5 Writing Tips from Comics Legend David Michelinie 🙌

by Mark Andrew Smith on 20.09.22 in Uncategorised

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We asked Gladstone’s Revenge writer and comics legend David Michelinie for a list of his TOP 5 tips for writers and David was very gracious and accommodating.


(1) READ: read comics, novels. short-shorts, screenplays, anything that tells a story. The more you read, the more you’ll absorb things like structure, character development, foreshadowing, techniques you don’t even think about as a casual reader. But when you finish the story, DO think about them. Did you like the story? Great! Now figure out WHY you liked it. If it made you laugh, how did the writer set up the punch line? If you were surprised, how did the writer lead you to that point without giving it away too soon. Some teachers say “Write from experience.” But you don’t have to fight monsters or travel to the future to write about such things. Reading is “experience” as well–use it!

(2) WRITE: this seems obvious, but it’s really the only way to learn your craft. Too many would-be writers get discouraged or depressed because they think they’re writing crap. And oftentimes they are. But I guarantee that every Pulitzer-, Edgar-, or Nebula-winning story started out as a first, or rough, draft. I learned early on that it’s incredibly painful, emotionally, to keep writing when you know you’re just shoveling shit on a page. But I also learned that when I get up the next morning and read what I’ve written, it may still be shit but the chances are good that I can see WHY it’s shit. And I can work at what I need to do to make it better.

(3) CLARITY: One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed in writing these days is that so many writers seem to forget that readers don’t know what’s in your mind–you have to tell them. I’ve read stuff where, say, Tom and Mary are having a conversation, and then Bill speaks up with his opinion. Excuse me: Bill? Who the hell is Bill and where did HE come from!? The writer knew that Bill was in the scene because he saw the scene in his mind. But he didn’t think to mention it to the person reading the story! So when you’ve finished a piece, put it aside for a few days. Then come back to it cold, try to read it as if it’s the first time you’ve even seen it. You might be surprised.

(4) INPUT: Okay, now you’ve written a story, what do you do with it? Send it to an editor? Uh-uh. Get someone to READ the thing! Show it to friends, relatives, teachers, fellow writers, anyone who’ll agree to read it and tell you what they think. Consider every opinion or suggestion, because as first readers they may be able to spot things you were too close to notice. But while you should consider all suggestions, you don’t have to TAKE any of them. This is your story, and it has to be the way you want it to be. If it tanks, learn from that, and go write another one.

(5) PERSEVERE: self-doubt is a common gremlin for anyone attempting to create. But if storytelling is your passion, keep at it. The first editor to read your submission may have the flu and would even reject a Stephen King story because they feel lousy. But the second (or third, or fourth) may have just gotten a raise and be so jubilant that they recognize your genius and reward it with a check. Freelancing is a roll of the dice, and it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen. Eventually you may have to ask yourself if you’re writing because you love to write, or because you want to be a successful professional writer. If your answer is the former, you’re the lucky one.

Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to David M!

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