discarded.
I read over the dialogue and weed out whatever sounds phony. If it's not clunky sounding exposition awkwardly explaining something, then it's having everyone written to be a witty comedian. Once I get into a rut of having people go back and forth with snappy dialogue, I have to pull back and make sure that everyone's not a sharp-tongued bard. Some characters are allowed to be short on words and comebacks. Not everyone has to be funny or have identical senses of humor.
The hardest part in the wringing process is admitting when I've written a bunch of garbage. I've learned to not be afraid to kill and idea if it's a bad one. Many half-baked ideas that I've expounded on and built up with characters and locations and plots, only to set it aside for awhile. When I've gone back to read it over, I've realized the story is gibberish. There are some ideas worth salvaging, but others are best buried. And other times it's best to ignore it for a long time. Maybe in a few years it will make sense, maybe it won't.
If it's really a good idea, then there will be that magical moment where everything clicks and I can see that finishing the comic is for the best. There can be multiple drafts and variations on an idea, but only one will stand out and make me not regret starting on the final comic. The comic is never really finished until it's been scanned it and set out in some layout program, ready to take to the printer. Until then, I try not to nitpick every detail. If I do, then I butcher it to pieces and regret with not sticking with an earlier draft.
AND NOW: I will tag the following people.
was born in 1980, grew up in Louisiana and Kentucky, and went to college at Murray State University. He majored in art, then theater, then history, then English, then ended up back with art, earning a BFA in graphic design. The first book in the Crogan Adventures series, Crogan’s Vengeance, came out in 2008. Chris made the book while he was in graduate school, studying Sequential Art (that’s the academic name for comics) at SCAD-Atlanta, the metropolitan branch of the Savannah College of Art and Design. It was nominated for an Eisner award. He received another Eisner nomination a few years later for Crogan's Loyalty. He received his MFA in 2008, and began teaching at SCAD-Atlanta shortly afterwards as an instructor in the Sequential Art and Animation departments. After five years of teaching, he decided that he would stop after the school year ended in 2013 in order to devote all of his attention to storytelling (and, of course, his family). He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Liz and daughter Penelope. Chris Schweizer
He divides his time between the Crogan Adventures and the Creeps, a middle-reader horror/mystery series coming from Abrams Amulet in fall of 2015. Visit him at http://croganadventures.blogspot.com/
Rich Tommaso- Rich Tommaso has been writing and illustrating original comics and graphic novels for 17 years. His graphic novel with writer James Sturm, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, was praised in The New York Times and in 2008 won him an Eisner award for Best Reality-Based Work. He lives in Atlanta with his girlfriend Amy and their two cats, Maggie and Hopey. He's currently self publishing his own line of crime and suspense comics under his Recoil imprint. Visit him at http://richtommaso.com/