PDA

View Full Version : [Discussion] How Did You Prepare To Write Comics?


Steven Forbes
06-19-2014, 01:26 PM
Hello, folks. Here's a discussion thread. Let's try to keep it on topic. (And if anyone has any topics for further discussion threads, PM me.)

So, I'd like to know how you prepared yourself to write comics. What did you do? Did you read a lot of books and articles, did you read a lot of scripts, did you read a lot of comics and say "That's easy! Any marooon can do that!" What?

My own story is a bit like the last. I went in, thinking that since I read comics for so long, I should be able to write them. I dove right on in, creating an entire universe with my cousin, trying to fill every little niche, just like the Marvel Universe.

I then approached one of my heroes, who took me under his wing for a time. He told me that the script was like nothing he'd ever seen before (a polite way of saying it was crap and I didn't know what I was doing), and gave me some pointers.

I then read everything that I could about making comics. I have a TON of information in my archives. There weren't a lot of books on the subject, and the internet was still being called the "information superhighway". (Pro-tip: If you come across information that you want to keep forever, either print the page or copy and paste it to some sort of file, because the page will not be up forever.)

I continued to write as I learned, and I grew in skill. And I commented on people's scripts. (Pro-tip: commenting on scripts is a great tool to learn how to write, because you consciously won't make those mistakes.)

Scriptwriting is a learned trait. It isn't difficult to master, but you have to learn to think visually through another person's eyes. That's the challenge. Knowing what can and can't be drawn. That's the challenge. Knowing what can fit on a page. That's the challenge. Knowing the "right" amount of dialogue. That's the challenge. (There are a lot of challenges in scripting.)

But that's my story. What's yours?

Duane Korslund
06-19-2014, 01:48 PM
I wrote a novel first. I got frustrated that publishing agents wouldn't give me the time of day, and that it took so long to create this content for such a brutal payoff.
I figured that comic scripts would take a lot less time to complete. I could still tell a compelling story; several actually in the time it took to write one novel.
So, I looked up different script samples from various writers and went to town.
Things like pacing and coming up with dynamic angles and shots took quite a bit longer. My first shots were very dull and straightforward. I think that comes with time and experience, as well as working with an artist.
The artist helps you develop your style as a writer just as much as other writers do.

Lovecraft13
06-19-2014, 02:16 PM
Started with screenplays, segued into comic books, and then into prose, which is where I am now. Screenplays taught me pacing. Comics taught me restraint. Prose taught me narrative. As soon as I finish up my dissertation next week, I'm going back into comic book writing to apply it all.

Charles
06-19-2014, 03:56 PM
Scriptwriting is a learned trait. It isn't difficult to master, but you have to learn to think visually through another person's eyes.

How long did it take you to learn this trait, this thing that you say isn't difficult to master?

Steven Forbes
06-19-2014, 04:16 PM
How long did it take you to learn this trait, this thing that you say isn't difficult to master?

Learning the trait? About a month.

However, that was with a lot of study and practice and zipping all over the 'net and reading everything I could get my hands on. It could have been shorter. I'm not the sharpest tool in the box.

jeffo46
06-19-2014, 04:29 PM
I'm a total newbie at this to be totally honest here . I'm a inker / penciller , mostly a inker, who has been in the business since the late 1990's , mostly with AC Comics. Lately I've been trying my hand at penciling with somewhat mixed results so I thought I would try my hand at writing. I've always had a vivid imagination since I was a kid, so I figured what the hell, I'm 55 years old, so why not give it a shot ?

Robert_S
06-19-2014, 04:41 PM
I have a story I want to tell. Originally, I was writing it for a movie script, but hollywood wants to own anything part of the production (story, music, etc). I'd rather keep it so I can continue writing and developing it. I believe it would give me a constant income and something to do.

I've read books on storycraft to make sure I had a basis: "Anatomy of Story" by Truby, "Story: Substance..." by McGee, even "Dramatica Theory of Story" but didn't like it so much. Too academic. Then got my hands on a book on the mechanics of comic writing, some Comic Books for Dummies, I believe. Then borrowed "Understanding Comics" from my local lib.

I read what I can, when I can, but reading at the computer is too stationary, so I read a little at a time. I love reading on my kindle though.

Morganza
06-19-2014, 07:32 PM
I didn't prepare at all, just started writing stories, I'm not really a "writer". But I can paint a picture with words fairly well.

