When I started this project, I knew I probably wasn’t going to follow the prompt I picked down to the T. When I came upon prompt #20, Storybook Ending, I was automatically drawn to it and thinking “okay, how can I change this prompt?”
Basically the prompt called for me to create a storyboard and plot for a book geared towards younger kids. Well. I certainly don’t write for children. So I knew I wanted to channel my story towards a different, older age group. I began thinking late middle school area, which was a challenge for me because I’m not used to writing anything geared towards a specific age group. I frankly find it more restricting as a writer. Nonetheless, I decided I would try.
So I’m sitting in my room and I’m thinking, “what kind of story do I want to tell” and that’s when it hits me. Pirates. These guys get a bad rap. I don’t really care. I love pirates. My favorite show is about them and I find pirates serve a really awesome metaphor of society rejecting what they can’t understand. Yes they murdered people and yes they didn’t abide by the law, but I think they’re really fun morally grey, anti heroic characters to flesh out. I then just decided to solely write about women pirates because I know that growing up, there wasn’t a lot for me to read outside of superhero comics that involved tons of strong female characters graphic novel wise.
I also have a strong belief that graphic novels can really help convey proper messages about life just about as well as any novel or film can. I have never had any trouble reading since I was young, but I noticed that my brother loses focus reading just text based novels.
I introduced him to comics and he has actually grown to really enjoy reading. In fact, graphic novels are a great way to involve reluctant readers as well as benefit struggling readers (much like my brother).
I digress. This project has been a week in the making. As in I started a week ago and then two days ago remembered I should properly begin to work on it past the main idea. The prompt gives me ten minutes to brainstorm an idea for a story. I spent about fifteen minutes with a pen and notebook jotting down random ideas that popped into my head while listening to a playlist on my phone all composed of various movie soundtracks. After fifteen minutes I had four ideas, all of which to me seemed like utter crap but I was pressed for time and thinking quickly of ideas is not my forte. I shared them with a friend and we conversed about the various ideas for a while before I made my decision that I would yes, indefinitely write about pirates (I had back up plans in case pirates wouldn’t pan out), but I would write about them to bring to attention the need to intersectionality within feminism.
Feminism is an universally understood concept; it is the equality of all both socially, politically, and economically. Lately, the call for intersectional feminism has been brought about. Intersection is inclusion and feminism sometimes is not portrayed as such when it comes to trans women, women of color, and disabled women. It may not seem as pressing as a concept but when it comes to portrayal within media or feminism being used in every day life, it is something that could be explained and brought up more often than not.
And so I present to you my story idea, Jolly Regina (it’s a lame name but I thought at the time it was a clever play on the jolly roger). A story about a misfit gang of female pirates that advocates for intersectional feminism:
The Juno Bellona is a mighty warship manned entirely by women. A vigilante gang of misfit ladies who have long since pledged their lives to the sea and entirely forgotten their once peaceful lives in marriage to men bound to the King, they sail the seas plundering other ships that have committed crimes against other women.
Legend has it there’s a warship, the Nightingale, that sails the seas in the dead of night, destroying towns and ships alike to obtain women who try to go against the law of the King. By morning it disappears and isn’t seen. People believe it to be a legend, until suddenly there’s a string of missing women from towns along the coast. The ladies of Juno Bellona go after it in a frantic search, hoping to rescue the women and end the legend once and for all.
The part I was most dreading finally could not be put off, though. I had a basic summary plot and I had begun writing a bit of the graphic novel’s storyline, but the prompt called for me to do some drawing and create a storyboard. I decided to at least try my hand at some drawing but truth be told I cannot draw to save my life. I asked a friend for help but she told me I should just try it myself and see where it goes. So I sat down, blasted some Two Steps from Hell, and set a 3o minute timer. I kind of enjoyed it, once I got over the fact I really, truly, can’t draw. The story started to flow, even if it was only the first page. I found myself quickly heading to my computer and using celtx.com to begin my drafting of the script.
I wish I had given myself some more time and I definitely do think trying to play with the storyboard on a digital scale would be interesting to try out. Who knows, maybe I’ll keep this to the side and try to flesh it out some more. I had some characters already created and I also had begun writing a script. It was certainly a challenge for myself, I’ve always kept to the motto “write what you love” and I got to incorporate what I was interested about and knew a lot about, but was restricted to an age group which was unusual. Also the drawing. I give graphic novel artists props for the work they turn out. It’s amazing stuff.