My name is Tallon, I’m 28 and love writing.
I’ve written for as long as I can remember.
I’ve had a few ideas for a while now that over the past few weeks I’ve been putting down onto paper.
I just wanted a little advice and a general nudge in the right direction for a relative newbie.
First, I want to get a little feedback on my ideas, but have no idea where I stand in regards to copyright etc. The last thing I want to do is pick up a comic in a years time and see my ideas in beautiful technicolour! How do I protect my ideas? And what is the best way to relay them (as I’m only a writer and feel that my stories would be best told in the comic book medium)?
Also, I’m a story guy; I can write until my eyes bleed but I’m no artist. I have the imagination to say exactly what I need and want in art, but lack the skill I’m afraid.
What would you all suggest I do?
I’m here following a question and answer session at Glasgow Comic Con today and having met Mark and having a wee chat. He suggested signing up to the forums to people who wanted in on the world of comics.
I hope to read some helpful advice!
Hi Tallon, welcome aboard.
In truth there isn’t much you can do to protect ideas, you just need to get them out there first. Unless someone has clearly copied from your script then there isn’t much legal redress. If, just for example, you have an idea for a robot cop buddy story you can’t reserve that concept.
On artists, get to know them in places like this or at cons and other places and build up a relationship where they want to collaborate. We often get writers come and go ‘searching for an artist, email me to draw my script’ and they go nowhere. If (going back to my fake idea) you see an artist who draws amazing robots, approach them with the sales pitch that you have a story they’d love to draw.
Welcome aboard, Tallon!
Talk to people. When it comes to artists, look at their work and comment on it. This whole getting published thing is all about making contacts and meeting people, because, as you will find, no one creates in a vacuum. Everything is a team. You have come to the right place! The trick is to let go of goals and stuff, and just talk to people, not just in creative, but about politics or the latest Millar comic or whatever. Don’t specialize!
The hardest thing for any writer is to get anybody to actually READ. This takes time and effort, and even your closest friends might shy away. That’s why we get more social and talk to folks until the point they ask us to read our stuff!
I suggest you take the ideas you’ve been jotting down and turn them into full complete stories. Too many writers hold back on writing the complete work as they want to look for an artist or some way to get in print. Except when the opportunity actually comes to work with someone they don’t have anything to show other than some concepts. You need to have a stock of completed works, in the same way an artist needs to have a stock of sketches, panel work and so on for someone else to pay attention to them.
You also need to become comfortable with sharing your work. This stealing ideas thing that writers get hung up about is always wrong. There are no new ideas, just different takes, and even then there’s little that’s going to be exceptionally unique. You should be comfortable with telling folks what your ideas are and sharing scripts if someone asks. The most important thing for you is to get feedback on your work and becoming used to putting yourself out there.
You might find an artist willing to work with you, if you have something completed to show. You also might want to pay an artist - there’s plenty of places to find guys like that. However, be aware that if you want to publish on your own you’re essentially running your own small business, and you need to be prepared to put in all the necessary work to make that happen. It’s not easy breaking in, but it’s not easy breaking in to lots of careers. Think of all the work an athlete does in order to do what they do professionally. Or an artist puts in to hone their craft enough to earn a livable wage from it. Writers need to do the same thing in their field.
Thanks for the advice.
I don’t know if this fear of having stories stolen is common amongst newbies! Is there any way I can protect my ideas at all?
I’m not looking to go anywhere any time soon! I’m dedicated to my idea and will keep my eyes out at cons.
If there’s one thing I can do, it’s chat! Mingling and networking I hope should come easy!
I hope I can muster enough interest! I know what you’re saying… I can’t imagine nagging people to read my stuff, but at the same time, I don’t want to put it out there for so many people to read and possibly copy. How careful should I be? The last thing I want if your some to go galloping into the sunset with my story in a swag bag!
It does seem to be. As Jim says you may need to get over it.
You can protect a script by recording the dates and who you sent it to but ideas are pretty much impossible. Imagine there are at least 500 comics coming out every month, plus webcomics, short stories and novels by the thousand. Your idea may have already been used and you don’t even know about it.
The craft really is in telling your story better than anyone else, with engaging characters and the best execution. A good example is in Hollywood where they often hit on concepts at the same time. The one that hits isn’t necessarily the first.
Hey Scully. Welcome to the Creative Forum!
I’d echo what Jim and Gar have said - there aren’t any writers out there that interested in your ideas. Its common to think that ideas are really important, but any good work is 99% execution. Take Kick Ass as an example of the dream, where a great idea goes on to bring its originator fame and fortune . Its a great simple elevator pitch - “What would happen if a real kid tried to be a superhero?” but that isn’t what made it successful. Its the work on the characters, the dialog, assembling all the cool moments into a coherent story with good issue breaks and so on. And its not Mark’s first idea, by any means, or his last.
If someone nicks your idea, have another one. If you want to be a writer, you have to keep coming up with cool ideas. This wont be a problem. I find that as I work through one idea to make a script, plenty more form in the back of my head.
If someone else had got wind of the elevator pitch to Kick Ass, what would have happened? Could they have done it better than Millar and Romita Jr and got it out on time? Would it have sunk the real Kick Ass?
Think about the comics you enjoyed recently. Did you enjoy them because of the core idea, or the execution?
This fear of having your ideas nicked is really common in newcomers in most creative fields. I see it in games all the time. But its generally unfounded. Anyone with the talent and drive to produce a comic (write, draw or find artist, market etc.) will have their own ideas, and won’t be waiting to steal someone elses.
I wish you all the best with your endeavours! Making comics rocks!
Hi there JimOHara,
Thanks for the message.
I have written numerous complete stories. This is where I don’t know if I should be doing this or not; should I be spitting them up into what would be issues, and even breaking them down into panels?
I’m not so concerned about sharing my work per say, it’s knowing who to trust with it I guess; at the end of the day, it’s something I’m passionate and have tirelessly worked at. Should I do it publicly on here? Or get to know people and message them?
I’m certainly not shy to hard work! Ill put in the work no problem! I don’t want to not share my ideas and stories, otherwise, how would I get the attention I need to publish?! Lol
Anyway, thanks a lot for your advice!
Yeah I know what you mean. Its the way my story is told that I’m protective of more than anything to be honest. And as I’m writing, I think of more ideas, write them down, and develop from there. I can’t just write one thing at a time; if an idea comes, it’s goes down and grows from there. I’ve even done it with characters; taken them from one story to another if it works better, etc. I’ll even write small bits like conversations, lines, and scenes and write them into a story if it fits. I can’t turn it off and do just one thing, lol.
So, in your opinion, as far as a focus group goes, do you think I should just publicly post my story on here and await feedback?
Thanks a lot Mike
No, not really. Waiting for feedback usually ends in a lot of waiting. People generally can’t be bothered to read scripts in that way.
Look at the story you want to produce next, look in the creative section here or other places like Deviantart for artists that would be great for it. Engage them and see if you can strike up some kind of partnership. That’s a key word because many of the best comics are written allowing the artist to choose the type of stuff they prefer to draw.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t want to nag people to read it. So you’d suggest getting an artist before I get people to red it?
If you have an artist then I can’t see any reason for anyone else to read it (apart from in an editing capacity) before it comes out.
Prospective artists will need to see the script though to know if they want to draw it, just like an actor reads the script before taking on a role.