When trying to script your own comic book, it does take a good amount of knowing what your story is about and how your characters react in the story that unfolds, but I’m assuming that you know in great detail about your comic books characters and what they are about, so it is really about progressing your story and setting some pace to your graphic story.
I write lots of notes that I label and categorize so that I can locate certain pieces that are great ideas and I rip pages out here and there and combine them to make full scenes, so at the end of my writing I end up with a rough manuscript that will tell the loose story based on all of my written notes, it’s staggered way of doing things, but I’ve always enjoyed working this way, to see bits and pieces of a story that you create unfolding by adding pieces of a puzzle, like a jigsaw you will see the story flow.
The story outline I always have to hand when I script a comic book effort, because I want to fit the characters around the story and not the other way and most important of all I want the dialogue to be as believable as possible and no overly long annoying dialogue that other comic book writers seem to think that is passable, although it has become a joke now with long monologues of certain characters which then gives the hero a chance to beat the baddie, I hate cliches when they are obvious, so I try to avoid them.
Although sometimes I know exactly what the characters are going to say before I get to finishing the art for some pages and it’s that clear vision I cling on to, as usual your first thoughts are usually right when you know the story players well, one thing that maybe helpful is to write a complete panel by panel script of the entire comic before starting to draw it, and this description of the panels just explains the action or what’s happening with the comics players, this way you can understand clearly what is going to be drawn.
Some elements of storyboarding can be a massive help too to get the story flowing as you want it to, writing and drawing comics is a collaborative effort that if you are tackling both jobs you have more control over the end result, thinking of your graphic novel or comic book as a movie but in graphical form is the mindset you want to be in, because if you think in terms of real movie quality, the dialogue, the art, the lighting and the story will shine, all the scripting elements are the back bone of the story, it’s about finding some sort of balance along the way.
If it helps and if your story is going to be a long series, you could write out character profiles to remind you of the key story players personalities and this keeps a reign on not going to far in terms of making one of your characters do something that wouldn’t be them or fit their characters profile, I do this with the main players and any throwaway characters I don’t bother because they usually end up dead anyway in my comics.
When you script your own comic book, you may find a way of working that suits you and I’d go for the right one that helps you create a fantastic script for a comic book or graphic novel.
Here is a made up script, I wrote on the spot right now, just to give you an idea of what I just wrote about….
Panel One - A crowd of people in a wide shot, small panel with the city behind them, buildings etc.
Panel Two - Another small panel which focuses on one person in the crowd who stands out, because he’s not dressed like the rest and he’s holding a black package.
Panel Three- We see a panel close up of the black package and we see that it’s a bomb with a timer and all we see of the bomber is a gloved hand.
Panel Four - A small panel of the package left and seen through the gap in a bin, the timer has counted down with a few seconds left.
Panel Five - The last panel on the page, an explosion, with a few bodies flying in the air with some rubble added.
Now take that panel by panel description and you can add written elements such as captions which also describe the events taking place on the page, these are separate from actual words spoken from the characters and this is done in the form of a proper script which lists all the wording of the story in order, so taking what you have begun with the panel description, have a look at this worded script effort.
Panel One - [Caption] The city is busy with people, lunch hour has arrived and people just want something to eat, unknowingly ignorant of the events about to transpire.
Panel Two - [Caption] This is Achmed, he is not well, he lost his job, because he threw a brick at his boss, he just snapped and he can’t be fixed!
Panel Three - [dashed thought balloon] The buildings gonna burn, ain’t it cool!
Panel Four - [Caption] Achmed leaves his present for his former company in a bin outside the building and walks away to view the damage from afar.
Panel Five- No Word, No Captions, just the lettered word Ka-boom! diagonally across the panel.
Well, I hope this helps and gives a little insight into scripting your own comic books, because the creative progress of creating a comic book is just the best thing in the world, you should try it!