Inspiration Across Media

*Throughout this post, I’ll be using “inspiration” to refer to both idea generation and teaching something about writing/storytelling.

There’s a lot out there about finding writing inspiration from things like music, Pinterest, TV/movies, and books. I’ve mentioned them before and probably will again. Each of these helps you in different ways, I think. Music provides me with more emotional inspiration than movies do, which are helpful for gestures and facial expressions. Of course, I’m simplifying since a single source can aid more than one area of your writing at a time.

But I wanted to write about a different source of inspiration today: Webtoons. I may be really late to the conversation on this one, but bear with me. The same concepts probably apply to manga and comic books, but I’m really only familiar with Webtoons, so that’s what I’ll stick with. As you’ve probably gathered by its name and context, Webtoons are online comics. Webtoon is the name of a particular platform that hosts them.

I happened across the website when looking for retellings of Greek mythology sometime last year, I believe. There’s a story on the site called Lore Olympus, which is a modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. From there, I explored other content on the site.

Much like books and TV/movies, you gain insights into story structure and dialogue. Creators sometimes add music to episodes, which gives it an extra layer of emotion—playful, sad, etc. And of course, the artwork itself inspires much like Pinterest does. So Webtoons really work on multiple levels.

However, the thing about them that’s been interesting me the most lately is pacing. Because episodes are released weekly, pacing is highlighted. Moreover, the creators seem to range in age from teens through to some unknown adult age. *shrug* So for some, this is the first story they’ve written, which means a lot of them are still in the early stages of trying to figure out what works. (As opposed to being in a later stage of trying to figure out what works, since I don’t think that’s a process that’s ever completed.)

You get to see story development, character development, and relationship development (platonic and romantic) in this slow, gradual way. Yes, I realize TV also has episodes and so works similarly, but it becomes a lot more apparent when you’re reading as opposed to watching—at least for me.

So, if you haven’t read Webtoons before, I recommend them. Explore some of the different content on the site and be aware of which episodes leave you feeling unsatisfied and which leave you eager for next week. Then try to figure out what was lacking that left you unsatisfied or what happened in the episode that made you want to keep reading. Of course, these are also questions to ask while reading or watching anything (book, TV, movie, etc.), but I think you gain something new by applying them to a new medium. If nothing else, you’ll have looked at some nice artwork. Different media can give you new and varied perspectives and insights into how storytelling works, which, in the end, will only strengthen your writing, right?


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