Still Working on NaNoWriMo: DSSRV Outrider, Issue #2

Giant Spider terrorizing a frozen landscape.
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I’ve been working sporadically over the month for NaNoWriMo. On Saturday of the week before last, I managed to sit down and think about what I wanted to do for the graphic novel version of Ship of Shadows. As regular blog readers know, I finished the first issue of the script in the spring of this year, but bogged down over the summer in terms of writing it. I (unintentionally) took a break from the story as I thought I knew where it was going when I wrote the outline, but discovered (in the actual draft) that wasn’t where the story needed to go.

Showing Tana’s Backstory

One of the things that I realized was that I already told this story with the published short story, so it was very difficult for me to get super-engaged in this story as there was nothing new in this version of the story. The new ideas were coming in issue 3 and 4 (at least in the original draft). However, my mind kept rebelling and the more I tried to work on issue 2, the more my mind rebelled and the less and less motivated to work on it.

What I realized was that I had a goal in my mind for these various “remixes” of the story: the short story is the introduction of the world and characters to me (and my readers), while the novel is a longer, more lived in version of the world where the character is at the height of her abilities, but is thrown into a situation that will challenge her abilities to the maximum (& may even break them!)

So what I decided was the graphic novel should help me understand the character better. In other words, I would find out (along with the readers) more about Tana’s backstory. Why is she the way she is? And this is where I decided issue #2 should go. We see Tana at her lowest moment as a child and she must find a way to pick herself back up. Then issue 3 should pick up with the second point of the story, but the stakes should ratchet up from the original story and end on a cliffhanger. Then issue 4 moves back into Tana’s backstory. Issue 5 should then show them getting out of the horrible situation and issue 6 (the final issue) should resolve the story and show how Tana, who is a “pilot” becomes a “captain” (remember, in the novel she’s been a captain for quite a few years and has quite a bit of experience under her belt).

The Graphic Novel as a Linkage Between Short Story and Novel

If it hasn’t been clear, I’m now using the graphic novel to dig deeper into Tana’s character and I’m hoping that it will help me understand who Tana is as a character by delving into her backstory.

While I don’t intend there to be a direct one-to-one linkage between the graphic novel and the novel (i.e., that you have to read the graphic novel before reading the novel), I do want to use it to help me figure out my characters, my setting and world, and the emotions/character traits for my story. Hopefully, by working on the graphic novel and seeing how Tana develops as a character earlier in her life, I can then “build” upon that to show the readers a three dimensional character at the start of the novel, or at least, that is my hope.

See, NaNoWriMo is still helpful even if one doesn’t have the time to actually work on the pieces–one can still do the “dreaming” necessary to help create strong and meaningful drafts later down the road.


Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:

  • The Independent  (Sci-Fi Short-Story)–
    3rd Draft of 3 Drafts 
    Drafting Section 2 (of 3)
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = January 31, 2020
  • I, Mage (Fantasy Short Story)
    Pre-Production Phase (Planning)
    Pre-Writing on Rough Draft & Character Sketch
    Mythic Mag. Deadline = July 31, 2020
  • Current Longer Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel 
    (Sci-Fi) Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32
    Personal Deadline = December 30, 2019

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