I’m not going to lie. Scripting is my jam. I’m a writing kinda guy, so excuse me if I get a little resource happy here. But there’s so much stuff to learn about scripts that just giving you guys only a couple of resources might break my heart. So we’ll start at square one.
How do you write a script? Todd Tevlin wrote a great, succinct article on the basics of writing a script. From developing an outline (which was your task from last week!) to determining whether you’re writing the script for an artist or if you plan to be your comic’s own artist, all the basics are here in Todd’s article and should help get you started on how your script should look.
When it comes to actually typing up the script, a lot of folks use Microsoft Word or even Google Documents. While I love those programs for what they are, there are quite a few pieces of free scriptwriting software out there that not only speeds up the process, but gives you great comic book templates to follow. I wrote a lengthy article on these scriptwriting programs and I’d encourage you to give it a look and maybe test out a few of the programs to see if any of them might help you in your scripting quest!
Now that you’ve got the technical aspects down, what should the content of your script look like? Todd Tevlin also answered this question in a series of scriptwriting articles he wrote up for Making Comics Worldwide. Check out his article on the techniques of writing dialogue and pay attention to the section on “Less is More,” as this is especially true when it comes to dialogue. Your panels are only so big and if you fill the panel with one massive dialogue bubble, readers are going to close the book right there. They came for a marriage of art and text. If they wanted to read massive chunks of dialogue, they’d go pick up a novel. Keep the thoughts and words of your characters brief and on point!
But dialogue is only half of the script! The other half are panel descriptions and can take up as little or as much space as you want, depending on whether or not you’re the artist. Damian Wampler wrote up a fantastic three-part guide on writing up effective panel descriptions and even includes sections from his scripts and the products that came from his descriptions. Read through all three of his articles and keep a close eye on his descriptions of pacing and using the gutter (the white spaces outside of your comic’s panels) as its own form of storytelling.
Finally, head on down to the Making Comics podcast center and listen to Episode 2 of the new and exciting ComicFuel podcast! Professionals answer questions that readers and comic fans send in to us. And who knows? Maybe one of the questions we answer will be the very one you’re having as you sit there, palm on chin, frowning at the blank screen in front of you!
Write your script! Make it as long or as short as it has to be. Make it fit your story by drawing on your outline and expanding the story’s major arcs so that you’ve got a fully developed journey for your characters to embark upon. Also, peruse the writing section of MakingComics.Com and read over a few of the other articles we have there. Your comic’s story is everything. Without it, you’ve just got an art book. So take your scripts seriously and put some deep thought into how you want your story to grow (or shrink)!