It's taken a while but I've started to think seriously about the graphic novel. Writing one, I mean. Certainly not illustrating one. I am not an artist, which is the understatement of the year. I'm probably going to sign up to attend the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable Graphic Novel Event at the end of February, in order to learn more about this genre. I've attended a couple of talks, but this is an all day intensive so I'm hoping for inspiration. If any of you have the good fortune to possess both writing and illustrating talents you're a step ahead, but I think the key to a good graphic novel is combining the writing and the graphics like a recipe with measured ingredients. Now usually when I write the text of a picture book I have almost no power over the illustrations - though the publisher usually keeps me in the loop. That's as it should be. I often don't get to meet the artist, who might even live in another province. But I suspect that with a graphic novel the writer and artist have to work together as a tight-knit team.
So I keep thinking about the story of mine that publishers always love, but don't want to touch, because they can't figure out who to market it to (neither can I, only how about 'anyone of any age that actually finds it funny?') I know that it would work as a graphic novel. I feel it in my bones - unless that's just the osteo-arthritis acting up - but there's a problem. The language of that story is so important. Not to hold myself on the same level of greatness as Oscar Wilde, but it would be like creating a graphic novel from 'The Importance of Being Ernest.' I could, however, see two versions. The witty, wordy version and the graphic version. I'm talking about my story and Wilde's play, by the way.
What do you think? Maybe get together with an artist friend and see if you can come up with a graphic novel or short story (read Irene Watts' graphic version of her novel 'Goodbye Marianne.' Then read the novel. Check the differences). I think it would be very creative if your school combined an art class and an English/creative writing class and teamed up kids to create graphic novels.
I'll get back to you with more on the subject after February. Meanwhile, keep on writing.