Feb 17 2011

Open Writing Forum

Published by at 9:39 am under Writing Articles

What would you like to talk about?

795 responses so far

795 Responses to “Open Writing Forum”

  1. Dr Eagle Gon 17 Mar 2009 at 9:53 am

    Question for novels: If you’re writing in close third with the hero as the POV character, is the only way to show the main antagonist to have them come into contact?

    Is there any way to do it without having multiple POV’s throughout the book?

    For example, in my first novel, my hero goes undercover to thwart the main bad guy, this way, we can see a lot of the bad guy because the hero is in close proximity to him throughout the book.

    But what if the storyline wasn’t like this? How would I show what the villain was up to without switching POV? I’ve tried to read books to see what other writers do, but most of them are written in more than one POV, which is something I don’t really want to do if I don’t have to.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. B. Macon 17 Mar 2009 at 10:02 am

    1. You could have the hero investigating the villain’s deeds. We don’t see explicitly what the villain is doing, but we see evidence of it and we can infer what’s going on.

    2. You could have rumors leak out. Everyone on the street has heard third-hand stories about how the Kingpin just brained a diamond supplier. No one’s sure why the Kingpin is suddenly interested in diamonds, but that’s the Kingpin for you…

    3. You could have the hero (or a side-protagonist like a cop) undercover in the villain’s organization. You’ve already used that, though.

    4. The hero has some sort of extrasensory perception. At the most cliche, this is something like a crystal ball that actually enables him to see what the villain is doing at any given time. More likely, the hero has something like the ability to paint glimpses of the future.

    5. The hero hears second-hand accounts of the villain’s actions from someone that would definitely know. For example, if he captures a henchman and interrogates him. Alternately, one of the villain’s victims would probably have reliable information about the latest attack. Why did the villain let the victim get away? Probably to send a message to the hero. (Also, because killing hostages is seriously bush-league. When a criminal kills a hostage, the likelihood of him getting out alive drops tremendously).

    6. Depending on what the villain’s cover-story is, you could have it featured prominently in the media. The Daily Journal is reporting that the grand launch for Dr. Mallow’s revolutionary cosmetic application is in two weeks. Isn’t that neat? (Obviously, the hero has to have some reason to suspect that this innocuous event is actually a cover for the villain’s scheme).

    7. The media might report on a crime that was committed by the villain. They may or may not know that the villain was the perpetrator.

  3. Anonymouson 17 Mar 2009 at 10:25 am

    B. Mac, thanks for those suggestions. It’s so much harder to do when you’re in close third because you can’t just jump to the next scene with the supervillain like you can in a comic or movie.

  4. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve gotta question- comic book wise- I would like to know the best way to portray a spirit, or spirits(true antagonists) manipulating human villains (secondary antagonists).
    This is mainly the theme for my villains in the storyline.

    Love the website, keep up the good work!

  5. Holliequon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Hmm. Do you mean the best way to show a spirit, show a spirit possessing a person, or something else entirely? I’m not quite sure what you mean.

  6. Tomon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:49 pm

    So, how to visually represent it in a comic book? I suppose the best thing would be having the possessed person’s eyes change somehow, if you want to really tacky you can change the font their speech bubbles appear in. Or, if you want to be REALLY subtle you can change the way they move around, or have them act out of character. For example, a character that never apologises might apologise.

  7. Fitzon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I’m not sure what the best way is, but I’ve seen it done before where the spirit is some kind of floating ghost-cloud thing.
    When it’s possessing someone, they could have glowing eyes or maybe even a full body glow.

  8. Fitzon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Unless you’re trying to be subtle…

  9. Tomon 19 Mar 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I think a good reference here would be the show ‘Supernatural’, which features a lot of demonic possesion. For example, in Supernatural, whenever a demon’s been somewhere, they leave behind sulphur, anyone possessed by a demon has completely black eyes (with some exceptions) and demons outside bodies are shown as black clouds of smoke.

  10. Ragged Boyon 19 Mar 2009 at 3:08 pm

    To those that can actually see the spirits, maybe they see a ghostly figure floating behind the possessed person. The person’s actions mirror that of the spirits. I doubt the spirits are visible to everyone so this could work.

  11. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks!(Yeah, should’ve been a bit more specific.)

    I mean, what is the best way to reveal to the readers that spirits are manipulating the humans, in a gradual sorta way. Basically I want to hint to the reader that the people who appear to be the main baddies are apart of a wider scheme plotted by the spirits.

  12. Fitzon 19 Mar 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I like Ragged Boy’s idea of the ghostly figure, but I’m sure if that would work if you are just trying to give the reader a hint that they might be possessed.
    I think it depends on if the characters in the story can see that they are possessed.

    If they can, then you should probably something like Tom or RB said.
    But if they can’t you shouldn’t use those because it would probably make the reader wonder why the heroes didn’t notice that the villain had black eyes or that a ghost was behind him. I recommend trying something very subtle. It is only supposed to be hint after all, not a full blown giveaway. Or you could try changing something that only the reader would notice, like the dialogue font for the possessed character, though that may be a bit cliche.
    Sorry if I’m misunderstanding any of this and I’m completely off track.

  13. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks again. I’m thinkin’ that the demons will only be overtly noticeable if they:

    A) Meet/fight with other demons or angels(secondary protagonists)

    B) Have killed or will kill someone


    C) Have just possessed someone

  14. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Also the kids(14-16 year-old’s) are able to detect possessee’s (to quote Tom),
    but only when they use their special abilities.

  15. Holliequon 19 Mar 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve got a story idea playing about in my head that I want to look into after I finish my current Victor and Zoe novel (so in about, ooh, 10 years).

    It centres around a team of superheroes with element-based powers. Spook, who has spiritual powers (channelling ghosts, stuff like that), gets killed and has to help the others solve his murder. Without them being able to see or hear him.

    I’m not sure how I’m going to write it – or how Spook’s role is going to work – but I like the idea. What do you think?

  16. Fitzon 19 Mar 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I think that sounds interesting, but it might be a challenge to make Spook help without being able to be seen or heard. There would have to be some way for him to interact with the world still. I think it would be cool if it were written from Spook’s point of view, but that might be hard seeing as, well… he’s dead.

  17. Holliequon 19 Mar 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Yeah, I’m still thinking about it. One of the group’s family members (or Spook’s) would probably have weak psychic powers which he can use to influence them a little.

  18. Dforceon 19 Mar 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Holliequ, I got an idea,

    What if Spook connected with a person’s mind, or talked to them in dreams? Maybe he uses metaphors or puzzles to get his ideas through? I think that’s something to consider, or at least look at.

    Perhaps Spook uses Rebuses (or is it Rebi?).

    Here’s an example. I like the middle example best.

    Anyway, that’s one way to keep him from being seen or heard.

  19. Dforceon 19 Mar 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Awww… The link didn’t work in the line above… Here’s the example.


  20. Ragged Boyon 19 Mar 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I like it. I suspect he would be able to move stuff in the real world. If he couldn’t then he wouldn’t be able to do anything.

  21. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Do you guys think these 3 points(A,B,C) are good enough?
    Does somethin’ need to be added to this in general or taken of?

    Note: This is not at all going to be as overtly gloomy as Supernatural (in my opinion),
    Because it centers around the development of the primary characters(the kids) in
    the midst of the war between Heaven vs. Hell. So far.

  22. Asayaon 19 Mar 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Holliequ, if you want him to be an influence in the story(though dead), try having him narrate in captions if its a comic, or have him do an omniscient narration at the start of each chapter if its a book(check the start of each chapter in the Ender’s Game series for reference).

  23. Ragged Boyon 19 Mar 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I think there should at least be some period where they are visible outside of possession.

  24. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 9:44 am

    Oh, thanks Ragged Boy I forgot that one.

    Based on my research(I’ve used the Bible as reference for angels and demons),
    this is a list a the abilities that demons have.

    – Possession(obviously)- In the Bible, they have been known to possess humans and animals.

    – Superhuman Strength- In the book of Acts where one demon totally trashed the SEVEN sons of Sceva.

    – Shadow Manipulation- Not recorded in the Bible but it would be interesting to add.

    – Fire Manipulation- Also not recorded but thrown in for the sake of variety.

    – Precognition- Also recorded in the book of Acts where a possessed girl had the power of precognition.

    – Probability/Reality Manipulation- They can create psuedo- miracles and illusions

    What do you guys think?

  25. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 10:11 am

    Actually at the rate I’m going it would be better to ask for my own review forum,
    but I don’t know if you guys do it for comic book storylines… and I am no good at scripting a comic book(yet).

    Besides, I don’t how frequently I’ll be able to add to it and I’m not sure if I want to reveal specific parts or characters in the storyline(forgive the paranoia).

  26. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 10:28 am

    Actually, I’m very paranoid about the specific details of my ideas.

  27. B. Macon 20 Mar 2009 at 10:48 am

    Hi, Asaya.

    1. We have done review forums for comic books. For example, Ragged Boy is nearly finished with the script for his first issue. However, most of the stories we work with are in the planning stages, so it’s fine if you’re working with concepts rather than a script.

    2. We can help you with formatting the comic book script.

    3. If you’d like, I can set up a password for your review forum. That way, you’d be able to control who had access.

    4. Infrequent updates are not a problem.

  28. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 11:01 am

    Okay, I’ll take you up on that offer! I just need to know how to do the password details. Yes, I’d like to have a review forum, please.

  29. B. Macon 20 Mar 2009 at 11:15 am

    Ok. The forum is here. It doesn’t have a password yet. E-mail me one at superheronation-at-gmail-dot-com and I will set that up for you.

  30. Avi Arunon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I wanted to ask whether it is wise to break the fourth wall in a novel? Is this going to help, or will it land you in trouble?

  31. B. Macon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:06 pm

    It’s hard to say without knowing more about the circumstances. What did you have in mind?

    My initial impression is that may be too intrusive for a novel unless you’re doing something like a comedy.

  32. Tomon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:22 pm

    If you do, you REALLY need to know what you’re doing. Something subtle like Agent Orange saying ‘now who would want to read a book about us? That’s crazy!’ would be fine, but if he said something like ‘Why did that happen? Oh well, I guess it must be lazy writing’, then you’ve got to be careful.

    Fourth wall breaking usually only works in the context of a spoof, otherwise it feels really uncomfortable. But it depends how far you intend to go.

  33. B. Macon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Sometimes, characters are genre-savvy. They know the conventions of their genre. Other characters are genre-blind and they stumble into the usual traps. For example, if you look at this scene, the villain is genre-savvy: he knows that security cameras are a wholly ineffective way to try to keep tabs on a superhero prisoner. This doesn’t directly break the fourth wall, but when readers see the montage of Agent Orange’s escapes, I want them to think “I’ve seen that movie before!”

  34. Tomon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:44 pm

    That’s not really breaking the fourth wall, it’s more like making a dent in it. 😛 It’s not the same as a villain saying ‘you can’t beat me, we’re not even halfway through the book yet!’

  35. B. Macon 20 Mar 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Hmm. I guess you could be more blunt by referring other media. For example, maybe the characters watch a really awful superhero movie and draw on it later at an important point.

  36. Gurion Omegaon 20 Mar 2009 at 1:17 pm

    When i first read the so-called ‘comic masterpiece’ Akira, I was amazed and kinda disturbed. While it retained some ultra-original themes, it was SO GORY! I actually stopped reading after volume 5. I consider myself a Japan-freak, but find that more recent western art-styles are now more manga-like. My own art style is kinda manga-sourced.

    Am I alone?

  37. Ragged Boyon 20 Mar 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I was manga sourced, I may still be a little. I think I’ve grown away from it now, though.

  38. Dforceon 20 Mar 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Gurion Omega! You’re not alone– Mangaka in the making here!

  39. Tomon 20 Mar 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Not a huge fan of mange or anime, I respect (most) people who do like it, and it is good, just not for me. I’ll stick to my American comics and cartoons *hugs bugs Bunny and Spider-Man*

  40. Ragged Boyon 20 Mar 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’m also not a huge fan of anime and manga anymore. That’s why I tried to separate my art style it. I also prefer american comics and (maybe) cartoons.

  41. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Actually, I still read both Manga and American comics, but, since I like to be original I also try to avoid having my art style resemble Japanese art styles.

  42. Asayaon 20 Mar 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I’m actually kinda self-conscious about my originality, Gurion Omega gets annoyed at me sometimes because I think my art style resembles like Masashi Kishimoto’s.

    I like to describe my style as realistically proportioned, but not heavy on detail(like wrinkles, frown lines, mouth detail…)

  43. Ragged Boyon 20 Mar 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I more into abstract proportions. Extended legs, larger hands, longer heads, etc. My latest trend has been blank eyes. Recently, I’ve finished two pictures featuring characters with no pupils.

  44. Avi Arunon 21 Mar 2009 at 1:41 am

    Let me explain my previous query :-

    I want to break the fourth wall in first-person view. I want the narrating character to address the readers directly. I’m not going to expose information not taking place within the story. I only want the narrator to address the reader directly using words like ‘you’, ‘your’ etc. Is this wise?

  45. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 4:00 am

    That’s not breaking the fourth wall at all! Narrators do that stuff all the time! It’s fine. But don’t do it too much.

  46. Asayaon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:01 am

    I always thought using fourth-wall humor would be funny, but it doesn’t work for what I’m doin’. Oh, and to re-hash on what Tom said, if you use the 4th wall too much it might take on a slightly less serious, even humorous feel.

  47. Asayaon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:07 am

    And another thing. Whenever a secondary character in a story has lost his importance, and there is little reason having them appear in the story, they have become useless and should either be killed off or phased out. After all, they do not help the plot, nor do they further the main character’s development.

    By phased out, I mean maybe they retire or move away or something, ya know?

  48. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:11 am

    ^Nice example of that is in Star Wars. Originally George Lucas wasn’t going to kill off Obi-Wan in episode 4, but then when he was thinking of the ending he realised that Obi-Wan didn’t fit anywhere in the picture, so he decided to get rid of him.

    That’s why Obi-Wan appeared in ghost form so often, he was still needed for a couple of minor things after he was killed off (like telling Luke to go to Dagobah).

  49. Asayaon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:36 am

    Great example! Or, like in Smallville, after Clark graduated from college(or high school, I think) and his adoptive Dad died, there wasn’t much reason to keep Ma Kent around since Clark is a grown man.

    Oh yeah, and B.Mac?

    Is there any way u can change the content of posts you’ve already written?
    (Extra paranoia)I might want to edit a few things in my review forum.

  50. B. Macon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:42 am

    Yes, I can edit posts or comments. When we set up our first volunteer moderators next week, they will also be able to edit comments.

  51. Asayaon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:44 am


  52. B. Macon 21 Mar 2009 at 9:46 am

    If the character is truly minor, you can usually just have him stop appearing in scenes. No one will notice his absence. On the other hand, sometimes a character is important enough that you want to bring closure to his departure without killing him off. In that case, you could get rid of him by putting him on a bus.

  53. B. Macon 21 Mar 2009 at 10:02 am

    “I want to break the fourth wall in first-person view. I want the narrating character to address the readers directly. I’m not going to expose information not taking place within the story. I only want the narrator to address the reader directly using words like ‘you’, ‘your’ etc. Is this wise?”

    I’m sorry to step on Tom’s toes here, but my assessment is that addressing the reader directly would be highly intrusive. I don’t recommend it for a novel aimed at your target-audience. That style of narration tends to work better with the 8-13 set.

  54. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 10:20 am

    Ugh, that TV Tropes place. I want to learn all of the different thing on there, like ‘retcon’ and ‘lampshading’, but there’s just so many.

    Oh, and if my opinion is different to B. Mac’s, go with what he says, not me.

  55. Tomon 21 Mar 2009 at 10:33 am

    It can be done with or without, BTW. Everyone wins! 😀

  56. Holliequon 21 Mar 2009 at 11:19 am

    My impression is that things like that can be written with or without periods, like Tom says. Personally, I prefer not to add them in.

  57. Dforceon 21 Mar 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I just thought to drop these links to help fellow upcoming fellow artists. I found them useful, and I hope they will too.

    (Of course, if the artists have already found their way to these links, then please ignore them).



  58. Ragged Boyon 21 Mar 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I really like that DeviantArt Link. It was amazingly helpful.

    Glad you’re here, Dforce. Would you mind looking over the pages I’ve posted in my forum?

  59. Gurion Omegaon 21 Mar 2009 at 1:58 pm


  60. Dforceon 21 Mar 2009 at 2:19 pm


    Lol. Uh, B. Mac? I just now tried to post some stuff on RB’s review forum and it did not show up? Any idea what happened?

  61. Dforceon 21 Mar 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Gah! What happened B. Mac? I can’t seem to post a comment on Ragged Boy’s forum.

  62. B. Macon 21 Mar 2009 at 3:27 pm

    It was in the moderation queue. My guess is that it was either too long or that you used a word that contained a string of letters that usually show up in spam. (For example… cocky, analytical, analyze are common offenders).

  63. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 22 Mar 2009 at 5:08 am

    Can’t WordPress be formatted to count offensive words on their own and not as part of a longer word? It’s a bit stupid for an innocent word to land a comment in a moderation queue because it happens to contain a rude word as part of its composition.

  64. Avi Arunon 23 Mar 2009 at 7:43 am

    I’m writing about superheroes from different parts of the world in my novel. I’ve seen and interacted with Americans in theatres, restaurants, parks etc., So I have no problem with American culture. But I’m completely ignorant about British culture. Are there any Englishmen here in Superhero Nation? Is anyone familiar with basic english culture. I don’t need many details, just some basic knowledge I should know before writing about them.

  65. Ragged Boyon 23 Mar 2009 at 8:11 am

    A large portion of the people here are British. Holliequ or Tom should be able to help you with understanding British culture.

  66. Holliequon 23 Mar 2009 at 9:11 am

    It’s very difficult just to randomly come up with “a general idea” of British culture. Give me some specific situations and I might be able to help you out.

    I think as a nation we’re generally pretty friendly. And rather obsessed with the weather.

