Building On Layers
News for June - An Important Announcement
Editing a Graphic Novel
Interview with Aaron Pocock
Editing a Graphic NovelAsk an Artist
by Ursula Vernon
Question: How is editing a graphic novel different from editing regular writing?
Editing a graphic novel is different for me in a couple of ways. There are two basic rounds of edits with a novel -- content edits and copy edits. Content edits change the story, copy edits fix typos and make sure that spellings are consistent and occasionally catch things like changing eye color or locations or whatever.
In the graphic novel/chapter book hybrids I work on, you do all that, but you also spend time with the art director. The script is done first, in my case, and then I sit down and do all the art. The art comes back usually with far fewer edits, but again, we check for consistency (you'd be amazed how often characters have their backpacks or glasses vanish in mid-scene) and sometimes character designs get shifted around, if a character isn't obviously different enough from some others.
There's also a final round that occurs when layouts are being done on a project. Because there are large blocks of art and text, sometimes we'll hit a point where we need to fill some space to avoid leaving a gap (or conversely, chop out a sentence or two) or we'll find that several pages have gone by without an illustration, which we try to avoid with my books. In that case, I'll be pulled in, either to write a few extra lines of dialog or provide another illustration.
In a pure graphic novel, you don't have these same problems of text layouts, but if you're working with a writer, you may find yourself in the position of going "Dude, that much dialog WILL NOT fit on the page." Writers like words, it's part of the job, and particularly newcomers to graphic novels may not be as aware of the medium's limitations. So there's some give-and-take there as well.
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