Pro-tips for Writing Your Own Cosplay Builds

I wrote this out as a Twitter thread for a cosplay mutual and realized it could be its own blog post. This is for any cosplayers who are looking to start writing their own cosplay builds/progress/tutorials. From someone who’s been doing this for all her handmade cosplays since 2015.

Get a blog/site

This is pretty self explanatory. You need somewhere to put it. You can even just write it in a Word doc first before you decide to release it to the world on a blog/tumblr/facebook post. Either way, start a document and don’t lose track of it. You’ll be going back to it constantly.

Write as you go

If there is nothing you pick up from this post, at the very least, remember this. Write your cosplay build as you’re making the cosplay. Going to repeat this again and in a bigger format so it sticks with you:

Write your cosplay build as you’re making the cosplay.

Do not wait until the entire thing is done. I guarantee you will forget how you did something. When you’re writing as you go, don’t worry about your tone or voice or grammar or even spelling. Just get your thoughts down. That’s the most important part. It doesn’t need to be pretty; that’s not the point. The point is to have your thoughts logged so that you can can edit and polish it later. They can even just be short bullet points if that’s all you can manage at the moment.

What to write

Okay but what do you write? Everything and anything, really.

First, log everything you buy and from where. As soon as you get something for the cosplay, add it to your draft and link to where you got it. Even if you ultimately do not end up using it for the cosplay, it’s good to have written down. You can always delete that bullet point later. The problem is when you don’t log it immediately: you’ll have to hunt through email or—heaven forbid, paper—receipts.

Second, write down the process you used to make each cosplay piece in your blog draft. Try to do this relatively soon after you make it, so that you can remember all the steps you took. I usually try to do this a day or two after working on the piece. And if that process is someone else’s? Say so. Credit other people’s work when you use it. If you used someone’s tutorial, link to them. If you purchased someone’s pattern, say so and link to it. You wouldn’t want someone using your tutorial uncredited, would you? Adding links like this also adds a bit of legitimacy.

Take pictures!

Cosplay builds can be pretty boring when it’s all just text. Cosplay is a heavily visual medium, so you have to include some visuals! Similar to writing as you go, take pictures as you go. Just drafted a pattern? Take a picture. Just finished stitching together a bodice? Take a picture. Take videos too if you feel inclined. One way I’ve seen other cosplayers implement cosplay builds in shorter non-blog formats is Twitter threads and Instagram story highlights. These are great for just posting little snippets of progress and keeping them all in one place. And when you take the picture for Twitter/Instagram, you can use the same photo for your build blog!

Share your triumphs but – more importantly – your failures

Lots of crafting and cosplay is experimental. Unless there’s already a readymade pattern available or some other cosplayer wrote a tutorial, chances are you’re going to be in uncharted territory, at least a little bit. So you’ll have work that didn’t make the final cut. A garment that didn’t fit. Adhesive that didn’t hold well enough. These are all the little mistakes that are good to learn from. So include them in your draft. You can show your readers how you got from step A to Z and why you made the design choices you did. Besides, no one’s perfect. Sharing failures is relatable.

Publish it!

Don’t just let it sit in drafts for forever. At one point, after the cosplay has been completed and you’ve finished writing, editing, and reviewing your entire build, it’s gonna need to see the light of day. Hit Publish and let the world see what you’ve done! And don’t worry if it’s not perfect; you can always go back and edit if you see a typo or if you made an upgrade to the cosplay.

Writing builds like this is a great way to document everything you’ve learned. It can be handy sometimes to go back and read old builds and see different techniques you’ve accumulated over the years. Or to reference one when you can’t remember the name of a material you used before! (I did that just today trying to remember what clear plastic I used to cover the lights on my Maria scythes: It was PETG for anyone wondering.)

Hope this little guide helps. Happy crafting and happy writing!

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