Feb 28 2010
I’ve linked this before, but it’s worth seeing again.
Feb 28 2010
I’ve linked this before, but it’s worth seeing again.
Feb 27 2010
Superhero funerals are so common that they have their own page on ComicVine and usually so bland that they tend to run together. Given a transcript for three pages from a superhero funeral, can you name the series? If the writing were actually distinct, that wouldn’t be difficult.
Feb 25 2010
Hello. If you haven’t seen my comic book’s five sample pages already, please check them out here and sign up for a chance to win a free signed copy when it comes out. Thanks! Having more interested readers will probably improve my odds of getting published and I really appreciate the help.
Feb 24 2010
Wahab Algarmi put together a free comic, The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies, and would like you to read it.
Here are some impressions.
–The characterization for the four protagonists is handled fairly well. In particular, I recommend page 21 as a dramatic portrayal of loyalty as a character trait. Usually, I roll my eyes when authors say a character is “loyal” because “loyal” characters rarely get opportunities to act differently than a super-bland protagonist. In fiction, EVERYBODY will save friends in trouble, so a character that is truly loyal needs to go beyond the norm. It helps if the decision to help someone bears a high cost on the loyal character, something more definite than “it could be dangerous.” In this case, a loyal protagonist spends crucial seconds tending to a dying teammate rather than trying to defuse a bomb.
–I wasn’t fond of the political edge. Among other things, it made the side-characters a bit cartoonish.
–The art was generally passable, but one of the four characters is sort of horrifying. Natalie looks like a man in a wig!
–A “Charles in Charge” pun… What the hell? That show got cancelled 20 years ago.
–I love the final panel on page 24. Great use of empty space.
–As far as cliffhangers go, the last page is okay. It could have been more effective if it had foreshadowed more about the new girl, but the concept is okay. Or at least, I *hope* the concept is okay, because the first issue of my comic book ends very similarly.
Feb 22 2010
Lisa Chow keeps writing “blah blah blah” until something better comes up. ”It always does,” she says.
Feb 21 2010
Kris Simon is an editor at Shadowline Comics, an imprint of Image. You can see her list of submission tips here.
1. Follow the posted submission guidelines. When editors make these lists, this rule is almost always listed first. YES, THE GUIDELINES APPLY TO YOU. Not following them can only hurt your chances of getting published.
2. Don’t overthink things. At Shadowline, you only need to worry about five sample pages (inked, lettered and preferably colored), a paragraph-long synopsis and a cover. Kris doesn’t want more than that because you may need to scrap a lot more work than necessary. Notably, Shadowline doesn’t want the script and doesn’t want a page-long synopsis.
Feb 20 2010
1. It doesn’t matter much whether the superpowers you use are unique or not. It is virtually certain that several published superheroes will share the same main powers as yours, and possibly a few of the secondaries as well. The key to differentiating your characters is giving them distinct personalities, voices, attributes, flaws, goals, obstacles, backgrounds, etc. If you have those things, you don’t need unique superpowers. If you don’t have those things, unique superpowers won’t save you.
2. The superpowers are merely a means to an end, an interesting story. But the superpowers themselves are rarely interesting. When you’re picking powers, please focus more on whether the powers can make interesting scenes than on whether the powers are original.
Feb 18 2010
As far as supernatural fantasies starring teen heroines go, this is pretty close to perfect. But red-blooded Americans of the non-girl variety would probably like this better. The bloody handprints were a cheery touch.
And here’s probably the funniest Hitler-themed video I’ve seen in, umm, ever.
Feb 17 2010
Whether you’re writing a thriller or a romance, an unbroken chain of victories for the hero is probably not very interesting. Come on. Even Batman makes mistakes. Unlike most good decisions, poor decisions and ineptly-executed plans create consequences that the character has to overcome, which lets you raise the stakes for the heroes and make the journey more difficult.
Here are some further suggestions about bad decisions.
1. Please connect the poor decision to an aspect of the character, like a personality flaw or a fear or a defining attribute. For example, if a superhero is exceedingly self-confident, it makes sense that he’d rush into battle without figuring out whether he’s gonna get beat around the block. In contrast, if a generally well-prepared protagonist acts uncharacteristically hasty without a good reason, you’ve inadvertently given him an idiot ball. That’s a problem because it isn’t true to the characterization you’ve given him thus far.
Feb 15 2010
Rather optimistically, I will put this in the “Getting Published” category. I’ll let you know how that goes. If you’re interested, you can read the cover letter I sent below.
Feb 15 2010
Prospective authors, myself included, sometimes worry about looking like idiots.
The good news is that agents and editors are very understanding of amateurishness. After all, everybody starts out as an amateur through no fault of their own. You’re safe as long as you’re remotely friendly and professional. If your submission is poorly formatted, the agent or editor may even direct you to a submission guide and ask you to resubmit.
If you’re trying to get a novel or graphic novel published, follow these two steps and you won’t look like an idiot.
Feb 14 2010
The Taxman Must Die is a wacky mix of an office comedy and a national security thriller. Two unlikely secret agents–an accountant and a mutant alligator–have to save the world. From themselves, mostly. Here’s the scene where the two main characters first meet! If you like the pages, please sign up for the raffle for a chance to win a free, signed copy when it comes out.
Feb 14 2010
If the heroes are defeated but the villain lets them walk away, the manuscript is probably dead on arrival.
If the characters can lose without anything bad happening to them, nothing’s at stake. Give your villain some chance of beating the hero once and for all, or there’s no point reading the story. If the closest your villain can come to victory is releasing the heroes with a stern warning, that’s just pathetic.