Hathor422
06-19-2014, 10:06 PM
I've been reading comics since my father gave me my first X-Men comic when I was 8 or 9. In high school I wrote erotic short stories as a way to keep people from picking on me. I got picked on relentlessly until someone happened to read a story I was writing. I went from the girl everyone targeted, to the girl to get x-rated stories from. As long as they were reading my stories, they left me alone.

As I got older, my stories got longer. My love of the supernatural and paranormal finally drove me to try writing my own novel. After novels, I got the idea to write a vampire themed comic. First I tried adapting one of my stories into a comic. I read a few scripts online, and thinking that I had everything down, banged out a script.

After getting positive feedback from family members who know zilch about writing comics, I scripted another idea, and sent it to the Proving Grounds, WITHOUT going back and reading enough scripts that had gone through beforehand.

Thankfully, Steve Colle gave me some advice before my script went up, and I've been learning and writing since then.

Steven Forbes
06-19-2014, 10:48 PM
After getting positive feedback from family members who know zilch about writing comics, I scripted another idea, and sent it to the Proving Grounds, WITHOUT going back and reading enough scripts that had gone through beforehand.

Thankfully, Steve Colle gave me some advice before my script went up, and I've been learning and writing since then.

You have NO idea how many writers have done this: written a script without having a clue, and then sent it in to TPG without knowing what it is that we do. "Free editing? YAY! Email sent!"

So, what have all of you been doing to learn? What books have you been reading? What scripts? What have you learned?

Robert_S
06-19-2014, 10:54 PM
Well, since I liked "Y: The Last Man" so much, I'm reading what scripts I can from Vaughan.

Morganza
06-20-2014, 03:41 AM
I learned I can write a comic if I put in the effort, I just basically write about stuff I enjoy or want to read about, still learning to write dialog.

I imagine the character saying the words, trying to play it out like a movie, sometimes it's ridiculous.

Luke Noonan
06-20-2014, 10:50 AM
I prepared for writing comics by reading online resources: comic scripts, articles and columns, in particular the ones by Mr Forbes himself when they were on Project Fanboy a few years ago. I never bought any books to study when I found so much information online, it didn't seem necessary.
Reading comic scripts can obviously help, but I found that since there is no standardized format and they can differ wildly, it helped to start with basic ones, stick to the rules consistently and keep it as simple and streamlined as I could, and NOT to go by the scripts of famous or our favourite wildly successful writers, since they have enough experience to be loopy and verbose and experimental with the scripts because they know how to do that and still be clear and communicative and consistent. I didn't, and so my first scripts sucked.

QAN
06-20-2014, 11:15 AM
(Pro-tip: If you come across information that you want to keep forever, either print the page or copy and paste it to some sort of file, because the page will not be up forever.)



Indeed. Some of us knew rarely-used terms like "Netscape", "Geocities" and "Davesclassics", etc in their infancy...

Reading, studying, writing, going to conventions, and stoking the creative 'fire' is how I am still learning. Not going out like some of the one's work I respect is helpful, too. (Avoiding suicide, vices, insanity, and too much ice cream is a big help :thumbs:)

Also, writing from Life and keeping the Ego in check is a b00n that pays dividends aplenty!

Robert_S
06-20-2014, 12:08 PM
Indeed. Some of us knew rarely-used terms like "Netscape", "Geocities" and "Davesclassics", etc in their infancy...


Yeah, and some of us go back even further to remember such things as BBSs, Fidonet, Zmodem, Xmodem, Ymodem, XYmodem and some I forget. Everyone was using Zmodem when it came out, until broadband became available.

Buckyrig
06-20-2014, 12:26 PM
A combination of Dark Horse's script guide, an early attempt with a friend at an awful comic that I hand lettered with an Ames guide (giving me an idea of how much dialogue can fit on a page, panel, word balloon), and just working out on my own how to start from a story idea to an outline to scene breakdowns, to page counts. Most of it involved gutting scenes that didn't move the plot forward.

But I probably took most of my writing ideas from plays when I was trying all this. Which is good and bad.

Taking Edward Albee's advice not to write anything down (he said for a year, but that seems a bit extreme) while you just let the characters develop and interact in your head, was great. I think a great deal of stories can come from just conceiving characters and letting them loose on one another until something develops. And once you do start writing things down, you give your mind permission to begin forgetting.

