The Graphic Story: Thoughts about Technique

Today in the fiction course we covered some of the fundamental techniques in story writing as they are revealed in Hope Larson’s Bear Creek Apartments and Ryan Andrews’s Our Blood Stained Roof. The link to quirky Cartoon Boy wouldn’t work on the college computer for some reason and I can’t remember the method we used to find Andrews, which was a cool find as a plan B, fantastic stuff. All these works are very much worth of study: conflict, complication, irony, resolution, all those fundamentals used by storytellers to entertain the audience.

The final panel of Our Bloodstained Roof is specially interesting because of the way the meaning of the eyes begins to take shape after analysis, reminiscent of James Marshall’s ability to express psychological states with simple dots and lines.

Students of fiction will neglect commonalities across media. It’s not necessary to neglect this. New Media study asks us to look for relations and to study how different creative problems are solved. Andrews understands mis en sine. Larson understands fable. Kerschbaum’s irony sizzles. Even the grad students in MFA programs don’t learn much more than this. No more so than Dostoevsky. The thing we have to improve is our ability to see and penetrate.

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