Welcome to my third Writing Without Fear article, this is my exploration of the world of writing, of creating and building your own characters, and telling your own stories.
Today’s commentary and exploration of writing was prompted by this article ‘The 3 Reasons Why Indies Should Never Use Superheroes‘ that was knocking around my Facebook feed at the start of the week.
I will be quite honest while the article did make some interesting points, it made me grumpy, these type of ‘don’t do this cause I said so articles’ always do. Now after saying that I realize that this article will be skirting the same territory. So I will bracket everything I am about to say with this… Your World, Your Rules!
A Thousand Ways Of Being Discouraged
When you make the leap to pick up a pen, put finger to keyboard and start writing your story you will be met with a thousand different ways of being discouraged. Most of these ways will wrap around these words of that’s silly, stupid, been done before, wasting your time, no one will read it, that isn’t realistic, not another teenage witch/vampire/superhero/assassin/Angel/mecha story.
And if you listen to this, if you read articles about what you should, and should not write then guess what happens? YOU DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING!
You get paralyzed by a very real fear that what you’re writing is silly, immature, idiotic, you stop, you falter, you don’t share your work and your characters and stories die.
Because someone took it upon themselves to judge what you write before even reading the story.
There Are No Original Stories
Over last couple of years I have been interviewed, sat on comic con panels about writing and I can break my advice down to five points that I give all aspiring writers.
- There are no original stories, so don’t sweat it, there are just original ways of telling a story
- Your World, your rules! If up is down, and down is up that is perfectly fine
- You do not have to justify or explain anything, Vampires can be shiny, Teddy Bears can walk around, Jamie can have a magic torch, and Hobbits exist because you said so
- Just write… The more you write, like exercise the stronger you will get
- Own it… It is your story, no one elses.
Keep this in mind and create, nothing you do will be perfect even if you rewrite is a thousand times. I have learned as a creative writer you don’t finish a story you kind of abandon it.
Why Was I Grumpy About That Article?
One of the biggest issues I had with The 3 Reasons Why Indies Should Never Use Superheroes is it is telling you to give up on your character because you cannot writing anything original about Superheroes, cause the big two have done it all before you.
I call BULLSHIT on that… Yes, Marvel and DC have told thousands, upon thousands of Superhero stories and explored the genre to death. You may notice all there stories are circular in nature and always in the end reset to the status quo. With your own characters you have a freedom no big two comic book writer has… Not even the big names like Bendis.
You can take your Superhero on a journey that Marvel, DC, Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Aspen, Boom, Action Lab Comics (and many more) could never dare do. You can be bold, you can be intimate, you can go Michael Bay form in comics… It is entirely down to you… So say not do something because it has been done before is like poking yourself in the eye and wondering why it hurt.
Here Is An Original Take On The Superhero Story
Have any of you read my love letter to Superhero comics? It is called Fabula Zero Exposition and it is the most unusual graphic novel out there. The story is about Jack, a Superhero comic book writer who has writers block. He is way past deadline, just been given the comic companies flagship title and he cannot for the life of him get his story to work. Eventually the Superheroes get fed up waiting for him to finish the story, and come to life throwing him into silly Superhero situations like fighting Giant Robots, or facing down the dastardly Doctor Dark.
The story is written as an homage to all the Superhero comics I have ever read, and what makes it unique is every time the Superheroes are in the story the graphic novel is a comic, but when the story is just Jack it is a traditional narrative adventure.
Fabula Zero has garnered positive praise from everyone who has read it, it is a comedy in parts, pure Superhero book in others, and bit of an action adventure throughout. The point is, if I had taken to heart the advice of articles like The 3 Reasons Why Indies Should Never Use Superheroes it never would have got written.
So Endth My Ranth
As I reach the end of this article, I hope the one thing you carry away from this is write without fear and tell you story regardless of what your character is. Remember I also write about Teenage Witches, Heroic Teddy Bears and Feisty Princesses. Overcome your fear, write your words and find your endings.
Good luck, be gentle with the earth and keep writing… The story is in your hands now.