Reading Luigi Pirandello and thinking to myself, "that gives me an idea," was probably less helpful. :laugh:

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 12:26 PM
I never bought any books to study when I found so much information online, it didn't seem necessary.


I personally think that this is the wrong way to go about things.

I buy books for a few reasons: one, I want to support creators that I enjoy. Second, I want to get their point of view on things. I don't like having just one point of view. I don't like listening to just one voice. Third, I might learn something new. Another trick to put into my toolbox.

A lot of books say the same thing, and a lot don't go too deeply into what I feel a writer needs to know to truly write comics. That's why I write the B&N columns. It's the stuff inbetween the books you may have on your shelf.

However, how are you going to show your appreciation for a writer of a book if you don't buy it? Peter David wrote a book, and I absolutely loved his run on the Hulk, and as a writer myself and in the giving advice business, I bought his book to support him. Every sale counts.

I love "free" as much as the next person, but there has to come a time when you give back. That's why I buy books.

Luke Noonan
06-20-2014, 12:44 PM
I personally think that this is the wrong way to go about things.

I buy books for a few reasons: one, I want to support creators that I enjoy. Second, I want to get their point of view on things. I don't like having just one point of view. I don't like listening to just one voice. Third, I might learn something new. Another trick to put into my toolbox.

A lot of books say the same thing, and a lot don't go too deeply into what I feel a writer needs to know to truly write comics. That's why I write the B&N columns. It's the stuff inbetween the books you may have on your shelf.

However, how are you going to show your appreciation for a writer of a book if you don't buy it? Peter David wrote a book, and I absolutely loved his run on the Hulk, and as a writer myself and in the giving advice business, I bought his book to support him. Every sale counts.

I love "free" as much as the next person, but there has to come a time when you give back. That's why I buy books.


No no, sorry I didn't mean I never bought any COMIC books - I do not generally endorse downloading in lieu of supporting artists of any kind with your cash, although I have done it sometimes (rarely). I meant I never bought How To... books about writing. Regardless of how effective or worthwhile most of them are (which I do have mixed feelings about) you can find as much worthy advice and pointers on the net, as long as you look hard enough.
I also have read many articles, blogs and columns online over time, although I only named one that I've returned to many times, since it's still going.

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 01:49 PM
No no, sorry I didn't mean I never bought any COMIC books - I do not generally endorse downloading in lieu of supporting artists of any kind with your cash, although I have done it sometimes (rarely). I meant I never bought How To... books about writing. Regardless of how effective or worthwhile most of them are (which I do have mixed feelings about) you can find as much worthy advice and pointers on the net, as long as you look hard enough.
I also have read many articles, blogs and columns online over time, although I only named one that I've returned to many times, since it's still going.

My fault for not being clear, Luke.

I meant buying how-to books. I endorse the buying of as many how-to books as possible for their different viewpoints, as well as to support the writer.

It can also serve as a history lesson. You can see how techniques have evolved as the medium has evolved.

It can also save you a lot of time from zipping hither and yon around the 'net. Most of the time, the information is consolidated.

Robert_S
06-20-2014, 02:22 PM
I never bought any books to study when I found so much information online, it didn't seem necessary.

The problem is that most storycraft lessons out there follow one of two schools:

The Hero's Journey
Save The Cat

I'm hearing people complain that too many stories are structured around HJ and it's getting tired. As for StC, it's a crap, hard and fast rule structure that didn't work for the author. He may have sold scripts, but he's got only two stories out that failed miserably at the box office: "Stop or my mother will shoot!" and "Blank Check".

I have "Story: Structure, substance...yadda, yadda, yadda" from McGee and I wouldn't really recommend. It's too orientated toward screenplays and doesn't really give much advice regarding middle of story problems.

I like "Anatomy of Story" by Truby. There's seven base facets for a basic story, 22 for a full drawn out story.

There's also the Dramatica Theory of Story, but it tends to be more academic. Still, another school that isn't HJ or StC, so it may be worth a look. It's available free on the net: http://dramatica.com/

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 02:41 PM
I listened to McKee as an audiobook. I found it to be very, very good.

Truby has been recommended, but I haven't tried him out yet. He has an entire lecture series that I'd like to get.

I'm into audiobooks lately. I have a lot of time on my commute to/from work, so I can make it productive. (Listening to a lot of Graphic Audio books lately. They have a decent DC library, and their Marvel library is growing.)

