Essays and Information that apply to the Writing of Comic Books

There seems to be a lack of good information available on this subject. The guys in our business who really know what they are doing will say that there is no substitute for learning technique and structure. Unfortunately a writer is often faced with editors who are untrained and uninformed.

"Writing is one of those abilities you can't really define until you actually read a person's product." - Bob Harras

This statement was made in an issue of Wizard magazine by one of Marvel's top editors, and serves to illustrate a good writer's worst nightmare. It's a sad truth that working with an editor who has no idea what makes a good story is a hazard of the business. If you learn story structure and learn to write convincing dialog it may not guarantee you success, but it will help when you have an opportunity to work with a real editor. In the same Wizard article longtime writer and editor, Denny O'Neal said

"You need to be conversant with technique and structure, and that can be taught."

Denny has taught writing for many years as well as writing some of what are arguably among the best stories in comics. I have worked with Jim Shooter for a long time and feel very fortunate to have been able to learn a bit about the craft of writing from a man who's skills as a storyteller place his work consistently among the best of what comics (and other media) has to offer.

Here's a link to an interesting Comic Book Reources interview with Jim Shooter about his scripting process:
Jim Shooter's Scripting of "Solar"

Here are some works that I hope you will find informative and enlightening.

Mark Twain's Rules of Literary Art

Excerpted from his essay "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper"

Jim Shooter's "How to Write Comics"

Excerpted from his "How to Create Comics" seminar

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules for Writing Fiction

From his book "Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction"

Types of Shots

a good explaination of camera depths and camera angles as they relate to comic book storytelling.

When I Become the Evil Overlord...

a humorous look at the cliches of action stories.

5 Steps to World Domination.

How to be a super villain in 5 difficult steps.

Check back here. I will be adding more pieces as I get them together.


updated on 6/16/10