Dec 12 2008

How is your story better than its competitors?

The guys at Atomic Robo compiled a Few Simple Rules to keep their work from making the same mistakes as other comic book series.

…maybe it’s unfair to say that we “hate” comics. More accurately, we hate the reality of the state of American comics today; what comics have become… We see so many titles making the same mistakes that pushed us away from comics in the ’90s, and the tragedy is that these are wholly unnecessary elements and easily remedied. But it feels like no one ever does.

They have five solutions.

  1. No angst.
  2. No “cheesecake” (ass-shots of women and other distasteful treatment).
  3. No reboots. When something happens, it can’t unhappen.
  4. No filler.
  5. No delays.

I really like those, and I will add eight rules for my work.

1) Superhero Nation will be fun.  Everything else is secondary.

2) Superhero Nation is finite. Twenty years from now, writers will be working on Spiderman and Batman and so on, mostly telling the same stories they are now. I don’t approve. Stories need an end. I anticipate that SN will end after 192 pages.

3) No resurrections, time-travel, or mind-reading. These powers kill the drama. When any character is brought back to life, death becomes a meaningless trick. Mind-reading removes the potential for secrets and betrayal.

4) No propaganda. I don’t really care what you think about politics, about America or the American government, or any of the other real-world elements that come up in Superhero Nation. Our goal is only to tell an entertaining story, not to “enlighten” or convince readers. See #1. If you’d like a work that’s more political than fun, I can show you my political science articles. (No one has ever taken me up on that offer).

5) No casual violence. When killing becomes a mundane, everyday act for the character, violence becomes boring and forgettable. Oh look, the Punisher killed another twelve gangsters. So what? When I have a fight scene, I want it to matter. Killing shouldn’t be just another day at the office.

6) No rape. Rape makes stories extremely somber and strangles out the fun.

7) No magic. I’ve never found an interesting magical fight in any medium.

8. Nonhumans should be genuinely different from humans. None of this Superman “human but better” crap. If a robot, a mutant alligator, an alien diplomat and a human IRS agent are having a conversation, it should be easy to tell who’s saying what because the characters aren’t similar.

Feel free to apply these to your own work as you see fit, but I didn’t mean these to be universal guidelines. So, how about you? What sort of rules guide your work? How is your story better than its competitors?

151 responses so far

151 Responses to “How is your story better than its competitors?”

  1. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Dec 2008 at 5:06 am

    1. No excessive swearing. The worst the characters say is “crap”.

    2. The heroes will not intentionally kill anyone. That would make them the villains.

    3. No resurrection/time travel/mind reading. (Oddly enough, I’m aware that two of these have featured in Doctor Who. But that raises a point about not crossing timelines and being unable to die permanently but still age)

    4. There must be times when the characters cannot rely on their powers alone. Eg; a bomb’s about to go off and Isaac must disarm it even though he has no idea what to do.

    5. There must be a downside to their powers. Eg; Isaac gets exhausted if he uses his powers excessively, Requiem has to grow up all over again etc

    6. It can’t be completely serious. Like a bowl of cornflakes without milk, it becomes dry and a chore to finish the whole thing. But there must also be some sweet moments or it begins to taste bland. But too much of any one thing – whether it’s the serious flakes, humorous milk or cute sugar – totally ruins the food. Great, now I’m hungry. Haha.

    7. Spell checking is a must. It jsut doesnt do to hav a bok typd lik ths.

    8. No excessive violence. “His heart was still beating in his opened chest; his blood spreading out over the white marble like a mural.” I don’t think “Wow, that’s really bad”, it makes me think “Cleanup on aisle three!”

  2. B. Macon 13 Dec 2008 at 5:22 am

    I really like #4. Ironically, a superhero is most impressive when he solves a problem without using his powers, I find.

  3. Ragged Boyon 13 Dec 2008 at 6:01 am

    Let’s see my rules:

    1. No whining. I can’t stand crybabies, get over it, unless it really matters.

    2. You must have powerless scenes.

    3.No excessive swearing. Shit and damn, that’s it.

    4. Death is serious, I may not feel sympathy, but most people do.

    5.No excessive sexuality. “You could almost see her ni–Whoa, cut that out.

    6.No meaningless speechs/lectures. If you’re going to talk for a long time it better be important or a monologue haha.

    7. Have fun. This is why I used to put down so many books. Dead story.

    8.Be inventive. Try to express thing is a different light than it’s norm. Don’t go crazy though.

    9.Before writing make sure you’re mentally prepared. If not you can drag on with a boring scene and not even notice, this is similar in drawing.

    10. No smokers. Although it adds a degree of badassery, it’s fricking gross. And you can come up with a better substitute.

    11.Don’t tell people about SN unless they are interested in writing. Although it’s a cool site most people will come and talk shit. And when they see you on it, it’s the same thing “What the hell is this? you comic book nerd” and then I go into the stream of curse words.

    12. All characters need a voice. Even if it’s like adding “sonny” to the end of a phrase, it must be a voice.

  4. B. Macon 13 Dec 2008 at 6:07 am

    The fun factor is critical. Without it, your story will probably feel like “John did A. John talked to B. John said C.” Who cares?

    As for profane comments, I don’t mind them very much and approved your comment as it was. However, I have a few vulgarities on a spam-block list because of an annoying commenter we had around 2 weeks ago. I’m kind of uneasy about spam-blocking common profanities, but hopefully it won’t be necessary for long.

    As for commenters talking shit, I think we’ve only had 2 or 3 trolls even though we’ve had 2000+ comments. So invite whoever you’d like; IP banning trolls is easy enough on my end. As for your end (people sassing you about the sites you read), it probably doesn’t matter what they say or think, but if you cared you could say you were interested in our advice on writing careers. Many people find money and professional pursuits inherently serious.

    And, sadly, it’s much easier to get a job writing comic books or nonfiction books about how to write superhero stories than to get a tenure-track position teaching at a political science program. Speaking of which, I’m pleased to report that the head of our graduate writing program thought that I could make a $25,000 advance for my manuscript. For 5 months of work, that’s about $175/day. That’s not bad money, particularly for a student of political science.

  5. Bretton 13 Dec 2008 at 5:44 pm

    1. Nothing ridiculously implausible.
    Ex: Kids 15 and younger building military-grade weapons. Who gives a crap if they had a field guide!

    2. Nothing out of place in the setting. Thus, my story no longer features guns, computers, partially-frozen schizo murderers, morbidly obsessed vigilantes, iron man parodies, or sentient cyborgs. Lol

    3.Parodies of my favorite stories, like Lord of the Rings, though entertaining once in a while used properly, should not be overdone.

    4. Lines must be epic and cool, but not overwrought.

    5. Basing characters on my friends’ personalities is ok as long as I remember I’m writing the CHARACTER, not my friend.

    6. If I kill someone off, they’re gone for good,so think about it thoroughly before it’s done. No one’s going to pull an Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    7. No secret relatives.
    -Alex knows his grandfather, but doesn’t know his grandpa is an elven king. This is ok because there’s no “I am your father!” moment.
    -Felisha aka Lynx aka Ninelives knows her dad, Dorian, and knows that both he and she are shades, but no one else knows this. Once again, no “I am your father” moment, so it’s permissible.

    Can’t come up with any others right now. Maybe later.

  6. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Dec 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Tristram is a 16 year old hacker/inventor. But granted, his intelligence is lax in other areas. He’s also a great big jerk with little patience for anyone who doesn’t understand his work.

    “What’s that?” “The motherboard.” “What’s that?” “The receiver.” “What’s that?” “You know, there’s a book on it over there.” (Person picks up book) “Turn to page 200 and look closely.” (Smacks book into person’s face)

    He hates Isaac because he has doubted his very identity since meeting him. They’re related, but know that they are the second they see each other. That’s why he picks fights, because it helps him to vent his frustration.

  7. Ragged Boyon 13 Dec 2008 at 8:52 pm

    [Editor’s note: The original title of this article was “What are your Reasons for Writing?”]

    I think this section is inaccurately titled.

    It should be “What are your Rules for Writing?”

    My reason for writing is completely different.

  8. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Dec 2008 at 8:57 pm

    My reason for writing is mainly entertainment, but also because I think the world could do with a few more books.

    I’ve tried to write a novel before, but I lost interest in it. But this one holds my attention, which is always good. Haha.

  9. B. Macon 13 Dec 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I was kind of torn on what to name this. The reason I went with “what’s your reason for writing” was because the guys at Atomic Robo said that their reason for writing was to fix what they thought was wrong with comic books. So they laid out 5 rules to help explain their efforts.

    I thought “what are your rules for writing” was overly mechanical. I think that if you asked an author or aspiring author what’s wrong with his genre, the answer will have more than a bit of emotion and rawness. (If you mention Eragon or perhaps Harry Potter to a fantasy author, he may go nuts on you).

  10. Ragged Boyon 13 Dec 2008 at 10:06 pm

    My reason for writing is I couldn’t do a publishable comic, so I settled for a publishable book. Upon learning I could do a comic book script, I took up the first chance I got. At least, a script is part of what I’ll need that I can do now.

    Like I said before, writing is very fun, but it’s not my passion like TRW. Art is my dream.

  11. Dallason 13 Dec 2008 at 11:22 pm

    My rules are simple.

    1) Make it realistic.
    2) Make it dark. Superman isn’t dark, everyone knows him and likes him. I like the hero which nobody actually liked. Unless it conflicts with #1.
    3) Never let it get boring. Keep the surprises coming. You need more than one peak. You can’t have one fight scene and then end the story. Stories progress and they build on themselves.

    And my reason for writing is cause I love to do it.

  12. Cadet Davison 13 Dec 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I’ll add one of my own: no public service announcements, preaching or “very special” arcs.

    For example, it’s OK if you want to show that drugs are very harmful. But don’t have the characters preach to the audience about how bad drugs are. Let the story make that case, not the characters. Even if your audience is mostly 10-year-olds, they’re smart enough to get the hint.

