Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three Years - Influence - Grant McLaughlin

Trying something a little different here.  Hopefully it reads with at least some clarity.  Captions contain narration, but word balloons feature pictures, implying what the character is talking about.  For pretty much every instance, it's the same picture of a cartoonish book - it's the shape of the word balloon that illustrates character emotion and tone.  In some instances I'll describe what that might look like; in others I'll leave that to your imagination.

Panel layout isn't of the utmost importance.  Panels 2 and 3 are two triangles that make up a complete rectangle, with the caption listed in panel 2 applying to both.  Also, give sufficient space to the final moments in panels 6 and 7.

A young Grant walks with a friend on his first day of high school.  Grant looks unhappy (maybe even slightly angry).  Grant's word balloon's lines are dark and jagged, to emphasize his dread.  The school is in the background as they head towards it.

(1) CAPTION (GRANT): Going into high school, I thought that English was the absolute worst, most boring subject.

(2) GRANT: [picture of a book]

(3) CAPTION (GRANT): I hated that it was mandatory.

Grant sits at home, reading a book with a big smile on his face.

(4) CAPTION (GRANT): Because while I'd always liked to read, I'd never actually enjoyed an English class.

Grant sits in class, bored to tears.  Mrs. Palis, an elderly teacher, stands at the front of the class, lecturing.  Her word balloon is icy to illustrate her cold disinterest in the topic.

(5) MRS. PALIS: [picture of a book]

A different class, the following year.  Mr. Hodgson stands at the front of the class, talking to his students (you can tell it's him because his name is written on the board). He is happy and excited.  His students sit politely, while Grant perks up, as if realizing something for the first time.

(6) CAPTION (GRANT): But all that changed with Grade 10 English.

(7) MR. HODGSON: [picture of a book]!

Like in panel 1, Grant walks to school with the same friend.  However, this time Grant is happy and excited.  His friend listens on with interest.

(8) CAPTION (GRANT): Mr. Hodgson's enthusiasm was infectious.

(9) GRANT: [picture of a book]!

Like in panel 4, Grant sits in class.  Mr. Hodgson is once again at the front, lecturing.  While it is now a different topic, he is as happy and excited as ever.  Grant is also happy and excited, but he looks like he's having yet another epiphany.

(10) CAPTION (GRANT): So much so that come Grade 12, by my own choosing, I took three different English classes.

(11) MR. HODGSON: [picture of a pencil]

Insert panel towards the right side of panel 6.  Close up of Grant's mouth as he speaks quietly.  His word balloon is small, as is the image within it, to emphasize the low volume of his words.

(12) GRANT: [picture of a pencil]...

(13) CAPTION (GRANT): ...including Writer's Craft.

Thank you, Mr. Hodgson.  You've had a bigger impact on my life than you may ever know.


  1. My favorite part about this is your decision to used pictures in place of words for your dialogue.

  2. Nice script. It reminded me of the last issue of Phonogram:Singles Club (one of my favourite single issues ever).

    Great one pager about your influences, but also the effect of a good teacher.

  3. Great page Grant.

    You should drop Mr. H an email. As a (trainee) teacher I can tell you he'd appreciate it. It's always great to know you've gotten through to someone or made a difference even in a small way.

  4. I love to see a writer try out a new technique, especially when you pull it off this well. The use of pictures in word balloons made your page so much more creative than if you'd done it straight up with dialogue.

    A tip of the cap to you sir for be bold and trying new stuff, that should be an influence on us all.


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.