Tag Archives: writing

12Jul/22

How to Write A Script for A Comic (DC Style)

Writing with a pen on a note book

A question that perhaps should be asked more often is “How do I write a script for my comic?” A lot of people get a great idea for a comic and sit down at their keyboard only to realize that they don’t know how to write a comic. So if you Googled this and stumbled across this post, good on you. You’re ahead of the game.

The secret to comic scripting is that you can do it any way you want to. Whatever works best for you and your artist, is the right way. If that’s half coherent notes on a napkin then so be it.

However, if you want more guidance, there are two more structured schools of thought when it comics to writing a comic script.

  • DC Style (Full Script)
  • Marvel Style (Page Summary)

I’ll do a post for both styles.

Today’s post is about the style that I prefer to write in. Full Script, or DC Style.

Is It DC Style or Full Script?

The detectives among you would have already noticed that I used two names interchangeably. DC Style and Full Script. Full Script is the more formal name and it’s more descriptive.

The two different schools of thought became more popular with different editors at the big two. Full Scripting was more popular at DC for a time. Page Summary was more popular at Marvel for a while. Thus, they took on new names for a time.

It’s Full Script Now

The idea of the different styles being defined by DC or Marvel has become outdated. Not only do they share so much of the market with other publishers now, but also editors are less picky. If the script gets turned in on time and meets their standard of quality, that’s what they care about.

So for the most part, we’ll be referring to this style as Full Script.

What Does It Look Like?

Full Script looks how it sounds. Before you turn anything over to your artist or managing editor, you have the entire script written on the page.

That means that each page is labeled and broken up into panels. Each panel has a full description of the background and the action taking place. All the characters have their dialogue written out and attached to the panel it should be in. Every sound effect is listed and defined for the letterer and artist to collaborate on.

I’ll attach a picture of Wolf Hunter’s script since that was how I wrote the book.

Comic Book Full Script

 

How Do I Do It?

So no you know what it looks like. How do you put it into action and write your first script for a comic book?

Step-by-Step

  1. Start with your page header. It should look something like Page 1. Put that as the very first line. Remember, comics are typically 22 pages, but with today’s technology feel free to go hog wild and be as long or short as the story needs to be. You can always break it up into issues later.
  2. The second line will contain the panel header. Panel 1. That’s it. For an action comic, you can expect a page to be 4 to 7 panels. If it’s a more methodical literary piece, anywhere between 5 and 8 panels.
  3. Then underneath that header, begin to write the description of what’s in that panel. Tell us everything that you imagine happening in that panel. “James Willard exits a town car in front of a large hotel.” With practice, you’ll learn what details are important and what is not. Also, ask your artist how much detail they need.
  4. After that write out all your character’s dialogue that should go in that panel. Do each character as a separate line. And try to keep each dialogue bubble contained to a sentence. This will make it easier to read for your creative teammates, and also for the reader. Any sound effects also go in this section.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you finish a page and then do it all over again until you finish your book.

 

 

Pros

 

Clear Communication With Your Artist

Media ComparisonThe idea book is scripted out by the time it gets to your artist. It is much easier for them to visualize what you had imagined for each scene. It also gives them more context to use if they want to offer changes. It makes the experience feel more collaborative since everyone has the same amount of information as to what the end product will be.

 

Dialogue Leads Action

Having the dialogue written first allows the characters to come alive as written and use that to lead the actions in the illustration. It prevents the problem of having to rewrite dialogue and possibly change the flow or outcome of a scene based on illustrations that came as a result of your intention being unclear in a summary.

Great For Slower Character Dramas or Suspense

This style of scripting gives you room to set up large changes or reveals. You can purposefully place small details throughout the script to be paid off later. As stated in the point above, dialogue can shine through in this format. If you write strong characters and want to use their voices to tell personal stories, this format could suit you.

Cons

Time Invested

This format is much more time-intensive than writing in Page Summary. Make sure to cut out and protect your writing time to make sure you can complete your script.

