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Showing posts from July, 2013

How To Make Comics: Backstory

Backstory is essentially everything that happened before your story starts. Alan Moore recommends building a Backstory as one of the first steps in creating a comics story. By building a substantial background for your character and his world, you'll have a goldmine of sources for story.

But maybe you don't have the time, so let's see how we can get the ball rolling quickly.

To start a story, we asked you to list a series of Story Events, focusing on your character as he makes his way through his day. In following your character, you may have had him talking to other characters, going to different locations, essentially living his Ordinary Life. You continue listing Story Events until you reach a Disturbance, which launches your character into an adventure.

But what if you can't find a Disturbance? The easiest way to identify a Disturbance is to find out what will literally disturb your character enough to leave his Ordinary Life.

Here's a question to get you start…

"Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady" to be restaged in The Virgin Labfest 2014

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Wowowow!! So happy to announce that, next year, my play about superheroes, domestic help, and sibling rivalry will be restaged.

"Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady," directed by the awesome Christopher Dacanay Martinez, starring Kiki Baento, Skyzx Labastilla, and Hans Eckstein has been chosen, along with Herlyn Gail Alegre's "Imbisibol" and Liza Magtoto's "Isang Daan," to be part next year's Virgin Labfest, tentatively scheduled for June 2014.

This whole playwriting thing has been amazing. Though I don't know if I'll be able to do this again, the fact that it happened is enough. During the first run, director Chris Martinez asked me if writing a full-length version of the play was possible. I remember answering, "Yes, if anyone's interested in staging it." Anyway, here's a snippet from a review written by Katrina Stuart Santiago for GMANetwork.com.

"The banter between sisters is already a gift from this productio…

How To Make Comics: A Summary of Steps for Comics Story Development

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Below are the steps that summarize story development for graphic novels and comics limited series. It collapses everything that we've talked about in this series of blog posts that began with How To Create a Graphic Novel Story From Scratch Part One. If you haven't read the series of blog posts, it's advisable that you do so.
STEP 1: If you're starting from scratch: Take a character, any character you've created, and follow him through his ordinary life by listing a series of Story Events.

STEP 2: As you list Story Events, identify a Disturbance that will rock your character's ordinary life and make him decide to fix it. (List the Disturbance as another Story Event.)

STEP 3: Continue to list Story Events after the Disturbance until...

STEP 4: ...you can jump all the way forward and deduce a Possible Ending to the story. If you can't find an Ending yet, continue adding Story Events to what you have so far until something inspires you.

STEP 5: Based on what you&#…

An Exercise To Help You Create Stories on the Fly

When I was an actor in theatre, I always looked forward to improvisation exercises. When we do improvs, we're given a situation to work with, or a "prompt," and try to act out a scene. It becomes more challenging when we're given limitations, like, "you cannot talk," or "all you say should be sung." It encourages us to think on our toes.

A similar game that you may have played before is Train of Thought. A group of people sit in a circle and create a story as a group, each person contributing one sentence.

There are other storytelling games in the market, such as Talecraft by Komikasi, and Once Upon a Time by Atlas Games. Both are card games, and great ways to get a group together to have fun.

The following exercise is similar to all of the above. Though it is best done by two people, you can create variations to accommodate more. But since we're working with two people, one will be the storyteller, and one will be the facilitator.

The facilit…

How To Make Comics: The Story Event and The Basic Comics Script

If you've gone through a number of the blog posts in this series, you might find yourself scratching your head. I apologize for that--it's not easy to pin down the intricacies of making comics because there are so many disciplines involved. Some may argue that anyone can make a comics story--that is true. But anyone can write a screenplay, or a poem, or any form of art, and a few innately talented people can do these particularly well with very little training. But, in general, to be good at something, you need to break it apart and see how things work.

What I'm trying to do is to lay down foundations, and I'll be the first to say that there may be others who can explain everything better, or even differently, than I. But If you pick up just one or two things from the series and have found ways to apply them in your own work, that's great. In the future, I intend to expand the previous topics into more comprehensive, but simpler terms.

Do You Start In General or In …

How To Pace Comics

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We took a peek at compression and decompression in comics in the previous blog post. Now, let's look at pacing, or how to pace comics.

Pacing is simply how fast a reader reads your comics. Much like compression and decompression, pacing allows you to highlight pivotal events in your story. And this is primarily done by influencing how long your reader stays on a panel. The longer the reader stays on the panel, the reading place slows down. The faster the reader stays on a panel, the reading pace speeds up.

1. By default, the amount of text you place on a panel dictates pacing. The more text, the slower the pace. Chris Claremont is known for having verbose panels during his acclaimed run on Uncanny X-Men.
2. When the size of the panel is small, the pacing quickens. Conversely, large panels slow down the pacing.
3. Then the amount of visual information (details) you have inside a panel dictates pacing. The more visual information, or the more a reader has to look at, the slower the pac…