January 18, 2013

Dirk Manning Gives You The WRITE OR WRONG Guide to Creating Comics

(DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Write Or Wrong was provided for purposes of review. My opinions are my own).

Trying to find a well-written, articulate guide to writing comics is a difficult task - most how-to books focus on art. Some, like Denny O'Neill's DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, focus primarily on information normally provided in English classes; others may focus on vague yet affirming you-can-do-it motivational speeches.

Dirk Manning's Write or Wrong does what many such books should do - provide not just a strong theoretical background in writing comics, but also some practical, concrete guidance on everything from finding collaborators to marketing, from finding your writing "voice" to how to make artists happy.

In short, Write or Wrong is a must-read for anyone interested in comics and graphic literature - whether you're looking to write your own work, or just interested as a casual fan. It also makes a great companion piece to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics in discussing the art of writing and creating comics.

Manning (writer of Nightmare World, which I strongly suggest you check out) writes in a very down-to-earth yet engaging tone. The book has a ton of information, and doesn't spare details (or feelings) when it comes to the challenges of writing and publishing comics. Thankfully, Manning also provides as much technical detail (for example, discussing the exact requirements for resolution of digital art files when it comes to publishing books versus sending samples), but all of this is done in a great, conversational style, and is thankfully practical for the reader.

(Note - although initially distributed via Diamond, it is no longer available via that service, but is easily available via Amazon.com )

As someone who has started on the road towards writing comics, I found this book extremely helpful, if only to assist me in knowing the landscape more thoroughly. (For example, I now understand what a comics "studio" actually does, and will now annoy my Chicago colleagues to help me locate a studio). Ultimately, Dirk Manning has provided an easy-to-understand, practical, no-nonsense guide to writing comics with Write or Wrong.

It's a definite must-read, and deserves a permanent place in your comics library.

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