I get a lot of notes from fans asking various questions about different things such as my life and career, advice in writing and film making, and some random off the wall questions that make me tilt my head late at night when I read them. So I thought, why not answer the questions and share them on here. I will answer three fan questions twice per month. No topic is off limits, so ask away and I will do my best to answer.
Dear Mr. Cuti,
I stopped by your booth at Tampa Bay Comic-Con this past weekend and got the first issue of Captain Cosmos. I loved it! Wish i would have talked more with you, but it was the first day and I was just trying to take it all in. Im trying to make a sci-fi horror/superhero comic myself. Hopefully i can hear back from you if you have the time.Any advice on how to get my comic off the ground?
Self publishing has gone from prohibitively expensive to affordable, especially with the creation of Amazon's CreateSpace. They will publish and distribute your comic for free and the only expense comes in when you order copies or want to do advance publicity. As far as the creative end, the more you are able to do it yourself, the cheaper it will be. If you are the artist/writer/letterer/colorist, then you won't have to hire people, but if you have a team, then you begin with a script, pencils, lettering, inks, and color. If you are unaware of how comic production works, then you might want to submit your work to a comic book publisher, but breaking in, even with a small publisher, is difficult -- very difficult. I recommend picking up a copy of Stan Lee's book Drawing Comics the Marvel Way or my own booklet The Comic Book Guide for the Artist/Writer/Letterer. You will also need to market your comic when it is done. Social media is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to that.I wish you the best on your new venture. And one more piece of advice - NEVER GIVE UP!
Dear Mr. Cuti,
I want to be a writer but I can never think of any thing to write about. I feel like I hit a brick wall when I sit at my laptop. How do you deal with writer's block?
Writer's block occurs when you are looking for the perfect idea for a story and decide that every great concept has already been done. You're right, they have all been done, but that doesn't mean you can't use a classic idea and give it a twist that makes it a new story. Stay away from the word perfect, ain't no such thing. Hemingway, King, Bradbury, wrote a few awful stories as well as many brilliant ones, but they wrote. One method I use to avoid writer's block is to always be writing, that is, to turn everything I read or see or hear into a story in my head, then, when the opportunity comes to write a story, I have several ideas floating around and can pull one of them out of the netherworld and into the real world. Carry a notebook on you and jot down what you see one day. Then, at the end of the day, take a look at all your notes and try to make a short story. Before long, you'll be a writer.
Dear Mr. Cuti,
What's your advice for aspiring writers?
As I've said before, there is no such thing as the perfect story. All the good plots have already been written. The most important thing is to write your own story. Write clearly, and with proper grammar and spelling. Then, get your work edited and published. The writer who writes only for himself will have an audience of one. Get your work published in school magazines, in small magazines, in fan magazines. If you think you can write a story for one of the pulps, then write a mystery or sci-fi or juvenile story. If you ask 30 writers how they got their start, you will get 30 different answers. But the one thing they all have in common is they wrote and wrote and wrote. As the famous writer, Carl Sandberg, once said to his audience, during a seminar on writing, "So, you want to be writer, then what the hell are you doing here?" Best of luck to you!