Last week I wrote about how opening scenes work, and showed some early roughs of the opening scene for Last Viking.
I tried various options that didn’t quite work, which helped me become clearer about what I wanted the opening scene to achieve. It needed to do several things:
Introduce Josh and Wolverine, and show the closeness of their relationship (who)
Show that Josh is a creative, imaginative and resourceful kid (who)
Introduce Josh’s problem (fear) and have the reader empathise with his feelings (what)
probably show Josh in his room- night-time would be easiest to show fear, but daytime would be easiest to show Josh and Wolverine playing (where, when)
So with those things in mind, I kept sketching. I did a little set of thumbnails where the double page spread would have two panels. One would be big and dark, showing Josh’s room at night time. Josh and Wolverine are visible only as silhouettes, seen in a cubby made from a blanket. The bulk of the text would relate to this panel and go in a column at far left. The thinner panel on the right would show Josh and Wolverine poking their heads out from the cubby the next morning, with the line, “But other than those things, Josh is as brave as a lion” written close by.
Here’s a bigger version with some tone added. There is still a silhouette of a dinosaur on the far wall. Josh’s skateboard is on the floor next to Wolverine’s cushion.