Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Challenge Of Writing For Zuda

Working on HIGH MOON has been a delight for Steve and I. We are really excited about presenting our ideas with ZUDA. It really has been a blast.

But, that doesn't mean that there haven't been challenges.

The biggest challenge is working for ZUDA is developing a story that gives the reader an incentive to read further through the story.

In writing your standard full-sized, regular ol' comic, the trick you learn is that every right-handed page should give the reader an incentive to read further. With only eight screens (which is 4 full sized regular comic pages) to tell your story, how do you establish the setting, advance the plot, and reveal character - while still creating something awesome?

The answer, of course, is that EVERY screen needs to give the reader an incentive to move forward through the story. Every panel had to have something to keep the story moving.

When I wrote the very first draft of HIGH MOON years ago, the opening was very different that the opening you'll read on the site. For starters, I had a whole bunch of narrative text that didn't work - becuase comics are a visual medium, I had to show, not tell my readers what the story was all about.

When I submitted this project to Zuda, I radically retooled the opening, so that everything - every scene, every character, every prop served a purpose. In order to make an effective introduction (and not cheat the you later on) - every element, every prop, nearly every essential character had to be introduced and serve a purpose - whether it was a 43-starred American flag to indicate that we were in the year 1890, or the casual mention of this or that, or even the introduction of the threat - it all had to be there. The dialogue, which originally was a little more free flowing, was clipped - to convey the relevant information, while still revealing little tics and behaviors of the characters. I studied the cadance of gunslingers from old time radio programs - and adpated the dialogue so that it all served a purpose. You'll see some transition dialogue, some off-screen/leading dialogue, and some funny little quips were put into to do exactly what I had to do - keep YOU interested.

What you will discover in reading HIGH MOON is how Steve and I tried to make everything exciting, dramatic, and kind of dark. We tried to make every page something that really stood apart.

Think of the prologue you'll read online as the "tease" before the opening credits of your favorite television show. HIGH MOON must stand on the strength of that tease.

If we've lost your trust and your attention - then as storytellers, we haven't done our jobs.

And if we have kept your attention, hopefully, you'll see a whole lot more of HIGH MOON in the future.

1 comment:

Dave_Flora said...

You've hit the nail on the head regarding the style-change that has to happen due to the format change. The Zuda format definately makes the story flow more like a newspaper comic than a 22-page story. Each Zuda page has to keep the reader yearning for more. It can be done, in fact it has been done, and I think that knowledge will really come in hand for future webcomic writers.