Anatomy of a comic strip

Today’s PvP:

Thought I would give you guys kind of a recapping of how I wrote this strip. Because it’s a great insight into how the writing process tends to go for me. It’s nothing that’s easy to put down into words or into instructional steps.

It started this morning when I was surfing social media on my phone. Facebook showed me a memory from 2 years ago. It was a video of Charlie as a new puppy, biting my finger as I tried to train him. The post made me happy and I thought about writing a strip with puppy Charlie and Scratch just so I could draw him. Because…I like drawing him. Heh.

As I was making coffee and some breakfast I started playing in my head. Remembering that Scratch had put something in Charlie’s food to make him a little smarter. Of course this will only work so much, because dogs (especially basset hounds) can only be SO smart. At least, that’s a funny conceit. So the training has to go wrong.

I played with some dialog in my head and just listened to Charlie and Scratch talk while I made eggs. A lot of my writing happens while I zen out in other tasks and let my mind wander. I play a lot, Just let characters talk in my head. Sometimes they head into a dead end and sometimes they accidentally say something I can work with.

There are times, rare occasions where they just say the finished strip in one-take. It just happens naturally and I scramble for my phone and type in into notes before I forget it. But not often. When it does I always think of the Steven Spielberg movie Always and imagine a ghost behind me whispering ideas into my ear.

Today I just listened to the two of them talk while I fixed my eggs and I laughed when Charlie ended up getting Scratch to speak instead of the other way around. It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t the idea I had in the first place. It just kind of happened.

So that’s how I write PvP most of the time. I’ve always wanted to do online cartooning courses. But I have no idea how to put THAT into a lesson plan. If I ever figure it out maybe I will. Until then….