Telling a story is at its most difficult when you don’t have anything to say. It can come out in a jumbled mess that is unreadable, and that’s not what we’re looking for in our storytellers. Having something to say will always inform the stories we want to tell. To be honest, you can’t really start telling a story if you don’t have something to say.
How you find something to say will be different for everyone. Question yourself. Do you have a point of view about something that you want to share? Do you have questions about something you wish to explore? Do you have something you wish to express?
The great thing about being a storyteller is that even though everything seems already to have been said, we each have a unique perspective about everything, so what we say can be new because it’s said from our own perspective.
Think about it: how many love songs are there? How many variations of love songs are there? Lost love, new love, renewed love, broken love…and it runs through all genres of music. Love is something that is easily mined, and extremely unique to every individual who experiences it. You can have something to say about love.
The biggest thing about having something to say is not being too blunt about it. You don’t want to be obvious as you tell your story. Being obvious about the story is a turnoff for readers. They want to be entertained, not proselytized. Sometimes, that’s the entire reason for the piece, and that can be okay, as long as your readership is ready for it.
Finally, if you take a controversial position about a subject or theme you wish to explore, be ready for backlash from readers. When the backlash happens, just remember there are two types of people out there, and they can be lumped into two categories: the silent majority and the vocal minority. (This is true for everything, not just comics. This is how laws get passed in today’s society.) How you weather that storm will be based on your temperament.
Just don’t think you can sit down and tell a story, though. If you don’t have anything to say, then you’re going to find it very rough going after the first few pages.