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Can anyone give an example of a good AND a bad comic script? Can you explain why the script is good or bad? Is there a site that I can go to to see such examples?

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What makes a comic good? What makes it bad?

That's sort of what I am asking. What are the elements that are in a good script? What elements were left out of a script that made it bad?

Sven Jacobs said:

What makes a comic good? What makes it bad?

Dear Rodney,

As an amateur writer of home made comics, I have often wondered if there was a magical 'format' and 'right way' to write scripts to send to artists. Even after so many years, I have never quite figured that out, as it seems to me there are many approaches people use to presenting their stories. So I can't help with your question, but I just noticed it's your birthday and I happen to have an unread copy of "The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics" by Dennis O'Neil. May I send it to you as a gift? Send me a PM with your mailing address, and I will snail mail it to you this week if you like.

Be well, be blessed!

Gerry

I think a better way to look at it is what makes a good story in general over a good comic script. 

When I was trying to land my first illustration job I remember meeting a Marvel editor at a comic con- I have no idea who it was- who told me one thing that I never forgot. He said: When you are drawing comics, never draw down.

Don't skimp because it's just a comic. Draw the best you can. Always.

The same with writing. Don't think of it as a comic script. The rules for a good story are as present in comics as they are for other forms of writing and storytelling.

Maybe some of the writer here can give you more specifics, but that would be my input.

That, and one other thing...

They say that the folks who can detect counterfeit currency can do so, not by studying the various types of counterfeits, but by studying the real thing- by studying real currency, and becoming so familiar with it they can smell a fake a mile away.

I think it is the same with writing, and more importantly, reading. I have been reading every single night to my daughters since my oldest was very young. (She is almost 13.) We've read a lot of books, and on top of that, my wife and I are huge readers on our own time. We've amassed a pretty decent little library. But one of the great results of that is that we can now detect a poorly crafted story just a few paragraphs in. Bad writing, and bad structure stick out now like a sore thumb only because we are so familiar with good writing and good structure.

I would also suggest that you read. Read a lot, and make it a lifestyle. And not just comics, but all kinds of literature. (If you don't already.) If you do that you'll answer your question simply by what you have absorbed. And it will happen naturally.

And when you write, write good stories that will become comics. Not the other way around.

I don't mean to preach. I'm just rambling here. Please don't take offense.

One other thing... strangely enough,one of the best books on writing I have ever read is "On Writing" by Stephen King. Please know upfront that he uses some pretty gritty language, but I found this book incredibly honest and straightforward. Not to mention full of very good practical advice.

The first half is his autobiography, and the second is his thoughts on the craft of writing itself. Very, very good, but again, be warned. It is NOT a Christian book.

Anyhoo... there you go. I guess I just felt like typing.

God bless.

Oh absolutely! Wow, what a blessing! Thank you so much!

Gerard Lee said:

Dear Rodney,

As an amateur writer of home made comics, I have often wondered if there was a magical 'format' and 'right way' to write scripts to send to artists. Even after so many years, I have never quite figured that out, as it seems to me there are many approaches people use to presenting their stories. So I can't help with your question, but I just noticed it's your birthday and I happen to have an unread copy of "The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics" by Dennis O'Neil. May I send it to you as a gift? Send me a PM with your mailing address, and I will snail mail it to you this week if you like.

Be well, be blessed!

Gerry

Thanks Steve, and I didn't take anything you said as "preaching" to me. I appreciate your comments. That is one thing that I do not do enough of, fun reading, so I'll need to find some time to do so.

Steve Crespo said:

I think a better way to look at it is what makes a good story in general over a good comic script. 

When I was trying to land my first illustration job I remember meeting a Marvel editor at a comic con- I have no idea who it was- who told me one thing that I never forgot. He said: When you are drawing comics, never draw down.

Don't skimp because it's just a comic. Draw the best you can. Always.

The same with writing. Don't think of it as a comic script. The rules for a good story are as present in comics as they are for other forms of writing and storytelling.

Maybe some of the writer here can give you more specifics, but that would be my input.

That, and one other thing...

They say that the folks who can detect counterfeit currency can do so, not by studying the various types of counterfeits, but by studying the real thing- by studying real currency, and becoming so familiar with it they can smell a fake a mile away.

I think it is the same with writing, and more importantly, reading. I have been reading every single night to my daughters since my oldest was very young. (She is almost 13.) We've read a lot of books, and on top of that, my wife and I are huge readers on our own time. We've amassed a pretty decent little library. But one of the great results of that is that we can now detect a poorly crafted story just a few paragraphs in. Bad writing, and bad structure stick out now like a sore thumb only because we are so familiar with good writing and good structure.

I would also suggest that you read. Read a lot, and make it a lifestyle. And not just comics, but all kinds of literature. (If you don't already.) If you do that you'll answer your question simply by what you have absorbed. And it will happen naturally.

