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I’m a beginner writer planning on learning how to write webcomics. My main one is an adventure/fantasy webcomic and the other is a card battle webcomic (I draw a lot of inspiration from anime and manga if you couldn’t tell).

How do I begin to learn more about writing (and drawing) this genre, and how to analyze stories?

  • Welcome to Writing.SE Voizex, glad you found us. You may find our tour and help center useful. I did a large edit on your question to try to make it on topic. As it stood, it was very broad and asking for general stuff. If you don't like how I edited it, please feel free to change it. – Cyn says make Monica whole Sep 6 at 14:29
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[This answer addresses the storytelling part of the question, not the webcomics-drawing part.]

I've found Brandon Sanderson to be an excellent teacher.

He focuses on:

1) "mainstream commercial fiction" as opposed to e.g. "weird experimental writing intended for a narrow audience"; but I think you need to understand this material before doing weird experimental writing, even if that is your ultimate goal

2) fantasy and science fiction; but again, he's focusing on writing mechanics, so I think almost everything he teaches is useful background for most, if not all, storytelling.

3) storytelling mechanics: he deals with how to construct stories, and how to analyse them in order to understand whether they work as intended; he does not deal with "deeper meaning", critical theory of literature as you might expect from a literature course at university, etc.

Start with the basics, covered in actual university lectures: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=brandon+sanderson+writing+lectures (skip the introductory minutes where he says things specific to the administration of his course--only his IRL students would care about that)

Then, continue with the awesome https://writingexcuses.com/ podcast (which also recommends many other resources).

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Every writer should understand the Hero's Journey. Not everyone agrees on whether it describes the archetype of all stories or just a particular genre of stories, but either way it provides a lot of the language that is used to talk about story structure. It is hard to talk about storytelling without using the Hero's Journey and its terminology.

The best source I know of for the Hero's Journey is The Writer's Journey buy Christopher Vogler, the guy who wrote perhaps the most influential memo in the history of Hollywood describing the Hero's Journey and its application to movies.

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I would recommend going to Webtoons and looking at what is there. On the main site are the featured artists and studying what they do is worthwhile. There are also competitions and a place for beginning writers to publish.

One of the characteristics of texts on the site is the use of cliff-hangers to end each post. You have to get the reader to come back next week.

Like all stories, you need main characters who the reader care about and/or hate.

The pictures have to tell the part of the story the words don't. This might be setting but it can be, by things like facial expression, what the character is feeling or thinking.

Match the style of your graphics to style of your story. Think colours as well as font for lettering.

  • "One of the characteristics of texts on the site is the use of cliff-hangers to end each post." I would say, in a short-comic format, be very, very careful with this. When you're working with just a few panels per strip, space is already at a premium; don't waste extra space on deliberately setting up a cliffhanger, and definitely don't in every strip. In text writing, IMO doing so would be akin to ending every other paragraph with a cliffhanger, which is pretty clearly over the top. – a CVn Sep 8 at 10:56
  • If you get readers to care what happens to the characters, tell an engaging story and post at least semi-regularly, they will come back, with or without cliffhangers. If you try to squeeze a cliffhanger into every or even every few strips, chances are pretty good it's going to feel contrived at best; certainly I don't see that increasing reader retention. – a CVn Sep 8 at 10:56
  • @aCVn This depends in large part on whether or not you're talking about comics in the sense of comic strips, which are one horizontal progression of panels across a single page, comics that are generally full pages but nothing more, or comic books which are serials with a standard length of 22 pages. The latter usually have arcs, often of 4 issues in length. – Cyn says make Monica whole Sep 8 at 15:07
  • @Cyn You're probably right, but even OP's first revision of the question (before your changes) specifies "webcomic", so I think we can exclude printed (or could-have-been-printed) serials. That leaves various styles of comic strips (whether xkcd or more elaborate), and full page comics. Certainly once you have dozens of pages of graphical content, it gets more practical to introduce arcs and even cliffhangers between sequential print issues. Note that I specifically wrote "short-comic format", which was intended to cover roughly the range from a few panels to one or maybe two pages. – a CVn Sep 8 at 18:10
  • @aCVn Not at all. My spouse's comic is the traditional 22 page issues in 4-issue arcs and it's a web comic aka e-comic. It will be printed as a book every 4 issues but individual issues are only on the web. I don't know which length/style the OP meant, which is part of what makes it difficult to answer, but at least one of OP's projects is a serial. – Cyn says make Monica whole Sep 8 at 18:21

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