  13. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Dec 2008 at 6:11 am

    9. No revealing superhero outfits, especially on girls. Not only is it promoting females as objects in society, it would also be very gross seeing as the majority of my heroes are teenagers, some of them as young as twelve.

    10. All characters must be essential. I’ve been on several purging sprees where I cut out unnecessary characters. FIGHT originally had nine members, but I cut it to seven by combining a couple of the characters.

    11. No preaching. I have cut several lines out which state my beliefs, things like girl power, save the whales, world peace now, and humans are among the most vicious and destructive creatures ever. (This one has several subcategories, but I don’t think everyone in the world is evil. Just a select few like the murderers and genocidal maniacs.)

    12. I must put full effort in. Even if there’s a scene I don’t particularly enjoy typing, I must love it like my preferred ones.

    13. I agree with RB. No smokers. It promotes it and is just disgusting.

  14. Holliequon 15 Dec 2008 at 12:33 pm

    1. Make it as realistic as possible. It’s fantasy some some rule-bending is allowed.

    2. Everything has a consequence. There won’t be any easy escapes, just easier ones.

    3. Dark is okay, but let’s not annoy readers with angst.

    4. Don’t try to conform modern day beliefs/opinions on a fantasy world.

    Uh, that’s all I got for now.

  15. Ragged Boyon 15 Dec 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I agree with Holliequ that darkness is okay, I like a darker story.

    I feel that a costume can have a degree of sexiness without being raunchy, I’ve drawn a few myself. I don’t feel that every piece of skin has to be covered.

  16. Dallason 15 Dec 2008 at 4:32 pm

    And as for the no smokers thing, I personally hate smoking. But people do it. I usualy make it the BAD GUYS who smoke.

  17. Ragged Boyon 15 Dec 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t think Vir should go shirtless, although he couldn’t get grabbed, it would still make it alot easier for him to get hurt.

    Maybe underarmour would be better.

  18. Dallason 15 Dec 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Yeah, I thought of that, but it’s too hard to make. In the next chapter, he’s fighting someone that grabs his shirt and beats him to the ground. When Vir gets back up, he takes off his shirt.

  19. Ragged Boyon 15 Dec 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I think you misunderstood when I said “underarmour.” I meant the long sleeve skin-tight shirts that football players often wear under their padding.

  20. Dallason 15 Dec 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Vir wear a leotard?

  21. Ragged Boyon 15 Dec 2008 at 5:45 pm

    No, just the long sleeved upper part. He can wear is cargos, or whatever, on bottom

  22. Daveon 16 Dec 2008 at 1:42 am

    The “Vanity Press Bestseller” Rules List:

    1) No whining. Ever. Several of the protagonists are physically incapable of it.

    2) No cheating. Characters do not have “plot armor”. If a character is unbeatable, it is because that character is absurdly powerful.

    3) Everything has a cause. There are always reasons why things are the way they are. Villains always have understandable motivations; they are villains because of the way they pursue their goals.

    4) Everything has an effect. All actions have consequences. Plot should be driven by the actions of identifiable characters in the narrative.

  23. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Dec 2008 at 2:50 am

    14. Villains need a reason to be evil. Just because they’re greedy is a little cliche. Something like “his pet dog bit him as a child and ruined his face” would give a better reason for him to want to kill all the dogs. Anyone who kills a dog intentionally is evil, unless they’re a vet putting an animal out of its misery.

  24. B. Macon 16 Dec 2008 at 7:33 am

    Please don’t have more than 5 members in the main group. Yes, Justice League has 7, but those heroes are already known to the audience and don’t need an introduction. In contrast, you have to build your story from the ground up.

    Also, you don’t get much of a benefit out of a sixth or seventh member. An enormous cast is far more likely to make a story feel confusing or bloated than epic. See Heroes or Soon I Will Be Invincible.

    Superheroes that fight together should be roughly as powerful as each other. A villain that could threaten Batman could only last a few seconds against Superman. Consequently, it’s very hard to write fight scenes that feature Batman and Superman fighting together.

    When a superhero team has grossly different powers, two problems tend to occur: Superman Ex Machinas (where the most powerful hero is too overpowered and resolves the problems too easily) and wild power fluctuations, like Batman’s ability to survive a brawl with Darkseid at the end of Justice League Unlimited.

    No hero should have both incredible strength/endurance and Flash-like speed. Someone that’s as fast as the Flash and super-strong (cough cough Superman) is probably overpowered.

    You can bring in superpowered villains to challenge him, of course, but over the course of a novel or comic book introducing so many villains will probably overwhelm the audience. A weaker hero (like Batman) can beat on random thugs that don’t require any setup or any memory on the part of the readers. It’s much harder to make a throwaway supervillain than a throwaway thug.

    The main limitation on a superhero’s power should be something beyond his control (not his ethics, feelings, enthusiasm, etc). Internal obstacles (like the character’s ethics) are usually not very dramatic. If your hero has the ability to save the day but says “but it wouldn’t be right to!”, he’s far more likely to come off as an ass than someone struggling nobly with a moral dilemma. Conclusions to internal conflicts are rarely satisfying. Readers will probably wonder “why didn’t you figure it out five chapters ago?” or whatever.

    Don’t get bogged down in the details of your character’s superpowers. Please don’t give us any numbers. No one really cares how many miles per hour your character can run, or how many pounds he can bench-press. A general impression is sufficient (“he’s a strong human” or “he’s as strong as an Olympic athlete” or “he’s stronger than a human could be”). Let your readers fill in the details for themselves. It will feel less cheesy that way. When you say that the character can run 50,000 miles per hour, that will make readers roll their eyes far more than “he’s incredibly fast” would.

    Furthermore, very few readers care about the nitty-gritty details of how your hero’s superpowers work. You don’t need to spend pages describing how Ironman’s suit can fly. That doesn’t matter. Skip to the interesting part.

  25. Bretton 16 Dec 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Why does everyone always underestimate Batman? He survived Darkseid for a reason and since the Bane incident he’s been nearly untouchable. Personally, I think he handles his job better than Superman, or any other JL member for that matter. He’s notorious for having a backup for everything, being ridiculously prepared, and knowing how to take down every superhero he’s ever worked with. All I’m saying is, give the guy a break.

  26. B. Macon 16 Dec 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t underestimate him… I’d say he’s easily the coolest and most interesting DC character, and his villains are badder than badass. And his movies are startlingly good compared to anything else DC has put together.

    That said, he’s very underpowered relative to the other six main Leaguers, particularly Superman. Being ridiculously prepared is helpful, but a single punch from a superstrong villain (like Darkseid or Grundy) should by all rights kill Batman. Or Flash for that matter. (In Flash’s defense, though, he has an origin story that may excuse some generic super-toughness). When Batman survives the hit from Darkseid, it’s a gross example of power fluctuation.

  27. Ragged Boyon 16 Dec 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I think there is a slight exception about being descriptive of a superheroes powers in comics. I think you’re allowed to explain how his powers work in that it make a diference in how they fight and are defeated.

    Adrian (and the rest of his inherited race) control water through releasing chemicals from their pores that spread very quickly, as opposed to using psychic force. If a villian put a helmet on Adrian that stop psionic waves it wouldn’t have any affect on him. Adrian’s spores take a very short time to travel, although this wouldn’t make much a difference, if he was up against a superspeedster, he’d have to rethink his strategy.

    I probably won’t be as descriptive for others characters’ powers unless it really matters

    As for what he a hero can do with their powers, that can be shown in a comic, so it isn’t a problem.

  28. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Dec 2008 at 12:52 am

    “Don’t have more than 5 members in the main group.” Would that still be a problem if two of them are introduced prior to the group forming, and one or two being mentioned beforehand?

    Isaac and Kamari are the two characters that will be introduced first, and Kamari will mention that a sixteen year old hacker has broken through Libra Electronics’ firewall seven times. (Of course, she doesn’t mention that her dad owns the company, and doesn’t recognize Isaac as Tristram’s twin because she only sees Isaac’s face later on)

  29. B. Macon 17 Dec 2008 at 3:02 am

    I think it’s wise to introduce some characters before the group. Particularly at the beginning of the book, the characters are probably more interesting to prospective readers than the group itself. That may be because superhero groups tend to have less variety than the superheroes themselves.

    For example, besides the age of the heroes, what’s the difference between the Avengers and the Teen Titans? How are the X-Men different than the Justice League? I’d say the distinctions are pretty superficial.

  30. Nathan Holdenon 18 Dec 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’m interested in your polisci articles. It might take me a while to get around to reading them, but I always like having something for when the internet goes out.

  31. Nathan Holdenon 18 Dec 2008 at 12:34 pm

    “For example, besides the age of the heroes, what’s the difference between the Avengers and the Teen Titans? How are the X-Men different than the Justice League? I’d say the distinctions are pretty superficial.”

    I think you mixed your metaphors there. The Avengers are more like the JLA, the X-Men more like Teen Titans.

  32. B. Macon 18 Dec 2008 at 1:30 pm

    It’s probably true that the Avengers are a bit more like the JLA and the X-Men are more like Teen Titans, but I kind of feel that all four are essentially identical. Some of the similarities between them are their goals, the modi operandi, sometimes the relationships between the characters and the kinds of villains they face (except for possibly the X-Men).

  33. Anonymouson 19 Dec 2008 at 10:27 am

    Well, just for fun, a few thoughts on that.

    The Teen Titans is made up of sidekicks, which has no real correlation on the Marvel side that I know of. The X-Men has a huge persecution complex, and while they are/were persecuted, I think that’s silly and it’s why I rarely read X-men related comics.

    The JLA and the Avengers are similar, because they serve the same purpose in both universes– they’re the “main” group.

    If we were to go list off other groups, some are more interesting/unique than others, though often you’ll have the same group in both universes. My favorite example of this is the Thunderbolts, who seem to have been recreated in DC continuity as the Secret Six.

  34. B. Macon 19 Dec 2008 at 11:15 am

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of X-Men. Like LOTR or Eragon, I feel that it sets many bad precedents for would-be authors. Among others: it has way too many characters (around 10 recurring heroes), poor character development, boring villains, a heavy-handed political message, little prospect of a happy ending, and Wolverine.

