How To Write Comic Books Like A Horror Master

How To Write Comic Books Like A Horror Master. The Shining

Master Comic Book Writing

Writing is a daunting task, let alone knowing how to write comic books like Horror Master, Stephen King. King isn’t known as a comic book author per se but he is without a doubt one of the greatest writers of our time. He’s a storyteller with over 60 novels and 200 short stories under his belt. The Dude KNOWS his stuff!

You may say “What does that have to do with comic books?”

Well, the answer is EVERYTHING!

Misery by Stephen King.
How to Write like a Horror Master
Misery by Stephen King

The Creative Journey

A major pitfall of aspiring comic book writers is⁠ TRYING to make their words feel like a comic book.

Many would-be comic book authors cater to the medium before addressing the story. This approach is backwards and makes for a two-dimensional journey. The emphasis with any medium⁠—screenplay, comic book, prose or even a blog⁠—is always THE STORY.

After all… the story is the journey that invites the reader to stick around for more. Craft an engaging story and the medium will naturally define the borders to enhance the journey even further.

An amazing resource that I recommend all writers read and reread routinely is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. On Writing describes King’s experiences as a writer and offers advice for writers of all mediums.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
How to Write Like a Horror Master
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

What makes this book invaluable to aspiring writers is the story behind the book. In the Summer of 1999, King was struck by a vehicle while walking on Maine State Route 5. After the accident, King wrestled with finding his writing voice again.

Faced with the possibility of never writing again due to a life-changing injury to his creative voice, King reacted instinctively. He completed a path of self-healing in the form of his memoir On Writing.

King’s journey to find his voice again is intimate and powerful. It is an invaluable resource of no-nonsense inspiration for writers of all mediums.

As a comic book Author, On Writing is a mainstay reread especially when I feel my creative voice waning.

For that extra jolt of creative inspiration here are excerpts from On Writing that highlight how to write comic books like a horror master.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. How to Write Like a Horror Master
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
How to Write Like a Horror Master

READ… PERIOD!

  • “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.”
  • “The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing; one comes to the country of the writer with one’s papers and identification pretty much in order. Constant reading will pull you into a palace (a mind-set if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.”
  • “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
  • “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. How to Write Like a Horror Master
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
How to Write Like a Horror Master

Put In The Work

  • “If you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well.”
  • “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
  • “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
  • “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
How To Write Comic Books Like A Horror Master. The Shining
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

  • “What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all . . . as long as you tell the truth.” 
  • “What you know makes you unique . . . Be brave.”
  • “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
Stephen King's Dark Tower by Marvel Comics
Stephen King’s Dark Tower by Marvel Comics

Tying Comic Books to The Master of Horror

There you have it. This is the gospel according to King, and the cool thing is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Stephen King’s On Writing is full of advice, functional tips on wording and structure as well. There is enough freedom to adapt the tips to screenplays, prose, blogging, etc. But the implementation in comics stands out as a trusted sidekick to catapult your story on its journey.

On Writing doesn’t just show you how to write comic books like a horror master, it guides your creative mind for any journey you dare yourself to take.

NOW GO TAKE THAT JOURNEY!

Speaking of Journeys – Check out this Dungeons & Dragons trip from NNN!

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