Hello friends! I’m very excited about today’s interview because rather than interviewing a traditional novelist, I have the privilege of picking the brain of a comic book and screenplay writer, B Alex Thompson!
Alex Thompson has a lot of experience in several different capacities. As a comic book writer, screenwriter, and letterer he has done work for Alias Enterprises, Approbation Comics, Arcana Studios, Lion Forge Comics, Action Lab, and Graphic Planet. Thompson is mostly known for his experimental action/humor title Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies and the award nominated drama mini-series Hass. If you’d like to connect with Alex or check out his work, here are some places you can do so:
Alright, so let’s get to some questions:
1) What made you start writing? Were there any particular books/events/people that inspired you to start writing?
Writing is something I have always done ever since I was able to pick up a pencil! What made me take writing seriously was a series of exercises for focus and completion. Seeing the positive responses, I just kept going and going and here we are!
As for early inspiration, I’d probably say the Masters of the Universe cartoons, action figures, and mini comics. Between all of those I started to notice how stories were structured and how characterization was revealed. So it was something I brought into playing with my friends and would even write/draw extended adventures.
2) What is your writing process that takes you from an initial idea and to a finished book? Is it a set process or more fluid?
It can be pretty fluid, but the general process starts with a random idea. I will play with the idea and see if there has been anything previously done. If so, I’ll see if I have a new spin on the concept. If not, even better. I’ll play around with the concept and see if any scenes play in my mind. If not, I will just jot the idea down and revisit the concept later. If so, I’ll write down whatever comes to mind. Eventually, if there’s enough for a story and the fire inside my gut is excited to do it, I’ll try to write out a draft.
3) When you get a new idea, how do you know that it’ll make a great book?
I leave it up to the readers if an idea or the resulting story is “good” or not. For me it all comes down to what I think of a concept and how I feel about it. If the idea is something that becomes something I’d want to read and I have passion to fuel me through the comic creation process, I’ll do the project. Once it’s completed, I leave it up to the readers to judge. Sometimes a project will find an audience pretty quickly, but sometimes it takes a while.
4) What advice do you have for new/aspiring writers?
The usual tried and true advice of if you can do something else, anything else… do that instead. Writing is a tough career to start and a tougher career to continue. But if you have a story inside you that you HAVE to get out into the world, write it. Lots of writing is in revision, so polish that diamond as much as you can before you present it to the world. If you find an audience, great! Try your hand at another story. If it flops, that’s fine, too. Try your hand at another story. Keep writing for as long as it makes you happy. The moment writing doesn’t fulfill you, it’s okay to try something else.
5) Where do you draw your inspiration? Is it more internal inspiration or external? Also, what drew you to your genres?
Inspiration can come from ANYWHERE! It can come from a conversation I overheard. It can come from an interaction I had with someone. It could be a song lyric. It could be a news report. It could be a dream I had.
I tend to work in a lot of genres because I love all aspects of life and the stories that can come from them. I tend to do a lot of Drama because I enjoy interpersonal actions, reactions, and engagements between people. I love examining the internal and external struggles that make up the human condition. This also leads into how I do a lot of Horror and Sci-Fi, because you take those same human struggles and turn it all up to the extreme. I’ve always loved creature design and have found the beauty within what others might seem ugly or horrifying.
Thank you, Alex! I loved getting to learn a little about your writing process. It’s interesting to see the similarities in writers, whether novelists or comic book writers. Although the medium may be different, the philosophy behind the writing and the commitment of the writers remains the same!
I hope you all enjoyed reading Alex’s thoughts as much as I did! Feel free to leave your thoughts below!