  67. Avi Arunon 23 Mar 2009 at 10:13 am

    @ Holliequ

    I was rather concerned about the minds and attitudes of english people. Tell me about what you [not just you, I meant most englishmen] would do in these situations : –

    (1) Your mother hates you

    (2) Your girlfriend was killed

    (3) You are being neglected by everyone around you

    (4) You are disliked and considered as a criminal

    What would you be thinking [sub-conscious behaviour, not the open sided one] in these situations?

  68. Holliequon 23 Mar 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Well, if you wanted your character to be more of a stereotypical Brit (since you’re writing for Americans, I gather), then the “stiff upper lip” thing would probably come into play. You know, just grin and bear it. That’s very old-fashioned and not too prevalent nowadays, I think, but I doubt anybody would mind.

    As far as I can tell (I could be wrong), Americans seem to have a culture in which you’re encouraged to complain. I don’t think we have that mindset over here. So, the guy might try to find his own way out of the situation and only ask for help from close friends.

    If he (or she) is considered a criminal, people will probably only talk about it behind his back. People would probably be perfectly polite to his face.

    That’s my best guess. You’d probably benefit from getting the opinion of another Brit here, because I live in a small town so I haven’t exactly been exposed to a large part of British culture. I think culture is something that’s difficult to put into words.

    Good luck.

  69. Tomon 23 Mar 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I don’t think it’s really fair to say ‘this is how a British person would act’ unless you’re trying to be really stereotypical, and British people probably wouldn’t appreciate that. Remember the only person who speaks like the Queen, is the Queen. No one else in Britain speaks like that, and certainly no one else acts like her.

    Think of Britain as the wannabe America. We’re completely obsessed with you guys over here (with the exception of sport, we hate your sport with a passion), so consider that. Like, 50% of our television comes from America, and 95% of our films.

  70. Holliequon 23 Mar 2009 at 12:30 pm

    On the America thing: we’re obsessed with you guys, but ask pretty much anybody and they’ll rant on about how stupid Americans are. Very strange love-hate relationship. It makes me giggle. 🙂

  71. B. Macon 23 Mar 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I’m not sure whether you could do anything with this, but Britain seems bigger on pomp than the US. The United States regards itself as more inherently egalitarian, which is one of the reasons we don’t have knighthoods or a monarch or any systematic structure of honors.

    I’d also say that competition in the US is slightly more cutthroat and usually more meritocratic. I’m a fairly typical US businessman in that regard. If one of your employees has a problem, you owe it to your other employees and your customers to either solve the problem or get rid of him. That might seem heartless, but it works out better for the 90% of employees that are doing a good job.

  72. B. Macon 23 Mar 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I agree with Tom’s point on stereotypes, by the way. The differences between the UK and the US are probably not stark enough to suggest that a British character will necessarily act one way and that a US character will necessarily act another. On the other hand, if you were to compare a modern American to a Spartan, then some stereotyping is definitely in order. 😉

  73. Tomon 23 Mar 2009 at 2:19 pm

    *insert obligatory 300 madness/SPARTA!!! joke here*

  74. Holliequon 23 Mar 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Yeah, I do agree with you on stereotypes, actually. Probably the only big difference between American and British characters would be ‘Mum’ and ‘Mom’. 😛

  75. Asayaon 23 Mar 2009 at 5:26 pm

    You know, I’ve kinda been interested recently in the differences between american and manga styles of storytelling, like compression and decompression. I read an article on a website about it once, but I don’t understand why some people are so aggravated about it. I tend to prefer decompression, it’s more like Style, to compression, which is like Function.

  76. Davidon 23 Mar 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Being British myself, I can attest that British folk are a bit strange.

    Apparently, there’s this book called Crap Towns. They had to print this second book, Crap Towns 2 because so many people complained that their town hadn’t made the first book.

    Here’s a joke. An American and a British general are talking about bravery.

    The American general says “I’ll show you American bravery. Private, go climb that building and jump off head-first.”

    “Yes, sir,” said the private as he did so. He saluted the general as he was carried off in a stretcher.

    “That’s American bravery,” said the American general.

    The British general turned to his private. “Private, go climb that building and jump off head-first.”

    The private said “go f*** yourself, sir.”

    “That’s British bravery,” said the general.

  77. Ragged Boyon 23 Mar 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Asaya, I don’t understand what you mean by compression and decompression. Like the amount of space used to tell the story?

  78. Asayaon 24 Mar 2009 at 11:14 am

    Well actually, decompression and compression describe exactly how many panels it takes to show someone doing something in a comic. Decompression is usually more drawn out(like manga comics), and Compression is briefer and to the point.

    If I knew how to post a link to another website I could explain better.

  79. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Mar 2009 at 4:05 am

    Does anyone here do all their writing on the computer, or do you use a notebook and type it in later? I use the computer first and only scribble little ideas down in the margins of my schoolbook. I use it to come up with names a lot of the time. I’m particularly fond of Arianah; I might use that for Kamari’s mum.

  80. Avi Arunon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:50 am

    Is there a way to give the protagonist good challenges and keep the story moving, but without an antagonist?

  81. B. Macon 26 Mar 2009 at 3:51 am

    It really depends on the audience. You might be able to use some internal obstacle as the main barrier to the hero’s success. That’s fairly common in chick lit, but a few superhero stories have also used internal obstacles to some extent. Or you could use something like the environment as the main barrier.

    However, in superhero stories, the two main obstacles are almost always 1) the cast of villains and 2) the hero’s need to keep his identity secret. #2 is mostly optional, but I can’t think of a superhero story that didn’t rely on some sort of antagonist. It doesn’t have to be a supervillain, though. The superhero might be facing off against a representative of some social view, such as a priest that preaches that mutants are indecent or something.

  82. Holliequon 26 Mar 2009 at 1:57 pm

    @RW: I do all my writing on the computer, but I have a notebook that I jot down names and ideas in. Sometimes I’ll plan stuff out in there, too. Actually, I’m on my second one now. My first is full, haha.

    I have some pretty random quotes in there. One of my favourites is “It sounded like a robot sneezing!” I still intend to use that one somewhere. 🙂

  83. Kynnastonon 26 Mar 2009 at 3:49 pm

    also @RW

    I do all of my writing on my computer. Anytime anything is going to be actually added to the work that I call my novel it is on the computer.

    That being said, I absolutely cannot work out any of my plot problems on the computer. I have to have pencil/pen and paper for that or I just don’t get anything done. It involves a lot of arrows and pictures. Plus scribbling something out is MUCH more satisfying when something doesn’t work than just hitting backspace.

    Planning seems to be easier written than typed. I have to know where I’m going when I type. Writing can turn in do drawing and when you are angry it does a LOT less damage to throw a pencil than your keyboard… 🙂

  84. Avi Arunon 27 Mar 2009 at 10:49 am

    How to make sure the reader knows who is narrating the story in first person mode? Especially if there is a POV shift every chapter?

  85. Ragged Boyon 27 Mar 2009 at 11:26 am

    I’d say make sure that each character has a very distinct voice. If we know that a character speaks and acts a certain way, we will associate that with the character, making them easier to organize and distinguish in our heads.

  86. B. Macon 27 Mar 2009 at 11:42 am

    Don’t worry about it, Kynna. I enjoy “dumb” questions because, more often than not, other people have them but aren’t brave enough to ask them. From a site designer’s perspective, it’s really helpful to know what sort of basic concerns people have. If people aren’t sure how to use a part of my site, that’s something I really want to know!

  87. Kynnastonon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Well then, maybe you could make some kind of posting where you basically explain how the forums work and what to include. Just for the newbies and such. 🙂

  88. Dforceon 27 Mar 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Whoa. That article on customer service and answering questions (the link above) was pretty good. Is that something you’re looking for in moderators? I’d hope so, and I think its a must read for anyone trying to make a business (online or off). Thanks for the link.

  89. Avi Arunon 28 Mar 2009 at 10:41 am

    If you are writing your novel on the computer, What software do you use? A simple word processor or a specific writing software? I am currently using Word ’07 [It’s fat, lazy and far from user-friendly]. I am thinking of buying New Novelist, but I don’t know if it’s worth. What software do you use?

  90. Tomon 28 Mar 2009 at 10:46 am

    I don’t see why Microsoft Word wouldn’t be enough. It may not be the best software out there but hey, it does the job!

  91. Avi Arunon 28 Mar 2009 at 10:58 am

    I want a software which is perfectly user-friendly for non-techies and amateur writers too. It must especially be good in spell check and grammer check. It would be great if it can also assess the story and suggest improvements.

  92. Marissaon 28 Mar 2009 at 12:50 pm

    If you’ve got a novel going, yWriter is very much worth your time. I’m not sure for a comic book.

  93. Avi Arunon 29 Mar 2009 at 4:37 am

    yWriter from Spacejock software? I’ll definitely give it a try. Thank you, Marissa!

  94. B. Macon 29 Mar 2009 at 5:15 am

    I think Celtx or Word are workable for comic book scripts. For novels, I like Word 2003 because even the most technophobic publisher’s assistant can open a Word doc. With more exotic files, you never know. (I prefer Word 2003 to Word 2007 because it’s streamlined and more efficient).

    That’s my main reservation about using Celtx to do comic book scripts. Will reviewers and publishers actually be able to open them?

  95. Avi Arunon 29 Mar 2009 at 9:47 am

    I changed some settings with Word ’07 and now I like it more than I ever did. I wonder if Word ’07 has any AI [Artificial Intelligence] built in. It just did not point out the grammer/spelling, but also informed me about use of passive voice in my text, incomplete phrases, writing style, and ranked my writing out of 100 for reading ease. I recommend it for all amateur writers.

  96. Ragged Boyon 29 Mar 2009 at 10:01 am

    I too have grown to like Word ’07. I found it horribly complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty efficient.

    Mine points out grammar, but often misses spelling.

  97. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Mar 2009 at 4:18 am

    I have a question. Can a restaurant serve alcohol if some of the staff are underage? I tried Googling it but there wasn’t any useful information. I found stuff that says a young person can enter a pub if accompanied by an adult, but is not allowed to drink. If the boss was an adult and two staff were underage, would it count?

    I want to know because I have a scene where Isaac’s shift goes quite late into the night and the last people there are having an after dinner drink.


  98. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Mar 2009 at 4:24 am

    Actually, teens hang out there, so they probably wouldn’t serve it anyway. Unless they had two areas; one with a bar, one without. Hmm. Does that sound like a good way to get around it?

  99. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Mar 2009 at 4:56 am

    That would mean rewriting a lot of stuff. I think I’ll just make it that the Crabclaw has never served alcohol.

    I found something about it on a tourism site.

    “The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years old. A person under 18 years of age is not allowed to buy, supply or drink alcohol on licensed or regulated premises, even if they are with their parents or guardian.”

    I guess that means it’s after dinner desserts after all. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter.

    Thanks! 🙂

  100. B. Macon 30 Mar 2009 at 5:04 am

    That sounds like an easy and effective fix. Good thinking.

  101. Avi Arunon 30 Mar 2009 at 8:32 am

    I am having difficulty writing my superhero team novel. I am using first person narration as usual. But I don’t know how to effectively narrate with a drug addict and mentally retarded person as the POV characters. Any suggestions?

  102. Holliequon 30 Mar 2009 at 10:02 am

    Well, unless the drug addict was high, they probably wouldn’t sound that much different to any other person. They might be thinking of their next hit, but otherwise, I don’t think there would be a difference – unless this is a long-term user and their mind has been really screwed up.

    Someone with a mental disability is trickier. What sort of disability? If they’re autistic, they probably have a very specific way of doing things and find people difficult to understand (apologise if I’ve confused autism with something else here). If they’re mentally under-developed, they’ll probably just act younger than their age.

    I would really recommend watching some films/reading books with characters who suffer from a mental disability like this.

  103. Stefan the Exploding Manon 31 Mar 2009 at 5:50 am

    By “mentally retarded”, do you mean autistic or Asperger’s syndrome or something along those lines, or just a plain insane person. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time had a mentally disabled protagonist, and it was really good. That would be my first place to start if I was writing a character like that.

  104. B. Macon 31 Mar 2009 at 6:52 am

    If the protagonist is genuinely retarded, I’d also recommend looking at Flowers for Algernon. I’d caution that a mentally retarded character’s voice will be really hard to read, particularly if the story is in first-person. Along with the drug addict, having a retarded POV will really affect the tone and marketing of the story. I’d say that Flowers for Algernon worked because the character gets dramatically smarter over the course of the story.

  105. Avi Arunon 01 Apr 2009 at 1:36 am

    Let me explain his insanity. He speaks to himself, does crazy things, kills people for fun, etc. He lives in his whole world. He is totally out of his mind.

  106. B. Macon 01 Apr 2009 at 1:49 am

    It sounds like he’s psychopathic, not retarded.

  107. Ragged Boyon 01 Apr 2009 at 5:51 am

    That’s definitely psychopathic. There’s a difference between insanity and retardation. An insane person would probably be regressive and a bit delusional. When they speak they may focus on something particular that pertains to them, even if the topic is not about them.

    Lady: Could you pass me the butter knife, please?

    Man: Hmm, butter knife, I don’t really like butter knives.

    Lady: Umm, why not?

    Man: they don’t slice through things like butcher knives. Butcher knives exude power because they can mar things.

    Lady: You’re weird, can I please have th-

    Man: But a machete would be even better, reach and functionality. I’d be perfect.

    That’s not the best example, but I’m trying to know that they focus on a particular aspect. For example, sharp objects were in focus here.

  108. Avi Arunon 01 Apr 2009 at 6:08 am

    But, how do I narrate in his point of view [first-person]. If he were to say “I see things that don’t exist”, then he probably must be knowing what he’s doing. That is where I find it particularly difficult.

  109. Ragged Boyon 01 Apr 2009 at 6:15 am

    Does he know that he’s psychotic? And that he kills for fun? If he kills for fun I definitely think there is a level of conscientiousness in his actions.

  110. Stefan the Exploding Manon 01 Apr 2009 at 6:54 am

    I that case I would recommend using third-person narration. It’s very difficult to write a sociopathic character believably from a first-person perspective. If you want to really put across how screwed up your character is inside, seeing things and so forth, it might be better to have your character do the crazy stuff and let your readers wonder what goes on in his head themselves. Maybe give the reader little bits of his thought process. You could have another character find his diary or something.

    The Joker is probably the most famous psychopath in popular fiction. Many great stories featuring the Joker don’t actually tell the story from his perspective. I think when people try to do that it makes the Joker more relatable and it takes away his insanity thing.

    It’s better to show than tell, in this case. There was one Joker story, The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge, that I first read when I was nine, where the Joker was killing fishes with his laughing gas so that they would have his trademark grin. Then he killed a bunch of executives because they refused to let him copyright the “Jokerfish”. That story really creeped me out, but at the same time I really got into the Joker as a character.

    Your character could be conscientious of his actions. I think that’s fine for a psychopathic character. Heath Ledger’s Joker was all about spreading chaos, but he really planned his heists and things very well. A crazy paradox, but it works.

  111. Avi Arunon 01 Apr 2009 at 7:07 am

    If I’m going for a first-person narration, Is it okay to have only one POV throughout the novel, especially if the story is about a team of superheroes?

    At first, I thought I could narrate the whole story with only one character as POV, but that would be giving more importance to that character, isn’t it?

  112. Kynnastonon 01 Apr 2009 at 7:48 am

    It gives importance. I tell things in the POV of the character who has my favorite reaction to things. It’s just like looking through rose tinted glasses, anything red will look better, everything else will just be slightly off. Perception is 90% of reality.

    If you are really going to write about a psychotic character, I’d recommend third person. Unless you really know what it’s like to go absolutely crazy. Readers might sense it’s false if you try to push it to do things in first person.

    On a completely seperate topic. Does anyone have any advice about chapter length? My chapters at the beginning of the book are 20 some pages, but at the end when things get more intense they shorten to around ten. Is this okay?

  113. Avi Arunon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:02 am

    I’d let B. Mac answer your question, Kynna, as I’m not out of even chapter 1 yet.

    Coming back to my query, I plan to write using one of the sane characters as POV. But, that will give more importance to the POVC and less to other superheroes, doesn’t it? If that’s the case, Is it wise to overgrade one superhero [who is not actually the leader] and undergrade others?

  114. Holliequon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:07 am

    Hmm. Kynna, I remember reading somewhere (probably here) that pages in word double when produced as a novel . . . so you’d have a chapter of around 40 pages. If that number’s right, I think that’s a little long. o.o

  115. B. Macon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:42 am

    How many words will be printed on a page? It’s highly variable. Harry Potter 1 had 225 pages and 77,000 words. That works out to about 350 words per page.

    Twilight is about 500 pages and 115,000 words. That’s about 230 words per page.

    This site suggests that paperbacks will typically be printed with about 450 words per page. My impression is that 450 would be quite a lot, particularly for a youngish audience.

  116. B. Macon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:50 am

    As for chapter length. 20 pages would be about 6000 words, right? That’d be a fairly long chapter. I’d recommend breaking that into a few chapters, particularly if you’re writing for readers younger than 30. As a rule, I’d recommend 1000-2000 word chapters for a book that is primarily meant to be entertaining or fun (rather than, say, deep or enlightening).

  117. B. Macon 01 Apr 2009 at 10:54 am

    Using a single POV character in a book about a team of superheroes sounds like a good idea, actually. It’ll probably give you more focus. I don’t think it matters that the character is not the team leader. Being the team leader would not make him a more interesting character. In fact, given that team leaders are so often cliche, it might even make him less interesting.

  118. Avi Arunon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:29 am

    What are some fantasy creatures who are cloaked and associated with darkness ? [Other than Wizards]

  119. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:38 am

    Hmm. I don’t think I’d associate wizards with darkness, actually. I’d go with shades, spectres, wights, ghosts, banshees, vampires, werewolves, etc. In particular, vampires and werewolves only come out at night.

  120. Davidon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:41 am

    Banshees? “cough cough” lol kidding

    but ye Banshees have been depicted in gray or white cloaks

    the old hag as well
    Hobbits dwarfs and such

  121. Tomon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:43 am

    Fantasy creatures who are cloaked and associated with darkness? Hmm… there are loads. The Grim Reaper, for a start. Sith Lords? lol, joking. Umm… Well if we ignore the cloak bit for a second, ghosts, demons, harpies, shadow people, shapeshifters, Bigfoot (lol).

