I began scribbling down snippets of dialogue. These were imagined discussions around a couple of particular “crimes” that had happened in the Organisation. I was trying to push them further, but being just “a step away” as Oshii I think said.
At this stage I was just using letters to represent the individual characters – X, Y, and Z. These three eventually became Faren, the Director of Compliance and Zee (sign of laziness in naming there). But they had no flesh on their bones, other than X/Faren being a kind of imagined “me”. The dialogue had that wise-cracking, film-noir feel to it even then. I guess it’s the kind of thing we all wish we could do, rather than stand, tongue-tied and mute in the face of the day-to-day nonsense we all face at work.
It still wasn’t forming into anything, though. So I trawled the web in search of inspiration and advice. Which I found in the multi-talented Alex di Campi. Alex described using “story boards” in writing her comic books. She is also a film/video maker, so this makes sense – and it certainly chimed with me. I began using a two-column table. In the first column I put a description of the scene, in the second I put the dialogue. Suddenly all became clear, and I could “see” where I was going.
The story then took on a momentum of its own, and I’d pretty much got the whole thing into tabular form within a couple of months. I was scribbling bits of dialogue into notebooks, and then stitching them together into longer pieces in the tables.
So, sometime around the end of 2007 I’d got a story called “Reaching the LEARNER” told in 7 tables.