Pro’s Knows: Eric Carter

Carpe Chaos' Jailing Fortune

Carpe Chaos’ Jailing Fortune

1. What is your daily/weekly writing regiment?
I don’t have a regular pattern, I just write as needed, communicate online constantly, and document when necessary. It’s really a disorganized mess and I would be a better writer if I wrote fiction regularly.

2. When you write comic books, do you write for floppies (single issues) or do you write for larger formats?
I always write complete stories with no regard for page count or issues. I love telling longer stories, but have written my share of 11 page stories as well. I much prefer reading graphic novels and trades, and write what I’d want to read. The result is that most of my stories are 3-10 chapters, each about as long as a short floppy.

3. What is the most important thing about writing dialogue for a character?
Capturing a unique voice for each character. Wolverine doesn’t care ‘bout your opinions, bub. Scott Pilgrim… must… can’t explain, pee now, bye. And the Noble Druids of The Claw voice a respect for all things in every word that they choose to speak.

4. What is the most overlooked rule for writing comics?
Be creative. Super hero regurgitation aside, our medium offers spectacular flexibility in visuals and story. Visually, we can show motion and time and action in so many different ways that we regularly leave untapped. When’s the last time you read a comic that went from right to left? What about a layout that matched the movement of the characters? Have you read a comic that established two timelines at once by tricking the reader into following two separate panel progressions at once? We don’t test the boundaries of our art enough.

5. What is the most important thing about creating a new character?
That they matter to the reader. If they don’t matter, they won’t be a character, they’ll be an extra. If your story focuses too much on the extra’s who should be scenery, your story is worse off for it.

6. What is the optimal number of panels per comic book page?
See my answer to #4. Asking for the optimal number of panels is nonsense unless it’s in the context of your specific story and delivery method. For Mark Gonyea, the answer is approximately 50: http://www.storyposters.com/down.html. For Gary Larson, the answer is 1: http://www.thefarside.com/. Every story and distribution has to answer that question its own way.

7. Is there an optimal/minimal amount of description to write for a single comic book page?
I think that depends on your artist. If you grove together like pro Jazz musicians, then the freedom of vagueness will add to your story. If you’re both full of imagination and originality, you’ll probably need more description to tie the two of you together into a cohesive story.

8. What software do you use to write?
Mediawiki, Firefox, and Chrome. Once I can put words on the page, copy and paste, and save your work in a way that fits with the rest of your work process (for me that means multiple writers and revision history) there’s not a whole lot more that writing software can offer in my opinion.

9. What script format do you write in?
We made up a format that looks good in mediawiki and doesn’t take too long to type. It works for us.

10. When writing comics, where do you look for inspiration?
Among comics: small and medium press, and academia. But mostly outside of comics, on TV and in video games. I really want to take the amazing stories that players craft in a game designer’s world and repackage the kind of valor, excitement, and extreme creativity that those stories have into other formats.

• What company do you work for? Maybe it is your own or maybe it is just you – tell us
Carpe Chaos, LLC and Red 5 Studios

• What comics you’ve written?
Jailing Fortune, Transmissions From Fara Nexa, and others.

Find out more about Eric and his book Jailing Fortune at CarpeChaos.com.

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