So I’m rereading a couple of my own scripts and obsessing over scenes that have a weak flow. Without any formal training to speak of, one tends to learn to write comics from reading comics. That being said, the 22-page format isn’t always conducive to lengthy scenes that wrap up nicely. Movies have the swell, fade, or abrupt end of a piece of music to assist in the leading of one scene into another. Comics obviously don’t have that going for it.
The thing is though, I’ve gone from riverbottom scum to riverbank fungus… writing skill-wise, and am now paying better attention to the duality of the comics medium. Picture and Text. Image and Thought. It should be very obvious really, but I’m not exactly the easiest person to teach things to. Especially when the teacher is me.
Sequential storytelling will kick the story forward with images. It’s the first thing that hits you because it’s passively consumed. You can’t help but see a picture. But when scenes are just strung together (my scenes anyway) with just the images advancing the narrative, the story feels jittery and choppy. I’m learning these days that while the text obviously carries dialogue and exposition, it is also the strongest tool in scene transition. A speaker’s words can carry over into the next scene even if he is not present in that scene, creating a sense of continuity. It sounds simple enough, but it’s surprisingly difficult to pull off.
As for how the spillover text relates to the new scene, that’s a whole other thing entirely. It can act as a simple throughline connecting the most trivial of story elements together, or it can be a foreshadowing narrative. It’s all depends on how it’s used. But one thing’s for certain today… Scene Transition: A skill definitely worth developing.