Every writer has a unique style that reflects their personality and experiences. I have a fairly laid back personality, generally-speaking, but I am very passionate with my creativity. That’s true for every aspect of it, including writing, art and music. Focusing on writing only, I asked myself what has my style been? I looked to past examples to gauge my answer.
I began writing with comic books as a child and continued that into adulthood. Even though I improvised the writing at first (which occasionally forced me to "retcon" or use "retroactive continuity" to write myself out of a dead-end plot), I began to plan out my comic stories in advance. By the time my wife and I started the “Due East” webcomic, we were scripting each page. That worked much better, letting us map the direction of the story.
One of the advantages of creating comics is that the art does the describing for you. If you can draw the scenery the way you see it in your head, at least well enough for the average reader to recognize each element, then all you have to focus on is dialogue and how you want your characters and story to develop. It’s still writing but it’s not novelization. I had to learn that skill when I made the jump from comics to writing books.
Still, there are commonalities in the writing style between my comics and my novelizations. I generally like a fairly brisk pace when possible, though I do recognize that all characters need a chance to slow down, relax and breathe a little. I like action and adventure but that’s meaningless without well-developed characters. I’m a hopeless romantic, so there will always be elements of that within my stories. And I do have a sense of humor, ranging from dry to silly. I love parody but it’s rare to find opportunities to work that into your average story. And lastly, I can be very intense at times. This is definitely reflected in almost all of my stories. At some point, maybe more than once over the course of a tale, things will get intense. It may not last for long but it will occur and it will serve a distinct purpose.
And now, I think it’s time for some examples from my comics:
From 2007 to 2008, my wife and I co-wrote a Christian slice-of-life webcomic called "Due East." It was about a multiracial family (Caucasian and Asian husband/father, African-American wife/mother with two daughters together) who experience divorce and the splitting up of the family. But the parents stay in touch because of their children and eventually fall back in love. The story is about their attempts to heal their family. Their youngest daughter's best friend happens to be Christian.
A pivotal plot twist occurs during a strong thunderstorm. The younger, 16-year old daughter, Brielle, is at home when the storm hits and she is faced with a life-or-death situation.
You can see the page at this link.
Now to show a little of my romantic side, here's a very different page from Due East at this link.
And here's some humor in Due East, just for fun, at this link.
Sometimes I'll mix the elements for dramatic effect or it's just what the story calls for. The following Due East page glides from humor to tragedy in the same page. Friends Brielle and Carolyn are joking around as they enter Carolyn's home but are blindsided to discover Carolyn's mom dead from a drug overdose.
I'm not afraid to take chances on what I believe will be a good story. Things may get intense, bordering on controversial. But I also balance every idea or line of dialogue against my faith and values. Does the idea make sense? Is the character a Christian? And even if they're not, will what I'm trying to convey be edifying to the reader? Will it magnify the Lord? I have to consider all of that.
Fortunately my wife, Angel, gives me incredibly valuable feedback and insight. She will tell me when she thinks something I wrote does not work, but she does it with love. She is a huge support and I deeply value her input.
Summing everything up, I try to write stories that reflect who I am and what I hold dear. I weave the type of tales that I would like to read. They need a good pace, proper character development and a story that makes sense and leads somewhere. I hope that comes across.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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