Mitchell Pratt, "Carried Away." Age 14, Grade 9. 2010 Silver Medal , Comic Art.

A summer job inspires one young writer’s interest in writing a graphic novel memoir. But how do you choose the illustrations?

K.G.: I’m writing a short memoir about my first summer job, but want to collaborate with a friend who is an artist to make it a picture book or graphic novel. What kinds of images make good illustrations for a story?

Ned Said: I’m not an illustrator, but I’ve written one book (so far) that included illustrations: my own non-fiction project Teen Angst? Naaah…. The illustrations in early editions of the book were drawn by an artist who had read the finished text — that’s important to remember! As the writer, you shouldn’t be worried about the art: the ball is in your court first to write your memoir and then your friend will have the responsibility of illustrating the scenes you describe. (If you are truly doing a graphic novel, panel-by-panel, you will need to work with your friend more closely, but for a book with pictures this setup works fine.) The kinds of images that will make your story good are the ones that come from well-written scenes!

Have questions about writing, or the business of publishing? Ask a real writer! Ned Vizzini Vizzini is the author of three acclaimed young adult books: It’s Kind of a Funny Story (now a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah…. Ned has spoken at over 200 schools, universities, and libraries around the world about writing and mental health. E-mail your questions to askned@artandwriting.org.

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