WORDS WITH DALE: The Beginning

(1) Because almost anything can and does tie into almost everything I write.

(2) Which is nowhere near as rude as it sounds.

(3) And of course, if you came over here from Luci Phurr's Imps, you probably worked that out…. but the people who came directly here, drawn by the force of my undeniable charism,(4) they needed the clarification.

(4) Family members count as readers.  And they think I'm special.(5)

(5) As opposed to m'colleague, Court, who thinks I'm "short bus speshul."

(6) Though if you want sandwiches, you'd be best off bringing your own.

(7) I've actually made myself an unofficial rule that wherever possible I will only give stupid answers there, so keep that in mind.

(8) But don't ask for spoilers.  Because I will give them.(9)

(9) SPOILER ALERT: Vader is Luke's father!(10)

(10) See.  I warned you.

(11) That's a web comic strip, not something I do at a weekend to pick up one dollar bills on-line.(12)

(12) Though I'm not opposed to that, and if there's interest, I'll look into it.

While the bloggage here on the site is somewhat wild and woolly and can be about almost anything(1), "Words With Dale" will be specifically about comic related things.  The reason for this is that it's kind of a bonus bit of me(2) readers of Luci Phurr's Imps get.(3)

As I said, this will be more specific to the comic work I do…. and likely heavy on the LPI stuff.  But don't worry, there will be plenty of other things.(6)

Additionally, while I have the FORMSPRING page, usually I limit my replies there to short bursts of nonsense.(7)  However, it occurs to me that there might be questions, you readers have about comics, or Luci Phurr's Imps,(8) or what Court is REALLY like.

Now we've got that out of the way, perhaps sharing how I came to write the web-strip(11) would be in order.  If you've heard the story before, just smile and nod and pretend to be interested, I'll be passing around candy afterwards.

I'd worked with Court on a couple of projects, and he threw at me the idea of a little girl who is given three imps.

At first, it was a vague, "What do you think to this idea?"

"Love it," sez me.

Next came, "Would you like the write it?"

"Of course," sez me again.

So we kicked it around and decided that maybe a short story, written by me and illustrated by Court was the way to go.  So we did.

And then, when it was all done, and set and everyone was happy, Court came back.  "What d'you think to maybe doing it as a comic?"

"Sure."

And then it comes.  Now in fairness, I'd felt the black wings of this unasked question, circling me like a vulture, for some time.  It was clearly the plan Court had been pondering all along and he'd just been reeling me in.

"I was thinking we could do it as a strip."

"Y'mean like the funnies?" I ask.

"Exactly!"

"Three or four panels?  Hit a joke or a hook at the end of every strip?"

"That's the idea."

And I went quiet.

(13) Actually it was to say "HELL NO!"

My first reaction was to say "No."(13)

But then I pondered.  I mean, why no?

Obviously there is some degree of pressure.  In a way you can hide behind great art on a comic…. at least for a while…. but with a comic strip, you have to hit the mark every time.  And make it good.  And possibly tell a story across these strips.  Why would ANYONE want to do that?  Nowhere to hide; pressure on every strip; if it fails, it's completely on you as a writer…. only an idiot would say yes.

So I said, "Yes."

We're now in our third year and planning the fourth.  What can I say?  Sometimes you have to make a leap outside your comfort zone…. do something that scares you.(14)

(14) That and I'm an idiot.

But any which way, it's been fun…. and continues to be.

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10 Comments.

  1. What does writing a comic look like? I know that the dialogue must be there, but what else? How much back and forth is there between writers and artists? Is there a typical form that you follow and if yes is this true for all comic strip writers or just you?

    • Have you been reading my notes?

      Next weeks "Words With Dale" will hit some of these exact points. 

      Land welcome to the bloggage. :D

      • Haven't installed any spy cameras and I'm not tech saavy enough to break into your computer, so "No" to the reading of your notes. I would like to know how you turn blank screens and random thoughts into the superb comic strips I enjoy so much.

        • Then I shall strive to show you the little man behind the curtain.

          But I warn you.  He's not that little and best viewed with the curtain closed…. and you on the other side of it.  :D

  2. hehe I love the artwork Dale (yes I know that was Court, but still)
     
    And could you define Idiot? haha just want to make sure you're not overstating yourself :p

    • OK, when I started thinking about writing, I decided to go for a screenplay as the career-route.  This is an incredibly difficult career to crack…. and obviously not living in LA, it was made even more difficult.

      Understandably, I didn't get very far.  So I decided to go for a novel.  Career-wise, this is even more difficult to make a break in.  Curiously, I DID have some success there, but it was a harder route.  

      However, not satisfied with that, I decided to make a run at comics.  And of the three possible ways into writing, comics is nigh impossible.  There's a common school of thought that says whenever any writer breaks into comics, the industry sees that and makes sure to close that opening so no-one can follow.  And again, curiously, this is the area I've had even more success.

      So yeah, trying something dificult, then trying a harder route, before going for the hardest route…. I think it's safe to say I'm most assuredly not understating the idiocy.  :D

  3. What do you mean there's no place for the writer to hide?  You do it all the time under the sink on Cemetery Street :þ

    • I prefer to call that my "fortress of solitude."

      However, if you think about comics (books or strips), the first thing you see is the art.  That is the thing that will pull you in.

      If you're lucky enough to work with a great artist who has a natural gift for visual storytelling, you can "hide" to some degree.  Eventually things shift and a long running comic of any kind relies on the writing, but that "eventually" comes along a lot sooner on a comic strip.  Fortunately, on Luci Phurr's Imps, the art is amazing, so I still have some degree of protection (for my fragile writer's ego)…. on Cemetery Street, there's a reason I have my "fortress of solitide."

  4. Mission IMPossible | Courtney Huddleston - pingback on March 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

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