Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#57) -- Best Comic Book Writing Advice

What's the best comic book writing advice you received?

This one's easy. Hands down, it came from Chuck Dixon, comics scribe extraoadinaire. He keeps a list of "The Ten Commandments of Comic Book Scriptwriting," and it's the best and most complete list I've ever seen on the subject.

It is as follows (or visit the original link)

1. OPEN STRONG.
Get your story off and running.

2. ONLY ESSENTIAL DIALOGUE.
Just the talking you need to put the point across.

3. AT LEAST THREE PIECES OF ACTION PER STORY.
They can be mixed major or minor action but there has to be something visual and in motion in your story.

4. REMEMBER THAT SOMEONE HAS TO DRAW WHAT YOU WRITE.
Take pity on the penciller. Don't make him draw something difficult over and over again.

5. FIND SOMETHING TO LIKE ABOUT EACH CHARACTER.
Even Dr. Doom has his good points.

6. FIND SOMETHING TO HATE ABOUT EACH CHARACTER.
Even Batman can be aggravating or Robin self-centered.

7. AVOID REDUNDANCY, DON'T DESCRIBE WHAT THE READER CAN SEE.
If your character's on a motorcycle crossing a bridge there's no reason to state this in writing.

8. EVERY COMIC BOOK IS SOMEONE'S FIRST COMIC BOOK.
Keep your storytelling simple, basic, and easy to follow.

9. THE LAST PANEL OF EACH PAGE SHOULD MAKE THE READER TURN TO THE NEXT PAGE.
Something exciting or mysterious in that final panel. "It's YOU!"

10. DON'T BE A SMARTASS.
Folks don't pay good money for you to show off your college degrees. They want a good, fast paced story. Tell that story and get out of the way!