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Good Thursday my magnificent friends. Today I have a nifty product review:

Over the course of two days I burned through a book. I have been scouring my resources while I work on writing. Most of you know by now that I am currently in a writing and revision phase with Alice. This doesn’t mean you don’t get a page tomorrow, but it means a promising future. I’ve talked about it before, the Paper Wings Podcast is something that I have found to be a phenomenal resource, if not one of the best out there. Through listening to it I found Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate by Brian McDonald.

I have always felt that my writing skills have been really decent, but it always needs work. It needs to mature like a wine, and hopefully not like milk, though I love cheese. But, I digress. I reached out to this book with high hopes to learn something about myself, writing in general, and improved structure. How did it match up to my expectations?

I think I need to start earlier than that to really explain this book. In the beginning, I was a casual writer. Long before I ever got the idea to draw comic, I had been writing stories. At a young age, I even thought I would write a novel. I attempted it twice to no fruition. Though my aspiration was not met, I did not deter from writing. Through examination, I learned that my writing was rather personal and worked on finding a way to make it work with that intent. Like a journal, I expressed myself; unlike a journal I wrote fantastic stories.

When I got to college, it escalated. Using a schedule, I plotted out each day, reserving one hour or more two write a new short story. It was fulfilling and exhilarating to write so often and to have to generate a new story each time. I did this for over a year, and completed a lot of work that hides on hard drives. As a matter of fact, I wrote consistently each day until 2008.

During the summer that year, I met a man who discussed writing with me. He changed my mind as we shared stories about how personal writing could be painful. He labeled it self-destructive. I argued at first, but after a few days I finally agreed. With a large story under my belt, I vowed to make it my last. I was going to cut off the cycle. I did. It was destructive.

However, because of this, I decided to find new ways to tell stories. By this time I had had some small play with comics, and decided to begin to focus on them. Perhaps I could rekindle the storytelling in another medium. I began writing primitive screenplays and mapped out stories that I could comic. I made a lot that got nowhere, and I threw out some gems (maybe we’ll see them someday). Regardless, I made it to devising Alice along the way, with obvious inspirations in my toolkit.

I started drawing and writing as quickly as I could, with little to no guidance. It’s probably obvious, but I have had little direction from what’s in my noodle. The pages do come along, and the story is attempting to seep through, but it is missing some things. I have not been discouraged, though. I have always admitted that the comic is in its infancy and is blossoming as I do. But the only way for me to blossom is to learn.

Because of this I reached out. I started focusing more on how my influences create their work. I started observing my peers and learning whatever I could. Independence was not enough, though. I went through rough, creation-less patches until I could find things to push me along like Paper Wings. Needless to say, I am moving forward.

Through this movement, I found many things, including Invisible Ink. It is now one of my most powerful tools. It explains Theme and structure to a clearness that is dumbfounding. Brian McDonald goes as far as pushing the reader into analyzing him or herself and makes the reader make new decisions and thoughts. I have grasped, through reading it, how to define a fluid story and what masculine and feminine elements are. I have been easily trained into seeing the invisible ink in anything. This is something I hope to exploit as often as possible. I certainly hope that you could find lessons from Invisible Ink in all of my future work. It has spawned a paradigm.

From this day I will reference it, and whatever else I can absorb in creating a better story. I must say, if you a writer of any kind, at any level, read the book. You’ll learn something, if not about yourself. It teaches without elongated dryness and definitely speaks on the level. McDonald does not leave you without any seed of knowledge. He sows all he has to offer in the subject in a sophisticated and simple manner. You will not be disappointed in your purchase. Go ahead, check it out!

Ever,
Dylan

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