Archive for July 22nd, 2010

Jul 22 2010

Is Your Title Too Generic?

Published by under Titles,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.

Does your title help readers answer at least three of the following questions about your novel? If not, it probably doesn’t say enough about the work.

  • What’s the genre? (Action, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, horror, etc).
  • 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.

 

Captain Freedom: A Superhero’s Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves

  • Main character: a highly self-entitled, egomaniacal superhero, maybe a parody of Superman
  • Goal: celebrity and recognition
  • Contrast: The idealistic, lofty name “Captain Freedom” vs. his preposterously petty goal.
  • Author style: I’d totally pick this up, assuming I could survive the cover.

 

Saddam Hussein and the Hippies from Space

  • Main character and antagonist: Either Saddam Hussein and the space hippies or vice versa
  • Genre: science fiction/comedy
  • Author’s style: Wow.  I love the contrast, too.

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62 responses so far

Jul 22 2010

Cassandra’s Writing Forum

Published by under Review Forums

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.

Thanks!

19 responses so far