Early in 2013, I started on my first novel, Shield of Skool, at the request of my 11 year old son. 12 books later, in early 2021, I took a hard shift in storytelling and began writing and publishing comic books. While it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped working on novels, I find my time is so much more focused on the comic side. As for the reasons behind this shift, I guess I can point to one main reason.
The way I visualize my stories is very much like a graphic novel. From the way I describe the fictional world building in the Clovel Sword series to the hard-boiled detective action within the Ray Irish series, my job as a storyteller is to make the reader see the things that I envision. The use of illustrations in a story allows me to place a really detailed set piece for the reader. As the artwork comes to me, I’m able to modify the panel until it’s exactly what I see and what the reader will look at. The communication in a way is even more perfect since a description in a book means different things from one reader to the next.
However, for those writers who want to make this type of transition, I have a warning for. The style of writing takes a bit of an adjustment. The first thing that I realized in moving from novels to comics is the reduction to dialogue and captions. With a graphic story, use of dialogue requires careful analysis of necessary information and focused plot driving engagement between/about characters. Rambling back and forth discussions waste valuable panel space and the points can often be told in the expressions/actions of the character’s in the artwork.
So, what does this mean for my output? In a nutshell, it means my novels will slow down to maybe one per year. However, I’m hopeful that the 2 additional comic series (dark fantasies outlined in my last substack entry) will provide additional opportunities for new readers of my work.
And now a bit of self-promotion for my novels (perhaps a Christmas gift thought for you).