  122. Avi Arunon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:48 am

    Wow, There are lots! On a more specific note, I wanted to give my antagonist the name of a dark fantasy creature due to his mysterious nature and hooded appearance. I was considering Shade, but I think its already used in Eragon.

    Any suggestions?

  123. Davidon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:57 am







  124. Tomon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:17 am

    What about Omen? Technically it’s a fantasy creature (see Harry Potter), but it has other connotations in itself.

  125. Davidon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:24 am

    Goblin, troll, Death, Gorgon, minitor, trolls, gremlins, Harpies, Sirans,

  126. Avi Arunon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:39 am

    Will ‘The Golem’ work? Is it anything associated with darkness or hoodedness?

  127. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:47 am

    Hoodedness, no. Darkness, not really. Dungeons and Dragons has had a few variations of golems that might suit your needs better, though. For example, bone golems are a bit darker. And he might wear a hood to conceal how horrifying his face/skull looks.

  128. Matton 04 Apr 2009 at 11:49 am

    A golem isn’t really associated with darkness or hoodedness. The impression you get from a golem is more of brute force and slavery which I doubt is what you are going for with your character. My understanding of Golems is that they are giants made of clay (?) that do any task written on paper and placed in their mouths.

    I can’t really think of any alternatives but I’d steer clear of things like gremlins, imps or goblins as they have become comic character types. While it might be interesting to do a bitter, twisted imp, having ‘The Imp’ as a title would give the wrong impression in my mind.

  129. Tomon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:51 am

    Skull? Yes because that’s never been used before…

    I think this discussion has given me a good idea for a villain for my own work!

  130. Avi Arunon 04 Apr 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hmm…I think it would be better if I provide some backstory about the antagonist first.

    My antagonist is NOT a non-human. He only covers his face and is called by something named after fantasy creatures rather than his own name. This is because I don’t want the readers to know who the man behind the mask is until the end of the story.

    I could describe him as a man who creates chaos for a personal motive than for controlling the world or to take revenge on the protagonist etcetera. He has his reasons but is evil according to the society and readers. Readers will generally disagree with his actions and see him as a fear factor for the most part.

  131. Tomon 04 Apr 2009 at 12:49 pm

    So the fantasy creature thing was out of choice. Really then I’d recommend he didn’t have a fantasy creature name, because if he was called Shade you’d expect him to be walking through walls, turning invisible and possessing people (which is what my character does). If he’s human a name LIKE Skull would be appropriate because there’s not an expectation that he’s actually a skull (except not Skull because that’s horrifically generic).

    I see nothing wrong with just calling him ‘The Hood’.

  132. Tomon 04 Apr 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Oh, wait, I do. He’s the main villain in Thunderbirds.

  133. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 1:51 pm

    How about Set? The Egyptian god of chaos.

  134. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Or Guile?

  135. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Odd occurrence.

    I was looking through my drawing portfolio and across a picture of three futuristic mercenaries that I made up. Next thing you know I have three pages of a story with them on Word. I like it so far, I may expand upon it.

    Has anyone ever caught themselves writing out of nowhere? A story that you hardly planned at all that just popped into your head. You just had an idea and started writing.

  136. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I think The Hood is already taken by Marvel Comics, which is notoriously sensitive about protecting its copyrights. Also, calling someone a hood has a distinctly gangsta connotation that probably does not fit the character very well.

  137. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I know I’m a horrible role-model when it comes to staying focused, but I’d recommend sticking with something until it’s done. Then, when you have downtime on that project, you can come back to other things. Writers only get paid for completion. 😉

  138. Stefan the Exploding Manon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Barrow-wights were shadowy creatures from Tolkien’s Ringverse and I believe they had cameos in the Narnia books as well. I think B.Mac already suggested this, but I’d like to add that they are severely underused and come with no cliches attached.

    Or you could use Wraith, but the words wight and wraith have identical meanings in fantasy literature.

  139. Avi Arunon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I am stuck between ‘The Goblin’ and ‘The Wraith’. But I think about Noddy when I think of Goblins and Prince of Persia when I think of Wraith. Will readers think like that too?

  140. Stefan the Exploding Manon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I think The Wraith is pretty generic. I think of the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings when I see Wraiths. The Goblins are a bit different. I think of small, impish cannibals with green skin. “Goblin” doesn’t have that dark, shadowy feel.

  141. Ragged Boyon 06 Apr 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Success! Score one for the ability of assimilation. I fooled an native Englishmen with my own fake English accent. I know all out English people are like “Yeah right!” 😛 But I did. He was a sub and I came up with this bogus story about how my mom was American and my father was British. He totally believed everything. Who knows maybe it was just him, but I think my accent is pretty believable.

    After it was over I revealed my actual voice. He commended me for my authenticity and its refinement and that was it. I didn’t do stereotypical stuff like say “bloody” or other british slang so he didn’t catch on. Although, I got a little nervous when I had to say “saturday,” I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to leave out the T or accentuate it, I accentuated it, is that right? Is it open to interpretation?

    What do you think about that? I’m coming for you, England.

  142. B. Macon 06 Apr 2009 at 5:28 pm

    I’m not sure about the voice, but after two years of editing our comments, I’m reasonably sure that I could write for a UK-English publication. If so, that would probably be the strangest job skill I’ve gotten out of a website explicitly aimed at American authors. Hmm…

  143. Holliequon 06 Apr 2009 at 6:05 pm

    On the saturday thing, RB, it depends where you’re from. If it was me, I would say it more like “sah’urdee”. But my Mum, who has our version of no accent, pronounces it as it’s spelt.

    I’d love to see your impression though. 🙂 It sounds like you did a really good job.

  144. Ragged Boyon 06 Apr 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I’ve heard that your accent can vary depending on where you live, similar to America. I think I’ve heard that northerners have a more regal accent, while southerners are more casual.

  145. Holliequon 06 Apr 2009 at 7:23 pm

    It’s the other way around. ^^ Trust me on this one.

  146. Ragged Boyon 06 Apr 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I learned the accents by listening to:

    Nigel Barker
    My wife, Lily Allen (Pick up her new CD!)
    Catherine Tate
    Thandie Newton

    I got the southern, more regal accent when I compiled them into my own voice. People say I sound like a preppy brit boy. One of my other friends accent is much more loose, so I’m guessing he got the northern end of the stick.

  147. Tomon 07 Apr 2009 at 4:22 am

    The Queen’s incredibly posh accent doesn’t exist outside of Buckingham Palace. The famous ‘British’ accent exists to a certain extent in London. But outside of London accents vary greatly according to region. I’m not sure but I think I heard that the UK has the largest range of accents in the world. It’s certainly at least one of the largest ranges.

    A good example of this is the TV show Doctor Who. The 10th and current (for now) Doctor is played by David Tennant. In the show he adopts an accent I would call ‘normal’. But I’m from London so I don’t know how other British people would view it. But when you hear David Tennant speak in real life he’s got a fairly heavy Scottish accent. And if you look back in time a bit (lol, no pun intended), the ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, had a good Northern accent. If you don’t watch Doctor Who, look back at Heroes season 1. Christopher Eccleston played the invisible man, Claud Raynes.

    So, yeah, there’s no such thing as a ‘British’ accent. It all depends on the region.

  148. Stefan the Exploding Manon 07 Apr 2009 at 5:06 am

    Sean Connery is famous for having a Scottish accent in all his films, even if he isn’t playing someone from Scotland. But I’ve never heard a Scottish accent like his (except when people make fun of him). Is Sean Connery’s accent typical?

  149. Holliequon 07 Apr 2009 at 9:22 am

    Well, it might have been typical 60-odd years ago. The only Scottish accent I know is Frankie Boyle, one of our famous stand-up comedians. And he’s Glaswegian. His accent probably isn’t typical either.

    That said, I love Sean Connery’s accent. I don’t care if it’s not typical, he can’t change it ever!

    Oh, and Tom, I disagree. Whilst we don’t have a single British accent, I still think the London one can still be representative. Americans have a lot of different accents too, but the one we hear most often in films is their idea of a non-accent. I think. That said, I think people underestimate the number of regional accents there are over here.

  150. Tomon 07 Apr 2009 at 9:25 am

    That’s a fair point. But my point kinda still stands. There’s a lot of ‘British’ accents.

  151. Ragged Boyon 07 Apr 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Yeah, us Americans have a slew of accents, usually based on place:

    New Yorker
    New Jersey
    Cali Valley (Oh my god, like, whateveeeer)

    There are probably a few that I missed, but you get the point. I have a slightly southern voice and its really deep. I hate my deep voice. 😛 Oddly, when I go English my voice gets higher.

  152. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 09 Apr 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I’m Aussie-born, but my accent isn’t Australian. I think I sound more like I’m English, because of my parents. People are always asking me when I came from England and it’s really annoying.

  153. Ragged Boyon 10 Apr 2009 at 6:00 am

    This only happens once every few years, but I actually found a book that I could into. It’s call The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen. The title doesn’t feel related to the story in any way, but its forgivable. It’s about a boy who on a hiking trip and stumbles into a blue light that transports to another time on another planet. He has to learn to survive in new natural terrain. I’m up to the part where he has been accepted into a village, but now his village has been captured by another, more advanced, village.

  154. Ragged Boyon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:00 am

    I need a little help from our English associates here.

    What is some very common british slang?

  155. B. Macon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:09 am

    Poppycock! Err… maybe it would be better to ask someone that is actually familiar with UK English.

  156. Avi Arunon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:29 am

    I got some common British slang. I’m not sure whether it will be displayed here because it might contain some inappropriate words. So, I’m posting it separately as my next post.

    B. Mac, if the post containing the common British slang does not show up below this post, kindly check the moderation queue and approve it.

    [B. MAC ADDS: You think we have British slang in our spamlist? Not bloody likely.]

  157. Avi Arunon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:35 am

    absobloodylootely: absolutely

    after: bars open after normal closing time

    all over the gaff: unorganized

    arse: butt

    arse-over-tit: drunk

    ballistic: wild

    bangers: sausages

    barmy: crazy

    behave: more! (Think Austin Powers.)

    bob: shilling

    blimey!: Oh geez!

    bloke: a male

    bobby: policeman

    brilliant!: great! awesome!

    cabbage: a slow person

    cack: crap (What a load of cack, mate!)

    cakehole: mouth (Shut your cakehole!)

    Charlie: crack, cocaine

    chips: french fries

    chunder: to throw up

    ciggy: cigarette

    claret: blood (They were copping it up, claret all over the place!)

    cop a feel: to feel someone up

    to cop it: to get in trouble

    copper: policeman

    Crikey!: My God!

    damage: cost

    Dicky: feeling unwell

    doddle: something easy (It was a doddle to get the Charlie.)

    dodgy: shady

    done over: beat up (He was done over by that bloke.)

    Doris: a plain woman

    dosh: money

    duck and dive: to run from the police

    earner: a dishonest laborer

    eppy: a fit

    faced: drunk

    five finger discount: shoplifting

    flim-flam: crap (Cut out this flim-flam, you wanker!)

    flippin: freakin’

    folding: paper pound-notes

    For crying out loud!: For God’s sake!

    Frenchy: a french kiss

    full monty: the entire take, all that is desired

    funny farm: a mental institution

    gab: to talk a lot

    gander: to look at

    geezer: an old man

    get the nod: to get permission

    git: an unlikeable person

    gob: mouth

    goppin’: gross

    greaser: a 50’s style person, usually a man

    grub: food

    gutted: choked up (He was gutted at the funeral, mate.)

    hacked off: annoyed (He was really hacked off at that copper.)

    having it off: a term for intercourse

    headcase: a nutcase

    hold it down: keep the noise down, control yourself

    hooter: nose

    ickle: small, tiny (I like that an ickle bit, mate.)

    iffy: doubting, doubtful

    in stook: in financial trouble (Your uncle’s in stook, mate.)

    inside: imprisoned (Barry’s inside again.)

    jammy: lucky

    jar: a pint of beer

    jock: a Scottish man

    jugs: breasts

    juiced up: very drunk

    kick it off: start something, a fight with another Brit perhaps

    kip: sleep (I need some kip, mate.)

    knackered: tired

    knock-up: to wake someone up

    lairy: loud, brash

    larging it: to live large

    lip: smart talk

    loaded: very rich

    lock-in: a term for late-hours in a pub

    lolly: money

    lost the plot: gone mad (That nutter’s completely lost the plot!)

    malarkey: stuff and nonsense (What a load of malarkey!)

    mate: address for a friend

    mental: crazy

    miffed: fed up

    minger: an unattractive girl

    mint: great condition (That’s mint, mate.)

    mitts: hands

    monkey: 500 pounds

    moose: an ugly girl

    mullered: drunk

    munch: food (Time for munch, mate!)

    naff: nasty, in poor taste (That’s naff!)

    nipper: a small child

    nosh: food

    nugget: a pound coin

    nutter: a crazy person

    offie: a place where off-license alcohol is sold

    off your face: very drunk

    out of the tree: nuts

    parky: chilly (Parky weather today.)

    plank, a fool

    ponce: a slacker

    ramped: drunk

    rat-arsed: drunk

    readies: cash on hand (Have any readies? I’m all out.)

    ruck: a fight

    rug: wig

    salt: a loose woman

    scrounge: to begg food, materials

    shafted: screwed, betrayed

    shag: sexual intercourse

    shell-like: ear (Can I have a word in your shell-like?)

    skirt: a young woman

    snog: a french kiss

    squire: a term for a working man

    sussed out: figured out

    tanked: drunk

    toerag: a tramp

    tom: a prostitute

    tooled: drunk

    top!: wonderful

    trainspotter: a nerd, geek

    trots: an upset stomach

    up for it: enthusiastically available

    up the duff: pregnant

    wank: to masturbate

    wedge: money

    wind up: to tease

  158. Davidon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:40 am

    Cheek= very rude

    dirty begger=rude person

    crud buckets=oh no

    theres hundeads more trouble is british slang changes all the time so its hard to pick what means what

  159. Avi Arunon 10 Apr 2009 at 11:40 am

    I got a question that needs to be answered.

    In India, English (UK) is the official language. But Since 1970s, people began imitating Americans and hence most started speaking American English. Being born in India, I am a hybrid and I often [if not always] mix up US and UK English. Is it okay to write like this?

  160. Tomon 10 Apr 2009 at 12:28 pm

    @Avi: It depends on the voice. If it’s the narrator’s voice you should steer clear of slang in general. If it’s the voice of a character, well, it depends where the character’s from. If s/he’s from England, use British slang, if s/he’s America, use American slang, if s/he’s like you, mix it up!

    @Ragged Boy: That long list of British slang was good, but you must consider class, gender, age, location and even race when using the slang. Some are universal, some of those words are reserved for working class middle aged men, some are only used by Londoners, there’s a lot only used by Northeners, and I know of a few words not on this list only used by Jewish people from Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester!

    I can tell you that from that list, I have HEARD the following used:






    bob (it means money in general, but it’s an item, so something costs a few bob, not much bob)






    chips (this isn’t slang! This is the correct term for them! I don’t know why Americans call them French Fries)


    cop a feel









    For crying out loud!

    full monty



    git (this is just a generic insult)











    lost the plot






    mullered (but I heard this used as a term for ‘lost a fight’, e.g. ‘he got mullered!)





    ponce (but I’ve only heard it as a generic insult)





    sussed out

    toerag (but I’ve only ever heard it used as a generic insult, not to describe a tramp)

    up for it

    up the duff


    wind up

    The rest I’ve never even heard. So it depends on what your British character’s background is.

  161. B. Macon 10 Apr 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Avi Arun asked: “In India, English (UK) is the official language. But, since the 1970s, many people have imitated Americans and started speaking American English. Being born in India, I am a hybrid and I often (if not always) mix up US and UK English. Is it okay to write like this?”

    First, a big caveat: I know very, very little about Indian publishers or the Indian market more generally. However, if you’re writing for an Indian publisher and many other Indians blend US and UK English, it probably won’t be a problem. (Especially if your characters are Indian).

    Tom responded: “It depends on the voice. If it’s the narrator’s voice you should steer clear of slang in general. If it’s the voice of a character, well, it depends where the character’s from. If s/he’s from England, use British slang. If s/he’s American, use American slang, if s/he’s like you, mix it up!”

    I agree that you have a lot more leeway with Indian characters. If the character’s voice needs to mix American and British slang to be realistic, then do it. However, if it’s just an American and he starts using British slang (or vice versa, to some extent), then an editor might wonder whether you know what Americans or Britons actually sound like. However, when it comes to Indians, I think editors will cut you a lot more slack because you have the added credibility of actually being Indian.

    Also, Tom. “If it’s the narrator’s voice, you should steer clear of slang in general.” I agree that it would be highly intrusive for a narrator to use slang. However, some books do really well with intrusive narrators. In particular, I’d feel pretty comfortable making a pitch about a slangy narrator if my target audience was middle-school males. “No, he doesn’t sound like he’s been college-educated. And he shouldn’t…

  162. Davidon 10 Apr 2009 at 12:56 pm

    hey guys i found this link if it works i thought it might be intresting for ya


  163. Ragged Boyon 10 Apr 2009 at 1:21 pm

    @ David: What the heck is that?

    @ Avi and Tom: Thanks for the slang. To be honest I was mainly looking for slang for personal use, but I may create an English character later, so thanks, mates.

  164. Mia.xoxoon 10 Apr 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Wow, David! That was a very confusing (and long) form of note taking. There are some good points though.

  165. Holliequon 10 Apr 2009 at 2:19 pm

    RB, if you’re looking for English slang, I definitely suggest you decide where your character is from. I’m from a more northern part of England, and I’ve never heard of some of those words, never mind used them. 😛

    That said, I can’t believe ‘fit’ wasn’t on the list! That’s probably the most commonly used slang word I can think of. It can mean hot (“She’s so fit!”) or, in some places, great/amazing (“This drink tastes so fit!”).

    Ace, mint and wicked can also be used to say something’s awesome. Wicked is less commonly used now though. 😉

  166. Dforceon 10 Apr 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I’d hate to throw off a discussion, but alas I have to ask: Has the concept of “theme” ever been adressed in any article here?

