Beyond The Cover: Writing and Illustrating Fantasy Novels with Super Fan Steven Moore

Gulf Coast CW Super Fan

There really isn’t one correct way to write, but if there’s a wrong way it probably resembles how I do it.  Being an artist who writes helps on the creative side of things, but productivity—not so much. Writing and drawing are always competing with each other.

I know some really good writers—successful writers. They all have different methods to getting words to page (or screen), but for the most part it includes sitting down and focusing for periods of time on writing. They get the words written down and then, once the story is told, they go back and clean it up—editing it over and over again until it’s polished enough to send to their editor who then starts the process all over again. I’ve tried their way, but it never works for me (except the editor part—there’s no way around that step).

I started out as an artist—drawing for about as long as I can remember. When I draw, stories develop around the characters forming on the page. The better the story, the more complete the character—the more alive the art will be. I’ve always considered my illustrations to be my way of telling stories. Over time the stories from various pieces of art started to mingle until my mind held a number of complete narratives. I finally decided to try writing as an artistic medium.

Now, over ten years since I started working on my first story, I’ve settled into a methodology that, to the untrained eye, might resemble chaos (and the trained eye, too).

My first book was taken from a story that had formed from years of drawing. I knew the entire story arc, the characters, etc. I just had to get the words to paper. Where most writers have character descriptions at hand to reference from, I had my illustrations. So my early work went relatively smoothly. But, as I got deeper into writing, my stories started to inspire me to draw.

Now I live in a world between words and lines. While I draw, stories form in my mind and I’m encouraged to transfer the images from my head to paper. But when I’m creating new art, stories form around the characters and I can’t help but convert the pictures to words. Though I am able to do my work in batches, I’m always being pulled away from my drawing by my writing or my writing by my illustrations. The resulting work is usually a completed story with illustrations to go with it. Typically the cover to my book is done before I’m half way through the novel.

I know this probably sounds unpleasant, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I write I can see the images clearly in my mind. When I draw, I’m also editing the story and developing the characters. It all flows comfortably for me. Each time I return to my writing after drawing, I do a quick edit over what has been written so far and then get back to adding words. I believe this odd process helps keep my writing tight. To me—writing and drawing are just part of a single process that makes for a stronger story. When I’m done, my story is a weaving of illustrations and words.

Follow more of Steven’s work by checking out the following links:

Steven Moore (Grim Trojan): http://www.grimtrojan.com/

Mobile Writers Guild: https://www.mobilewritersguild.org/

Inscribables: http://inscribables.grimtrojan.com/

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