Struggling to– know, personally, whether I even possess the skill to tell a story in panels from ‘A’ to ‘B,’ or whether quarantine-brain and stress makes it wiser to limit my contribution to editing, or punching up others’ works?
… so what say you, fellow mutants?! (I talked with a friend, a trusted opinion, who chuckled under her breath while suggesting a story about a viral pandemic inside a prison caught in a temporal loop, which is… like too much… and yet I started writing it anyway?)
Is the safe, sane route to know one’s limits? To start in the background, submit a short story, a poem? Or swing for the fences no matter how incoherent it gets?
That being said, whether you call it comics or sequential storytelling or whatever, it can be a fairly esoteric skill to write or illustrate in this medium. Some people really struggle with it, but pretty much everybody has to work at learning the tools of the medium. It is undeniably fun though.
Two great books on the subject that have been recommended and recognized as industry standards for years are “Comics & Sequential Art” by Will Eisener, and “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. Both are solid guides that help illustrate some of the unique challenges and tools of the comics medium. I’ve heard people describe Eisener’s book as the more esoteric of the two, but I found both to be inspiring in their own way.
As far as story goes, one of the great things about this medium is the lack of limitations in subject matter. You could write a story about amoebas and it could still work in comics form (which might also simplify finding an illustrator). Do the work, the only way we ever improve is by defying our perceived limitations.
This is something that can be learned and taught. Do not become frustrated instead just practice and work with people in here. The Skill is being able to tell a story that continues that story between the panels. The most important thing you need is the DRIVE to be a storyteller the rest ill fall into place if you let it.