    I’m trying to cement my idea of what it is and how to effectively use it in my stories, but I could not find anything here.

  167. Holliequon 10 Apr 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Hmm. In my mind, theme comes as a side-effect of writing the story. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a theme and then built a story around it. I’m sure that happens though.

  168. Dforceon 10 Apr 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Well, from what I’ve read around you bring a theme then change it as the story forces you to, or watch it evolve– but sometimes can stay static throughout the piece.

    Before, I thought theme was excavated by teachers and such; now that I’m slightly more informed on the subject, I see you try to go along with what you’re trying to show– but never tell.

    I have stories and themes come up in my head hand-in-hand, but I wasn’t sure if I, the author, made sure to put the theme there or if it just flowed into the story. What I thought is kinda hard to explain but I’m clear on it now. (Sort of).

  169. Ragged Boyon 10 Apr 2009 at 5:31 pm

    To be honest, I never really knew what theme was. Could someone elaborate please?

  170. B. Macon 10 Apr 2009 at 6:07 pm

    A literary theme is the message, moral or lesson of a story. In a superhero story, it’s usually either a message to the audience (“Guns are bad! Don’t do drugs! Be yourself!”) or a statement of the hero’s moral code. For example, Spiderman’s code tells us why he is fighting (with great power comes great responsibility) and Superman’s code told us what he is fighting for (truth, justice and the American way), and the Punisher had “You look like a criminal, so I’m going to butcher you.”

    It’s not too subtle to come out and explicitly say what the hero’s code is. Superman did it back in the 1930s and Spiderman unveiled the “great responsibility” line in the 1970s. Since then, the audience of comic book readers has aged and they tend to expect a bit more subtlety. However, it does help to give us a clear idea of the hero’s values. What does he believe in? Are we meant to root for him? Will we? (We’re probably not meant to root for the Punisher, but most readers do anyway). Do his actions line up with his rhetoric? If there’s a discrepancy, what are we supposed to make of it?

    Themes can also mean the morals/life-lessons of the story, but those are usually aimed more directly at the reader. As a result, a moral or life-lesson is usually preachy and annoying. In particular, please stay away from the following life-lessons:
    –Be yourself! (Ick).
    –Drugs are really bad!
    –Guns are really bad!
    –Diversity and understanding are really good!
    –There are some things Man was never meant to know!
    –My hometown is cooler than your hometown!

  171. Dforceon 10 Apr 2009 at 6:15 pm

    The way I see it, themes go a little further and try to reflect one’s opinions on life.

    E.g. : “Guns are dangerous because they fuel war and sorrow and only beget more violence when in the wrong hands.” Or… “The lack of diversity leaves bland and erring ideas to flourish, which leads to the stagnation of science and ingenuity.”

    Or am I throwing smoke? (I don’t think so, but I’m no literary expert).

  172. Ragged Boyon 10 Apr 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Gee, Dforce, you sure can be broody. 😉

  173. Holliequon 10 Apr 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Hmm. I’ve always thought themes were simpler, but I always considered the most effective themes to be ones the audience wouldn’t neccesarily agree with. Or at least those tend to be the most interesting ones.

  174. Dforceon 10 Apr 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks RB, I’ll take that as a compliment.

  175. Avi Arunon 10 Apr 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Most Indian publishers are not natively Indian. eg., Scholastic, Harper Collins etc. So, they are just like any other publisher. Also, my characters aren’t Indians nor Americans nor British. I don’t specify their race nor hometown in the story.

    Another DoubtCan I only publish the book in India? Are there any limitations? Most Indians are Computer Geeks, so they probably have very little interest in literature. So, If I want my book to be successful, I mustn’t publish it here.

  176. B. Macon 10 Apr 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Again, I’d suspect that you know your home market better than I do, but I think that the local branches of international publishers will be staffed mostly by Indians. They can probably predict (and will care) whether your characters sound believable to an Indian audience.

    Hmm. I’d recommend considering publishing first in India. You could publish elsewhere, but I assume that you’d be most relatable to Indian audiences.

    This next point will probably sound a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. If you would like to write for an American or British audience, I think it would help to set the story in India or a fictional place that is clearly modeled on India. I think US readers are more receptive to foreign authors that write about their home countries. Part of the charm of Harry Potter was that British boarding schools are mostly unknown to US readers, so it’s kind of exotic. Likewise, the Chronicles of Narnia are mostly set in Britain and the heroes are all British. If you pitch your story to an American publisher, I’d recommend that you address the relatability problem and counter by laying out an argument that you will be more exotic and fresh.

  177. Avi Arunon 10 Apr 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you, B. Mac! You totally inspired me.

    I’ll set my story in a fictional nation modeled on India. But what aspects of India must I concentrate on?

  178. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 5:31 am

    More British slang:

    Ace: Awesome, wonderful. (I personally say this one a lot)
    Afty: Afternoon. “You going down the pub this afty?”
    Aggro: Aggravated.
    Alright: Used as a greeting, short for “are you alright?”, which is in turn a variation of “how are you?”.
    Bog off: “Leave me alone.”
    Dead cert: Certain. “It’s a dead cert that the Castleford Tigers will win.”
    Pony: Twenty pounds.
    Innit: Isn’t it? Also exists as “innee” (Isn’t he?) and “innshe” (Isn’t she?).

  179. Holliequon 11 Apr 2009 at 5:55 am

    Innit and variations are more accent than slang, I think. I say that one all the time, but only because I automatically blend my words together. 😛

    I’ve never heard afty, aggro or pony.

  180. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:03 am

    Aggro is also used a lot in Australia, mostly by teenagers. We have a variation of afty, “arvo”. I learned the term “pony” from watching Only Fools and Horses . It’s a very, very good show.


    Another thing I have often heard/used is the word “meself”, a variant of “myself”. For example: “I’m not too fond of chili, meself”. It’s not necessary, but is used anyway.

  181. Holliequon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:11 am

    Only Fools And Horses is awesome. 😛 Oh yeah, meself, got that one. And ‘us’ instead of ‘our’. “Can we get us coats?”

    Or maybe that’s just me.

  182. Tomon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:22 am

    I swear some of that isn’t slang. e.g. Alright. Is that only used colloquially?

  183. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:36 am

    “Can we get us coats?” I use that one, too.

  184. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 7:19 am

    AA, if you’re writing for American audiences, I’d recommend working in a few aspects that will be simultaneously understandable but fresh. For example, Harry Potter looked at a boarding school, which is familiar to Americans but really rare in the US. In your story, I think two elements that will translate well across national borders are journalists/newspapers and superheroes. We’ll be familiar with the concept, which will give you more leeway to make it Indian without making it confusing to Americans. Hmm, I hope that helps.

    … However, because I’m not well-versed in this situation (authors publishing first in a foreign market), I’m not entirely confident in my advice. I’d recommend getting a second opinion before making any substantial changes to your manuscript or publishing plans.

  185. Avi Arunon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:31 am

    I have another query to ask while my previous ones are being answered.

    What are some really good names for Fire, Ice or any Element based characters?

  186. Avi Arunon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:41 am

    I don’t want convoluted names. I want normal human names that suits a element based character. However, please avoid common names like john, smith etc.

  187. Tomon 11 Apr 2009 at 12:08 pm

    B. Mac, I feel the need to point out that boarding schools are almost unheard of here too. That aspect of Harry Potter was just as foreign to me as it was to you. It was things like setting sections in King’s Cross Station that made Harry Potter incredibly British.

  188. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Are you looking for a superhero name or a common name, Avi?

  189. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I’m not too surprised, Tom. Books that depict life in Europe tend to make European life seem as senselessly charming and quaint as an antique shop. A French character will eat in cute little cafes, for example. (Umm, if you wanted to write about a character eating McDonald’s, why not just make him an American?) I feel that Americans are especially prone to over-romanticize life in Europe because that’s the way that Hollywood usually depicts European life.

    Additionally, an American writer that travels to Europe may get a mistaken impression of what life is like there. He does that sort of touristy stuff and then he assumes that the locals live like he did.

  190. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I’m not entirely sure, but it looks official. Batman is actually dead in his main continuity. DC recently stopped production of Nightwing, Robin, and all other Batman affiliates, and have started Battle for the Cowl. In January or February, DC released Whatever Happen to the Caped Crusader? following the events of Batman’s death. I didn’t think the day would come, but it has. It’s about damn time.

    I’ve read Issue 1 of Battle for the Cowl and it’s looking pretty good.

    Just a random newflash from The Ragged Remains Newletter.

  191. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Hmm. Why are you pleased that he’s dead? I was under the impression that you liked the darker, moodier fare.

    Relatedly, I think I surprised a co-worker when I told him how excited I was that Captain America finally got murdered. Marvel might finally be over its Vietnam Syndrome! (That’s clearly too much to hope for, but killing Captain Angstica is a good start).

  192. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I love the darker, moodier fare. I can’t wait to write my first dark piece, but I’m heavily opposed to old age. Batman’s youth deteriorated, and like an old dog, he needed to be put down. Besides, I’m not sure how much more they could do with him without going into crazy storylines. I wouldn’t want Adrian to last forever; his acting career would end at some point and he would die protecting Earth from some savage alien menace.

    And another thing, his death appeals to me more because I like dark and moody things. What’s darker than death? What moodier than the young protagonists wracking their brains over what to do?

    It’s a personal thing. One of my biggest fears is old age. The body failure, dementia, and worst of all, the skin, the horrid leathery skin. It’s scary. No offense to anyone’s grandparents or parents.

  193. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I thought Captain America died a long time ago, in the Marvel Civil War.

    Was he resurrected? I hate when they (Marvel and DC) do that.

  194. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Nah, I was talking about his death in Civil War. As far as I know, he’s still dead and so I’m still pleased.

  195. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I thought you were Pro-American. You didn’t feel any symbolism for Cap. America? Or was he an overshot like Superman?

  196. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Ehh. If you’re really concerned about the quality of your skin, I’m sure there are different treatments to keep it fresh. I’d be much more concerned about the loss of energy and esteem/respect. When I’m 50 and my company wants to run with some absurd Twitter-like fad, my opposition may be seen as evidence that I’m a “dinosaur” or that I need to be “put out to pasture,” like some animal that’s not productive enough to feed anymore.

    Also, I think writers do their best work from around 30 to 50, when they’re old enough to have learned the rules and to have developed their own style, but young enough to be hungry and to have something left to prove. Also, later in life the senses tend to dull. For example, I have one possibly apocryphal story about a very old Jonathan Swift. He was reading through one of the books in his library that didn’t have a name on the cover. He said to one of his servants, “This is pretty good. Who wrote this?” “You did, sir.”

    On the plus side, I think that death and the fear of death propels us to achieve while we can. That sometimes comes up in my work. For example, Jacob Mallow is terrified of death and aging and that’s what leads him to try to uncover mysteries better left to God.

  197. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I’m not particularly worried about getting old. Sure, there are mental illnesses, but there are ways to prevent or lessen the effect. A crossword a day keeps Alzheimer’s away, or so I heard.

    I would never resort to any form of cosmetic surgery unless my face got burned off with acid.

    If you want to kep your skin young, I have three words of advice: don’t get sunburnt. Not only does it lead to various types of skin cancer, it also causes early wrinkling. I look like Edward Cullen because I deliberately avoid getting burned. There’s always fake tan, but I’d rather embrace my natural appearance.

  198. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I think Australians are generally much more savvy when it comes to avoiding sun-damage. Is it true that the sun is much more likely to cause skin cancer in Australia than in the US or UK?

  199. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 10:27 pm

    No matter where you are in the world, the sun can damage your skin. Skin cancer is one of the most common types in Australia, but that’s mostly among younger people who frequent the beach. Still, anyone can get it.

    Following the Aussie government’s campaign of Slip-Slop-Slap (Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat) greatly reduces the risk.

    Even on a very cloudy and rainy day, the ultraviolet radiation can still worm through. While it won’t cause as bad a burn as it would on a sunny day, it still causes cancer.

  200. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 10:31 pm

    It’s especially advisable to cover up any freckles or moles, as they are often where the cancer starts.

  201. Avi Arunon 11 Apr 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I need some normal names, NOT superhero names for fire and ice based characters.

    Also, is there any other element other than Fire, Ice, Water, Wind, Lightning and Earth?

    Is Water and Ice based characters very similar?

  202. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I’d recommend using names not linked to their power. For example, my character Cable controls ice, but his name has nothing to do with his power. If you want something linked to their power, type in “names meaning fire” or whatever the character’s element is and choose one.

    I guess light, darkness, and the ability to make plants grow would count. (I’m just rattling off Organization XIII’s powers. Haha.)

    Ice and water based characters have some similar aspects, but are different in a lot of ways.

    An ice user could use ice for transport, like Frozone in The Incredibles .
    A water user could drown someone from the inside out.
    An ice user could create weapons out of ice. This is what Cable does.
    A water user may be able to create tsunamis and whirlpools.

  203. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Perhaps try Aidan or Adena ( both meaning “little fire”) for a fire character and Calder (“cold”) for an ice character.

  204. Stefan the Exploding Manon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:20 pm

    I think characters who have real names related to their superpowers feel a bit campy. It’s like Ghost Rider’s real name being Johnny Blaze. Of course, if you could make the names relate to the powers less obviously, as Easter eggs for more observant readers or something, that would be alright. But I would suggest going with whatever name suits the character him or herself.

  205. Avi Arunon 12 Apr 2009 at 12:05 am

    (1) Currently I have 7 elements gathered…

    Fire, Ice, Water, Wind, Lightning, Earth, Sound

    Is this enough for completing the whole novel? Any more elements? What is darkness exactly? How does someone control darkness?

    (2) Is it necessary for a fire based character to be tough, short tempered and his favorite colour being red?

  206. Stefan the Exploding Manon 12 Apr 2009 at 12:17 am

    (1) The Chinese consider metal and wood to be elements as well. Light could be there too, probably. Since darkness is the absence of light, you can’t really control it, but most characters with darkness powers usually use darkness as a form of energy.

    (2) This is probably why I stay away from fire based characters. If you have one of these, please don’t make him or her tough, short-tempered and red-loving! It would be nice to have a fresher take on a character with fire-based powers. Make him or her a good character who happens to have fire-based powers.

  207. Avi Arunon 12 Apr 2009 at 3:10 am

    I feel Metal and Wood are odd. Sound seems to be plagiarized from Naruto. Ice and Water sound too similar. So I’m going to omit Sound, Metal, Wood, either Ice or Water. I think I can include Light and Darkness if I could get a nice context in the story.

    So, Currently I have 5 elements in mind :

    Fire, Ice/Water, Wind, Lightning, Earth.

    Tell me which one to omit out of these. Ice or Water? Also, suggest me some reasons why Light/Darkness can be helpful in a story in general.

  208. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Apr 2009 at 5:13 am

    “What is darkness exactly? How does someone control darkness?”

    In Kingdom Hearts , darkness is a key plot element. The whole series revolves around a literal battle between light and dark, and also nothingness. It’s a bit hard to understand if you haven’t played the games, but basically it goes like this:

    Darkness is not just shadow, it’s an actual moving thing that can be shaped, warped and controlled. Every heart has darkness in it which is caused by sin or strong negative emotions. This darkness can consume someone’s heart, and when it does a creature called a Heartless is created, consuming the person’s body.

    The Heartless control darkness because it is what they are essentially made of. Ansem – the Big Bad Guy of the first game – is able to do a lot more than the weaker Heartless. He can use it to summon them to use as a distraction or bodyguard, teleport, create spheres out of darkness and throw them, make a portal appear under someone’s feet so they get teleported somewhere else, make a black hole type thing to pull people in and injure them, and so on.

  209. Ragged Boyon 12 Apr 2009 at 5:48 am

    Don’t forget him Guardian, that thing was bad-ass. “Come, open your heart to darkness.” Organization XIII stretched the definition of elements to include Time, Gravity, Moon, etc.

    I think you should omit ice. Ice isn’t a legitimate element like water, in fact, ice is a subset of water. On Avatar, when someone created ice it’s still considered water-bending. Besides water kicks ice’s ass any day.

    If you wanted to be really technical, lightning is actually a subset of wind, and isn’t a legitimate element either. But I’m sure most people would let that slide.

  210. Ragged Boyon 12 Apr 2009 at 5:54 am

    “I would never resort to any form of cosmetic surgery unless my face got burned off with acid.”

    Geez, you guys make me sound more superficial than I already am. 😉 All you earthy, nature-y types. I’m not going to lie, old age scares the crap out of me. For some reason, I’m pretty sure my mind and body will be okay, but the skin, I need my skin. I’d probably use cremes and crap to fix my face, surgery would be a last resort. That’s right I condone cosmetic surgery. Sure, it’s risky and you can end up worse than you started, but you take that risk when you lay on that table.

  211. Tomon 12 Apr 2009 at 6:18 am

    If you want to know about elements, see Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s pretty much the ultimate in the ‘four elements’ stuff. In Avatar, ice, steam and even plants are all considered waterbending, lightning is part of firebending, metal is part of earthbending. (bending=manipulating the element) Oddly enough, air didn’t have any of those ‘sub-bendings’.

    Also, in my story, one of the main characters can control fire and ice, his arch nemesis can control lightning and air, later in the series his foe’s henchmen gain the ability to control water and earth, and later still people gain the ability to control metal, light and plants. 9 ‘elements’ in total, even though if it were Avatar four of those would be considered a ‘sub-bending’ of another element. (Don’t worry, there’s a meta-origin for all of the powers.) Also, where light is concerned, it’s basically the power to shoot laser beams.

  212. Ragged Boyon 12 Apr 2009 at 6:22 am

    “In Avatar, ice, steam and even plants are all considered waterbending.”

    That’s way Water is the frickin’ best. If used the right way, water can toppled all other elements. Aquarians unite!

  213. Tomon 12 Apr 2009 at 6:23 am

    Also, check this out:


  214. Avi Arunon 13 Apr 2009 at 2:15 am

    I got a few concepts for a new story. I will only be working on the most effective one. Please help me decide which plot is comparatively more appealing.

