HOW TO WRITE A GRAPHIC NOVEL



welcome to my office this is my desk and this is where I work every day some of you know that I am a writer I work as a writer that's what I do most of the time I write for theatres I write movies I read TV series graphic novels and so on and so forth everything that involves writing that's mostly what I use my time with besides shooting the episodes and editing the videos on YouTube and whatnot but like my main job my main thing is writing and I told my patrons that I was working on a graphic novel during January that's what I've been doing for the last three and a half weeks and I just finished the first draft and I thought it would be an interesting experience to show you more or less how I've been doing this the whole process of me writing this script for the graphic novel that I just finished and if you're interested in that you might be interested in this video I hope you enjoy it so let's go before starting let me tell you about the tools that I use so I use mostly final draft and Microsoft Word now a final draft I have the version on the computer and on my phone and I used my phone to write some of the time and I use my computer like I use my phone when I'm not on my home and I have a smoke keyboard a universal mobile keyboard that I use with my phone and I stand and when I'm not mobile when I here working in my home I used in the final traffic on the computer the version it's final draft 10 the one that I have I purchase it like two years ago I used to have a license when I work in a television they gave me a license copy of final draft and I used that for a bunch of years and then I decided to go for this one which was the newer version and so far it's been great it's expensive though it's an investment that you have to make they make some offers every once in a while so if you want to purchase it do what I did which is wait for a good offer to come up and then purchase it with 50% discount or something so I think that's pretty good that's the tool that I use so final draft on the cellphone and on the computer now before going to final draft I tend to outline everything using word so this graphic now is call adding is now friend and I started doing this graphic novel we did a small episode for a contest on webtoon comics and we didn't make it to the second round so we actually stopped trying on that regard anyway so we're gonna just do it ourselves so I outlined everything in just two pages now this is a treatment or more or less a treatment so I divided everything in eight episodes and I said to myself okay this is gonna be just eight episodes long and I'm gonna just write whatever happens on the episode this is really useful when you're starting to do a graphic novel or you a script in general so the good thing about doing this is that you outline the whole thing and you see it as a treatment and you can tell it's like a short story but really condensed and you can tell the whole art like oh character a goes here and then meets character B and then the whole problem arises and what not so you could see if it works in the grand scheme of things because the main problem that most people have when they write a script is that they think about the scene like oh this is a cool moment or this is a nice II know this is a good cliffhanger there's a cool plot point but in the grand scheme of things how does that work does that really work should it should that plot point be in the beginning in the middle at the end so instead of going straight to the script and just open final draft and start writing which is is really it's a big temptation because writing dialogue Alice for me is the most it's a fun part that's when I have fun that's when I get into the script and say like okay and how the characters talk how they interact that's really fun but that's the last stage this was in 2015 then I decided to make an updated version and I work another version which is four pages long as you can see the episodes are longer this is the general treatment it's a little bit lengthy ER and the characters are introduced in action and I add a little bit of dialogue to know more or less how they interact but the whole idea of this is if somebody asks you to see your your graphic novel like if you go to an area tour and yes like a what's what's your story about you're gonna have like a page prepared you know that's that's a really good thing to have to know your story like to be able to say the the tagline this was mostly for me to know how long this was gonna take because I'm not a professional a graphic novel writer like I'm a script writer but I happen to written this is my third graphic novel so I know a little bit of what I'm doing but usually what happens is for every page that you write the person who draws is gonna draw like five pages or three pages depending on the amount of description and the amount of dialogue and the amount of you know action that you pack in so it's good to make a general treatment to know how long it's gonna be you get a better grasp of the whole arc the characters their backstory how they interact what happens the possible plot point is the possible trace that you might have the possible thoughts most than anything like you have your plot a which is the main character so you have a plot B if that is so how does the plot a and plug B interact so it's good to make a treatment now when all of this was done I went to the computer because now I knew what I was doing so all of this was what I did before months ago in 2015 and then 2017 and then just thinking about the whole story when I I thought I had it more or less grassed like oh I know what