Sometimes, you need comics.

I read a lot. I’m a writer, it’s a vital part of what you might call my Continuing Education. Lately, I’ve been returning to comics.

Part of that is due to all the superhero movies that came out this summer, most of which I saw. Those movies reminded me of how devoted I was to following various comic series (The Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, etc.) in my teen years and early twenties, and how much I learned about story from them, especially ongoing story in the soap opera vein. I also learned quite a lot about characterization, and how it can be built over time (or not be built over time, depending!) using both repetition and small increments of new information.

Since I’m currently in the early stages of formulating a new series proposal, I think these are valuable lessons. It’s been a while since I regularly read comics, but I think that’s all to the good. I’m older now, with wider reading and writing experience, plus I have some critical distance from stories I read a couple of decades ago.

I’ve been re-reading some classics, and searching out some of the new classics, mostly bound together in graphic novel format. It’s been interesting to look at story techniques that depend both on words and images. I’m remembering some of my favorite characters and recognizing how they’ve been present in my own work; I’m thinking of how I can turn that into an advantage for the future. I’m being reminded of the many ways cliffhangers can be used to enrich a story, and examining worldbuilding techniques from a new angle.

I always learn something when I approach writing from a new and different angle.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.