Story Concepts & Development for Novels, Comics, Games, Film and TV

Trust Yourself

Writing for Alien Confidential has reminded me that I need to trust my instincts.

For much of my childhood, people said I was a “good writer”. I was one of those honor students who was more than happy to read aloud my fictional prequel to Lord of the Flies, or recite my Shakespearean version of Old Man and the Sea.

And yet, back then, I don’t remember ever considering writing as a serious career choice, because everyone told me that my “real” talent was in illustration. My specialty was portraiture. I did some work for a well-known celebrity while I was in high school, which got me a couple of smaller scholarships. Those helped get me through a few years of college, which in turn helped me get a job at Walt Disney Television Animation.

I thought my path was set.

It wasn’t until my husband was toying with a career in comics that I realized how important writing (or more specifically, creating) was to become for me.

I loved my time at Disney. Loved being a part of a creative team. And my transition to comics was smooth.

Obviously, my background in art helped me when it came down to working with artists, but once I made the decision to focus on writing and creating, it really never occurred to me to look back.

That was lesson number one in trusting myself.

The second lesson came with a small but controversial decision I made in my first published comic. I added a feature to the first storyline that my husband (who was my publisher at the time) didn’t agree with. It was an element I hadn’t expected anyone to really pick up on – like the importance of the color red in Sixth Sense – something that wouldn’t necessarily be apparent the first time you experience it, but upon successive viewings, its relevance becomes clear.

Ultimately, the artist and I felt strongly about this element being included, so we pushed forward. And when the first issue came out in stores, it was the feature we received the most fan letters about.

That validation boosted my confidence, and I realized that I was working with a smart readership that were just as hungry for what I had to offer as I was hungry to provide it.

Trusting yourself doesn’t mean you become arrogant and stop listening to feedback. As I have alluded to before, the learning process is ongoing. It’s about knowing which battles to fight and which to concede. It’s about carving your own path, and trusting you have a voice that people want to hear.

If you have read the article about how I got the Alien Confidential gig, then you know it was pure instinct that carried me through.

And what’s even more special is that Namco and the creator of Alien Confidential have given me so much room to play within their universe. I have so many more ideas…

The project makes we excited to wake up every day.

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