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Guidelines to create a Graphic Novel

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Many of you might have read Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and have loved it since you were a kid! While reading these, you might have wondered how you can write a graphic novel as well. Given the fact that the graphic novel market is growing exponentially each year, doesn’t it make sense to try writing one yourself? If your answer is yes, follow the steps given below on writing a graphic novel:

Steps to write a graphic novel:

There are 6 things that one needs to know regarding the steps of writing a graphic novel:

  • Find the right mentor/partner: If you can either draw or write, you still need people to help you out. Even if you can both write and draw, you need a mentor to help you decide the right story angle for your novel. You’ll need to find a partner to assist you in editing your novel! You will also require a colorist and letterer to add life to your graphic novel.

  • Find the right story: You have to do extensive research on the graphic novel market to figure out what is liked, the genre you want to write and figure out common grounds. You need a good narrative with a compelling storyline to complete your novel. You’ll want to center it around a three-dimensional main character and set it in a detailed world where the readers will get lost in your book. This way, creating a graphic narrative is no different than novel writing, rather you can grab the reader’s attention by giving them an opportunity to create a more vivid image of the characters in your novel!

  • Highlight your style: You will need a visual style guide to tell your artist how to draw the characters and settings for your novel. Always remember, the drawings need to be relevant with your writing or it will create confusion among the readers. Your style of writing and drawing must be simple and eye-catching so that you can keep your readers attention until the end.

  • Outline, Storyboard and Writing: Many filmmakers use a graphic storyboard to plot each panel of sequential art in the graphic novel. A storyboard can be formally drawn on large panels or written informally in an artist’s sketchbook. You have to outline every step very cautiously. Since you’ll be working with many people in many phases, you’ll need to keep track and outline every task to bring life to your story.

  • Write for a graphic novel audience: During the writing process, it’s important to keep in mind that the people who love reading graphic novels are not necessarily the same people who love reading traditional novels. They might not even read short-form comic books as well. If you don’t know graphic novel readers, you have to seek them out and learn about their likings. The easiest way to understand a fan’s mentality is to become a fan of yourself. Then write the kind of stories that you, as a fan, would like to read!

  • Edit, Edit and Edit: Graphic novels require continuous editing in every stage to give it a perfect finishing. You should be focused enough to check everything and edit to improvise the writing and make sure everything is in the right shape. If the editing is incomplete, errors might cost you a lot! Because once it reaches the colorist or the letterer, making changes becomes a lot more difficult and costly.

Since graphic novels create a wondrous business opportunity, we need to capitalize on the market and guide the talent out there to create a unique and one-of-a-kind narrative. If you’re highly interested in starting your own graphic novel, just grab a pen and do it! Because this booming business will take you far in your career and closer to the path of success.

This article was written by Jinnatul Raihan Mumu.


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