Story Writing Tips
kyupol at 5:34PM, Oct. 15, 2007
(How to make a story for a comic)
1) Write About Something You Like
I know part of the reason you're doing comics on the internet is so that you will be popular and all. I'll tell you what kind of stuff gets lots of readers: ITS THE FANTASY COMICS. Yes. The one with any combination of swords, magic, spaceships, robots, etc… and set in some made-up fantasy world or in the distant distant future. If you have great art skills, you're all set. :)
However, if you're just one of those people who isn't really THAT into writing fantasy you will eventually feel like stopping it. That means… for you to be able to write something with continuity, it has to be something you like. Something that is your passion.
Yes it makes a difference. Notice how some hollywood movies have bad bad stories? Its because whoever wrote them only did it for MONEY and not for his/her PASSION.
So yeah. Create a comic that is about your passion. Write something where you will feel at ease and relaxed in doing it. If you're doing something else that isnt all about fantasy world, most likely you won't be getting a large amount of readers. Well… thats part of it. As long as you're happy doing what you want who cares if there are only about 5 people reading your stuff.
Besides… would you LIKE to research on a subject that isnt interesting for you?
2) Exaggeration Is Your Friend
Notice how rumors that are exaggerated are more likely to be accepted as “truth”? You've seen this… everything from celebrity gossip to political gossip… to the big big conspiracies… to the propaganda machines of different nations or political/religious groups.
You know how they make these things? They get a few facts then add or delete the other bits of information in such a way that it suits their agenda.
Exaggeration doesnt necessarily mean following current events.
Exaggeration can also mean things that happened to you in your real life. For example you have a 6 hour break in between periods for your college… and then you met this girl classmate of yours… and then you just hangout with each other talking mostly about small talk. That is the truth… but its a BORING truth. But what if you exagerrate a little… like inserting made-up sexual escapades with her?
Or maybe if you see two people fistfight and one of them lost after 10 seconds by that unlucky KO. Wouldn't it be better if you made them fight for 10 minutes or exagerrate the drama surrounding the fight?
Or take ANY event in your life then just throw in angels, demons, monsters, mutants, aliens, ghosts, vampires, etc… etc… etc… Exaggeration right there.
3) WHAT IF?!?
Related to exaggeration, there is also the question of “What if x happens?”
Where x = any fictitious/impossible/outrageous event that may happen.
Start with a “WHAT IF” on questions you ask yourself…
- what if the world ends today?
- what if aliens invade the planet?
- what if I meet an angel/devil/mutant/alien/hobbit/etc… etc… etc…
- what if I failed high school?
- what if I meet the guy/girl of my dreams?
Also use the “WHAT IF” if you try to spin off sequels or related stories to previously done comics. For instance, MAG-ISA (my latest comic) was conceived with the question: "What if Claudita (from Brood Knight) gets to once again return to Earth?"
4) Tension Gets Attention
Remember the days in school when a fistfight happens? Why do you think everyone gathers around the fight even if it has nothing to do with them? Why do they gather around it even if the combatants are not even their family or friends?
Because there's tension going on.
Do you think these people will gather around two people talking normally?
Why do you think newspapers don't talk too much about the boring stuff unless its a slow news day? Why is it full of stories about the wars in the middle east or elsewhere around the globe, political/celebrity gossip, crime, and courtroom dramas?
Do you think that if newspapers kept reporting on the boring stuff… do you think somebody will buy their newspaper?
Same thing in comics. Always keep that tension high. As much as possible, try putting these things in your comic:
- fights (hand-to-hand combat is preferred over gunfights, tank fights, air-to-air combat, or blasting kame-hame-waves at each other)
- comedy (preferrably practical jokes or smartass comments)
- crazy stunts
- romantic scenes like kissing or sex
5) Don't be scared to use cliches or throw in stuff you might think would make the comic “suck”.
Cliches are often talked about in the forums and are often associated with something negative or corny. Some people start to think that cliches are such bad things you must avoid in doing a comic.
Cliches are things that actually WORK if used in moderation. Too much of anything is bad… and that includes cliches.
Some cliches I have used:
- During a fight, the hero/heroine only gets wounded in the arms or legs or in non-fatal areas of the body. If he/she gets a fatal wound, there is alot of drama or for some reason the hero/heroine manages to recover and win the fight.
- During a fight, if the hero or an important character gets cornered, his/her ass suddenly gets saved by someone else… or he/she just gets captured or left for dead.
- “Hahaha… I'm just warming up, buddy… You haven't really seen my ultimate technique yet.” Then whoever says that suddenly gets at least 10x stronger than before.
- There ALWAYS has to be an angst-ridden loner character in every comic I do.
With regards to stuff you feel might “suck”, just do it. In my case I'm a little uncomfortable doing dialog… but sometimes people compliment me and say my dialog is good on some pages I've done. And I'm like… “what?!?” You never know what will “click”. The irony of it how majority of people sometimes tend to like things you think that suck.
6) Dissect other “good comics” and DONT GIVE UP!!!
Just because I put up this tutorial… it doesnt mean I'm teh ub3r l33t in making stories. I tell you… I NEVER WON ANY goddamn award as far as stories are concerned. I've sent entries to story writing contests all over and NEVER WON ANYTHING.
And here at drunkduck… I tell you that NONE of any comic I made has ever hit the top 200 ranking or EVER been ‘featured comic’. I got 3 comics here… with more than 500 pages (combined all in all) yet I never got as popular as other people who have only been here for a few months… with less than 50 pages uploaded… yet raking in all the hits. lol go figure. What does that speak of my “record”… lol
So if you're reading this little tutorial I made, take it with a grain of salt if you wish since I dont have “qualifications”.
Its a bit frustrating for me since I've been doing stories since as early as 8 years old as far as I can remember… its like the feeling of having your dreams fail or something like that. Yeah I know how those rejected American idol contestants, and all those small-time musicians feel at times. Its painful… like a heartbreak or something. You hope for something big and put effort into it but still fail. Well… life is NEVER fair and I just have to deal with it and tell myself to SUCK IT UP!!! lol
Anyway, I take it as a challenge all the time.
I find a comic I like then dissect it. I ask myself… What made it click? What is it in the story that made it good? Or is it just the drawing style that attracted people to it? Hey… I'm no expert in art and I consider my artistic level as mediocre at best since no sane animation school has ever accepted me. Well I didn't have the time and money to spend on upgrading my art skills… I have to worry about other stuff like paying bills and putting food on the table thats why I'm doing something else.
Though art is one thing I noticed of some comics that “made it”. The art style or the artistic capability of its creator is what saved its lousy or mediocre plot.
But there are times… I could say to a comic I admire that the story is just great and I should study it.
Any questions or comments or disagreement? Feel free to PQ me.