In my last Writing Without Fear I showed you all the treatment I wrote for Teenage Witch Comic – Spooky Abigail. That was largely a tribute post about the sad death of Sir Terry Pratchett, showing how I learned to embrace the absurdness of my humor and how I try to translate it into my writing. To continue on this theme of writing without fear, I want to share with you the the full Synopsis I wrote for the first issue of Spooky Abigail, and then sent to the books artist Veronica Smith.
The Synopsis For Issue #1 Of Spooky Abigail
Notes To My Artist
Here we go, we get to explore, we get to set the tone and discover this new land, we are honored to be at the beginning at the best of times, the start of all things, we will set the pace for Spooky Abigail.
The world of Spooky Abigail is a magical and weird place, scenery bends to the dramatic expectations placed upon it, architecture in the most magical places rearranges itself to suit its occupants needs, it is a place of wonder and of great darkness peeking around the corners.
It is like Harry Porter, it is Sleepy Hollow, it is every village you’ve ever seen in a Hammer House of Horror or Tim Burton movie, it is Van Helsing, Sleepy Hollow, it is dark, Gothic and off-kilter. This is the world we are looking for, the feel of the environment everything is really, really old looking because… Simply put… the thematic magical atmosphere has changed it because isn’t that what we are all expect in a world full of Wizards and Magical creatures?
I have already written a treatment on my thoughts of the world of Spooky so I am not going to repeat it here. I do think it will be cool if you add fun little details into each panel, from spiders hanging from the comic book panels, eyes in jars following people around the room. But I will leave that to you to have fun with.
This book is a collaborative affair, if you have something you want to add to the story speak up and say so, or just add it and see if its gets noticed. We are inventing, we are world building, so take ownership of the world too. You are the visual storyteller who will bring my words to life, through you Spooky lives, I just supply the words.
Well I am… So here we go…
A Little Bit About Spooky Abigail
Much of her look has already been established, I just want to run through a couple of things I think are important to her teen character. First off, she isn’t fashionable, she is the kid who suffers from what her parents think are fashionable (aka sensible and hard wearing). Her clothes are constantly one size too big (to grow into) and always ten years behind the latest trend.
Her hair, is as saturated with magic as she is. Now I view magic a little like radiation, it seeps and prolonged exposure to it will affect you. Her hair is sensitive to Spooky’s moods, and while kept sensible strapped into two long braids (plaits?), it will swivel like a snake when she is anxious, stand up on its ends when she is startled, stick out to the sides if angry, it is as much of a character as Spooky is.
Her glasses, we get the honor of having Spooky with her glasses on. I see them as her shield against the outside world, the barrier to her confidence to becoming the Witchy legend she is will become. They should be slightly too big for her face, and she has to constantly push them back onto her face. Yes, we are going to use some Velma lost my glasses plot MacGuffins from time to time, because you cannot beat the classics.
What About Those Magic Books?
This is very important – it is very dangerous to write magic down and can only be done by that Witches hand if she wants to safely open a magical book. Magic is its own power, both natural and unnatural and lesson in the academy are learned on rote. Books containing magic are nasty, vicious little creatures to anyone but their former masters. Magic may have its wonder, but it also has its darkness.
Okay I Have Rambled Enough Here Is THE SYNOPSIS!
This issue has to do three things, set up the world, introduce Spooky and start the first story arc off. Now I am not going to worry too much about the latter over the former here, although the first arc story will kick off here this will be more of a self-contained story.
We will start is a birds eye view of Notorious Odyl, Not (NON), show the world off a little bit before zooming into our little bit of it which of course will be MacGiven’s Academy for Witches and Magical Folk. Establish epic and scale, before we limit Spooky’s world, if you can truly limit it to a tower that changes itself to accommodate your general needs.
We introduce Spooky who will be working on a lab bench full of bubbling instruments. Her Rat familiar will be perched upon a hat and she will be working on a potion, concentrating on getting it right. This potion will explode in her face, and it is only them we realize she is in a class of other Witches in Training (WIT’s) as the Teacher gives her another ‘Must Do Better’ Grade.
Class ends and she goes out into the hallway, it will be a traditional long (high school style) corridor full of lockers made of dark wood. She is putting stuff into her locker, when she see the most popular boy in the school waving to her, she gets all excited and flustered as he walks towards her. Then straight past her, to the most popular girl in the school and her coven (clique) standing just behind Spooky they all of course laugh at Spooky mocking her, as if he would think to look twice at her.
Spooky grabs her broomstick and marches off.
Cut to broomstick practice, the instructor a Female Witch in an era appropriate sporting outfit with witch hat on runs the girls through their broomstick training. It is basic flight 101, out to the marker, turn around and back again, and it is Spooky’s turn to fly. She takes off at an immense speed scattering her classmates and surprising the instructor with her confidence. Problem is she never has figured out how to turn around. Shoots past the marker and gets scared for being so high up, and has to be escorted down by the Flight Instructor. All the other WIT’s laugh at her, but this time are scolded by the Flight Instructor who has a soft spot for Spooky.
Later that day she is in Magical Lore a Co-Species class and she is sitting next to her best friend Bella the WereGirl. The Teacher is droning and all Spooky is paying attention to is the most popular boy in the school who sits two rows up from her, she is doodling in her pad. Gets caught out by the Teacher, even though Bella tries to warn spooky. Her doodle of her and the boy on unicorns in a heart is shown to the class.
After class she is approached by the most popular girl in school and her coven, and is taunted for her obsession with the popular boy ‘As if he would look at a Witch with Ugly Glasses’ upsetting Spooky. The girls are warned off by Bella, but not before Spooky runs off in tears.
Bella find Spooky in their dorm room, she has been crying and Bella comforts her. Spooky is convinced if she didn’t need these horrid glasses the popular kids would like her, and if she can do magic then there should be a spell that can correct her sight, right? Bella tries to convince her she doesn’t need to change to have friends, but reluctantly agrees to help her.
The girls spend the night pouring over magical lore books and don’t find an answer. Although there is a reference to transfiguring potions in a book in the Forbidden Library. A dangerous place that a WIT should not step in on pain of being expelled (if the Library lets the WIT back out).
So Spooky comes up with a plan, they will need a key to get in, a map or a way to find the location as the Library constantly moves around the school, and they need to be invisible to not been seen by the Gargoyles that guard the library against intruders. Of course they don’t have a clue how to get started, but as Spooky has potion class first thing she will search the text books for an answer to the invisible problem.
She finds a potion that turns snails invisible, perhaps if they double the ingredients it will make them invisible. Somehow it spills on the popular girl turning her head invisible much to the amusement of the class as she was boosting about dating the popular boy for the first time after classes. Instead the popular girl is taken to the infirmary. Here Spooky gets a little accidental revenge and figures out she needs to quadruple to turn them invisible. Although she isn’t too sure if it will last or be a permanent change.
Next up they need to find the location of the library, that night in the dorm using a Crystal ball Spooky sneaked out of Prediction class they search for the Library, and the last panel ends with the girls looking into it with amazed looks on their faces. ‘Oh Fiddlesticks!’
— And that was my synopsis for the first issue of the Spooky Abigail Comic Book, you can learn more about this book here.