A graphic novel is quite different from the traditional novel. Contrary to the traditional novel that is filled with letters the graphic novel is filled with graphics. This does not mean there are no words. It is not strictly a picture book but contains both words and pictures.
While the story is told mainly through illustrations, the creator can also use words to explain or elaborate on some point.
You might be considering writing a graphic novel, and you are wondering how many pages it should have, that is, if it matters at all. Continue reading to know more about graphic novels and the best way to go about this adventure.
What Makes A Book A Graphic Novel?
The creator aims to tell his story primarily through illustrations, then that book can be termed a graphic novel. Most persons liken a graphic novel to a comic. This is mainly because of the pictures it contains.
However, unlike the comic that mainly targets young readers and is published in periodicals and magazines as serials, the graphic novel is for an advanced audience. They are published as full books in paperbacks and sometimes contain literary themes. You should have it in mind that most graphic novels are just a compilation of comics that have been previously published.
Types Of Graphic Novel
As earlier stated, the graphic novels often discuss serious themes. These themes are no different from the type you’ll find in traditional novels. But like comics, graphic novels also explore themes that are less serious and are mostly for fun. From the themes often explored, five types of graphic novels have been generated. They are described below:
Superhero stories – These are fantasy stories that are not based on real-life situations. This is a prevalent type of graphic novel, especially for teenagers. Examples are Batman: Dark Knight Returns and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Manga – This is a Japanese style of comic, and most graphic novels come in this form. Examples are Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist.
Non-fiction – Non-fiction books are based on real-life events that must have happened at some point in time. You can also use them to portray real-life situations and issues upon which the writer expresses his opinion. Examples are Persepolis and Pedro and Me.
Personal Narratives – a graphic novel can be used to detail a person’s life, just like the autobiography and memoir. Examples are Stitches: A Memoir and Fun Home.
Does The Number Of Pages In A Graphic Novel Matter?
Your novel’s size is one of the things the prospective reader may look out for when shopping for a book. For someone who doesn’t like large volumes, you can be sure that a large graphic novel may be daunting. Only when the person has gotten into the book will he decide whether the many pages are worth his time.
But where the person doesn’t even get into the book, he has no way of knowing. Conversely, some persons may like large volumes and readily go for the book with many pages. It is left for the creator of a graphic novel to look for a middle ground to satisfy these readers’ different groups.
One major distinguishing factor of a graphic novel from a comic book is the completeness of its narrative. A complete narrative will most likely mean, although not in all cases, a larger book. It will display the narrative in the book’s pages, and as such, those pages will need to be filled.
A graphic novel should take the reader from one point in the story to another to flow smoothly. Thus, the creator will need to take the number of pages into cognizance when transmitting his ideas into a graphic novel in a way that will sustain the reader’s interest without becoming excessively long.
How Many Pages Should A Graphic Novel Contain?
We have noted that the pages of a graphic novel are significant. But the exact number of pages would depend on several factors, one of which is the creator’s preference and how much information he wants to convey at a time. There are no rules to this but only guidelines. It is recommended that a graphic novel should be at least sixty-four pages long.
In deciding the number of pages, the writer must have its readers in mind. Young readers have a short attention span, so a writer who wants to sustain their interest must keep his novel a few pages.
You do not want your reader abandoning the book midway because it is too long. A large book will discourage readers, and even where it contains images. They might lose interest before the story is completed. For a more mature audience, the number of pages can be more.
The theme of the novel also has a part to play in determining the number of pages. A very serious theme may need a more robust plot, which would naturally take more pages. Whatever the writer decides to do should be targeted at serving the readers’ interest. It is not the number of pages that would matter but what the reader got from the book.
Examples Of Classic Graphic Novels
Some great authors have explored this style of storytelling and have come up with great works, some of which have gone on to win literary prizes. Below is a list of some classics that have been written over time.
- Maus by Art Spiegelman
- Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
- The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner
- 100 Bullets by Bran Aarello and Eduardo Risso
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
- I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
- Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
- Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
- The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Tips On How To Create A Graphic Novel
Now that you know what a graphic novel is and its essential characteristics, you can put on your creative cap and get down to creating something. The following tips should guide you:
Become a Fan
To read about graphic novels is good, but to get a full grasp of everything it entails, you need to become a fan. It is not enough to read about them. It will help if you read the graphic novel itself. There are several out there, and a few classics have also been mentioned above.
Reading will help you to know more about graphic novels. It will also give you ideas and inspiration for your theme and plot. To also understand the audience’s mind, you will need to get into their shoes, and the only way to do that is for you to become the audience by reading more graphic novels. You will be able to write better if you know what the audience expects and loves.
Pick a Picturesque setting for your graphic novel
Remember that you will be telling your story through illustrations. Your ability to excite the reader’s visual senses is essential. Your setting should also conform to the theme of your novel.
Choose a theme and create the plot outline
You will need to choose a graphic novel theme. Your theme will depend on the type of graphic novel you want to create and your target audience. After you have chosen a theme, brainstorm on it.
Decide on the Design and Format
if you are an artist, this may not be challenging as you can easily illustrate your script. But if you will need to send it out to an artist, your script should be clear and precise and leave room for the artist to bring in his imaginations in a way that will blend smoothly with your story.
Put in all the necessary detail
your graphic novel can be as detailed as the traditional novel in its narrative. You should ensure that your plot leaves no holes in it.
The importance of practice cannot be overemphasized. You only get better at something you do with practice. If all you do is read, outline ideas, and you never put them to practice, you will never learn. It would be best if you kept trying, learn from your mistakes, and try again.
There are no hard and fast rules on how many pages a graphic novel should contain. There are short graphic novels that told complete stories just as long ones. It all depends on the creator and his creativity. You should always note that graphic novels are complete in themselves and do not need to be broken into serials.
Where your graphic novel is running into hundreds of pages, you might want to consider publishing it in volumes. No matter the pages you finally come up with, the story should be exciting and captivating enough to sustain your readers’ interest.
Most times, readers do not bother about the size of your book. They just want a good read. They want to enjoy the reading experience.