Writing Beyond Tech: Ruin Mist Graphic Novels

By William Stanek
March 26, 2010 | Comments: 1

A follow up to my previous posts about writing outside of technology. This one focuses on my upcoming graphic novels set in the fantasy universe of Ruin Mist as I thought it might be fun to share my experiences with this creative format with readers.

When I first began writing about Ruin Mist in 1986, I knew I wanted to explore the world in both words and pictures. This desire is one reason the Kingdoms books have so many illustrations.

The special illustrated editions of "Keeper Martin's Tale" and "Kingdom Alliance" take this marriage of words and pictures even further. The books have over 60 full-page illustrations, which are complimented by many other smaller illustrations. My favorite segment of these is in "Kingdom Alliance" where a key battle scene is told visually through a sequence of full-page illustrations.



In 2007, I decided to explore the world visually even further and started work on the Ruin Mist graphic novels. Graphic novels are developed in stages. For my graphic novels, I followed this process:

  • Imagining
  • Penciling
  • Inking
  • Coloring
  • Writing
  • Lettering


Imagining is where the writer (me) dreams up the story and develops it page-by-page on a storyboard. At this stage, I am designer, developer, and director as well as creator. I break down each page into a series of panels, describe how each panel should look, where each panel should be positioned, and what each panel should contain. This is a long process as a single page of a graphic novel can take several pages to describe. Revision, development, and editing are of course part of the imagining process.


Penciling is where an artist takes the writer's vision and makes it reality, working through each panel of each page and sending proofs to the writer for approval. There's a lot of back and forth in this process.


Once the pencil panels and pages are finalized, the pencil art is passed on to an inker who renders the final lines of each panel and page so it can be colored.


After a page is inked and colored, the writer (me) works to finalize the story. The final story is edited before it is lettered. Lettering is the process of entering and positioning the dialogue, story text, and other text elements onto each panel of each page. It's a long process, but the result is something unique: a printed story that is told visually as much as with words.

Thanks for reading! Hope you'll take a look at the special editions of my Ruin Mist novels and the graphic novels when they are published.

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1 Comment

Just looking around.. Cool

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