    Also, it feels much more removed from reality than most Marvel franchises. Obviously, most superhero stories won’t feel realistic, but I feel that relatability is a crucial element of a comic book’s appeal. But X-Men has very few characters and locales that are normal. For example, Peter Parker goes to class and has a job. In contrast, very few of the X-Men have a day-job. They study at a school where there are only X-Men.

    Finally, the story is really committed to a political agenda that makes many of the villains seem cartoonish. (“I hate you mutants because you were born!”) A lot of comic-book villains seem cartoonish, but it’s especially annoying in X-Men because the series uses them to represent real-life groups (such as religious conservatives above). In contrast, when Norman Osborne or J.J. Jameson gets nutty, Spiderman isn’t trying to suggest anything sinister about businessmen or journalists. Mysterio isn’t meant to denigrate Hollywood. These characters are individuals rather than group caricatures.

  35. Ragged Boyon 19 Dec 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I think Doom Patrol is a slighty different crew. They have some similarities; flying in a ship, living in a fancy estate, and having a bunch of weirdos. But they are much darker and almost exclusively psychos (most of their powers stem from being messed up i.e. Dorothy Spinner, Crazy Jane). They are one of the only groups where everyone has died, except Robotman. Like the X-Men they are a groups of misfit superfreaks. They were remade about a bajillion times with one constant, Robotman. But the original team shared more similaritie with the Fantastic Four. Their main villians were, get this, The Brotherhood of Evil.

    I forgot the point I was trying to make. Basically, I think Doom Patrol is a slightly different alternative, but they are still essentially the same as others, particular the X-Men.

    Doom Patrol Rocks!!

    Could you suggest a fresh spin on the superhero team?

  36. Holliequon 19 Dec 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Iunno. Maybe if the superhero team included people who weren’t super. I don’t mean techno-wizards or anything, just admin. “Oh, Mr. Batman, I’ll need your signature on this insurance claim.”

    Maybe if you tried to make the superhero team more like a workplace. “Another call just came through.” – “So what? It’s Alice’s shift.” – “Alice is already out on a job. You’re the back up.” – “DAMMIT!”

  37. B. Macon 19 Dec 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I vaguely remember that Marvel once had a small series devoted to a company, Damage Control, that was responsible for undoing the damage caused by superhero fighting and other supernatural weirdness.

    You can read the pitch for Damage Control here. One of the springboard ideas strikes me as particularly good. “An account executive is charged with investigating a delinquent account. Doctor Doom’s.”

    However, generally the readers of superhero stories don’t care so much about about logistical details and other paperwork. They may feel that those details are a distraction from the story. If you’d like to try something beyond the usual action-first beat’em-up superhero story, I’d recommend making that clear from the beginning.

  38. Cadet Davison 19 Dec 2008 at 4:52 pm

    The easiest way to put an angle on a superhero story is probably to add a genre. For example, take something like the Avengers and turn it into a sit-com. Turn X-Men into a horror story. Romance. Historical fiction. A police drama. Farce. A police procedural. Parody. A heist story. A conspiracy thriller. A mystery. A Tom Clancy thriller.

    There are other possibilities, but be careful. For example, space operas are troublesome because so much of a superhero story’s appeal rests on the element of it being a real-world fantasy. Alternately, you could try writing your story as serious literary fiction but that is difficult and fraught with danger. It wouldn’t be easy to convince the readers of superhero stories to accept a dense, literary style and the people that want serious literary fiction would probably be seriously put-off by the superhero trappings.

  39. Ragged Boyon 19 Dec 2008 at 5:57 pm

    A heist story, hmmm, interesting.

  40. B. Macon 19 Dec 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Yeah. If you were writing a superhero story as a heist story, you’d probably focus on the following elements.

    1) The perpetrators. In most heist stories, these are the bad guys, but they don’t have to be. (See the Ocean’s series).
    2) The “heist.” This doesn’t actually have to be a robbery. For example, in The Day of the Jackal the “heist” is a plan to kill France’s president. The goal here should be narrow but very hard to achieve.
    3) Opponents. Sometimes the opponents are the good guys. For example, we’re supposed to root for the French police in Day of the Jackal. In contrast, the casino owner is the villain in the Ocean’s series. Either way, the opponents should be on their game. Heist stories depend on a conflict between two sets of very competent actors.

    For example, one superhero heist story might look like this.

    A psychic supervillain, Mastermind, mind-swaps with America’s most popular superhero, Captain Carnage, in an attempt to get himself elected President. Captain Carnage, now stuck in a supervillain’s body, attempts to convince the police what happened. When that fails, he decides to kill his own body (now occupied by Mastermind) before the election.

    The perpetrator is Captain Carnage. The heist is his attempt to kill Mastermind. Since the scope should be narrow, we should establish early on that the window of opportunity to kill Mastermind is very tight. For example, Captain Carnage will only have one opportunity to kill Mastermind when he speaks at a particular event. Ideally the event will have ridiculously tight security, like a national convention. That will raise the stakes on whether he succeeds at the event. (If Captain Carnage has several opportunities to kill Mastermind, then it wouldn’t matter so much whether he kills Mastermind or not).

    One of his opponents would be Mastermind, of course, but we’d probably have a few Secret Service characters as well. And, since this is a superhero story, we’d probably have other superheroes involved.

  41. Ragged Boyon 19 Dec 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I’ll write your thoughts down somewhere for usage later.

  42. Ragged Boyon 20 Dec 2008 at 8:38 am

    Hmm, how is my story better than a competitor’s. I’ll think on this and post it later.

  43. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Jan 2009 at 7:11 am

    I like to think my story is better than a competitor’s in that:

    – Unlike most superhero stories, it is not set in the US, which is possibly the biggest stereotype of the genre. I think it’s better this way because it allows me a degree of freedom that I wouldn’t have otherwise. If my main setting was Washington for example, I would have to research everything. Setting it in Perth lets me plot out what suburb Isaac would live in, where his school could be, and then calculate distances and times it would take to get from Point A to Point B.

    – There isn’t much competition from fellow Aussies. When compared to the amount of US and UK authors, Australia has very few, and I’ve never seen an Aussie superhero story.

    – I have seen many superhero stories, and one of my main observations is that the creators are usually older than the target audience. James Patterson is 61, but his Maximum Ride and Daniel X series are aimed at 12-16 year olds. Though he has a lot of experience, I think it would be more difficult for him to write a 14 year old character than someone 50-65 years old. Unlike him and many other authors, I actually write for my own age group, enabling me to accurately capture a modern teen’s interests and personality. I made up a band for Isaac to be a fan of, along with a couple of TV shows and books.

    – I think Isaac’s powers are largely original. I haven’t seen many (any?) heroes who have the same sort of thing.

    – His girlfriend isn’t a 2D trophy. Amy-Belle is a popular girl who wants the best of everything, and after finding out who Isaac is, decides to win his heart. What could be better than a superhero boyfriend? In this case, Isaac is the shiny trophy. (But she isn’t totally evil. Her need to be perfect stems from her mother, who is a model for various companies and encourages her to make herself “better” by wearing the right clothes and hanging with the right crowd.)

    – The four main characters of my first book are all from different backgrounds. While Isaac’s home country is unknown, he was raised Aussie. Rana has an Indian dad, Will is from England and Amy-Belle’s mother is Greek. Later on there will be another English boy (Requiem), two African-Americans (Atalya and Klemente), a white American (Tristram), a Canadian (Olivia), and another Aussie (Kamari). It’s pretty realistic, because their backgrounds are based off people I know well or have met.

    I’ve seen many movies where the MCs are all of the same ethnicity or nationality. Iron Man – the main protagonist and antagonist of the movies are both Caucasian. Spider-Man – Peter, MJ, Harry, Norman, Eddie Brock, Sandman, Aunt May, Uncle Ben etc. The Incredible Hulk – Bruce, Betty, General Ross, Emil Blonsky etc.

    – My characters are as original as possible. I haven’t ever seen a student/waiter/superhero or an emo hacker before, and certainly not one who’s dating an amateur psychologist.

    – Nothing will unhappen. If Isaac’s parents find out he’s a superhero, there’s no amnesia pill to make them forget. If Will gets hit by a car and dies, there isn’t a time machine to go back and fix it.

  44. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Jan 2009 at 7:19 am

    I might have a teeny bit of angst, but only because that’s where my true skills lie. I’ve never had anything really depressing, like people slitting their wrists or jumping in front of trains, but I like to think I’m good at writing deep emotions like sadness and anger. The really complex stuff. I bet when I look back I’ll see I’m really bad at it, though. Haha.

  45. Ragged Boyon 14 Jan 2009 at 8:33 am

    -I think I’ve got a pretty fresh main character, the white bl;ack boy or oreo. Adrian’s a dreamer he dreams of a big fancy life among the star the only other black protaganist I know like that is the kid from Blokhedz, but he’s pretty typecast. I do want Adrian’s race to come into play, but no “special issues” and blatant “I hate ni**as.” I want a degree of black-on-black racism (You wanna be white!) but I don’t my series to be too racially charged.

    -Showtime is an interesting new hero, for one he uses a common yet overlooked power (Water control). And how many heroes do you know call themselves Showtime.

    -My aliens are intelligent and, mostly, peaceful. They prefer discreetness as opposed to “Take me to your leader.” The aliens that come to Earth legally are good guys, but of course I’ll have the villainous aliens. I’m trying my best to make my aliens as fresh as possible, I don’t want the stereotypical type-that-talk-like-this.

    -My setting. I definitely didn’t want a New York-esque city, although they work well. I suspect my New Harbor City when fully developed will resemble L.A. It has the beat down part full of crime and then it has the glamourous side, a perfect place for an aspiring actor, somewhat. I kind of stole the name but no one will know from where so I’ll be alright.

    -My premise (if I’m using that word right). I suspect my alien tournament/ experiment/ recruiting campaign will be pretty interesting. I don’t know if fusion of human and alien DNA as a superhero origin is all that fresh, but I think its pretty interesting and plausible (if aliens ever came to Earth).

