by Tauriq Moosa
Putting one word, one letter, after the other in order to make a coherent sentence is something most of us can do: you are currently doing it now, except you are forced to ride the tracks of comprehension as laid down by words I choose. There are some of us, stupidly, who are aiming to make this into our profession, in whatever medium most suits our tastes, personality, and continual interest. Having recently begun a thesis, I needed a way to not view writing as a, sometimes, tortuous process, dealing with multiple medical and philosophical and political documents. I decided to dabble in writing comics or, rather, graphic novels.
It’s quite a strange move for me, considering I’ve only started reading comics recently. But that’s not what matters.
What I’d like to do is convey some tips to those looking into writing fiction, in general, and comic fiction, in particular. Because I don’t think people interested in writing creatively are necessarily interested in graphic-novel writing, I will separate the general and specific tips I’ve picked up.
However, here is a disclaimer: I am not a published or recognised writer. I am a complete amateur. Indeed, I have a number of synopses and plot outlines, but no firmly attached artists or publishers to any of them. Finding artists, when you cannot draw, cannot pay, or are an unknown is one of the most difficult aspects of comic writing. This is my current problem, but then I’m in two minds about this as I will explain later. What I am presenting to you is the end results of hundreds of articles I’ve read and discussions I’ve had with more successful people. So I'm not going to keep writing “…but that's just my view at the moment” or “…but do realise this is one person's perspective…”. You've got you're disclaimer. Move on.
TIPS FOR WRITING (FICTION)
This is the second most insulting instruction you can give to someone interested in writing (I’ll tell you the most insulting one at the end). However, it is not unheard of for writers to be lazy or non-readers. I’m thinking of the great Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who wrote beautifully and powerfully, but was not himself an avid reader.
By read, I mean read everything. Published authors and editors constantly state that being unaware of the medium is common problem. You could at the very least simply retell an existing story. Or you could be unaware that your “highly original” idea has not only been duplicated, but told by a writer infinitely more talented (this happened to me and an Ian McEwan story).