Writing Tips: Nick Palodichuk

By Nick Palodichuk

I wear several hats. I’m the founder and lone illustrator for Parapet Comics. I also do storyboards for films, host podcasts, direct films, and serve as a film critic and member of the Minnesota Film Critic Alliance (that means I get screenplays of newly released films mailed to me). I also receive script submissions to draw for future issues of my comic book company. I write scripts, attend writers’ workshops, and get screenplays for the storyboards I do, as well. So, I can say I have seen my fair share of comic book scripts and film screenplays.

The most crucial component of a good script for me is when a writer doesn’t write safely. They go to places in their story that take on their own fears and pain. When I read a script, the first thing I ask myself is: do they want this to be on their mother’s refrigerator? If it does qualify to be on mommy’s refrigerator, then I am not interested, and I am sure my reader isn’t, either. When both film and comics were spawned, they were deemed horrible for society. Trashy, cheap, the lower class of art. They both have seen their share of censorship and bans. The reason is simple. These mediums have begun, and continue to, embrace the perilous side of writing.

Nobody wants to read about the happy little elves that pay their taxes on time, especially in comic books. Writing is about pain. Each character you create in your story needs to be dealing with it in some way. Either by trying to avoid it or being consumed by it. People seek comfort and/or pleasure to avoid pain. It is not the other way around. Hurt is the core of all stories. Everyone is hurting in some aspect in real life. Your story needs to have that. Ernest Hemingway said about writing, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” and we have not strayed away from that.

Your favorite film, your favorite comic book, is about pain. “The Wizard of Oz” is dealing with the pain of not being home. Every person in “The Watchmen” is hurting in one way or another. How a character deals with hurt is how they turn into the antagonist or protagonist of the story. This applies to all genres. Pain should be in your romance comedy. What is funny for some is agony for others. It is the one thing that we can’t escape from—hurt. And it is the greatest single motivator. Pour it all out in your script. The pain, the agony, the torment, the suffering. Put it all in there because if you do, you might enjoy writing.

Nick is the founder of Parapet Comics LLC, a film director, award-winning screenwriter, and film critic for the Minnesota Film Critic Alliance. Nick hosts a podcast “The St. Paul Filmcast” and is the co-host of the YouTube channel “Kyle and Nick on Film” alongside film critic Kyle Goethe. Nick lives in South St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife Andi and his two dogs, Blu and Loki.

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