Here’s an oldie but goodie from the Matt Talks archives.

Want to be a better writer?

1) Read everything. If you want to write comics books, don’t just read comic books. It’s painfully obvious when you get a submission from a writer who only reads comics. Derivative isn’t always good.

2) Live and experience shit. Real life experience always translates into better stories. Look at situations you’ve been in or things you’ve felt and exaggerate them. Change them in your mind from mundane to extraordinary. Great basis for storytelling. Get out of your comfort zone. Do things you wouldn’t normally do.

3) Listen to how people talk. It’s called eavesdropping and can be hella fun!

4) Write multiple drafts. Outline first. A plan is key. Writing yourself into a corner always sucks. Writing is rewriting. Mental block? Write anything to fill the pages, you can always go back and change it later. Progress is key. Study story structure.

5) Read dialogue out loud. You’ll be amazed at how stupid stuff can sound.

6) Deconstruct others work you like. Reverse engineer a comic book arc, a film, whatever into a one-pager. Then write up a paragraph or two about the characters. What do they want? Why is now important? What do they fear? You’ll start noticing patterns from successful writers.

7) Read “how to write” books by successful authors. I see so many how-to books by people who don’t do or are marginally successful in the field they’re teaching about. Read “On Writing” by Stephen King.

8) Intentionally daydream. When you’re sitting in the food court at the mall look around and think up dramatic scenarios that would elevate something mundane to extraordinary. Hostage situation? Terrorist attack? People streaking? Domestic dispute?

9) Imagine conversations with people then have them. How was it different from what you thought it would be?

10) Meet new people. Nothing like learning about someone new’s life to spark the imagination. Talk to people.