    -My ending. Fom the way my series sounds I think there will be a definite ending, I could still work it to make it continuous. I suspect Adrian will lose in the last part of the tournament but will find his way into the final battle and somehow keep his powers, probably with help from Jimelly. I’ll have him get his first big role in a movie and continue as Showtime. Adrian will be an actor/superhero and his story can go wherever it wants in the readers imagination. If it does continue on I’ll WANT (I doubt the company would left me, but who knows) him to grow up and become a famous actor and hero on the side.

    I do plan on a mixed cast of races

    I once wrote/slash dreamt up a series of short stories back when I used to throw away everything I wrote. The Macabe Tales of Mister Raggz (I’ve been using Raggz for a long time). I was probably exceedingly dark and intrusive back then, I think I could write it much better now. Mr. Raggz was a scarecrow that came to life an stumbled across the town/world of Greywater, a city only found when you read the two different tombstones with the same name on them. The town is full of dead people who didn’t want to know where they would go when they died, heaven or hell. Raggz is an odd man, prone to twitching because of the years he spent being pecked by bird and not being able to respond.

    He falls in love with Strangella, an anorexic strangle victim and meets a series of weird, often morbid and insane people, Wedlock, Jester, Scratch, Mr. Crowley, The Widow, Cammy the Cannibal, etc. And goes on crazy and dark adventures (these are the only two that I wrote but threw away), The Laughing Tophat, about a hat that Raggz finds and wears that laughs hysterical when someone is about to die. Strangella’s Choker, choker having a double meaning Raggz and Strangella enter The Betwixt Woods to find Strangella lost choker (the actual accessory) and stumble across her actual choker ( her ex-girlfriend, yep she’s WAS a lezbian (filter watch)). Pretty akward for Raggz.

  46. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Jan 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I once wrote a story where there’s a rich guy who treats everyone like crap, but then the tables turn. His credit card is stolen and his bank accounts drained, his stuff is repossessed and his car gets stolen. He has to go eat at soup kitchens, and runs into several people who he fired, who have also lost everything. He resolves to fix it all, and starts helping people. However, once he is well off again, he stops helping an becomes a jerk again. So he gets hit with his own stolen car and goes to Hell.

    I don’t have it any more, because I wrote it back before I could spell. Haha. I might rewrite it later and enter it in the annual competition, or I might use “Holding Out Until Dawn”. It’s set in the near future. Australia is being invaded, and a large group of people flee to a convention centre for shelter. They have to wait until dawn for the ANZAC to arrive and kill the soldiers that are outside. One of the MCs kicks the bucket, probably the narrator’s brother.

  47. Ragged Boyon 14 Jan 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I never know about writing contest before they happen, I really think with the improvements I’ve made I could writng a Mister Raggz tale that could be a contendor. I wrote some of it yesterday and read it to a few of my friends (with added theatrics of course). They commented that they liked the darkness because it had an air of whimsy, it wasn’t always “down in the wallows”. That’s exactly what I was going for, dark with a whimsical air (like Sweeney Todd). Lot of them thought I had good details about the character designs (Strangella’s anorexic body, Mr. Crowley’s odd long face), but I felt I may have been too descriptive about physical appearance. I tried to be subtle about Raggz being a scarecrow, having brittle, jagged straw for hair and a face that he has to straw together daily.

    I’m trying to make him look cool but not like the Scarecrow. I removed the noose around his neck and the sycthe and added a pet blackbird, Fester.

  48. B. Macon 14 Jan 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Hello, Whovian!

    The story is not set in the US.
    –As you might have noticed from our header, I have also noticed that the superhero genre has a distinctly American flavor! As for setting it outside the United States, I think this could help you pitch your work. Then again, I don’t know anything about the Australian market specifically so you’ll have to take that with an especially large grain of salt.
    –I wouldn’t worry too much about real-world details. Feel free to make up whatever you have to, no matter where the story is set.

    There isn’t much competition from Australian authors writing similar stories.
    –That could be a plus, but I’m not sure how much readers care about the nationality of the author.

    The writer is about as old as the target audience.
    –This is very promising. When an author is really young, I think that readers will notice. I suspect that’s the only reason anyone reads Chris Paolini.

    Isaac’s powers are largely original.
    –I don’t think this will matter much.

    His girlfriend is three-dimensional.
    –This could only help (both with the storytelling and the marketing).
    –I think there is a mostly untapped female audience for superhero stories. (EG: Lois and Clark, the Spiderman movies, etc.)

    The cast is nationally and ethnically diverse.
    –This could help, but I’m not sure. I think it’d be more of a factor if we were talking about Isaac or the romantic lead rather than side-characters.

    The characters have unusual jobs and personality traits.
    –Although the superhero-as-waiter is reminiscent of Peter Parker-as-pizzaboy, this should be fine. This should help.

    Nothing will unhappen.
    –This will improve the writing, but I don’t think it’s a selling point.

  49. Ragged Boyon 14 Jan 2009 at 9:27 pm

    You know the supervillain name, Mastermind, is already taken. He has two daughters. One is Lady Mastermind, a telepath that can create lethal illusions.

  50. B. Macon 14 Jan 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Hmm. Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me that Mastermind’s name has been taken. I was just using any old name so it’d be easy to keep the psychic villain (Mastermind) apart from the all-American hero (Captain Carnage, which is also taken).

  51. Ragged Boyon 14 Jan 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I’d definitely like to learn to master the dark, yet workable story.

    What do you think of The Macabre Tales of Mister Raggz for an amateur contest? Or do you think I could come up something better?

  52. B. Macon 14 Jan 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Hello, RB!

    Fresh character concept (“oreo”) and story elements (black-on-black racism). The theme here is kind of interesting. It takes a banal moral (be yourself!) and spins it in a fresh and possibly meaningful way (be yourself, even if that’s not “black enough.”)
    –I don’t know how big the potential audience is, but I could see a publisher picking it up.
    –I agree that softplaying the racial elements will probably make it easier to find an audience. I think that the audience for this will be in the market for scifi-action superheroes more than the racial messages.

    Showtime is an interesting and unusual new hero, with powers to match.
    –I think the unusual powers probably matter more for a comic book than Whovian’s novel. I suspect your ability to retain readers will depend on the action as much as the writing, and I think that water-based powers have potential.

    The aliens are fresh and peaceful.
    –This could matter, but I don’t think it’ll matter all that much.

    A fictional setting that isn’t a stand-in for NYC.
    –I think that fictional settings can help broaden the appeal, but I don’t think that it matters all that much.
    –Personally, we rely mostly on real cities with a distinct feel (NYC, DC, East St. Louis), but we also use fictional cities when we need something that feels like a comic book. For example, in Surf City “anybody can be somebody,” if you live long enough to pull it off. It’s dangerous, weird and extraordinary.

    The premise (a hero gets caught up in an alien tournament and recruiting campaign) and the superhero’s origin story are unusual and engaging.
    –I think the concept of alien fusion sounds a bit like Venom. Historically Venom has been very popular (albeit for a character that’s more of a villain than a hero), so that suggests the origin could sell.

    The ending is definite (but could be made continuous).
    –This is something that publishers really like to see. First, if the series is limited they won’t have to bet as much money on your series being a winner. Second, a finite series is more likely to be well-written (because it all comes down to a climax and a conclusion). Third, if the story is successful it could be continued.

    The cast is racially diverse.
    –This will probably matter more to American audiences than Australians.
    –Although black heroes have historically not been among the best-sellers, I think it may also help that the main character is black. That should help you find a modest, niche audience (like Blokhedz has).

  53. B. Macon 14 Jan 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I know there are some macabre and fantastical comic books (a few zombie or vampire comics, maybe Spawn, etc.) But I don’t know whether yours could work or not. I’m not that familiar with the market.

    Your story kind of sounds like The Nightmare Before Christmas. Although the appeal of that movie bewilders me, it was pretty popular so I think that there could be a market for something like your story. Unfortunately, though, I don’t think we could offer much specific advice. It’s kind of like playwriting or poetry. Davis and I just aren’t that good at it. I’ll ask Jacob, but I think the closest he gets to horror is cleaning out his labspace.

    However, I could still offer general writing advice and scripting suggestions, like “I think these three panels could probably be condensed into one.” I’ll do my best with it.

  54. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Jan 2009 at 3:51 am

    – I find it easier to write if my setting is familiar. Not only does it decrease the amount of time I spend trawling the internet in search of info, but I can introduce several fresh locations. Has Superman ever rescued a guy getting beaten up in the Perth Bell Tower? I highly doubt it.

    I invented the Saint Alexius School (Patron saint of travelers; perfect for a school built by settlers) for Isaac and his friends, and I also made up the Crabclaw where Isaac works. I’m going to use Google Earth to find appropriate suburbs for them.

    – I don’t think people will care much about if I’m Aussie, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that I won’t need to worry about any competition from others in the Land Down Under.

    – Chris Paolini was 16 when he wrote Eragon, right? I’m even younger, haha. I’ve considered not mentioning my age in the About the Author page, because people might assume that I’m too young to write anything half decent. I’m going to use a pseudonym anyway, so I might just leave out the fact that I can’t drive yet. Haha.

    – I think that the world of superheroes requires some fresh powers to add onto the already huge list.

    – Before we were released for the school holidays, I asked some of my female classmates what they would rather watch; Mamma Mia or the Dark Knight. Most of them said Mamma Mia. I would rather watch TDK any day of the week. I think it would be cool if more girls got into superhero movies, as well as videogames. We can’t all be Barbie Race and Ride. Haha.

    – Most of the characters I listed will have large parts in the series, particularly Requiem, Atalya, Klemente, Tristram, Olivia and Kamari. Kamari becomes Isaac’s major love interest, though he harbours some more-than-friendly feelings for Rana.

  55. Ragged Boyon 15 Jan 2009 at 7:03 am

    NBC (Nightmare Before Christmas) was an inspiration along with some Yeats tales. I think its appeal was that it was a successfully dark film that wouldn’t frighten children because of the colorful and odd characters. The characters definitely made the story.

