Archive for December 10th, 2008

Dec 10 2008

Surviving to Page 2

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.

Many manuscripts get nixed on the first page.  Here are a few things that publishers want to see early on.

 

1.  Is it easy to read through? If your first page introduces many characters, fictional words, place names and the like, the story is probably a slog.  If your first page is hard to understand, your manuscript is dead on arrival.

 

2.  “Do I care about this story?” The easiest way to make a reader care is to give urgent, pressing goals to a likable protagonist.  If nothing’s at stake, readers will probably find the story boring.  If the reader doesn’t care on page one, your submission is in grave danger.

 

3.  Does the author have a professional grasp of English? If the author has multiple typos on page one, they’re just going to assume the author is an amateur and move on to the next manuscript.  Making a good first impression is important. Rule of thumb: If the first page has 3+ typos, the manuscript will not survive to page 2.

 

4.   Does it look like the plot is going somewhere? If the first page gets bogged down in a geography lesson, or a winding prologue, or a lengthy exposition, the answer is probably no.  Pacing the first page well is extremely important.

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Dec 10 2008

Brawls at Chuck E. Cheese: “It was like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.”

Some choice excerpts from a decidedly wild profile of Chuck E. Cheese’s customers.

In Brookfield, Wis., no restaurant has triggered more calls to the police department since last year than Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Officers have been called to break up 12 fights, some of them physical, at the child-oriented pizza parlor since January 2007. The biggest melee broke out in April, when an uninvited adult disrupted a child’s birthday party. Seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant’s music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain’s namesake mouse perform.

“The biggest problem is you have a bunch of adults acting like juveniles,” says Town of Brookfield Police Capt. Timothy Imler. “There’s a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there.”…

In Toledo, Ohio, four women were charged with disorderly conduct after a melee erupted at a Chuck E. Cheese’s there last year. According to police reports, it started when parents complained to the restaurant manager that children were loitering at the drawing machine…

“I thought they were going to attack me,” says Sheri Kellar-Raab, the first officer who responded…

The company stationed armed security guards inside the restaurant in an effort to make it safer.”It was like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film,” says Mr. Zielinski, referring to the “Pulp Fiction” director. “What parent is going to take their kids to a place where there is alcohol and pistols get brandished?”

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