Apr 19 2009

Five signs that your comic book needs work

1.  Your protagonist is Rick Blurry, a cigar-smoking, eyepatch-wearing superspy.  When Marvel’s lawyers call, perhaps you should have a better defense ready than “but he wears his eyepatch on his right eye!”

2. Your pitch includes the line:  “This is just like your other series, but good.”

3.  You are aroused by any of the characters.  (Yes, we can tell).

4.  It involves time-travel.

5.  You’re not sure whether you want a protagonist to live or not, so you put it to a vote.

31 responses so far

31 Responses to “Five signs that your comic book needs work”

  1. Asayaon 19 Apr 2009 at 1:20 pm

    What do you mean by 3?

  2. B. Macon 19 Apr 2009 at 1:58 pm

    If you’re romantically smitten with one of your characters, the script or manuscript will probably sound very unsettling. I’d recommend giving the character more distance from the author. For example, give him or her traits that you find unappealing.

  3. Tom Ingramon 19 Apr 2009 at 3:50 pm

    That’s an impression I get from Twilight (I thankfully haven’t read the books, but you learn a lot from Popcultural Osmosis). The author was very much enamoured of her vampire character, and wrote the book as an excuse for him and her self-insert character to hook up.

  4. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Tom: I think the same thing. Ick. Twilight just seems like a four book self insert fic which somehow got published.

    Thankfully, none of my characters are like me. The most I share with any is one or two personality or behavioral traits. I’ve been very careful to avoid eye and hair colour combinations like mine or my friends, but sometimes its inevitable. There are only so many possible combinations.

    And no, I am not smitten by any of my characters. I like them, sure, but not in that way. I pretty much have to like them. If I hated them they would be treated extremely badly as opposed to badly, which is how they get treated when I like them. For example:

    Isaac: Always getting injured, gets piercing migraines after overusing powers
    Will: Gets the crap bashed out of him by a supervillain and somehow survives, though he has no powers
    Lonnie: Was neglected by her biological family
    Kamari: Terminally ill until the GuardiF cured her and gave her powers, but she is still pretty weak afterwards and needs help for the first few fights, which she resents.

    I don’t even really describe their physical appearances, other than eyes or hair (In passing, of course. “He pushed a hand through his brown hair, breaking it out of the neat style he wore to school”) but I mention where their parents are from or list some things they wear in order to give the reader enough information to go on. For instance, Rana had her school skirts lengthened, she has long hair and her dad carries a kirpan. Put all those together and you can tell that she is from a family of Sikhs, though she is unbaptised.

  5. Lunajamniaon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t agree that you should be as fond of your characters as Meyer and dream about them, but at the same time, I disagree with not being attached to them at some level. I find if I don’t have any real connection with them then I can’t write them. I can’t just write a character I don’t care about, it’s like … I don’t know how to describe it. :/ I can’t describe their emotions or ‘show’ very well and I’ll ‘tell’ a lot more if I don’t really get into what their personality is like(and end up throwing the story away). I DO sometimes find myself having to put myself in their shoes because of course they aren’t real and I am, and I want to make it more realistic by making them react like a real person even if they don’t react to a situation or have the same emotions as me.

    Like, what would I do if I was an eight year old girl and my parents died in a war and I was stuck with a stoic, almost emotionless guy who decides to take care of me as a promise to my father?

    Or a 16 year old girl coming home after quite a few years and discovering that life is much different, and having to deal with issues that left me crippled–how would I react to everyone around me?
    I try to make it more real.

    Of course, I don’t like my bad guys. I don’t think I ever have–but I’m still interested in exactly WHY they’re bad and everything, it helps me write the story …

    Once again, I am not sufficient in my explanation. Bother it.

  6. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:53 pm

    “I don’t like my bad guys”.

    I’m not particularly fond of mine, but I have to have some degree of respect for them if I’m going to write them. Cabel (formerly Cable) may be a vain, somewhat annoying guy, but he can be very intelligent at times.