    Note – I haven’t decided character names yet. So, I’ll use letters of the English alphabet to represent them. A, E, I, O, U, H, Y are women, all other Consonants are men.

    (1) B is a successful movie star. A is an aspiring journalist. A‘s father C secretly runs an organization that tracks and kills mutants. B falls for A and uses his reputation to woo her. B discovers that he can bend time. B records his ability to manipulate time when filming. B shows the video to A who thinks it’s computer generated. A shows the video to C because he does not believe her when she says a movie star loves her. C sends his men to find out B‘s weakness. C‘s men report that B needs to focus really hard to bend time and he gets tired very easily. C uses A to divert and trick B when his men could get to him. Then begins a cat and mouse chase….

    (2) This is much simpler and manga themed but only partly planned as of now. B gets his Doctorate at the age of 25 and is recognized as one of the world’s biggest scientists. B gets greedy due to power. To avoid totally becoming evil, B creates a clone of himself, parts his soul and transfers all his evil thoughts to the clone using Memory Grabbing Procedure. He sends the clone to a city far away from his own. During the course of the story, the good B gradually becomes evil and the evil B becomes good.

  215. Mr. Briton 13 Apr 2009 at 4:59 am

    The first one is certainly workable but the second doesn’t work for me. B seems like an idiot for creating an evil clone of himself and simply sending it away. If he’s recognised as one of the world’s biggest scientists, wouldn’t at least one person recognise him? Also, if he has seperated all of his evil thoughts from himself, how can he become evil later? If he is able to develop evil thoughts despite the cloning proccess, it seems somewhat futile. Sorry to be so harsh, I just really didn’t feel that story.

    The other one is vastly more interesting and doable. It might be interesting to develop a sort of love triangle between A, B and C. Obviouslt A and C won’t have a romantic relationship but seeing B try to convince A that C attacked him could cause her to question her relationship with him. My vote isd efintately for the second option 🙂

  216. B. Macon 13 Apr 2009 at 5:11 am

    Haha, Mr. Brit. I was reading through my comment feed and I saw something like “B seems like an idiot…” My first reaction was “That is not very friendly! I work very hard on this website.” Haha. Context is everything.

  217. B. Macon 13 Apr 2009 at 5:31 am

    1 seems flawed because it relies on a major contrivance: that the person that ends up falling in love with the head mutant-hater’s daughter just happens to turn into a mutant. Unless your audience is very young, I don’t feel confident that will work. (On the other hand, if your audience is younger than 13, it might slip past them. For example, the title protagonist of Jake Long fell in love with a girl that happened to be the daughter of one of the main villains).

    Here are some other thoughts and observations. (Also, I’ve replaced the letters with sample names so that it’s easier to keep track of genders and stuff).

    “Brian shows the video to Alice, who thinks it’s computer generated. Alice shows the video to [her father] because he does not believe her when she says that a movie star loves her.” I’m not feeling this string of events.

    First, it forces Alice to hold an idiot ball. The main reason she doesn’t believe that Brian has superpowers is because she’s stupid. If someone confesses to you that he now has superpowers and has video evidence to back it up, you’d probably be an idiot to dismiss his claims without asking him to demonstrate his powers in person.

    Second, the explanation for how the father gets a hold of this tape feels flimsy. Instead of showing the father a tape that isn’t about how much Brian loves Alice, why not actually bring Brian to meet her father? If I were dating a movie starlet, I think my parents would definitely love to have dinner with her. At this dinner, I’d recommend having the father observe on his own that Brian is a mutant. That would make this part of the plot more coherent, I think. (It will also make the father look more competent and cunning).

    I am not fond of #2. It doesn’t feel like anything is at stake. Also, if you knew that there was a totally brilliant, evil person out there, why would you just send him away? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. It’d be much more humane to make sure that he was constantly supervised and/or imprisoned, and more intelligent just to kill him on the spot. Finally, the main reason I think that #2 is not very appealing is the unclear character development. Is this character evil or not when he decides to create the clone? If he’s greedy/evil, why would he care about becoming totally evil? If he’s so smart, why doesn’t he have a better plan for dealing with the clone he creates? If he’s so concerned about becoming evil, why is that he becomes the evil one?

  218. Davidon 13 Apr 2009 at 6:09 am

    Would you say there’s a difference between American and British readers?

    I would. For example, from what I’ve seen on this site, American readers seem to dislike a lot of details such as color. British folk will read the details and ask what color was such and such.

    Also, I’ve been told that the beginning of my story doesn’t have anything at stake. I believe this is also an American thing (no offense intended– it’s just a view I have). You seem to need to have danger at the very beginning. British readers, and indeed any British novel I’ve ever read, has a buildup and lots of scenery details.

    British readers aren’t as easily disorientated as American readers seem to be, especially with similar-sounding names with two completely different characters.

    I dunno. That’s my view. What do you think?

  219. B. Macon 13 Apr 2009 at 6:32 am

    There may be a difference between most men and most women about how much color is necessary, but I don’t think there is a major British vs. American divide. Among our UK/Canadian/Australian male commenters (like Tom), I haven’t noticed a lot of color. And, as far as I can remember, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a male reviewer of any nationality ask a writer to put more color into a story.

    As for urgency… if you feel that British publishers are more open to stories where very little is at stake early on, please feel free to write accordingly. It’s your book and your career and, frankly, you should have a better handle on your home market than I do. I would, however, recommend consulting with a British author or editor about the pacing of your story. At the very least, you could ask a few of our readers from Britain, Canada or Australia.

  220. Tomon 13 Apr 2009 at 7:14 am

    I don’t think there’s a significant difference between American and British readers. Especially not to that level, and especially not in this day and age, where Britain is becoming slowly more Americanised… I mean Americanized. 😛

  221. B. Macon 13 Apr 2009 at 8:16 am

    “I mean Americanized.” Good call, sir. Your sense of humor is top!

  222. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Apr 2009 at 8:19 am

    Haha. I tend to switch between using Z and S in words like that. It’s probably because of an Aussie upbringing and exposure to primarily American media.

  223. Davidon 13 Apr 2009 at 8:31 am

    Cool. Thanks for the input; I’m getting back to my writing.

    By the way, how are all your stories coming?

  224. B. Macon 13 Apr 2009 at 8:35 am

    Hmm. I feel like I could finish my nonfiction query any day now. I just need to do the table of contents and assemble 10-15 pages of my writing for a sample chapter. Given that I’ve already written the content, this is something that I could do in under four hours if I just sat down and wrote it.

    Tom and R.B. know more about the status of their projects than I do, but I feel that they are very far along. My guess is that all three of us will have submitted our works within three months.

  225. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Apr 2009 at 8:44 am

    I’m rewriting mine into third person. It’s going to take a while, but so far I’d say it’s at least seven times better than my old version.

  226. Holliequon 13 Apr 2009 at 9:17 am

    I’m really struggling with mine. I just can’t seem to finish chapter five. I’ve been working on some chapter outlines, though, so hopefully that will help. I’m at least a year from completion, give or take.

  227. Tomon 13 Apr 2009 at 9:20 am

    I’m probably at the stage where I can go to a production company and ask for a chance to pitch, I’m just struggling to find someone to pitch to. It’s very difficult for a nobody to even find a way to contact production companies.

  228. Avi Arunon 13 Apr 2009 at 9:37 am

    So, my 1st story seems more appealing as of now. I got another concept. Please rank all the three giving necessary reasons and advice. I’ll use the sample names used by B. Mac to refer to the characters.

    (3) This has a more fantasy feel. During the dawn of the universe, there were about a hundred men who wielded great cosmic powers and can only be killed by one another. Out of these men, Brian was power hungry and killed all the others and took all their powers. Brian was uber powerful and lived an eternal life for over a million years. In present day, Brian feels that his powers are a curse and comes to Earth to lead a normal life. He gets a job and falls for Alice who feeds Brian with good emotions. Slowly, Brian becomes more and more human. All these factors and Earth’s unusual atmosphere makes his powers weaker day by day. Brian feels happy about this but soon things go bad. Cruger is a strong believer of legends and had a strong hatred for Brian since his childhood. He believes that he is the greatest grandson of one of those 100 sacred warriors. Surprisingly enough, Cruger can absorb brian’s powers when he is close to him. With pure revenge in mind, Cruger begins to hunt Brian.

  229. Davidon 13 Apr 2009 at 9:55 am

    It sounds like something I would read, maybe even a good movie.

    This is the introduction of my novel, redone again.

    This time, I’ve started with Cara in her room to focus on her conflict with her dad and hopefully the pressures of being a princess.

    In Otherworld, Cara princess of the Banshees stood in her room gazing in the mirror. It was her birthday and a huge party was being held in the court yard outside as excited as she was about her birthday she knew alcohol would be there and her father would be drinking and it made her angry, he continued to drink even after the tragedy, she took a deep breath and straitened her purple dress. Walking to her bedside cabinet putting on her gold pendant her mother gave to her years ago and varies rings and bracelets, taking one more deep breath she passed her mirror again looking in to it “come on Cara keep smiling keep up the royal image even if your father will be drunk” she sighed and headed outside.

  230. Ragged Boyon 13 Apr 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I think this opening is an improvement of the previous one. With this opening we get a look into Cara’s mind and personality. I’m very glad that you didn’t describe her appearance in the mirror.

    “It was her birthday and a huge party was being held in the court yard outside as excited as she was about her birthday she knew alcohol would be there and her father would be drinking and it made her angry, he continued to drink even after the tragedy, she took a deep breath and straitened her purple dress.”

    -This is a very long sentence and a bit awkward.
    -You make a reference to her birthday twice, you only need to do this once.
    -Why would there be alcohol at a party for a child (by Banshee standard)?
    -I think some details can be cut out for length.

    I have more to say, but I have to go. Seeya. 🙂

  231. Davidon 13 Apr 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I didn’t realize about the birthday thing, sorry. And as for the alcohol, well…

    (1) I need it to fit in with the story.

    (2) It’s called mead. It’s what they drunk in those days. Oh, yeah. There’s a lot of adults there as well, so there’s alcohol for them.

  232. Ragged Boyon 13 Apr 2009 at 1:42 pm

    You can probably justify the drinking by saying her father will probably open up his personal liquor cabinet for the adult guests. That would sound better than it just being there. Just having it be there would make it seem like the young kids were drinking it too.

  233. Avi Arunon 13 Apr 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Please read my previous post and review. I need your reviews to be pacy in my work.

  234. Holliequon 14 Apr 2009 at 5:40 am

    I’m not really feeling it. I don’t really like the ‘love cures everything!’ theme that seems to be going on. But I don’t like romance in general, which is probably the main thing.

    I also don’t really like the antagonist. His motivation isn’t very convincing. He wants to kill Brian because he’s a descendant of one of the 100 warriors? I also think it seems like this would be too easy for Brian to win. Never mind that his powers are weakening, if he’s the only survivor out of 100 warriors he’s got to have other things going for him.

  235. Tomon 14 Apr 2009 at 6:44 am

    Unless he only survived by ducking and hiding whilst the other killed each other off, which is the same way a certain Timelord survived the destruction of his race… That way, the antagonist could actually find (to his surprise) that he’s more powerful than one of the original 100. Maybe Brian’s power level is only 8999 whereas this guy is 9001.

  236. Avi Arunon 14 Apr 2009 at 7:09 am

    The 100 men didn’t kill each other off. Brian killed each of them. So, obviously Brian survived all that.

    Anyways, I am trying to write a Epic type superhero story, hence I added many fantasy elements. If this can be done in a different way, kindly explain.

  237. B. Macon 14 Apr 2009 at 7:45 am

    “During the dawn of the universe, there were about a hundred men who wielded great cosmic powers and can only be killed by one another… Brian comes to Earth to lead a normal life.” Where are they fighting if not on Earth? (On another planet? In space? In some sort of extra dimension?)

    “Brian killed all the others and took their powers… Cudgel believes that he is the greatest grandson of one of those 100 sacred warriors.” If Brian killed everyone else, probably not.

    I assume that Brian, like the other warriors, is a member of a nonhuman species. Besides the 100 warriors, are there any other members of this species? If not, then how could Cudgel be a descendant of them?

    How does Cudgel find Brian?

    I would suggest a minor retelling to this story to make it slightly easier to follow.
    The story starts a few thousand years ago, at a time when many cultures were producing kickass heroic legends (Hercules, Gilgamesh*, Cu Chulain, whoever else you can think of, etc). The heroic myths are actually most factual accounts of what your 100 heroes are doing. I think that’ll make it easier for you to explain where/when these characters are vying for power, and also how one of the heroes was able to have a descendant without Brian finding out about it.

    *Gilgamesh predates most other heroic myths, but that probably won’t matter.

    What do you think?

  238. Avi Arunon 14 Apr 2009 at 9:21 am

    @ B. Mac

    Here are the answers to your questions. I’m not getting defensive, but these are just the things I didn’t care to mention because what I posted was only a summary.

    (1)Where are they fighting if not on Earth?

    They were fighting on Earth. But, after Brian* acquired many powers and eternal life, he left Earth and explored across galaxies.

    *LOL, This is NOT going to be the final name of the invincible predator

    (2)”Cudgel believes that he is the greatest grandson of one of those 100 sacred warriors.” If Brian killed everyone else, probably not.

    ROFL, I never imagined such an obvious plot hole. any suggestions?

    I assume that Brian, like the other warriors, is a member of a nonhuman species.

    You are wrong. I always mentioned them as ‘hundred men‘. These warriors, including Brian, were one of the first humans. They served as the basis for the idea of gods.

    How does Cudgel find Brian?

    Again, I need help on this one.

    Yours Truly

  239. Avi Arunon 14 Apr 2009 at 11:42 am

    Do you carry a notepad with you when outdoors to take notes for your work? or Do you have a handheld that serves the purpose? Do you think Blackberry is the writer’s best companion? or Do you think a simple notebook will do?

  240. Holliequon 14 Apr 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Aha, I can answer this question! I have a notebook that I carry around with me wherever I go. If I see something that would make an awesome story idea, or a good line, or a great name, I write it down. On my hand if I’m temporarily separated from my notebook. I have two, actually, though one is full. I filled the last page with random trivia. For example, did you know dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors? I have vowed to one day write a story based on that fact. I’d probably have to become funny first.

    For some reason, I can only write in these notebooks in red pen. Anything else just makes my brain short-circuit.

  241. Asayaon 14 Apr 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Oh, yeah. I’ve kinda got my own question.

    How do you make it believable for teenagers to operate/work in criminal or anti-criminal organizations?


    – Roxas(13-15) in Organization XIII

    – Tom Clancy’s NetForce

    – The teenagers in X-Men

  242. Tomon 14 Apr 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Tried to do it. Failed miserably, since 99% of all my brilliant ideas come to me in the 20 minutes every night between going to bed and going to sleep. Of course, next morning, everything is totally forgotten. The other night, I was on the toilet before having a bath, I thought of a brilliant name for the first episode (something I’ve been trying to do for a while). I can’t remember what the awesome title was now. Damn.

  243. Holliequon 14 Apr 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Asaya, I think the Alex Rider/Cherub books have a believable reason for that. Essentially, adults never suspect a kid would be spying on them. (That’s pretty much Cherub’s tag line.)

    I suspect your organisations would probably recruit kids for that reason.

  244. Tomon 14 Apr 2009 at 1:00 pm

    It seems to be almost a sub-genre in the UK. It’s not just Alex Rider and CHERUB, we have MI High, Artemis Fowl (I think, I’ve never read it) and others whose names I forget. We’re pretty much obsessed with the whole ‘teen spies because they never suspect kids’ scenario.

  245. Holliequon 14 Apr 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Artemis Fowl isn’t a teen spy. He’s a teen genius who fights sci-fi fairies. (Better than it sounds, I swear.)

  246. B. Macon 14 Apr 2009 at 1:21 pm

    In real life, I don’t think it’d be remotely plausible to hire a kid for a police organization. However, in a world where a few people have superpowers, it makes sense to me that you would take who you can get. It’s not like a hundred superpowered college graduates are waiting in line. Similarly, I think the kid in NetForce has outlandish tech skills. I think it would help to establish that this organization needs candidates with an exceedingly rare skill-set and that it has looked for qualified adult candidates but found few or none. So it decides to broaden its search to younger candidates.

    As for criminal organizations, gangs frequently take on kids in real life. A seventh-grader can carry a gun, right? I imagine that a criminal organization would lean very hard on a superpowered kid. “If you work for us, we’ll give you and your family money. If you don’t work for us, no one will keep your family safe from the gang down the street.”

    As for “let’s use teen spies because they never suspect kids…” That might work for young readers, but I wouldn’t recommend it in a story that’s aimed even partially at college-and-above readers; it probably wouldn’t be plausible to older readers. (Kids and teens would probably stick out badly in the places where a spy would be needed. Unless military secrets are being held in a high school?)

  247. Tomon 14 Apr 2009 at 2:13 pm

    CHERUB (which is basically a BOARDING SCHOOL for these kids) justifies it pretty nicely. Most of their missions involve befriending the children of gang members/terrorists/evil businessman etc. so they can go into their house and bug it. That’s all they’re supposed to do, however in the interest of making the story more interesting they usually have to do a lot more, like catch the villain in question.

    Also, CHERUB handles it well because every mission must be approved by an ethics committee, who make sure the mission isn’t too dangerous for kids.

    Same goes for Alex Rider, in the first book (the one that was made into the awful film), MI6 set it up so that he wins a contest and gets to spend a week with the ‘legitimate businessman’ Herod Sayle so they can find out what he’s up to. In the third book he’s only there to get the real spies through airport security (family vacation with teenage son, how unsuspicious!), but, naturally, he ends up having to complete the mission himself after the real spies get killed.

  248. Tomon 14 Apr 2009 at 2:15 pm

    It’s worth noting that CHERUB is so good at realism that sometimes I wonder if the government really is taking orphaned kids with superb physical fitness, putting them through immense training, lodging them in a secret facility that everyone thinks is a military firing range and sending them to stop crimes.

  249. B. Macon 14 Apr 2009 at 2:50 pm

    “CHERUB is so good at realism that sometimes I wonder if the government really is taking orphaned kids with superb physical fitness, putting them through immense training, lodging them in a secret facility that everyone thinks is a military firing range and sending them to stop crimes.”

