Once Noel’s finished his work on a scene it’s time for me to go in and give the dialogue one final polish (I’m something of a perfectionist). Sometimes I don’t need to make changes at all. Usually, however, I do.
For instance, this scene saw the addition of one or two panels on each page. Obviously this means I need to review the dialogue’s placement, making sure it’s still appropriate given the page’s new layout.
From there I want to make sure the dialogue compliments the art. Sometimes Noel’s work isn’t exactly what I pictured in my head. Sometimes it will say enough that I can delete some dialogue. Other times, I need to add a line or two for clarity.
This scene saw a few minor tweaks. The biggest came on page 66. You may remember that initially there was no dialogue in the first panel. When I saw it, however, I didn’t think reader’s would understand the old man was coming out of his desk because he was angry and felt the addition of a line or two was called for.
Once I’ve finished tweaking everything I send a “lettering script” to my letterer with the art. He takes it from there.
Here’s a look at what one of these shortened scripts looks like…
Dawson (standing): PLEASE, TIM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.
TOM (on left): THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.
JACOB (far right): AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.
TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAVE NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO BE OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.
JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.
TOM (off panel): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.
DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL–
TOM (off panel): IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.
JACOB: GODDAMNIT, SHARDER!
TOM: YOU KNOW? I THINK I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!
KIM (off panel): DAD!
TOM (far right): OH, THANK GOD.
KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…
TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.
JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO WAS HERE FIRST.