1. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    Graphic Novel Writers Unite!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheStrawman, Feb 2, 2011.

    Checked a few pages back for a thread like this. Nothing recent.

    I am currently writing the scripts for several difference series of comics. All are my own creation (no batman comics or anything like that). I plan to work with an artist, or to sell the script and concept to a publisher (whatever works out).
    Because this is a writer’s forum, how many of you write comics or graphic novels? Ever thought about it? Done it? Doing it?!

    This would be the thread for graphic novel talk.
     
  2. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    I am very intrested in this area, but more around the ilustration side of things than the writing.

    I'm curently trying to gather together my full idea for my own manga, its not a graphic novel, but it's close enough isn't it? Depending on the themes is try to include, it may more more away from manga and more towards a graphic style (aka darker).

    I'm planning to base it around a mecha idea, or probably more of power armour then mecha, but for some reason, I'm having trouble dessigning my armour. >.<
    I can see it in my head, but can't get it on the page.
    Story wise, I'm taking my time, trying to make things intresting enough to entertain the view, but at the same time make them think.
     
  3. Second Shot
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    Second Shot New Member

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    Hello there!

    I'm currently working on an upbeat style graphic novel about a couple of suburban kids who get sucked into an ancient plot line involving arcane magic and enchanted weapons.
    Got the story down pat, but I'm awful at dialogue, and the whole thing is a script! Bahaha!
     
  4. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    Manga is almost exactly a Graphic Novel in the core concept. They are both comic books, and comic book isn't a bad term. It's a great term.

    Do you just sketch it all out? in relation to the armor that is? What is the pitch of your Manga? Sell it to me :) Like what’s the hook? I want to know more!

    Speaking of Mech's and robotic suits, I have a series in the works dealing with just the manufacturing of suits, and the progression of how they are designed. Almost like a techblog for mechanized warfare.

    Sounds great! How far into it are you? It really is just script writing. Graphic novel writing and screenwriting are similar not only in 'goals' (to communicate an idea through image and language) but in the format. Most Graphic Novelists write their scripts in the same format as a screenplay (with minor adjustments like 'Panel 2' or 'Page 4' instead of 'scene' or 'INT.')

    As for dialogue, never really 'examine' dialogue. Keep an eye out for cliché’s, but otherwise just try and write what you hear people say. Listen to people talk. But sometimes the best dialogue isn't really 'realistic.' So as long as the characters are communicating in a unique way, you can run with it.
     
  5. thenewpeter
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    thenewpeter Senior Member

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    Ok, bear with me here, this is the first time I've tried pitching anyhting XD.



    It's set 200 or so years in the future, technology has masivly advansed and man has branched into the stars, but our story takes place on earth.
    The story follows 3 protaganists, 2 are mechanics, brothers who work at one of the few remaining plentiful mines across the earth.
    They come under attack by 2 factions they know nothing about, slaughtering the workers and each other. The 2 manage to make it away with the help of one of the soldiers, who is injured defending them, they flee to the nearest town.
    The soldier that saved them becomes the third protaganist.
    From here, the story follows them trying to remain hidden from soldiers searching the various towns as they try to get the soldier back to his 'hq'
    The first set of this manga will end with them making it back to the soldiers squad, the 2 mechanics then being taken on to work for the squad.

    Obvisaly, within this, there will be various other elements which I'll be working on, eg. the mechanics making their first kills, the fear of having to run. It's still a work in porgress, but that should give you the gyst of what it's about.




    As for my designs, they're curently only in sketch's, I have around 10 different designs for the power armour and various features they incorporate, but for some reason, something hasn't felt right about the designs yet, still not quite there...


    You thoughts? Anything you think I'll need to change or include? Any advise on giving a better pitch? XD
     
  6. Jaybrownuk
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    Jaybrownuk Member

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    I have thought about it a lot and two project's I'm working on I think would work well as graphic novels if they were to be adapted that way, the Sci-Fi one would definitely.
     
  7. Lostro
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    Lostro Member

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    Trying to write several. As both an artist and writer, trying to search for someone to illustrate won't be much of a problem but that means I have to do double the work...which also excites but frightens me somewhat.

    Making panels flow naturally, word bubble placement, and color scheme choice are just as important as writing.So I tend to include as much detail as I can about the illustrative aspect in my scripts such as mentioning panel/sequence layouts for particularly complex set of actions that must take place or describing the atmosphere of the establishing scene and the appropriate colors to go with it.

    It helps in the end when the artist isn't always clear on what is happening on the script, to have a detailed description so that they have a certain foundation for their artistic expression.

    Current graphic novel project: Sci fi, Humanity's Wake type of setting, lots and lots o' alien political intrigue.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've messed around with comics and occasionally tried to tell stories in them. Usually disastrously. Sometimes just sitting down and drawing the first 20 pages of your latest novel can really help you see setting and characters better since it forces you to look at the details. But I've never taken it too seriously, since I'm an awful artist, and have no real knack for making what works in prose keep working in art.
     
  9. Lostro
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    Lostro Member

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    Yes, turning written words into visual art is a tricky tricky thing. I daresay even more difficult than doing it the other way around and converting visuals into words.
     
