San Diego Comic-Con – J. Michael Straczynski Sketch

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I sat in on the J. Michael Straczynski panel mostly because my feet were killing me and I didn’t want to have to wait in line for the next panel.  I’m really glad I did though, he was very funny and had great advice for writing that only comes from decades of doing the work.  I love his outlook on things and he takes no excuses from people.  This sketch didn’t turn out great, I was too busy taking notes, and he was also very animated and hard to pin-down.

From the Notes:

“You have to be willing to fail to succeed.  Otherwise you are only guaranteed to fail.”


On starting stories…

“First you write a scene using everything you have to say about a scene, then everything you want to say about a scene, then everything you NEED to say about a scene.”


“If you’re having problems with a scene, it probably has to do with how you set it up in the previous scenes. ”


“Real quality work shines in the dark.  What you have to decide is what burns inside you.  If it burns inside, people WILL see that and give you a chance.  The moment you look outiside yourself… you’re screwed.


On worrying people will steal your ideas…
“Don’t worry about your ideas.  Worry about excuting them… NOT assassinating them.”


Writers block comes from three things…
Performance anxiety.  Thinking too much about being good enough or not.
Not trusting your characters, trying to shove a story down a characters throat that does not fit them.
Fear – I have to make a living / will people like this?


THE BARN AND THE COW:  When a writer is working with an artist, they often have a certain problem.  You ask an artist to draw a barn.  He wants to draw a cow next to the barn, so you say go ahead, draw a cow next to the barn.  But it ends up being a drawing of a cow that happens to have a barn in the background.


The quote that really stuck out to me was this…

“There is trying to write… and then there is writing.”

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