Rich Moyer and Ham Helsing take on a writing workshop

March 3, 2023

The bookshop was packed Sunday night as 16 Girl Scouts from Longmont Troop 77918 eagerly took part in a writing workshop put on by local graphic novelist Rich Moyer.

Moyer, author of Ham Helsing and Ham Helsing #2: Monster Hunter, led the troop through the basic stages of writing a graphic novel. He discussed plot and gave a drawing demonstration, engaging with the girls as they shouted out examples of plot points and asked questions.

“I try to think of ‘this happens, therefore this needs to happen,’” Moyer explained.

Together, while explaining the five-point plot system, Moyer and the troop came up with a story about a cat who got lost in the woods, but after making a hamburger, he found a new home. After this collaborative brainstorming session, Moyer gave the girls the opportunity to write for a time and come up with their own, individual stories.

“It starts with a cool idea,” he said.

Moyer explained that he personally enjoys this aspect of writing the most. He likes the challenge of creating compelling characters in surprising situations; that’s some of why he enjoys comics so much. Not only do the characters come to life through his writing, but also through his drawing, which can communicate ideas to the reader in a totally unique way.

After sharing some of the troops’ free-writing, Moyer transitioned to a brief talk and demonstration on drawing. He explained that while there’s no “industry standard,” his graphic novels typically have one to four panels of images per page, but he likes to play with the presentation–the different panel layouts even serve as ways to communicate with the readers.

“There’s no wrong way to do it,” Moyer encouraged the troop. “Everyone has their own style.”

The troop definitely seemed engaged with Moyer and enthusiastically shared some of their drawings with the rest of the group after they had finished. And no two stories were alike, some had time traveling cats or talking worms, but all the participants seemed to take joy in the variety of their own creativity.

“Stories can go anywhere, and they’re more fun when they go in unexpected places,” Moyer said.