Writing Comics Part Two – Preparedness

So, a while back, I started a guide for how to make comics. And so I guess here’s part two.

I think part two is more about honesty than part one, which was totally about process.

So, you’ve got Flame Proof and he’s awesome. And you call up your best friend, right? And you’re like “Yo, check it out, he’s Flame Proof! Most bad ass fire-based superhero in the tradition of The Human Torch, and The Human Torch and uh….Firestorm?”

So, your best friend, being your best friend, of course, says, “I love this! This is great! I cannot wait to read it!”

Okay. Well. Now. Here’s the fun part.

Is your best friend a comic fan? No? Okay. Do they particularly like superheroes? No? Huh.

Okay, they’re not your audience.

Now, even if you answered yes to either question above, they may well still not be your audience. It’s rarely as simple as the first person you find is exactly the person for your story. If it were that simple, no Kickstarter would fail.

But that doesn’t mean give up hope! I find a lot of writers sort of…balk and freak at criticism, especially from friends. There’s a sense of betrayal. Get rid of that. Or learn to push it down and back. Because honestly, critique is so necessary to the process. You quickly get a feel for “good notes” and “bad notes.” Good notes are ones like “The dialogue feels a bit stale,” or “I’m having trouble understanding the plot – it seems a little jumbled.” Bad notes are notes such as “Kill Flame Proof, he’s annoying,” and “What if you took this in a completely different format/genre/direction and threw out all your own ideas for mine?” You get it quickly.

One of the things I found hardest to learn as a writer early on was a pretty basic lesson. The executed product and the intended product are unrelated. If people say they don’t get it, you may need to revise. Doesn’t mean it’s a shitty story, means you missed your mark. If people say they get it and it doesn’t work, don’t say “but that’s what I was going for.” Or do! But know that it’s connecting with the audience. These are super basic writing truths.

The most important thing is finding the right audience – don’t let an early opinion from someone who was never going to buy the story anyway derail you. Okay, we’ll get back to some format stuff next time. In what, 9 mos?