  10. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Well I'm still not sure exactly what I'm doing myself. I'm not sure how a script for a comic is supposed to be written and I had already started writing my comic story as a novel instead. I'm not sure if that's the right the way to go if I want to become a majorly published comic someday, but I am working on another project while I'm deciding.
     
  11. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I would think that a screenwriting format would be appropriate.
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    There really is no standard script, at least not if you're making your own. If you're writing for a comic book publisher specifically, they usually have a house style. But otherwise, it's up to you, and your artist (if that isn't you). Jeph Loeb, for instance, writes in a waay that's quite similar to a film script, with each panel having a line or two about what's happening visually, then any dialogue or exposition included in the same way a film script would. Alan Moore, on the other hand, writes the whole thing in prose form, sorta like a novel, focussing heavily on the details, and giving every bit of dialogue. Then his artists are left to decide how they want to convert his writing into a visual form. He may include certain notes about the format, but largely it is left up to the artist. Since you will almost always be selling the finished work, and not the script, it doesn't really matter how you write it as long as it works.
     
  13. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely -everything's there for you. :p Which is why I draw my characters when I need to improve characterisation or draw settings when I need to improve that. But I never draw a picture and then tell a story from it... Probably just because I'm a novelist rather than an artist so I just work better, but drawing is a skill that unless you're equally proficient, and FAST at drawing, you're better served typing first...

    I never wrote a script for a comic past a few jotted notes on dialogue in a notepad file, when I was making up comics rather than just converting from a novel where, obviously, it's all there. I'd rough out just enough to go with - pretty much saying who was there, and not even describing actions unless they were hugely important or there was nothing else happening in the panel. I tend to, once I have a story in mind, remember the image very easily, and all the details connected, so a few words are enough to recall the thousand more you need for a picture. :p
     
  14. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    A lot of authors go this route. Stephen King ended up turning some of his novels into Graphic Novels. So don't worry about it. Write the story in whatever format you can/want/need to now, as long as it doesn't hurt the story, and then if you want to convert it, you can.

    I write in a mixture style. I started by using the Dark Horse format (because they were who I wanted to write for), but ended up turning it into something different, just because it helpped me write it faster.

    It is pretty much up to "The best method you can use to communicate your story."
     
  15. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, actually. He commonly storyboards the whole thing (albeit in a very childish style).
     
  16. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    This is an excerpt from his script for The Killing Joke. In this example, he's written everything that happens in each panel in prose form, as I said. With Watchmen, he gave Dave Gibbons more control over the panel structure, but wrote in a similar style. He may storyboard, but his script format is invariably in prose form.
     
  17. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Doesn't change the fact that he does storyboard for some of his work. It's sometimes been included in collectors editions.
     
  18. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Right, but a storyboard isn't a script? He doesn't storyboard instead of scripting, he does it in addition to writing a prosed-based 'script'.
     
  19. KrisDalpiaz
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    KrisDalpiaz New Member

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    I'd love to get into writing for graphic novels, for both existing and new characters. Unfortunately, for them to work, there also has to be all sorts of drawing, inking, and such that is a bit above my skill in those areas. But this is certainly an area I want to explore in the future.
     
  20. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    Sounds like great ideas! There are a lot more interested people then I thought there would be.

    Is anyone currently scripting a comic? I am neck deep in a series that I am trying to get ready to pitch to some publishers (trying to psych myself out). As a way of discussion:
    What do you find more compelling about a graphic novel? The Art? The characters? the Writing? What are strong selling points for other authors?
     
  21. KrisDalpiaz
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    KrisDalpiaz New Member

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    For me, the story is the most important part of a graphic novel. There is some impressive art out there, but what's drawn me in are the great stories like those in The Watchmen, The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Sandman, etc.
     
  22. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The best graphic novels are the ones where the creators are aware of why the story needs to be a graphic novel. The form is dramatically different to novels or films, and an awareness of these differences (and thus, how best to tell the story in the medium) is what distinguishes good work from great. Scott McCloud's books make a good starting point for thinking theoretically about how graphic novels work; once you've read them and got a good foundation, you can start to deconstruct other work more effectively and understand what really sets a graphic novel apart from everything else.
     
  23. TheStrawman
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    TheStrawman New Member

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    Exactly. A good graphic novel is never 'converted' or even 'translated' to the form. While some good ones do come out of converting, the best ones are were the author understands what a graphic novel is. The translator to the comic form, if the story was something else before, can do it, as long as they know what a graphic novel ‘does’. It is a story telling method with visuals.

    The stories I write as comics, would not be the same if I wrote them as prose, or a film script. It's the process of finding the best medium for the story. What the story actually contains.

    Prose is a mental description. The reader ingests the material and constructs the visuals in their mind.

    A Comic provides the reader with a visual, usually a static visual, that lets the mind create motion.

    A Film is full motion. You see exactly what is happening. There is also the sound element.

    The next step in involvement is: a Video Game. Where not only is there motion, sound, and visuals, but also participation. It's a shame only a few games are really potent.
     

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