Comic book writing experience #5 – No-one will care about your comic book!

Welcome to the fifth installment in my series of blog posts that will highlight the various issues and obstacles that confronted me on the road to creating my first ever comic book series. When it comes to the art, we’re closing in on the halfway mark so hopefully soon I will finally be sharing some sneak peaks.

Okay I exaggerated a little for dramatic effect with the title of this post, people will care about your comic, just not to the same level that you do. This is hands-down the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn while working on this project for the better part of a year.

So why is this the case? If you’re the sole creator, there would no doubt be no-one else who would have injected as much emotion and hard-earned money into the project. It’s the same thing with children, it doesn’t matter how many Facebook updates you post  gushing about how smart and beautiful your child is, people simply won’t feel the same way that you do. Harsh I know but at the end of the day your creative project is similar to having a baby.

How can you get people to care about your project? Well in my case, I’m a writer and had to hire artists to bring my comic book to life. One of my most important decisions was to offer my artists a competitive salary. Sure I could have hired a talented artist for a much lower salary but how invested would they be in the project? What would stop them from throwing my project in the garbage if someone else waltzed in and offered them a better pay rate? Pay artists what they deserve.

I’m also ensuring that my artists see my project as a collaborative effort. I have written full scripts but I’ve also made it clear that I am extremely flexible about my ideas. The creativity of artists must be nurtured and not stifled if you are to see the best possible artistic outcomes.

One of the key things I had to come to terms with as well is that if my comic book is to be successful then I’ll have to promote the hell out of my product to reach potential buyers. The comic book industry is massive and the amount of new comics being published is endless, so why would comic book readers care about a brand new writer like myself? I’m going to have to convince them that my product is top quality and unique (which it is of course!). So I’ll work extra hard to make it happen.

Hopefully that didn’t sound too depressing. My message is that if you want to bring your comic book to life then you are going to have to work your damn arses off, because no-one else will care about it the way you do!

Comic book writing experience #4 – Hiring an editor

Welcome to the fourth installment in my series of blog posts that will highlight the various issues and obstacles that confronted me on the road to creating my first ever comic book series.

Hiring a story and script editor is one of the things that I really got right early on in the writing process. My story outline and script improved exponentially after my editor ripped them apart. I know editors aren’t always cheap but the potential value they bring to your work far outweighs their rate and.when it comes to plot and story, it really is best to hire an editor with industry experience. This is particularly important for beginners. Although I hired an editor to review and edit my story, what I got back was actually double, as she pretty much handed me a lesson in comic book writing 101.

Here are some of the positives my editor brought to my project:


Geez where do I start with this one? Editors and other reviewers bring distance and objectivity to their story reviews, something I had lost after having my head buried deep within the story for six months. Even though I had re-worked my plot numerous times and had several different reviewers look at it, my editor was still able to find a bunch of plot holes that had slipped through the writing process. Thank god for that because you know how much us comic book nerds love finding plot holes!

My editor was also an immense help when it came to mapping character arcs and motivations; which are all essential to being able to engage the reader.


While story is important, it is my scripting that made my editor really work overtime. I’ve been writing a novel for a few years now so I’m relatively comfortable with story structure but this was my first comic book project. My editor ripped into my script; hammering the flow, format, panel descriptions,and continuity. I feel that I have now really grown as a comic book writer and will be able to take it to the next level with my next script.


This is often overlooked when hiring an editor. Most editors will sharpen your story and script but an experienced editor will also give the writer a healthy dose of industry insight. 

Industry connections are also important. When I was hunting down a suitable editor, not only did I assess their writing experience and skills but I also ascertained how well entrenched they were in mainstream comics. Why did this matter? My editor has written for DC, Dynamite and other mainstream publishers and has worked with some amazing talent. She was able to recommend some of her former collaborators to me that she thought were a good fit for my project. Using her recommendations, I approached these artists, who are now working towards making my project less of a fantasy and more of a reality. Who knows if these creators would have been willing to work with me without her recommendation.










Comic book writing experience #3 – Establishing my story’s ‘Controlling Idea’

Welcome to the third installment in this series of blog posts, in no specific order, that will highlight the various issues and obstacles on the road to creating my first ever comic book series. I’m not necessarily trying to advise other creators, I’m simply sharing my own experiences and thoughts and you guys can take from it what you like.

I should establish straight off the bat that although I have been writing for a few years now, I do not yet consider myself a ‘professional’ level writer so please do not assume that my way of doing things is necessarily the best path. I’m simply sharing what works (or doesn’t) for me.

And if you missed it, here’s the previous segment in this series:

A White Australian creating Indigenous characters

What is a controlling idea?

What is your story trying to tell the world? Or even simpler – what is the moral of your story? It helps to try to answer this question in one clear sentence and then shape your story around this idea.

If you don’t know what your story’s controlling idea is, take a step back from your writing and ask yourself what your story is saying about how the world works. You pretty much have your controlling idea once you answer this question!

We could go much deeper into the nature of a controlling idea but I think you get my drift. I don’t want these blog posts to turn into academic lectures. If you really want to explore the subject, buy Robert Kee’s book ‘Story,’ which is hands down the best guide to creative writing I have ever read.

What is my controlling idea’

The controlling idea of my series is ‘How we deal with death and loss shapes who we are.’ While it was obvious early on that my story dealt with death, it was only until I dug deeper that I discovered that what drove each character’s arc was the manner in which they coped with the death of loved ones. I won’t delve into this as I don’t want to give away too many spoilers 🙂

Why is it so important to clearly identify it early on in the writing process?

As I mentioned above, centering your story around a basic idea provides structure and allows the reader to walk away with a clear idea of your story’s purpose. Everyone has their own writing process though, some have a distinct notion of their controlling idea before they commence, while some only meditate upon it once they have already started writing. When it comes to my series, I definitely fell into the later category, in that the controlling idea only really came to me as I was scripting the panels. In hindsight, I would have preferred to have had established my controlling idea well before I started writing as it was a bit of pain to re-structure the plot and character arcs once the moral of my story actually dawned upon me (I already had the theme worked out – but theme is an entirely different matter). However we are all treading our own winding paths so just go with what works for you. There is no one hundred percent correct standard of story structure and process.

Thanks for reading!