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Book 2: Scars – First Draft Complete

On the weekend I finished the first draft for Book 2: Scars. I was instantly happy with it, although a few parts did bug me and I formulated how I wanted to address them. By Tuesday, I’d fixed them all up and I’m really excited about it. There are a few differences with it and Book 1, and some of that has come from learning how Scott and I work together and what Scott can do and how he works.

I learned to let go of writing every single detail of every single item on each panel. I realize that Scott’s vision is similar to mine, in how we see the panels working, angles of shots in panels, etc. And with the second book, we’ll be able to get together and work out those fine points together. It also allowed me to concentrate more on the story, the dialogue and the captions, and I think this was only a positive thing.

I’ve also learned to let the art do the talking where possible. Seeing Scott’s work, how powerfully he’s been able to translate the story into art, I know that “saying it” almost becomes redundant at times. This has worked well with Book 1, as well. As new pages come in, I’ve been improving the script as the final lettering gets done. Sometimes this is changing the wording, and sometimes this is cutting out words altogether because the art’s already saying it. It’s been a great experience and the learning curve is shrinking.

There are some parts in Book 2 that will be painfully beautiful. What I mean by that is right now is the part of the story where Edwin has really hit rock bottom. But that’s allowed me to write some pretty amazing scenes that are hard, but necessary and very poetic.

I’ve also seen that I’ve spent more time in the past in Book 2. And this just had to be done. Simply, with 30 pages, you have to tell the whole story. You can’t leave parts out. And so you find a way to do this. And for Book 2, at least, that meant a ratio of probably 22 pages in the 19th century and 8 pages in the present time. Actually, it’s probably more than that. It might be about 25 pages in the past. But the 19th century story is gorgeous, sad but inspiring. I am a little concerned about all the content going through. Meaning, maybe it’s really too difficult. But I had a great, great talk with the editor at High Water Press (Annalee Greenberg – Portage and Main Press is the main publisher, High Water is their trade imprint). The outcome of this talk, for me, was that Annalee said: I’m worrying less about what’s too difficult to get into schools and more about letting the story be the story. I agree, the fact is that there have been some horrible times for our Aboriginal people, and shying away from this would do no justice to what we’ve gone through. There is one scene in Book 2 that is hard and devastating, but it HAS to be in there. Because, simply, it’s what happened. Period.

You cannot sugar coat a story about the Smallpox Epidemic. It was a horrible disease and it ravaged our people through epidemics across a few centuries. But we survived. That’s the point. We survived, and we’re strong.

Right now Book 2 is in with Annalee for review and I’m excited to hear her feedback. I’ll update again once the first review is done on the first draft. But, I’m very happy with it and I think, I hope, not too much will change.


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