How a London Horror Comic story gets written

My process for writing has changed over the years.

From knocking out a short sharp plot, to letting a story “brew” where you feel the moments with your characters.

To that end here’s how a typical story gets done:

1. Waiting for one scene

London Horror Comic follows a “two people in a room” model.

Before I have a fully fleshed out plot I’m looking for that one scene which the story is essentially about. It’s a neat trick which allows you to ensure your story is about something that matters without having to think about cause and effect early on.

2. Inspiration first, structure later

Once I have that one scene and I’ve got two characters talking, I build scenes either side of it.

What could get us to this point that lends the story resonance and where could the story go in a way that heightens events? Structure is important in making a story flow, but I only really begin applying structure after I have an idea that interests me.

3. Talk is not cheap

For me, the choice and rhythm of words is just as important as image selection in the script – the two have to work together.

I write out the dialogue and captions and then write images that match or lend a contrast to the words. I never do both at the same time as I find when I do panel descriptions my mind works in a more literal way (clarity here is at the forefront of my mind) whereas writing dialogue and captions is more instinctive (more like poetry).

4. Image First

Once I get the art back, I then go back and prune the words that will appear on page. Again, this is to ensure that the words work with the pictures. I re-read back how the words “sit” with the pictures as if it was part of the art and prune some more.

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