McKee's focus is screenwriting, but it can easily be adapted to any kind of writing. For comics, the arcs just have to be shorter per issue, and yet still move the overall arc over the entire story.

Lovecraft13
06-20-2014, 04:26 PM
I hardly have any books on writing. I have Story collecting dust on my shelf. I think I once flipped through it years ago. I also read DC's guide to writing comics. It didn't rock my world. I did enjoy Dark Horse's guide to writing their format. That was helpful.

There comes a time when you have to stop studying all this theory and just write. Writing helped a lot.

Robert_S
06-20-2014, 04:38 PM
I listened to McKee as an audiobook. I found it to be very, very good.


Well, maybe it's better for me to say it wouldn't be my first recommendation. I'd go with "Anatomy of Story" before "Story."

McGee structures around the three-act system and he doesn't address act II (middle of story) problems that all writers trip over. This is where the writer needs to weave in the sub-plots.

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 04:38 PM
I hardly have any books on writing. I have Story collecting dust on my shelf. I think I once flipped through it years ago. I also read DC's guide to writing comics. It didn't rock my world. I did enjoy Dark Horse's guide to writing their format. That was helpful.

There comes a time when you have to stop studying all this theory and just write. Writing helped a lot.

I look at the DC Guide as a primer, like a child's chapterbook.

You're very right in that just writing helps. Putting things into a concrete form instead of the amorphous ideas swirling in your head.

This segues nicely into the next question: when do you feel like you've studied enough? When do you feel like you're ready to put what you've learned into action that is ready for critique?

Newt
06-20-2014, 05:02 PM
I feel like I should be ready. I've read various books on comics writing (McCloud, Eisner, Moore), and on short story and script writing, and I think I need to start applying concepts and churning out work to really understand what the books are telling me. But I'm not doing too well. I can't seem to force myself to finish a bad script, and I can't write a good script yet, so...:slap:

Lovecraft13
06-20-2014, 05:09 PM
Having stories and comics published helped me to realize the different levels of readiness.

On the page, it all looks polished. Produced, one can really see the strengths and weaknesses of the work-- especially in the communication. For me, I went back to the scripts and realized where things were vague or confusing, etc.

Revise, revise, revise. Eventually, you have to let it go, hoping you caught all of the mistakes. A terrible comic book is still better than someone's best unpublished script.

Schuyler
06-20-2014, 06:08 PM
I read a lot of different how to books. I wrote 28 scripts that were all garbage. I submitted to TPG. I read TPG when others submitted. I hired an editor.

Like Steven, I thought I could just write because I loved and read comics. I want to be better so I try to pursue any other avenues of growth.

Having an artist to work with helped me to break through a wall. Everything looks different now. The scripts, my comics, the art.

Steven learned in a month? I think I have been at this for three or four years. I tried too long on my own I suppose. I'm not even good at it either. However, those who have given up will never be good.

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 06:30 PM
Once I applied myself to the basic do's and don'ts, it took about a month. But that was a LOT of reading/studying on my part. And I grew as I did critiques and wrote more.

I kinda threw myself into it. But again, I'm not the smartest guy around.

Robert_S
06-20-2014, 06:55 PM
Steven, you have enough articles to turn into a book. Ever considered turning them into .mobi or ePub format? I'd actually prefer mobi for my kindle, by I could run ePub through Callibre to convert to mobi.

Schuyler
06-20-2014, 07:03 PM
Steven, you have enough articles to turn into a book. Ever considered turning them into .mobi or ePub format? I'd actually prefer mobi for my kindle, by I could run ePub through Callibre to convert to mobi.

I'm a hard copy guy. If you ever make a hard copy of B&N, I'll buy one.

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 07:07 PM
Steven, you have enough articles to turn into a book. Ever considered turning them into .mobi or ePub format? I'd actually prefer mobi for my kindle, by I could run ePub through Callibre to convert to mobi.

I've heard that once or twice... ;)

I'm working on it.

Physical copies are a different beast. There's a certain way I want it to be, and it isn't cost effective for what I want. Not yet. Not doing it myself. But I'm working on an ebook. Or three...

Robert_S
06-20-2014, 07:14 PM
I've heard that once or twice... ;)

I'm working on it.

Physical copies are a different beast. There's a certain way I want it to be, and it isn't cost effective for what I want. Not yet. Not doing it myself. But I'm working on an ebook. Or three...

