Monday, October 30, 2006

Getting ready for NaGraNoWriMo: The Books

With only two days until the start of NaNoWriMo, I can almost feel the collective creative energy that is about to be released in November sizzling in the air. There's not much time to get ready for the (graphic) novel writing marathon, but I've got a few ideas that might help.

It doesn't hurt to read up on the art of comic book writing. Personally, I'll be re-reading chapters from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics for pointers on storytelling. I'm sure that McCloud's new book Making Comics would be helpful, although I have not yet read it myself. There are also other books about comic book writing by industry heavyweights such as Alan Moore, Dennis O'Neil, and Peter David.

And even though we aren't following the rules precisely, No Plot, No Problem, the book written by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, should over plenty of applicable pep-talks, tips and advice.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to read some good comics while your writing. Pick up something that is similar to the idea you have, or by a writer who's style you wish to emulate. Don't be afraid that you'll end up ripping off other comics. There is no shame in looking to a published work for inspiration, especially since that's what all prose writers worth spit have done since the very beginning. By reading a good graphic novel while you're writing your own you'll be able to pick out the parts that work and the parts that don't and translate that knowledge into better storytelling for your original ideas.

November will be here in less than 48 hours, so we've got to be ready and there's no better way to prepare for good writing than with some good reading.


The Dane said...

I read Making Comics when it came out and it was actually a pretty exciting read for me - envigorated all my dreams of becoming a creator instead of just an appreciator. McCloud includes helpful exercies at the end of each section, some of which could birth some great comic ideas.

Dave Carter said...

I have Making Comics on the shelf but have only read parts of it so far. I'll probably read more as the month goes on.

I've actually been preparing by trying to squeeze in as much prose reading over the last few weeks. I failed over the weekend though as I only got a couple of chapters of Never Let Me Go read. It's a really good book, but seems to be designed as a leisurely-paced read rather than a book to be quickly blown through. But it's our book club book for this month so I'm going to have to get it finished over the next couple of weeks (which will bite into my NaGraNoWriMo time!)