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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How I F@$#ed up

by Joshua Jenkins

Let me get intros and creds out of the way. My name is Joshua Jenkins and I’ve been self-publishing for over 3+ years now. I wrote two 130 page graphic novels and plan to put out one every year. My only real applicable skills when I started were an associates degree in film and a devout love of comics.

Okay that said, let’s get to the point of all this, over the course of aforementioned 3+ years I have fucked up a lot. In fact I still continue to fuck up a lot, but hey that’s part of the process. However, I make extra sure to remember these moments so I don’t continue to do them. And if there’s anyway I could prevent others from screwing the pooch I’m all about it.

Here’s one of the first lessons I learned fucking up.

A comic script is not a movie script

This is just embarrassing. I know what you may be thinking, “Did this not look like a lot on the page?” and the answer is, “From a film script perspective, no”. This is probably less than a minute of screen dialogue.

Even worse than the lack of brevity and grammar, 90% of this dialogue is completely superfluous. I guess I can scratch off associates in film from the applicable skill list.

So here’s how I remedy this now a days.

Phase one: Bullet points (Wendell and Finneus shoot the shit, Finneus talks about cartography)

Phase two: Add lots of meat (everything I want these two characters to say)

Phase three: take out every single word that isn’t important.

Extraneous words kill the flow of the book. The less words the better and less lines the better (I’m looking at you Liefeld).

So on that note I’ll…


  1. Great article. For the art of brevity and a lesson in natural dialog pick up an Elmore Leonard book, any, even his westerns.

  2. I highly recommend any writer to learn lettering. NOTHING helps you write dialogue like having to fit it in panels that have so much going on already.

    Also in the comic script is not a movie script, don't forget rule #1 of writing comics, you can't have two actions happening in one panel. That's the first mistake I see in anyone's script, even my own before a proper edit.