Ok, I have a piece of software -- now I'm not offering to do the work, only pointing you to a tool -- called Anthemion Jutoh, that is for compiling an ebook project.

You may have your own tool, I have this one. Just thought I'd mention it.

Steven Forbes
06-20-2014, 07:26 PM
Thanks, Robert. I appreciate the info.

Screwtape Jenkins
06-28-2014, 06:51 PM
I just concentrate on how awesome I am, then channel that into a primal scream right into the laptop screen.

I then go about my business, and a couple of days later, a completed script appears in the printer.

scrappy
07-04-2014, 10:35 AM
I guess my story is similar. I enjoyed writing and comics. Why not write comics? Saw Dark Horse has a guide and submission guidelines. Jumped right into it. From there I actually took an online comic writing class. Learned more. Wrote another script which everyone thought was great (Steven didn't :slap:). After the class I read some how-to books. Mainly Peter David's. I focused on other forms of writing (screenplays mostly) until about a year ago when I really wanted to make a go of comics. Dove into some forums, met some people and now here we are.


This segues nicely into the next question: when do you feel like you've studied enough? When do you feel like you're ready to put what you've learned into action that is ready for critique?

I feel like the answer to that question is "always" and "never." You can train for war all you want, but you're never going to know what its like unless you're on a battlefield. There's nothing quite like thinking you know something and then having someone tell you that you actually don't know shit. TPG is great for that.

Andrzej
07-08-2014, 04:18 PM
Well - I always used to draw comics growing up, but to be honest the art was never my strongest suit. I wrote some scripts and found trusted friends to give (brutally) honest criticism of them. I do a web comic now, and I don't think I'll ever stop learning. I've read a lot of articles, but I don't think I could ever have got a feel for what works on the page without seeing my work illustrated. Doing my own lettering has been very useful too, as it's like having an extra draft. To begin with I was cutting half of the dialogue during lettering sometimes, but I'm getting better - I hope. Some of the early pages make me cringe now, and I'm sure the latest ones will do in future!

Robert_S
07-12-2014, 03:53 PM
You have NO idea how many writers have done this: written a script without having a clue, and then sent it in to TPG without knowing what it is that we do. "Free editing? YAY! Email sent!"


How much is the typical charge for editing? I've not seen a price quote yet, except for people who do movie/TV scripts or WoT (Wall of Text) novels.

Steven Forbes
07-12-2014, 03:56 PM
Typical? I don't know. I know what I'd pay, but that's just me.

If you're interested in my personal rates, shoot me an email.

Charles
07-12-2014, 06:12 PM
Well - I always used to draw comics growing up, but to be honest the art was never my strongest suit. I wrote some scripts and found trusted friends to give (brutally) honest criticism of them. I do a web comic now, and I don't think I'll ever stop learning. I've read a lot of articles, but I don't think I could ever have got a feel for what works on the page without seeing my work illustrated. Doing my own lettering has been very useful too, as it's like having an extra draft. To begin with I was cutting half of the dialogue during lettering sometimes, but I'm getting better - I hope. Some of the early pages make me cringe now, and I'm sure the latest ones will do in future!

Your Toadrider comic looks interesting. I'll check it out at greater length, when I get a chance. I flipped a few pages of it.

Comrade Hero
07-14-2014, 05:32 AM
I read a lot of comics and graphic novels at my local library and then later online through a tablet. And then purchased a few how-to books (David, Eisner, Ellis, Scalera) and began going through online resources, ComixTribe's Nuts & Bolts being a valued resource and looking at various scripts and script guides.

Dove straight into creative writing taking Certificates at local polytechnics and quickly learned after feedback from course tutors and The Proving Grounds that there was much room for improvement. Nothing cuts the top off a tall poppy like red ink comments.

Continued reading, studying and creative writing, and slowly networking (especially with New Zealand writer/creators). Went on to undertake and complete Diploma in Creative Writing and Applied Writing and applied myself to scriptwriting and comic book scriptwriting. The hardest part for me isn't taking on board feedback and criticism (I get reviewed by fellow students and course coordinators) it's keeping up a steady pace. I'm not a prolific writer (prolonged writing/typing is uncomfortable at best) but I'm managing to script and idea storm on a daily basis.

