When you’re developing original comic IPs, what your writing about is far more important than how you write it.
A weak script can be rewritten–especially with the help of a good editor–but a poor concept out of the gate is just kicking a dead horse. All the effort in the world isn’t going to get you to the finish line.
As writers, we work in the currency of ideas and not all ideas are created equal.
While any idea can have value, some ideas are downright awful… some aren’t bad, some are good, some are incredible and of course there’s everything in-between.
If you are writing/creating comics because you love the medium, want to hold your ideas in your hands AND DON’T CARE ABOUT MAKING MONEY, read no further… My hat’s off to you.
But if commercial sales are important to you. If developing an IP that actually has a chance of gaining traction is important to you, you need to put all your time, energy, money and effort into the incredible ideas–nothing less.
Of course, you love all your babies–so how do you recognize the best from the rubbish?
Here’s a quick litmous configuration test (the earlier on in your process you run it, the better):
- If you can’t create a logline for your story, the odds are you’ve got a weak story.
- When you tell people your logline or at least give them the premise/elevator pitch. Do they react emotionally?
Do they squirm and grimace for your horror story?
Do their eyes go wide and their jaw drop for your superhero concept?
Do they grab your shoulder, flip their hair and swoon for your romantic comedy?
No seriously, do people react–or do they nod and say “cool”–or even worse, stand there like Mr. Spock listening to Bones crack a joke.
- “Why didn’t I think of that.” or “Shit, why didn’t I think of that.”
If that comes out of anyone’s mouth, there’s a good chance you’re onto something–especially, if it comes out of a writer friend’s mouth.
- Lastly, you know the story, you’re intimate with the characters… but when you read the logline, do new scenes and situations flood your mind.
Is it always presenting you with new possibilities?
Or are the doors closed?
Has the logline/premise lost its magic and inspiration by now?
// This last one also applies to telling someone else. After hearing the logline if they start delivering you scenes, if their mind starts to race with possibilities–that’s a good sign. //
A writer can spend a lifetime pushing an average story. If it’s your passion and lifeblood do it. But if you’re looking to sell books, make cash and have a sustainable career, have the courage to let the little ducks go and focus on your geese.
I bet one of them somewhere, has a golden egg up it’s ass. ▪
About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S. Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.