Writing for Comics

Hello and good day, we here at Online Comic Heroes want to share a new article on Writing for Comics.  The main focus is writing for comics, yet the topics of this article can be applied to any form of writing.  I read recently that if you boil every story down to its core, there are only five different stories in the world of writing.  While I have not found what those five are yet, I can tell you something that will help you tell one of those five stories more successfully than the next writer in line.  Story Structure, is an essential element to do well.  People like to be led through a story, and if you can structure the writing for your comic story well you will lead not only your creative team but the reader who ultimately has purchased your work.  

Readers can make connections with things they are familiar with, if you like war stories you will be drawn to those familiar type of stories.  So you will appreciate when a writer knows the subject matter.  Another helpful element is to be able to deliver a surprise to the reader.  Finding a balance of the familiar with surprise or a twist can set you apart from the average writer.  Structuring the story with a solid beginning will lead the reader into your story and if you write well the story will flow smoothly on and continue to draw in your reader.  The middle can reveal an essential detail of the story for the characters or sweep the reader along to the final conclusion.  Often with comics the story is an ongoing series, yet the end of the issue still needs to be structured strongly.

Writing for Comics: The Conflict

When you are writing for comics you need to establish the setting and theme very early on.  On average you must tell your story within 20 pages.  You can draw in and hold the reader with a great introduction to the story.  Many comics focus on a main character or a team of characters.  Using the element of conflict in your story telling can help make your character more three dimensional and interesting.

There are several variations of Conflict in story telling.  Mainly there are External and Internal Conflicts.  External can include your main character battling an enemy or trying to overcome a natural disaster.  Then there is Internal Conflicts.  Where the main character struggles with personal challenges.  If you can tell a compelling story and show that the main character or team has substance, it can help the reader connect to the story and make it more believable.  When the pressure is on, how does the character act and behave.  I remember reading Spiderman as a youth, the creative team at the time really seemed to capture both external and internal conflicts each issue and often both within the same issue.  Spiderman was both an every man and a superhero all in one.  I believe this quality writing and story telling is a key element why Spiderman is still so popular a character.

When you first start writing for comics, you may run into that intimidating brick wall of rejected submissions.  Do not let it stop you, just keep striving.  The hope with any rejection letter (critique) is that the editor has included the reason for the decision.  For someone to say "No" and not give helpful direction is just wrong.  For example, my first two submissions to Comixology were turned down with no indication why.  It was up to me to determine what I needed to do to improve my work.  Most likely your story has been told before, as I indicated there are just five basic stories to tell.  Tell your story, work at it and revise it as needed but tell your story.  Get it out there, it may not be perfect right away.  Think of it this way, every writer must start somewhere.  So work hard, tell solid stories, find a good team and just keep persisting.

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