Saturday, December 06, 2008

On Converting A Prophecy Forgotten into a Graphic Novel

Read on and discover a few secrets about A Prophecy Forgotten (and Out of the Shadows).

I’m currently working on the graphic novel script to A Prophecy Forgotten. (Yes, I realize that this should have been done over the summer, but remember I needed to “tweak” Out of the Shadows, which took up time…)

Now the problem with turning any novel into a graphic novel is…well, there are a lot of problems. First, with a novel, the author can talk directly to the audience. Trust me, it’s a beautiful thing. If I want to let you know about some history, I can just tell you about it. (Well, to an extent. If I go too far, I’ll be violating the “show, don’t tell” principle and bore you to tears.)

A graphic novel doesn’t have much of a narrator. This means that I have to somehow communicate all the intricacies of Heaven’s Realm, cherubians, mornachts, and the relationships between RSOs and LAFs using dialog and action only—oh, and on occasion, I can use a little “caption” box. (Yippee. Dude, I’m a novelist. The little “caption box” just isn’t going to do it for me.)

But that’s not the only problem. With graphic novels and novels, you have to satisfy audience expectations. A person has one expectation of what he or she will encounter when sitting down with a novel and another, quite different expectation when sitting down with a graphic novel. (Flowery prose isn’t one of those expectations, by the way.) Graphic novels are action-oriented and fast-paced. Novels don’t revolve around action as much, and their pacing is slower, leaving the author time to let the storyline and the mystery unfold.

Oh, and graphic novels are in color, meaning each page costs much more to print. This means that I’m going to have to (eek!) cut a few scenes in order to make A Prophecy Forgotten affordable for non-CEOs.

Fortunately, I’ve already spent time at the chopping block, so I’m over the pain of cutting the scenes. But now, I’m having to reorganize the book so it will make sense and flow—quickly.

To increase pacing, I’ve begun dividing the novel into more chapters. (Shorter chapters feel faster for readers.) This means I need to create or combine chapter titles, and…well, it kind of feels fraudulent. I mean, how can I just changechapter titles? Especially when most of my chapter titles were carefully chosen for their hidden meanings. ("Mornachts and Monsters"? Lorraine is the monster, not the mornachts. "Dealing With Tigers" centers on Davian fighting with sabers and Jim fighting with Lorraine for custody of Tommy. "Poisoned Water"? Go back and read that one again. It’s not just the water carrying poison. He he he. Oh, and be prepared: Out of the Shadows is so full of hidden meanings within chapter titles I could write a novel about that alone.)

Well, I figured out the answer. I’ve unearthed some of my old A Prophecy Forgotten manuscripts (called, The Forgotten Prophecy, The Cherubian, The Third Battle For the City of Ezzer, etc.). Those manuscripts have alternative chapter titles that I cut early on.

Viola! Chapter titles I can use that will keep the A Prophecy Forgotten graphic novel authentic, and actually make the graphic novel almost required reading for Elysian Chronicles fans!

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