I’m always late to the game when it comes to most types of media. I didn’t get into The Walking Dead until after season one had made its way to Netflix, and I didn’t get my hands on the comics until just this past week (it’s nearly impossible to find the first trade paperback). But I’m not here to talk about The Walking Dead or to debate whether the comic is better than the show. I want to talk about what Robert Kirkman, the writer, wrote at the beginning of the TPB. Here’s the excerpt that really hit home for me:
With THE WALKING DEAD I want to explore how people deal with extreme situations and how these events CHANGE them. I’m in this for the long haul. You guys are going to get to see Rick change and mature to the point that when you look back on this book you won’t even recognize him. I hope you guys are looking foward to a sprawling epic, because that’s the idea with this one.
Everything in this book is an attempt at showing the natural progression of events that I think would occur in these situations. This is a very character driven endeavor. How these characters get there is much more important than them getting there. I hope to show you reflections of your friends, your neighbors, your families, and yourselves, and what their reactions are to the extreme situations on this book.
These two paragraphs alone made me put Kirkman on a level that I reserve for exceptional fiction writers. And in reality, that’s what he is – a fiction writer. Leave out the pictures and the writing still stands; it’s the structure that holds the comic panels together. And it’s a structure that I agree with wholeheartedly.
Anyone who knows me well knows that when it comes to writing, I very much subscribe to the characters-over-plot model of writing. If you take away the characters in a book and just leave the plot, you don’t have a story, but a summary of the plot. But if you take away a plot and leave the characters, you can still have all sorts of stories.
Bardsworth is, and always will be, character driven. The characters that I write for (I can’t even say I created them because they created themselves) have taken on lives that I don’t control, and I wouldn’t want to. Things are much more interesting to me when they live the story. I’m just here to share it with everyone else.
All that having been said, I hope you enjoy the upcoming storyline. I’m still in the midst of writing it, but it should be interesting. I recently realized that one of my characters hasn’t told much of her story, and that makes her a weak character, so I want to remedy that. Hopefully it’ll bolster her appeal in the eyes of some of you readers.
I’ll tell you one thing, though – I’m not looking forward to illustrating it…