I have to admit that when I see something that claims to be the “definitive guide” to anything, I tend to be skeptical.
Author Mark Kneece teaches comics writing (at the Savannah College of Art and Design). I suspect that much of this book comes from his lessons for his class. But the problem with a “how-to” type of book is that you have to presume the reader doesn’t know anything and start at the very beginning. So how much information is going to be in a 192 page book?
The answer is: a surprising amount of information.
Although moderately simple, this book packs a good deal of information on the basics of writing (and selling/pitching) a graphic novel. Some of the information is rather ‘generic’ tips on writing in general. How to create interesting characters; how to build a climax in your story. But it also includes information very specific to comics/graphic novels: how to communicate with and write for an artist; formatting a comic script.
There was one tip that I was hoping to find but didn’t — how do you build a story within the 20+ pages of a comic book and at the same time, build the story for a larger story arc. This, to me, would be the real art of comic book writing.
The book is nicely illustrated with plenty of examples of how a page might look based on the script, and the book is laid out in a very simple, easy-to-read fashion (with word balloons to help identify important messages). It is a very nice book for the beginner and intermediate comic book writer. I would still recommend Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics for the more advanced reader/writers.
Overall, I was glad to have read this and I did get some valuable information from it, though I would not declare it to be the ‘definitive’ guide on the subject of comic book writing.
Looking for a good book? The Art of Comic Book Writing by Mark Kneece, is a helpful tool for the budding comic book writer – a good first step on the path to a potential career.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Art of Comic Book Writing: The Definitive Guide to Outlining, Scripting, and Pitching Your Sequential Art Stories
author: Mark Kneece
paperback, 192 pages