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The comic book/graphic novel/trade paperback will be broken up into sections, just like any other etext. You will be familiar with some of the section headings from your work formatting other text for NNELS, and just like with those headings, the list we give here may not be exhaustive. If you come across any additional sections, feel free to add them here!

NNELS Headings

The comic book/graphic novel/trade paperback will be broken up into sections, just like any other etext. If it is a single issue, it will usually consist of:

  • Cover Page (with description of image)
  • Description and or Summary of Series and Issue, i.e. what the series is about; where this issue is in the series; how the order of text is different from other NNELS books; etc. We could also welcome feedback and suggestions from readers to improve and develop our methods.
  • Publishing Information
  • Pages
  • Panels
  • Letters Page
  • Back Cover Image
  • Summary
  • Author Praise

If it is a trade/compendium/collection, it may include the following sections:

Page and Panel - overview descriptions

As noted in the Meta-terminology section, the story of a comic book is broken down into pages, which are further broken down into panels. It is important for the reader to be able to envision the layout of the page and the panels it contains, as this may give the reader a general idea about the time frame, the narrative flow of the page, or simply an overview of the page. The way the artist has chosen to layout a the panels on a page is part of the storytelling process. The layout controls how someone reads a page, and is another layer we want to include in trying to reproduce an authentic comic book experience.

At the start of every page we give a page description, which will always include the number and layout of the panels, and may include some general information about the setting or actions on the page. Essentially, the information that could be gleaned “at-a-glance”.

Panels are then described, one-by-one. In the Panel section below, we give some guidelines for an order of description, but this is something that takes practice and patience.


Each page includes a series of panels that tell a story. The size, shape, and layout of the panels on the page is part of the narration. Write the page description in full, brief sentences, not point form, to aid with the flow of narration. (Please see Panel Types for an overview of the kinds of panels.)


Seven panels in three rows.
Row one has one wide panel, and rows two and three each have three vertical panels.

Six panels in three rows.
Row one has a wide, borderless panel which bleeds behind the other rows, fading to black. Row two has three vertical panels, and row three has two square panels.
Country road outside hospital.

Seven panels in three rows.
Rows one and two each have three vertical panels. Row three has a wide, borderless panel which bleeds into the gutters of the panels above.
Rick approaches and enters the house.

The following is an outline for page description:

  • General layout description
  • Row and panel descriptions
  • Gutter Details unless explained earlier. See Terms page for more detail.
  • Brief overview of setting/action/time of day if it has changed.


Each panel tells its own story within the larger narration of the page. The following is a suggested outline to help with your writing.

You may find that some panels require a different order, and some will not include all these steps. The main key is to think of the narrative; does the order you describe work for the narrative being told within the panel?

The following is the outline for panel description:

  • Panel (Square Panel, Wide Panel, Vertical Panel, etc.)
  • View/Angle/Point-of-View of panel (Note: you often just have to say the view, i.e. wide view, mid-view, close up, etc.)
  • How are the characters visible in the frame? (from the waist up, in full figure, etc.)
  • Description of scene
  • Sound/Words
  • Description of action
  • Last details (i.e. does the image bleed behind the other panels, are there any last details you think add to the narration that you did not already note…)
Sometimes you will find that you will need to reorder this to keep with the narrative flow, or even leave out some points. Remember to always ask: Does this help with the narration?
public/nnels/comics/cbd_nnelssections.txt · Last modified: 2019/04/07 17:50 by rachel.osolen