Can Feel Overbearing (Easy to Get Attached To Your Writing)

Your artist may want more freedom with their illustration. Don’t get too attached to every single detail you write out. Remember, comics are collaborative.

While writing Wolf Hunter, AJ made tons of changes to panel layout and certain panel elements. I used this format as a way to give him context so that he knew what was important and where I wanted to go. All of his changes got us there in a way that was more visually appealing. I didn’t quash his feedback by saying, “that’s not in the script.”

Easy to Get Wordy

It can be all too easy to get wordy in with this method. Either your dialogue runs on too long, or you stuff too much detail into one panel description. Keep your internal editor on the lookout. If you feel like you’ve written too much, you have. Don’t be afraid to cut something or get feedback and ask if it’s really necessary.

Final Words

I hope this post gave you the information you need to write your first comic book script. If have any more questions or feel like I missed something, leave a comment. I hope to catch you very soon.

Until then,
Make Mine Silverline

 

14Jun/22

How Do I Get Better At Making Comics?

How Do I Get Better At Making Comics?

Hi there Silverline Fam!

Last week we talked about what the craft of comics is (link). In the end, I teased about how you get better at the art of making comics. This week is going to be a bit more in-depth about how you get better at making comics. I’ll try to make this comprehensive but without going overboard. Don’t want to be dozing off or crossing your eyes halfway through. We’ll go over both free and paid routes to improve your craft.


Is There A School For Comics?

Almost surprisingly, the answer is yes! There are colleges and universities specifically for comic books are the different art forms used to make them. As far as attending an art university that specifically has degree programs or a course path for comics, some things need to be considered.

Art Schools and Speciality Schools are typically more expensive than a traditional universities.
They may also not have the same accreditation.
The degree they offer will be hyper-specific to comics or that art form.

That’s not to say that they don’t offer good information or that they won’t set you up for a career in comics. It just means you may need to be more conscious about managing your finances and student loans. You will also need to figure out how to leverage that knowledge for your day job. Starting full-time in comics happens to almost no one, so you will need to see how you can apply those skills to a different day job in the meantime. I know a lot of comic creators who work in marketing, copywriting, graphic design, education, or eSales because there is some carryover in the skill sets.

That all being said, you will probably receive the most focused education on comics available. It is likely that your instructors will have years of experience working in comics or may still be working in comics. If your educators are good, you will be receiving all the best wisdom and guidance their experience has taught them. They will also serve as professional connections that could get your work. Working comic creators and publishers are also aware of these schools and will sometimes recruit from them.


Can I Learn Comics At A State Or Community College?

If the cost of specialty is too prohibitive or there just isn’t any in your area, you can learn how to make comics through another school. If you’re pretty sure that college is the path for you, but not a specialty school, you can still take a major that sets you up for working in comics or even take electives that will improve your art or writing.

Degree programs in creative writing, English, or art are pretty common. A state or community college will likely offer one or all of these programs in your area. Some colleges do also offer Art for Comic Books as an elective the community college in my home city does.

While these programs may not be specifically tuned for making comics, the basic tenets of good writing and good art still apply. The adjustments you would need to make as a creator will either be to tune your dialogue for comics or to get used to creating sequential art.


Are There Online Courses For Comics?

Absolutely! There are plenty of online courses for those looking to pay for some sort of education but don’t want to begin a new college career. These courses can usually be completed in several weeks, and do in-depth on illustrating or writing for comic books. This means that the knowledge you pick up here will directly apply to comics without much adjusting. There are also courses for just writing or art if you are looking for a broader field of study that is still applicable. Some great courses exist out there and can be found at:

Lynda through LinkedIn
Masterclass.com (I recommend Neil Gaimen’s course)
Skillshare.com
udemy.com



How Do I Learn To Make Comics For Free?

If the money is something that is not feasible for you, or you just prefer self-study, there are free alternatives.

