SIDEWISE and Beyond: The Creative Process

A Word From Our Sponsors

Before I begin discussing my creative process, I would like to direct your attention to my Zuda entry. It’s called SIDEWISE, and we’d sincerely appreciate your vote. It only takes about 10 seconds to register. It’s probably the least lame registration process I’ve experienced on the internet.


It will be necessary to check out SIDEWISE before reading the rest of this blog entry. Or you can pretend you’re a visitor from the ancient past: bewildered and anomic. Your call.

The Set-Up

After reading some of the SIDEWISE reviews, I began contemplating some of the various criticisms of our 8-page prologue. After much thought, I decided to use these critiques as a springboard to share a bit of my creative process. The purpose of this post is not to belittle these well-intentioned fans.

Long Form Vs. Short Form

Before I begin writing a story, I complete a bullet outline of the complete story: beginning, middle and end. As I continue conducting research and fleshing out the big picture, the bullet outline becomes a much more detailed document accompanied by image references for the artist.

By completing this outline, I can ascertain the length of the story: a one-shot, graphic novel or mini-series. Once I have made the call, I move forward and begin writing the script.

When I begin scripting, I have already mapped the story in its entirety. As such, I write for the long form. That is why you may see a character (Fawkes, for example) or event (“If I’d known then what I know now…”) mentioned early in the story and further introduced or explained as the story progresses. I don’t believe in spoon feeding. This is a story, not a gag strip. Buckle in, read along and watch the story unfold.

I never write 5 or 8 pages of a long form story and stop. That is both counter-intuitive and lazy writing in my estimation. It’s one thing if I’m writing a 5 or 8-page short comic story, but why in the world would I write a prologue for a long form story with no idea where to go from there?

Writing by the seat of your pants can be exhilarating, but it can also get you into a pickle. It’s better to avoid the stress and plot your story beforehand.

Tune In!

I will be discussing SIDEWISE, American McGee’s Grimm and my other projects this coming Sunday night (June 14th) on Fanboy Radio. Please join me LIVE at 7pm EST / 6pm CST / 4pm at Fanboy Radio for a spirited conversation.