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Scott Snyder talks about writing

In my opinion, Scott Snyder is one of the best writers working in comics today. He's currently writing Batman, Swamp Thing, and his own American Vampire and more comics are on the horizon. I interviewed him last week for Big Shiny Robot! and the Huffington Post about the return of the Joker in his upcoming Death of the Family arc.

Scott's been an inspiration of mine for a while, and it's not just that I envy his career and want to be where he is, it really is that he's a great writer and brings something to his stories.

I took a minute to talk about writing with him and I wanted to pass off some taste of his knowledge to you guys.

I asked him what he would go back and tell himself before he started working on these projects and the biggest advice he'd give himself (and, in turn, us) is to not quit. That seems rather obvious, but if you're writing, you really do need to go all in and stay there. We all get better the more we write and if you quite, you're just not going to have a career.

But more specifically, Scott talked about what it's like working on iconic characters and the daunting challenge it can be.

"The key to writing them," Scott told me, "is to write them like you made them up. Bring your love of the character to it and the readers will feel that love. It's intimidating still, but the thing that's exhilarating about it is that if you've made it yours, the universe is known better to you than anyone else because it's your unique version."

But he wasn't always so even handed about it. He related a story to me where he was "super-freaked out" the night before he started writing Batman, and how he told his wife he couldn't write the book. "My kid is asleep wearing Batman pajamas." It was just too much responsibility for him.

But he did it anyway. And made it his own. And we've all benefited from that perseverance.

He also talked about injecting literary qualities into every story, comics included. "The only way to approach iconic characters is to see something in the characters they relate to themselves and bring that to the script. You do the same thing in literature. I work on my comics adding in layers and symbolism. In Batman there's echoes of Hamlet, Peter Pan, the Royal Court, the Danse Macabre..."

That layering is something that allows readers to come back to the story and find new things and enjoy it all over again. And again, and again, and again.

And, again, it's something I'm grateful for and we've all benefited from.

One thing I do, as a writer, is to try to pick up and learn or glean any bit of writing style, technique, or approach from writers whose work I admire. There are few writers working today whose work I admire as much as Scott's. And while these few tiny gems of information and introspection are probably the tip of the iceberg for what he can provide (he is a writing teacher), they're still full of wisdom and inspiration.

Or maybe I just read too much into things.

Either way.

If you guys like these, I'll bring more to the table. I talk to lots of writers I admire and get them to tell me what they're doing right. I'll be back next with Walt Simonson.


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