Webtoon tips: Writing! Part 1

I’ve been meaning to start documenting my process for making webtoons. When I first set out to make my own. I tried to research as much as possible about writing and creating webtoons and still felt underwhelmed with the content available. While videos are starting to accumulate on YouTube with great information, they mostly center on the back end of Webtoon creation. I wanted to create a series of posts (and hopefully YouTube videos) that go from the beginning of my process to the end of making The Grievers.

Now obviously, this comes with some disclaimers. I can only really speak from my experience and what worked for me. The many times I found solid advice online, the success of that advice hinged on my ability to implement it into my process. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I needed to tweak it to make it work for me (or ignore it). That will probably be the same for anybody that reads this.

I’ll break the writing part of this series into multiple pieces. This part centers on outlining and scripting the comic. I will also talk about visual/writing research and character and world-building later.

Scrivener has a comics script template you can use, but it is a little daunting at first to navigate.

Scriptwriting was probably the most daunting part of the process. I felt like I had to research this heavily to do it right, for whatever reason. Maybe it was my insecurities with striking out on something that I felt inexperienced. Perhaps I felt like there was one correct way to do it efficiently. Scripting was frustrating because I started to learn that there isn’t a proper way to write for a comic.

You can either have the panels numbered or have it coded to fill it in later when you compile it. I didn’t find this as useful, so I went back to numbering it again.

Some comic scripts are similar to film scripts. Some are generic descriptions of panels and then the character dialogue. Then, some work with a bare outline of what that issue/episode is supposed to accomplish and plan it out in the thumbnail (wow, that gives me anxiety). I chose to work with a scriptwriting format with my adjustments here and there. Scriptwriting made sense to me. It’s a consistent format that is easy to scan. I can separate the scenes panel to panel and count out a consistent panel range for the upcoming episode, usually around 35 panels.

In the original script for my short story submission, it was only panel descriptions, this obviously changed in the drawing stage.

I don’t always follow my script. Often, when I am in the thumbnail stage, I will realize what needs to be cut or added to the episode to clarify. But the script ends up taking most of the guess work out.

I will often work with Scrivener side by side with Clip Studio Paint until have have the dialogue and episode fully on the comic panels.

Do you need a particular program to write your script?

Nope! You can use whatever free program or analog journal you have at your disposal. Use what is comfortable writing. I’m just a sucker for shiny things.

What program do you use?

I use Scrivener. I had an iTunes gift card sitting around and thought, “Why not?” It had a comic script template you can use, though I don’t use it for its very purpose. I mostly like that I sync it to my other devices (though I had to pay for a separate Scrivener to use on my desktop…ugh), and work anywhere with the app. It also has some helpful features where I can view all my scripts at once and copy and paste sections of the writing easily. It was NOT an easy program to get right. There was a bit of a learning curve to figure out the features, and I had to watch all the tutorial videos to understand what I was doing.

Would you recommend Scrivener to others?

Eh. Tough question. I felt like since I couldn’t return the purchase, I had to use it. I like it now, but do I feel like it’s necessary? Probably not. It does make my writing more manageable, and it doesn’t cost THAT much, but I think there are plenty of other apps and programs that you can look at that will fulfill the same needs for cheaper or free. Look around, view some product reviews on YouTube, think about what you need to get your script to function.

Are there other programs you use?

Yes! I use Evernote for my research and world-building for the comic and a slew of other needs. I will save that for a future post, but I recommend that program. I also use Grammarly, a program that I underuse for what I pay yearly and definitely should use more. Not sure I would recommend it, but it has different tiers to the program, and if you’re iffy with grammar, it might be worth looking into.

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