That Whole "Writing" Thing

Every one in a while, someone will ask me what my "creative process" is. I always dodge the answer, brushing it off with a "ideas just come out of the air" or "I sit around and watch TV while I goof off for a bit. Sometime in there, comics happen."

Thing is, that's not entirely true. I got through a long process of coming up with ideas, working them over, plotting them out, working them over again, until I finally get to a finished product. The thing is, most of those step take place in my head.

As and example, I have this superhero comic I want to write at some point (part of the reason I haven't is because I don't have the artistic skill right now to make it myself, and I don't have an artist interested in drawing what I script... yet). The idea came to me from a thought of "Watchmen dealt with political issues on the era (the 1980s), but it doesn't feel like we've really gotten a relevant superhero comic for the era we live in. How would that work?"

Some could argue that there are plenty of comic that fit this mold, I just can't think of any off the top of my head that have become so well known as Watchmen. Not that I'm saying I could write one that would become that famous, but we're here talking about any idea, not my attempts at grandeur.

As it is, from that one idea I came up with a character (the main hero we'd follow). Then I plotted out his arc. Then I worked on creating other heroes, then other villains. I brought in a writing partner, and the two of us fleshed out the arcs for most of the major characters, the villains, and got everything together to fill out a good three years worth of month issues.

And yet, as far as my notes are concerned, I have maybe a half paragraph blurb written for each character, and that's about it. I have all these ideas ready to go, but I don't want to write them down until I'm ready to actually write it. Once I do, I know it'll only take one draft (and some editing) to get the final product. But if I do a lot of written outlines, I'll lose some of the spontaneity I like.

I really like writing "improv" style comics, one where day-to-day I'm writing by the seat of my pants. I always know, generally, where the characters are going, but I'd much rather let them get there organically that follow some strict issue-to-issue outline.

So yeah, ideas just come to me, but I work them over again and again before I ever commit pencil to paper (or, more realistically, fingers to keyboard). When I finally get to it, I guess it would appear as if ideas just emerge fully formed, but that's not really how it goes.

The superhero comic is just one of many ideas I have bouncing around in my head, some as old as fifteen years, and one day I'll get them all out there. I'll just have to work out the logistics of "how"... and finally commit fingers to keyboard.