Before you start writing comics, read me.

03/20/2019

 

Punching within your weight class...

If you're gearing up to write your first comic book, check out these quick suggestions to avoid some rookie mistakes. Written for the neophyte comic book writer or anyone interested in making comics.

  • Determine story length.

  • Don't bite off more than you can chew.

  • Create within your budget.

Know the length of your comic

Before you begin writing a single word it's important to know the page count (scope) of the project you are embarking on. Not determining this before you start can result in an aimless story or one that drags on. Having a handle of your page count early will inform you as to how much room you have for establishing your characters/world/situation, rising action,climax and denouement. Whether it's a three panel story or a multi-issue arc, knowing your target length will keep your story moving.

 

When I wrote my first comic book, I literally picked up a piece of paper, divided it into three panels of arbitrary size and started drawing. I did not have a script, plot, characters, setting or anything. I managed to put together about twelve pages until I realized that there was something fundamentally wrong with how I was going about making this comic. I soon realized that by not having a target page count, or a freakin' script, I was essentially shooting in the dark and setting myself up for failure.

 

The number of pages you choose should reflect the scope of your idea. Consider all the elements you would like to include in your story and estimate how many pages you would need to fit it all in.

 

Write shorter comics

If this is your first time writing/drawing a comic book, do not embark on a larger-than-life project. Work your way up to it. Start with telling a compelling story in three panels or a single page and then graduate to three pages. Don't rush to move up, stay in the three page range for a while to really get a feel for what you can do with three pages.

 

Three page stories lend themselves well to the three act structure. The short length keeps you from fluffing your pages with unnecessary information. There is just enough room for your story, but not much else. Writing short stories is by no means easier than writing in long form. It requires less labor, but from a position of  story telling, it can feel cramped and offer challenges of its own. The biggest mistake a neophyte comics writer can make is think they are above short stories.

Make comics within your budget

Very few writers know an artist who will work for free. After learning about the cost per page, a new writer's

comic book dream usually feels much further away. On top of that, finding an artist who can commit to a 132 page graphic novel is much harder to find than one who can commit to 1 or 3 pages.

Click here to visit fairpagerates.com for estimated market value (Has not been updated in a while)

 

If you're considering taking this beyond simple hobby, keep in mind you are a start up business. Following

along with common business sense, start small and grow into the demand. Strategically, it is better to have a solid three page "proof of concept" than a pitch for an epic trilogy that is too large to get started. Forget about the faux-leather hardbound limited edition slipcase blah blah blah and start thinking about contributing a few pages to an anthology.

Conclusion: Knowing how much room you have to tell your story strongly influences how that story needs to be told. Starting without this information is like building a house by hammering two pieces of wood before taking a single measurement.Start small and grow into your dream project. Storytelling is not much different than a muscle, the fastest way to proficiency is by incrementally increasing the load.

**Now that you have read what to plan for, Click here to read "How to Write comics the Black Fly Press™️ way."

 

 

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