The Difference Between An Okay Story And A Good Story

A few year's back, Sam Henderson's always entertaining blogsite The Magic Whistle ran a notorious well known 3-page comics story by Sam Glanzman called "Please Don't Cry, Johnny".

Lemme save you some time; you don't have to read the entire story. The first two pages are padding, all the info you need is down below...

 

This is why it's an okay story, not a bad story: It's short, it gets to its punchline quickly, it has a visually shocking enough ending to make it stick in one's memory.

This is why it's an okay story, not a good story: Because there's a million and one questions to be answered with that last panel. Who are these people?  Why does the father look like this?  Is this Johnny's fate? How do they live?  Don't they ever have to go to town? Will Johnny and his family always be outcasts?

This should have been the very first page of the story.  It should have answered all of those questions, or at least intimated at answers.

Then it would have had the chance of being great, and if not great, at least much, much better than what it is.

Bottom line: Never settle for the obvious in your writing.

Who Says?

Jesus, Sex, and Morality