This writing analyzer is fun. It’s totally useless for anything but amusement, though. It claimed that a passage actually written by Hemingway most resembled the work of P.G. Wodehouse, which is a bizarre choice for a passage about a man that killed a lion. Wodehouse mainly wrote comedies about foppish dandies more likely to use a club for golf than for anything interesting. (In the program’s defense, alcohol does play sort of prominently in both the Hemingway passage and Wodehouse’s work).
In most superhero stories and some urban fantasy, the protagonists know at least one friendly police character. Here are some ways police characters can help the heroes.
1. Alerting the heroes when there’s a problem too large for the police. Common examples include superpowered robberies, jail breaks, and supernatural/occult/magical serial killers.
2. Crowd control (clearing out civilians during or before a superpowered brawl). This helps explain why civilians don’t get killed in the crossfire and gives the police something to do besides watch the fight.
3. Helping the heroes avoid legal trouble. Or, if the cop is REALLY friendly, helping them break out of jail.
4. Helping superheroes maintain a secret identity. “This picture of Superman turning into Clark Kent is obviously fake. At the time it was allegedly taken, I was with Clark Kent on the other side of town.” Alternately, this might help any protagonist avoid a case of mistaken identity/imposters. “That bank robber wasn’t the real Harry Dresden! I was discussing a case with Dresden, so the the robber must have been a shapeshifter.”
5. Passing along messages and packages to the heroes, particularly from a villain. When the Joker wants Batman to see something, the easiest middleman is the police because it wouldn’t make much sense if the Joker knew where to find Batman.
6. Delaying and/or thwarting hostile police officers. In many cases, some police officers are against the heroes, particularly if an antagonist impostor has torn up the town or the heroes are not very careful about collateral damage. In urban fantasy, some police officers may be uneasy about working with a sorcerer, werewolf or other supernatural creature. (“I went through six days of testing before I could take my firearm into the field. How about your wand?)
Here’s mine: Comic Sans is editor Kryptonite. It’s usually too kiddie for the tone of the project and handles capital letters poorly (which is a major problem, given that most comic books and graphic novels are published in all-caps). If you like the feel of Comic Sans but need something for an audience older than 5-13 year olds, I would highly recommend checking out this list of similar-but-more-professional alternatives.
Relatedly: The fonts available on most newly-purchased computers are generally unsuitable for most comic books, webcomics and graphic novels. If Comic Sans looks like your best option, please check out the free font selections at 1001 Free Fonts or Blambots.
(Note: Comic Sans crops up most often in comic book sample pages and rarely (ick) scripts, but like some vampiric Loch Ness monster it has made poorly-documented but much-rumored appearances in the novel-publishing industry. Don’t get in bed with a vampiric Loch Ness monster. Say no to Comic Sans.
What’s the subgenre? (Are we talking about an action with… Superheroes? Military/espionage? A natural disaster? Adventurers? Vampires/supernatural creatures? Mythological figures? etc).
What’s the inciting event? (What event throws the main character out of his status quo/comfort zone?)
What’s the main character like? (Anything that makes him more interesting to prospective readers or suggests his role–please note that using the character’s name in the title does not necessarily accomplish either)
What’s the main antagonist like? (Same as for the protagonist)
What’s the setting like? (Time and/or place)
What’s the central goal of the main character and/or what’s at stake if he loses?
What’s the author’s style like?
Is there an interesting contrast between elements of the title?
If the title doesn’t nail at least three of these, I’d recommend rewriting it and/or starting over. Here are some examples that I enjoyed.
My name is Cassandra and I’m a senior in college (YM and sociology major). Writing is mainly a hobby for me; I haven’t thought much of publishing other than in the last couple years. However, I’m afraid that although my stories have decent plots, they are over-ridden with too much pointless romance. And I like to think there is more to a story than romance.
Currently, I’m doing a complete rewrite of one of my novels. It is a YA action-romance superhero novel. Perhaps comparable to Meg Cabot’s supernatural novels when she still wrote under her name Jenny Carroll (such as the Mediator series and 1-800-Missing.)
