thoughtballoons Cracks Half a Decade

by ryankl

thoughtballoons is the writing challenge site I created 5 long years ago [LINK]

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There, we would choose a character for the week and then each write a one-page script around that character somehow. An opening splash, a dense fight scene, the penultimate page of an imagined issue. Anything was fair game, just one page, that’s all. Get in, get out.

I started this writing commune of experimentation and collegial feedback because I needed a reason to write. It was hard to find collaborators, and I think deep down I knew I was still chewing on my 10k of pages of dreck like a slab of gristle between my grinding molars. I wasn’t ready and the only way I’d get there was by working my ass off, regardless of being published or having it finished or [CHOKE-GUFFAW] getting paid.

For two years, I wrote at least one 1 page script a week. I spent time plotting it, writing, editing, and I took it seriously. I wanted to put up my best, where possible, and sometimes the deadline drew and I was typing into blogger to see what I had. It was exhilaring, and it was 104+ script pages I wouldn’t have without the site.

I am the writer I am now, 5 years later, because of thoughtballoons. I went from a guy who knew nothing and have now levelled up to a guy who knows he knows nothing. It’s a step in the right direction. I improved because I was producing, I improved because I got feedback from the other writers on the site, as well as some randoms. I improved because by offering feedback to others it got me thinking about process and craft and different four colour aspects a lot more. For those two years straight, I loved this site and the very good friends I forged within it.

But eventually I had to bow out, finding the time was hard, I had to keep pushing real comic pages out, and I know I had t go but be damned if I don’t miss it a lot. So for this anniversary week, I’ve written a text piece about what thoughtballoons meant to me [LINK] and then I try a one pager for a subject I missed in the past 3 years, which is the brilliant D4VE [LINK] – and it’s funny, my script isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. You always have to start somewhere.

I cannot stress enough if you are looking to break into comics as a writer, and you need the practise, and trust me you do need the practise, then you should hit thoughtballoons up. It was something really special for me and I love seeing it bounce through the lives of others.

Also, if you are an artist looking for practise, find some scripts here and have a lash. I guarantee the writer won’t mind if you run it past them. Have fun.

Write, feedback, enjoy, repeat – thoughtballoons [LINK]

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