homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

How to write a comic book

posted by Tim Carmody   Jan 26, 2018

Greg Pak is one of my favorite comic book writers, an intellectual and superfan who really knows how to do world-building and get into his characters’ heads. Among other books, he wrote Planet Hulk, a huge part of the basis for Thor: Ragnarok (minus Thor) that’s also one of the best (largely) self-contained comic book stories ever.

The other day, Pak took a moment on Twitter to describe his process for writing comics. It’s really good descriptive/prescriptive advice for any kind of writing, and well worth a read:

How I write a comic book script:
1. Outline the whole thing.
2. Break the outline down into pages.
3. Write from the beginning, but if I get stuck, skip around and write the easier scenes first.
4. Go back and write the harder scenes, which are easier now that I’ve done the rest.
5. Rewrite the easier scenes now that I’ve written the harder scenes and know my story better.
6. Go through and edit everything multiple times.
7. Turn it in when I run out of time.
8. Enjoy that fourteen minutes of calm you get after turning in a script.
9. Work on revisions.
10. Figure out what it’s REALLY all about and make the subtle dialogue tweaks that bring out that deeper theme/emotional thread.

The whole thread includes lots of dynamite numbered (3A, 3B, 4A) and unnumbered supplementary notes (the work of revision is never done). This one is probably my favorite:

Two general notes to myself that always seems to work is give your characters quiet moments that dramatize character, especially early in the script/story, and give the big emotional beats time to play out. Let it breathe when it needs to breathe.