  7. Tom Ingramon 19 Apr 2009 at 6:57 pm

    All my characters have a bit of me in them, but I try to distance them from myself. The one I write who is most like me is going to be killed with extreme prejudice because of this.

  8. B. Macon 20 Apr 2009 at 7:26 am

    Random question, Tom Ingram. Are you the same Tom that’s working on the TV script or is that someone else?

  9. Ragged Boyon 20 Apr 2009 at 7:55 am

    Admittedly, most of my characters are self-inserts stripped of Mary Sue-isms. And I don’t have psychological narcissism, despite my regular narcissism. So no arousal for me.

    I like the whole voting thing in DC.

  10. Holliequon 20 Apr 2009 at 8:22 am

    “Of course, I don’t like my bad guys.”

    Really? I always like my villains. In my first NaNo project, the villain was my favourite character. I guess it helped that I really sympathised with his goal (stop war, poverty and crime . . . by hypnotising the whole of America. Yeah, he was overpowered, but I did mean to make him that way.)

  11. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 9:25 am

    What if I say I am scared by my villains? Not all of them. And it’s not really respect, either. There are just some I don’t like, I mean I make sure to develop them a little but they aren’t the main characters so I don’t spend as much time developing their character as I do the MC. And … I just … eh. Some of them do scare me though, with how evil they are. :/

    (which must mean that I have a somewhat evil mind, sadly)

  12. Tomon 20 Apr 2009 at 9:45 am

    @B. Mac, no, it’s not me.

  13. Wingson 20 Apr 2009 at 10:08 am

    I try to keep too much of myself from leaking into my characters, and try to distance myself from them (Although I believe that Pierce needs a hug badly).

    – Wings

  14. B. Macon 20 Apr 2009 at 10:15 am

    “@B. Mac, no, it’s not me.”

    That means we have three different commenters named Tom. Hmm…

  15. Asayaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:12 am

    @ Lunajamnia-

    ‘And … I just … eh. Some of them do scare me though, with how evil they are. :/

    (which must mean that I have a somewhat evil mind, sadly)’

    I don’t think it means you’re exactly EVIL, lol. Though if some of your villains do scare you, you should stop working on them for a while and move on to protagonists or storylines.

    In my personal opinion, if you made a villain that was evil enough to scare you, then maybe that villain will have the same effect on your readers that can only benefit the story.

  16. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:21 am

    Well … he scared me for as long as he was alive.

  17. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:23 am

    And there was another one who was a total jerk and I was happy when he died.

  18. Asayaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:28 am

    Oh? How’d he get killed off?

  19. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:45 am

    The first one was shot by the man who’s family he killed (both his parents and then later his wife and indirectly his daughter) the second one, I think, was killed by a dragon after he shot the dragon’s (actually a shapeshifter named Dion, hard to explain …) love, who didn’t want Dion to give over to his bad side and kill those attacking them. Dontcha hate it when someone has a blond moment and thinks the villains who are so obviously … villainous … would actually not shoot them? Anyhow, the second villain was a total jerk and I’m glad Dion ended up killing him.

  20. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:45 am

    There were a couple villains in that story, I think. I can’t remember the other one though.

  21. Asayaon 20 Apr 2009 at 11:57 am

    ‘The first one was shot by the man who’s family he killed (both his parents and then later his wife and indirectly his daughter) the second one, I think, was killed by a dragon after he shot the dragon’s (actually a shapeshifter named Dion, hard to explain …) love’

    Man, that is pretty grisly…

    ‘Dontcha hate it when someone has a blond moment and thinks the villains who are so obviously … villainous … would actually not shoot them?’

    Yeah! It’s like, you’ve seen the guy destroy entire cities (or villages, or planets, or galaxies…) and you don’t expect him to snap (or incinerate, or vanquish, or shoot…)
    your neck? (talking to hero of particular story)

    Geez…common sense people!