    The reason I didn’t use a real city was lack of knowledge, I don’t know much about the geography of L.A., so I decided to do my own city.

    Mister Raggz story isn’t going to be a comic though, I’m thinking a series of short stories.

    On a random note, would Agent Orange get offended if I said white albino alligators look cooler than green ones? Haha.

  56. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 9:47 am

    I was thinking about a brief plotline down the road where Agent Black meets Agent Orange’s family and all of the alligators look pretty much identical except for one of the kids, who is so pale that he could not have come from the same family. Agent Black asks him if he’s adopted and Agent Orange tries to cut the conversation off with something like “Your inane observation displeases me!” Agent Black blunders a little bit further and eventually the kid bursts into tears. It’s very sensitive because the albino’s birth-parents are dead. Albinos have a very low life-expectancy. (In real life, this is because other alligators mistake albinos for food, but we’d probably soften it up by saying that they die in the sunlight.)

    I don’t think I’d end up using this scenelet, though. I’d like to keep Agent Orange as the only mutant alligator in the series and I don’t feel like it develops the characters very much. Also, it’s a little bit off-mood.

  57. Holliequon 15 Jan 2009 at 9:49 am

    Oh, I love the Nightmare Before Christmas! Tim Burton’s works always seem freaky but amazing. Edward Scissorhands and The Brothers Grimm are his too, I think.

    I really have too many story ideas. My writing folder is full of things like “____ story idea”. That’s probably why I’ve never been able to finish anything yet.

  58. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 10:11 am

    Hi, Whovian.

    One of the things that has always amused me is that superheroes will always fight at the most prominent sites in a country, even if it makes no sense whatsoever to fight there. For example, the Statue of Liberty or atop the Eiffel Towel. I’ve never heard of the Perth Belltower, but it’s probably a more rational place to hold a fight than the Sydney Opera House, which strikes me as the most internationally prominent Australian building.

    In your query/pitch, I wouldn’t recommend mentioning your age. I think that an editor might be reluctant to consider your work if you’re so young, because generally really-young writers are so bad that it’s just a waste of time. When you get published, at that point I think it’d be worthwhile to bring up because I think it’s something that the publisher would probably want to use to help sell your work. (The downside of this approach would be that your age couldn’t help you get published, but realistically I think it’s more likely to induce editorial skepticism than arouse editorial interest. But I think readers will go nuts for it).

  59. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hmm, short stories sound good.

    I’ve written a few myself (and got one published!) but I’ve since given up on it. If I wanted to write for free, I’d take up blogging… oh, wait.

  60. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Jan 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Haha, like:

    PUBLISHER: We’ve decided to use your manuscript!

    ME: WOO! Oh, I should probably mention that I can’t drive yet.

    PUBLISHER: You don’t have a license? What does that have to do with it?

    ME: Well, I’m not old enough to get one. I’m too young for driving lessons.



  61. Ragged Boyon 15 Jan 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I just drew this awesome picture, definitely one of my best works, but I can’t scan is yet because our printer isn’t plugged up. You can’t really tell if the character is a girl or a boy, but I’ve outdone myself nonetheless.

  62. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Dang …. I just found this site and it looks really awesome. I still feel ‘out of my league’ though because you all sound, well, like you know what you’re talking about with all these superheros and super villains, rules, plans, and stuff.

    I’ve written a few novellas and stories; only one was actually about a superhero. I’ve been thinking/planning another but so far the plot is pretty lame and so is the ‘how it happened’. And I’m just not good at writing this kind of book, but it’s been ‘growing on me’ all the same.

    Basically, this girl (maybe 14?) is a mutant and her parents are hiding her from the rest of the world because they don’t want anyone freaking out and all the media attention. They’ve lived outside of town surrounded by woods for a while, with only a couple neighbors. The girl gets spotted by teens out in the woods and somehow/eventually somebody important finds out and her parents hide her but she’s found and then somewhere along the lines maybe she finds another guy like her, with the ability to heal. Eh … I have no idea.

    I’ve figured I kind of want her to look like Mystique from X-Men, except with green skin, darker hair, and amber eyes. She’d be flexible, have quick reflexes like Mystique, be able to jump pretty high and stronger than the average human but nothin’ like Superman because that’s way cliche even though I love superstrength. So I guess she’d be kind of like Catwoman, with some type of animal-like qualities but not quite. But then I’d have to make something be different because I wouldn’t want people to think ‘Catwoman’ when they figure out/read what her abilities are.

    I’m bad with plots and supervillains/ villains. In a trilogy I wrote, the villain/bad guy still hasn’t died yet because I can’t figure a good way to kill him and it’s irritating because his kind are long-lived to be sure, but I want him to go ahead and die already. And I’m just really not that great at making people evil and writing about them and ‘getting inside their head’.

    I’m having trouble with my said idea because:

    1) The whole mutant thing reminds me too much of mutant X and X-Men.

    2) I have no real plot, so how the heck can I write the story?

    3) It’s very hard for me to create believable villains (even with your cool whatchamacallit about creating a good villain)

    4) The only thing I can think of to make my story more original/different from X-Men is that only a hundred or so in the entire world have abilities, and all those abilities are actually slightly probable in that nobody can control weather or suddenly sprout wings or stuff like that. They’re like enhancements of things we already have. But still …

    5) It just seems lame to me but the whole idea won’t go away so I have to write something and usually when an idea has stuck with me for a while it means it’s good even if I have to work on it a lot.

    6) This whole superhero story/book/comic thing, although it seems more awesome every second after reading a ton of your ‘guides’ also makes me feel like it’s so much more complicated than I thought it would be to write a superhero story. Tartar sauce.

    7) Sorry for the super long post

  63. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 2:42 pm

    … Oh yeah … and hi. 🙂
    Seems like the same people are posting after each article, like you all know each other. Pleased to meet you all. 🙂

  64. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 5:11 pm

    What’s up Luna, I’m Ragged Boy, and don’t worry we’re not as daunting as we sound, although most of us have been around for a bit. We’re all friendly, so welcome aboard. And we don’t all know each other, not personally at least, we’re pretty mutual friends that live across the globe.

    Let’s see what you’ve got:

    1) You could use “metahumans, or superhumans, or you could come up with something (Static Shock uses “Bangbabies”). Although, I don’t think people will be confused by you using mutant, so it’s all open ground.

    2)You’ve got a plot brewing, girl who was an outcast is hidden from society, then society dramatically finds her (and others like her), then the conflict between the mutants begin, real villian appears and shakes up everything, etc. You’ve got a good foundation for a dramatic story, so that’s good. Just brainstorm and jot down events that you want to happen, when and where and all that good stuff.

    3) Don’t worry character development always takes a bit of time because you’ve got to get those personalities spot on. As of now I’d say find your three favorite villians, and take a chunk of each of there personality, and try to make an interesting villian. The villian in my story is inspired by a blend of Maxie Zeus, Galactus, and The Joker, so he’s a delusional megalomaniac with a messiah complex and a strangly sunny disposition.

    4) That sounds ok, but don’t let that stunt your creativity. If you want more fanatastic powers go for it, you can almost always make up a scientific reason behind it ( my superhero, Showtime, controls water through releasing alien hormones from his body). Alternatively, if you want a less X-Men feel you could take out the harsh government aspect that X-Men has, or have less prejudice between humans and mutants, and maybe more prejudice between the mutants themselves (We do whatever we want vs. we stick to the rules and live with society).

    5) Follow your passion and instinct, if you want to write, then write. Don’t feel pressured to have result, lots of writers send some time in the brainstorming stage before ever actually putting pen to paper, perfect example, Me. I like your idea, almost any ida can be tweaked to be interesting and fresh.

    6) Don’t be discouraged, most of us are teens here so we’ve left that way too. It’s not that complicated, it just takes a little thinking and planning, and if I can do that, anyone can. I’m writing a comic book which I think is more complicated to writing a novel, I think. But either way as long as you have fun and keep a settle mind I’m sure you can do it. One step at a time.

    7) This is hardly a super long post, most of us here post entire chapters. Look in Brett’s or David’s forum if you want to see super long posts, Haha.

    It’s always fun to have new people, especially if your a chatty seventeen year old like me. Hooray for new faces. *Does a backflip, slips, and breaks neck*

  65. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 5:55 pm

    1) If you focus more on society’s reaction being “wow, we have superheroes!” than “oh my god, they could kill us!” then I think that will distance you a lot from X-men. Or, like RB said, have the conflict come from the mutants themselves. But if there are only very few of them that might not work out great.

    2) You have a pretty good base for a plot there! “Mutant girl with extraordinary powers, hidden from society, is discovered.” That’s a good start. Now you can take it further. What is her life like before being discovered? How is she found out? How does she react to being the centre of so much attention (and how does society react)? How does she cope with being in a world she’s only really heard about? If the villain is a mutant, why does he fight one of his own? If the villain is an ordinary person, why do they take against your MC? How does she overcome the villain? If she has help, why and who decides to help her? That might be a good start. 🙂

    3) Well, concentrate on your plot first. Then when you have what the villain does, try to think what the story might be like from the villain’s point of view. Why does s/he do what the she does? I find that helps me if I’m stuck.

    4) That sounds perfectly workable to me. Don’t be discouraged if your story seems a little like something that’s already been done! It’s very difficult to be 100% original. The writing comes in making an old idea seem different.

    5) It doesn’t seem a lame idea to me at all! And I know exactly what you mean about stories that stick around, haha.

    6) I think it’s a lot easier to get away with some (note: some) things in superhero novels. I think a comic book audience will be a lot more familiar with the superhero genre in general, but there are relatively few superhero books.

    7) Haha. Don’t worry about it. 🙂 It’s nice to see a new face. Don’t be put off!

  66. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you for your help, guys. !!!!!

    The age thing–wow. I’m surprised. I thought every one of y’all were older than me. I’m 19.

