I say this a lot around these parts, “You’ve got to know what you’re trying to say at any given moment in a story.”
This is paramount in comics. Whether it’s the act, panel, bubble, whatever…
People often complain about not wanting to outline as it’s “too constrictive or limiting.” A lot of times, folks don’t actually have a clear understanding of what Plot Points (in a skeletal or first stage outline) are.
Let’s clear the air;
Plot Points are specific messages you want to express in dialogue, exposition or action.
Solid story structure relies on putting messages that convey specific meanings, in different places, for specific desired effect.
Writers teach different methods of arranging what they see as these key messages (or key plot points). In Storycraft I breakdown an outline structure for 24 of them.
But at the end of the day, all Plot Points (and in turn outlines) are really just writer’s organizing what they want to say;
“OK, here I want to says this.” Ghostrider finds out his soul is fading away.
“And here I want to say this.” Ghostrider vows to get his sole back.
“And here I want to say this.” A big demon trashes NYC.
If what you want to say at each POINT, is frivolous and carries little narrative drive, your story isn’t going to engage readers, but if you know solid story structure and make an effort to get the right messages in the right places, you put yourself on the path of crafting a genuine story.
I talk a bunch throughout the site about outlines and of course, as I mentioned that’s pretty much what Storycraft is all about. But if you read nothing else on the subject, remember that Plot Points are really just messages you want to express at that moment. Story is all about the messages you express at each moment. ▪
About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S. Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.