I want to write about then I would feel computer so let me show you a little bit of how it looks let's go for a really early version of the episode one this was the first draft of the first episode of the first thing that I ever did and it last nine pages and it contains the prologue and the first the first chapter but the thing is this is clearly not a final script at all this is more or less just how to know how characters interact and how they talk and whatnot so that was the whole thing when I wrote this if you go to view index cards summary you can see that these are all the scenes and they have no content but if you go to and I'm saved but if you go to a newer version now in this newer version as you can see I started adding some information about the scenes and then what happens and I discovered that the easiest way to make this happen at least in this project was you have different colors for different timelines because it's a sci-fi comic and there's some going back and forth in time and it was gonna be really confusing if I just did it like this this version is 17 pages and it contains again the prologue and chapter 1 this was the last big draft I did before getting into a project for realsies let me grab the latest one which is this one then the current version that I have and if I go to index card summary you will see that I have many different colors for each timeline they mean different things one is past future present late present I have my own meaning for every color but it's really important to keep track of what you're doing and basically the only way to do that is to be organized what I usually do is I go I grab the treatment and I just start scratching okay this is we want one scene okay this is scene one and I just take it and then this is probably scene – and then I get okay two scenes three scenes and I divide okay this episode has for example chance scenes okay that's great if it has ten scenes then I just go here and then make ten index cards and I write the ten scenes with a short very short description for example this one says moly sleeps sharing drives that's all you need to do that's all I need to know about the scene and then I write the next one and the next one and the next one in that ways really is to keep track of all the scenes this is the beginning of the graphic novel so for example interior exterior card day blah blah and there's a scription of the whole scene and this was this is the first index card and you see when you go here this is this one moly sleeps aaron drives to me actually it means this scene that's all I need to know now it's very important to keep track of what you're doing that's where the index cards come in handy that way you know which scenes are working and if there's a scene that might be somewhere else and it changes that's important if there's a scene that that's my motor if there's a scene that doesn't really matter where it goes and he alters nothing probably that scene is useless so it's good to have the overall narrative of the movie or the script or the comic always in mind to my classes are really dirty hold on better I guess so so for example when I did this graphic novel with friend it was different because this is divided in chapters so I guess it's easier to know what I'm doing so this is introduction and chapter one and chapter two and so forth so every chapter it's it's fairly extinguished from the rest and I knew what the organization of this was going to be because it's a book about friendship I want to talk about our lives so introduction is just what is this book going to be about yeah chapter one is when you're a kid chapter two is current state and chapter three is the future when you're old and that's that's the whole game of this book now because I knew that it was not so hard to organize the whole book at the whole graphic novel but when I have something like this like any Mia's where there's no chapter division there's no clear organization and everything is so mixed if I would just jump straight to final draft and start writing the scenes without doing this thing it will be madness like I cannot stress enough how important is to make this like treatments even though they are not that interesting like I don't enjoy doing this this is like the most boring part of being a writer at least to me because it's not you're not writing a short story this will go to a trash nobody cares about this you're just writing for nothing maybe make it readable so in case you need some feedback somebody else can really – or your editor or whatever but just think about how you want to organize your whole project and make treatments one or two treatments make a short one just really sweet go to a point and that say to make a long one for you try to outline the whole thing the whole story and get the grasp of the characters and then once you're sure about what you're gonna do and what you're gonna tell and what this the story arc is then you can jump to draft and start writing something important that you need to do when you're writing a project of this length is to have organized times now it's very common that you sit down and you don't feel like inspired to write which is a word that I don't usually use because I don't I don't believe that much inspiration but sometimes I sit down and I feel like oh this is going nowhere and you have to force yourself to write that's least that's what I do that's my system I just sit down and I put some timer I use the Pomodoro Technique in which a work like head on for 25 minutes and then I rest for five minutes and then I work head on for 25 minutes and rest for five minutes and that's how