Serious comics writing post: how can teh Internet be so jam packed with my fellow comic geeks, but there is NO [edit: scarce] online trace of the Levitz Paradigm Grid? ComicsAlliance.com just posted a Levitz Grid that writer Jonathan Hickman used to plot out Fantastic Four issues #570-600, and neither the journalist nor the readers had any idea what the eff it was. http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/07/27/parting-shot-jonathan-hickmans-fantastic-four-ff-graph-outline/

If you ever want to write or edit any serial story with complex interweaving plotlines, track down a copy of The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O'Neil. The Levitz Paradigm gets its own short chapter. Here's a big bit of it, page 100:

This could be the situation: Your editor, the fossil, doesn't like arcs. Thinks they aren't real comics. (Did I mention that he was born before 1950?) He wants you to deliver 12 issues and he insists that many of them contain continued stories. What are your options?

You could just give him arcs without calling them arcs....[snip]

Or you might conclude a story in two and a half issues and begin another in the last few pages of the third issue....[snip]

Or you could adopt a structural procedure from our television brethren and conclude your main plot in one, two, three or more issues but let the subplots continue....[snip]

Or you could adopt the Levitz paradigm....Paul Levitz probably thought about what a comic book writer does more than any of his contemporaries, or mine, and during his dozen-plus-years stint as writer of The Legion of Super-Heroes, systematized what his predecessors did haphazardly, if at all. Then, as an aid to his own work, he created three versions of the Levitz Grid [snip].

Basically, the procedure is this: The writer has two, three, or even four plots going at once. The main plot—call it Plot A—occupies most of the pages and the characters' energies. The secondary plot—Plot B—functions as a subplot. Plot C and Plot D, if any, are given minimum space and attention—a few panels. As Plot A concludes, Plot B is "promoted"; it becomes Plot A, and Plot C becomes Plot B, and so forth. Thus, there is a constant upward plot progression; each plot develops in interest and complexity as the year's issues appear.

End quote. Now go buy the book and learn the rest!
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