Girl in the bottom of my glass, has always been flexible, if nothing else. Outspoken, bizarre and surreal at times, but always flexible. For those of you familiar with my main blog, The Anatomy of Construction, you may be aware that its is a rough draft of something of a far grander design.
The Anatomy of Construction has never been a typical blog on writing, per se. I ignore many issues that described the back bone of the mechanical craft of story. The Anatomy isn’t concerned with this; it’s about building a stronger creative background. Removing those things that limit your writing and stop you from progressing to where you really want to go. In some ways it’s like a self help book. The things that cause you to resist writing are the same things that cause you to resist mountaineering, getting the milk in the morning, and doing some of the things you’ve always dreamed of.
This is bad, but all beside the point. This time I’m trying to tie down my thoughts on the second draft of the Anatomy of Construction; the format.
The Anatomy is based around images, photos now, but earlier collages and other twists on the traditional means of presenting information. I got this idea from David Mack, having read his Kabuki series. He bound storytelling, visual imagery, and raw information together into story that both provoked and inspired the reader. I recommend the series, “The Alchemy,” it’s the most inspiration any creative person could ever need. Art has reached Zen like levels in David Mack’s work. My initial pages in The Anatomy are a poor homage to his work. The core idea was there though, marrying visual images to raw information in such a way as to be entertaining, and penetrate the mind of the reader. Check out the link, David Mack is incredible.
The graphic novel format was an obvious one to choose, but to be entertaining and intelligible would have to have a story line that bound it to the raw information in some way. Every time I thought about it, it became too contrived, and even after writing a first draft, it felt a little patronizing to the reader. So I put it in the good ideas bucket, and went back to writing other stuff, as well as my daily Anatomy page.
I never work on just one project. There’s always something part done, waiting for the impetus for the next step of the ideas gestation into its final form. The Anatomy sat on the back burner and I thought about it. Couldn’t go all Batman with the story, that’d be more camp than three china ducks on the wall. Couldn’t really go all DragonBall Z on it either, how could I write a visual story about how to overcome the obstacles between you and writing. Part of me wanted to draw a grand Robotech-esque space opera. Finally, under the pressure of deadlines, low income, impending electricity bills and gargantuan nay sayers my resolve shattered. Maybe I couldn’t write a visual storyline that went along with the words. Then, by virtue of a mind crippled by this realization, I asked myself, maybe I don’t want to write a visual story that went along with the words. Maybe they could just intersect at points, create a more dramatic visual impact by the visual story that is about something else. Like a manga where people change into marketing drones after combining the product and the intense advertising schemes in a neo
Hey, I don’t know. Why not? It’s meant to be fun, different, and striking, and I think this format will accomplish all of these things. It certainly leaves it in a category of its own. I have never written a graphic novel before. I can draw, somewhat, but have never focused my will on a dedicated series of story pages with the same cast of characters. This is not to say I can’t draw a graphic novel, it’s just saying that it’s something new for me. Which is nice, I could always do with something new.
Now it’s just a matter of gestating the final idea. I want the finished book to be 192 pages, or broken up into eight issues of 24 pages bound in one volume. All I do is write the story for the visual, break it down into storyboards and pages, align that story visually, and then craft the Anatomy into a monologue to be carried on in the speech bubbles.
In terms of art reference I’m casting a heavy eye at FLCL and Q-chan, the style is distinctive, but I need something more for the background, so I’m thinking of blending black and white photocopy outlines of the real world and a very crisp, over shot line style for the synthetic world, and then working something more graceful, black “Zen painting” type inks for the natural world to create contrast. But despite this idea I don’t want the contrast to be so visually hard as to distract from the words and the way the images reinforce their impact. So I get to develop my storyboarding skills, polish my writing, learn to work with a single set of visual characters, and create a very unique and useful piece of writing.
So something different? Yes, whether it works or not is entirely up to the efforts I put in- it’s an exciting idea.