Friday, October 29, 2010

Thoughtballoons – A Comic Scripting Exercise

Comics must be one of the few mediums where so many of the people associated with it, readers, reviewers, bloggers, also want to break into the business. It’s a hard thing to do but I can see why they would want to, it is fun. I started a website that features a weekly scripting exercise and it’s been running for months now, and it’s been a blast. Hit the jump to see why Thoughtballoons is the new comic scripting site you should check out.


I started Thoughtballoons after spending a while viewing the Comic Twart website. For those who don’t know (and if you don’t then you need to hit the link and then feed the site into your blog reader), Comic Twart was a recent initiative where a group of professional comic artists decided to band together and make a site full of original art. Each week they pick a new character and then they each take a turn. The result is a whole stack of fun and a whole bunch of different views of the same character.

I loved that the site could present me with such a diverse range of angles taken on the one character. It made me think, could something similar for writers be set up? I spent a night cooking and thinking about it and finally I came up with what would be Thoughtballoons. It’s really not that different, each week we pick a character and then we each write up a one page script for that character.

Script Structure

The one page script that we each write up can be about anything and structured in any way we like. So long as it features that week’s character in some way then it’s sweet. The page can be a one page tale, or the start of a story, or then end. It can be a splash page or a dense page packed with panels. We don’t need to be too heavily beholden to continuity, we can create our own variation or stick to the way they’re generally presented. I didn’t want to see someone rewrite a classic scene we’ve already seen but if we could write something to fill in a gap then that was fine. There’s lots of wiggle room for the way to script, and over the past months each writer has shown their ability to write something different each time.

Character Choices

This week we are each tackling Benjamin J Grimm, otherwise known as The Thing from the Fantastic Four. If you check down the side bar you can see we’ve also had a crack at scripting other four colour classics such as Aquaman, Buffy, Silver Surfer, John Constantine, Machine Man, and Daredevil, just to mention a few. The only constraint for choices is that they have to have appeared in a comic before.

It’s an interesting experience to have to write a page of comic script each week, and to have to find an idea, inspiration, each week for a new character. It’s mental gymnastics and something that I feel makes all of us stronger as writers. It should also be rewarding for the audience to read new ideas each day of the week as we post out single pages.

Having our scripts out in the open also makes us feel a lot more accountable and provides an avenue for much positive feedback and constructive criticism. It’s helpful that we have a creative and dedicated team of Tenured Writers who bring their passion and knowledge with them each week to their own script and that of each other writer.

On the site I am joined by a few familiar faces, like The Weekly Crisis' very own Matt Duarte, as well as a few other familiar faces from this site, you can view the bios at the Tenured Writers page.

Find Us And Play At Home

If you want to follow updates you can put the website address ( into your blog reading program or follow on Twitter at the search: #thoughtballoons

There is also a Play At Home option where you can find the introductory post for each character, which goes live each and every Sunday, which is known as the Why…? post and offer your own script on the character within the comments section. It’s a good way to test your own scripting abilities and receive timely feedback and discussion as well.


Over the coming months we hope to provide a few new comic character choices that will please, it is my choice coming up next week and I think it is a person who offers up the possibility for many interesting scenarios. Feel free to have a look at the site, read some scripts, see what you like, and leave us some comments. It’s just a little something different, and only one page a day. You’ll be surprised by the level of invention on display. It's all about fun, at the end of the day, so we hope you enjoy.

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Space Jawa said...

Oh, I can definitely see myself paying a visit (checking it out right now, actually). Especially since I'm trying to put together some kind of project that I'm hoping I can get published for real.

Ivan said...

Took you long enough to make this plug. :P

I'll try to go back to playing at home since work is dying down a little.

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