How to Write a Comic Book

How to Write a Comic Book

Writing a comic book can be daunting for seasoned readers of the genre, and people who write regularly. The comic book is a unique medium because words and pictures tell a story with limited exposition. Although learning to write a comic may be difficult at first, there are steps you can follow to break it down into manageable pieces. By practicing, you'll be able to figure out how pictures and words can work together to make a richer story.

1 How to Write a Comic Book

There isn't one correct way to write a comic book, but there are several methods that work. Often writers imagine that they should begin with dialogue. However, in order to create the clearest possible diagram for the artist who will use images to bring your story to life, you'll need to give as much information as possible.

Some writers like to write a full script. This document is a breakdown of every page of the comic. It goes panel by panel to indicate exactly what's happening in each one. This gives the artist a clear idea of what action and what situation will be in each panel.

An alternative is something known as a plot. This document describes what's going on for each page of the comic, and allows the artist to decide how to break down the elements of action, dialogue and exposition to fit them on the page. This might seem like giving up a lot of control of the story to the artist, but it's also the easiest method for someone who is new to writing in the medium. The writer may add dialogue to either the script or the plot beforehand, so the artist understands the emotional tone of the page. The writer can also add more information after seeing the art.

2 How to Write a Comic Book Pitch

Writing a comic book proposal or pitch means that you're planning to send your idea for a comic to an editor or publisher. Your comic book proposal should fit into one or two sentences. Editors look at dozens of pitches every day, and what they want to see is a good, interesting story idea. They also want to see that you know where the story is going.

Having your comic idea boiled down to one or two sentences means you know exactly what story you're going to tell. This is your logline. You should then follow up your logline with a couple of tight paragraphs that explain the main plot points in the story. They should be clear and unambiguous. If you're not sure what happens with a particular character, or you don't know exactly how a certain relationship is going to affect the story, then go back to your idea, and work on it until it's clear.

Next, you should add some details and information about your characters. You want to add just enough detail to make the characters intriguing, but not so much information that the editor will feel overwhelmed. Let them know why the characters are in the situation they're in, and what personal history or qualities they have that will affect the action going forward. If you have completed script pages, artwork or finished pages that you'd like to include, feel free to do so, but make sure that the pitch itself is strong. Otherwise, the editors won't bother to read any attachments.

3 What is the Difference Between a Comic Book and a Graphic Novel?

Though they have many similarities in form and sometimes content, graphic novels and comic books aren't the same. A comic book is a periodical, and the action in each installment is part of a larger story in a series. On the other hand, a graphic novel is a standalone story that delves into character development or background and comes to an ending when the book ends. In general, comic books are similar to a serialized television show, and graphic novels are like movies.

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites.