I am now 80 pages into ‘Long-Forgotten Fairy Tale’. I guess I am about a third of the way through. I think I kind of hit a wall last week. The majority of this book takes place outside of Minneapolis and so far the book has been about the set-up, and why the gang is leaving town. It’s weird to look back over what I’ve written and drawn and see how Uptown Girl joining a gym and Rocketman getting a credit card has led to where the book is right now.
But the hard part of this book is deciding what to cut out. I’ve kinda let Uptown Girl and her friend’s stories find their own separate paths and then watching them come together into a single plot line and getting them out of town. I’ve planted some seeds that will come up later and I think it’ll be kind of clever when it all comes together…but there’s so much I have to cut out or add to the story. Right now the gang just got to the airport…and I suppose I could add five pages of Rocketman checking his luggage, or Ruby laughing at the people working the food court at the airport. I could add a scene with the flight attendants…there’s a lot of potential for funny moments. But I have to move on. If I want the last two-thirds of the book to define what the story is about, then I have to get moving. If the first half of the book is very different from the last half, it won’t feel right, especially since the first third is going to be very light to what the last third of the book will be. The second act will be a more transitional or exposition-focused part of the tale.
So yeah, that’s the wall. What to leave in, what to cut out. The book has been moving very slowly lately. Another thing that is keeping the book from progressing is I’ve been increasingly unhappy with the art. A few months ago, I talked about how I wasn’t progressing with the book at the rate I wanted to, so I switched to a smaller page size. I restarted most of the book with the smaller size to retain a more consistent page size. Going back and redrawing 20 pages would be a grind but in the end I thought it’d be worth it. Now I realize that switching to a smaller page size was a mistake. I don’t have enough room on the page. Sure I am able to do a page a night or so, but since I am not liking what I’ve been doing it’s been hard to retain the enthusiasm and momentum I need.
So I decided to switch back. I won’t go back and redraw the entire book, but I might redraw a few pages here and there. Luckily Photoshop can easily resize the pages so they will retain a more consistent look than the original size I drew.
But this was the page that kind of made up my mind. It’s page 81, the first page of the second act:
Obviously I haven’t redone the lettering yet. But this page shows the gang packing for their big trip. I realized when I switched to a smaller page size, three rows of panels per page was too tight to show much action or detail. But when I looked at this page I knew there was no other way to present this scene. It HAD to be three rows. A page break would disrupt the flow and take away the humor here. And if a page showing people packing for a trip presented a problem, the rest of the book which will be considerably more action-y would be a nightmare.
So I redrew the page. And here it is: