Book vs Comic (Part 1)

This will be an ongoing series where I compare the book chapters to the comic and talk a little about the changes and go in-depth into my creative process.

The first part will be free to read to all but any continuing parts will be for patrons only!

So let’s dive in!

The difference in the dreams

The Fragmented Dreams books series is first person and all from Diana’s point of view. The comic starts out the same but quickly changes as I wanted to show some of the mysterious things going on around Diana that she herself may not notice.

The beginning follows the book almost to the letter as I stole pretty much each line for the comic.

“All I desire is a night of dreamless sleep. Just one night where I could fall asleep, dream of absolutely nothing, and then wake up feeling well-rested. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, right?”

We start with an image of Diana, floating in the night sky, the moon behind her. Our first image of Diana is with purple hair. A mix between her current self and dream self. She is clutching her stomach as an indicator of the injuries she will face later in the dreams.

We see an image of the groom from the forest, Alastar. He is connected to Casimir and Diana in some way. This is your first hint that the story will have more of a fantasy feel, with the horns and elf ears. 

A glimpse of an important scene Diana has yet to remember. A mysterious man with silver hair. His eye is injured and he is laughing hysterically.
[Creator note: I have changed how this scene works in the book since initially publishing. But since Diana’s dreams are not always 100% accurate I don’t plan on changing it much in the reboot.]

Here we have an image of a child that look like Casimir. I wanted to give the readers a few glimpse of this child so you would be suspicious of Casimir when he appeared later on. He play an important role in Diana’s dreams.

When we get to the dream, Diana’s inner dialogue becomes a series of images. This was when I was really excited to make use of the vertical scrolling used in digital comics. I wanted there to be an almost effortless flow between dreams.

“As my dreams begin, I’m floating far above the ground, my body weightless and free. I am in another body, this one much rounder with long silver hair that dances softly in the breeze.”

I didn’t have enough space to show the silver woman floating before her dive into the ocean, so I had to cut it. But I did try to give her an otherworldly feel with the floating effect of her hair and  the glow of her silver body.

“I am dressed in clouds of white fabric, so bright it rivals the glow of the moon. This world is one of endless night skies, peaceful and calm, stretching far beyond the horizon. As I look around I can see nothing but beautiful stars twinkling over a deep, dark ocean. The water below me is so glassy and still, you wouldn’t even know it was the sea, if not for the sharp scent of salt and sand.”

In the remake of part one I have added the image of the Silver woman’s face in an effort to hopefully make more of a connection with the woman. 

Originally I cut out her face to keep her more mysterious but I quickly realized how hard it was to express emotions and feelings in a section with NO dialogue and no eyes for emotion, so I changed it.

Here is where we see some of the first real big changes. When I get to the dream in the forest of the woman I call “the bride” I wrote about forest creatures, but at the time I was low on space and not sure exactly how to design these creatures. So I cut them out.

“The scene changes and I am another woman, tall, more slender, with long ebony hair. I stand in a forest with trees so tall that they block out most of the sun. It is an ancient forest, heavy with moss and earth that is vibrant, rich in wildlife. The air around me is thick with the scent of magic and I can feel the eyes of the creatures hidden in the trees all around me.”

I wanted the transition from the happiness of the wedding to the death of the husband to be quick. In a way, it was like life, I wanted to show that in one moment you can be so happy and then suddenly have it all taken away. The transition from the warmth of the earth to the groom’s death on the cold stone floor was intentional.

Here we go from the wedding to the scene with the silver-haired man.

“I am still the same woman but I have been transported to what looks like an old castle. I’ve been snatched from my husband’s protection, held against my will by a new character. He is a silver-haired man dressed in fine clothing and his grip on my wrist is unrelenting. He is yanking me towards him as he yells.”

“I can’t understand him but his intent is unmistakable, he is full of hatred. As I try to escape I can see the man’s handsome face is splattered in blood. I am so afraid I dare not look him in the eyes. He laughs cruelly and mocks my fruitless struggles. I weep because my husband is dying on the cold, stone floor.”

The hardest part of these scenes for me was deciding how much of the faces to show and the language to translate. These characters are in fact speaking an actual language called Terrarish, their words do translate into English! I eventually decided to keep it more vague, like in the book because as Diana learns more about what is going on the dreams do get translated. I hoped it wouldn’t turn too many readers off. Although, in the reboot I will be adding more faces to to the comic, as I realize the space between updates it will be easy to forget what people look like.

People with keen eyes might notice the foreign languages is similar to English, giving you a chance to pick out character’s names. This one reads Alastar~! 

This was another part I was excited to draw.

“Through my tears, I can’t see the details of his face, but I know he’s in agony. I break free from my kidnapper and fall towards my beloved and as I reach out to touch his outstretched hand the scene changes again.”

I purposefully made it their wedding ring hands to push the idea of their marriage being torn apart.