Summary: Adaline is a high school student by day and the superhero, Volt, by night. But when her family relocates to small-town Indiana, she’s forced to retire her Volt persona. Can she survive the normalcy of the ordinary life or will The City’s pleas for Volt drive her insane? To top it off, high school athletes have been falling ill with a mysterious life-threatening disease. Throw in a love triangle between her next-door-neighbor and the small-town super and you have yourself quite the shocking story.
I don’t plan on posting too much about my overall plot because I don’t like the idea of having the entire synopsis and storyline posted online. However, I may post scenes that I am having difficulties with or would like multiple opinions on. In addition to this, if somebody is interested in learning more or taking a more active role in reviewing, then I would like to correspond through emails.
Apparently the hangup was that DC Comics would only give him the rights back if he agreed to some (inevitably awful) prequels and sequels. I was expecting an author vs. publisher bloodbath, but this is only a bit more rancorous than “You paid me too much” and “Do I really need that many assistants?”
Should I mention fan-fiction in my query letter? No. Nor would I recommend mentioning self-published works unless you’ve sold at least a few thousand copies or blogs unless you have hundreds of thousands of readers.
cool superhero names. the superhero has all powers. I think your story has more pressing issues than character names.
how do i represent foreign text in comic books? If the character is speaking another language but you want to translate it into English for readers, I would recommend something like this.
If the text is in the art rather than the lettering (such as a store sign in Shanghai or a Babylonian tablet), then I would recommend sending the artist a copy of the text in a large font, as well as a screenshot of the text in a large font (in case the artist’s word-processor can’t read the language).
While critics in general are happy to give approval to comic book films (and, I think, many critics do treat them fairly), I think there’s no question that there are elements of bias in many critics’ reviews.
First, look at the language many critics use. When giving a positive review, many will say things like “despite its comic book origins,” or “leaping beyond comic books,” as if being based on a comic book is in some way a handicap.
Actually, I think being based on a comic book (or a novel or TV show or anything else) is a handicap for a movie.
Unwacky: Brett Favre’s first completed pass was to himself.
Barely wacky: Austria’s World Cup team threw a key match to West Germany to screw Algeria. The game got so bad the announcer asked viewers to change the channel.
Wackier: “You were like 50 feet away. How could you be so sure that the ball crossed into the German goal?” “Stalingrad.”
Outlandish: “The Band Is On the Field!”
1. Be careful about needlessly long titles, particularly ones loaded with separate phrases. They’re typically less inviting to prospective readers and harder for people to remember. Unusually bizarre titles, like Saddam Hussein and the Hippies from Space, have more latitude here. (Regardless of length, they will be memorable).
2. If your title does not appeal to prospective readers, start over! Some words that rarely mean much to prospective readers include fictional character and place names. Alternately, some authors use puns. If the reader immediately makes prospective readers smile, fine. If readers will only understand the pun after reading the work, they won’t ever find out how witty the pun is… because they won’t open the book.
I’m changing a lot of content around tonight and many links may be broken until, say, Sunday. I’m doing my best to update the links, but if you find any that don’t work, please post a comment somewhere. Thanks!
If we accept the premise of your story, whether that’s heroes getting superpowers from unlikely insect bites or gaining magical powers, does the rest of the story make sense? For example, you could get readers to buy into a guy getting magical powers and using them to fight a magical mob. But if the story is mostly realistic, like a cop infiltrating the mob, it’ll really disorient readers if a mobster starts using magic on page 200. If you’re planning on using unrealistic elements, introduce or foreshadow them early so that readers won’t be surprised when they show up. (For more on this, please see Holly Lisle and the Case of the Exploding Cat).
Realistic: the premise occurs or could easily occur in real life. Cops infiltrating the mob or students dealing with school, for example. Most superhero stories don’t have very much realistic stuff going on, and that isn’t a problem. Many premises give a superhero superpowers/capabilities through supernatural means such as science fiction, magic/occult, religion, etc. The only thing that matters is whether the reader can maintain the suspension of disbelief.
I was rereading through comments and found this one very sharp.
