How To Plan A Graphic Novel

This is the second blog post about my experience of creating a graphic novel. In my first blog post I focus on the advice given in books by some of the Big Beasts (Marvel and DC) of Comics and Graphic novels, so this post will have a more personal focus and will show you how I started my plans.

5 Tips To Get Started With Your Story Outline

I found it really hard to begin writing the story outline but once I started I couldn’t stop! Below are 5 main tips I would pass on to someone who like me was finding it hard to begin.

Tip 1 – Imagine you’re telling the story to a friend.

The first thing to do is to open a document on your computer or take a pencil and paper and start writing. Being faced with an empty page can be daunting. I sat at my desk for a while and did nothing. Then, I imagined telling the story to a friend and began typing the words I would use to tell someone my story outline – just to get me started. And once I’d finished the first line I was on my way!

Tip 2 – Forget about formatting.

Once you start writing you might be tempted to begin formatting. Don’t. The objective is to get the story outline (with warts and all) out of your head. If you lose focus and start worrying about how it looks on the page, you’ll never get this finished. Just keep writing.

Tip 3 – Ignore spelling and grammar mistakes.

Again, don’t be tempted to go back and edit for spelling and grammar. You will lose the thread of the story and you need to focus on getting this outline on paper. Spelling and grammar is something for the future.

Tip 4 – Use an asterix or flag content you need to research.

As you’re writing there will be areas of content you need to research. Sometimes they come to you only whilst you’re writing. Use an asterix or some other ‘flag’ when this happens – but don’t stop writing. Don’t be tempted to describe why you have placed the flag at that point in the story. It will come back to you when you re-read the document. Trust me. It works.

Tip 5 – Print out the document and attach to a wall.

There are several reasons why I think this is important:

  • It makes you feel really good to see your story in one place as a whole and out of your head.
  • When you re-write you can pick a point in the outline to write – you don’t have to start writing at the beginning.
  • By looking at the story as a whole, it’s much easier to make connections through the story. For example, at the beginning of my story, a child asks a question to an adult. I use that same question later in the story. I could do this because I saw the whole story in front of me and realised the impact it would have.
  • It’s easier to see where changes to the story line could be made.

I’m one of those people who finds getting started the hardest part of any creative endeavour. This method was really good for me and I will definitely use it again in the future. Try it – it might get you on your way to the first stage of writing your story outline too.

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