There is no set in stone rules on script formatting, James. The script is a note to your artist, letterer and editor and it's hopefully part of a conversation. Formatting is, after all, pretty common sense, tell the artist what he or she needs to know, be clear, and be organized as far as pages, panels, dialogue goes. There are a number of sample scripts you can find for free online to see what works for you (I like the Dark Horse style personally), you don't need to buy a book for that.
Originally Posted by jamesdcreviston
Your initial post was looking for help in writing comics, not specific to formatting. As you progress you will realize that formatting is the easiest part of writing.
It perplexes me why we have a very strict format in screenplay writing and in manuscript writing, but in comic land everything goes out the window.
I suspect we'll never get a standard format at this point, but as someone who's edited countless new writer scripts, it's a real shame. There is a lot to be gained from a standardized format.
In anycase, the format I personally use can be found and downloaded free here, if anyone is interested.
I believe this is because in TV & Film literally thousands of people will be reading the script. There are agents, studio execs, script readers doing coverage, directors, actors, and, if the script actually gets made, scores of crew. There is a need for one basic "language" that keeps everyone on the same page. But even within the strict rules of how many inches to indent etc. I've seen wildly different styles of screenwriting; how to get in and out of montages, speaking directly to the reader, calling shots, and dictating music can vary drastically. There are things Tarantino gets away with no newcomer could, so the uniformity of screenplays is deceptive.
Originally Posted by panelup
In contrast comic book scripts generally will never be read by more than a handful of people. I've had artists ask me to reformat scripts to their tastes and moving forward I knew how to write it for their creative process. At the end of the day comic writers write to serve the artist as opposed to screenwriters who serve many masters. There are also different ways of writing comic book scripts. For example there is no parallel to the "Marvel way" of writing in screenplays.
I feel people overthink formatting in both mediums. Clarity is king. Stick to that and you'll be fine.
Thank Shaun. That is what I am finding. It is just tough because I am finding each publisher has their way of formatting which makes it difficult because you have to adjust to them. In screenplays and TV there is one format. Thats why I am disappointed.
Originally Posted by Shaun
The books I've read (so far) are (in no real order):
- The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics
- Alan Moore's Writing For Comics
- Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art & Reinventing Comics: The Evolution of an Art Form (Scott McCloud)
- Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Vol. 2
- The writer's guide to the business of comics (Lurene Haines) - this is more a general book, not just scripting.
Still have to get to:
- Write or Wrong: A Writer's Guide to Creating Comics (Dirk Manning)
- Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David (Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels) (Peter David)
Then I've taken an online writing course (which I'll not mention as I did finish it) - and not the best money I've ever spent. One reason that I enrolled was that I didn't get into the DC writer's workshop. But then again, not many people did actually got in, and even some big name indie writers did not make it. But I feel if I'd kept the money, and just sent my work to different pro editors, I'd be a better writer and the money would've been better spent. [One lesson learnt - do not enroll for any online training course that does not feature a money back guarantee in case you're not happy with the course.]
But to tell the truth, I've learned a lot more from just doing the monthly comic contests here in PJ!