Pacing Dialogue to Reveals

One of the new things I discuss a bit in the digital edition of the Writer’s Guide is keeping dialogue and art in sync.

This is particularly important when it comes to your reveals.

Generally, you don’t want dialogue to come ahead of the visual reveal.
For example (I’m going to use thin panel descriptions just for the sake of space and time):

Sherlock holmes has just wrestled and fought with a man in a trench coat, with every inch of skin covered in bandages. Which version reads better?

VERSION 1 ————————

Panel 1:
Sherlock reaches over and grabs a fist-full of the man’s facial bandages.
1 SHERLOCK Victims of Epidermolysis Bullosa, recoil at the slightest touch. Your struggle gives you away sir, or should I say… Professor Moriarty!

Panel 2:
OVS
From behind bandage man. Sherlock tears away the bandages, exposing the man’s face. Sherlocks eyes are narrowed, his lips curved in a slight smirk.

Panel 3:
CLOSE
Professor Moriarty with wide panicked eyes. The remnants of the bandages dangling from his chin.

VERSION 2 ————————-

Panel 1:
Sherlock reaches over and grabs a fist-full of the man’s facial bandages.
1 SHERLOCK Victims of Epidermolysis Bullosa, recoil at the slightest touch.

Panel 2:
OVS
From behind bandage man. Sherlock tears away the bandages, exposing the man’s face. Sherlocks eyes are narrowed, his lips curved in a slight smirk.
2 SHERLOCK Your struggle gives you away sir, or should I say…

Panel 3:
CLOSE
Professor Moriarty with wide panicked eyes. The remnants of the bandages dangling from his chin.
3 SHERLOCK Professor Moriarty!

Don’t let your dialogue get ahead of the art and diffuse your reveals (unless you’re doing that for a specific intended effect).▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *