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    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    As mentioned elsewhere, I have begun to keep a blog tracking my progress in an ongoing script writing project.

    In a nut-shell, it is this: I want to learn how to write a monthly superhero comic book, so I am writing a monthly superhero comic book.

    I have been getting fairly regular hits from Whitechapel, so I assume there might be enough interest for me to cross post my blog updates here.

    Thanks for your interest and your comments. I look forward to sharing this stuff with you guys.

    Josh Dahl
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    There are two reason that I have not been posting here for the past few days.
    The first is that I have not been writing much. I had been feeling sick. I had been stressed out. Busy. Just a bunch of little reasons. I have been able to squeeze in a few words here or there, but no real progress.
    And the second is that I HAVE been writing.
    For the past two or three days, I have been cranking out the pages and the outlines on which they are based.

    There’s a problem or two that I have not completely resolved, but I am plugging ahead anyway. If they don’t get ironed out soon, they could become serious stumbling blocks. I expect, though, that some solution will just present itself. That is how it usually happens.

    And this is where it gets neat. If some easy and obvious solution doesn’t just open up for me, then I will take the short cut of having that kind of solution drop in the lap of one of the characters.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010 edited
    This is some of what I was working on today.... (note, it looks a little wonky on this page. But it goes Panel description, followed by the name of the character who is speaking in caps, and then what is said.)

    Panel 1: They are in the "waiting room" of Justin's lab. It is really just a place for nerds to sit and drink coffee while experiments are processing. There are two couches and two chairs, plus a coffee machine and a few simple computer stations, some comic books, some nerdy slogans on posters on the wall. Kinetic has changed back in to his work pants and a t-shirt. He sits on one couch with his elbows on his knees. Hourglass is still in costume, and she is trying to get cozy with a ratty blanket.




    I know it's frustrating when it feels like you are going no where. But, believe me, you are doing the right thing.

    Panel 2: Close on just Kinetic talking.


    When you saw this girl getting attacked, you did the right did SOMETHING. Which is more than most people do. So quit beating yourself up over it, you did good. Ok?

    Panel 3: Shot from Kinetic's POV of Hourglass, she still has her mask on and is clenched up like she might cry.


    I know...I know....But, I was there. I should have been paying attention. I should have stopped it.

    Panel 4: Shot of the whole room.


    It's ok. You did what you could. And right now, we don't even know what happened. This girl could be a live somewhere. That could have been a teleportation bolt. You know, anything's possible.


    Don't worry. In a few hours, we'll talk to Red Lion, we'll figure all this out. Just try to get some rest.


    You're right.

    Read all of my Rapid City scripts here.
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    The Love Swamis Decree

    I think you missed the fifth *. Just wanted to give you heads up.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    Whoops. Thanks for the heads up.

    I hope that this one sample doesn't push that "legal minefield" too far. I'll leave it at that one, and stick to the non-sample blog posts here. a sample like this still legally touchy? I will happily wipe it out rather than cause dis-comfort to my gracious hosts.

    Thanks again.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    I am starting to worry that plotting might not be my real strong suit.
    That is what I am stuck with right now.
    I can write with certainty what my characters will do next, and what they think and feel, and how their positions reflect the overall theme.... I am just not as certain that the things they are about to do will result in some kind of conflict and resolution.
    No, I am overstating the problem a bit. I know what is going to happen. I have the pieces lined up, and they are all pointed in the right directions. The internal logic is sound. The problem seems that it might be a little too stable.
    Essentially, I need one character to be in a different position, and I am not sure how to get him there.
    Once I can figure that out, everything should slide together correctly.
    I guess the thing to do is to just stir in more problems. If characters aren't moving where I want them to...then just get them to move and see where they land.

    Another problem I am seeing now.... Something that I now realize must plague serial writers all the time.
    I know that someone's gotta die.
    The story can't end without it.
    But, I want to keep that character around. Now I see why people pull all of those fake-out deaths.
  1.  (7678.7)
    If you don't practice, you won't get better.
    Very few people start off creating the best most awesome thingies ever from day 1.
    Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep writing.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    Sometimes answers just present themselves.
    And sometimes they aren't really answers, just avenues.

    This Rapid City project is all about me. As I have said before.... this is me learning how to do superhero comics by writing about a guy trying to learn how to do superheroics. Hopefully it is a little better than that makes it sound. Anyway, that allows me a lot of different ways to write about the things in my life.

    Things that encourage me become things that encourage my main character.

    Different characters also represent different attitudes toward motivation. Some have it thrust upon them and resist it, some seek it out, and some would rather just ignore the whole thing.

    Maxwell Murder is one of those who would much rather be left well-enough alone.

    He is also, as his name would imply, a very bad person who does very bad things. He is selfish, and petty, and short-sighted. This means that he is a great character to write when I am pissed and feel like it is a really good idea to do short-sighted, mean, petty, things. He is my Slim Shady.

    So, maybe that is the solution for how to get Max to where I need him in the story. Let him boil over, hurt some people, and see where he ends up.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2010
    (cross posted from my blog)

    I spent the last week in Florida with my family.
    And the week before that getting ready for the trip.
    We did Family Christmas while there, so that week was spent making and shipping gifts. It was exhausting and stressful to scramble all of that stuff together, but it was well worth it to see the results.
    My girlfriend, Bekah, and I each got dedicated writing notebooks. So, while my brother fished for sheepshead in the intracoastal waterway, I was able to sit and write for a little while.
    I also managed to punch a few keys on the two flights on the way down. All told, though, this was NOT a productive fortnight.

    Now that I am back in my routine, though, I think I know what I need to do. I have a few scenes to re-work, but the characters seem to be moving into position.