The first option is the most important method of improvement for anyone regardless of education. That is PRACTICE. You get better by doing. That’s a universal truth. You develop a taste by reading comics, and by creating comics you bring yourself more in line with your taste. You will never truly be as good as your taste, but you never get closer without practice. Of course, that also means you can’t get discouraged with your practice.

The second thing to look at is free resources online. Hey, that’s us (link). Free articles from professionals in the industry are a great way to ingest the knowledge they have to offer. These resources are typically more common among writers, but artists may have similar articles on their websites or deviant art page. Sometimes these are more general FAQs but they could also be a step-by-step “how do you do this?” type subject. Another type of free resource is Youtube videos. A lot of artists and letterers have free videos or series that go into the process of what they do or how to use a particular piece of software. If you are a visual learner and want to see how an artist does their type of illustration, this is a great path to go down.

 

Are There People To Help Me Make Comics?

In more ways than you probably think! A lot of comic artists or writers typically don’t take on mentees, but some do. You can also look to your peers. Once you start making comics, you can also lean on your editor and the rest of your team.

Sometimes comic pros will have a public email that they receive questions at. These are usually listed in their Instagram or Twitter bio, or on their website. They may not be looking to become your full-time mentor, but they may be more than willing to spend a couple of hours answering your questions on craft or practice. Just remember to be kind and respectful.

If you have peers in your area, or online that also write or create art, they can also be a resource. Practice is best paired with FEEDBACK. This could be a writing group, art collective, a constructive criticism messaging group or subreddit, etc. Make sure these are people you trust to help you elevate your work. Also, make sure you’re honest with yourself and know that you can take feedback without getting defensive. Be aware that sometimes you will receive bad feedback that you need to disregard. If you can do all that and can follow feedback earnestly, you will find your work might sometimes exceed your taste.

Lastly, is your editor. This relationship is something that will go into more depth later, as it is a more advanced subject. Once your craft is already at a point where you are getting comics work, you will likely be working with a project manager. If not in the title, at least someone that fills that role. This is the person who will help elevate your craft on this particular project. All the advice I gave earlier, applies doubly so to this particular dynamic.


I hope that all helps you find a path to help you get better at making comics. Whether through school, self-study or working with others, there are plenty of ways to learn how you can improve.


Who Are Silverline Comics

A bunch of nerds trying to give you some dope reads and take you on fun adventures through comics. If you want to catch up on what we have going on, follow our socials. If you want to hang out with us, check out our live shows on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday.

Make Mine Silverline!

08Feb/22

Content Spotlight: Silverline’s Getting a Facelift

Hey there Silverline Fam!

It’s a new year, new me kind of vibe over at the Silverline Youtube. We’re breaking up wax, hitting the tanning salon, and getting lean for hot-nerd summer. Well, we may not all be going that extreme. But we are getting a major facelift to our podcast videos.

As you probably know by now, every single Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, we livestream a podcast that gets saved as a VOD on our youtube. That way you can throw us up on your laptop at work, your smart tv after work, or annoy your spouse by watching us on your phone in bed. That last one may get you kicked out to the living room couch.

Under the direction of our CEO, BJ Mann, our videos have a new sense of confidence and a sleek new look for that summer bod. The content of each episode is now spending a bit more time in the training center before coming out and strutting its stuff. So that means each episode will have more hyperfocus, leaving some room for the same old fun asides. But that’ll give the host more time and space to really dig deep into the subject material and deliver to you some true nuggets of wisdom to chew on.

The second part of this facelift is the facelift. Each episode now has a beautiful thumbnail that is sure to appease the almighty algorithm. Or at least, give you the viewer a better idea of what’s going on, as well as build a stronger and more cohesive identity for Silverline. That way if you’re bored and staring at your recommended page, we’ll be easier to identify. Just look for the chiseled chin of Dean.

You can already see it in action!

Check out last week’s and this week’s episodes and get some of that sweet sweet beach-bod VOD taste for yourself.