Where does style come from? How do you develop one?
A few years ago, I got the chance to turn one of my favorite prose book series, The Baby-sitters Club, into a series of graphic novels.
First, I’d like to say that there’s no wrong way to make comics, and cartoonists use lots of different methods and mediums to create stories. These just happen to be mine.
(For more on why and how I create each stage of a graphic novel, read my previous post, How A Graphic Novel is Born and Raised!)
Graphic novels are an amazing medium. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and an average graphic novel has somewhere in the ballpark of a thousand pictures in it…so, that’s worth a lot of words!
But how do they come to be? Most authors get ideas for stories, type up an outline, and then flesh that outline into paragraphs, chapters, and finished a manuscript. Cartoonists also do that, but there are pictures involved, too. They’re not an afterthought, but a part of the process from start to finish.
I’ve been writing about my life since age 10, when I started keeping a diary.
I’ve been making comics about my life since age 11…when I started keeping a diary in words and pictures. I put entries into that almost every day, for about fifteen years.
So when it came time to create my first full-length graphic novel, choosing to write about my own life was a natural decision.
Where do you get your inspiration?
If there’s one question authors get asked over and over, it’s this one. I wish the answer were simple: “I’m inspired by sunsets!” or “I get all my inspiration from my best friend, Theresa!” or “I pull up a bucket of inspiration from my backyard well each morning!” But answer is usually more complicated.
It’s my last day here at insideadog (sniff), so it’s probably time for a confession. I hadn’t read a great deal of YA fiction before I wrote Fire in the Sea.
Like everyone else on the planet, I’d read Harry Potter, obviously. And I’d read a tonne of titles during the three years I’d been a teacher, very few of which I’d found remotely inspiring.
In the years, months and days before I first held a copy of my book, I always imagined that moment would give me a great sense of achievement. After all, like most authors, I’d spent most of my life writing with the express aim of one day seeing a book published.
Sequels. I’ve been thinking about these a lot at the moment, as I’m writing one.
Funnily enough, I’ve never written a sequel before. Part of me rather assumed it would be easier than writing the first one, as I’d already done all the hard work. I’d created characters, I’d established the tone and the premise and the setting. Surely, second time around, I could just grab the (metaphorical) car keys and get straight into the (metaphorical) race.
There was nothing classier than a teenage girl smoking on a hot summer’s day. Oh yeah. Bum-sucking a pack of cigarettes they conned from the local deli, feeling all so sophisticated. Every gesture a pose, waiting for the clatter of some invisible camera to plaster them across a magazine. Ooh la bloody la.
He should march up to them now, thought Bradbury. Demand to know where the cigs came from. Drag the culprit back to the shop and fine the owner.