One of the most difficult things about going from book to comic is the length. A single paragraph can take up so many panels. Thus I had to break down the dreams into their most basic forms all in the hopes of going back and explaining them in detail as the comic went on.

Here is the paragraph describing the child’s dream. I had to cut out most of the running, playing, and the change in locations to keep it simple.

“Now I’m a tiny skinny child, young and full of mirth. I’m running up a winding path, my long purple hair flying behind me. I make my way towards a large stone wall, covered in vines and fragrant flowers. I am in a garden but all the colors of the trees and flowers are strange, almost too bright. I dashed around a small building, hiding behind the corner. Inside is a place for prayer not play so I will not hide inside lest I be scolded. I grin as I think about the secret path, hidden deep below the gardens, one meant for only my family. I raise my eyes skyward to peer at the sun, high in the sky. I’m playing games with my friend, looking for a place to run and hide. I can hear his laughter as he searches for me and it fills my heart with joy. I don’t want to hide any longer, I want to sit and play with him under the shade of the giant oak tree. I turn to call to him and stop dead in my tracks. Behind me is the darkness and it rushes over me like a thick fog. The sun is gone and this scene melts into the next.”

The second part of the purple-haired girl’s dream has always bugged me because I don’t think I expressed her feeling well enough in the panels I had. The difficulty here is there are a lot of silent emotions, no words spoken, which takes ups SO MANY PANELS. And I was trying to cram it all into 1 episode.

“I look down at my body and I have aged. No longer am I a child, but now a young woman. The air is filled with the sharp metallic scent of blood. I raise my hands to find them dripping with my own lifeforce.”

I am still surprised I haven’t been dinged by webtoon for the amount of blood. In the remake, I toned it down a a lot, but also, since my painting skills have increased the blood looks less cartoon-like, which hopefully adds to the serious tone of the dreams.

“I know it’s mine because of the pain in my stomach. I stagger back into the arms of a large man. I gaze up at his face and into his brown eyes. This is the face of a person I had forgotten. His eyes narrow in frustration as he shouts something at me, but I can’t understand him. The dark man holds me close as we both lower to the ground. He buries his face into my neck and I can feel the warmth of his tears on my shoulder.”

In the reboot I will be adding a panel or two more to try and show more of a connection between the man in the dark coat and the purple haired woman, who we know in the comic is named Taya. There is a history behind these characters that I want to express a little more firmly in the beginning. You might notice the man in the dark coat has similar features as Casimir. People who are current with the comic will know his name is Ren, although Taya claims him to be Casimir.

“I am filled with delight even as I lay there dying in his arms. We are both drenched in blood and everything seems to move in slow motion. All around us swarms a dangerous darkness. There are monsters hiding in the shadows. I look up into the sky, the moon is so beautiful. I am dying, but this is not the end. I will return.”

The dream starts with the moon and then ends with an image of the moon to show the cycle continuing. Diana’s dreams will repeat over and over until she can finally understand their meaning.

The next part of Diana’s inner monologue/telling of her dreams was cut, once again, due to space. I got to show the “darkness” dragging Diana down later in the series so I wasn’t too upset that it had to go. I think if I can manage it in the reboot I might add this back in, just go give more depth to the pain Diana feels in her dreams.

Here is the excerpt.

“That is the point in my dreams when the darkness comes to swallow me, covering every inch of me until I cannot breathe. With the darkness comes an agonizing pain. I can feel myself being torn in every direction and I just want the nightmare to end. There is an evil force hiding in the shadows, and it is coming for me. We’re connected, and through this connection, the evil whispers terrible things to me. It takes all my power to resist.”

I hacked this part up to finish up the end of the episode because I felt the last paragraph might be a bit too revealing for a first episode. 

This next paragraph spoils what I have been teasing in the comic all along, that the dreams are perhaps Diana’s past life memories so I changed it.

Here is the excerpt.

“Some say dreams are a composite of our fears or desires, perhaps even a scattering of memories strung together as you sleep. Others believe that dreams might be a glimpse into a past life or a peek into a distant future. To me, they are familiar, like a long-lost memory; a puzzle full of missing pieces. I wish I knew the meaning behind mine, perhaps then I could finally find a way to stop them.”

I do regret leaving some of this out because it does give Diana more of a clear goal in the comic, although frankly she doesn’t do much in the series to stop her dreams.

(EDIT) I put the lines I was regretting back into the comic! In the hopes of being less vague.

This idea of clear goals is something I have always wrestled with because for me, Diana is a character who does have some basic wants and needs in her life but is mostly goal-less in the beginning. Her main desire is to graduate high school and her long-term goal is to perhaps sleep better.

I was hoping in the end that people could relate to a character who was a little bit aimless and just trying to get by, as that was definitely me towards the end of high school. That is not to say as the series goes on her goals do not change, because they most certainly do.

We get deeper into Diana’s thoughts and some of her childhood in the next chapter!

See you next time!