The Most Important Tool for a Writer is You

Alan Moore, known for his multifaceted comic book characters, dishes out an important nugget of advice to anyone who wants to take up the pen — In order to become a better writer, you first need to be a better person. The most important tool for a writer is yourself.

See The World from Your Moral Stance

Moore stressed that you will need a moral standpoint in order to make sense of the world. He believes that a strong moral perspective is essential for creating meaningful and impactful stories. 

Articulate Your Values

Writers need to articulate their own values and beliefs in order to create work that is meaningful and authentic. This means being clear about what you stand for and what you believe in. Also be flexible in your views, as the ground can shift under you.

Explore Ethical Questions

Don’t shy away from sticky issues. Ask difficult questions about right and wrong, good and evil, and the nature of morality itself. But avoid moralizing to your reader. Nothing is worse than trying to distill the world into simplistic or didactic messages. Instead let the moral implications of your story emerge naturally.

Consider the Impact of Your Words

Moore emphasizes that writers have a responsibility to consider the impact of their work on readers and society as a whole. This means being aware of how your work might be received and interpreted, and considering the potential consequences of your message.

Foster Compassion and Empathy

Another essential aspect to developing yourself as a person is to engender genuine compassion and empathy. This will allow you to look at people who have foreign or even diametrically opposed viewpoints and understand why those people have those views. You must realize that you, yourself, if brought up in their circumstances, might share those same viewpoints. 

Delve into Human Nature

You should have a deep understanding of human nature in order to create characters that are complex, nuanced, and authentic. Be open-minded and willing to listen to different perspectives. This means being willing to consider viewpoints that may be different from your own.

Be Compassionate

Compassion is a key ingredient for creating stories that connect with readers. You need to relate to the struggles and challenges that other people face so that your readers can connect with your characters.  


Writers can develop compassion and empathy by reflecting on their own experiences and emotions. This means being honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses, and using this self-knowledge to create characters that are more authentic and relatable.

Overall, Alan Moore advises that we understand ourselves first before attempting to craft believable characters. The more open and empathetic we are as writers, the more we can connect our readers to our characters. 

Tim Kane

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