Comic In Progress: Codename KYUSS

KYUSS: dialogue vs panel description

Awhile ago, on Twitter, there was some discussion among creators I consider my peers about whether, for each page, we start with the dialogue or the panel descriptions. My answer, the answer many shared, was that it depended on the page and what was happening in the story. When I'm working on a page focusing on action and setting, I tend to start with the panel descriptions. If the focus falls on the characters and their interactions, I start with the dialogue.

However, it's not always so black and white and it's never just "write one, then add the other."

The incident that inspired this post happened last night as I was working on KYUSS. I had hit a wall on a page. I knew what was supposed to happen, what the images would portray, and the basic information I wanted to share through the dialogue and narration. But my brain was spinning its wheels trying to translate all of this into script form. I tried panel descriptions first, but I felt like my dialogue was being limited. But when I tried writing my dialogue first, it felt stiff.

Quick note: when I'm talking about writing/working on dialogue or panel descriptions, what I'm saying is my focus is locked on one of those things and not the other.

And that's when I realized my problem. Usually I wait until I have either my panel descriptions or my dialogue for a page fully written before working on synthesizing the two together and making sure one informs the other. (Remember when I said it's never "write one, then add the other"? This is what I'm talking about. You can't just write the dialogue then break it up unchanged into panels or write panel descriptions then slap in some dialogue.) But in this instance, I needed to be utilizing this kind of two-track thinking from the start.

And as soon as I did that, the words just flowed.

#comics #makingcomics #comicinprogress #KYUSS

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