Knowing Your Mediums

Any artist’s chosen medium can help convey their ideas as well as they can hinder them. Hence the importance of understanding what you want to write about, so you can choose the medium which suits your writing style best. Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

Joshua Hernandez

October 20, 2021

One of the biggest questions a writer considers is how to tell their story. Most people probably assume this pertains to how to the story is written, however there is another way to view this question.

Namely, what medium can best tell their story?

Writers are not limited to just penning novels after all, so depending on their story, and bearing their unique talents in mind, aspiring writers might benefit from exploring other mediums.

For writers who want to focus on dialogue over descriptive writing, while still maintaining a majority of authorship over their work, comics are an ideal medium.

When making comics, you only need two components minimum to make a story: writing and artwork.

A single comic panel can tell a quick story all on its own, however depending on how much a writer has to say, a comic can easily spin off into several subsequent panels, or even several pages.

This versatility gives creators a greater ability to control the pacing of their stories, however they are also handicapped by the quality of the artwork.

Comics are still a visual medium after all, so unless the comic has a simple art-style or it’s bad on purpose, people are likely to overlook a story altogether if the art does not appeal to them, even if it’s well-written.

Film corrects this by replacing artwork with footage, and it enhances immersion by utilizing sound in addition to dialogue.

However, the trade-off is less control over the end product of the story; most films are collaborative projects made by teams of people.

Writers, directors, cinematographers, actors and so-on can all have unique interpretations of the story, and their interpretations and performances will influence the end product.

Plus, most films only have a few hours to state their opinions, so the pacing is usually stricter.

Directors, producers, actors and so forth can add unique insights into your story just as easily as they can hinder them. In mediums like film and video games, you need to choose the right people for the job if you want the story to resonate with the audience. Image by Elisa Way from Pixabay

By comparison, video games are even more optimized to enhance immersion while still allowing for relaxed pacing.

Because the audience plays an active role in the story, their desire for personal achievement aligns with the character’s desires.

Also, it’s easier for players to overlook abstract graphics when their focus is primarily on gameplay.

While this means storytellers can more easily immerse the audience without using dialogue, games are still a largely collaborative process, like film.

And just like how poor art can sink a comic, or a bad actor can ruin a film, boring or frustrating gameplay can overshadow the writing quality.

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