Recently my comic book writing alter ego, who shall remain nameless, finished a script he had pitched to an independent publisher. It’s the third submitted project and I felt pretty confident that it was tight and well written. Then my copy of The Working Writer’s Guide To Comics and Graphic Novels by Nick Macari showed up. All of a sudden I really wanted a chance to seriously tighten up that last script! This book is fantastic. As a non-fiction trained writer I knew I had a learning curve to overcome when I decided to try my hand at writing comics. This book is just the thing to get your mind right.
Meat and Potatoes
Nick spends very little time trying to teach you “how to write” and instead focuses on the important aspects. The book is in 5 parts, Rules, Format, Panels, Writing, and Process. Those may sound like odd section headings but it makes perfect sense in context. He also has a 39 entry index in the back of the book that addresses some of the most common terms and the pages that cover them. He talks about each element of a script, and puts all the pieces together. Page after page is boiled down script theory accompanied by art from various artists. Several of those names jumped right out at me, like Drew Moss, Chris Batista, and Ed Watson. And by the end of the book you have a solid grasp of what you need to put together a polished professional script.
What makes this book work so well is that at no time does Nick Macari talk down to you. I never felt he was, as so many who do books like this, dispensing wisdom. It’s more appropriate to say he’s sharing secrets, letting you in on stuff you really need to know. At the same time he doesn’t mince words he lays it out plainly. Perfect example is his comment about the need for an outline. “I know many writers that write without outlines, but no professionals that write without them.” It’s a refreshing approach, less a gatekeeper and more of a soldier in arms. It was exactly what I was looking for. If you’re looking for a book to spell it all out, or just polish your craft with I think this book fits the bill.