Home > Blog, Middle-Grade Novel Month > Middle Grade Novel, Graphic Novel Adaptation, and The Expeditioners!

Middle Grade Novel, Graphic Novel Adaptation, and The Expeditioners!

Hey everyone! These past four months have been amazing! Time has really flown and I’ve had a lot of momentum behind my writing. I feel truly blessed to be doing what I want to do in life and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.

But what have I been up to?


Did I finish the middle grade manuscript I set out to write in one month (see my post: Middle-Grade Novel Month)?

Well, I finished, but not in one month.


As you can see in the image above, the first pass took two months. Then, the manuscript needed some significant edits before I was comfortable with anyone reading it, and the edits took another month. So, to have a readable “first” draft, it took not one month but three.

I was bummed to not hit my one-month goal, but I learned a lot along the way.

I tracked my progress using this Time Tracker app, documenting what I was working on each day, how long it took to complete, what I struggled with, etc. With this data, I now have a better idea of what to expect from myself in reality instead of what I’d ideally like to be able to do. Now, I can set realistic goals instead of I-should-be-able-to-do-this goals, which will help me feel good as I accomplish tasks.

Now that I have a completed manuscript, what happens next?

After receiving some feedback, I recognize that there are two major problems to address in the next draft:

1) I need to let the reader spend more time with the characters before the action takes over. This is pretty typical of male authors, who are generally less inclined to talk about relationships and feelings than have things blow up. 🙂

& 2) I wrote the book to entice reluctant readers by including a high number of illustrations. In fact, I wrote it so the images were absolutely necessary to understand the story; if you didn’t look at the pictures, you wouldn’t understand what’s happening. But after reading the draft again recently, I realized that the project doesn’t need that style of writing. I was using images as a crutch because I’ve trained in graphic novel writing and that’s where I was more confident. So the next draft will be a more traditional novel approach.

I’m working on the second draft, now. My goal is to have a stronger next draft by April 2013.


Graphic Universe logo

Speaking of graphic novels… I’m going to be published!!!

In October, I was hired to write a graphic novel adaptation of a YA novel for Graphic Universe (GU). A friend from The Center for Cartoon Studies, Robyn Chapman, works as an Assistant Editor for GU and brought me in to write the script for her and Carol Burrell.

I’m afraid I can’t say too much more than that at the present moment, but it should be released in 2013. And I’m really excited!

It was a joy to work on and the script just poured out of me. It felt as natural as breathing. Once I’m able to relay a little more information, I plan to go into the step-by-step process of how I wrote the script.

Until then, here’s a simple trick I used to get started: I had a page limit of 92 pages, and the novel was 125. So, I had 1 comics page to present every 1.35 pages of text. If you can’t make the ratio work, page-by-page, then you have to start cutting moments with the least amount of plot and emotional weight.


Lastly, The Expeditioners is a middle grade novel that Katherine illustrated. It was written by our former CCS professor, S.S. Taylor, and was recently released by McSweeney’s McMullens.

Throughout November, Katherine and I prepared for the book launch by learning how to be an online business! Since the majority of people shop online, now, we needed to remake her website to be optimal for not only buying books but also establishing her brand as an illustrator.

You can see the current difference between her two websites: caterpillarpublishing.com (old) and katherineroy.com (new). There’s still a lot to be done.

In addition to that, we’ve been learning online marketing, social media marketing, and how to manage book signings and business parties. (With a great deal of help from S.S. Taylor and her husband Matt Dunne. Thanks, you two!)

It has been a lot of fun, but also a whole lot to learn.

That’s it for now. I’ll have more soon. Happy holidays, everyone.

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