Maresh’s face in this page is off-model in a different way in each panel. This is what I get for not just dragging-and-dropping from my original sketches.
I had a moment of blind terror a few days ago when I realized that, rather than having three-quarters of the chapter 7 script written, I only had three-quarters of the outline written. Fortunately, script-writing goes fast. That’s actually one of the depressing parts of comicking: it took me two days to script a chapter that I’ll draw over two and a half months. However, this also gives me the opportunity to work on future scripts.

For the curious, my script-writing goes something like this: I currently have an “event sequence” that takes me all the way to the end of The Water Phoenix King. This sequence is vaguely grouped into chapters. When it’s time to write a new script, I grab the next chunk of sequences. Then I make sure there’s a central plot—or, since I tend to write these chapters like TV shows for some reason, two plots. (“The duel with Hokta Chuul and rescuing the Pathlos,” for example.)

Next I break the event-sequence down into eight five-page mini-chapters. Old Marvel comics tend to break down into five-page stories, and Alan Moore tends to write in 40-page segments, so for some reason I got it into my head that sticking those things together would be a good idea. It actually produces a weird, symmetrical structure to my chapters—most stories have an odd number of divisions (beginning, middle, end, or the five-act structure), so I’m a little bizarre with my eight scenes.

Once I have eight scenes, I write up a page-by-page outline. I open up my “clever ideas and quotes” file, and here’s where I make note of good lines, cool images, and last-minute twists. This is where the comic tends to run long, since it’s hard to write a good action scene in nine panels, so I tend to get a few six-page or seven-page scenes here. Once all that’s done, I have a page-by-page with little asterisks denoting clever lines or cool imagery, and from that it’s surprisingly easy to produce the finished script.

Of course, the process isn’t perfect. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. My fondness for “cool things” and my focus on one or two core plot trajectories means that key concepts can get introduced, then lay fallow for months of reading time. I introduced the New Song of Hadrakah on, like the fourth page of the comic, and it’s lain fallow, except for another off-hand mention, ever since. Lyca (the blue woman) has appeared in non-speaking roles for two or three issues and finally showed up at the inn this issue; she was supposed to have a more important role in the climax against Deemo, but I felt it was overwrought, so I moved her action to Chapter 7, meaning that she kinda shows up in this chapter and then does nothing.