Writing a Manga Script

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Writing a Manga Script

Postby AsianBlossom » Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:51 am

Hi everybody. Wasn't sure if this should go in a manga section, but since it's asking for help on how to do something, I figured this section would work.

So I've been thinking it would be great to get a manga out there, but since I don't have the patience to draw one, I think it'd be best to find a talented artist and write the story while they draw (sounds like Comic Party, only Taishi didn't write any stories...and I'm not trying to take over the world :P :lol:)

Anyways, I was wondering: could someone tell me or show me generally what a proper manga script should look like? I'm a little confused on that front. Or if someone knows of a book that can show me that'd be great. Any help is appreciated; thanks so much!
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Postby EricTheFred » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:24 pm

Personally, I use a script format that is fairly standard for American comic books. There's a lot of variations, but you can find a very good example at the Dark Horse Comics website submissions guidelines. http://www.darkhorse.com/company/submissions.php
I use the format in the 'sample script' that is given for artwork submissions (it's an unpublished 'Ghost' story, 'Ghost' being one of Dark Horse's superhero characters.) They also give a script guidelines for writer submissions, which is slightly different in format.
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Postby Raiden no Kishi » Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:10 pm

You might also look at movie scripts. I'm taking a screenplay-writing class this semester (electives yay), and I think it would apply well to manga/comics. They are both visually-oriented "show rather than tell" media, so a script writer is looking to provide the same level of information. If you can find a screenwriting class in college, I highly suggest you take it if you have an interest in writing for comics. You will learn how to keep dialogue short and sweet and to avoid excessive description. Literary writing is a completely different style, so if you're familiar with that, scriptwriting will be a new world.

If you can find it in a library or bookstore (it's only sixteen dollars), I recommend Syd Field's Screenplay. It's an excellent book.

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Postby EricTheFred » Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:23 pm

The problem with movie scripts is that they use a very different format for describing the visual side. Comics, manga or American, have a need to communicate not just what happens, but how to turn it into a page. So one almost universal feature (unless the writer storyboards) is to give a page description at the top (so many panels, perhaps some idea of the layout and sizing of the panels) then a detail of dialog and visuals on a panel by panel basis. While in a movie you can just give each character's lines, occasionally interspersed with parentheticals, action descriptions and scene descriptions, in the comic you have to actually break down how the dialog lays out on the page.

I mentioned storyboarding, though. An alternative to the above is to do exactly what Raiden says, then draw thumbnails of each page, with index numbers to match the people and dialog to the script. This is a common practice when the writer and artist are the same person. An artist will want to work out the graphics visually, on sketch paper rather than in the script. When they get more successul, the artist may cease doing any other work than this, passing the storyboard and script over to underlings to finish.

The problem with this method is if the artist is a separate person but considers themselves an equal partner. They may not want you dictating that much of the visual side to them. Guidelines in the script are a better choice in this case.
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May He lift up His countenance and grant you peace.

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Feel free to visit My Writing.com Portfolio

Largo: "Well Ed, good to see ya. Guess I gotta beat the crap out of you now."

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Postby Maledicte » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:22 am

Thanks for showing the sample on the Dark Horse page. I've been wondering how to do this myself.
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Postby soul alive » Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:27 pm

Sorry if this is a little after the fact, but I thought I'd drop my two cents in.

I write my script in various drafts, starting out with a more story-like version, where I decide what is going to happen in a chapter. From there, I break up images, dialog, etc into panels and pages; and for that I use a table in MSWord. I'm too OCD for my own good, so it works well for me, and is easy to adjust if I need to add or subtract something from the story, or a character's lines change. I've included a screenshot of said table, from a chapter I'm currently working on for reference.

Hope this helps. Good luck in your endeavors.
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Postby theladyeri » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:08 pm

just write it how you would write a play script, just adding extra details to help the artist such as location and character discriptions, etc.
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