Hire This Woman: Writer Mairghread Scott
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
This week we're talking to comics and animation writer Mairghread Scott, who is best known for her work on the Transformers property both at Hasbro and at IDW Publishing, where she became the first woman to write an official Transformers comic.
ComicsAlliance: Tell us about your process.
Mairghread Scott: I always break out my outlines on paper before I type the actual script in my computer, then I go back to paper, breaking the script back into an outline during my revision process to see if/where I may have strayed from the original plan. Digital writing is wonderfully easy to edit, but the physical act of writing with a pen gives me the time I need when I'm thinking through a story as a whole. Of course, I can also use only one of three pens to write with or nothing works, but that’s another story.
CA: What’s your background/training?
MS: I have a BFA (or a BA if my mother asks) in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and got my start in LA working various production jobs in animation. Once I started writing in animation and my career began to take off, I was able to make the leap to writing comics as well.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
MS: I tend to write very intense, motive-driven stories. I don't like to say "character-driven" because I think fast-paced action is crucial in comics, but for me the real meat of any comic is in why the hero and the villain make the choices they do. Being either comes at tremendous personal cost, and exploring both the loss and gain from that choice is at the heart of what I write.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
MS: In television I've written for Transformers Prime, Rescue Bots, Kaijudo and several other shows that haven’t aired yet because animation takes so long. In comics I've co-written Rage of the Dinobots and Transformers Prime Beast Hunters. I am currently writing Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs for Lion Forge (yes, it is about an intergalactic law enforcement officer on a robotic horse), and the Transformers Windblade miniseries for IDW with the fantastic Sarah Stone. I’m also pitching my first original graphic novel with Sarah and... between you, me and the Internet… it’s awesome!
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to write a 20-page issue?
MS: My preferred time frame is 10 business days for a first draft, five for rewrites on a 20-24 page comic. My "under the gun" timeline is half that.
CA: What is your dream project?
MS: I love filling in the gaps and smoothing out the bumps in a character's continuity. My dream project would be fleshing out and re-grounding some of those wonderful side characters that get killed/canceled/retconned a lot, but are still around. Clearly they resonate with the readers; they just need someone to hit the right note.
Or Wonder Woman. My other ideal project is anything Wonder Woman.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
MS: Greg Rucka, Neil Gaiman, Emma Rios, and Kate Beaton. All people who pushed the boundaries of what comics are "supposed" to be while keeping the human element at the forefront of their work.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
MS: I started reading comics in high school. The ones that have meant the most to me are: Lore, One Soul, I Kill Giants, Batman: The Black Mirror, Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk and Egg Story. I know it seems a little out of step with the others, but it is fantastic.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
MS: A deadline and a decent chair. Seriously, I know it sounds silly, but I hate working on a nebulous deadline. If you want it in a week, if you want it in 24 hours, I don't mind either way, just give me the date and consider it done.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
MS: That more than anything, I strive to make you feel something in my work, and not just for the title character. I want the world, the plot, and the people to seem real and for each character to be a distinct individual in their actions, reactions and tone. The world is a vast and varied place. Comics should be, too.
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
If there is a woman you’d like to recommend or if you’d like to be included in a future installment of this feature, drop us a line at comicsalliance-at-gmail-dot-com with "Hire This Woman" in the subject line.