Thursday, May 23, 2013

Me, Myself & I

by Allison Pang

I'm going to split this topic up a bit  - since I'm writing both novels and an online comic, I find I treat inner monologues differently depending on what I'm writing for.

And yeah, I just had to take a shot at Hamlet there - because let's face it, a soliloquy is just an internal monologue spoken aloud. (But only because actors haven't evolved to think their angst at the crowd yet.)

However, whereas a soliloquy is often necessary in a visual medium like a play or a movie, a writer still needs to be careful of how they use it.

Simply stating all the important facts and backstory to bring an audience up to speed might work for a live audience - "I remember when my shiftless, vagabond brother lost his sanity and his masculinity when he tripped over an overpass and fell into the open cage of a lion, pulled by a nearby passing circus...etc. etc."

But it also runs the risk of sounding contrived.

I tend to write in a fairly deep 1st PoV - so for the most part I try to keep things fairly organic. For A Brush of Darkness, I pretty much just drop the reader straight into the story. I don't explain a whole lot of what's going on because I'm telling the story through Abby's eyes. If she's unsure of something, she mentions it...but she can't explain what she doesn't know. And if she *does* know something - well, she doesn't always spend much time thinking about it.

(Some people liked this, some people didn't - I'm the first to admit it doesn't always work and there were some things I could have done better, but there it is.)

In the current WIP, it's all 1st person present - which means a lot of the inner dialogue is rather free-form. We're getting Magpie's stream of consciousness in a lot of ways, but again - because it's in first, we're only getting information filtered through the grasp of her own experiences - but then, that's the beauty of writing, isn't it?

In a lot of ways it's like holding a mirror up to the character - but as a writer, I can either reflect back what I know is true about the character...or I can purposely flaw it - show the character as he/she sees herself - and then it's up to the reader to decide what's true or not.

(As a side note, I tend to avoid sentences like "I wondered about X." or "I felt Y."  If you're already in deep 1st, that sort thing feels an awful lot like telling to me. Just write what the character wonders about directly.)

For Fox & Willow, I initially had NO internal dialogue at all. I'm a firm believer that with comics, the art is
what is needed to carry the majority of the story. I think that moving from the novel medium to a visual medium can be difficult for writers at first. After all, we're used to writing pages of expositions and description - but to write too much internal monologue becomes redundant in the extreme. Mentioning that your character is sad is a bit of  a space waster if the character already LOOKS sad on the page, if that makes any sense.

Now, like I said - I had no internal dialogue at first. It looked okay on the script when I wrote it out, but I did decide to add a bit here and there once the pages were drawn up.

The page on the right was one of these - I wanted to convey that Willow was hungry and probably not thinking too clearly. (And was freaking cold and miserable.) Aimo was easily able to convey how Willow feels via the visuals, but again, giving just a nudge of information here or there was enough to bring it all together.

(As a medium, I'm still learning - sometimes less is more...but sometimes it's also too little. I'm hopefully getting better at it as I go.)

1 comment:

  1. Comics? How fun! Do you do it all, write the dialogue and art work? A different beast, writing a comic and a novel. What do you think of it?