    There is a confrontation at the climax of issue two, about which I have not done enough thinking. Ideologically it makes sense. The characters are in conflict with eachother. One represents a subject about which the other is in deep denial, so it makes sense for her to respond with strong emotions.... which in superhero terms means FIGHT! I just have not paced out the escalation of that confrontation.

    Once that is done, I can put this issue to bed.

    I just hope I don't go too far over my page count. It is dense as it is and I would hate to have to chop things or move them around.

    It occurs to me now that if I do need to cut some pages, I can set up that fight, and leave the pay-off for the next issue. That has the added benefit of putting that fight in what will be the last issue of this story arc.

    And, hopefully that will mean that the third act will wrap itself up with minimal coaxing and I will be able to get back on deadline for next month.

    As always, keep up on my blog here.
    And read my Rapid City scripts here.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2010
    The script for the sixth issue of the superhero comic book, Rapid City has now been posted.

    Read and discuss it here.

    Panel 1 Hourglass is still talking, but now we see Kinetic
    and Justin's reactions to her story. They are both

    The man was gone and so was the girl. I could have
    stopped the whole thing, but I screwed up. Her
    death is on my head.

    Hey, you did the best you could at that moment.
    It's ok to be scared.

    Panel 2 Kinetic keeps talking. He is gesturing to his own

    No one can be expected to know how to deal
    with....with death like that. I can't imagine how
    that must mess with you up here.

    Panel 3 Hourglass looks back at him with a look resembling

    This issue is the second part of the Hourglass story arc. Kinetic and Hourglass are getting closer to finding a killer, who is getting closer to finding them.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2010
    (again, if these segments are too much like posting fiction, let me know and I will happily take them down. Thanks.)

    The script for the seventh issue of the superhero comic book, Rapid City has now been posted.

    Read and discuss it here.
    Panel 4 Shot from approximately the passenger side door, looking past Hourglass back at Kinetic. He is still looking serious and concerned. Hourglass is so far in the foreground, that we can't actually see her. She is part of the frame. We should see either her shoulders, her hands, or some of her face. If her face, it is in shadow and she is looking down. Whatever we can see of her, she is shaking.


    Are you ok?



    Panel 5 Now we see what Kinetic has been looking at. We see Hourglass from Kinetic's POV. She is looking back at him and there are tears rolling out of her eyes and down over her mask. She is reaching up to wipe them away.


    I'm ok. I'll be fine.


    Don't look.

    Panel 6 Shot from outside Kinetic's window. He is looking away from Hourglass and up at the house. Behind him, we can see her lifting her mask just enough to wipe her eyes on the back of her glove.

    Panel 7 Shot from a similar angle, but closing in on Hourglass. She is straightening her mask.


    Ok, I'm ready.

    In this issue, Kinetic and Hourglass's pursuit of a killer leads them to the doorstep of Red Lion, the living embodiment of destruction. Tensions mount, loyalties are tested, and the real identity of the victim is revealed.
    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2010
    I just finished, edited, and posted Issue #8.

    Here is the post about it.... along with all of the links you want!

    The script for the seventh issue of the superhero comic book, Rapid City, has now been posted.

    Read and discuss it here.

    Panel 5 Hourglass is now close to Kinetic and Max. Kinetic is, once again, making it to his feet by stepping away from Max who had been looming over him. Kinetic's gut is bleeding all over.


    Can't hold on.


    Don't. I can do this. Just hold on.

    Panel 6 Tight shot of Hourglass and Max face to face. They are both in profile. He is enraged, and still frozen in place. She is looking bad. Blood and tears on her face. But, also, clarity.

    Panel 7 Similar to panel six, but turned so that we can see it more from Max's POV. She is looking clear and focused, but she is also tense with effort. Emphasis on open bullet hole.


    Who are you? Why did you kill me?

    • CommentAuthorjoshdahl
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010
    Just posted this on my project blog here.

    Humans are pattern makers. When we see the world around us, we force new things to look like things we already know. It helps us to understand the world.

    When we apply these "patterns" to events they are called "stories". Stories are simply understandable, related, patterns of events. They make sense to us because they echo patterns that we have seen in the world around us. It makes sense to us for a story to have a beginning and an ending because we have seen that days begin and end.

    The patterns into which we cram our stories come from observing events in our real lives.

    Or maybe not.

    Maybe we perceive our lives in story units because our brains have been wired with story patterns.

    Simply, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

    Case in point.
    I have been stuck on the 9th issue of my Rapid City comic book.

    The first eight issues left the character in a very dark place from which there seemed to be no salvation. He was stuck there, and I was stuck also. How do I get him out? How does he get himself out?

    I reached out. I called people I know who know how stories work.
    Micah helped me to get a little bit of perspective on the story as a whole... and had a hilariously bad idea about the ghost of a puppy showing up to offer Yoda-style wisdom.
    Helpful, but not the answer.
    Then, late last night, Nik finally got back in touch with me. I laid out the problem for him and we talked about some solutions.
    The answer, it seems, is to make the original motivating drama much deeper and more painful.
    To get past what has just happened, my character must go back and deal with the problem that put him in this spot to begin with.

    Of course.

    And so, in proper metaphorical style, I must go back into my own life and dig up similar experiences and draw upon them for my character's reactions.

    It is too late to save issue 9. Just like it is too late for Kinetic to save those people that died in issue 8. That problem can't be SOLVED, it can only be taken in and reconciled internally.

    Now, thanks to reaching out to various mentors I know how to move Kinetic forward.

    So, did my life follow that pattern because I have seen it in stories, or do these stories fit that pattern because it fits my life?