On Writing: “Behind Enemy Linens”

“Behind Enemy Linens” was a story that I wrote for Little Red Bird Press’ anthology titled BLOCKED. The idea behind BLOCKED was to tell stories about the world of online dating through sites such as Tinder and OKCupid, and specifically, the horror stories.

If anyone has followed me for any length of time, you may already know that I have a lot of horrible dating stories, so it was a matter of trying to decide which one I wanted to pitch. There was a submission process to go through so I looked for an artist to work with and attach myself through and began figuring what I wanted to do.

I decided to pitch a story about the time when a guy I was dating broke up with me over a blanket fort. I won’t get into that story in full here, but suffice to say that it was pretty ridiculous (and you can read the full thing in both script and completed comic form below).

I contacted Jenn St. Onge to work with on this project and she agreed to be a part of the story. Once we submitted, it was a matter of waiting to hear back to see if we were accepted into the project or not. Spoiler alert: we were accepted.

From there, we had almost a year to put together our script, the thumbnails, pencils, inks, colours, and letters. A very generous amount of time to complete our stories which were (if I remember correctly), a maximum of 10 pages long; my story was seven pages.

Since I already had the story in my head, it was a matter of pacing out the story and making sure that I could tell the entire thing in a coherent way. I wrote out all the major beats I wanted to hit and then figured out how many pages it would take to get there.

A guy breaking up with you over a blanket fort is a story that gets told a lot at parties so I was pretty familiar with exactly how I wanted this to go.

With my script, I included short character descriptions for the main characters which were me and the “Silver Fox”. Jenn had me on Facebook so I didn’t need to provide her with too much reference to be able to draw me. She had access to a ton of references. I provided her with photos and reference for “Silver Fox” though and gave her some images to work from (those images aren’t included in the script that you’ll see).

Outside of a few minor changes, I wasn’t given a ton of feedback here. Most of the notes came from trying to translate my script to the pages and ensuring that what I was conveying made sense to the reader. A lot of anthologies are ultimately pretty loose when it comes to editing, but there were definitely notes that helped make my script better than what I had originally pitched.

You can take a look at my final script here.

After the pencils stage was complete, Jenn started to get swamped as an artist with Jem and the Holograms, and other cool things. As such, she had to back away from the project with just one month to go before the deadline.

I got really panicky about the story and was sure that it wouldn’t be included in the book. I put a call out to artists to see if someone would be able to step in and work on the story, and thankfully one artist stepped up.

My pal, Katie Sawatsky easily has one of the most recognizable art styles that I have ever seen. She is a master of black and white comics, and she wanted to come on board, so she did!

While Jenn had pencils done, and Katie could’ve simply inked over what was there, Katie started from scratch with ONE MONTH LEFT to complete the work.

Katie knows me in real life so reference wasn’t really an issue. She hunkered down, and despite some hiccups along the way, we got the story finished at the last minute possible and turned it into the publishers.

The results of Katie’s work can be seen below. Some of the final lettering is missing from the sample pages here, but you can get the general gist of what it looked like and use the script (as linked above) to fill in the blanks.

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