    1) RB–that sounds like a good idea, only mutants still sounds better than metahumans. I remember I wrote something similar to the X-Men story but that was a while ago, and they called themselves the Mehta (similar but shorter) and the ones on the humans’ side were … tartar sauce. Brain freeze. Hmmm … Lol. Here I am about to freak out about names and I remember I compiled my own list of like 750 good grief.
    Which reminds me–if you guys ever need a name that’s not a typical name, let me know. (I’ve got names of Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Irish, etc. origin as well as completely random awesome ones).

    Hollieque (is it okay if I just call you Holli, it’s shorter?) yeah that’s true; that would definitely steer it away from the whole X-Men thing.

    2) I was thinking about writing a little of her life before she was discovered, because that would help develop her personality

    3) honestly I cannot write good villains. Which is sad. But what you guys suggested has got my brain working a little. I just find it hard to think like they do, and find some evil motive and everything.

    4) Still not sure how this part should play out but I think maybe I should stick with it, because I want it to be ‘cool’ and everything; but still actually more probable than, like I said, controlling weather. I was never good at science so I couldn’t make their abilities way out there because I would have to explain some of it to back it up, and my explanations would have to actually make sense. 😛

    5) Truth.

    6) Thinking and planning … grrr … at least it’s for something I like.

    7) Thanks for the welcome! 🙂
    It’s so awesome how I randomly happen upon cool sites. Goodreads (for the obsessed reader side of me) was on the back cover of a magazine so I checked the site out. And this site I happened upon when searching google for superhero name generators. Though I have to say all those that I have found produce really lame names.

  67. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Call me whatever you want, just don’t call me late to dinner! 🙂 I kid. Holli is fine. (Though Hollie is a more common rendition).

    The great thing about villains is that they don’t always have to have evil motives. If, for example, your villain was going to be a mutant, he might feel that the MC’s actions were endangering other mutants. Maybe her discovery is driving others out of hiding? Or, if it isn’t a mutant, maybe it’s a scientist who’s interested in one of her abilities. Maybe she heals quicker. Maybe he thinks she’ll be immune to a serious disease. Or maybe the villain is a conspiracy freak who is convinced the MC is an alien working to enslave humankind. Though that’s a bit out there. Haha.

  68. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Yup, we’re all young, even the head honchos.

    Regarding #2, if you we’re to right a little of her life how would you make interesting? Most stories begin when the main events go down and the character is developed along the way.

    I think the word Mehta is pretty cool.

    Ragarding #3, I’m sure you can write a good villian. I believe in you. My villians motive is to create universal unity and unite everyone together aliens and humans, sounds like a good thing right. Twist, (I saw something on TV that said that pain is the one thing that everyone has in common, and I thought, that is so evil, but so true) so my villian want to unite everyone under pain, he’s completely delusional and thinks that if everyone is in extreme constant pain that they can band together in unity.

  69. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I agree Hollie, my villain’s mission is essentially a good one, but his method is what makes it evil.

    “Everyone, all races, all BEINGS, united under PAIN and I will be the God of Pain.” -Master Unitus, my villain.

  70. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I meant evil, not eil

  71. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:22 pm


    I was thinking it could be along the lines of it seeming like a normal childhood like maybe she’s in the woods, just playing around, and it’s interesting enough to make you read more, and then all of the sudden BAM she looks at her reflection in a pool of water or a puddle and you realize she’s not normal at all. You know, it starts out peaceful and everything’s normal and then I startle you with some revelation. I think that’s how a lot of my stories start out.

  72. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:27 pm

    But then … should I write a couple pages of ‘normal life’ and then the government comes for her? How exactly should someone find out about her? What if there are a few teens that just decide to go party in the woods or … I dunno, whatever teenagers do in woods, camp out away from their parents, something like that. And she, being curious, comes closer … and they see her and freak out. And the police end up combing the forest and coming to the Smith’s home to ask them if they’ve seen anyone dressed in costume or something. They catch a glimpse of her?

    But then where would it go from there?

  73. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I think it would be better to make it clear she’s different from the very beginning. That would be an interesting hook. On the other hand, springing it on us a few pages might be a bit disorientating.

  74. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Okay. Teenagers spotting her in the woods is good. What’s her reaction? After all, these would be the first people she’s met apart from her parents, right? Maybe the teenagers freak out and leave, but she follows them to the town and that’s how she’s discovered.

    I think once she was seen on a larger scale the government would pretty definitely get hold of it eventually. Maybe the police even bring her in for ‘disturbing the peace’ (or something, or maybe they just think she’s lost) and get all her details (her parents’ names, phone number, her address) before anybody actually realises that it isn’t a costume.

  75. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I think the teenagers in the woods and the police could be a good way to introduce a sympathetic character (or more, but I wouldn’t go overboard). It might be a good idea to introduce somebody like that, because the audience would be able to relate to them a lot easier than your MC.

  76. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Ooh! That sounds like a great idea! I like it!

    Thanks. 🙂

    … Okay, I’m just going to tell you guys straight up. I am addicted to smileys. Just warning you ahead of time so you understand why I






  77. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Now I just have to get myself in the mood. If I’m not in the mood, what I write I’ll be totally dissatisfied with and crumple up and toss.

    So … Abby goes exploring/Abby is exploring, thinks about how she’s never been this far into the forest/woods before. Sees the camp set up and the kids all around the campfire, goes over to it. The kids freak out and run away, down this little path. She follows the path, which ends by a road. She follows the road into the town and gets caught by police when maybe she climbs a pole or something or jumps atop a building to get a better view. They think she’s all made up for a movie or something and try to take her to the station, she doesn’t know what they’re doing and resists. They catch her again and forcefully take her to the station or wherever, where either she gives them her parent’s number or doesn’t know it and her parents come there themselves, figuring that with the way their daughter is she’d probably end up in the station first thing. And then … then I don’t know. But it’s a start! ^_^

  78. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:49 pm

    That’s a good start. Good luck with your story.

  79. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Oh–it’s a lil’ late but I agree with all the general ‘rules’/’guidelines’ up there. Every time I see a woman portrayed as skanky/’cheesecake’ as the author put it (even if it was a woman who did the drawing) I wanna give the artist the five fold ministry, if you know what I mean. I ain’t that, thank you much. (sorry, when I get ‘grrrr’ I talk like a white girl trying to be gangsta/hip/cool).

    It’s true, resurrections, time travel, mind reading type abilities are overrated and kill the drama. You have mind-reading, you know everything. Definitely no propaganda, you can make your values/beliefs/’side’ come through just by writing the way you do, you don’t have to actually put that in there unless it’s honestly relevant to what’s going on.

    Truth to the finite thing, I have to kill my characters off/end the story eventually. 🙁
    YES to a little humor in comics/novels. 🙂

  80. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Oh … and I am white just so you know. 🙂 Which is why my gangsta is so lame. 😛

  81. Holliequon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Don’t worry, I’m ghostly-pale. 😛 I blame the weather. And the ancestors.

  82. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Really? So am I! In a certain light my skin looks okay but the rest of the time it’s freakishly pale. Strangely enough many of my characters end up having pale skin …

  83. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Well, I’m deliciously milk-chocolate colored. There’s alot of lame controversy in the black community about light-skinned blacks vs brown and darker blacks, and how more people prefer to be around/date/be friends with light-skinned people. I’d say I’m fairly in the middle and I love being chocolate, except when I go to the pool because I turn really dark for like a week.

    Above, you said you didn’t like when girls are portrayed as skanky, so do you feel that girls shouldn’t be sexy at all in comics and books? A majority of girls I know are comfortable showing a little cleavage and wearing short skirts and shorts. Don’t get me wrong I’m no perv, but I am a sucker for a gorgeous young lady.

    P.S. I love pale skin, it’s so fashionable and avant-garde.

  84. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Eh … I really don’t think we need to do that, we don’t need to be sexy. We look just fine in normal shorts/capris/pants and a normal shirt. Sexy is when you’re comfortable in your own skin and you don’t feel you need to ‘fit in’ and wear stuff that shows more skin. Not that I’m into ankle length dresses and long sleeved shirts. But seriously … a girl is just as beautiful in pants and a t-shirt as she is ‘beautiful’ in short shorts and a shirt that shows some cleavage.
    I respect myself, I guess I’m saying. I don’t need to dress in something showy or sexy, I think it’s just a culture thing and that’s what our generation/a few generations are into. I’m beautiful the way I am there’s no need to show it off, unless I’m married. 🙂

    Dang I’m bad at explaining this stuff. But I don’t dress that way because I don’t want a guy looking at me and going ‘she’s hot’ or ‘she’s sexy’ or whatever and looking where they shouldn’t. I hope most guys don’t think a girl is beautiful just because she wears more showy clothes and think other girls who don’t are less beautiful. We’re all beautiful but some feel a need to prove it and we don’t need to prove anything like that.

    … and I’m still not explaining myself adequately. Darn my horrible communication skillz.

    ANYWAY … I think I’m going to go start my story and forget all this stuff I wrote because I’ll probably come back later and wish I could have said it a different, more understandable and less confusing way.

  85. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I’m tired. I can’t think. My eyes won’t stay open. I think I should wait until tomorrow to start writing. Lesson: Always make sure you’re awake when you’re going to write/start drawing.

  86. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 6:39 am

    I understand what you’re saying, you’ve got feel good just being yourself, and that’s what’s sexy. Don’t act like that doesn’t carry over to guys, we still have spots of self esteem issues and what not, but not me. Unfortunately, I’m hopelessly conceited haha, but I’m not a jerk, I won’t go up to someone and say “I’m so much better looking than you are, uggo.”

    I’m not just looking in ‘certain’ areas when I think of girls that I like, I love everything about girls soft skin, hair, smile, and most of all personality. I just wanted a girls opinion on the whole ‘being sexy. thing. I’m not saying that I’m not going to draw girls with midriff or low cut shorts, but I’ll keep away from skank territory.

    Oh, you draw, so do I.