    Although this would be an innovative alternative to orphanages, I’m leaning towards “probably not.”

  250. Asayaon 14 Apr 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Yeah, I try to make my organizations pretty realistic/believable, like making sure the number of kids never exceeds that of the adults.

    Would it add to the believability if these teenage operatives were in their mid to late teens?(14-18) I mean no one will allow an 11yr-old to take down a superpowered criminal gang…

  251. Asayaon 14 Apr 2009 at 7:31 pm

    These teen operatives will usually have powers anyway…

  252. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Apr 2009 at 7:45 pm

    “Artemis Fowl isn’t a teen spy. He’s a teen genius who fights sci-fi fairies. (Better than it sounds, I swear.)”

    It certainly is. I have all the books, but I think the latest one is my favourite.

  253. Holliequon 14 Apr 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I haven’t read the latest one yet. Hmm . . . RW, have you heard of the Skulduggery Pleasant books? I’m not sure if they have them in Australia (the author, Derek Landy, is Irish), but I think you’d like them a lot. They have a somewhat similar style to Artemis Fowl, in that there’s way too many snarky comebacks for it to be real life. Also, Derek Landy’s plots are incredibly well written. His characters are great, too.

  254. B. Macon 14 Apr 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I think late teens (17-18 rather than 15 or lower) generally are far more believable in an action role. More importantly, I suspect a late teen could appeal to a broader demographic. If the protagonist is a tween, I suspect the book will probably be limited to tween readers. (There are exceptions, but they are exceedingly rare).

    There’s nothing wrong with writing for tweens, of course, but I’m exceedingly bad at reviewing for that demographic.

  255. Wingson 14 Apr 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Well, the majority of my characters are 17 (Meg, Darren, and Pierce) or 16 (Ian and Jazz). The only exception is Connor at 11.

    Therefore, I should be okay.

    – Wings

  256. Avi Arunon 14 Apr 2009 at 11:48 pm

    What is the difference between plot-driven and character-driven stories?

  257. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Apr 2009 at 1:42 am

    I’ve never heard of those books. I’ll have to see if I can hunt some down in the bookshop. Thanks for the recommendation!

  258. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Apr 2009 at 1:44 am


    It’s the same with me. Most of my main characters are sixteen (Isaac, Rana, Will, Amy Belle, Tristram, Atalya, Klemente) a couple are fifteen (Kamari, Livian), one is twelve (Requiem) and one is ten (Lonnie).

  259. Tomon 15 Apr 2009 at 2:50 am

    @Avi: They’re exactly what they say on the tins. In a plot-driven story, it’s more about what happens to the people than the people going through it. In a character driven story it’s more about the people who go through it.

    An example of a plot-driven story is Transformers. The evil Decepticons were invading earth and giant transforming robots had to stop them. It could’ve been anyone stopping the Decepticons and the story wouldn’t have changed much at all.

    An example of a character-driven story is A Christmas Carol. If Ebenezer Scrooge wasn’t the main character the story would lose most of its meaning. It wouldn’t be the same story without the character.

    Can someone give a better definition? I’m not sure I nailed it.

  260. B. Macon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:07 am

    Ack. I’ve heard of that way to categorize a story (plot-driven vs. character-driven), and I’m not really fond of it. In most cases, if you focus entirely on the plot minus the characters, you probably have lousy characters. If you try to focus on characters and character development without giving them a plot to test themselves, your story will be boring as hell. Pretty much every book in every genre needs an interesting (and preferably likable) protagonist. I’d say that an author that describes his story as “character-driven” is awkwardly trying to suggest “my story delves deeper into the hero’s psyche than most of its competitors.”

    However, if you’d like a less skeptical definition, I’d like to refer you to Mindy Hardwick:

    “Character driven stories are when the plot emerges from the core of the character. A character wants something, and the plot emerges by throwing obstacles at the character to block them from getting what they want. Eventually, the character overcomes their worst fear or character defect and triumphs to get what they want. (Or what they want changes and something new emerges). But in the end there is a transformation with the character.) …

    Plot driven stories are when the story runs on action. We don’t know much about a character. But we see a lot of action. Often, the action is not realistic. But we enjoy the story because it’s a way to escape, at least for a few hours. In plot driven stories, we watch as the story unfolds in scene after scene of high action.”

    I don’t like treating action and character as mutually exclusive– they definitely aren’t– but I think that’s an ok definition.

  261. Tomon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:24 am

    I think what B. Mac is trying to say is that a good story can’t be either plot or character driven, but it should be driven by both. So it should have compelling characters going on interesting journies (literally or metaphorically).

  262. Ragged Boyon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:31 am

    I wouldn’t say that it can’t be a good story, it’s just that it would be more difficult to make cohesive if you focused on one element more than another.

  263. Ragged Boyon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:33 am

    What do you think about shows like House? They are quite popular despite the main character being very unlikable.

  264. Tomon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:35 am

    Unlikable? I’ve only seen it a few times but I like the character very much.

  265. B. Macon 15 Apr 2009 at 7:53 am

    I haven’t seen many episodes of House, but I kind of like the title character. He’s usually nasty and acerbic, but he amuses me greatly when he goes nuts on his co-workers. For me, he works on the same level as JJ Jameson.

    I think audiences will cut you a lot more slack if they genuinely respect the character’s competence and style. For example, House is pretty stylish and competent. He is very prickly (comically so), but the audience can still like him because he’s doing good deeds like curing patients. Monk is terribly afraid of dirty things, but he also comes across as a genuinely impressive detective.

  266. Ragged Boyon 15 Apr 2009 at 8:14 am

    House is a meany, but a skilled one, so I guess he’s okay.

  267. Avi Arunon 15 Apr 2009 at 9:04 am

    What are the coolest superpowers according to you? Not necessarily powerful, but the coolest.

  268. Holliequon 15 Apr 2009 at 9:07 am

    Fire and weather control are really flashy. Those are pretty cool. That said, I always have and always will love telekinesis. If I could have any superpower, it would be that.

  269. Tomon 15 Apr 2009 at 9:08 am

    The ability to make anything you sneeze upon spontaneously combust. How awesomely impractical would that be?

    Seriously, telepathy. 100% the main reason my hero has that power. I’d love to know what people were thinking.

  270. Mr. Briton 15 Apr 2009 at 9:31 am

    Any sort of enhanced acrobatics looks amazing and I love how Nightcrawler combines that and teleporting in X-Men 2. Telekinesis would be pretty amazing as well, especially if you could use it to make yourself fly.

    Not so much a cool power, but a really useful one would be a genuine photographic memory. It would make exams so much easier 😛

  271. Avi Arunon 15 Apr 2009 at 9:34 am

    (1) How are people with mind related powers generally categorized as?

    (2) Why are most telepathic superheroes always bald?

    (3) I got an idea about this, but tell me if this contradicts science : –

    As your body experiences strain, your physical body gets tired. But, When your mind experiences strain, the power of the mind develops further. This, in turn nourishes the scalp even more. So, telepathic superheroes must have long hair and must not be bald.

    your ideas?

  272. Holliequon 15 Apr 2009 at 10:02 am

    The mind wouldn’t have any effect on the scalp, as far as I know. I’m no scientist but there’s no reason why it would do. I think most telepathic superheroes are bald just because. I don’t think telepathy would make any difference.

    Oh, and mind-superpowers generally make you a psychic, I think.

  273. B. Macon 15 Apr 2009 at 10:20 am

    I’m extremely fond of agility, particularly for comic book heroes. Agility lends itself well to interesting fights and noncombat stunts.

  274. Ragged Boyon 15 Apr 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Avi asked:
    “What are the coolest superpowers according to you? Not necessarily powerful, but the coolest.”

    I really like agility as well. I mostly like powers that are generally limited forcing the user to be creative. I usually augment the agility powers with something that makes them flashy and cool. I don’t like innately superpowered people as much as I like object-based or gadget powers.

    Showtime and Sketch are probably some of my most powerful protagonists. Their powers have a very high ability cap. I like my Masquerade character’s powers (perception, agility, and gadgets) more than both Showtime and Sketch’s, because they are pretty limited to about Spiderman level. I’ll admit I like how Spiderman solves most of his problems.

    What do you think?

  275. Avi Arunon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:55 am

    On a similar note, In what ways can you limit a over-powered character’s powers? [minus Kryptonite]

  276. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 2:14 am

    “What are the coolest superpowers according to you? Not necessarily powerful, but the coolest.”

    The ability to raise body temperature and the temperature of others and objects by touching them, like Kyoko in the Black Cat manga. If she feels like it, she can burn someone from the inside out by kissing them, withstand an explosion by making the air around her hotter, or melt something by placing her hand on it.

    Another favourite of mine is to be able to make weapons from the body, like Sandman or Eve (also from Black Cat). Eve can also sprout wings for a limited amount of time and create replicas of objects to fool people.

    Transformation from one form into another. (Not a shapeshifter, but the ability to switch forms). Like Daisuke in DNAngel (whose transformation is actually a seperate guy who lives inside his body), Danny Phantom or Sailor Moon.

  277. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:26 am

    “In what ways can you limit a over-powered character’s powers”

    If the character is overpowered you’ll probably be force to come up with a more specific weakness (Kryptonite,etc) just for that character. Alternatively, you could remove some of that character’s abilities until the point where they have general weaknesses (common forms of injury).

    Or you can give the character a parameter. A standard thet they have to go by while using their power. For example, Hourman can only use his powers for-you guessed it-one hour. You could also you a fatigue parameter (their powers wear them out quickly) or an energy parameter (they run out of their power after extended use).

    What do you think?

  278. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:28 am

    I didn’t know Kyoko could do all that, I only ever saw her blow fire. I liked Black Cat. Although, I felt Sven was more the main character for some reason. I didn’t like Train that much.

    Go Chronos!

  279. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Apr 2009 at 3:46 am

    She can in the manga. I’m up to chapter 63. I haven’t seen the anime, but I suspect that like many adapted from manga, a lot of the elements will be cut out.

    For example, the DNAngel anime made up a lot of the storylines, basing them very loosely on the manga. It cut out a character – Argentine, but he may not have been introduced in the manga at the time – and added one called Mio Hio, who hasn’t appeared in the manga.

    I like Train, especially how he’s a carefree Big Eater who tends to annoy Sven, but if you make him angry, there’s no hope. You’re screwed. Haha. In the manga he stops a guy from shooting him by shooting into the barrels of his gun. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

  280. Stefan the Exploding Manon 16 Apr 2009 at 5:46 am

    I think the power to explode and reform your body would be insanely cool.

    Oh, oh, and did you know that in the 60s or something the Martian Manhunter had the power to make ice-cream appear with his eyes? I want that power.

  281. Marissaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Ragged Boy, funny that your Masquerade is one of your favorites.

    So is my Masquerade. I mean, in my favorites. She’s a lot more deceptive than perceptive, though, as you said yours was.

  282. Ragged Boyon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:36 pm

    You have a Masquerade, too. Dammit. I’ll have to switch back to Facade. Yeah, he gets his powers of perception through his mask and his agility and gadgets through his stylized outfit. He’s a spokeshero (spokemodel/superhero) and a model. I really like his story. Or at least what I’ve made of it so far.

  283. Marissaon 16 Apr 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Well, mine’s a female, if that helps? 😀

    Even when I’m published, I wouldn’t freak out if you kept the name. My publishers might, but… meh. =/

  284. Avi Arunon 17 Apr 2009 at 8:36 am

    Can you suggest me some novels/graphic novels about overpowered superheroes?

  285. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 8:43 am


    Other than the obvious… Jean Grey is ridiculously overpowered. Though there’s two problems.
    1. I think she’s currently dead. (note-currently, she’s SO coming back) I’m not sure about this one.
    2. Her overpoweredness comes at a price in the form of the Phoenix.

  286. Stefan the Exploding Manon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:17 am

    Superman is overpowered, but his overpowered-ness isn’t usually emphasised in his comic books. If you’re looking for comics in which overpowered-ness is a plot point, Watchmen is the best place to start. Kingdom Come from DC comics also fits.

  287. Avi Arunon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:19 am

    As far as my knowledge goes, I’m only aware of Superman and Goku being the most overpowered superheroes. Are there any competitors to these guys?

  288. Avi Arunon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:29 am

    And I don’t think Superman is that over-powered because every supervillain has Kryptonite. And when Superman sees Kryptonite, he becomes less than subhuman, how cool is that? I know Post-Crisis Superman is immune to Kryptonite, but there is not much storyline going for him, is there?

  289. Holliequon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:29 am

    Dr. Manhattan is definitely overpowered. Not only is he the only superhero in the world, his powers are ridiculously god-like. This isn’t bad because it’s addressed (and has a major effect on the plot), but it does still exist.

    Again from Watchmen, I think Adrian Veidt is overpowered too. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he’s able to catch a bullet in his hands with only (as far as I can tell) superficial wounds. On top of that, he’s known as the smartest man in the world and he’s pretty much at the peak of human ability.

  290. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:30 am

    Yeah I’d say Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen, but it’s justified by it causing him to become out of touch with humanity.

  291. B. Macon 17 Apr 2009 at 9:49 am

    “On top of that, he’s known as the smartest man in the world and he’s pretty much at the peak of human ability.”

    Umm, for the sake of mankind, I hope he’s not actually the smartest man in the world. His password is Ramses II. If that weren’t bad enough, when Rorschach types in Ramses as the password, it prompts him for more detail! Ick. That scene made me cringe so bad that there’s a scene in Superhero Nation that parodies it.

  292. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 10:20 am

    Warning: Spoilers.

    It could be argued I suppose that Ozzy intended Nite Owl and Rorschach to hack the computer. Maybe he wanted them to come to his lair. There was no way they could stop him, as immortalised by his famous line: ‘I already did it thirty-five minutes ago’

    So maybe it was deliberate.


    Do Ctrl+F ‘Watchmen’.

  293. Avi Arunon 17 Apr 2009 at 11:35 am

    “I was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry came fully formed into my mind. I really don’t know where the idea came from, It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head. When I had reached my Clapham Junction flat, I began to write immediately”.

    JK Rowling, on how she invented Harry Potter.

    Doesn’t this seem a little bit exaggerated? Is it that easy to catch a story out of nowhere? Where’s the hard process of Brainstorming?

  294. Holliequon 17 Apr 2009 at 11:40 am

    Hey, I’ve had it happen sometimes. In fact, I’ve never tried brainstorming a story. It never occurred to me before. O_O; Does everyone do that?

  295. Avi Arunon 17 Apr 2009 at 11:49 am

    What are the super superpowers?

    Super strength, Super speed… then what?

  296. Holliequon 17 Apr 2009 at 11:53 am

    Um, super-agility, super-sense(s), super-reflexes . . . put super in front of pretty much any human capability.

  297. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 11:57 am

    Super long… tongue, super ability to make armpit farts… You’re right!

  298. Wingson 17 Apr 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Most stuff just flies into my head. For instance:

    How to Save the World was created because of a dodgeball game at school. Since everyone was treating the game as if it was a match of life or death, I started wondering what it would be like if it WAS a match of life or death (The only character today present in this original version was a more fracture and unnamed version of Jazz).

    Then, I saw the movie Zoom (not too great, they could have done SO much more with it) and the idea started growing. When I changed schools, I discussed it with my friend, and together we created Pierce, and after that the idea really took flight. Then, I discovered you guys, and well…The rest is history.

    I found a page of my old notes the other day, which gave the early descriptions of the characters: (Meg and Connor were there under different names, and Ian and Jazz were both present as well. Heather’s early counterpart also existed.) I’m saving it to sell on Ebay when I’m famous. 🙂

    Basically, ideas grow over time.

    – Wings

  299. B. Macon 17 Apr 2009 at 12:08 pm

    It seems plausible to me that a writer could come up with a winning concept within a few hours.

    Then again, the magic really happens in the execution and not the concept. The concept only gets you so far. There are so many ways to write an awful book about a boy wizard headed off to a wizarding school.

  300. Tomon 17 Apr 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Once my brother asked me ‘where’s mum?’ and I said, jokingly, as I do, ‘she was hit by a meteorite that was launched at her by aliens wanting to take over the world and now we have to go off on a journey into the stars to track down the ones who did this to her and seek revenge.’

    It’s currently a backup project of which I have the basic synopsis written.

  301. Avi Arunon 18 Apr 2009 at 9:44 am

    Here’s my newest concept. I brainstormed for ideas this time, and I’m using actual working names instead of sample names.

    Dr. Uno Rich, a biologist, ships supplies of a strong virus to his country to aid in Nuclear tests. The package is stolen on board by International Criminal Mastermind Yen and his skilled henchmen. Yen assumes that, by heavily diluting the virus, he can obtain a solution that could act as a permanent energy booster giving him greater strength and speed. He injects himself but experiences no change. Afraid the Government will track him down, He divides the remaining solution into multiple samples and sends them to his contacts in different countries, hence preventing the Government from confiscating them until he finds a way to use his powers.

    The Government send their best agents to each country in the world to find the samples before Yen does. After a few days, Yen discovers that he is now a lot more stronger and faster than he was earlier. Realizing that the Government can force Dr. Rich to develop an antidote for the virus with the remaining samples and that the antidote will remove all his powers and may kill him, Yen plans to destroy the remaining samples and kill Rich himself. He convinces his contacts to inject themselves with their respective samples. They do as Yen says but ends up dead because the other samples were not diluted. One of his contacts loses his sample and hence begins a race across the world between the Agents and the Criminals.

    As the story progresses, many others are affected by the virus fortunately or unfortunately. Now knowing how his virus can activate one’s abilities, Rich begins creating a similar virus.

    This is the basic sketch of my work. Tell me your opinions? Will it work?

  302. B. Macon 18 Apr 2009 at 10:03 am

    “Dr. Uno Rich, a biologist, ships supplies of a strong virus to his country to aid in Nuclear tests.”
    –I don’t see the connection between viruses/biology and nuclear tests.
    –Where is Rich when Yen steals the package? It might be more dramatic if he’s on board.

    Is Rich the protagonist of this story?