Scribbly
07-22-2014, 05:17 AM
How I do prepare for writing a comics script?
Basically by reading. Reading about stuff of my interest that can be applied in a comics story.

Reading about History and sociology, reading about people's customs and narrations, reading Sci-Fi, thrillers or suspense novels etc.
Watching documentaries and movies.

Writing comics scripts,
First, reading about the period or setting of the story. Research is also inspirational.
Second, creating the character for the hero and searching for a fitting name for him/her.
Having a good name for a character is keystone.
Using a school notebook and pen or pencil for brainstorming, dropping on it characters, objects, elements, dialogue or situations that I want to see working in the script in not correlative order. Some ideas will be of use some will be discarded.
Then, for the formal script writing, I'll use Word.
And for translations the help of an accredited translator.

Working all the panel description first, page by page, panel by panel, until the end of the script.
Adjusting these panel descriptions for making the timing and flow work well.
After this previous work is done, adding text and dialogue to each panel.

For reference: Every 3 panels we have one sequence or "unit of action" with a situation moving ahead the story.
And in each SEQUENCE made by these 3 panels, panel 1 is PRESENTATION, panel 2 is CONFLICT and panel 3 is RESOLUTION.
(I don't see this is ever mentioned or remarked on any How-to book about writing comics scripts.)
The same for the next 3 panels and for the next 3 panels and so on, until the end of the story.
Only one action per panel. No more than 30 words per panel or 2 lines of text and dialogue per panel.
Ta da!

Later on in my life, I was able of reading or peeking on almost all the books about writing novels, scriptwriting and comics writing we can currently find in the market (Thanks to my handy nearby Library) and I found that aside who may be the author, the basics of writing and structure are the same and apply the same for all of them.
But is good to read these book to see these authors different points of view and gain new perspective and advice.


.

Matt 2.0
07-24-2014, 11:03 PM
I took a few classes from an excellent writing teacher who would not let us write genre stuff. It pissed me off at the time (since I knew comics was where I was headed), but it forced me to look at life and not let sci fi or fantasy contrivances get in the way of honest storytelling.

Robert_S
07-26-2014, 12:25 PM
I took a few classes from an excellent writing teacher who would not let us write genre stuff. It pissed me off at the time (since I knew comics was where I was headed), but it forced me to look at life and not let sci fi or fantasy contrivances get in the way of honest storytelling.

I would consider that a good, because at the heart is story. Since story is independent of genre, you learn to write a good story with good description. You can transpose it to a specific genre anytime.

However, I don't consider comics a genre. It's a medium. From my pov, genre is more along the lines of sci-fi, action, supernatural, mafia, etc.

Medium is comics, movie, novel, etc.

crognus
07-26-2014, 06:11 PM
I have always enjoyed writing pretty much anything. I wrote a couple pilots for TV show ideas I had in my head. I write music from time to time.

For the last five or six years I had this superhero idea kicking in my head. Originally, I thought it was a movie. Then I realized it was actually supposed to be a comic. About a year ago I decided to start making a concrete script. I had no idea how to go about it. I had no idea how to find an artist. When I finally found one, he told me my script didn't make a lick of sense. He directed me to a copy of an actual comic script.

I read about two scripts, and then I rewrote mine. My artist flaked. He kept the advance I gave him. I decided I needed to find someone more professional. I learned about Digital Webbing, and here I am!

On a side note the first issue is nearly complete! You can learn more about it by clicking on the links below.

crognus
07-26-2014, 06:36 PM
In terms of learning to write...It started with novels, short stories, movies and TV. Don't get me wrong. I loved comics. But plot structure was something I picked up elsewhere.

I think you can learn a lot about how to write a comic from TV. Even though you can't write a panel or page like a TV show, you can learn a lot about how to serialize a story.

For example, the pilot of Breaking Bad has a lot to teach. The same as the first issue of a comic should be, it starts with a strong hook right away. Forces the reader to keep watching to get an explanation. Then ends with a sense of resolution, but still leave the future uncertain.

TV teaches a lot about how to serialize a story. Just like TV, issues need to contain a complete story arc that fit into a larger story arc.

Now, specific details of how to write comics. That's a different beast. I would actually have to say that I learned 90% of that here on Digital Webbing/Comixtribe. Learning how to write comics is like learning a language. You may know what you are trying to say, but you have to learn how to say it. A story has to be translated into it's medium.

