Facebook followers have already been made aware of the new feature. See the Sketchbook link at the top of the page (or in the menu for mobile user). There I'll be posting my daily sketches (though probably not posting them daily) along with notes about what improvements I'm seeing and what I'm seeing that needs improvement. I'm not sure who this is for other than myself, but I do think it's worth keeping track of.

A couple more minor updates on the site - I made a favicon to replace the SquareSpace icon and I changed the website's logo to include the "TM" and exclude the "production blog" tagline. I hadn't initially expected the front page to be the marketing material it turned out to be, and it seemed odd to keep "a production blog" at the top of every page when there's a page dedicated to that specific aspect of the site.

I also mentioned on Facebook that Peter Aymard Cacho, the artist we'd hired to do some concept sketches, finished his interpretations of the five most prominent characters from the first act of the story. You can see three of his designs right now on the front page of SpookyCorps.com. Being a freelancer, his time with us was temporary, and he has moved on to another job. We're happy with what he gave us and have been preparing to widen our net for artistic interpretations. We're going to need other characters drawn as well as world-building images such as buildings, clothing styles, and technology.

Plus, we need to be on the lookout for someone to actually draw the pages themselves. Halfway through year already! Wow. We're going to want to have six to eight completed pages for the pitch and I haven't even started looking for an artist for the book, or at least I haven't looked in a while.

Time keeps on slippin'.

I guess I should go ahead and put up a job posting today.

Jordan and I were happy with all the feedback we got. There are still a number of people who haven't replied, but at this point we were just itching to keep moving forward, so we went ahead and paginated the first issue. We know what we'll see and what will be said on each page. It came together really easily. Surprisingly easily. That's our reward for working so hard on outlining everything  - we know the world and what needs to happen so well, there are no plot issues to work out while we figure out how to fill the pages. And the cool thing is although there's little need for guesswork, there's still lots of room for creativity. Scott McCloud categorized the choices we're making into these five categories:

Choice of Moment
Choice of Frame
Choice of Image
Choice of Word
Choice of Flow

So even though we've decided what needs to happen to advance the plot within each 24-page chunk, deciding how the story gets told from panel to panel is still all up in the air, and it's fun to work it out. For so long, we've just been tweaking all of the pieces to make the puzzle fit. It's fun to actually write again. It's like before, we were putting together a jigsaw in greyscale. Now we're deciding how to color it. How to achieve the tone and emotion we imagine each beat bringing. It's fun stuff!

I really like writing with Jordan. I have a very strong sense of our world and story, and how even small changes might effect issues to come. I also have a pretty good grip on more formal storytelling components such as structure and closure, and some of the more format-specific considerations such as pacing, compression, and using words and pictures interdependently. But I think Jordan has a stronger sense of what a reader wants to see, or how to package something to make it interesting. I can say "In this scene, we need this, this, and this, and it needs to feel like this," and he'll give me the line or an image that accomplishes all of those things. I'm theory. He's action. Sometimes his action doesn't work with a major part of the theory, so we work the action until it's theory-compliant. Sometimes his action is too good to leave the theory as it is, and we rework the theory until it all fits. This seems to be working for us so far. I think we'll keep doing it.

Last little note before I get out of here - I wouldn't say I had any learning experiences to write about in this post, but I can say that when we sat down to script, the first thing I did (as advised in this blog post) was break it into three parts - beginning, middle, and end. Each part, each arc, each issue, each scene will need to have a beginning, middle, and end. So armed with the "three act" story flow of the issue, we further broke those three parts into pages and decided what each page needed to accomplish. Next we'll fill those pages with panel descriptions and dialogue, and we'll have ourselves a script.

Though I don't know the exact words that we'll use when we write it, I do know that so far, it feels really solid and well-paced.

It feels like a great start.

- db