How To Write Comics And Graphic Novels by Dennis O’Neil #21

Dennis O’Neil, returns to New York University every Wednesday, for his evening class on writing comic books and graphic novels at the university’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

He’s already written a string of columns in line with his teaching on Bleeding Cool. And now he’s writing some more…

I don’t assign reading to the comics writing classes I teach. That seems unnecessary. Writers are usually readers and so all one needs to do is point them at a book and they’ll snap at it like a fish going for a lure and yes, they’re likely to get hooked (and yes, I’ll now put this tortured metaphor out of its misery.)

So: no required reading. But I do provide the students with a suggested reading
list and now I’ll extend the same favor to you:

Reading list:

1. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting – Syd Field.

2. Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman.

3. Hitchcock – Trauffault

4. Comics and Sequential Art – Will Eisner

5. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative – Eisner

6. Understanding Comics – McCloud

7. The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics – O’Neil

8. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition – Christopher Vogler

9. Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David

10. The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth– Sarah Beach

11. Save The Cat! – Blake Snyder

Now. a bonus: suggested listening. Okay, that not strictly accurate.

What I’m doing here is suggesting that you listen to an old radio show. Doesn’t matter which one, really, and they can be easily found on the internet. It occurred to me while playing a transcription of an old Superman show on the car audio that I heard this show, and four or five others, every weekday afternoon for years and that maybe, just maybe, that influenced what I ended up doing for a living. Listening to those aural adventures forced me to visualize the action, and the settings, and what the characters looked like, and even the objects involved, and it probably goosed my vocabulary by presenting strange words and concepts (What’s a corpse? A cab? What’s climbing the stairs? In my house we walk up the stairs and climb ladders.) Such visualization and vocabulary goosing might have been useful training for a guy who went on to write for visual media.

Besides, I enjoyed the shows and maybe you will, too.

Rich adds, “wherever you are, you can also listen to BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra online, which still broadcast radio drama and sitcom, new and old.”

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