|Steve Ditko's final issue of Dr. Strange is also the|
character's first time taking the cover spot alone.
Like his other work with Stan & company,
it was produced using the "Marvel style."
I was pushing thirty by the time I said "screw it" and started to just write.
Over the years, I've bounced between plotting as I write and working from a (very) rough outline. I've joked before that I regularly write prose in the "Marvel style."
When Stan Lee wrote eight Marvel titles a month, he didn't have time to do the full scripts most comics worked on at the time (and these days as well). Instead he trusted his talented artists to do some of the heavy lifting. So he would write just a couple paragraphs that described the events he wanted to have happen in the story. His artists produced ten or twenty pages out of those paragraphs. Then Stan would come back and add dialogue to the pages.
Obviously I don't add all my dialogue at the very end, but I often build stories from just a starting point and a finish. This allows me to add and subtracts bits and pieces, flesh out subplots and throw in interesting bits and pieces as I go. Every chapter of Lightweight has been built with this system, though I sometimes pull out tighter plots for the end chapters of each story.
That's not the only comic concept I've used in my writing however. I'm also quite a fan of the Levitz Paradigm.
Paul Levitz designed the structure for his work writing Legion of Super-Heroes for years and years. Dennis O'Neil might have named it though as he covered it in the DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. Here's his synopsis:
Basically, the procedure is this: The writer has two, three, or even four plots going at once. The main plot – call it Plot A – occupies most of the pages and the characters’ energies. The secondary plot – Plot B – functions as a subplot. Plot C and Plot D, if any, are given minimum space and attention – a few panels. As Plot A concludes, Plot B is “promoted”; it becomes Plot A, and Plot C becomes Plot B, and so forth. Thus, there is a constant upward plot progression; each plot develops in interest and complexity as the year’s issues appear.So each issue (or chapter) would cover three to four plots generally. One dominates the chapter, one gets a few pages of space and the last one or two rarely take up more than a page or half page. Here's a sample of Levitz's paradigm from his run.
I used the Levitz Paradigm to design every individual chapter of Epsilon. If (more like when) I return to those characters, I will bring the Paradigm back to work. It found its way into F.O.R.C.E. as well and will likely influence upcoming Quadrant stories as well. So never let it be in doubt that it isn't a useful tool in prose as well, especially when you're building on multiple characters to juggle.
So there's a few hints on how I build on what I write from month to month and story to story. Feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments below!