And when you write, write good stories that will become comics. Not the other way around.

I don't mean to preach. I'm just rambling here. Please don't take offense.

One other thing... strangely enough,one of the best books on writing I have ever read is "On Writing" by Stephen King. Please know upfront that he uses some pretty gritty language, but I found this book incredibly honest and straightforward. Not to mention full of very good practical advice.

The first half is his autobiography, and the second is his thoughts on the craft of writing itself. Very, very good, but again, be warned. It is NOT a Christian book.

Anyhoo... there you go. I guess I just felt like typing.

God bless.

Actually, there ARE differences in writing for comics and writing from other media. There are even differences from writing for other VISUAL medium.


There are several things to keep in mind: in comics your pictures don't move. They're static. (yes, this is a DUH, but you wouldn't believe how many people try to write a FILM script for a comic one) Additionally, for the most part, you have a SET number of pages in which you MUST tell your story. The comparisons to "moving pictures" work best when comparing episodic comics to episodic television (not feature length film).

There's a trend in comics now for "decompression" in which you can spend 22 pages with a comic and get as much story as you could in 3 pages back "in the day." It's a trend, yes, but I don't think it's a good thing. Often you can look at them and tell where the writer MEANT for it to be a film...but it is NOT a film. :) [as a side note, do you read Jim Shooter's blog? He talks about decompression and comic writing quite a bit--well worth the read. And oh! O'Neil's book is also very good]

Writers of comics must also play a bit of a "director's" role in that they must THINK visually when scripting. Scene changes should come with SETTING or ESTABLISHING shots--yes, this is the writer's job in a comic script.


and the like.

Lots of good books on writing out there (I agree about the back half of King's book)...don't get bogged down with reading so much that you forget to write. Strike a balance. Writing is like ANYTHING else, it requires PRACTICE in order for you to improve. If you're not writing daily, you're not improving any. :)

-Roland

OH.

If you want to email me at brolandmann@gmail.com, I'll be happy to send you some script samples. :)

But DO tell me you're on here with you else I think some stranger is asking for scripts! ha

And yeah...what Buzz said.

"Actually, there ARE differences in writing for comics and writing from other media. There are even differences from writing for other VISUAL medium."

Roland,

   I don't know if this was in reply to my post, but if it was I would like to say that I agree with you completely- there are differences in the form when writing for comics than in other media.

   Absolutely, a comic is not a novel, being a visual medium, and so the form is different.

   My point was that in terms of story elements (or those things that make great stories) there is no difference. Character development, conflict, pacing, plot, sub-plot, etc., etc... all these are necessary to a great story be it comic or otherwise. How you put it down on paper may differ, but the ingredients are all the same.

   And as to your point about being so bogged down with reading that you forget to write, I agree. Actually, King mentions in his book that the first thing any aspiring writer must do if they truly want to be a writer is write. Every day.

   He also says that the second thing a writer must do is read.

   And read a lot.

   I actually believe reading is essential to a life devoted to illustration as well. (Though "illustrating" and "looking at illustration/art" are the two primary instructions for those of my ilk.)

  Okay... just wanted to clarify.

   Shalom.

Steve:

I think your response answered my question. Character development, plots, sub-plots are the required elements, but just how it is laid out on paper is up to me. That's what I need to figure out--just like determining my best drawing style--I have to figure out my "planning style."
Do you think a certain style of drawing lends itself to a certain genre? For example, I draw cartoons, but I love superhero stories. Does cartoons+superheroes=weird? I hope that makes sense. 

Steve Crespo said:

"Actually, there ARE differences in writing for comics and writing from other media. There are even differences from writing for other VISUAL medium."

Roland,

   I don't know if this was in reply to my post, but if it was I would like to say that I agree with you completely- there are differences in the form when writing for comics than in other media.

   Absolutely, a comic is not a novel, being a visual medium, and so the form is different.

   My point was that in terms of story elements (or those things that make great stories) there is no difference. Character development, conflict, pacing, plot, sub-plot, etc., etc... all these are necessary to a great story be it comic or otherwise. How you put it down on paper may differ, but the ingredients are all the same.

   And as to your point about being so bogged down with reading that you forget to write, I agree. Actually, King mentions in his book that the first thing any aspiring writer must do if they truly want to be a writer is write. Every day.

   He also says that the second thing a writer must do is read.

   And read a lot.

   I actually believe reading is essential to a life devoted to illustration as well. (Though "illustrating" and "looking at illustration/art" are the two primary instructions for those of my ilk.)

  Okay... just wanted to clarify.

   Shalom.

"Do you think a certain style of drawing lends itself to a certain genre?"

Absolutely.

Consider the gritty, and terrifyingly dark world of Batman by Frank Miller-

...Would it have been so successful if it was done by, say, Sergio Aragones?

Probably not.

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