As part of my WEBTOON Spotlight Series, I am expanding to interview contributing artists, writers, and CANVAS creators. To start this series expansion, I am introducing WEBTOON contributing writer Amanda “Ace” Eberhardt, whom I met through scouring LinkedIn and clicked with almost immediately.
Ace is nonbinary and passionate about telling immersive, dynamic, and inclusive stories, especially fantasies that feature strong central femme and queer characters. Their writing is also inspired by their experiences working and studying abroad throughout North America and Europe. Their TV scripts have been placed in Final Draft’s Big Break, the Austin Film Festival, ScreenCraft’s Screenwriting Fellowship, and WeScreeplay. They were also one of the winners of the Roadmap Writer’s Coletta Preacely-Garcia Diversity Initiative earlier this year.
Ace currently works as a Contributing Writer for the popular webcomic platform WEBTOON, where they adapt YA fiction into webtoons, and was kind enough to offer insight into their experience as a writer, so if you’re a fellow writer, read what they have to say.
- What led you to be involved with WEBTOON and the following comics: Crown of Feathers, The Wrath & The Dawn, and Not Even Bones?
In 2018, I discovered WEBTOON and immediately became a huge fan of their titles: Lore Olympus, My Dear Cold-Blooded King, I Love Yoo, Lavender Jack, Cursed Princess Club, and so many others. I was blown away by the quality of the art and storytelling and the amazing diversity of the writers, artists, and characters represented, which meant a lot to me as a queer and neurodivergent person.
After working in TV production in Atlanta for a year, I moved to LA in early 2019 to pursue my writing career full-time. As it happened, I saw a writing internship opportunity with WEBTOON that was expiring that night. I literally stayed up until 5 minutes before the deadline to submit my application. My writing sample was a scene from Labyrinth — my favorite film of all time — written in WEBTOON’s script format. It must’ve worked because, within the week, I was interviewed and offered a position as a Contributing Writer, skipping the internship process entirely. I’ve been writing for WEBTOON ever since, adapting Young Adult novels into some of their most popular titles for the past four years. It’s been a dream come true.
- What did you learn from your time working with comic creators?
Teamwork is key to everything! From script to final art, we are so dependent on each other to accomplish the amazing stories we tell. That’s why I’m so grateful to my producers and the art team for all of the hard work that they do behind the scenes to bring our webtoons to life. I don’t think our fans know the countless hours, passion, and dedication that our team pours into each of our titles. That’s so important for both aspiring and experienced creators to always be respectful and kind to everyone you engage with on every level — teamwork really makes the dream work.
- How does writing for comics differ from writing for animation and live-action?
I graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in Writing for TV and Film — shoutout to my Emerson Mafia! While my background in screenwriting for live-action drama prepared me well for writing webtoons, there are some key storytelling differences, namely in structure and pacing. Scripts tend to be very fast-paced, with an emphasis on action driving the plot. Webtoons tend to be slower-paced, emphasizing meaningful imagery and internal character development. While the action is still important, you’re limited to a panel — one static image — rather than a scene acted out in TV or film. It’s also harder to show movements to communicate emotions (i.e., rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, etc.), so sometimes I have to get creative with communicating a character’s feelings! WEBTOON’s unique scrolling format lends itself well to fluid storytelling, much more than traditional comic panels, and long panels are some of my favorite ones to write because I can create suspense for the reader as they scroll. I enjoy the fact that webtoons allow me to dig deep into a particular moment or character’s psyche that may be transitory in a book or film without disrupting the flow of action.
- What are your main goals as a creative writer?
My long-term career goals are to write and create content across a variety of genres that represents the full breadth and beauty of the queer community with authenticity and compassion. In addition to writing for WEBTOON, I work as a Writer’s Assistant and am also writing my first novel, The Purifying Effects of Fire, a queer sci-fi fantasy set in an alternate future in Eastern Europe. It’s a dream of mine to work fluidly across comics, TV, films, poetry, and prose. I also believe that when we have personal success, it’s imperative that we also share our knowledge and privileges with our communities, so ultimately, I’d like to create a multimedia platform that champions marginalized voices so we can be empowered to tell our own stories, in our own voices.
- What would you suggest to any aspiring writers?
- Know your worth. Believe in your skills, and do not accept anything less than you are owed. If it means walking away from an opportunity, that’s okay! It wasn’t the right one for you. If you have to take a job that’s not creative to sustain your life and your creative practice, there’s also no shame in that. You are a writer because you write. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
- Be humble and genuinely kind. You never know who might be your next collaborator or coworker! No matter how impressive your resume is, people won’t work with someone who thinks they are better than them or makes them feel small. Treat others the way you want to be treated — and not just as a stepping stone to your own success. People will remember your kindness, and sometimes it comes back to you in the most unexpected of ways.
- Perhaps the hardest on this list — don’t compare yourself to others! Everyone is on their own writing journey, and some people have privileges that make getting signed or staffed much easier. Don’t tie your self-worth to how many people read you, how many competitions you win, what job you have, etc. Everyone always thinks that when they get published or promoted or whenever some far-off goal is achieved, they will be happy. That’s just not true. Define your own version of success and happiness as a writer.
You can find Ace’s work on Crown of Feathers, The Wrath & The Dawn, and the latest season of Not Even Bones. If you know a writer, artist, or creator affiliated with WEBTOON, leave a comment below and tell us about them!