  87. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 8:51 am

    Okay. 🙂

    Drawing–cool. I can’t draw anime that well but I try, I also do portraits and stuff. I haven’t drawn anything ‘serious’ in a while, usually I draw the characters from my books, or possible book covers which end up being cartoon-ish, I can’t draw a face and make it look real unless it’s actually real like a picture.

  88. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 8:54 am

    I don’t know if we can post links but here’s a story cover for my current story (not the superhero one).

  89. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 8:55 am

    Oh it worked. 🙂

    I drew that one and used picasa to make all of it but the title blurry-ish.
    I should probably try drawing Abby and see how that turns out, since I’ve never drawn a mutant before.

  90. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 9:32 am

    Those are some interestinf pictures, I like them. I avoid trying anime and the like, I prefer american cartoonism. I just draw random things out of my imagination, about 95% of my stuff is original. People think I steal my ideas, but no it’s mine.

    Here’s some stuff:

    I’m good at drawing abstract things I guess.

  91. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 9:38 am

    Sorry … I can’t get to deviantart. My college’s filter blocks it. 🙁

  92. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 9:50 am

    Wait you can see it here.

  93. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 10:19 am

    It’s not showing up. :/
    But I’m sure it’s awesome. 🙂

    I drew Abby. She looks really ugly. Maybe if I tried to make her look more anime ish instead of normal cartoon-like, she’d look better. Just because I’m horrible at drawing hands and feet.

    Or, I could just draw her face!?

  94. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 10:45 am

    Cool. 🙂

    How do you post a picture?

  95. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 10:45 am

    And hi! I’m Luna. 🙂

  96. B. Macon 31 Jan 2009 at 10:53 am

    Well, Flickr, DeviantArt and a few other image-hosting sites create links so that you can show pictures on other websites. For example, on Flickr you can go right below a picture you’ve posted and it’ll give you a line of HTML you can use in a comment.

    However, this website unfortunately limits coding to administrators (me, Cadet Davis and Jacob). So, if you’d like to post pictures, just leave a link to where I can find the picture and I’ll insert it for you within a few hours.

  97. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 11:01 am

    Okay, thanks. 🙂


    There’s an example of one of my better drawings. I couldn’t draw Abby like that unless I found a photo of someone who looked similar to how I imagine her and drew that, then just made her skin green, eyes amber, and hair red, etc.

  98. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 11:16 am

    Oh, you draw realism. I’m not a big fan of the style, but it does take alot of talent. Kudos

  99. Lunajamniaon 31 Jan 2009 at 11:17 am

    Thanks. ^_^

    I really want to learn to draw anime/cartoons better though. Because I like the style. I love how Avatar: The Last Airbender is drawn.

  100. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 11:42 am

    Avatar is probably one of the best shows, storywise and animation-wise, that I’ve ever seen. I love their depiction of motion and the elements.

  101. Davidon 31 Jan 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve never understood Avatar. I should probably try and collect the dvds and watch it from start to finish.

    I’m currently collecting Bleach, Death Note, Family Guy, and Yu-Gi-Oh… well, trying to collect Yu-Gi-Oh but they don’t sell them at the shops anymore.

  102. Ragged Boyon 31 Jan 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I hate Death Note, what is it about books that kill people?

    All I know is that there is a jerk, and a girl who will do whatever he says because she’s a stupid whore, some loser with bags under his eyes, and a bunch of ugly death gods.

    I find nothing about it interesting.

    But I love Family Guy and I read Bleach. I left Yu-Gi-Oh behind.

  103. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 7:16 am

    15. All my female characters who wear skirts will have magical skirts. They will not fall down as they do cartwheels or show anything when the kick someone in the face. Better yet, they will all wear shorts beneath them.

  104. Holliequon 16 Apr 2009 at 7:45 am

    Skirts are over-rated, in my opinion . . .

  105. B. Macon 16 Apr 2009 at 7:50 am

    Ehh. I think they worked fairly well for Sailor Moon, even though skirts probably aren’t as functional.

  106. Davidon 16 Apr 2009 at 9:13 am

    I’ve noticed nearly all superhero girls wear skirts or something else that shows off their legs.

    Starfire, Supergirl, Stargirl, Wonder Woman, Raven, Sailor Moon, etc.

  107. Tomon 16 Apr 2009 at 9:20 am

    That’s because most writers are male.

  108. Asayaon 16 Apr 2009 at 10:19 am

    My story is better than its competitors because-

    1. My story appeals to a diverse range of audiences and backgrounds. The characters are actually relatable.

    2. There are few good comics created by Christians to appeal to the secular world.

    Huh… I’ll have to add more later. lol

  109. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Uhh, Tom, you never know. Franklin Dixon was just a FEMALE writers pen-name!

    Oh wait. The pen-name ‘Franklin Dixon’ was first used by a female, um, Leslie Mcfarlane methinks.

  110. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Some things I think make my work(s) better than competitors is:

    1) It focuses on current problems, namely things like racism, war, and international understanding.

    2) I think my characters racial background will expand reader audience. Some characters are bi-racial, some are Chinese-American, Brazilian, from some middle-eastern countries. But as always, people will have different views on certain social-castes, and races, which I think makes a unique point of conflict amongst my characters, be they normal or superhuman.

    More later…

  111. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Some things I think make my work(s) better than competitors is:

    1) It focuses on current problems, namely things like racism, war, the human condition.

    2) I think my characters racial background will expand reader audience. Some characters are bi-racial, some are Chinese-American, Brazilian, from some middle-eastern countries. But as always, people will have different views on certain social-castes, and races, which I think makes a unique point of conflict amongst my characters, be they normal or superhuman.

    More later…

  112. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:37 pm


  113. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:37 pm

    ^ Amen to that! We need more Christian writers and comic book creators who can ACTUALLY appeal to ‘the rest of the world.’

    That’s why I don’t write to Christians, per say (my books don’t have a bunch of Christian stuff in them). Because even I, being a Christian, can’t seem to put allegorical elements in my books or anything (because they end up complete fudge, I’ve tried) which disqualifies me, I feel, from the ‘Christian readers market’.

    And most Christian scifi/fantasy books I know-with the exceptions of C.S. Lewis’ and Tolkien’s-are absolutely awful. I was able to read a couple chapter from my professor’s cousin’s book, and I felt bad that I didn’t like it–but it made no sense to me and felt quite awkward.

    It was set in medieval times and there were dragons and this contest and dragon-human creatures and it was all fantasy and then suddenly the main character was talking and praying to God–the way it was done, it didn’t fit at all and ‘felt’ completely awkward. I couldn’t finish it.
    I can’t write Christian or incorporate any specific Christian message into my books and I don’t want to do that anyway. ‘Cause otherwise it just ends up being like every other burn-it-in-the-fireplace ‘Christian fantasy/scifi’ book that came out of splatting together random elvish and dragon stuff with ‘the Christian Message’ to ‘be cool’ and ‘relate to the secular world which happens to be into scifi/fantasy books.’

    I feel like I’m bashing my own religion and people’s attempts to ‘reach the world.’ Darn it. Eh well. *end of rant*

    Asaya, what’s your story/comic story about? 🙂

  114. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Whoops–my comment took so long to type that it’s not right under Asaya’s. Heh. Sorry. My last comment was addressed to Asaya.

  115. Holliequon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Although I’m not Christian, I think one of my ideas could definitely have Christian morals as part of the message (forgiveness and ‘innocent until proven guilty’). Personally, I find books with religious themes very interesting if they’re done well. (Then again, a book could be glorifying Hitler and I would probably still find it interesting if it was written well.)

  116. Wingson 16 Apr 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I only just found this page *clueless as usual*.

    “Don’t put 5 or more members in the main group.”

    For the majority of my story, The Special are a four-man group (Meg, Connor, Darren, and Ian). Jazz joins midway through the story, and Pierce is only present for the final battle.


    1. Humor is a 2-edged sword. Good humor + good plot + good characters = good book. Good humor + bad plot + bad characters = bad book. No humor +good plot+ good characters = good but not as good book.

    2. LANGUAGE, people. The most used “bad” world for me is “crap”.

    3. Nothing – ah, how should I say this – kinky.

    4. Control the angst.

    5. Make it FUN.

    Since everyone’s discussing what they look like, I might as well join.

    I’m the quiet-looking half-Asian girl in the back of the room. However, the illusion of a smart, quiet girl is shattered as soon as I start speaking “Did anyone else here realize how similar donuts and bagels are?”.

    @ Holli – Exactly! Whenever I wear a skirt I always trip/fall down/hurt myself in some way (Of course, I do that no matter what I’m wearing, but with skirts it’s MORE so.)

    @ Luna – Same here. Personally, I don’t think I look that great (curse you genetics) but I don’t really care. I’d rather people respect me for what I say than what I look like (curse you image-obsessed world). Of couse, I’m not doing to well with the respect my words thing either (BAGELS AND DONUTS, PEOPLE!)

    – Wings

  117. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Hollie said “Skirts are over-rated, in my opinion . . .”

    In fashion, I really like plooming skirts, like Victorian style, but shorter. I love how they accentuate the leg. I love them so much so that I intend for my character, Porcelain, from my Masquerade story to wear one. With leggings, of course. She has to be fashionable to fit the setting. I really love fashion, but I won’t push that on people that don’t.

    B. Mac said “Ehh. I think they worked fairly well for Sailor Moon, even though skirts probably aren’t as functional.”

    I disagree. I think they’d be functional, just not appropriate. A skirt would allow for a range of mobility if your a kicker. However, there is risk of snag.

  118. Wingson 16 Apr 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I try and think of what clothes the characters would like (Meg – jeans and a tshirt, Ian – whatever’s “in” Jazz – black, etc.) As neither of my female characters would consider wearing a skirt (Meg and Jazz: DAMN RIGHT!) I’m not going to put them in one “just because”.

    – Wings

  119. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Uhhh, yeah. How do you write in italics?

  120. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I fear I am a victim of that image-obsessed world. And quite frankly, I’m loving so far. Worrying about my skin gets tiresome, but I couldn’t let myself be seen looking any kind of way. I guess it’s a natural thing, some people take a liking to it and others say it pointless.