    It might help to come up with a good reason why Yen sends off the samples instead of holding on to them himself. What does he have to gain by leaving them in the hands of contacts? If I were him, my first thought would be that it’s easiest to hold on to them myself because it reduces the chance that the government will find the virus before they find me. And if they find me, I’m screwed anyway.

    What are the goals of the protagonist and antagonist? Now that Yen has these superpowers, what’s he going to do with them? Hopefully he has something more dramatic in mind than just evading escape.

  303. Tomon 18 Apr 2009 at 10:49 am

    Why does a virus make Yen stronger, as opposed to harming him (or killing him, since it’s a ‘strong virus’)? I might be wrong but I think viruses are harmful by definition.

  304. B. Macon 22 Apr 2009 at 7:18 am

    You can hire an illustrator, but you’ll probably lay out the pages yourself. (The freelance artist will charge more if he has to do that). So you do need to know something about how to lay out panels in an interesting way. Please see this article for some examples.

    Also, you’re the main evaluator of the art. You’re the one that has to decide whether the sample is good enough to send to a publisher.

    “If I hire somebody, will they get more credit than me?” Only if the art is much better than the writing. It would be hard to find a freelancer that is so good that he is the star of the show. I wouldn’t recommend worrying about who gets the credit, though. If the series is good, everyone benefits. I’d much rather be an equal partner on a good team than the star on a bad team.

  305. Avi Arunon 22 Apr 2009 at 7:57 am

    For eg., Imagine that I make a comic book. I write, but someone else draws. And, after about a decade, my comic book is successful and my comic is adapted into a movie.

    At the end of the movie, there is something common included in every adaptation : “Based on the comic book by ____________”. Okay, if my name is Avi Arun and my artist’s name is, say, John Smith, whose name will take control of the blank above?

  306. Avi Arunon 22 Apr 2009 at 8:25 am

    I have yet another set of questions.

    (1) Can a fantasy be entirely set in real world?

    (2) Is it necessary for the main character in a fantasy to be a loser? eg., Frodo Baggins, Eragon, coughHarryPottercough

    (3) Should there always be a mentor? Can’t the hero learn through experience, practice or something like that?

    (4) What are some names for magic users in fantasy? (Wizards are overused, aren’t they?)

    (5) What are some typical jobs in fantasy? I want to stick with the fairly basic ones. I know Knights and Wizards. Are there any more?

  307. Holliequon 22 Apr 2009 at 9:05 am

    (1) Yes. Twilight, terrible book though it is, is a fantasy set entirely in the real world. So is Harry Potter, though it created new places.

    (2) No. I disagree about Harry Potter being a “loser”, but okay.

    (3) No, I don’t think so. But sometimes it would be better to include a mentor. If your MC is learning how to use magic when nobody else knows anything about it, they might come off as Mary Sue ish. I would definitely recommend spicing up the mentor-student relationship though.

    (4) Mages, magicians, sages, shaman (at a stretch, I guess) . . . or you could choose another word and use that instead. For example, maybe you’d want to call your wizards “Handlers”, or whatever makes sense in your world.

    (5) Mercenary, politician, assassin, soldier, cook, maid, servant, companion, farmer, fisherman, king/other royalty, advisor, spy – and probably any real-world job could be easily translated to a fantasy world.

  308. Ragged Boyon 22 Apr 2009 at 9:15 am

    I love the word shaman. It sounds so mystic.

    This sucks that I can’t get on very often. My keyboard at home is broke, so I’m at a loss. How can I keep up if I can’t even get on?

  309. B. Macon 22 Apr 2009 at 10:00 am

    Avi said:

    “For example, imagine that I make a comic book. I write, but someone else draws. And, after about a decade, my comic book is successful and my comic is adapted into a movie.

    At the end of the movie, there is something common included in every adaptation : “Based on the comic book by ____________”. Okay, if my name is Avi Arun and my artist’s name is, say, John Smith, whose name will take control of the blank above?

    If either name is used, it would definitely be yours. However, it is outlandishly rare for comic books to be so successful that they get turned into movies (even a decade later).

  310. Avi Arunon 23 Apr 2009 at 8:13 am

    Today, I saw one of my friend’s document at google docs. He’s writing some kind of superhero story from what he showed me. I think his protagonist is pretty overpowered, but he denies it. Do you think he is? Here are his powers (copied and pasted directly from his document) :

    (1) Super Strength [Power to destroy galaxies with extra-ordinary ease]
    (2) Super Speed [1000 times the speed of light]
    (3) Super Reactive [can catch a sudden bullet]
    (4) Volatile Omniscience [His brain knows everything, but realizes them only when required]
    (5) Super Intelligence [Can remember anything]
    (6) Invulnerability [Immune to any physical or mental torture]
    (6) Super Sense [can sense incoming danger]
    (7) Immortality [Does not age and Cannot die no matter what happens]
    (8) Can control Fire, Water, Ice, Earth, Wind and Lightning
    (9) Telescopic Vision
    (10) X-ray Vision
    (11) Super Hearing
    (12) Sonic Scream
    (13) Instant Recognition
    (14) Precognition
    (15) Flight
    (16) Complete absorption [Can absorb one’s powers and memories at will]
    (17) Power Negation [can cancel one’s power temporarily at will]
    (18) Ultra-conscious [Cannot be drugged and does not lose his consciousness]
    (19) Survival [can survive without food, air, water]
    (20) Molecularization [can phase through solid objects]
    (21) Night Vision [can see clearly in darkness]
    (22) Microscopic Vision [can see minute objects]
    (23) Telepathy
    (24) Mind control [can control anyone’s mind]
    (25) Reality Warping [can create illusions]
    (26) Time Manipulation [Can stop, slow down or speed up time]
    (27) Time Travel [can travel through and alter time]
    (28) Energy Blasts
    (29) Dimensional transportation [can travel through dimensions via wormholes]
    (30) Instant Teleportation [can teleport anywhere at will]
    (31) Shape-shifting [can change into anything at will]
    (32) Invisibility
    (33) Can create Force fields
    (34) Manipulation [can manipulate any object]
    (35) Cloning [can duplicate himself]
    (36) Power Sensing [can sense anyone’s power at will]
    (37) Purity sensor [can pick out good from evil]
    (38) Control [can control the amount of power he uses at will]
    (39) Self-Detonation [can explode himself when focused. Only way to kill himself]
    (40) Resurection [Can revive the dead]
    (41) Blessing [Temporarily give someone special abilities]
    (42) The Sacred Wish – He can make anything happen just by thinking of it.

    All these are only the protagonist’s powers. Can you believe it? Finally some competition to Superman 😀

  311. B. Macon 23 Apr 2009 at 8:32 am

    It kind of depends on what his goals are. I don’t think that a hero this powerful could be published… his fights probably wouldn’t be interesting and he could hardly be challenged. On the other hand, if your friend is just writing for himself and a circle of friends, he might resent that input. If this is just a hobby for him, I’d recommend being very gentle with him.

    However, if he is trying to get published, I would recommend cutting out at least 35 of these because readers will have trouble remembering more than around 5 powers. In particular, I think that publishers will be more receptive if he gets rid of 42, 41, 40, 37, 27, 25, 17, 7, 4 and 6.1 (invulnerability, the first #6). Readers usually only care about a character that is threatened in some way. The only unchallengeable superhero that has worked to any extent is Dr. Manhattan, and even he failed when it mattered.

  312. Ragged Boyon 23 Apr 2009 at 9:24 am

    I’m pretty sure it would suck to write this character. You’d probably be constantly referring back to this list in order to remember their powers. I think this is a character that suffered from make-it-up-as-you-go-itis. The writer probably just added powers whenever it was convenient.

  313. Tomon 23 Apr 2009 at 9:30 am

    42 pretty much negates the need for all the other powers.

    lol, 42.

  314. Gurion Omegaon 23 Apr 2009 at 9:44 am

    What if a female character’s only reason for being in love with a male character is the fact that:

    Since she’s been lonely for a long time, she unconsciously decided to form a strong bond with the first person to give a fart about her? Even if the relationship was only meant for friendship?

  315. Gurion Omegaon 23 Apr 2009 at 9:50 am

    Of course the girl (hypothetical) is about 13-15 years old.

  316. Avi Arunon 23 Apr 2009 at 10:26 am

    What genre (fantasy or sci-fi) is a story where people use their magical powers to fight modern villains in the present or future?

  317. Mr. Briton 23 Apr 2009 at 11:30 am

    I would describe the force as a magical power (despite the silly attempts at making it science in the prequels) but Star Wars is undeniably a sci-fi series. I think it depends on a lot of things. Your setting and how you present the powers seem obvious ones. If you present them as the force is, an advanced technique known to an elite few, it will come of as less fantasy than if it were discovered as part of a magical amulet or book of spells. Basically, I think it all depends on how you write, it could be either. I realise that’s probably not too helpful, sorry.

  318. B. Macon 23 Apr 2009 at 11:51 am

    It’d probably be sci-fi, Avi.

    A few cyberpunk series, like Shadowrun and Rifts, use magic. But they are still much closer to sci-fi than fantasy. In most futuristic settings, the technology will have a much larger impact on the mood and feel of the story than the magic will.

    There were magical Jedi in Star Wars, but 95% of the story was a straight-up space opera.

  319. B. Macon 23 Apr 2009 at 11:56 am

    Gurion asked: “What if a female character’s only reason for being in love with a male character is the fact that… she’s been lonely for a long time and she unconsciously decided to form a strong bond with the first person to give a fart about her? Even if the relationship was only meant for friendship? She’s about 13-15 years old.”

    Hmm. Are we supposed to feel that this is a healthy relationship? It might come off like she’s desperate and is rushing at the first guy who will give her the time of day.

    Please take this with the caveat that I am not very good when it comes to romance, particularly young adult romance.

  320. B. Macon 23 Apr 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Ragged Boy said: “I’m pretty sure it would suck to write this character. You’d probably be constantly referring back to this list in order to remember their powers… The writer probably just added powers whenever it was convenient.”

    Haha, yeah. My guess is that the author decided that he wanted the hero to win, so he made it impossible for him to lose. “Well, I don’t want my hero to die, so I’ll make him completely invulnerable and immortal. I don’t want him to get surprised, so I’ll give him (deep breath) danger sense, telescopic vision, x-ray vision, instant recognition, super-hearing, night vision, microscopic vision AND omniscience. Also, just in case the villain somehow manages to accomplish anything, I’ll give my hero time-travel and resurrection.”

    Needless to say, that is not an effective way to develop a character. Most successful superheroes are powerful enough to impress readers, but weak enough that they can be challenged. It will be MUCH easier to write your story if the protagonist is weak enough that he can have a dramatic fight with unpowered goons. (This is a major reason that Superman is so much harder to sell than Spiderman, Wolverine, Batman, etc).

  321. Holliequon 23 Apr 2009 at 1:38 pm

    “What if a female character’s only reason for being in love with a male character is the fact that:

    Since she’s been lonely for a long time, she unconsciously decided to form a strong bond with the first person to give a fart about her? Even if the relationship was only meant for friendship?”

    It may just be me, but I think this is very plausible. I don’t think that would be her reason, though. That might be the subconcious reason, but on the surface she would probably reel of a lot of positive traits (he’s intelligent, witty, funny, cute, friendly, etc.) Note that some of these might only be true in her eyes. Don’t make her an idiot, though. If he acts harshly to everybody he meets, she’s probably not going to think he’s friendly.

  322. Davidon 23 Apr 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hey, girls tend to love a badass. 😉

  323. ikarus619xon 23 Apr 2009 at 2:04 pm

    @Avi : Is your friend writing a Chuck Norris biography?

  324. Tomon 23 Apr 2009 at 2:16 pm

    No, he missed ‘super roundhouse kick’.

  325. Gurion Omegaon 23 Apr 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Alright, thanks B. Mac, and Holliequ.

  326. Ragged Boyon 23 Apr 2009 at 3:40 pm

    “Well, hey, girls tend to love a badass”

    I thought that was true for a long time, but I have to disagree. Most of the “badasses” I know are druggie jerks that wouldn’t hesitate to strike a woman like she were a man. A girl might like that “appeal” for a short time, but I doubt women are rushing bad-boys to the altar.

  327. Ragged Boyon 23 Apr 2009 at 3:59 pm

    “What if a female character’s only reason for being in love with a male character is the fact that:

    Since she’s been lonely for a long time, she unconsciously decided to form a strong bond with the first person to give a fart about her? Even if the relationship was only meant for friendship?”

    I, too, think this is plausible. If she has really been lonely for so long she has probably regressed heavily. To the extent that she would focus her psychological energy towards any positive fixation. If the relationship was nurturing to her in anyway, she would probably develop attachment, very much like an infant to its mother. However, there would have to be something suggestive towards a romantic relationship to make her fall in love as she does. I would definitely say this is unhealthy because 1) people can become too attached and may see other females as a threat and 2) her psychological energy can be subject to re-direction from an even more embracing source. For example, if you were a child, would you rather hang out with your regular big brother or your big brother that had candy with him?

    Maybe I’m over-analyzing, though.

    What do you think?

  328. Avi Arunon 24 Apr 2009 at 4:11 am

    you mean like

    Enter text here


  329. Davidon 24 Apr 2009 at 8:22 am

    Hey, any tips on getting over writer’s block?

  330. Ragged Boyon 24 Apr 2009 at 8:29 am

    I vaguely remember B. Mac saying that when you have writer’s block, move on. Work on a later scene and then find a way to connect them and finish the section. You could start on your synopsis for now. Mapping the overall story will help you fill in holes in the actual writing.

  331. B. Macon 24 Apr 2009 at 8:34 am

    We have an article about how to overcome writer’s block.

  332. Avi Arunon 24 Apr 2009 at 10:17 am

    I am currently experiencing Writer’s Block. That is why I haven’t been posting anything on my review forums for quite a while.

    My problem is that I often lose hope. Can this be considered as part of Writer’s Block? I mean, There are over 1000s of writers in the world, at least a few hundreds are literary geniuses and dozens are already published and successful. There is no way I (being a 16 year old average student with an IQ of only 114) can ever be successful. Besides, English is not even my native language.

    That is how I’ve been thinking for the last few days. I don’t know how true are my thoughts, but I’m disturbed by the weird feeling that writing is not my destiny. Should I just quit now, or is there a way to overcome my writer’s block?

  333. Holliequon 24 Apr 2009 at 10:29 am

    Don’t feel so down! You don’t have to be any specific nationality, age or intelligence to write. IQ is overrated anyway (and, unless I’m mistaken, 114 is above average). It doesn’t measure everything.

    If you think your age is a hurdle, there’s a very simple solution: get published when you’re older!

    There are a bunch of solutions for writer’s block. I’ve got a little bit of a case now, too. Just start writing something. Anything – doesn’t matter how bad it is, just write. That might help.

  334. B. Macon 24 Apr 2009 at 11:10 am

    1. IQ only measures some logical abilities. It doesn’t measure your work ethic, persistence, the ability to self-correct, the ability to empathize with and lead an audience, clarity of thought, etc. In short, it doesn’t measure the ability to write. I wouldn’t worry at all about your IQ; it won’t affect your writing career. Besides, if you were an Einstein-caliber genius, hardly anyone could relate to your thoughts anyway.

    2. You sound like you have a fluent grasp of written English. There are some fairly minor grammatical issues from time to time, but definitely nothing on the level that would make me think “maybe you should think about a different career path.”

    3. It sounds like you are a perfectionist, as am I. This is more of a problem than your linguistic background. For example, I have trouble writing rough drafts because I’m painfully conscious of the 20 or 30 different problems I make on each page. If that is a problem for you, I would recommend committing to writing 2 or 3 pages every day. Don’t worry about quality; just get them down. No one– not even superstar authors like JK Rowling or Terry Pratchett– writes at a publishable quality on the first draft. When you have a large body of material, then you can think about how you can edit and rewrite it into a work that’s good enough to sell.

    4. As I’ve noted before, age is a surmountable obstacle. A publisher would publish a 5 year-old if he had a sufficiently large audience. A young prospective author has to overcome two main challenges.
    –Experience. A younger author hasn’t had as many years to write. If you’re looking to get published as quickly as possible, it’s critical to write as much as possible; if you check out this website’s old material, you can tell that I was quite awful when I started. However, over two years I gained sharper writing, a clearer focus (nonfiction rather than comedy), a more distinctive voice, etc.
    –Audience. As a younger author, you are riskier in the eyes of a publisher. But you can greatly reduce that perceived risk with an audience. An audience is proof of talent, readability and marketability. The best way for a young author to establish an audience in advance of being published is blogging.

    I hope that helps!

  335. Dforceon 24 Apr 2009 at 11:30 am

    Avi Arun, don’t give up! Know that just because you’re published doesn’t mean you are a genius, and that being successful doesn’t mean you’re talented at writing. Look at Twilight. From what I’ve heard– not the greatest thing ever.

    As far as hope is concerned– there will always be great obstacles in your way. Nothing worth it ever comes easy. Do you think you have to be born great to be great? Practice does make perfect. I’m not that great when it comes to drawing– real mangaka like Kishimoto put me to shame, but I won’t give up. I draw and I get better!

    Do you think the other authors didn’t eventually feel that way too? But they stuck with it.

    “The woods would be very silent if no bird sang there except those that sang best.” How dull would the fiction world be if only the one author got published? “Oh great, another fantasy story about vampires… sparkling…”

    As far as language is concerned, look at your options. English isn’t the only language on Earth, you know. There’s German, French, Spanish, and your native tongue– maybe you could be one of the great writers of your nation. How inspiring would it be to future generations of your homeland to know that there’s hope for them? That they can give it their all and write magnificent stories too?

    Place those fears aside! Destiny is irrelevant. You only know it once you get there, so follow your life and it’ll turn out like it should. If fears have gotten the better of man, would they have left the islands to explore? But they could have drowned… Would they have left the ground? Man wasn’t meant to fly… Would they have left the Earth? Only the gods were allowed there…

    How many men have looked at birds and thought about soaring like them? “There are 1000s of birds in the world, and at least a few hundred are aviatory geniuses. Dozens are already in the sky, flying and thriving.”

    “Besides,” says the man, “I don’t even have wings.”

