After nearly a decade working as a writer and editor in journalism, publicity, and comics publishing, shifting my skills to digital marketing copywriting has been a broadening experience. As a job, it utilizes all the same skills I’ve previously engaged as a wordsmith, but it calls on them in new and — sometimes — very different ways. And that’s a good thing: Diverse experience is essential to improvement. You could argue that continuing to write daily is the greatest way to improve, and I wouldn’t argue, but writing about subjects and in voices I’d otherwise never touch has forced a honing of my skills it’d be hard to replicate left to my own devices. Continue Reading “Resources for Copywriters”
While I haven’t delved into my favorite living writer George Saunders’ new book Lincoln in the Bardo — as Abraham Lincoln grieving his dead son seems a bit intense for a brand new dad — I’ve enjoyed reading interviews about his process going from expert short story writer to first time novelist. My wife giving birth has waylaid a more thorough examination of this Guardian article, but I wanted to save it here for future reference — for me and you, any writers or editors that love creative process advice as much as I do. Continue Reading “One of my favorite writers explains writing and writers”
In my unending quest to continue improving as a writer and editor, I’ve been blogging haphazardly over the past two years when I come across great writing tips or storytelling resources. I love reading about writing and storytelling. It’s fascinating and enriching. I’ve witnessed things I’ve read come to life in my own work, improving my skills—you couldn’t ask for better results to time spent studying your craft. So, in the hope I’m not alone in this pilgrimage, I’ve tried to collect some those resources (plus, my thoughts) for others. An infographic about book facts created by Robert Brewer was part of the impetus behind all this additional study. Continue Reading “Recommended Storytelling and Comics Writing Resources”
New York Times Bestselling author Fred Van Lente—who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on Resurrectionists, Brain Boy, Project Black Sky, new editions of his Action Philosophers and The Silencers, and a few other things—is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest writers in comics. If you’re looking for a script format to mimic, head to his website and check out his templates. As an editor, I love this format! It’s also one of the preferred formats of letterer extraordinaire Nate Piekos of Blambot! Continue Reading “Fred Van Lente’s Five Comic-Making Mistakes”
Continuing my efforts to compile as many helpful writing tips as possible, here’s a resource post about writing and storytelling advice written by people far more experienced than me. Go forth, read what they’ve written, and grow! Continue Reading “Writing Tips from A Few Masters”
If you want to create comics, I think Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is required reading. “But Jim! I’ve read enough comics to understand them! I don’t need to read this!” Well, if you’ll allow me a sports metaphor… Watching Michael Jordan or Lebron James play hundreds games isn’t gonna make you a great basketball player, nor is watching every NFL game on Sunday gonna make you a great coach. In short, there’s a lot of doing the work and studying the craft involved in mastering the craft, so if you want to create comics, you should do more than just read lots of comics, you should immerse yourself in information about the craft.
But, getting off my soap box (“He said, while writing am advice-centric blog post.”), I’m writing this post about two pages from Understanding Comics that I think are a great lesson for newcomers and a fantastic refresher for old pros alike. Continue Reading “What story do you want to tell?”
“And then…” is the enemy of a good story. “Therefore” and “But…” are your friends. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker break it down… Continue Reading “Buts aren’t just for sitting”
Last night, I was watching MasterChef with my fiancé and I realized that, over the two seasons I’ve watched, there are always a few contestants who seem certain they know better than the judges. Gordon Ramsay will come around, ask them what they’re cooking, taste it, and often offer some sort of “Are you sure about this? Did you think this through?” criticism. The contestants who often do the best, take that cue and work toward applying the criticism to their cooking. The contestants who are often eliminated early on in the competition are the ones who shake their heads at the criticism and seem convinced that they know better than the judges. Continue Reading “Never stop improving”
In David Mamet’s On Directing Film, he explains that a director’s job is to make a film by putting together a series of uninflected shots. Using straightforward images alone, you tell the story. He suggests that if you try to make a silent film, you should be able to make a great film because you’ll be forced to make sure each image you use means something, each shot furthers the scene.
Think about that. It’s a great guide for the visual storyteller—Comics very much included in that. Make sure every scene/image works toward telling your story. Continue Reading “Find a crucible for your story”
I’m not a writer.
I can write. I’ve been paid to write. But I know writers. Real writers. Sit down and type for hours because they have to writers, agonizing over every word writers, write or go crazy writers… And I’m not one of them.
Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a story to tell. Continue Reading “Learning my medium by doing”