If you are absolutely sure that you want to release the heroes, please at least give the villain an adequate reason not to kill them or take them prisoner/hostage. Here are some reasons that are probably NOT adequate.
Here are some reasons that might be sufficient.
Feb 14 2010
I was doing my sample pages on Photoshop today and they looked fairly sober. When uploaded, they look like Pokemon on LSD. Emily was having similar problems. Any ideas?
UPDATE: The problem was that we were saving the files as CYMK rather than RGB. CYMK is the default setting on Photoshop because it prints out more cleanly, but uploading CYMK photos can cause color distortion. If you’re suffering from similar problems, go to Image > Mode > RGB in Photoshop.
Feb 13 2010
I’m not sure why Agent Orange would deliver a haiku to a criminal, but weirder things have happened in comic franchises.*
Your loathsome antics
have displeased America!
Surrender or die.
*The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once did battle with a mutant banana… as the 2003 TMNT watched. They had a crossover with themselves! And a mutant banana.
Feb 12 2010
Version 1.3 of my script is ready! As before, the password is my first name (no capitals). My first name is the most common name for American guys that starts with a ‘b.‘ If you’re still not sure what it is, please feel free to read my bio here. I’m sorry to inflict a password on you, particularly one so pathetic, but it’ll reduce the chances that bots will pirate the script before you have a chance to buy it. As the French say, that would be le suck.
Please let me know what you think about the script. Right now, it’s at 35 pages. I need to slash down to 22 (maybe 26) pages. If you can think about any scenes that can be shortened or removed, I’d really appreciate that.
Feb 11 2010
Here’s an experiment to help you get into the time-strapped mindset of the publisher’s assistant or assistant editor evaluating your manuscript or comic book submission. You’re an art editor that needs to select six works for the next stage of review. But you only have one minute to decide. To make things easier on you (and my bandwidth), your boss has given you only an eye from each artist’s portfolio. Pick your six favorites candidates and reject the rest.
Okay, do you have your six favorites ready? Then I have one key question for you…
Feb 09 2010
1. Most artists won’t work with authors that write worse than they do. When you post your job listing on a website like DeviantArt or LinkedIn, you will be judged on the quality of your writing. I’d recommend proofreading it. Avoid extraneous details that won’t matter to an artist. Also, list your published works, if any. (Experienced partners are usually less risky).
2. The more specific, the better. “John has adventures” says much less about the art you want than “Haxley is a barbarian that has to mangle his way to the throne.” If you have a two-sentence synopsis, use it. For more advice on doing two-sentence synopses, please see this.
3. What exactly do you need from the artist? If you’re doing a color comic with just one illustrator, you need pencils, inks, colors and letters. How many pages do you need? If you’re looking to put together a sample for publishers, you’ll probably want around 5 pages and possibly a cover. Check the submissions guidelines for each publisher, of course. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need the entire issue, which will probably be 32+ pages per issue.
4. Describe the sorts of characters and creatures you’ll need illustrated. Just regular humans? A superhero whose power sets him on fire? Supersoldiers in powersuits? Fantastical creatures like griffins and dragons? Werewolves and vampires? Angels and demons? Hydras and Zeus? Eldritch horrors? Eldritch horrors tanning on the beach? Before you hire an artist, make sure he’s comfortable with every major character and the mood of the work.
5. Will you need unusual props? For example, if you’re writing military sci-fi set in the 23th century, your artist will do a lot of exotic vehicles and weaponry. If you’re writing a romantic comedy starring me, probably not so much. Except for the Pimpmobile.
Feb 09 2010
Check it out here!
Feb 06 2010
If you’re looking for a job with a novel publisher or nonfiction publisher, I’d highly recommend checking out BookJobs. Right now, ~200 jobs and internships are available across the US, including a few telecommuting positions.
Unfortunately, it’s not that useful for jobs with comics publishers. I’ll have more thoughts about how to get comic book jobs in the weeks to come, but until then I would recommend checking the job pages for Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and DC regularly. Also, if you’re interested in unpaid internships in New York City, Marvel has more than a few of them.
Feb 06 2010
What do you think?
Please see all five pages here.
Feb 05 2010
I named both my products (the writing advice website and the comic book series) Superhero Nation. I’d like readers to be able to Google one and not get confused with the other, so I’ll rename one. Probably the comic, because changing this website’s URL would break of all of our incoming links. Ick.
So now I’m just trying to come up with a placeholder title for a wacky office comedy about an accountant-turned-secret agent and his mutant alligator partner. At this late hour, these seemed remotely acceptable. What do you think?
[alternate word: accountant]
(Normally, I think “Gary” is far too bland a name to be used in a title, but I like the contrast between the normal name and the extraordinary phrase).
If you’d like to suggest something else, I’d love to hear it.
Feb 02 2010
I’m writing a comic book script with a slightly different slant on the super-hero genre. If I could put it into a pop culture reference I would say it’s Invincible meets Tim Riggins from the TV version of Friday Night Lights. I feel hesitant to describe characters, scenes etc, instead I’ll just post the first 8 pages or so. Let me know what’s working, what isn’t, etc. Thanks everyone. The title of the book is “Sweet Primitive.”
[B. Mac notes: The language here is heavily profane. You've been warned!]
Feb 01 2010
If John is your point-of-view character, you usually don’t need to say something like “John saw Randy drop-kick his sister.” Usually it’s sufficient to say “Randy drop-kicked his sister” because we can infer that the POV saw it. I would only recommend getting into the details of who sensed what if those details are interesting and/or hard to infer. For example, if a superhero is using a superpower to sense something happening, then it makes sense to point that out because the observation is not routine.