Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Name is Drew

Last night, I got an email that made my day.

Back when I was an assistant editor for WildStorm (there's a long post on that experience coming one day), one of my jobs was reviewing writing submissions. The studio was in the middle of a talent search and writing was one of the categories.

We got hundreds if not thousands of submissions. For a couple of hours each day, I would dutifully go through plot summaries that ranged from good to terrible. The WildCATS in space, StormWatch fighting against Daemonites, the WetWorks team taking on Team 7... all sorts of permutations of WildStorm's characters, concepts and settings. (By the way, if you're curious, the name 'WildStorm' was apparently coined by Mike Heisler, former E-i-C and creator of 'Union'--it's a hybrid of WildCATS and StormWatch, the company's two cornerstone titles.)

Whenever possible, I tried to write something encouraging to the submitter as a response. I might critique the plot a bit, offer things I thought were good or needed work, and tried to be encouraging. My boss at the time didn't think that was an effective use of my time-- there were LOTS of submissions, after all-- but I did what I thought best. (The only one I rejected out of hand was from a guy who called me at home from Australia. Note: this is NEVER a good idea!)

One of these submissions was by a fellow named Ryan. (If he's okay with it, I'll use his full name and link to his blog but I want to ask his okay first.) He wrote me last night to say that my response, back in the day, had encouraged him to keep at it. It was a long and clearly heartfelt email; I'm probably going to frame it for my office. (It was that good.) Today he's a professional and about to launch his own miniseries (or two!); he wrote to thank me for my support when he was just starting out.

That must have been eleven or twelve years ago. Odd to think how things like that last.

It's easy to write words to encourage others. It really is; the words come easy. The trick is taking time to do it. To be generous with your praise and your criticism, hoping that the person you're talking with might benefit in some way.

I'm very proud of Ryan. He's forged ahead and built a career in a business that is damned hard to enter. I look forward to reading his work and believe it will be excellent. (I'll blog about it here when I get the first issue.) If I did anything that helped him along his path, then karma rewarded me with his email.

In the meantime, whoever's reading this, find the time to encourage someone who asks for your support. Karma can be pretty sweet.

1 comment:

DrewB said...

Sherin
04/18/2007 10:08:42 AM
That's a great story and really good to hear