• Jessica J. Ginting

Sunrise: Novel Extract

ROSANA! began as a concept for a sci-fi novel, something that sparked from inside my mind and was prying itself out. As I wrote the draft of the novel, I realized that what I wanted to do was tell a superhero story. It felt obvious, looking back, because when it comes to superhero stories, it is undeniable that the comic is the prime medium for it.

I wanted to share a little bit about where this story started. It was always about that plane entering the island. I wanted to a build a futuristic universe that unraveled before our protagonist's eyes as much as it did ours. In our comic, the story begins during that long, dark night. In the opening paragraphs of the novel, we meet Rosana at dawn:

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

It had been a long night. The morning sun was unusually red when it crept up at dawn. Rosana watched it rise from behind the mountains, shrugging off her jacket while letting the open wounds on her shoulders come into contact with the warm rays. It was the second plane that had been scouting the village these past two weeks, and Rosana was a little clumsy when taking down the one from last night, afraid that the villagers would suddenly awaken. The image of the plane wreckage, deep down in the Valleys and hopelessly destroyed, came back to mind.

Rosana looked down at her hands, covered in dirt and still sore from all that tugging. It felt relieving to press the palm of her hands into the ground—the wet grass, cool earth, soft and supple in her hands. It was always the ripple effect that would rattle her the most, a violent kickback that tugged her back to face everything she had initially confronted with indifference. She considered telling the Chief about all this, but she didn’t know how to broach the subject without sending the entire village into a state of panic. That plane from last night had already come too close to the village. She almost missed her jump from the mountains but managed a firm grip with both hands as it came crashing down. With no time to check on the pilot, she dragged it to the Valleys as fast as she could and hoped that no one followed the smoke trail coming from the engines she punched through. By the time she reached the Valleys, the pilot was gone.

A lot of these concepts were altered or removed in the comic script, but the bare bones of the inciting event remains the same. I had stopped working on my novel draft around halfway through, but I've been coming back to it recently to expand on my idea of what I want the story to be so that I can filter through the elements and really extract the most important things (be it characters, story beats, action scenes) into the comic script. It's kind of like my messy zone.

I am still learning to be a better a scriptwriter. It's a relatively new skill that I am building on but the most important takeaway I've learned so far is that it's all about efficiency. Much like poetry, which is my comfortable medium, it's the concentrated orange-juice metaphor: where the every word you put on the page counts, you want to use as little as possible to create a strong concoction for your readers. In this case, my readers are the artists that I work with.

Have you ever transposed a piece of writing from one medium to another? What was the process like and is this something you do regularly?

Jessica J. Ginting