Archive for October 12th, 2008

Oct 12 2008

Writing Tip of the Day: Don’t Forget the Fun

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.

One of the most common reasons that superhero stories fail is that they try too hard to be serious and end up killing the fun.  This does not mean that a serious story has to be unfun (see Wild Cards).  But the line separating seriousness from insufferability is very fine.  Here are some signs that you’ve crossed it.

  • The story treats being super as if it is a chore or unpleasant burden.
  • All of the characters are completely familiar with having superpowers and/or being superheroes.
  • The characters are overly emo (Heroes).
  • The language is impossibly dense and/or melodramatic (The Superhero’s Closet).
  • The story pushes a political agenda (Civil War).

For example, let’s compare Heroes to Spiderman here. Tracy discovers her ice-powers by accidentally killing someone and tests them by destroying a rose.  In the Spiderman movie, Peter Parker discovers his superpowers by finding out that he no longer needs glasses and tests them by trying to sling his way across town in a comically inept fashion.  Parker’s story features enthusiasm and positive energy.  Tracy’s story is laced with emo wangst. It doesn’t help us relate to her or see through her eyes.  Worse, it prevents viewers from wanting to see through her eyes.

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Oct 12 2008

Alaska Ethics Commission Reports: Palin Fired Matt Parkman!

The New York Times confirms that the Alaskan state trooper in “Troopergate” is actually Matt Parkman, a former police officer best known for his psychic abilities and contributing to the rampant power inflation in the second season of Heroes.  She probably had him fired after he tried to give her some of the African crazy-beans that he’s been gorging on for the last two episodes.  “They’ll let you see the future!”  Riiiiight.

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