Newsletter #5: ANNOUNCING “SCOTT SNYDER’S COMIC WRITING 101!”
A live, interactive writing class for anyone who’s ever wanted to write a comic!
Finally, here we go! So first, who am I? Well, my name is Scott Snyder and I’m a #1 New York Times bestselling and multi-Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book writer. For the last decade, I’ve written some of DC Comics’ biggest titles, from Batman and Justice League to Dark Knights: Metal and Death Metal. Some of my indie series include American Vampire, Wytches, Nocterra, The Wake, and Undiscovered Country (with Charles Soule). I received my MFA in fiction from Columbia University, have worked professionally in fiction, screenplay and comics, and have taught writing at NYU, Columbia University, and Sarah Lawrence, among other schools. For three years, I was also the writing teacher for DC Comics’ Talent Workshop.
Teaching has been a passion of mine for the 20+ years I’ve been a professional writer. In my mind, it’s about inviting more people in and helping new voices into the industry. I’ve had some amazing students, too, including James Tynion IV, Joëlle Jones, Michael Moreci, Philip Kennedy Johnson, Vita Ayala, Matt Rosenberg, Marguerite Bennett, and Mags Visaggio, among others. For years, though, I’ve wanted to find a way to do it that would allow me to reach more students than in a conventional classroom—to reach every person who wanted to learn from me in the most affordable way possible. And now I have a way to do just that!
I’m used to teaching ALL LEVELS of students, from beginners to working pros, and I want to be clear: this comic writing class is designed for everyone, from first-time writers to folks who do this for a living. So if you’ve ever wanted to try writing a comic, to put out in the world or just for yourself, sign up!
When you subscribe to Comic Writing 101, you’ll get a monthly LIVE, INTERACTIVE CLASS with me, done through video, filmed at my awesome local comic shop, 4th WORLD COMICS (after hours). Each session will run about 90 minutes and be like a masterclass on a particular subject. During the session, we’ll look at several classic and current comics together to illustrate applicable techniques. Some sessions will feature guests for discussions and Q&A, from super star artists to major editors. Then, after the class is done, I’ll archive the full audio along with all the reading materials for subscribers who missed the live session and make it available in this newsletter.
I’ll also provide weekly WRITING TIPS for subscribers, tips about everything from fighting writer’s block to crafting good cliffhangers.
Now most writing classes run a couple hundred dollars (at least!) for just a few hours, am I right? But here, if you subscribe, you can take a live, monthly, 10+ session class with me that runs the whole year and covers everything from effective openings to pitching your comic for JUST $7 a CLASS/MONTH.
There’s also an option to sign up for Q&A LIVESTREAMS with me where you can ask YOUR questions, whatever you’d like to know, but more on that in the “WHAT” section below.
So, to be clear, if you currently subscribe to this, my free newsletter, you’ll still get updates on books I have coming out, my social media basically, but starting NOW, if you sign up for our paid subscription, you’ll get EVERYTHING TEACHING RELATED. To be clear, from here forward, this is the only place I’ll be teaching, and it’s where I’ll be putting all my thoughts about craft, teaching tips, etc. The goal is to create a space for aspiring writers — a space filled with lessons, advice, stories… a space they can find a community of writers, too, and visit over and over.
Also, I’ll often use the books I’m making right now as teaching tools in the class, so by signing up, you’ll get EXCUSIVE LOOKS at all the books I’m working on, from the upcoming We Have Demons (with Greg Capullo) to the smash hit Nocterra (with Tony S. Daniel)!
Here’s the syllabus for the class! We’ll do a welcome session in a few weeks, and the class will start in earnest on SEPTEMBER 22nd! As I said, I’ll bring in examples to look at together, both classic series and brand-new ones as well.
- WELCOME! (8/25):
o An informal welcome class and primer on how to turn your ideas into comics! I’ll walk you through the process of creating my 1st big Batman arc, “The Court of Owls.”
- OPENINGS (9/22):
o How to make your book sound like...you! In this session, we'll talk about choosing techniques that fit your story and look at successful openings that announce your book impactfully.
- CHARACTERIZATION Pt. 1 (10/27):
o We’ll discuss how to build compelling characters and introduce them to your reader through showing and/or telling.
- CHARACTERIZATION Pt. 2 (11/17):
o Character arcs—you hear a lot about them, but what are they and how do they work? What's the difference between a character arc and plot?
- 3 ACT STRUCTURE (12/22):
o Breaking down your full story. We’ll look at how to structure your whole arc by using classic architectural techniques.
- VILLAINS (1/19):
o Making good bad guys… ☺
- SCENE BUILDING (2/16):
o Writing a good scene is about more than character or plot or dialogue... We drill down and look at how great scenes work on multiple layers.
- COLLABORATION (3/16):
o Working with artists. A discussion with some amazing special guests about getting the best out of your partner (and yourself).
- PITCHING (4/20):
o Writing a pitch that sells your series. What's a pitch and how does it work? We’ll talk to major editors about what all the best pitches have in common.
- LESSONS (5/18):
o Things I've learned the hard way…
- *BONUS! STUDENTS CHOICE (6/15):
o An extra class, the topic of which will be chosen by you guys!
So! I have TWO options for you:
For $7 a month, you get access to everything teaching related. The MONTHLY LIVE CLASS, the ARCHIVED CLASSES, plus TEACHING TIPS I’m going to put up once a week or so. Folks who sign up in the first 48 hours will also get access to the 4 LIVESTREAMS with me--more on these below!
For $75 for the year ($9 less than the monthly) you get everything in the monthly plan AND access to 4 EXCLUSIVE LIVESTREAMS with me, where we’ll connect more directly, and I’ll answer YOUR questions about all things comics-related.
So why here, on Substack? First, the format perfectly fit what I wanted to do, but more importantly, the whole Substack initiative is about creator empowerment. Substack is literally making the biggest investment in creator owned comics in the history of the medium, all so that creators like me can take control of our own careers and make fans the best content yet. More creators are coming, too--wait until you see… This is going to be a seismic thing, with a whole legion of good folks working individually and collectively to make a better industry where we have a greater control of our work, and a more direct and comprehensive relationship with each other, with retailers, and above all, with our fans.
Now I've already got a whole slate of creator owned-books brewing at Comixology and Dark Horse and Image--books I cannot wait to show you with amazing co-creators--but I knew I had to be a part of this initiative, and I quickly realized it was the best home for something I've been dying to do for a long time--teach. So for me, this platform is a place to invest in the next generation of creators. First by teaching, and second by helping emergent creators bring their comics to life. Because the money from Substack will help us at Best Jackett fund some 2022 projects by new voices in the medium that we’re very excited about. But more on that to come soon…
As for the criticism of Substack itself, it is valid and we are in conversations about how to improve things. Also, know that I am always here to listen. All platforms are imperfect, but there’s real work to be done here. But my hope is that the work we’re doing on the platform at Best Jackett will be effective and worth it.
Above all, understand that this space is going to GROW in the coming year, and by subscribing now, you’ll get to be a part of it first.