Archive for December 16th, 2007

Dec 16 2007

Bad Writing Question

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I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Quick question: which fictional character is better characterized:  Eragon’s dragon, Ash’s Charizard or a limp noodle?

I will make the counterintuitive argument that Charizard is actually better than the noodle.  He has a defining characteristic– laziness– and he gets slightly better lines than Eragon’s dragon.

(For new readers:  I hated Eragon… I’d write a review explaining why, but it would take me a lot more than 4000 words and I absolutely do not want to ever see that book again).

  • Absolutely cliche plot.  JRR Tolkien should have been credited as the co-author.
  • PAINFULLY bad characters– including a wasted dragon that is worse-characterized than a Pokemon.
  • The Chosen One.  This is actually a problem I should write about.  I will, after finals.
  • Montana Syndrome.  Did you know the author was from Montana?  Believe me, after the first ten pages of the characters trudging through a hellish, howling wasteland, you’ll figure it out.  This is closely related to NYC Syndrome in superhero stories, but NYC has the advantage of being remotely interesting and somewhat less desolate than Montana.

    • It’s never a problem to write what you know… as long as what you know isn’t painful (I hope Tom Clancy is reading this).  Tom Clancy’s sub chapters are so painfully parochial that I skip through them now.  “But how do you know what’s going on?”  If an enemy ship disappears from the plot, chalk it up to the sub and move on.

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