One of my absolute favorite things about being a writer is the fact that when I do research (sometimes, to sound even fancier, I’ll call it “homework”), that means I get to read. So when I’m writing comic books, it means I get to read comic books.
That’s a real fact about being a writer.
Reading is writing. You can’t escape it. The two are connected, and if you really want to be a storyteller, you have to consume other stories. What a wonderful thing! Given the existence of this sort of ‘circle of life’, I sometimes like to imagine that young storytellers will look at my stories and be inspired by them to tell stories of their own. It’s a nice thought, and maybe it’s going on right now! So just in case…
This post is for the readers who want to be writers.
We’ll start with just the basics, because basics are important. Here’s why: First of all, basics are the foundation for everything that comes after, and secondly, when something appears simple, then it’s often overlooked. So with this post we’re just going to look at the simple parts of a superhero story to make sure you don’t overlook them.
- What makes the hero a hero? This one’s a fun one. This is the step where you get to go wild and create a character, someone who is different from anyone you’ve seen before! What kind of powers will they have? What kind of gadgets will they use? Go crazy with it!
- What does your hero want? Percy is a pretty cool little guy, but just being a smart, strong, princely ape doesn’t make for a story by itself. Percy, as you’ve probably noticed, wants to help So that’s what causes all of his movements and actions.
- Who is in the way? A hero is only as good as their villain. If you have a really funny hero with awesome powers, and they’re only coming up against purse snatchers, it’s probably not going to be a very good story, unless your hero is a bunch of ants and they have to come up with a creative way to stop a purse snatcher who, to them, must seem like a giant. Pull out all the stops! Make your villain relatable (or not so much)! Make them a little crazy! You can even make them a bit scary. That’s what villains are for!
- Who will help along the way? This is just as important. Heroes and villains are exciting, but who is the hero going to side with? Having allies offers an important chance to learn more about our hero; after all, a hero should be the type of person (or ape) who would have friends. For Percy, The Girl and Marlin offer a lot of important teaching, but most importantly, they’re always there for him.
- How does the hero react to difficulty? This is where it all comes together! Your hero and his or her cool powers has something they want. A villain’s probably going to try to stop them from getting it, and their allies are going to help. But what happens when the going gets tough? This is where the hero has to really hit the gas and take things to another level. In other words: this is where things get interesting.
Can’t wait to see what you come up with!