May 21 2015
The most important thing in writing comic books is finding and honing your own unique voice. A unique voice makes your writing exclusive and authentic. Authenticity connects with readers.
Many comic book writers have trouble developing their own unique voices when they are starting out. Fortunately, there are a few exercises you can do to develop your voice and improve your writing.
Study Another Writer’s Voice
Studying other Writer’s voices will make it easier to identify and develop your own voice more clearly. Picking a comic book you really like and aping the style makes a fun writing exercise that will help you do this. Everyone has their own style of writing comic books. Good writing styles are practically invisible. Aping a comic book’s story will help you see the style and better understand the writer’s creative decisions.
What do I mean by aping a comic book? I mean tell your own story, but with the beats of the comic you’ve chosen to ape. Plug your characters and concepts into the other Writer’s story beats. He uses five panels, you use five panels. He uses a caption, you use a caption. He does thought balloons, you use thought balloons.
You will be more comfortable writing in your own style once you’re comfortable with another writer’s style.
Take an inventory of yourself to identify your voice so you can accentuate it. Ask yourself some pointed questions:
- What are three adjectives to describe your personality?
- Who is your perfect reader? Describe who he is in detail and then write everything just for him.
- What are five or more books and blogs you enjoy reading? How are these similar? What is it about them that’s compelling to you?
Ask other people what they think is unique about your voice. You can find out a lot about your voice in reviews.
Look at Your Writing
Free-write something. Just write something you enjoy without doing any editing. Then, look over what you wrote and ask yourself if this is the kind of writing you’re publishing. Is this the kind of stuff you would read? If it isn’t something you would read, then change your voice to make it something you would enjoy reading. Do you like what you’re writing while you’re writing it? Does it feel like work to write? If it does feel like work, then there’s a good chance you need to change the way you’re writing.
Do you feel afraid or nervous before you publish? If you aren’t feeling vulnerable when you’re putting your work out into the world, it might be time to work on making your voice more personal. Try to write dangerous stuff. You want to be scared of what people will think when they read your work.
Finding Your Voice is Important
A unique voice can help you in many ways. Most writers who don’t write with a unique voice burn out eventually. Your unique voice is what makes people fans of your work. Finding your voice is important for writing comic books. However, it’s even more important to continue developing your voice once you’ve found it. Try these exercises and see what you find out about your voice.