You can write a comic book.

Have you ever wanted to make a comic book, but you don’t know what to do?A rich and fun art form that is finally getting the respect it deserves, comics combine gorgeous illustrations with face-paced dialogue and stories.There are some threads that any budding writer would do well to pull, even though there is no one right way to write a comic book.

Step 1: It is possible to translate a short visual story from your head to the page.

Comic books blend the best of both novels and movies, making them a blast to read.You want a story with big, fun images and visuals as well as a fair amount of conversation and dialogue.There are no wrong ideas, but there are some things to keep in mind.If the background reflects the character’s changing thoughts, a character musing to themselves might work.The workload on the illustrator is increased by more characters, locations, and action.The best comic books use dialogue and visual clues to tell their stories quickly and efficiently.The dirty, water colored artwork in V for Vendetta is a great example of how great comic books can be.The artwork should have the same tone as the writing.

Step 2: The plot of your story should be drafted in a paragraph form.

Don’t worry about form, content, or how it will look on the page, just start writing.The pen should flow once you have your idea down.Put the characters in motion and see what happens.It’s okay if you throw most of this away.The first draft is 98% terrible, but the next one is only 98% bad, and so on, until you have a great story.What characters are the most fun to write?What plot points did you like to explore the most?Do you have good ideas that you can’t write about?It’s a good idea to ditch them.Talk this draft over with your friends to get advice on what to do next.

Step 3: There are round, flawed, and exciting characters.

Most of the great movies, comics, and books have characters in them.From villains trying to rule the world to a young girl looking to figure out her political environment, almost all comics are the result of a character who wants something but can’t get it.The fun of a comic book is following a character’s trials, tribulations, and personal flaws as they try to accomplish their goals.This is a great character.Clark Kent reminds us of our own awkward, nervous days, so we don’t like Superman just because he saves the day.This makes your story more interesting.Bruce Wayne is scared of bats just as much as he is of failing his city and parents.He’s more like a normal person than a weird one.The author should not force the character to do it because the plot needs it.This is the fastest way to lose people.

Step 4: To create an instant plot, introduce a problem, fail to solve it, and then resolve it with a surprise.

It is if this sounds too simple.It is the beginning of the plot.Scott Pilgrim got dumped, The Joker is on the loose, and the Avengers broke up.Scott Pilgrim has to fight 7 exes if they fix the problem and fail.Your characters prevailed in a triumphant final push, including Batman defeating The Joker and Scott Pilgrim getting the girl.You can play with these major plot points as you please.It will save you a lot of headaches if you know these three steps ahead of time.Get your hero up a tree, throw rocks at him, and get him down.Make life hell for your characters.The payoff is more rewarding.You should always play with this structure.After peace is brokered in the Civil War, Captain America is assassinated.This moment is great because it plays off the three-act structure, even as it breaks it with a second surprise.

Step 5: Information should be conveyed visually rather than through dialogue or exposition.

You could say that you have a character who needs to turn a paper in or fail their class.You could have the character wake up and say to their mom, “I need to turn this paper in or I fail.”This is unrewarding to the reader.A page of illustrations where the character frantically runs through the door, down the hall, to the office, and then finds it “Closed” is one way to tell this same plot point visually.There is a sign on the wall.The character walks by when he leaves class.A single shot of every other student turning in papers, with your character alone at the desk writing furiously, or with his head in his hands.

Step 6: The timelines for the action and characters in your story can be created using your drafts and paragraphs.

If you want to be really methodical about this, boiling down each plot point and action into it’s essential moment.These are the pages of the comic book.The story should progress with every flip of the page.What is important in a scene?Each scene is pushed into the next by a line of dialogue.Each scene must end in a different place than it began for the readers, plot, and/or characters.The book is spinning its wheels if not.

Step 7: Make the dialogue realistic by shopping it with friends.

Once the story and characters are in place, it’s time to finish the dialogue.The easiest way to make each character sound like a human is to have humans read them out.If you invite a few friends, you can read the dialogue like a script.You’ll hear it instantly when people don’t know what they’re talking about.There is nothing that says dialogue can’t be written first.If you like play-writing or screenwriting, you may be more comfortable drafting out scenes in dialogue as opposed to timelines.

