by Autumn Daughetee
Last week, I introduced you to Kymera Press’s new editor and writer Christie Yant. This week, we continue our conversation with Yant as we discuss the nuts and bolts of her work.
Can you describe the editing process?
“So far I’ve strictly been working on script edits. There are several things I’m looking for as I go over a script. I’m looking for tight dialog that conveys as much information as it can in the fewest words possible. Every panel and every line of dialog has to either develop character, move the plot forward, or both. I’m also looking for the beats of the story, the emotional punctuation of it, and how that fits on the page. The scripts at Kymera include a lot of specific art direction, so I have to be sure that I can see the panel as it’s written—if I can’t, then the artist probably can’t either. And as in any story, I’m looking for the tension—where is the conflict? What are we supposed to be feeling about the characters and what they’re going through right now, and does the script do that work?”
Is the process different for each comic book?
“Right now I’m working on Gates of Midnight, which is an original title that Debbie [founder of Kymera Press] writes, and two adaptations—one of a short story, and one of a novel. The differences in the process so far have really just been shades of how closely we’re following the source material on the adaptations.”
What is your favorite part of creating a comic book?
“It’s too soon to tell! I can’t wait to get to work with the artists directly. I think that’s going to be a great experience, watching the material come to life on the page.”
What are the most common errors you encounter during the editing process? If you could pick one thing that you could advise comic book creators not to do, what would it be?
“Find those beats. The beginning and end of each scene should make your reader feel something physical, something viscerally emotional, whatever that is. And don’t interrupt that moment by putting it in the middle of a page. You know how you’ll be watching a TV show, and the scene ends and your jaw is on the floor and feel like you’ve been punched in the gut, and then a jarringly enthusiastic commercial for something comes on, and you want to throw something at the television? Comics are like that—give your reader the moment they need to process the feeling you just gave them.”
“Apart from that, keep your dialog short and tight, and make every word do real work. I’m still working on paring down my own dialog—as a prose writer, I can a bit long-winded as I try to convey the right tone. There’s no room for that in comics. The good news is that you have an artist on your side who can do a lot of that heavy lifting visually.”
I’ve asked all of the other ladies who work for Kymera Press this question. It’s just for fun. If you were a comic book character who would you be?
“Oh, that’s a tough one—probably Zatanna Zatara, maybe because I’ve been wanting to write her for years!”