my day goes by so I work several hours in a row that's what I do in order to keep track of what I'm doing because otherwise I'll just be waiting for inspiration to happen and that can happen at any time or just not happen at all and if I have a deadline like if I need to finish this script by the end of January I just need to do it I may need to make it happen that's adorable so yeah that's an advice that I can give you it's really important to be focused on what you're doing and to have some timelines and actually to have a schedule like you don't need to write every day I I personally don't need to write every day as long as I can control like if I'm gonna write three days a week I'm gonna be completely focused on that and not be just browsing on YouTube while I have like oh I have I'm gonna dis wave in 20 minutes until I get an idea oh I wonder what that is and I go to Wikipedia and I start jumping to articles like that's really toxic if you want to finish your stuff like you got a beat like you're gonna be a freakin samurai what also happens sometimes is that I just can't find myself to work at home I just don't feel comfortable I need to change the space because I feel like sometimes I sometimes I feel like it's I'm stuck and I need to go out and what that happens I just grab my phone I grab my keyboard and I go outside and I go to a good fair and I just have a nice coffee and I have another perspective on things and I just I keep the same time like I'd still work 25 minutes and rest five minutes but there's less distractions and I usually choose places that don't have internet connectivity because that way I can't procrastinate there's no way I'll get a mail there's nothing that will destruct me the bad thing about that is sometimes I have a question like oh hi is this work written like this or man I really wish to know what kind of I don't know truck brands are there because this characters you use a really specific truck and I can't find the answer but I usually write on a cat like fine truck name or hey did you see fine series and then later on when I get internet connection I make I fail all those gaps of information that the characters should know but I don't know and I use the internet for that but when I'm just focused on writing and having the first draft like I organize in that way and I it's good to go out and vent now this is a weird thing but it's it's important to mention to your ability as a writer will reflect on the dialogue and the overall arc so the small descriptions and the small details were mostly big Noord as a writer you were present in the whole story arc like how well does the whole orchestration of the story operates that's where you are that arises from here all of that is in here that's that's what you're working on that's what the people will read they won't read this specifically but they will read this story they will understand the whole story and that's where your ability as a writer should shine and the other place what it needs to shine isn't dialogue now if your dialogue is boring or the scenes are just repetitive and then nothing happens and there's no progress then it's gonna be a boring script so as a writer for performative things or for graphic novels or for TV or for theater and whatnot those are the two things that will show that you're a writer that you have something to present to the audience you're they're not gonna be written the treatment they're not gonna be reading anything else but the whole story arc and dialogue so make the dialogue the best thing possible usually what happens is that I go through the whole project and then I finish it and once I'm done and it's finished and I okay this is the beginning of the story this is the end of the story I wrote everything I'm now I can start like really working on the dialogue and that takes a whole another week or week and a half so since I have everything so clear because I made the treatment so many times I know the story but knowing the story is just half of the work the other half of the work is making dialogue interesting so yeah if you wanted to know what I do and the projects that I was working on during whole January that's that's what I was into finishing any news I'm really happy about the result I don't know exactly when it's gonna be out it's because it's a long process like I just finished the first draft mal friend will probably start sketching a little bit and I have to try a little bit more and see if the dialogue is fitting and we have to have some discussions about the characters and how they behave I might need to rewrite a bunch of parts but for the most part is done now I said it took me three weeks to write this grid but in reality this this took me a lot of time because I had to make these treatments and I had to think about the story for a long time there's been on my head for quite some time and now it is finally out there and it's it has some kind of cohesive form that I can point and say okay this is the story now I'm really happy about it I think it's I think it's a it's a cool story I think you're gonna like it so whenever I have news about this project I'll let you know but for now you people wanted to know how I write scripts and what's my my process about it so I hope you enjoyed it I hope you learned something and if not just ask me anything that you want I'll be happy to talk more about this is a great part of my life that I barely ever talk about on the channel so if you're interested in this I'm more than happy to let you in my page and show you what I'm doing and that's it I hope you had a great week and I'll see you next time guys and keep shooting

