How Did Devin Grayson Break Into Comics?

I didn't grow up reading comics, and the passion for the medium settled on me late in life. Basically, I was working on a novel when I noticed the first season of the Batman Animated Series, and as silly as it sounds, fell head over heels in love with Dick. As a former Lit major, I had a long history with fictional characters; I knew how to let them into my world. But Dick, being from a different medium (comics as opposed to literature) initially threw me, and it was really my quest to get closer to him that lead me to DC. I had a friend working in a comic book store, so he hooked me up with all kinds of great reading material, and the next thing I knew, I was hooked. 

So the need to do comics professionally, for me, was actually about needing to get closer to the characters -- as a writer, I've always learned about things by writing about them. It was very personal, and, frankly, pretty obsessive -- I just needed to do it, somehow, so I put my novel aside and after reading every book about the medium that I could get my hands on, I went directly to the source. I was too naive to know any better than to just start writing and calling the Bat-office editors; as far as I was concerned, DC Comics was just sort of...where Dick lived. I think they must have found me very amusing at first, and patiently answered my questions about the best comic stories out there and the best classes to take to learn more, etc. As obsessed as I was, I was already writing fan-fiction, and eventually they came across some in an A.P.A (amateur press association) I was involved with at the time. Apparently they liked what they saw. I kept up a sort of correspondence with them for nearly three years, sending along more short stories from time to time and offering to do anything I could to help them, even considering a job at DC as a copy editor at one point (which would have entailed a very expensive move to New York; I lived in San Francisco at the time). And then I just got very, very lucky -- Darren Vincenzo called me at work one day and offered me a ten page script in The Batman Chronicles, and it all just kept building from there. I'd already written three or four scripts for them by the time I finally saved up enough to visit New York and meet them all. And now I live much closer and they're all like big brothers to me. 

I think what the editors are used to are people who know about comics, coming to them to learn how to write. I was a person who knew about writing and was coming to them to learn about comics. Having a "few good ideas" in comics is important, but not nearly as much so as having a good command of story structure, being able to sell a pitch, and knowing how to meet deadlines. Let me put it this way -- three hundred people a DAY write in to DC with story pitches. Maybe THIRTEEN of them stop to spellcheck. Perhaps the best edge you can get is a dictionary. ;-)

-Devin Grayson
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