A Date With Density, Part 3

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The Script For Today's Comic!

A Date With Density, Part 3
(6 Panels)

Panel 1:
(Izzy and Tanner at the restaurant, still. Tanner's still hiding under the menu.)

TANNER: Is she still there?

IZZY (rolling her eyes): Yes, Tanner, your ex-girlfriend is still at the bar. May I remind you that you're on a date with me?

Panel 2:

TANNER: I'm sorry, Izzy. I just don't want to cause a scene. It's been a nice date so far; I don't want to ruin it with some weird psychodrama.

IZZY: You're not going to spoil it. We're all adults here.

Panel 3:

TANNER (hushed, panicky): You don't know her.

IZZY (firmly, slightly angrily, yanking the menu away from his face): We're adults, Tom. We're dining at an expensive restaurant. This isn't Jerry Springer.

Panel 4:

TANNER: I don't want to involve you in this.

IZZY: Thatís sweet, in a sort of bizarro-stupid way. But I can take whatever any psycho ex-girlfriend dishes out ó

TANNER: Ssssh! Here she comes!

Panel 5:
(Amy walks by. We cannot see her face, only a rather stunning body in an elegant dress that's perhaps slightly on the hookerish side, if not obviously so. Tanner sits stock-upright in his chair, sweating bullets, looking straight ahead with a glazed look.)

Panel 6:

IZZY: See? She didn't even notice you.

TANNER (angrily, rising from his chair to face Amy): HEY!

Ferrett Says

I'm the primary guy who writes and plots Home on the Strange, but that doesn't mean that I have final say. I'm blessed to have two great women in my life who will quite frequently take me by the ears and yank this strip into a much better direction.

The first is, obviously, my co-creator Roni. The other is my wife and sounding board Gini. My writing process consists of me making two pitches – the first to Gini, to see if it's worth bringing up to Roni, and then to Roni. If it passes the muster of both of these stern guardians, then and only then do I actually lay it to paper.

What's funny is the way that both challenge me in different ways. Roni's the long-term specialist; I learned very quickly that if Roni wasn't understanding the the dynamics of the characters in a given storyline, I wasn't explaining it enough. Roni also comes to me with whacky stories from her life and says, "This should be a strip." (There's an upcoming series where Tom and Karla go on vacation that is taken directly from a Roni experience.)

More importantly, Roni seems to be the one who has a better handle on emotional truth. She'll frequently look at my rough draft of a strip (such as the one that's coming up tomorrow) and say, "This doesn't feel right to me. Karla wouldn't do that." And then I usually figure out that yeah, I was taking a shortcut to Funnytown at the expense of truth, so we go back to the drawing board until we find something that feels resonant. (In fact, the reason I began writing this as if it were a Soap Opera strip is because of Roni's nagging feeling that we weren't hitting home.)

Gini, on the other hand, is less demanding and more frustrating. I'll frequently be acting out the storyline to some future strip, and she'll interrupt me with an excited wave of her hands to say, "Oh, I bet I know what happens next!"

"What?"

And then she'll say something that was nowhere near what I was going to say next, but it's so utterly unexpected and yet completely in-character that I have no choice but to use her punchline.

Today is one of Gini's punchlines.

Some days, all I have to do is provide the setup, Gini provides the punchline, and Roni approves and draws it. It's so simple it's sinful…. When it works.


In other news, I should add that I will be doing a panel with Howard Tayler – author of most excellent Webcomic Schlock Mercenary – at Penguicon in Livonia, Michigan on April 22nd. And when I meet him, I'd hate to say that I hadn't plugged his latest (and first) book, which collects one of the best Schlock storylines.

Schlock's one of my favorite strips, so go visit the site and then read the book. Message ends.

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