Archive for July 25th, 2008

Jul 25 2008

Our Exam for Novelists now has over 125 questions!

Published by under Writing Articles

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.

We have decided to take advantage of the thousands of hours we have spent reading frightfully bad submissions by compiling over 125 common mistakes into a questionnaire for first-time novelists. Give it a look!

No responses yet

Jul 25 2008

Writing Tip/Caption Contest of the Day: Don’t Overuse Obscenities

Writers use obscenities for the same reasons they put in exclamation marks: they want to show that a character means it. Like exclamation marks, obscenities quickly lose their impact and come to sound goofy with overuse.

To help illustrate how goofy obscenities can look, we’re offering a caption contest. Abuse obscenities to create a hilariously bad conversation between Agent Black and Agent Orange. (Agent Black is the guy on the left; by the process of elimination, Agent Orange is the mutated alligator).

4 responses so far

Jul 25 2008

Don’t Write for Yourself: You are Your Own Worst Reader

Published by under Commentary

Today, a commenter at Nathan Bransford’s site said…

While I’m striving to write a book that I hope will be some kind of bestseller, I never forget that I’m also striving to write a book that *I* would want to read if I saw it on the shelf.

That is badly misguided. Whether you want to buy your book is irrelevant. You are not the audience of your book. Publishers do not want to publish a book for you. Publishers need to sell thousands of copies and they want books with that sort of appeal.

Authors that write a book they want to read tend to lose sight of the audience. I think that leads to self-absorbed and completely ineffective titles like “The Legend of Edarotag” and “Cimmeria’s Song*”. It may contribute to in-jokes and references that no one can relate to. As a rule, I think it’s safe to say that no one finds your interests as interesting as you do.

In conclusion, your career will probably be more successful if you forget about what you want to read and focus on finding what you can (and would be proud to) sell.

*These are both fictional titles (try reversing the letters in Edarotag).  I hope that demonstrated how easily in-jokes can disgruntle mass audiences.

8 responses so far