Can you learn a trick or two from Stan Lee creator of many iconic comic book characters? How would you like to know how to create remarkable stories that have been popular with generations of readers?
From the Fantastic Four to X-men to Avengers, how did Stan Lee’s characters help revitalize the movie industry? His last several movies alone grossed over three billion dollars and have many of the world’s best actors wanting to be in his movies, featuring characters he created in the early 1960s. My wife picked up a great book on writing this week. She bought me a copy of ” Stan Lee’s How to Write Comics” The superhero geek in me just went wild!
In Stan Lee’s book, he shares ten secrets to help you become a better writer. I’ll share three or four today and share more as we get closer to his next big movie launch. By the way we can also learn a lot about engaging generations of fans in a unique way from this book as well but that’s a topic for another blog or video.
Stan discovered it’s easier to write about things you know about than force yourself to write about topics simply because they are popular. At one time, he was responsible for scripting several different characters at a time. One of his key strengths is his ability to observe human nature.
He understands what motivates men and women and writes from that perspective versus getting caught up in all the potential backstories. He discovered people would prefer more three dimensional characters than all the different superpowers.
In an era where comic writers apprenticed for long periods of time, Stan Lee was careful to help develop his writers and artists into great storytellers. He suggested starting writers become aware of all the different types of stories they were seeing. It could be other writers, different movies, and even their everyday lives. Take time to observe how the story unfolds. Then try to use some of the things you learned in your next story.
If you’re not growing you’re going to get tired of writing quickly. The more tools you have, the easier it becomes to engage your stakeholders with your stories. After all, today we compete with 1000s of message for our reader’s attention. It’s an art and a science to keep people interested in what you are sharing.
There isn’t a writer alive who woke up one morning and discovered she’s a great writer. If she wants to stand out she needs to write almost every day. Writing for many different stakeholders can be challenging. The more you write, the better you become.
This doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks, but he shares a secret that many great writers and leaders have found, step away from the work for a short time then get back to work. The break helps you get more done and bring joy to your efforts.
I find this makes a huge difference in my productivity. I know between 11:00-12:00 I’ll be writing and then my editors give it back for final review at between 3:30-4:00, every day. This frees up my time to do other things. I know my schedule and I get more done because I know I will be writing during these times. This allows me to write over 1000 blogs and articles a year and still have time for my other projects and clients.
So many people I talk with struggle with writing. It’s not because they are bad communicators, but because they are writing about things that have little interest to them. If you want to be able to reach people you must include passion in your writing. You can’t fake enthusiasm in your writing. People are just too emotionally intelligent to be fooled. So, if you can’t do a good job with a topic consider delegating it out to someone who can.
There are so many great tips in this book. It’s written for people who want to write comics, but the advice could just as easily come from James Patterson or Jim Collins. I read similar ideas from them in the past.
I believe we can always become better storytellers. Good writing and marketing can help you engage your readers in new and fascinating ways.
Want to know more about Stan Lee? You might enjoy reading his Wikipedia page
See you next week.
This blog originally published on Developing Serving Leaders our Serving Leadership blog.