    I’m sure people have thought like that. But we have space shuttles now. Take that, destiny. I may just be delusional, but I belive what I say. If you really enjoy writing, keep at it. There’s nothing sadder than seeing someone’s joy wither and die out of neglect.

  336. B. Macon 24 Apr 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t think there’s a set IQ level at which your mind becomes unrelatable. For example, Jay Cost is a freakishly smart political scientist– certainly one of America’s top political observers today– but his writing is clear and generally very easy to understand.

    Here are a few tricks that might help you relate to readers that are not quite as intelligent.

    1. Give them a Watson. Watson was a likable character whose main purpose was to help the readers understand what Sherlock Holmes was thinking. Also, he helped Sherlock Holmes talk the audience through the case.

    2. Listen especially closely to your reviewers about clarity. “I found this chapter hard to follow” is usually code for “I would have put the book down here.” If readers suggest that the plot is hard to follow, I recommend taking things a bit more slowly. Repeat any necessary details, if appropriate. Please pay especially close attention to comments from readers inside your target audience.

    3. Don’t try to impress your readers with your intelligence and/or your research. Research is fine, but don’t show it off. In particular, keep the character’s language as free of mumbo-jumbo as possible.

    4. Don’t let an exceedingly intelligent character turn into a Mary Sue. Give him flaws and foibles as necessary. Maybe let the audience laugh at him once in a while. Etc. I think Monk and House do a pretty good job of that.

    5. Keep the plot as simple as possible. Byzantine plots with conspiracies within conspiracies and double-agents and treachery and the like are generally very hard to follow.

    Also, I wouldn’t recommend worrying too much about IQ one way or the other. I think an IQ score says more about the particular test than the test-taker. I’ve taken two IQ tests and the scores were 75 points apart. Any test that fluctuates that much is probably not very valid.

  337. Marissaon 24 Apr 2009 at 1:51 pm

    1. Hmm. Does this only apply when there’s a super smart character? Because I’m not quite sure where I’d put in a Watson. =/

    2. Hmm. You’ve read my prologue. Most readers seem fine with it, but one said they were lost as to what Tracer was talking about when she said ‘You should do it.’ Near the end, I mean, when he was basically asking her verdict, whether or not she was going to end up attacking/trying to kill him. The reader was thinking, ‘wait, do what?’ I, however, felt that I’d set that up just fine, and that both characters would know what she was talking about. To add elaboration would feel out of character and even borderline “As you know, George,” or whatever that trope is called. If it’s only one reader, is it enough to have to change it?

    3. Oh, pff, I don’t do that. He who tries to prove he’s smart tends to fall on his face. Or something along those lines, at least. The only time there’s ever mumbo-jumbo is when the reader isn’t meant to understand, and there’s always a translator afterward. In either case, it’s rare.

    4. None of the main characters are that sort of smart. Thankfully, the brainy one is also the laid-back and relatable one, so he totally understands that nobody wants the brainy version of things.

    5. Hmm. I may be in trouble there. =/

  338. Davidon 25 Apr 2009 at 3:20 am

    I see. Fair enough. Speaking of which, I have a question for B. Mac.

    B. Mac, what’s your opinion about using gods in stories? I’m planning to use one, but more as a small side-character. I’m using a god of blacksmiths and a god of the dead.

    I’ve also got some places I could use, like the land under the waves, the land of youth, the land of the blessed, the field of happiness, the plain of two mists, the land of shade, the land of the dead, etc.

  339. B. Macon 25 Apr 2009 at 4:14 am

    I’m not terribly fond of using deities in fantasy stories, but they definitely work better in fantasy than in superhero stories.

    In fantasy, I think it’s just a matter of audience preference. Some readers will like that and others won’t. My main concern is that deities are rarely well-developed or interesting. It’s hard to give a deity satisfying motivations.

    Terry Pratchett’s deities are pretty gripping, though.

  340. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Apr 2009 at 8:22 am

    “My hero wakes up after several years in coma (Is that possible?)”

    Yes, if I find the link I will put it here. I recall reading about a girl in the Victorian age who hit her head and entered a thirty year coma. She was kept alive by being fed sugared water with a spoon. She woke up and looked much younger than she should have, and lived many more years.

  341. Avi Arunon 25 Apr 2009 at 9:04 am

    Although that would make a person kinda retarded, wouldn’t it?

  342. Avi Arunon 25 Apr 2009 at 9:33 am

    I’ve got another concept.

    – During an internal struggle between the gods, the gods divided themselves into two factions, Angels and Demons. Angels believe in harmony, while demons are only after power. They were always enemies to each other.

    Centuries later, A demon prince loves an angel. The angel does not love him initially. Both the angels and demons are against this and are willing to sacrifice the couple if they marry. The demon prince is still determined and challenges the angel that he’ll make her love him. The rest of the story revolves around how the demon wins his girl.

    Atlast, the demon and angel marry each other and all differences between the angels and demons disappear. They give birth to a child, which marks the birth of the first human.

  343. Dinhilionon 25 Apr 2009 at 4:13 pm

    “- During an internal struggle between the gods, the gods divided themselves into two factions, Angels and Demons. Angels believe in harmony, while demons are only after power. They were always enemies to each other.

    Centuries later, A demon prince loves an angel. The angel does not love him initially. Both the angels and demons are against this and are willing to sacrifice the couple if they marry. The demon prince is still determined and challenges the angel that he’ll make her love him. The rest of the story revolves around how the demon wins his girl.

    Atlast, the demon and angel marry each other and all differences between the angels and demons disappear. They give birth to a child, which marks the birth of the first human.”

    I ending seems really unlikely to me. A marriage that somehow manages to erase hundreds of years of hate seems too improbable. What is it about this marriage that makes two incompatible natures compatible?
    Also- why would a baby of the two become a human? You made it seem like they were all the same race. The rest of it fees slightly cliche, but workable.

  344. Holliequon 25 Apr 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I dunno, it just seems like a Romeo and Juliet remix to me, only without the double suicide. Then again, I don’t tend to go for romance plots, so meh.

  345. Wingson 25 Apr 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Meh, it’s rather good, but it needs more – I don’t know, pizazz?

    For my own romances, I try to add a little style to make each one more unique. Take a look:

    Between Light and Darkness: In this fantasy-romance, my two main characters are quite literally polar opposites. Aya, the daughter of the Light Emperor, is rebellious, overconfident, and reckless, while her opposite number, Zar, is cowardly with a fear of heights and a bullying older brother.

    Ai: An AI and a hacker fall for each other. It’s going to be difficult, but that’s the fun of it. Read the forum for more details.

    How to Save the World: The only romances here are the Ian and Jazz moments, since the romance is more implied than stated. However, I’m doing my best to make them as “awwwww-inducing” as possible.

    The Cursed and The Fallen: Actually rather similar in parts to Avi’s idea, this story revolves around a fallen angel who serves as the messenger between Heaven and the Underworld, and the girl he is sent to bring to Heaven to be judged, a teen with the unlucky ability Jinx, causing her to indirectly hurt the people around her.

    And these are only the DEVELOPED stories!

  346. Stefan the Exploding Manon 27 Apr 2009 at 4:52 am

    Does anyone else find it annoying when a character in a story quotes from some famous dead poet or something and another character finishes the quote, or returns with a different quote?

    Is using quotes from famous dead people in a novel pretentious and overambitious?

  347. B. Macon 27 Apr 2009 at 5:09 am

    Waking up after a coma of a few years is definitely possible.

  348. B. Macon 27 Apr 2009 at 5:18 am

    I think it’s usually pretentious, particularly if the author’s goal is to show how well-read he is. You’ve got to think about what your readers want to get out of your book. Will they actually enjoy your literary references?

    Also, depending on how obscure the reference is, I suspect that most of the readers won’t get the reference. What will they think? If your writing causes even 10% of your readers to stumble, I’d say you have a problem.

    “Does anyone else find it annoying when a character in a story quotes from some famous dead poet or something and another character… returns with a different quote?”

    If you handled this well, I think this could be funny.
    AGENT BLACK: You know what they say. If at first you don’t succeed–
    AGENT ORANGE: Hide the bodies and deny all involvement.
    AGENT BLACK: I don’t think that’s what they say.
    AGENT ORANGE: Then you are not listening to the right people!

  349. Avi Arunon 27 Apr 2009 at 7:35 am

    Is there an article in Superhero Nation on all the Dos and Donts of Novel/Comic book writing? If not, can anyone provide me a link to the same?

    If I’m writing a novel, I need to get it published at all costs, so I need to know absolutely everything that I must avoid.

  350. B. Macon 27 Apr 2009 at 7:53 am

    We have a 10-part series on the most common mistakes. You can see part 1 here. (That article includes links to the other 9 parts).

    In addition, you might enjoy this test for aspiring novelists.

  351. Avi Arunon 27 Apr 2009 at 10:42 am

    I’m increasingly worried because I haven’t updated my review forums in a long time. So, I think my newest concept below is pretty workable. But, I need approval first. Here it is : –

    The story starts with an anonymous figure eavesdropping a briefing session in the parliament, where the speakers debate over whether Yen deserves punishment or not. Yen is an outlaw who privately investigates and solves crimes better left to law. According to Yen, the law is not effective in handling crime. As the briefing session comes to an end, the figure throws a smoke bomb and kidnaps the mayor. The government send their best men to find the mayor. The government suspect Yen to be involved in this case. So, Yen is publicly framed for the kidnapping and issues a report on sight order as a plot to catch him. As the news reaches the media, Yen decides to find the mayor while evading escape from the cops.

  352. B. Macon 27 Apr 2009 at 10:59 am

    “So, I think my newest concept below is pretty workable. But, I need approval first.” No, you definitely don’t. 😉 This may sound counterintuitive, but I think it would help you to just start writing and you can flesh out the concept later.

    So, instead of pointing out potential issues with your concept, I will offer questions that you may wish to consider as you go about writing. Hopefully these will stimulate your creative processes. You do not need to tell me your answers to any of these questions; I’m much more interested to see how you answer them in the story itself.

    –Who has captured the mayor? Why?

    –Did the kidnappers frame Yen? If so, what do they gain by drawing Yen into the kidnapping? (Just to make a diversion? To tie up a loose end? Because they know that Yen would have gotten involved anyway? Is it revenge against Yen?)

    –Is there a connection between Yen and the bad guys? Has he worked against them before? Has he worked with them before? (Some private investigators have shady backgrounds).

    –What leads Yen to solve the kidnapping case rather than go into hiding?

    –What’s Yen’s modus operandi like? How does he solve cases that the police can’t?

    –What sort of cases does Yen typically work on?

    –If Yen had to go into hiding, which people would he turn to for assistance? What would these people expect of him in return for their assistance?

    –Which personality trait(s) lead Yen to want to solve crimes even though it kind of makes him a criminal?

    –How does Yen pay for rent and food? Does he have a day job?

    Good luck!

  353. Holliequon 27 Apr 2009 at 11:03 am

    – Who is this anonymous figure? Why has the mayor been captured? How did one person kidnap the mayor from a place that is (presumably) heavily guarded?

    – The first chapter may feel like backstory.

    – Why do they automatically assume Yen is behind it? Outlaw PI or not, surely he’s working against crime?

    – Running with the fact he is involved, why is he then framed for the kidnapping? Surely it would be more logical to make it known they’re looking for the criminals responsible? Witnesses won’t come forward if they think the criminal is already known.

    – What is a report on sight order?

    – It’s not entirely clear why Yen would go after the mayor. Wouldn’t leaving the country be a smarter idea?

    That’s just my thoughts. I like the idea, though.

  354. Avi Arunon 27 Apr 2009 at 11:27 am

    I’ll only answer a few questions in this post. I’ll answer the rest in my story itself.

    – Just a clarification, The government framed Yen, not the kidnapper. Yen would surely try to investigate the kidnapping of the mayor. So, he would definitely be on the move and somebody might spot him. So, if Yen is framed, any witnesses will report the nearby cops if he is spotted, making it easy for the cops to catch him.

    – According to Yen, the law is not effective in handling crime. So, for years, he made it his responsibility to solve crimes. Therefore, he would definitely not run away when framed.

    – Yen changes his home often, so he definitely has a regular source of income. After a crime is solved, the government pay him to keep him silent. If anyone comes to know that an ordinary individual solves crimes that the law cannot, then the government will experience a heavy downfall.

  355. Avi Arunon 29 Apr 2009 at 5:53 am

    What are the common elements found in superhero stories? like team ups, damsel in distress etc.

  356. Avi Arunon 29 Apr 2009 at 6:26 am

    Also, does my target audience depend on the story’s language or content?

  357. B. Macon 29 Apr 2009 at 10:39 am

    “Also, does my target audience depend on the story’s language or content?”

    Both. Here are a few ways in which target audience affects content and language (and vice versa).

    –If the book is for younger audiences, a publisher will want to tone down any mature content.
    –The main character needs to be likable (and ideally relatable) to the target audience. Usually this means that the hero is a few years older than the readers.
    –Books for younger readers tend to be a bit shorter; a young adult novel for readers aged 10-13 will probably be 50% or 60% as long as a full-length novel.
    –A book aimed at male readers will probably focus on characters tackling external obstacles, with an emphasis on action and combat. A book aimed at female readers is more likely to spend a lot of time on relationships and romance.
    –I don’t think you’re writing a superhero story, per se, but superhero stories tend to appeal more to men than women. The gender gap is particularly pronounced in comic books.

    –Less profanity.
    –Denseness. Usually, younger readers have a shorter attention span and find it a bit harder to keep track of convoluted plots.
    –Younger readers are usually not very fond of literary books. Generally, they want to be entertained, not enlightened.

  358. Tomon 01 May 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I just came up with a clever idea for a superhero story. It’s about two fraternal twins (a boy and a girl) with superpowers. Their powers only work when they’re observing each other (and it doesn’t work by proxy, e.g. a camera, they must physically observe each other). But the problem is one is good and wants to stop crimes, whereas the other is evil and wants to commit crimes. But since their powers only work when they’re together they have to work together.
    Eventually they come to an agreement, the good one will help the bad one commit crimes if the bad one helps the good one stop them.

    Hilarity ensues, naturally, as both are branded villains, and a Captain Hammer-esque hero sets out to stop them, whilst a supervillain who they annoy sets out to destroy them.

    What do you think?

  359. Davidon 01 May 2009 at 3:34 pm

    that could work i think if mind you your “hero” could come across as unlikble it would seem to the reader that the good one is only doing good deeds for the glory and fame if it makes sence

    im assmeing the girls the good one and the boys the bad one dunno why but anyways

    so the guy commiets the crime with the girls help but then switch around the girl steps in and stops the crime if she was a good guy she would never let her brother commiet a crime power or no power well no superhero i know would

    its kind of hard to exsplian but i hope you get my meaning

    ps who has MSN or YAHOO?

  360. Tomon 02 May 2009 at 3:43 am

    You guessed correctly, the girl is good and the boy is bad. Unless that comes off as too predictable, then it can easily be reversed.

    I haven’t thought much about motive but the twins were (totally original!) separated at birth. They grew up in different countries, they both knew the other one existed but they never got round to finding them. Then, on his 16th birthday he leaves his home to go and find his twin. As soon as they’re in the same city their twin telepathy kicks in and they’re drawn to each other. Once they find each other they discover their powers. I don’t know why one is good and the other is evil but their motives would have something to do with their upbringing.

    I’ve given some thought to powers. I was thinking of basing them on Quantum Physics. Their powers only work when they’re observing each other (observation affects quantum particles). They can always tell what the other one is doing (quantum entanglement means if you do something to one particle its pair will be affected too, no matter how far apart they are, in my case they must be in the same city for the twin telepathy to work). They have mild teleportation abilities, they can teleport to anywhere they can see. (some theories suggest there are subatomic particles that can do this) And they can fire a ‘quantum beam’ (rule of cool).

    These powers need a bit of work though. Also I need to consider their motives.

    What do you think so far?

  361. Mr. Briton 02 May 2009 at 4:01 am

    I’d steer clear of labelling one as good and one as bad. I think it would be easier to make the motivations the source of the conflict as making a ‘good’ character commit crimes and a ‘bad’ charcter help people will hurt their credibility. Perhaps the sister is willing to commit small crimes for the greater good whereas her brother is trying to impress someone and therefore goes for things that will get more media coverage, such as violent crime.

    I think it’s a good idea for a plot though and could lead to some very funny scenes. I’d advise alternating the siblings as narrators to get different perspectives. Since they are presumably in a lot of scenes together, it shouldn’t be very confusing.

  362. Tomon 02 May 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Nice ideas. What do you think of ‘Quantum Boy’ and ‘Quantum Girl’ for their names?

    I don’t know what I want to do with this idea, it’s just something I thought up randomly, then combined together with another something I randomly thought up.

  363. B. Macon 02 May 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Mr. Brit said: “I’d steer clear of labeling one as good and one as bad. I think it would be easier to make the motivations the source of the conflict as making a ‘good’ character commit crimes and a ‘bad’ character help people will hurt their credibility.”

    I agree.

    I am not feeling “Quantum Boy” and “Quantum Girl.” It’s cliche and feels like the characters are being named by a 40 year-old. (Can you remember the last time someone young has referred to himself as a boy?) Also, it makes it sound like the characters are more or less interchangeable, that the only difference between them is their gender. If their personalities are different, it’d be best to pick names that reflect that.

    “You guessed correctly, the girl is good and the boy is bad. Unless that comes off as too predictable, then it can easily be reversed.”

    I think it’s just a matter of who your target audience is. If you’re aiming at girls, it’d be easiest to use a female protagonist. If you’re aiming at guys, a male protagonist would probably go farther.

    Being separated at birth is cliche. One alternative that might work more smoothly is to say that the parents divorced and custody was split.

  364. Tomon 02 May 2009 at 1:46 pm

    That was the reason for the separation. I guess I didn’t mention that. I’ll rethink the names. And I’d make it more deep than ‘the good one is good and the bad one is bad’, I just said that to put it simply.

  365. Avi Arunon 03 May 2009 at 7:44 am

    When creating a fictional city, will the readers be more receptive if I create a city from scratch or if I act patriotic and create a city like my own?

  366. