Archive for June 1st, 2009

Jun 01 2009

How to Turn Jumbled Thoughts into a Coherent Story

Published by under Writing Articles

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.

Figure out what your story’s central question is.  For example, Spiderman’s central question is “can a regular teen be a superhero without giving up the people and values that matter to him?” The central question of the Superhero Nation comic book is “what sort of changes would a regular accountant have to make to survive as a superhero?”

Once you know what the central question is, it’s easier to decide which ideas are relevant. Ideally, everything– the villain’s plot, the side-characters, the side-plots– somehow relate to the central question. For example, pretty much everything Spiderman does endangers his family and makes it really hard to enjoy a normal life. The plot frequently puts him in morally difficult situations to test his values. Does he kill the man that killed Uncle Ben? Does he save Mary Jane or a bus full of kids?

It’s easy to get discouraged because you have a lot of ideas that don’t seem relevant. However, please consider whether they could be relevant. For example, let’s say you have a cool idea for a romantic sideplot. Make it relevant to the central question. For example, the Spiderman movies made Mary Jane relevant by using her to create moral dilemmas. Is it possible for him to keep seeing Mary Jane and work as Spiderman? Should he tell her? How can he keep her safe?

I’d also recommend making sure that the villain’s plot is relevant to the central question. In the first Spiderman movie, the climactic battle between the Green Goblin and Spiderman shows that Spiderman can be a superhero without compromising his values. Spiderman manages to beat the Goblin without killing him. The Goblin dies only because of his flawed morals. (He tries to kill Spiderman and ends up offing himself instead).

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Jun 01 2009

JM’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please read the comments below.  Thanks.

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Jun 01 2009

Sandman’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

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55 responses so far