Archive for August 8th, 2010

Aug 08 2010

Answering This Week’s Questions from Google

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.

Here are some queries that brought Google users to Superhero Nation this week.

  • How do I find out if my superhero story has already been told? Keep reading superhero stories, particularly in your medium (novels, comic books/graphic novels, etc).  Authors that have only read one or two series tend to write original work that reads like fan-fiction for those series.
  • Unused superhero names? When you use a name you found on the Internet, there really isn’t any guarantee it hasn’t been used.  If it’s good enough, someone will use it.  The closest thing you have to a guarantee of originality is doing it yourself.  The second-closest is asking a friend to brainstorm ideas without posting them online.
  • How do I sell a comic I wrote?  I assume you’re trying to get professionally published, rather than self-published.  Check out Nine Surprising Facts about Writing Comic Books.  Also, when you submit to a publisher, you’ll probably include  a page-long submission letter introducing your work and why they should publish it.  When it comes time to write that, I’d recommend reading as many of the articles in the Query Letter category as possible.  How to Communicate with Editors is a good place to start.

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Aug 08 2010

What You Should Know About Comic Book Lettering Before You Write Your Script

Blambot has an awesome article about formatting comic book balloons.  It’s aimed at comic book letterers, but I think there are some key points also useful for comic book writers doing a script.  For example, do you know how to handle translated dialogue or when to use quotation marks?

  • Only use quotation marks when somebody is speaking off-panel.  If the speaker is on-panel, readers don’t need quotation marks to know it’s dialogue.
  • If you ever end a shouted question with a question mark and an exclamation point, put the question mark first. Readers will have many context clues that the line is being shouted, such as body language and the bolded/italicized text, but the question mark is pretty much the only indication that a question is involved.
  • Each period should be followed by one space, not two. Double spaces take too much space and look awkward.  (If you habitually use double-spaces, it may help to use your text processor’s Find/Replace feature to replace all periods followed by two spaces with periods followed by single spaces).
  • How to handle text translated from a language besides English. See below.  Note: Generally, the “*Translated from [Language]” caption is necessary just once per scene.  After that, readers can figure out what language the characters are speaking when you use the <greater than/less than signs>.

http://www.blambot.com/grammar.shtml

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