Working on the first draft of the script for Chalk Issue 1 was probably the most enjoyable writing experience I've ever had. I wrote it without a plan, with only a loose concept and some visual ideas written down, then pieced it together scene by scene. I was writing in a vacuum, with no expectations and by liberating my thought process it rekindled the feeling I used to get writing as a child. For years from a very young age I'd think of an idea for a prose story, write it quickly and then move on to something else. One of these days I'll write a blog about Summer holidays spent writing short stories about monsters at the request of my mother's employer, literally the local Lady of the manor.
Despite having such a good time, writing without a plan for and with zero stress, I knew deep down that I'd need to put a lot of work in to make the script publishable. Having plotted out the full five issue mini-series, I've been reshaping the script so that it works for the overall story and the characters that I'm building.
I'm currently working on the eighth draft eight of the issue and it has really reminded me how important rewriting is and how much difference it can make to approach a scene multiple times. Tonight, armed with editorial notes from fellow Comics Experience workshop member Jourdan McLain, I set about making changes to the opening scene of the issue.
It's a relatively simple three page scene, with two of the main characters involved but I've probably rewritten the dialogue at least ten times. Too much exposition, not enough exposition, clear plotting but inconsistent characterisation, too vague, too on the nose etc, etc. This evening something clicked. I'd left he script alone for a week or so and focussed on pulling together a one-page synopsis ready to pitch. Working on that and re-reading the editorial notes I had sent my subconscious into overdrive and as soon as I looked at the pages tonight I could feel my writing mojo rising (with apologies to Jim Morrison). Each line made more sense than it ever had before. Suddently even the most subtle change seemed to serve the story and, most importantly, the characters in fundamentally better ways. Dialogue changes made character motivation clearer to the reader and to me. I had that same giddy rush usually reserved for being stuck in a plotting corner then suddenly finding the perfect answer to get your way out of it. A few hours work, three pages of script revisited, mulled over and refashioned for the umpteenth time and it was just as enjoyable as when I'd been winging it for twenty two pages instead. I loved every minute of it. After all rewriting is writing, as they say.