  22. Marissaon 20 Apr 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I love my villains. I don’t see how people can write about a villain they hate and still make sure it’s well-developed and characterized rather than just 2-D.

  23. Tomon 20 Apr 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve tried to make my main villain a blend of magnificent bastard and for the evulz.


    Basically, he wouldn’t be above unleashing a giant monster on the city, destroying every major city in the world simultaneously and risking the destruction of the entire world for more power. If you asked him why, his answer would be something along the lines of ‘I was bored’, or ‘kicks’. Professor Esper, taking the term ‘mad scientist’ to a whole new level.

  24. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Asaya … yeah, the first guy was all haaaaaaaate. I didn’t have an official backstory for him at first, but I got an idea … Sevk was one of the few survivors of a planet wide massacre (not really a war, exactly, ’cause the planet had no idea it was going to be attacked and was not ready) and he became leader of those who escaped to another planet. Ever since, he has held a grudge against the Lsai race. (All his people live to be quite old, but he is the longest-living Elenan, though he renamed his race the Ferrah so as to help not be recognized and all that, among other things).

    Once upon a time, there were clones who protected and fought for a race of beings called the Elenan. One of the clones was not normal, and he ended up protecting a native on a planet they were attacking, and taking their side. He got a name from them (originally it was some number): Lsai, which means ‘Great Warrior’ in their language. Then the planet was attacked again and somehow or other he convinced the clones to turn, and they did–they attacked their own planet, wiping out almost all of the Elenan. In the midst of the battle, Lsai died.

    The others won, but in honor of Lsai, who helped them realize their own humanity and ability to think for themselves, they named their race the Lsai and settled on the planet, Lota Anath. Some intermarried and the end result was the strength and swiftness and silver-blue eyes of the Lsai but the agility and calmness of the natives, the Tyani. Anyway,Rinec, whose families Sevk killed, is a descendant of Lsai himself.

  25. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 12:38 pm

    *intermarried with the natives, I mean … (heh … didn’t realize how I put it until re-reading it … )

  26. Tom Ingramon 20 Apr 2009 at 1:58 pm

    @ B. Mac

    I saw that someone with the same first name as me was already posting here, which is why I put my last name in too. I didn’t know there was another Tom, though.

  27. Asayaon 20 Apr 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Lunajamnia- Nice! So it’s going to be some kind of war between the races?

  28. Wingson 20 Apr 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I actually rather like most villains, especially if they don’t have an established backstory. I like wondering why he/she became what they are. I don’t think you can start out evil, so I like wondering HOW they became evil. Heck, I’m writing a fanfiction backstory for a video game villain.

    Scarlet still needs a backstory, so I don’t care either way about him yet. But I need to dislike him a little at least….We already have a villain (well, you can call him that for most of How to Save the World) we can sympathize with (Pierce).

    Personally, my favorite “villains” are Claer and Nor from my unposted work, Between Light and Darkness. Then again, they’re the only ones I actually took the time to write backstories for thus far…. (Backstories = love)

    – Wings

  29. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks, Asaya–but actually the stories have already been written. 🙂 Well, except for most of the prequel (how the Lsai came to be/Lsai’s story). It’s all about the Lsai, really, not the Ferrah.

    Wings, that sounds really cool. 🙂

  30. Lunajamniaon 20 Apr 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Although, since I am going to (eventually, when I actually find time) edit the trilogy a lot as well as the prequel to the series, I could delve into that a little more; why Sevk hates the Lsai so. Perhaps Rinec could make mention of past attempts of a mysterious emperor’s attempts to wipe out the Lsai, to bring more plot into the story. But that would have to be later; because the trilogy’s villains are the Shadok, the Dreysn, and then Eiqner (Sevk’s son), not the Ferrah themselves.

  31. Dforceon 20 Apr 2009 at 6:06 pm

    So many “Toms,” so much confusion. lol

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