Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I still find it fascinating, and kind of dark and funny, the TV terminology of "breaking" a story. It sounds so violent and painful. Which it sometimes is. Breaking -- outlining -- is the heavy lifting of writing, where the hand-waving ends, the holes emerge, and you have to figure out exactly what the hell it is you're going to write.

And if a story doesn't work? Like a badly-set limb that's healed wrong, you re-break it. Ow.

So, a broken story is a happy and good thing, despite the image it calls up -- to me anyway -- of a little baby bird flapping a busted wing, on the ground yards below the nest, with the alleycats circling.

I've broken my comic book story, and it's a three-issue arc of 24 pages each after all. On paper, it works pretty well: I'd outlined the story originally in three acts, and as it turns out the content of each works out to 24 comic book pages.

Each issue/act has its own beginning, middle, and end, of course. The end of the first issue is the revelation of my hero's calling, the second ends with a dark moment that steels his resolve to embrace that calling, and the third ends with a big ol' superhero fight, his team assembled, the Big Bad vanquished... and the introduction of a Bigger Bad to be fought another day.

Everything slotting out so neatly in this phase means it may all go south once I start the actual script, of course, but I'm feeling pleased right now and excited to write.

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