I was planning on writing a “how I write graphic novels” series of posts, like I did with picture books…but I keep getting stuck! I think perhaps I’m still so new to my process that I’m not quite ready to break it down and explain it to others yet. So, in lieu of those posts (for now), I thought I’d share this resource list. (My apologies to those who were hoping for more detail. I hope this is enough information to get you started!)
I came into comics without knowing anyone in the industry or anyone else who was writing graphic novels. I just really wanted to write graphic novels! I told my agent I wanted to learn how to write comics in 2017…and now my first graphic novel ALLERGIC, created with illustrator Michelle Mee Nutter, comes out in March from Graphix/Scholastic! These are the books and online resources I used along the way (and a few that I’ve found since!).
Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud
These books are my #1 recommended resources. Very insightful and instructive.
“How to Make a Comic Book”—a Coursera online course
(Free or you can pay to have your assignments graded, etc.)
“Comics: Art in Relationship”—a Kadenze online course
(Free or you can pay if you want credit.) (I didn’t discover this one until after writing ALLERGIC.)
“The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture”—an edX online course
(Free or you can pay if you want a certificate.) Recommended if you are writing a superhero story or just want to learn more about the history of comics.
Very detailed-oriented podcast about comics and the publishing world in general. (Another resource that I didn’t find until after writing ALLERGIC.)
Faith Erin Hicks—a collection of posts on making comics
ON SCRIPTING/FORMATTING A GRAPHIC NOVEL
As far as I have been able to tell, there is no One True Way to format a graphic novel script. And you can see that in the varying approaches below. I think it’s about finding what works best for you, and, if you are not doing the illustrations, what works well for both you and your collaborator.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka (This one’s more like a film script.)
Matthew Holm (And this method is more of a collaborative/storyboarding approach.)
Fred Van Lente (This panel by panel breakdown is the formatting I use, with the understanding that the illustrator is free to switch things up as needed.)
My favorite kids and YA comics can be found on my Goodreads.
(last updated by MWL December 2020)