Archive for April, 2009

Apr 11 2009

50 Hilarious Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book

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.

I recommend that you look at the entire list on Bookgasm, but here are some of the highlights.

8.  The market for Iron Chef slash-fiction isn’t quite as broad as you may have assumed.  “Oh, Morimoto,” Chef Batali sighed.  “Stuff me like a pepper!”

31. There’s a fine line between writing authentic regional dialogue and making all of your characters sound like stroke victims.

32. Be thankful that they merely refused to publish it.  After all, submitting a manuscript that ends with the protagonist realizing that it was just a dream (or was it?) usually causes the publisher to edit your face with a pair of brass knuckles.

36. God may have told you to write this book, but he apparently forgot to tell you how to give it a decent ending.

47. The entire point of your book has already been more satisfactorily made in a single strip of Family Circus.

20 responses so far

Apr 10 2009

Angry Students at Penn State

Penn State recently released a workplace orientation video about potentially angry students, such as veterans. But which angry students did they miss?

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3 responses so far

Apr 10 2009

Call’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments below. Thanks.

25 responses so far

Apr 10 2009

Becca’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

One response so far

Apr 10 2009

“How can I write a character that’s smarter than I am?”

Here are some tips to help you write a super-intelligent character even if you are pretty ordinary yourself.

1.  Try not to focus on him talking intelligently– what can he do that’s intelligent? When you’re thinking about this character’s actions, he should be able to come up with cunning plans and brilliant moves.  Try to keep these as simple as possible.  After the hero carries out his plan, ideally your readers will say “damn, why didn’t I think of that?”

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23 responses so far

Apr 10 2009

An interesting twist on a stale character concept?

Many (if not most) magical superheroes have day jobs as stage magicians.  (Zatara, Mandrake the Magician, Mr. Mystic, etc).  It’s a stale and completely obvious choice for a day job.  So I decided to do a fresh concept for a magical superhero.  By night, he’s a genuine sorcerer.  By day, he works to disprove supernatural claims, like James Randi.  I think it would be fairly amusing for a sorcerer to resort to nonmagical parlor tricks to convince the masses that what they saw was not, in fact, a magical fireball.  (Umm… perhaps it was a steam pipe malfunction?)

2 responses so far

Apr 09 2009

How to Challenge Superhero Teams with Lone Villains

Superhero teams quite often go up against a lone villain.  Realistically, the Fantastic Four (or your version thereof) should easily be able to squish Doctor Doom (or the lone villain of your choice).

But that would be boring. Here are several ways to make it seem like a lone villain actually has a chance of winning.

1. Use minions.  Technically, this is cheating, but I won’t tell if you don’t.  You can always have your heroes fight your villain, and in between hundreds of nameless, faceless villains get in the way.  The best example of this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Whilst they battle Shredder about 100 Foot Clan warriors usually jump in.

2. Give your heroes something else to do.  Defuse a bomb, free the hostages, stop the plane from crashing… if there is something else needing done, you can safely split your hero team, making it more plausible for your villain to win.  This also raises the excitement level by bringing in time limits.

3. Make your villain AWESOME.  What do I mean by awesome?  Simple.  Make your villain Neo from the third Matrix film, so ridiculously powerful that hundreds of Agent Smiths are required to do battle with him.  The downside to this is that when your heroes do win, it may look contrived.

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28 responses so far

Apr 09 2009

Frostbyte’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

No responses yet

Apr 07 2009

How to take criticism professionally

1.  Don’t get defensive. The worst case scenario is that someone thinks your writing is awful.  So what?  Several reviewers have accused me of being the worst writer in the world.  No matter how bad it gets, there’s no reason to get huffy.  If you think you can learn something from what they’re saying, then read it carefully and make any necessary improvements.  If it’s just a generic “you suck” kind of review, then you should move on.  Either way, there’s no need for you to defend yourself.

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76 responses so far

Apr 07 2009

Marry me! I’m a slob.

Published by under Comedy,News

A Berlin woman divorced her husband for cleaning too much.  “The wife got through 15 years of marriage putting up with the man’s penchant for doing household chores, tidying up and rearranging the furniture.”  One of the advantages of marrying me is that this will certainly not be a problem.

8 responses so far

Apr 07 2009

Marcus Hart explains how to self-publish and promote a book

This article is an interview with Marcus Hart, the author of The Oblivion Society. He originally self-published ObSoc but was later published professionally by Permuted Press.

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22 responses so far

Apr 07 2009

1000 Posts!

It took us three years, but we finally got to 1000 posts.  These include about 400 writing articles totaling ~150,000 words.

