GU Comics Day: Twisting a Journey—A Day in the Life of a Scrambler

(posted on behalf of Julie Harman, production editor, occasional Scrambler)

The Scrambler's secret weaponsOne of the most unusual roles in the Graphic Universe imprint is that of The Scrambler.

In GU’s Twisted Journeys series, the reader decides his or her path through the journey and reaches a different ending each time. Twisted Journeys authors write each storyline in linear sequence. When the book is ready for layout, The Scrambler scrambles the manuscript. This mixes up the story to allow readers to make choices at each junction without knowing what comes next. Hand-scrambling each book ensures that no two books will follow the same pattern.

The rules of scrambling read like a logic game: Each text page must face an art page. The reader shouldn’t have to flip back and forth more than necessary. The facing page must not give anything away. The Scrambler maps the layout (see photo of recent scrambling worksheets), using some of the tricks of solving logic puzzles: diagrams, charts, and color-coding.

The Scrambler's secret arsenal

After making sure the map follows all the rules, The Scrambler rearranges the manuscript to match the new order of pages. Then the story goes into a Twisted Journeys layout, with choice pages leading to each plot turn, surprise ending, and shady (or heroic) character.

(click image to see larger)

So, if Agent Topaz never sits next to Robin Goodfellow, Dr. Nimbleton must face Fa May, and pirates always sit to the immediate left of the good guys, where is Agent Mongoose? That’s for The Scrambler to know, and the reader to find out. Choose wisely.