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Kupperberg: Stop thinking, start writing

Comic veteran Paul Kupperberg has a new column at ComicsCareer.com, and in his first one, he tells would-be writers to stop thinking so much:

Paul Kupperberg

Paul Kupperberg

Doesn’t sound possible. Writing — I’ll use writing as my example because that is, after all, what I do — is a thought process, putting words on paper in a certain order to achieve a specific narrative or emotional effect. Inform your reader of the locale or the time period, describe a character or setting, evoke fear or sadness, make them horny, whatever. You need to think about that before you jump in and start writing. This stuff doesn’t just happen by itself.

Well, it does and it doesn’t. Sure, you sit down and say, okay, in this scene, I want to achieve this thing that either moves the plot forward or reveals something about your characters, or both. In my recently completed mystery novel, a 1950s period story, I have one scene intended to convey new clues to the police detective. He’s talking to a waitress and short order cook in a diner while they drop the requisite information and plot points under his questioning. The scene took on a life of its own and became a set piece more about the character’s love of pie — he eats 3 or 4 pieces during the interview — and his integrity: He won’t take the pie as a freebie and insists on paying because he intends to come back often for the pie and wants to be a welcome visitor instead of a crooked cop on the take.

Much more at the link. Also, if you are interested in working in comics, check out ComicsCareer.com’s ten questions series … the most recent of which, incidentally, is with Kupperberg.

Black History Month at the 4thletter!

Like he did last year, David Brothers over at 4thletter! is doing a post a day on blacks in comics for Black History Month. For instance, on Tuesday he offered advice on writing black characters:

You can’t win. This is the unspoken rule of creating or writing black characters. Someone, somewhere, is going to hate what you do and how you did it. It could be something in your approach, dialogue, or technique. It could be nothing at all, you might have just pushed someone’s buttons on accident. You’re co-opting, appropriating, and destroying.

With that said, all of that’s no reason to not do it.

If you’ve got half a brain, you’re smart enough to write black people. You know that every black person is different, but that there are still similarities in all of us. If you’re really unsure, you’ll run it by a black friend or two. If you don’t have any black friends, go find some.

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