Step 8: You can use a mock-up to test out your ideas, style, layout and pacing.

A “mock-up” is a sketch of the entire comic book.The bigger issues layout don’t need to be detailed.How many frames or lines of dialogue fit on each page, where do you want any special pages, and will the format of the page be the same or different depending on the mood?So have some fun, this is where you start merging the words to the pictures.You don’t need to worry about hiring an artist just yet if you’re not artistically inclined.Just focus on the basics.Stick figures can help you visualize the final book.You still want to take it seriously even though it’s only a mock-up.It’s important to treat this like a sketch for a painting and not a practice run for the final project.

Step 9: It’s possible to create several timelines.

What should be shown to the reader in the story, what action needs to occur, where character development will go, etc.You know what their life has been so you can make other timelines for them.You can use these to see where each character needs to be in the book.

Step 10: For your story, divide a blank page into panels.

If your main character discovers bones of a monster in her backyard, the reader will have a nice big picture to look at and take their time viewing.

Step 11: Using your timelines as a guide, fill in the panels with either descriptions or sketches of what action should be seen, and what dialogue ought to be heard.

Dialogue needs to fit in each box because it is seen in a comic book.Don’t jam too much at once.Some comic books allow the dialogue balloons to spill into other frames, creating a somewhat chaotic feel.The speech bubbles should be connected from frame to frame.The same person is giving the same speech, but with different actions underneath.

Step 12: As you work, keep your script and graphic page side by side.

A script and pictures page are used by many professionals.The trick of comic books is their balance between words and images, and this is easiest to see side-by-side.As you work, you can tick off the caption and frame.The script could go: Page 1.Police cars chase a yellow sports car as Spiderman is swinging down the street.It’s strangely quiet today.Page 2.There are two blank caption spaces for Spiderman.

Step 13: Once you’re happy with the mock-up, you can either hire an artist or finish the work yourself.

You might be able to turn the mock-up into a book if you’ve been careful about clean professional work.Use your mock-up as a guide to work on the actual thing.A comic book is a lot of work.It is a lot of fun.If you want to get an outside artist, send them a script and ask for samples.You can see if their style is right for you.Illustrating a comic book is an exciting and challenging art form.

Step 14: If you want to build interest and buzz, start a free webcomic.

You can market and publish your own work on the internet.In many ways, shorter internet comics have replaced physical comics books as ways to build towards the inevitable graphic novel, which is usually all of the strips collected in one book.If you use your webcomic to expand on the stories or characters in the book, viewers will buy the real thing.Even if only for 20 minutes, getting up on social media every day is essential to build some traction online.Publishers are more likely to see and like your work if you have a large follower list.There are people who want to buy the book if they have followers.

Step 15: Make a list of comic book and graphic novel publishers with work similar to yours.

Look up the authors and publishers of your favorite comics to see if they have the same subject or tone as your comic.This list cannot be too large.It is very rare for first-timers to get picked up by the big guys, so remember that.Smaller presses are a better bet.Email, website, and address are included in the contact information for every company.If you apply for graphic novels, be sure to check if the publishing house has a specific division for graphics work, or if they take all submissions the same way.

Step 16: Send samples of your work to the publishing houses.

If the house accepts “unsolicited submissions,” you can send them the work even if they don’t ask.Send in your best work after reading all the rules and guidelines.You keep the list large because you won’t hear back from everyone.Short and professional cover letters are required.You want them to be interested in the story.The story should include artistic samples.

Step 17: Consider self-publishing and marketing your book.

It’s doable.If you have complete control over the entire book, you can ensure that your vision gets onto the page.To self-publish a comic book, you simply need to create a PDF from the pages.

Step 18: The world of publishing is not always easy.

Many manuscripts are thrown out by publishers without being read.Many amazing books get through, too.Prepare you for the hard work to come.It will be much easier to publish a book that you love and feel proud of.The most famous authors were rejected before their success.It hurts now, but it separates published and unpublished comics.