41 thoughts on “HOW TO WRITE A GRAPHIC NOVEL

  1. I made a graphic novel, the story, the dialogues and the drawings. Samuel Bastard, a mexican outlaw in the old west. You can find it on my channel.

  2. This is a really interesting and informative video! I really like this description of your job and what you do on projects. As a Professional Writing major at my college who really wants to get into writing for movies and graphic novels, this is a great video to see. I was wondering, how did you manage to get a job working on TV shows and films? My goal is to become a writer in the movie industry, but it seems like such a difficult industry to get into, and I was just wondering if you had any tips for an up-and-coming writer about how to get a job writing for the movie industry. Thanks for your time!

  3. If only I could just jump through the screen and kiss you on the cheek! This was very helpful to me and my process. Thank you.

  4. In your 2 page outline, do you have the end? Whether or not it's the complete and/or final version of the end?
    Thank you.

  5. Me gustó mucho tu video, ojalá hagas más de este tipo, de verdad que estan muy bakanes <3 quiero hacer un proyecto y esto me ha ayudado mucho. Saludos.

  6. Hi Ed, so I did script writing in university, but they never taught me about index cards. What exactly are they for and how do you use them? I'm creating my first graphic novel and I'm glad to see that you approach graphic novels like a film script. I had no idea where to start, but now I know I can approach it like I would a screenplay.

  7. 🙏🏻 thanks Ed! I would like to write and draw a short graphic novel, your suggestions are so good 😊 may I ask you a question? What do you think about scenes that inspires you but they are not linked to the story? I mean: first you can see or feel something, you have it you write or draw it but you don't know where to put inside the story? Does it happen to you?

  8. Ed, this video is fantastic! I've scoured the internet for something just like this. Thank you , you've just gained a writing padwan.

  9. Un vídeo genial. Deberías hacer más sobre escritura, por ejemplo uno hablando sobre cómo te enfrentas a los diálogos o sobre tu carrera como escritor. Me parecen muy interesantes.

  10. Can you make a video about “how do you shoot fast without a light meter” i saw it when u shoot with your M3 .. i can’t really trust the sunny16 rule , i wish u can give as advise .. i use my phone but its not fast

    Thank you for the amazing videos you made

  11. Hola Edo! Quizás en un próximo vídeo puedes contar el proceso de los documentales que has realizado. Desde el proceso de idea, escritura y la realización.
    Son súper bacanes tus vídeos!!! Saludos y abrazos 😀

  12. Thanks for all the explanations. It's very helpfull. I love graphic novels and I'm really courious to read it.

  13. Son buenísimos tus videos y este me encantó. Es muy bueno conocer el proceso de trabajo. Y si estoy de acuerdo con un comentario anterior, sería lindo que hicieras un video recomendando libros y alguna novela gráfica. Gracias por compartir

  14. Me encantó saber como trabajas y organizas tu tiempo. En mis proyectos, siempre me cuesta distribuir bien cuanto rato le dedicaré a cada cosa. Igual me pasa que me distraigo fácil, así que encontré muy útil que enseñaras tu forma de trabajo, para así obtener ideas. Mucho éxito en este nuevo proyecto 🙂

  15. Hola Ed! Me encantaría comprar las graphic novels que han hecho hasta ahora pero vivo en Texas y no tengo idea en donde comprarlas, sabes donde las puedo conseguir en línea o en alguna otra parte? Thank you! Love your video btw, super interesting!

  16. I've been writing a book. I finished an initial draft which ended up about 80k words. The problem is, when I was writing the book I had no idea where it would go, or even what the themes were. As time went on I started to discover what the book was about through writing it, (a normal problem for me) but as I finished this first rough draft I already had ideas about how to go back and change things, add new scenes, or totally change the context to better suit this refined vision. The last few months I've been taking a break due to entering university, but I still get ideas of what I need to change in the book to emphasis the right ideas. Do you think it's worth it to go back and make a treatment for the next draft, even though I've already written so much of the story?

  17. Estuve esperando esta clase de vídeos Ed! Muchas gracias por compartirnos esta parte de ti. Ojala continúes con esta "sección" porque se que puedo y podemos aprender un montón de cosas ;3

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