1. Second Shot
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    Second Shot New Member

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    Differences in writing a graphic novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Second Shot, Jan 25, 2011.

    Howdy, haven't been to this forum in... about a year. Anyway, I am currently writing a graphic novel and was wondering how different it is from writing a regular novel.

    The plot and characters I'm working with lend themselves well to a slightly zanier world that I believe would work better in comic format. I've read a few books on novel writing, how much of the meat of novel writing translates to a comic?

    P.S. I feel that my wording is really horrible. If you need me to elaborate just say so :)
     
  2. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    I've read a couple of mangas myself, and I find it awesome that you're giving that a try. I draw too, might give it a try sometime :D
    The main difference is that you don't have to describe. You draw that.
    No dialogue tags of course, because it's just dialogue with the dialogue bubbles. If you're good at drawing, it's much easier to create a story this way :]

    Btw, will you be doing this by hand or do you draw in PS using a tablet? I just got a tablet today! I'm still getting used to it, it's hard haha. I guess I'll master it in a couple of days.
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Graphic novels (Oh, let's just call them comics) lie somewhere in the sweet centre between novels and films.

    You have some of the best of both worlds, but it's like standing with one foot on each of two horses -- if you don't give them equal attention, you're gonna lose the one and you're gonna fall. So be absolutely sure you're not writing a novel and not writing a screenplay, but a comic.

    Don't tautologize by writing descriptions of what's in the drawings. Even masters like Alan Moore are guilty of this at times and I guess it's because he doesn't trust his artists. It makes for a shoddy reading experience, though.

    Make use of both horses all the time: you can make parallel storytelling. The story in the pictures and the one in the narrative are often different, but always connected.

    Shove as much of your urge to infodump and create vast, complex worlds into the drawings, not the narrative. In comics you can get away with it, because the reader decides exactly how long they're willing to spend studying each frame. They're not forced to read a chapter-long description from a novel, nor stressed by the brief shots in movies -- in the still image, they set the pace to suit themselves exactly, so make use of it. If you want to be excessively wordy, write a novel. Be sharp and to the point. Weight every word you use.

    Well, just a few thoughts on what I imagine a novelist should consider on the basic, general level... As for how to make them good, there's only one way: reading a ton of comics. Good ones. And you often have to dig deep to find them. Please do the world a favour and take the craft serious if you're gonna go for it. It's not easy. If you think it's easy, you're doing it wrong. :)
     
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  4. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    I've begun colaborating concepts for my own manga recently, so personly, this is also a thread I'm using for advise. ^^

    I kind of miss the descriptive text though, although the image gives you a picture of whats going on, the description can be alot more intresting.

    Just be sure to think through your language for the charecters though, thats a very important part, but I'm probably not the best person to comment, since I'm only begining.
     
  5. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    Props to you for writing a graphic novel. I have less than 0% drawing talent, and no one that would be willing to draw for me for free :/ Also, I think it's a slightly different way of presenting the written story...it's told with action more than pure words.
     
  6. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    The basics of storytelling (plot, storyline, what makes a character engaging, etc) is basically the same between different mediums, like novels, movies and comic books. The difference lies in the details - for example, you usually want fast pacing during action scenes in both comic books, movies and novels, but in novels, you shorten sentences to create a sense of fast pacing, in movies, you shorten the time between cuts, and in comic books, you make the panels narrower.

    If you want to delve deeper, I have two books to recommend:
    • Understanding Comics - The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
    • Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner
    I've only read the one by McCloud, but both of them are considered more or less modern classics on the comic book medium.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a graphic novel is written like a script, not like a novel...

    and you don't have to be the artist, to turn out the text...
     
  8. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    True...I was just thinking that if I wanted to write one on my own. I think I took the topic a bit literally :)
     

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