3 responses so far

Apr 06 2009

Valerie D’Orazio’s advice about being an assistant editor

She offers some advice here.  Here’s what I took away from her article…

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No responses yet

Apr 06 2009

Is Superman a top-tier superhero? Discuss.

Published by under Discussion

What do you think?  Is Superman still an A-lister?

22 responses so far

Apr 05 2009

Superhero Soldiers

In my list of common day jobs for superheroes, I forgot soldiers.  Ack!  How did I miss that?  Anyway, I just added them.  What sort of tips would you recommend for an author writing a story about a superhero soldier?

9 responses so far

Apr 05 2009

How to monetize a blog: ads or no ads? What alternatives do I have?

Published by under Blogging

Here are a few tips about whether you should include ads on your blog.

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12 responses so far

Apr 05 2009

A brief update for volunteer moderators

Hello.  I’m still dealing with major technical issues on my end that will keep me from adding new moderators.  I’ll let you guys know when I have resolved these issues; I expect it will take us a week or two.

One response so far

Apr 04 2009

I find this dangerously amusing

Published by under Comedy,Webcomic

You can see more Dinosaur Comics here.

4 responses so far

Apr 04 2009

Common Superhero Day Jobs, Part 2

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97 responses so far

Apr 03 2009

How to Pace a Scene More Quickly

Action sequences and other intense scenes usually need to be fast-paced.  Here are a variety of tips to help you pick up the pace.

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51 responses so far

Apr 03 2009

We have a favicon now…

Now we have a tiny favicon to help you keep track of which browser tab belongs to Superhero Nation. Favicons are only 16 pixels by 16 pixels, so they’re very hard to read. Here’s the 64 by 64 version.

mailgooglecom

I was mulling over a few alternatives, but they were fairly uninspired or unworkable: a book, a cape, something with a pen, etc. I’ll let you know if this significantly affects user-retention rates.

What do you think?

12 responses so far

Apr 02 2009

What do you think about this nonfiction query? (Draft 3)

I’m pitching a nonfiction book about how to write superhero stories. What do you think?

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8 responses so far

Apr 02 2009

What do you think about this novel cover?

Published by under Art,Book Covers

(Picture taken courtesy of The Baltimore Sun; you can read their review here).

This novel has been published by Harper-Collins, so I’m sort of surprised by how unappealing the cover is.  It looks like it’s been slapped together for a self-published novel.  There’s a typo on the cover. (“a terrific send-up not only superheroes in general” is missing the word “of”).

What do you think?  What worked and what didn’t?  What would you have changed?

UPDATE: The author of this book has contacted us, saying that the cover is an “uncorrected draft.”  Erm, the book has been out for two months.  Isn’t it well past time to correct it?  Moreover, what were the circumstances that led a publisher to rush out a book that didn’t have a good cover ready?

25 responses so far

Apr 02 2009

Minor Football Tangent: Jay Cutler!

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One response so far

Apr 02 2009

A failure of product design… in pasta!

Published by under Product Design

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One response so far

Apr 01 2009

Retardised Whovian’s Second Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

I’m trying to write a manga in the fantasy, comedy, adventure and magical knight genres. I’m not sure how long it will last, but the plot below is for the first arc.

The Plot: Keeak was a great hero to the people of Kalomode, a coastal town in an unspecified country. He killed creatures that had been sent out to gather power for Langi, god of evil, and built up his own power to seal Langi away. However, he accidentally sealed himself in, but not before throwing his pendant to his younger brother, Neon. Keeak’s family abandons all hope, before lying to the police and saying that he ran away.

Seven years later, Neon is old enough to use the pendant and the magic associated with it. At first he holds onto it as a reminder of Keeak, but the creatures start surfacing again and he has to fight them. At the same time, he begins to hear a voice. It’s Keeak, who is begging him to unseal the realm of Langi so he can escape. Neon begins to build up his magic for it, while trying to maintain a secret identity.

Target Audience: I imagine it would appeal to guys more than girls, between the ages of 13-18.

Comparable Works: It could probably be compared to DNAngel by Yukiru Sugisaki and The Dreaming by Queenie Chan. At times it will have the feel of DNAngel (more lighthearted) and at other times it will be more like The Dreaming (dark, foreboding, creepy, mysterious).

How Thick Is My Skin? Go easy on me, but point out the errors or potential problems.

39 responses so far

Apr 01 2009

Gurion Omega’s Second Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

3 responses so far

Apr 01 2009

Buy me a beer!

We don’t sell ads or subscriptions here.  I’d really appreciate if you could donate to help offset our art and hosting costs.  Thanks.

No responses yet

Apr 01 2009

I hate April Fool’s Day

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9 responses so far

Apr 01 2009

A How-To Guide for Supervillains

evilHow is an amusing resource for supervillains-in-training.

5 responses so far

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