I’ve never understood the appeal of the power to speak all or several languages in works of fiction, I’ve seen it numerous times in fan fiction, but it never really made sense to me. The whole point of characters going to places where the language barrier is an issue is, well, primarily because the language barrier is going to be an issue, with a few exceptions in a few plots, and discounting fantasy works. Why send Captain Superior to China if the fact that he is an American-born superhero isn’t going to matter? Couldn’t he just stay home and skip a panel or two of flying? How is it exotic if he can just wander into any McDonald’s and order like it was any other Friday?
I agree that it’s important to cut out extraneous elements. However, I think there are some situations where foreign languages would add something to the story even if the main character can speak them.
While a criminal may have put some thought into creating a coherent story that’s hard to disprove, probing questions can move the conversation into areas where he has to make up a lie as he goes along. The more you push for details, the harder it is to keep up a lie. Here’s an excerpt of a fictional interview between an investigator and a criminal suspect.
Stephenie Meyer fans: “People who type like this: OMG. Mah fAvvv <3 <3.” [But they’ll still complain when you misspell Stephenie!]
Here are some of my own.
Aldous Huxley fans: People that have FAR too much fun to survive to 40. From his masterpiece’s Wikipedia entry: “…They turn on each other, in a frenzy of beating and chanting that devolves into a mass orgy of [drugs] and sex.” Make that 35.
Tom Clancy fans: Guys that like guns but have never actually carried one.
James Joyce fans: Guys that like James Joyce books but have never actually read one.
Franz Kafka fans: I think they’re the people that run airports. It’s the only possible explanation.
H.G. Wells fans: If they ever had a time machine, their first act would be erasing George Lucas from history. (Could you wait until Return of the Jedi? Thanks).
Charles Dickens fans: Readers that think a book is twice as enjoyable if it’s twice as long.
Lorraine Hansberry fans: Jeopardy writers. I’ll take 1970s Tony-Winning Adaptations for $2000, Alex!
I feel like a marketing executive put a gun to the screenwriter’s head and said “I don’t CARE what the movie is about, put New York City, London, and Hong Kong in it. Just do that thing where the villain is trying to collect plot coupons around the world in places that happen to be […]
Den Warren, (K-Tron, Metahuman Wars) is issuing a call for 3k-5k word submissions for a superhero prose fiction anthology titled, The Supreme Archvillain Election. Each submission will be a supervillain sitting at a huge table explaining why they should be voted as the Supreme Archvillain, then they go into a story, etc. Reprint excerpts and […]
1. This movie is about as bad as Catwoman but, in Catwoman’s defense, it had okay action scenes. 2. Man of Steel particularly struggled with family dialogue. E.g. Clark’s Kryptonian parents take 3 minutes to describe their plan to send him to Earth and say their goodbyes. It’s pretty bland stuff, e.g. melodramatic intonations like […]
I spent 5 hours this week watching Man of Steel and taking 5,000 words of notes. It was like being trapped on an alien planet where the atmosphere consists 80% of characters telling Clark what incredible, grandiose things he symbolizes, 20% of daringly bad action scenes, 15% of grimly constipated expressions, and 15% of acting […]
Out of the Past is a 1947 noir thriller so brilliant I cannot do it justice. I would definitely recommend it, particularly if you’re working with… Characters Plots Accidental deaths falsely claimed as murder-suicides Double-crosses, triple-crosses, and maybe a quadruple-cross depending on how you interpret a self-defense kill with a fishing reel. A complex plot […]
1. The character introductions were lacking. Having Waller narrate the characters’ backstories to a minor character in a no-stakes infodump was probably not ideal. If Waller’s MO is that she’s ruthless and/or exploitative, would have preferred a scene with her coercing Flag to work on the project and/or why they selected these guys rather than […]
1) If you’re mainly looking for something believable, most major U.S. cities use one of the following: Surnames of VIPs, usually explorers and major political leaders (e.g. Houston, Columbus, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville). Anglicized spellings of Native American terms, usually related to geography. E.g. Shikako (“skunk place”) -> Chicago and Myaamia (“downstream people”) -> Miami. […]