6 Tips For Those Taking Up Graphic Novel Writing

Heather Taylor discusses some tips she’s employing working on writing for graphic novels.

The decision to make a graphic novel to accompany my web series Raptured wasn’t one I was expecting to make. In fact, it all came from a conversation with an artist who loved comics and wanted to get back into drawing again. I was telling him of my experience at comic con when the British Web series team invited us to be on a panel and how I would have loved to have been an even bigger part of it. The idea of making my own graphic novel was born!

The concept of creating a graphic novel with a tv series as part of the storyline isn’t a new one. I heard Tim Kring speak at SXSW in 2009 and he talked about multiplatform storytelling (which is what led me down the rabbit hole). When one of the actresses on Heroes was shooting a movie, he made her character go on a mission and she continued that in an online comic where the writers introduced the carnival that became part of the main storyline in season. If Tim Kring could do it…

So I embarked on my current 7 month journey. It’s not moved forward a great deal but it’s given me a lot of research time and experiences of a few dead ends! For the first season of Raptured, I shot it in London and released it at the end of 2011 and it has had over ½ a million views to date. In season 2, we’re going to be in New York and in London but we never see what happens in New York when the Rapture occurs. But how do I show what happened in New York from day one? A series of comics! Two 24 page comics in fact. Or at least that’s what I figured would work for the story. That way I’d reach a new audience, give my current audience engaged until I shot season 2 in 2013 and I’d get to fulfil a childhood dream. It wasn’t Marvel but it would be mine.

So I reached out to an artist I love the work of to try to create a comic starting on the first day of the Rapture with the New York characters (who will be in the filmed series) and how they deal with it, how the government cracks down, the fear, the problems, etc. In that world, America is scary – at first it seems fun and exciting and bewildering – but then it turns sinister as the government starts rounding up anyone who can Rapture for experiments. This would lead up to where the filmed show will continue. And if there is interest in the comic itself, then hopefully the partnership could continue following some of the side characters as they live in a post-apocalyptic world of love, sex, danger, mystery, and a bit of sci-fi.

Of course, what I thought would be straight forward was not… and here are a few things I’ve learned and you should consider when deciding, as a non-artist, to embark on creating a series.

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