The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Comic Book Script
You’ve got an amazing idea for a comic book. Now what? How do you develop that idea so that it blooms from concept to sequential story? It takes talent to be a great storyteller, but you need additional understanding to write scripts for comic books. This guide can help.
What This Guide Is
This guide will teach you the tools and techniques required to write stories for the comic book medium. When you are finished, you should be able to produce a serviceable comic book story. It will help you to learn to create comic book scripts for your own enjoyment and understand the process of turning an original story into a comic. It is up to you to continue developing these skills and to build your creative muscles.
What This Guide is Not
This guide is not intended to teach you how to write comic books for commercial consumption. It cannot make you a talented artist, creative writer or give you the self-discipline required to improve in this craft. This guide is also not written about comic book art.
Developing Your Idea
You may have a great idea for an epic comic book series that involves wars, dozens of characters, romances, and elements of magic. That’s great, but all of that has to begin with a cogent story that draws readers in and motivates them to take that journey with you. Your overall story is your setting. Now you have to give that setting a plot.
To discern your plot, you have to dig deeper. Start by identifying your main character. Who are they? Why are they there? What is their purpose, and what challenges will they face that will allow them to develop as an interesting character.
It may help you to write a summary of your idea in order to maintain consistency. If you struggle with that style of writing, you can find a variety of resources and tools at GetGoodGrade. This summary may also help you better communicate your ideas to anyone you ask to help with your comic book.
The Main Character’s Motivation
Your main character won’t be relatable in any way if they don’t have motivation. Perhaps they are seeking revenge, redemption, or understanding? Maybe they wish to seek power or undo some injustice. Think about the most loved comic book characters. They may find themselves in hundreds of different stories experiencing just as many things, but their underlying motivation is consistent. As you develop your character, consider creating a backstory for them. In that, you can define the event that gave them their motivation. Finally, how will you communicate that motivation in this script?
What is Standing in Their Way?
Now, what are the events and antagonists that are preventing your main character from reaching their goals? Consider the following to make their experiences interesting:
- Life situations that cause them to struggle.
- Internal Conflicts
- Enemies and Frenemies
- Wars And Other External Events
Imagine you have a character named Deborah. She is traveling across Northern Europe to avenge the death of her father and take her place as Viking queen. As she travels, she must fight against tribal bands who have been bribed by the sitting king to stop her at any cost. She also has reasons to doubt that all the comrades who travel with her are truly loyal to her. Finally, she struggles with the trauma of war.
Who or What Will Help Them?
Every character has a superpower. If not a superpower, they have some other assets to help them gain some sort of advantage. Likewise, many have allies who are there to help them achieve their goals. Here are some examples of that:
- Sidekicks Assistants or Teammates
- A Mentor or Patron
- Supernatural Abilities
- Tools And Technologies
- Developed Skills And Strengths
Back to Deborah. She is among the most skilled fighters in Europe, having been trained at the most elite paramilitary academy in the world. Before his death, her father armed her with an enchanted sword, although she doesn’t quite understand how it works. Her closest friend is a brilliant war strategist and survival expert.
Creating The Stand Alone Story
Remember that each comic book is a snapshot in time. It is a story that stands on its own but should also build upon past plots and make room for new ones. Try to distill things down to a single event or brief period of time, so you can create a comic book.
Now, pay close attention to detail. Your writing should be clear and well-edited. This may not be academic writing, but quality is important. You won’t impress readers, artists, or anyone else if you present an error-laden script.
Writing a Script for The Comic Book Format
Keep in mind that your story must be translated into a script that an artist can accompany with panels of their art. Even before those have been created, you have to develop your story with those panels in mind. Remember that you can’t overload a single panel with dialogue. Also, you must give the artist room to use their art to develop the plot and characters as well.
You will have to do two things to give the artist enough to work with. First, provide a clear description of the action that is occurring in each panel. Next, you have to provide any dialogue and off page verbiage.
General Tips to Follow
- Let the artist work. Don’t overdo your descriptions.
- Don’t cram too many panels onto a single page.
- Number your dialogue to make things easier for the comic book letterer.
- Avoid randomly introducing people or props as plot devices.
- Keep a one to one relationship between pages of script and artwork.
Your final step will be to find an artist to work with your script. Of course, if you are a talented artist, you may pursue this yourself. Just keep in mind that having creative input from another person can really help you put out a polished, final product. Leave plenty of time for this as you will want to be sure that your artist creates something that is true to your plot and character, yet visually compelling as Peter Parker’s revamped Spider-Man costume for 2021.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.