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The structure of the narrative

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Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart

Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart

Beginning from the beginning, you need to go out and get the kind of graphic novels your target audience reads. If you are a writer first, then you should compare your text with theirs: see what the differences are.

Graphic novels are mostly dialogue or monologue and action words.

Check out the rhythm. You know, there is one. There’s a rhythm to the text by varying the length of the sentences and there’s a rhythm to the action by building to a climax and starting another just before you reach the apex. As the first one falls the second is rising.

Whether or not you like it, there actually is a formula to graphic novels. They are constrained by length, so you must be extremely frugal with your words. There are usually two minor climaxes and a major followed by a denouement.

So you begin with a hint about what’s going to happen and the hook. The book draws the reader into the action. Either the hook must be extremely strong or the graphics must be positively stunning to get the reader to turn the page.

It’s best if you can put a short hook on the cover.

Then the first page inside should set it and your fish is on the line.

You follow this with the build up to the first climax before you let the reader see what’s happening, generally a setback, you start them up to a second climax.

This too is generally a setback, but you begin the major climax before you reveal the setback.

Then you build to the major climax and follow it by the finish, the ties up all the loose ends.

If you plan a series, this is the place to put the hook for the next book.

Karena A Dec 2012

See also the article on illustrating your own graphic novel.

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