Step by step guide to becoming a Comic Book Writer

The writer of a comic book tells the story through words, which the artist then turns into pictures. It is the writer’s job to set things up like characters, plot, setting, dialog, and other elements like pacing, action, emotion, and closure. The writer is the visionary of the team, creating the basic world, who lives in it, and what they do.

What does a comic book writer do?

A comic book writer can be considered both the architect and director of the comics. They wordsmith worlds and the people in it, but it’s also their responsibility to walk the artist into these worlds and allow them the freedom to build upon it. Comic book writers also make sure the material fits the artist’s skill set. If they know, for example, that the artist they are working with does mind blowing fight scenes, they want to give them materials that capitalize on their strength, and challenge them to do something they never imagined.

A comic book writer cannot be successful without the help of an artist. The artist’s role is the hardest because they take the comic book writer’s “blueprints” (in this case script) and utilize their skills and knowledge to realize the concepts.

What kind of skills are required?

The writer needs many skills to be successful.

  • Good communication skills – The writer needs to be able to tell things in a way that is too the point and clear.
  • A visionary mind – You need to be able to see where you are going. This could be as simple as a basic idea, “What would happen if a child found out they had superpowers.” Or it could be as complex as having the entire world, characters, and story built.
  • Strong grasp of grammar – In almost every interview I read with editors, it is interesting to see how many errors they come across in a pitch. Having a strong grasp on grammar will only help you in the long run. Use a dictionary, or spellcheck is even better, but be sure to proofread everything.
  • Flexible attitude – Things don’t always go like you plan. An editor might want you to do something different to your script and change a scene here or a bit of dialog there. Being flexible will allow you to keep your vision as well as being able to get your comic finished.
  • Professional behavior – Don’t be flaky. Do your best work. Get things done on time, especially if you said you would.

The steps to becoming a comic book writer

  1. Pursue a formal education
  2. Write on spec and compile a portfolio
  3. Get an agent or manager