Welcome to the supplemental page to "the Working Writer's Guide to Comics and Graphic Novels" and "Storycraft for Comics: Story Discovery and Structure for Building a Bigger Fan Base"
This page showcases various tips and insights into writing comic book scripts (though a lot of the lessons learned can be applied to all story-craft, including novel fiction and screenplays).
Whether you're an aspiring writer looking to learn how to write comics for the first time, or a seasoned veteran, looking to sharpen your skills, there's something on this page for you.
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Writing Craft Tips, Techniques and Discussion
Discovery and Structure
Advice on beginning your journey.
- Streamline your Outline
- More on Master Theme
- Gravity of the Story
- Goals NOT Problems
- Loglines: is my story any good?
- Outline Development – ADVANCED CLASS (*updated*)
- Are you working on a Phantom Story?
- 3 Act Structure-Friend or Foe?
- Master Theme
- Discovering Your Story
- Outline Basics
Discussing the cornerstones of story.
- Fix your Flashbacks
- Point of View and Captions
- The Super Trifecta
- Effective Subplots
- 6 Things Done Best In Comics — ADVANCED CLASS
- Tone, Mood, Style and Genre
- Character Trifecta
- Ensemble Casts
- Creating Characters That Stand the Test of Time
- Writing Solid Villains
How the story elements work.
- Surprise and Foreshadowing
- Delayed Inciting Incident
- Pacing Primary Escalation of Violence and Action
- Hooks and Cliffhangers
- Character Personality – ADVANCED CLASS
- Scene Selection Part 2: Only Your Best
- Fictitious Terms and Exotic Proper Names
- Scene Selection and Narrative Drive
- Threat of Violence
- On the Nose
- Story Arcs
Specific methods on working with story elements and mechanics.
- Beware the False Subtext of Profanity
- Dual Name Characters
- Stories without Character Arcs – ADVANCED CLASS
- Maximize Your Turns
- Sample Scene Breakdown
- Scripting an Outside Outline – ADVANCED CLASS
- Introducing New Characters-the Details
- Fight Scenes that Resonate
- Symbolism — ADVANCED CLASS
- Pitch your Climax
- Visualizing Panels
- 12 Tips for Spectacle Scripts – ADVANCED CLASS
- DON’T Kill Your Darlings
- Make SFX Matter
- Talking Slick, Hip and Breaking the 4th Wall in Panel Descriptions
- Conversation Vs. Dialogue – ADVANCED CLASS
- Accents in Comics
- Double Page Spreads
- Loose Vs. Thin
- A Lesson in Visual Writing
- Pacing Dialogue to Reveals
- Repetition, Enemy and Ally
- Comic Writing Trends
- Opening Scenes
- Writing Natural Dialogue
- Engaging the Reader in 22 Pages
- Cuts and Transitions
- Pass the Passive Writing
- Anchoring Sound Effects
- Showing Not Telling
Broader discussion of technique.
- Talking Heads Kill Comics
- Story Checklist
- First and Last
- Throughlines: Threads of the Story Tapestry – ADVANCED CLASS
- How many pages of script is my outline?
- Comic Pacing Decompression and Compression – ADVANCED CLASS
- Screenplay Sloppy Sound Effects
- Scene Sizes
- Writing to Strengths and Weaknesses
- Editors Make it Better
- Sacrifice your Ego for Story
- Does Format Really Matter?
- Start With Your Second Act
- Character Flaws
- Editing Page Weights
- Comic Book Script Template – [Download]
- Shower with your Theme
Shorter but no less important bits of "across the board" advice.
- Recognize Split Narratives
- Editors Improve your Work
- Try to Break Your Story
- The Secret Turn Equation
- Actions Over Words
- Unnatural Exposition
- How Many Acts
- The Strength of Weak Points
- Effectiveness In Expression
- Meet Your Deadlines
- Effective From Page 1
- The Privilege of Writing
- Works in Star Wars But NOT for You
- Camera Direction a Dangerous Weapon
- When in Doubt Add Conflict
- Highlighting Minor Characters
- You Can Do Better
- Environment Matters
- Practical Editing
- The Necessity of Enjoying the Work
- Every Gap is Not a Plot Hole
- Getting Ahead as a Comic Writer
- A Simple Contract Truth
- Business or Passion
- Character Design is Trivial
- Sunk Without Escalation
- Stop Relying on Dialogue
- Don’t Center Stage Symbolism
- Damn the Prologue, Full Speed Ahead
- Comicbook Script Format
- Always Drive Forward
- Every Story is Two Stories
- Wrong or Right in Comic Writing
- Where do you Start
- Bad Business Strategy
- Loglines are the Real Deal
- Character Arc Payoff
- Show it Don’t Tell it
- Don’t Focus on Plot
- Stick to your Strategy
- Kill your Passive – Super Quick Tip
- Numbers in Dialogue
- Kill Phone Calls and Texts
- You are a Mirror
- Don’t Skim Details
- Steps to Create
- Ideas are Cheaper than Dirt
- Size Matters. Stay Small.
- Contradictions indicative of Poor Visualization
- Emotional Context and Visual Writing Wins Every Time
- Avoid Subtle Action Sand Traps
- A Cornerstone of Good Story
- Know Your Audience
- Homeless Guys Have an Opinion Too
- Cut your Character Motivations
- Real world premises
- Cut Your Entrances (and exits)
- Mini-series Outline
- Pitching to Publishers
- Off Panel Bubble Direction
- STOP Zooming.
- Kill Your Continuity Panels
- Always Use Courier!
- Hire the Best Editor You Can Afford
- Beware of Panel Dopplegangers
- One Face, One Emotion
- Portfolio Tips
- Breaking Bubbles
- Works in the Movies, Not in Comics
- Long Shots, Short Detail
- Aim Small – Super Quick Tip
- Moral Message vs. Saying Something
- Name your Red Shirts
- Genre Masquerading As Theme
- Criticism – Super Quick Tip
- Timing – Super Quick Tip
- Bad Aliases First
- Writing Workload – Super Quick Tip
- Does Your Story Have a Pulse?
- Full Page Art
- Choosing Your Best Comic Concepts
- Send Your Characters Out For Coffee
- High and Lows
- In Media Res
Economics of Comics
The business and financial side of comics (and writing).
- Not Getting Screwed By Publishers
- Kickstarter for Comics
- More Tips on Hiring Talent
- Contracts 101 – ADVANCED CLASS [Download]
- How to Find an Artist for your Comic Script
- The Cost of Making Comics – ADVANCED CLASS
- Not Getting Screwed by Contractors
- How to Find Comic Writing Work
- Long Term Success
- Working for Free and Being a Shmoo
- Comic Storyboards – [Download]
- A Better Way to Pitch
- Diversity in Comics
- How to Hire an Editor
- How to Get Started in Comics
- Overcoming Writer’s Block
- Other Books on Writing
- Comic Writing Crimes
- Character Designs
- Proper Pitching
- Death of the Super Hero Genre
- Time Management and More