Back when The Silver Words first came into being, I covered Marissa Meyer’s launch event for Fairest, a novella from the Lunar Chronicles series about Levana’s side of the story. That event came at the beginning of many great things–a new school, new friends, a new blog name and design–and this last week, I got the chance to go to Marissa’s launch for Wires & Nerve, a the first in a Lunar Chronicles graphic novel duology about Iko! It was surreal to go to the event at the same place with the same friends to see the same author a little over two years later. So much has changed since then, but great books and good people remain the same.
Wires & Nerve Launch Recap
There were a lot of festivities this time around. When I got into the event, people were everywhere–running around, waiting to buy copies of books, getting their faces painted. EspionageCosmetics, located in the city, even gave away nail wraps swag for Wires & Nerve and was giving manicures and tutorials at their table.
Once I’d gotten my copy of Wires & Nerve, I went to go find my seat. Since Wires & Nerve is a graphic novel, Marissa couldn’t do readings like she usually does, so she decided to do a presentation instead about the writing of the book. Marissa began by talking about her inspiration for writing a graphic novel. Back in high school, she was obsessed with shoujo mangas, most notably Sailor Moon, and ended up writing a lot of fan-fiction and comics. She dreamed about publishing her own graphic novel, but unfortunately, at the time, she thought she had to be Japanese to write and publish one.
Putting those aspirations aside, she focused on her primary goal of becoming a novelist, but after the wrap-up of the Lunar Chronicles, she was reminded of the idea and was put on contract to write the Wires & Nerve duology.
The process began with lots of research. She cited Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel, The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, and Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers as being most helpful in figuring out how to write a graphic novel script.
After the research, she moved onto planning and writing. She’s an extensive planner and went super in-depth for this project, doing multiple outlines at every level. One especially useful structure that she used was Stan Lee’s beat sheet, noting how similar comic books scripts are to movie scripts. She was able to keep her notes and outlines handy when she was writing through the word processor Scrivener, which she uses to write all of her projects.
Marissa said that she was can usually write four to six thousand words a day when she’s writing a novel, but Wires & Nerve was a different story altogether. In writing a graphic novel, she ended up spending a lot more time sitting and staring into space as she tried to visualize what would happen in each scene. The most difficult part of the process was trying to figure out sound effects. She’d never considered having to write sound effects into the script before, but ended up spending a lot of time trying to relay what things would sound like on paper.
After writing the script and going through some revisions, the publisher brought in the artist, who got to work on character sketches. Some of the early sketches, such as that for Cinder, were beautiful but completely wrong for the kind of character. Others just felt off, such as Captain Thorne’s, and went through a few revisions before getting the final character.
Overall, Marissa was pretty happy with the way that the artist wrote the panels and there were few revisions. The process of writing the script had been super long, but there weren’t many changes when it came to the final product’s art and writing. There were some technical difficulties, but she shared a video with us about the printing process of Wires & Nerve, which can be found on Marissa’s blog.
Finally, she talked about the cover of Wires & Nerve. She didn’t see it until pretty late in the process, when most everything in the cover had been set in place. The only change that was made was the weapon in Iko’s hand on the cover, a change that was actually thanks to Barnes & Noble. They claimed that a gun was too much and that Iko could have a gun as a weapon within the story, but not on the cover. So, instead, in Marissa’s words, Iko got an “awesome Gandalf walking stick thing.”
I’d never actually heard about the process of writing and publishing a graphic novel, and it was really cool to see all the different components of it come together.
A note: Keep in mind that these questions/answers have been slightly edited for clarity and reduction of redundancy. Some of the questions had slight comments in-between that were removed or added into the question. I’ve done my best to preserve tone, word usage, and context where I can.
Also, because the questions that were asked were more or less the same as the previous event I’d been to, I decided not to do as in-depth of an overview of the event as I did with Fairest, but here are some of the questions that were asked:
Are you working on anything else for the Lunar Chronicles?
Wires & Nerve is currently my last project. Obviously, we have volume two coming out. Right now, I don’t have any more plans, but I have said that before. It seems to just keep growing and growing, so never say never, but there’s nothing I’m working on right now.
What inspired you to write Iko? She reminds me of Data.
In the very, very earliest plannings of the story, I had this idea that I wanted to write Cinderella as my first futuristic retelling, and so from the very start, I was thinking, ‘okay, how am I going to adapt the story of Cinderella to this futuristic setting?’ In the Disney version, she has little mice friends, and in the Brothers Grimm version, she has little bird friends, and I thought maybe my Cinderella has little robot friends! That was the initial premise for Iko’s character.
But for me, Iko wasn’t inspired by Data. She was actually inspired by, or at least, she was supposed to be inspired by, C-3PO from Star Wars. That was my initial inspiration, and before I began writing the book, I had this idea of Iko being very serious and logical. When I started writing, she was like ‘HAH, that’s not going to happen.’ And so she just started kinda writing herself and becoming this completely different character from what I’d originally had planned.
How do you feel about people [on the Internet] whitewashing your characters that you’ve purposefully classified as racially diverse?
I don’t think it’s anything cruel. I don’t think people are trying to whitewash. I think that in our world today, because there’s so little diversity in our books, the default that most readers go to is seeing white characters everywhere they go. And it’s not until we really start to train ourselves to be looking for those descriptions in the texts that we’re reading that we start to notice them and see them differently. So I don’t think people are saying ‘Oh, she’s saying she’s black, but I’m going to change it in my version because I don’t like that.’ I think people just literally don’t see that description. It is a fault in our society, and I think it’s changing, and I hope it is.
I will say that I was very happy at the way the characters were treated in the graphic novel and in the coloring book that came out. I was glad to be able to work with the artists to get the characters looking how I wanted them to. And if, hopefully, if Hollywood should ever do anything with the series, then that would be really important to me too.
Do you ever plan to write more about what happened at the end of Stars Above?
I don’t at this time, but I get asked alllll the time for another wedding story. Definitely my most requested thing. With two specific characters–I’m sure you can guess who they are. And I haven’t ruled it out. I’m waiting for the perfect idea for another wedding story to come to me, and if it came, I would definitely write it.
What’s your dream cast for a movie?
I hatee this question. Truly, the only one that I really love is Sam Claflin for Thorne. If you don’t know who that is, he was Finnick in The Hunger Games. But beyond that, I don’t really have people picked out. Hopefully people who are fabulous, and the correct ethnicity.
Thanks so much to Marissa for doing the launch here! As a celebration, I’m giving away a signed copy of Wires & Nerve + swag from the event. Open INT, ends 2/25.