A graphicless novel looks like a comic but reads like a book. Sort of. In reality, I’m not sure what it is yet.
The graphicless novel is something I developed, or at least pioneered, as a way to bridge the gap between traditionally formatted books and graphic novels. The format doen’t use images to convey setting, character or plot. Instead, panels, text boxes, fonts and speech bubbles help readers understand who, how fast and in what tone characters are talking.
Certain scenes need to happen with a burst of speed while others need space. Comics and graphic novels allow creators to smush panels together to create a sense of urgency and speed. Or, one could illustrate a full spread with no words on it create a sense of gravity or reflection.
This type of design based storytelling is difficult to do with a traditionally formatted novel. Word choice, sentence structure and paragraph breaks are the tools of the trade, and they’re great tools. I love traditionally formatted books, but, I found myself wanting something different.
I wanted something that had the feeling of a comic book but without the images. Don’t get me wrong, the illustrations of comic books and graphic novels are wonderful, but, they do reduce the amount of imagination the end reader gets to utilize.
There are no rules to the graphicless novel format. It’s an evolving thing that looks to strike a balance between being easy to ready and fun to look at.