Desaad
07-27-2014, 07:23 PM
In terms of story, I think most of that can be intuited. Your whole life you've been exposed to story, you've been living story. What made those compelling? What about your life has been powerful? That's story.

In terms of comics, again, mostly it's been through intuition. You read 'em, you analyze 'em. What are the writers doing every issue that is effective, ineffective? Why? Writers like Geoff Johns and BKV use very specific, tight, repetitive craft every issue -- why? And what is their format? Is it working? Is it not? Your favorite writers all have very specific techniques they apply to their work, over and over again. Some are more obvious than others, but they are all there; you don't need it explained to you, you just have to figure out how and why they did it, decide if it's effective or how it could be more effective. Alan Moore and Warren Ellis structure their runs very specifically. I'm going to steal the hell out of that! Grant Morrison layers his work in a certain way - I'm going to steal the hell out of that! Recognizing, then deciding. That's how I approach it.

In terms of script format, yeah, I went out and actively searched for a lot of those. There is no one format, so I had ultimately decide what works best for me; in terms of verbosity I guess I lean towards the Gaiman side of things (quite verbose). Format is more along the lines of Vaughn. Some use Final Draft, but some employers won't take FD files; the few screenplays I've written have been using that, but I haven't really found it speeds me up. Anyway, I'm not sure writing speedily is necessarily a positive thing.

Comics Commando
08-01-2014, 05:05 PM
My story is probably different since I was already on the inside of the industry. I'd been working for DC, Marvel and others for about 8 years as a letterer when Image Comics came along. I was asked to join their Extreme studios and started working in their offices lettering all their books. Soon I wanted to write and edit, and I was hired to write the Supreme series based on a couple ideas I had about the character. First thing I did was visit a library and read books on writing. Real writing--not super-hero writing. I remembered a lot of writing stuff from high school [where my english teacher thought I was amazing--I thought she was crazy]. So I boned up on dramatic structure, characterization, conflict, etc. About a week later, I started the script. Mind, you, I'd had pro scripts in front of me for 8 solid tears as I lettered pages, so a lot had already rubbed off on me...format, escalation of conflict, etc. After awhile Wizard called Supreme one of the better books from Extreme. That made me proud, but I knew I wasn't doing anything really special....at least I didn't think so, but I'll always be my own worst critic. I wrote some other stuff mini-series and back-ups but nothing too regular as my lettering and editing duties were cutting into my weekends. Later on I did some writing For Disney Animation, some EA playstation stuff, but I'm a sometimes writer at best. I'm still busy lettering and formed a small video company that I'd like to use to make short films. That's where my writing is these days.

I recommend that anyone wanting to write comics, read comics and read as many screenplay books you can find. Take notes---LOTS of notes. Read pro-scripts---read non-pro scripts. Read, read, read. And for Thor's sake, learn punctuation and grammar---do NOT get your cues from the internet, it's too rife with uneducated [or just plain lazy] louts.

Now that I recall, I was actually looking for a writer to take over Supreme by going through the slush pile at Image. I was so appalled by the lack of skill that I tossed my hat in the proverbial ring. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, and clarity are all important to the script.


Kurt Hathaway
Cartoon Balloons Studio

khathawayart@gmail.com

Comics Commando
08-01-2014, 05:07 PM
Comics script format guide:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/dg4cdb6xwgy5cec/Comics_Script_Format_101_2011__.pdf


KH

Comics Commando
08-01-2014, 05:16 PM
I was asked a few years ago to write a series of articles, and thought this one might interest some folks.


CREATING A SERIES BIBLE:
http://forum.webcomicscommunity.com/index.php?topic=868.0


KH

Schuyler
08-01-2014, 05:25 PM
I was asked a few years ago to write a series of articles, and thought this one might interest some folks.


CREATING A SERIES BIBLE:
http://forum.webcomicscommunity.com/index.php?topic=868.0


KH

Thanks man!

I think I already have some of this stuff but I should organize, and create the missing parts.

LukePierce
08-11-2014, 07:34 PM
I haven't seen it mentioned here, so here it is:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panel-One-Comic-Scripts-Writers/dp/0971633800

Panel One was a huge, massive influence on me ten years ago because it taught me a huge amount about how to format a script. It also has various types of scripting style, so you can find one that you might prefer.

Jeff Smith had the most interesting version, as it was effectively a thumbnailed Rose story, but there was other stuff there from Kurt Busiek (which was great) and Greg Rucka (which was even greater!).

