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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.”

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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.”

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

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“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.

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

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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?

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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.

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The quote that really stuck out to me was this…

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

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