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.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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