Books VS Graphic Novels

Aug 31, 2012 by

Books VS Graphic Novels

Despite wide-spread thoughts, graphic novels are not the same thing as comics. Comics are shorter, tend to be printed as magazines are, and do not usually tell a complete story in each issue.

A graphic novel is, in fact, a novel, told using a comic, or “artistic” format. Basically the difference between a Saturday morning cartoon and a feature motion picture.

That said, they are not written the way traditional books are. And it is very difficult to apply the principles of either media/style to the other.

A graphic novel has the obvious advantage of the artwork. The art can convey the emotion, show the foreshadowing, hint at the lust or betrayal, illustrate the catastrophe and explain to the reader exactly what it is the main character is holding. None of these tools are there for a traditional novel, and all those things must be conveyed in words.

As such, a normal novel must start with the main character. It must be easy to read and follow, with a basic structure that really applies to all fiction, across the board, no matter the genre.

A graphic novel, however, has a bit more leeway. You can use techniques that are mostly reserved for movies or TV shows, you can use fewer words and more ‘show’ and you can easily sidestep any aversion to “he said, she said” that you may harbor deep in your writer’s mind.

It’s rare to find a ghosted graphic novel. Usually, these books are co-authored, or collaborations between an artist and a writer, and they stand a world apart. You may see them mixed in with the novels in a bookstore, but they went through an entirely different process before publication, and the skills required to create one are vastly different than a traditional book.

And alas, no, that graphic novel version of Catcher in the Rye is probably not going to cut it for the test.

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