Interview: Ellie Ann — Comic Writing

I’m really excited to have Ellie Ann on my blog today! She was wonderful enough to answer a few questions about comic writing! So, I won’t bore you with all of my nonsense. Right to the awesomeness of Ellie!

1) First off, comic writing? AWESOME. You’re like Stan Lee or something! How does one get into the comic writing business?

By loving and supporting comics. It was my enthusiastic support of Sundown: White Birch that got me noticed by a producer at Motionworks Entertainment, and then he checked out my work and liked it enough to give me a contract for one of their series. If you love something enough, it has a way of opening itself up to you.

2) What comic project are you currently working on? What inspired it?

I’m THIS close (shows a hair length) away from being able to talk about my current project, but it’s still under the blanket for now.

3) You’re also a published novelist (Congratulations on the release of “The Silver Sickle”!), so how does writing a novel compare/differ to writing a comic?

Novel writing is harder because you can’t rely on a team to help you out. With comic writing (especially enhanced comics), in a scary scene I can rely on the illustrator to put the reader on edge, and on the music to creep the viewer out. But I’m all on my own during scary scenes in my novels.

So many people have asked me (people unaccustomed to comics) if I am given a bunch of illustrations and have to come up with their speech bubbles. Ha! It’s the other way around. I create content that the illustrators use to make the world come alive visually. But it’s up to me to make engaging characters, gripping plot, compelling mystery, and all that jazz. So, creating a story for a comic is just as hard as creating worlds for a novel—I just don’t have to spend as much energy describing it perfectly.

4) When I think of comics, I think that an essential component to them is that they must constantly show all the time. There’s no room for telling, which I know is problematic for a lot of writers. Is this true? If so, is it challenging for you?

Great point! In comics, what you see is what you get. I have to try to attach the viewer to the character (or repel them) in one page, sometimes without any words. It’s absolutely challenging, and takes a lot of thought. Like, how do you show the reader that the main character is waiting for someone without using any words? There are lots of ways, but one of them would be the main character’s eyes are always straying towards the window, or perking up when people pass by. Also, I’ve had to become a lot more eloquent describing character’s emotions—besides just saying they’re angry or content or impatient. I love this about comics, and it’s made me such a better writer because of it.

I suggest any writer who has trouble with over telling things to start writing a comic or a screenplay. It’ll surprise you how much you can know about a character without telling anything about them, only showing who they are through dialogue, actions, and how people treat them.

5) Final question: I imagine there are a lot of steps in getting a comic finalized and published. How many steps are there from the conception of the idea to publication?

It totally depends on the comic. There are way more steps in Motionworks than in most other comics because it’s animated. The steps I’m involved with are:

– Writing plot and character sheets. I let myself go wild during this phase, and write down anything I find exciting. If this is accepted, move on to:

– Writing the plot into scenes and describing the setting. If accepted, work on:

– Adding dialogue.

– Then comes all the editing…when the red pen comes out. This is when we have to put it into panels, around 50. So usually about 1/3 of my material is cut, 1/3 is combined/changed, and 1/3 is accepted.

– Enjoy the finished product!

I told you it was good stuff! Now, click on these links and check out Ellie’s other awesome stuff!


One thought on “Interview: Ellie Ann — Comic Writing

  1. I’ve never considered what actually goes into writing a comic before. This was very interesting. “It’ll surprise you how much you can know about a character without telling anything about them, only showing who they are through dialogue, actions, and how people treat them.” – great advice for any kind of writer. Thank you!

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