Aug 08 2010

What You Should Know About Comic Book Lettering Before You Write Your Script

Published by at 11:58 am under Comic Book Lettering,Comic Books

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Blambot has an awesome article about formatting comic book balloons.  It’s aimed at comic book letterers, but I think there are some key points also useful for comic book writers doing a script.  For example, do you know how to handle translated dialogue or when to use quotation marks?

  • Only use quotation marks when somebody is speaking off-panel.  If the speaker is on-panel, readers don’t need quotation marks to know it’s dialogue.
  • If you ever end a shouted question with a question mark and an exclamation point, put the question mark first. Readers will have many context clues that the line is being shouted, such as body language and the bolded/italicized text, but the question mark is pretty much the only indication that a question is involved.
  • Each period should be followed by one space, not two. Double spaces take too much space and look awkward.  (If you habitually use double-spaces, it may help to use your text processor’s Find/Replace feature to replace all periods followed by two spaces with periods followed by single spaces).
  • How to handle text translated from a language besides English. See below.  Note: Generally, the “*Translated from [Language]” caption is necessary just once per scene.  After that, readers can figure out what language the characters are speaking when you use the <greater than/less than signs>.

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