Part 21 of an intermittent series where I read or re-read the writing books on my shelf to see if they’re worth keeping. See previous part here
As per the last of these I’ve been reading “How to Write comics” books. First up was the sequel to Drawing Words & Writing Pictures which was in the last review.
This is another how to make a comic book from the creator perspective rather than a comic script artist per se. There are chapters on perspective, style, colouring and more details on how to create an online comic and how to use computers when creating comics (more than the first book.) It also includes some tips on writing and chapters on publishing. It’s a worthy sequel and, if you can afford it, and are an aspiring comics creator (not just a comics writer) I’d say these books and McCloud’s Understanding comics need to be on your shelf.
However as a writer with little to no artistic ability I’m looking for advice specifically on writing for comics. The next three books promise that.
Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis is a ‘How to’ that I didn’t get much from. It’s interspersed with interviews with comics creators, has a bit of Bendis’s autobiography and ‘how I made it into comics’ and some advice on how to write both Marvel scripting and Full Scripts. It was an entertaining enough read but I didn’t feel like I’d learned much by the end of it and therefore onto the discard pile it goes.
The next two books were much more pedagogical.
The Art of Comic book Writing by Mark Kneece is an excellent resource running from story ideas to formatting scripts to how to talk to artists, the special challenges of pacing comics and putting together a pitch for comic editors. This was a great starter pack for the budding comics writer.
The Comics Experience Guide to Writing Comics by Andy Schmidt was also an excellent read. The book is divided into three parts – how to write a story, how to write a comic and how to be published. The how to write a story section did a better job of explaining story than many much larger books I’ve read and Schmidt is a great teacher. I can’t quite decide which of these two books is the better all-rounder and am therefore keeping both.
I’m now moving onto other media – first up is Playwriting. Starting with that classic: The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri.
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