Andrew Harris wrote:
Well, I certainly don't see it as slumming. The reason I'm interested in writing Trek comics is because I'm interested in working in the comics medium itself, taking on a new challenge. And because I'm a visually oriented person and would enjoy seeing my stories told visually.
...And therein lies the point exactly. An editor isn't going to give an assignment to someone who would be challenged by the prospect of writing an ordinary comics script. Which, you would think, should be obvious to everyone involved; and yet, somehow, isn't.
What? First of all, I never remotely suggested that I wanted someone to just "give" me an assignment. I understand perfectly well that I have to earn it, that I have to prove myself. All I'm hoping for is the chance.
Second, I think you're defining "challenge" in an odd way. Therin's right; any worthwhile writing project is a challenge. Being challenged doesn't mean you're incapable of doing something or that it requires skills beyond your own; it means that it requires hard work, dedication, and problem-solving rather than just being something superficial you can blow off. It's like exercise -- if you don't push yourself, you don't stay strong. That's what challenge means -- not trying to do something you're incapable of, but making sure you stay
capable by refusing to get lazy.
All my novels have been challenges to surmount in one way or another, and it's been the most ambitious challenges -- fleshing out the unexplored post-TMP continuity, creating an ecosystem of spacegoing life, filling in the missing nine years of Picard's life and a lost prehistory of the galaxy, reinventing the whole continuity of Voyager
-- that have been my best-regarded works. Every time I write a novel, I try to bring something new to it, to explore something I haven't explored before. That's what challenge means.
It's not a bad thing to want to expand one's skills. You should
challenge yourself to keep trying new things, or else you'll just get complacent and your work will become formulaic and uninspired. And the whole point of it is that it's something you have to earn, not something that's just handed to you.
Andrew Harris wrote:
I'd possibly consider a pianist who was interested in taking up a new instrument, but not if he'd never once picked up a guitar and attempted to pluck a few strings. And, yet, you'd be surprised (or, maybe not) at the number of prose writers who've never even attempted to write a single panel of comic book narrative, but inherently expect that it's already part of their storytelling skill-set. Because, as I mentioned, they see it only as a spare tire to the car that they already drive.
Well, I absolutely do not see it that way. I have, in fact, dabbled in writing a few comics spec scripts years and years ago, but I don't assume I'm completely ready to tackle the job. I know there'll be a learning curve. But I'm willing to learn. So the question is, how does a new writer get started?
Honestly, I'm surprised to hear you talking this way. When you and I spoke at Comic-Con back in April, you seemed quite interested in the prospect of working with me on comics projects, or at least giving me advice on how to break in. I never got the sense that you thought there was anything wrong with a novelist wanting to branch out into comics.