During the week I scribble away in my darkened cave so that my cruel task masters will continue to feed me. In between, I find time to watch various films, television, anime, keep up on various kinds of written media, watch the news, and so on. One thing I’ve increasingly noticed is a sheer disrespect for the craft of writing both by professionals and by semi-professional sources.
In one of his videos Max Landis tells tale of how he once approached his father John Landis on the subject of writing and the elder Landis asked him the counter “What are the weaknesses of a vampire?” to which Max responded with the usual: holy water, sunlight, wooden stake, etc. John Landis said no because according to Mr. Landis the rules don’t matter and you can make up whatever the heck you want. And, in turn, Max Landis has taken that piece of advice and carried it forward to the wider world with a number of videos, interviews, and presentations where he has said the same thing greatly boiled down.
The rules don’t matter because these characters don’t exist, so just make stuff up.
In matter of point it’s true, as far as it goes, and a good heuristic for the aspiring author or artist to remain humble about their work. We all know this is fiction and means exactly squat on a cosmic scale. However, is it good advice? No. It’s trash. It’s a throwaway comment from someone making sound bytes to get clicks.
I respect Max Landis for his work, I’m interested enough in what he says to follow him on Youtube, but he’s fundamentally wrong about writing in this one regard. Maybe in an environment as vapid and fast lane as Hollywood screen writing it can take you far, but even if the product is shill you need to care. The reader needs to care. That means having a well-founded, structurally congruent, set of structures for your work, and remaining internally consistent within it because that stuff matters.
Writing holds some similarity to the stagecraft of magicians. You use the dark of foreshadowing and the light of emotion to bamboozle your reader and make your fiction seem more real than it is. Like practiced con artists, we artist types have to convince you in that moment that these ideas are the most ridiculously important thing we have ever written, and the truest statement you will ever read, because we aren’t just factory workers, but craftsmen of an ancient art known only to the select illuminated few.
If your words don’t matter, and your art isn’t spot on, then the illusion falls apart and those little kids in the audience will see the strings making your proverbial Peter Pan fly.
They say that good writers borrow, and great writers steal. The subparagraph proviso to that is that whether or not a writer gets caught is proportional to how well they sell the goods. Don’t be a used car salesman purveying ramshackle goods to rubes, be a dashing Puck and sell second hand wishes to dreamers.
Also, Kale and Callisto, doing what they do best.
Hey look, we updated on time. Probably the one successful thing I’ve managed to do all week so lets hope it acts as a guide for the near future.
What I do love about this comic aside from the story is the way it gradually improves in artwork quality over time. You guys won’t have seen it (and our patreons will soon) but the line work and colouring for future pages just gets better and better.
Speaking of we have our first backer, which is awesome and hopefully the sign of things to come. I’ve also started work on securing a local printer so we can get some really nice A2 sized posters printed to either sell or give away.