July 15, 2022


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This week in Writing Advice From A Guy Who May Or May Not Know What The Hell He's Talking About, we're going to talk about sharing our Glorious Works.

Because stories without at least a couple of eyes on 'em that aren't our own might as well be falling trees in forests without a pair of ears for miles, yeah?

And because sharing is caring. 

Which is to say you should care about your work enough to put it in front of folks-- your work only gets better when you do.

I said something similar-- I think it was back in my very first column here-- about showing your boards to anyone and everyone who'll give you their time, and the same is true of your writing, and probably of pretty much anything that has you creating for audiences.

Call it one of those universal rules-- if you're making things you want people to want to see, sooner or later you're going to have to test out the things you're making on real, live people.

And that's scary, but also useful.

You'll learn what works and what doesn't-- what you can build on and what would maybe be better off abandoned.

It doesn't matter so much who you share your work with. 

In StoryboardArt's mentorship program, I have the benefit of working professionals and a keen group of colleagues watching over me to make sure my stuff has beginnings, middles, and endings, and that things happen in-between. 

But all the same, you can grab a family member, a friend, or that one neighbor whose name you're, like, almost totally sure you probably remember.

Do try to find folks who'll be honest with you-- nobody gets better by just hearing "Oh, cool!" repeatedly.

Likewise, nobody learns anything by just hearing "I don't think this is cool..." repeatedly either, so keep constructive and insightful in mind as qualities you're looking for in the honest folks you're pulling in.

Once you find your people, get comfortable with showing.

And get comfortable with pushing through to the next steps, too, because that's where your work will start to come to life in a visual form (the fun part)-- once the workshopping is done and you feel you've got something pretty solid going on, get it boarded.

Changes to the writing will still happen at this stage-- you'll spot weak bits that don't read as well visually as they do in text, and you'll come up with new bits you just plain like better than what's already there. 

Either way, it's nothing a fresh round of "What If?" won't fix right up.

Three columns of writing advice (or writing "advice") is probably enough to get you started, if for no other reason than to shut me up on the topic and move on to another one. 

So, let's call it-- something different next time (we can always revisit).

But, final thoughts:

Anything I've suggested is just something to try. Some of it might work for you, and some of it might not-- keep what you dig, and scrap what you don't.

If you're going to write, read relevant examples. In the context of what we've been talking about, that'd be scripts. 

If there's a film you particularly adore, track down the screenplay and dissect it-- figure out why it works for you. 

If there's a film you've always just sort of loathed, find that screenplay to see if you can put together why it fell short.

Ultimately, even if your end goal isn't to write your own stuff, you'll probably still benefit from learning how to at least passably make your way through the craft. 

It can only help you when boarding someone else's script and having to solve whatever challenges it presents. 

And there will be challenges to solve-- like I said somewhere above, there isn't really an end to the writing process.



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