by Travis Gibb


Over the weekend, I was talking to David Pepose (Savage Avengers, Punisher) about his new ideas for a  major Marvel crossover that he pitched to his editor. It's a grand idea, but I can’t share it here because who knows if it will ever be made, but it's wild and includes a bunch of your favorite characters (Pepose is going places). While I was having this conversation, Tom King (Batman, Supergirl) walked up, interrupted our talk and said, “Hey David, I broke the story! You know, the one we were talking about last night? Well, I figured it out in the shower this morning.”  

I stood in awe listening to these two creators doing the same stuff I do: trying to figure out the story, which made me want to share this interaction and point out the excitement a creator feels when finally breaking a story. I get the same way, and it made me really want to write about this here on the Metal Ninja Dojo.

As a writer, I go to sleep every night trying to break down the next thing to work on. I try to plan it out and figure out the beats. It creates a level of excitement for me as I start unlocking the various plot points of an exciting, new story. I am going to be honest, it sometimes takes minutes to break a story. Others, it might take years. You may have this idea in your head but don't know how it all fits. You may just have a scene, a character, or even a location. You may have a great idea, but your skill level isn't at the point you need it to be. This happens to every creator at every level of writing.

Breaking Story is a pivotal process in the world of comic book script writing. It’s akin to laying the groundwork for a building in the construction industry. Whether you're crafting comic books, graphic novels, or other forms of sequential art, Breaking Story is a crucial step that ensures your idea is robust, original and captivating.  However, before I get into that, let's explore the concept of Breaking Story in the context of comic book script writing.


Origin of the Term 

The term "Break Story” or “Broke Story” finds its roots in construction, where "breaking ground" marks the commencement of building foundations. In the realm of comic book script writing, it symbolizes the foundational work necessary to develop and assess a story concept. It means the basic structure is there before you open the laptop and start typing. You know the basic path you want to take. You may not know all the details, but it's good enough to start building.

Breaking Ground Construction

Purpose of Breaking Story

Comic book writers Break Story to thoroughly examine their ideas at the conceptual level. This involves an evaluation of various aspects of the story: premise, characters, emotional arcs and plot. This ensures the stories are unique, engaging, and, most importantly, well-crafted. 



Writers scrutinize the premise to determine if it stands out and differentiates itself from other comic books on the market. Someone once told me this, and it broke my heart: Not all stories need to be told. It’s a hurtful statement, but it’s also true. If there is something already like it then what makes yours worth telling? However, with a compelling and original premise that captivates readers, you have a better chance because this industry relies on captivated readers.


Planning and mind-mapping 

Character Analysis

Understanding the motivations and roles of characters is vital in comic book script writing. Writers delve into character development ensuring their functions and motivations align with the story's trajectory.


Plot Considerations

Writers analyze how the story unfolds within the comic book medium. They assess whether it follows a linear, or nonlinear, structure and how visual storytelling elements can enhance the narrative. This helps you pick an artist and a format that best fits the book. Is this a one shot, a series or a graphic novel? Breaking Story helps define these elements.


Industry Terminology

Within the comic book industry, you might hear phrases like "this story has legs," indicating a story's potential for longevity and success. Breaking Story helps comic book writers identify and cultivate stories with long lasting and critical appeal.

The points discussed will help in figuring out what you need to start your process. Breaking Story means different things to different creators, but I feel it's vital to make a good story into a great story. This process will save you time from adding to an empty white page to knowing the path of your exciting new story.  

Breaking Story is a crucial step in the creative process. It allows writers and creators to refine their ideas and ensure they have a strong foundation before diving into the actual writing or production. It helps prevent plot holes, inconsistencies and structural issues that can arise during the storytelling process. Ultimately, Breaking Story sets the stage for a more organized, engaging, and coherent narrative.


You may not know all the details, but it's good enough to start building.


Benefits of Breaking Story

Breaking Story streamlines the scripting process and equips professional comic book writers with answers to questions commonly asked in the industry by enhancing their professionalism and leaving a lasting impression.

It also helps keep newcomers from being overwhelmed by establishing a solid foundation from the start. Breaking Story helps avoid the need to untangle a messy draft later on and discourages premature abandonment of their writing endeavors. It provides a detailed roadmap instead of just seeing how the story goes.

To sum it all up, Breaking Story is an indispensable practice for all comic book writers. It expedites the creative process and prevents becoming stuck for days with writer’s block (speaking of writer’s block, click here to let Jonathan Hedrick show you how to deal with it: Unblocking Writer's Block). Knowing when a story is ready for the page is a crucial aspect of being a comic creator. It helps give a deep understanding of the craft and leaves the final product in the best position to hand off to the artist.

You should never create something when your full heart isn’t into it.

Create Amazing Comic Books. Break New Stories. We’re rooting for you.

1 Comment

  • Great article, Travis!

    Jonathan Hedrick

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