Archive for January 22nd, 2009

Jan 22 2009

Death to Scrappy!

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

We’ve already done a general article on the dangers of using children as side-characters, but this article will discuss only the most dangerous kind of child character: The Scrappy.

Generally, a Scrappy is a character that is hated by readers, usually because he’s exaggeratedly inept in a way that is meant to be funny.  For example, instead of having a slight speech impediment, he’ll be Jar-Jar Binks.  Instead of being a bit younger than the other characters, he’ll be Scrappy Doo.  This character usually distracts from the more competent characters, often so much that he becomes a hate figure.

Here are some common misconceptions that lead authors to use Scrappies…

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Jan 22 2009

Today’s Pet Peeve: Unearned Reputations

Published by under Writing Articles

Be careful when it comes to giving characters unearned reputations.

It’s insufferable when we hear something about a character and see something else entirely.   For example, everyone in Heroes tells the audience that Mohinder is a brilliant scientist, but his most notable act of science has been to inject himself with an entirely untested formula that accidentally turns him into a monster.  That makes both the character and the writers come off poorly.  (Mohinder’s a moron, the plot hinges on total stupidity and the writers clearly don’t know anything about scientific testing, etc).  If you need your cast to act very uncharacteristically, at least give us a reason why.  For example, if Mohinder’s life had been in immediate jeopardy, it’d be more plausible that he would have taken the formula without testing it first.

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