An excellent reference and well worth the money.

Austin
08-12-2014, 04:48 PM
For me it was poking around and finding everyone's recommended reading on the subject. After reading McCloud's stuff over and over, and some of Mamet's stuff, and William Goldman's stuff, and reading it, and re-absorbing it, and letting it simmer, and reading it again--

After enough procrastination, I decided it was time to take the leap, because that was going to be the best way to learn.

RskimB
08-12-2014, 10:58 PM
I have a stack of how to books I need to read presently.

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 10:44 PM
I started with short stories and novels, then moved to screenwriting. From screenwriting, I decided I wanted to try comics as well. So I read a lot of scripts, based my format off the Dark Horse submission guidelines, read Alan Moore's booklet on the subject, and have since been struggling with the amount of movement I put in a panel (perhaps the most difficult transition from screenwriting) and the ever-present dilemma of how much description to put in a panel (which I suspect is going to ultimately come down to an individual artist's tastes)

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 11:29 PM
I hate Alan Moore. But not for the reasons you may think.

I hate Alan Moore because the writers who try to study him do so very superficially. They don't understand what he does, why he does what he does, and they don't have the command of the format.

I've read his book, and it's great, but it isn't for the beginner. It's for the intermediate writer, and even the advanced writer, but not the beginner. Not for comics. It leaves out way too much that needs to be said. It isn't a book I would recommend.

Moving panels in a script are a problem. They are the biggest problem writers from other media have coming in to comic scripting. Once you learn how to think in static images, it'll become a lot easier.

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 11:38 PM
Yeah. I remember reading his book and getting a lot from it...but I was also conscious that there was a LOT going over my head. Since come to regard Moore as something akin to Tolkien. The things he does work for him, but at best I should only try to comprehend the basics.

Now one thing that throws me, regardless of whether the advice comes from Moore or anyone else, is dividing up the pages according to advertisements. Because yeah, if it's sold by individual issues for a big enough company, that's a thing. But if it goes with a small company or you go with graphic novel, that doesn't apply.

Steven Forbes
08-25-2014, 11:47 PM
Yeah. I remember reading his book and getting a lot from it...but I was also conscious that there was a LOT going over my head. Since come to regard Moore as something akin to Tolkien. The things he does work for him, but at best I should only try to comprehend the basics.

If you want a book, the DC Guide to Writing Comics is a great book for beginners. So is my Bolts & Nuts column.


Now one thing that throws me, regardless of whether the advice comes from Moore or anyone else, is dividing up the pages according to advertisements. Because yeah, if it's sold by individual issues for a big enough company, that's a thing. But if it goes with a small company or you go with graphic novel, that doesn't apply.

I don't think I understand the question. Want to expand on it a little more?

Cmsmith4252
08-25-2014, 11:57 PM
Sorry, I didn't really phrase it properly.

A lot of advice seems to suggest that advertisements are going to be in certain places consistently. Page two will be an advert and so on and so forth. The issue I have is that the advice doesn't take into account the fact that you might get published as a graphic novel or a trade. So what do you recommend? Should a new writer try to tailor writing for advertisements or just go with the flow of the story all the same and leave dealing with ads for a more advanced level?

Steven Forbes
08-26-2014, 12:06 AM
Sorry, I didn't really phrase it properly.

A lot of advice seems to suggest that advertisements are going to be in certain places consistently. Page two will be an advert and so on and so forth. The issue I have is that the advice doesn't take into account the fact that you might get published as a graphic novel or a trade. So what do you recommend? Should a new writer try to tailor writing for advertisements or just go with the flow of the story all the same and leave dealing with ads for a more advanced level?

Ah! A different question entirely.

As a new writer, more than likely, you're not going to have to worry about advertisement placement. You're not going to have to worry about advertisements at all. More than likely, your first stories aren't going to be published unless you do it yourself, or unless you're with a very small shop that don't have ads in their books--or if they are, they're in the very back.

Don't worry about ads. Tell your story as though it's going to be ad-free, because more than likely, it is.

(And there are few writers who can ask to know where the ads are going to be in order to incorporate them into their story flow, or have the ads at the back of the book in total. Unless your last name is Gaiman or Moore, it's something you're going to have to live with. But don't worry about it now. We've all got a long way to go before we reach those heights.)