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Talking a bit about some of the graphic novels that inspired the art and design for In Limbo: A Graphic Depiction of the Syrian Civil War

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This is just a brief explanation of how I incorporated multi-media into my graphic novel, In Limbo: A Graphic Depiction of the Syrian Civil War. 

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Thoughts On…

Writing a Graphic Novel in Two Months


When I first discovered my love for writing and drawing (however poorly) comics, I had no idea that barely a year later I’d tackle a full graphic novel project. Not only would I be writing the script for a 60 page story arc, but I would be drawing all 60 pages of those as well. A frightening concept, considering I haven’t taken an art class since the 7th grade. I battle with myself often while drawing comics, because I continue to feel as though I am first and foremost a writer, trying desperately to adapt into a well-rounded artist. And while I am working on improving my art, I doubt I’ll be winning any Eisner awards anytime soon. That being said, I think there is a certain niche among the comics community for simpler doodlings, similar to the stylings of Jeff Brown (my personal inspiration for much of my memoir material). 

However, In Limbo: A Graphic Depiction of the Syrian Civl War was an entirely different beast than the light-hearted mini comics of my youth. I believe it lends itself more toward comics journalism than anything else, seeing as it was inspired by true events and thoroughly researched. However the script walks a fine line - not quite fiction, not quite memoir, and definitely not lighthearted. The most challenging portion of writing it was balancing the young narrator’s fictional life with the factual lives of many Syrians today. When I began the project I felt (and still feel) a large amount of responsibility for respecting the lives and culture of a country I can only visit through photographs and literature. How does one give justice to events, some too tragic to illustrate, when the distance between the author and the people is too far to breach? It has been difficult, and I know that there will be many people who read this book and say to themselves, “Well what does she know? She’s an American.” All I can rebut to that statement (which isn’t entirely false) is that I did as much research as I possibly could to understand the Syria revolution to the best of my ability. And the story is only meant to spread awareness of worlds far outside of our own, regardless of whether or not the plot line is fictional. All I can hope for the project is that it educates those of us who only watch the 6 o’clock news for information on what’s going on in the local neighborhood. I know the novel isn’t perfect, and I’m sure I will revise it 10 times before I ever dream of seriously trying to publish it, but for the time being I can rest easy knowing I did what I could in what little time I had because I am passionate about Syria. And I am passionate about literacy. And helping readers experience a society and culture often vastly different from their own. And that, I believe, In Limbo is more than capable of. So even with the pitfalls, the writer’s blocks, and the artistic failings, this project is a success in my heart and mind. I hope that it reaches an audience willing to open their eyes to the devastation in Syria, however life-changing realizing that knowledge may be. 

"Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace." ~Dalai Lama

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