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Story Structure Do’s & Don’ts

Former Marvel Comics editor Andy Schmidt moderated a New York Comic Con panel on writing and story structure earlier this month.

The group of panelists included writers Jimmy Palmiotti, Daniel Way and David Hine. Based on the discussion, we created a list of do’s and don’ts for story structure.

Do create an outline for your story.

Don’t treat your outline as a strict, controlling template. These tools are meant to enhance, not stifle, creativity.

Do share your outlines with your editor. This helps to keep your editor in the loop on your progress.

Don’t incorporate specific details in your outline when figuring out your story structure. Outlining should mark the beginning of your writing process. Specific details will emerge as you write.

Do remember that these tools are supposed “to bolster you up as an artist.” A well-conceived outline and story structure can be especially helpful when faced with a tight deadline.

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