Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The promised Screnzy post

Okay, large parts of tomorrow are set aside for research, so I don't need to feel too bad about having spent today on Script Frenzy and new toys. With that in mind, here's an off-topic post about Script Frenzy; what I'm doing, how it's going, and what, if anything, I'm learning.

What I'm doing for Script Frenzy is writing the next volume of my webcomic Prismatic Vodka. PV spent the second half of last year steadily going down the tubes as a combination of stresses and a lack of clarity about where it was going caused me to lose the ability to be funny. The actual story suffered as a result, and in mid-November, I put it on hold until I could recharge my creative juices. I realised that part of the problem was that I'd lost sight of where the characters were going and how I wanted them to end up.

It's now been four months plus since the hiatus began, and I've spent the interim (among other things) figuring out how to fix the comic's character problem so that I can start driving the characters towards the climax at the end of the volume after the one I'm currently writing.

It's actually going pretty well. I've given up trying to come up with a joke every page - I'm not a good enough humour writer to manage that, and given that the plot of this volume (volume 6) has already involved the immolation of probably 100,000,000 innocent human beings, in some places humour would be far more tasteless than I'm prepared to go. The result of this freedom from the punchline structure has been the confidence to polish dialogue and exposition, and to be a bit bolder with my action sequences - one sequence involves helicopter-mounted mages fighting demons in the skies above Berlin.

I'm a little past half-way through the 100-page target of the challenge, though I can probably expect to write more than 100 pages overall. Given that it's only April 5th, this can probably be taken as a good sign (though by 5 days into November, I was substantially closer to the completion of my NaNo target, and that involved a hell of a lot more words actually written). I'm hoping to finish by the end of the weekend, but it's starting to look unlikely - I'm a little too easily-distracted at the moment, particularly with the buying of new toys I can't really afford.

Overall, though, it's great to be writing again, and to be bringing back old fave characters from earlier in the comic's story (I celebrated the half-way point of the challenge by bringing back my favourite ever character, the benign-yet-irritable poet demon Ferdandt, who only previously featured in two scenes back in volume 3). It's also felt good to find that I can still come out with jokes - they may not be very 'good' jokes, but Prismatic Vodka has always been about finding humour in self-consciously bad jokes, so the quality of the joke itself doesn't matter.

It's also been a nice break between much more serious, dark writing projects. 'The Death of John Collins' can hardly be described as light-hearted, and 'The Earth Trembles', because it has to get to grips with Ayn Rand's bleak vision of mankind, is in some ways extremely dark.

That's all for today. Once again, I can't recommend Script Frenzy enough as a writing exercise, and indeed as a fun thing to do if you enjoy writing (particularly with a little pressure and friendly competition to carry you along).

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