  121. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:52 pm

    @ Holli–that’s what I mean, though, a lot of books I’ve read authored by Christians that cater to ‘the secular world’ are horribly written. They may have a message of forgiveness and stuff but their characters, plot, language (or everything) is so horrible I can’t look past it. I mean, I’m glad they want to influence the world and make a change and everything. But I almost wish they wouldn’t write anything because nobody I know really likes their books, and they think Christians are awful scifi/fantasy authors (again, with the exceptions of Lewis and Tolkien) and can only write ‘good’ books for other Christians.

    That’s why I’d like to break the mold/stereotype–be a great scifi/fantasy author and appeal to non-Christians, and then they find out-oh, she’s Christian! We didn’t know! And then when/if they find out it’s not like they stop reading or whatever …

  122. Holliequon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hmm. I tend not to like skirts because I don’t like them on me (bad legs). I also find them horribly impractical, especially since it’s really cold here. 😛 I can be just as fashionable in a pair of jeans, thank you very much.

  123. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I look like a human! Lol.

  124. Wingson 16 Apr 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Technically one of my books (The Cursed and the Fallen) is bordering on religious fiction. I’m a little worried about it because I don’t want my other book sto become controversial because of it.

    – Wings

  125. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:55 pm

    My books KINDA have a message–most of them have to do with war, I don’t know why. But everyone can relate because they’re all about how we lose our innocence/child-likeness in one way or another and how life is hard, but there’s still hope and good (eventually) triumphs in the end. Though sometimes there are sacrifices.

    Life is hard. But if you have someone by your side, or the memory of someone, you can make it through. Ya know what I mean?

  126. Holliequon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Actually, I had an idea for a book with really heavy borrowing from Christianity. I liked the idea (Eden is Earth’s sister planet in another world!) but I’d probably have to tighten the plot. A lot. My plots tend to suck at a crucial point. =/

    What do you think? Would you be comfortable with somebody who wasn’t Christian letting it heavily influence their work?

  127. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Oh, don’t be dramatic. Don’t get me wrong I love jeans on ladies, too. Especially, skinny colored denim or metallic. 😉 Sexy (I hope no one’s offended by that word). I just like fashionable clothing in general. I love the glamour, and the style, and the flair.

  128. Wingson 16 Apr 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Luna – You speak the truth.

    Most of my stories have a deeper meaning. Some of my own experiences have helped me to write them. At least I’ve gone to a better place (I’m not DEAD, before you ask).

    Someone once said that every great writer has suffered in some way. I probably should be thankful that I got it over with early.

    But enough of being depressed.

    The Cursed and the fallen is about a fallen angel “not good enough for heave, not evil enough for hell” who serves as the messenger between and the bearer of the souls of the dead and a girl on earth who manages to hurt everyone around her (I believe this is called the Jinx ability). Because the people close to her end up dead or badly hurt, the fallen angel is told to collect her soul and return it to the afterlife for judging.

    Again, very rough.

    – Wings

  129. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Me? Uh, yeah, I guess–it’s just awkward reading books that ‘borrow’ from the Bible, just like it’d be awkward for a secular person when reading a horrible, HORRIBLE scifi/fantasy book written by a Christian who had no idea what he/she was doing.

    I was just saying that I kind of think Christians shouldn’t publish scifi/fantasy unless they really got into writing it and developing the characters, universe rules, submitting it to professionals beforehand, that kind of stuff (and reading GOOD scifi/fantasy books so they actually understand what a good scifi/fantasy book is).
    ‘Cause otherwise it usually just sucks. (Sorry to all you published Christian scifi/fantasy writers out there)

  130. Gurion Omegaon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I think the only rule you need when it comes to ‘religious fiction’ is to not BORE it into the audiences head!

    I find ‘superheroes’ like Bible-man tragically cliched because, well it bores the Christian fiction thing into you, instead of it allowing the viewer to think about what the ethics are. This isn’t a thumbs-down to Bible-man. I actually thought it had 100% potential to be more…unique.

    And Christianity is partially about progress, not tradition, so In my opinion, there is no such things as ‘religious fiction’.

  131. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:04 pm

    That last comment was to Holli.

  132. Marissaon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:12 pm


    “I kind of think Christians shouldn’t publish scifi/fantasy unless they really got into writing it …”

    I kind of think nobody should publish sci-fi/fantasy without proper planning. Christianity has nothing to do with it.

  133. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I know … but I mean that most CHRISTIANS

    shouldn’t bother publishing a scifi/fantasy book ’cause they’ll most likely put/force some kind of Christian message into it and then it’s just awful. There are a few like Lewis and Tolkien who actually put a lot of planning into it and while Lewis does have a very strong message, it’s not overtly Christian … eh … I keep repeating myself.

    I’ll just leave it like it is. 🙂

  134. Asayaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:00 pm

    @ Lunajamnia-

    ”Asaya, what’s your story/comic story about?”

    It about some concepts concerning angels vs. demons warfare. I have a review forum on this site about it. I’m still a little paranoid about details. I make sure to specifically record/document anything cooncerning my ideas.

    @ Holliequ-

    ”What do you think? Would you be comfortable with somebody who wasn’t Christian letting it heavily influence their work?”

    Hmm… if you ask me, it wouldn’t be bad to let it influence you, but don’t get too bent on it. If you don’t believe in God yet reference the Bible in your works, it will seem like you are ‘on the outside looking in’ (especially to other Christians reading it).

    Writing heavily on Bible based topic/ideas requires a level of know-how ya can only get if you have a true belief in Jesus. I don’t want to sound exclusive, but that’s just how it is.

  135. Marissaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Okay, then I’ll totally drop all twelve or thirteen of my pending novels, just because I’m a Christian. Because that isn’t flawed logic at all. =/

  136. Asayaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:07 pm

    @ Wings-

    ”Technically one of my books (The Cursed and the Fallen) is bordering on religious fiction. I’m a little worried about it because I don’t want my other book sto become controversial because of it.”

    Well… if it’s controversial that means that alot of people have read it and it has stimulated them to re-evaluate their view of the world.

    Most of the time.

  137. Anonymouson 16 Apr 2009 at 3:45 pm

    @ Marissa … that’s not what I meant!

  138. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Whoops. Using IE.

  139. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Oi vey … (or however you spell that) …

    I want to try to explain again but that’d be attempting to explain for the like fifth or sixth time what I thought I explained well enough already. I guess not though.


  140. Asayaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Ehh… did any one see my latest comments?

  141. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Yes 🙂

    Your story does sound pretty intriguing. 🙂

  142. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 6:15 pm

    “I try and think of what clothes the characters would like (Meg – jeans and a tshirt, Ian – whatever’s “in” Jazz – black, etc.) As neither of my female characters would consider wearing a skirt (Meg and Jazz: DAMN RIGHT!) I’m not going to put them in one ‘just because’.”

    I do that too!

    Isaac – t shirts, black hooded jacket, jeans
    Tristram – grey and black striped hoodie, basic emo/punk/goth fashion
    Atalya – vests (which she attaches a hood to), shorts, mid calf socks, high top trainers
    Kamari – red bolero hoodie, shirts/vests, skorts, pants, shorts

    Even though I hate skirts and only own one (for school), my female characters will occasionally wear them. I wrote a scene with Rana in one, and I intend for Kamari to wear one (more like a skort, though). I don’t think Atalya would, though.

  143. Wingson 16 Apr 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Note to self: Found a Skirt Haters Unite! Club.

    Anyway, for my other character’s clothing preference:

    Pierce – A black leather jacket and sunglasses are always present.

    Darren – Something mildly formal (long pants, button down shirt, etc.)

    Connor – Something relatively simplistic. I’ll have to watch his inspiration’s fashion choices.

    – Wings

  144. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Skirt Hater Powers Activate! Form of… pants! Haha.

    I love thinking of outfits for characters to wear. Even though I’m not fashion conscious, I still find it fun. I came up with the perfect one for Tristram the other day:

    Hat: black trilby hat

    Shirt: grey t shirt

    Jacket: red open vest

    Pants: black jeans

    Shoes: black and white trainers

    Accessories: Detached sleeves. Left is black with white buttons on it leading up to the elbow, right is white with black buttons.

  145. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I love this outfit for Joshua in The World Ends With You. I don’t know why, I just think it’s cool.

  146. Ragged Boyon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:47 am

    This is Porcelain’s outfit. You guys will hate me for 1)having her superhero-ing in a skirt 2) and in heels. It’s meant to be dramatic:

    Top-Fitted black or leather vest, closed

    Bottoms- Plooming skirt, just above the knee. Any color that contrasts the black. Maybe yellow or cream. Ruffles underneath.

    Shoes- Closed toe heels in some bright color. Stop above the ankle.

    Accesories- Leggings in some color. Her gadget enhanced clutch bag.

  147. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:13 am

    As long as she doesn’t break her ankles. 😉

  148. B. Macon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:30 am

    Fighting in heels sounds like a very bad idea. Then again, Agent Black wears business shoes into combat and those don’t seem very practical, either.

  149. Holliequon 19 Apr 2009 at 11:24 am

    At least business shoes are flat. o_o; Also, that skirt is asking to be caught on something.

    Also, a skirt and ankle-boots? It may just be me, but I can’t see that working fashion-wise.

  150. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 21 Apr 2009 at 4:09 am

    “Also, a skirt and ankle-boots? It may just be me, but I can’t see that working fashion-wise”.

    I think it could work. However, my advice in fashion should be taken with this in mind: I couldn’t care less about what is “in” and a blind rat could probably put a better outfit together than me. Haha.

  151. Ragged Boyon 21 Apr 2009 at 4:52 am

    Something like this. This is a better look at the skirt

    The shoes on the left and the skirt on the right. Of course, I want the skirt to be wider and she’ll have leggings on.

    I know it’s completely impractical to fight in heels, but it’s fantasy. Readers will roll their eyes, but I don’t think they’ll throw the book away. I want the skirt to get snagged, at least in one scene.

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