How The Heck Do I Write a Graphic Novel?: An Interview with Project Revamp

Starting a graphic novel is starkly different from sitting down at your desk one day and deciding you’ll write that fantasy novel that you’ve been thinking about for a couple years. First of all, what does a comic book script even look like? Do I need an artist before I start writing? How do I even get this thing published once it’s finished? Having already experienced writing a traditional novel, and then making the switch to a graphic novel, I can attest to the slew of questions that pop up in the novice graphic novelists head. Luckily, Project Revamp at Revamp Studios is writing a graphic novel right along with you. Project Revamp post their scripts as they write them and share their experiences finding an artist and publisher. They graciously agreed to answer several questions:

 In one sentence, convince us to read your graphic novel.

A teen drama set in the post- zombie apocalypse, need we say more?

What prompted you to write a graphic novel?

We had spent a lot of time working on story ideas and a graphic novel seemed like the right outlet for us. We had worked on a few writing projects separately and decided to try a project together. A zombie drama following a group of teenagers was our first idea, and it eventually evolved into Aftermath.

Were you hesitant to post your script online? Has knowing people read your writing in-progress changed your writing?

   Putting our scripts online was actually a very exciting step for us. We had a lot of confidence in our story and we knew people were ready for a different perspective on a zombie drama. Our twitter followers have been a great support system and inspiration.

How did you find your artist? Was it a hard decision?

Believe it or not we found our illustrator on Craigslist. We interviewed a few artists but Brenton Barnes was the perfect fit. We learned very quickly that a familiarity and passion for comics was just as important as artistic talent. A lot of the artists we interviewed were only familiar with portraits or tattoo work; we needed someone who understood panel layouts and lettering. Brenton ended up being the total package, and we are really excited to show people the work he has done on Aftermath.

What are the difficulties of collaborative writing?

Honestly, zero. We have a very simple writing process. After we come up with the basic plot for an issue, we write two separate scripts and then edit them together. It sounds like that would be a mess, but the majority of the time the scripts come out very similar if not identical. We both share the same writing style, and because we know our characters so well the dialogue is easy to match up. It just works.

How did you decide on your particular script format?  

We write our scripts like a tv show or play. Our illustrator was a big help in the formatting, he let us know what he needed in each scene description to help him build each panel. With graphic novels and comics some writers like to describe each panel separately, we found it easier to describe the over all setting and give some specifics as to character direction. We had a lot of faith in our artist to fill in the rest.

Have any resources been particularly helpful for this endeavor?

Social media really is the best tool for anyone trying to break into this industry. Creating a twitter and a simple website is all you really need to let people see your work. As far as source material, anyone writing about zombies should be reading Walking Dead like the Bible. We also read Y: The Last Man, and DMZ to get a good reference for how people evolve during an apocalyptic scenario.

What playlist would accompany your graphic novel?  

  Explosions in the Sky. When writing about teenagers from Texas, Friday Night Lights and its soundtrack were a big influence. 

What’s your game-plan for finding a publisher?

We already have received interest from publishers who have heard of us through twitter. We plan on submitting the first 10 pages of artwork and scripts 1-3 in early December to major comic book companies. Expect to see new art and finalized scripts soon on our website, Revampstudios.com

 

Check out Project Revamp here!

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