Pride Parade Mad Libs: An Interview with Brandon T. Snider

Nora Toscano, Entertainment Editor

Recently, accomplished author, artist, and playwright Brandon T. Snider shared his experiences as a writer after  the publishing of his latest Mad Libs: Pride Parade Mad Libs. He has published various books, Mad Libs, and comic books, as well as the award-winning The Dark Knight Manual.

Growing up, Snider wanted to be an actor, never seeing writing as a professional career. It wasn’t until he was majoring in Theater in college that he began creative writing, which “really started to develop [his] skills as a storyteller.” Snider says, “Once I moved to NYC, I began writing sketch comedy and plays. Acting jobs are hard to come by so writing kept me inspired. The more I did it, the more I grew as an artist.” 

Snider’s first major inspiration as a child was his love of comic books. He was also an avid fan of superheroes, especially the show Super Friends. He recalled begging his father to buy comic books for him, loving the fact that they were dynamic, exciting, and that he didn’t have to read much. Snider explained, “What I came to understand later was that the marriage of art and text in a comic book created a different kind of adventure. That shaped the way I looked at storytelling.” He drew his own comic books as a child, showing them only to his parents. 

Snider discussed the differences between writing a book, comic book, play, and Mad Libs. He stated, “Every story has a basic structure. Sometimes you get to play with that structure, sometimes you don’t.” He further said that, “You have a lot of space in a book to develop a story, while a comic book allows you way fewer pages, and Mad Libs are only around 100 words.” 

When describing his writing process, Snider said, “My process is pretty much the same for everything I write. When I get the job, I’m excited! I start generating all kinds of ideas. … From there I’ll write an outline, break down everything by chapters. When I was younger, I used to think writers simply wrote from inspiration, Like it was all in their head and they simply woke up, wrote like the wind, and suddenly BOOM— brilliance! But then I learned the value in plotting and outlining.” He revealed that when he gets stressed, the best thing to do is step back and check his work. The outline and his editor help him to assure he is following the path he wants to follow.

When asked how it felt to write The Dark Knight Manual, considering that Batman is one of the most popular superheroes and how huge of a franchise DC Comics is, he explained that he had been a Batman fan for a long time and couldn’t believe it when he was given the “massive opportunity” to write it. He revealed, “All that giddiness fell away when I realized I had a huge task ahead of me. That made me nervous. How was I going to write 30,000 words in a month?! So, I stepped back, took a deep breath, and made sure I followed my outline. At the end of the day, I think it turned out nicely.” 

Writing about such legendary characters is a difficult task, and Snider discussed how he was able to make books about Superman or Wonder Woman his own. “Superheroes are powerful and, sometimes, god-like. But they can be human, too. They learn lessons like everyone else,” he shared. “Focusing on the deeper, human aspects of these larger-than-life characters helps ground the stories, Injecting humor into them helps, too.” 

As a child, Snider was also very into Mad Libs. He said, “When I first got asked to write one, it was so incredibly special. Kid me was freaking out!”  Prior to his latest Mad Libs, he’s written Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Star Wars ones. Because of these, an editor then reached out to him about Pride Parade Mad Libs. “What I liked about writing this one was that it featured LGBTQIA+ trailblazers and other bits of queer history,” Snider explained. “Sure, there are plenty of classic, funny Mad Libs stories, but there’s also important facts you may not have known about before.” 

When asked about why this Mad Libs was important to him, he responded, “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, writing Pride Parade Mad Libs was both a dream come true and a very full-circle moment. I grew up in small town Ohio and was closeted for many years. There weren’t a lot of gay people on TV or in movies when I was growing up. We weren’t taught about gay rights pioneers in school. And because of the bullying I’d experienced as a younger person, it took me a long time to live my truth. It’s my hope that the LGBTQIA+ young people who might be fearful or questioning pick up Pride Parade Mad Libs and understand that they’re not alone in the world. Maybe by doing some Mad Libs with their friends it makes it easier for them to come out and embrace who they are. 

Snider’s advice for young writers is simple: to write and keep writing. He emphasized how important it is that young writers “put pen to paper” and “start with the things that inspire” them. It’s essential to thread your personal experiences and feelings into your writing and “never stop learning how to better yourself and your writing skills.” 

When asked what he wanted his legacy to be, Snider provided the following inspiring response: “Sharing stories, be they real or imagined, can change the world. If something I’ve written can help heal someone or make them look at the world in a different way and move them to action, I’ve done my job.”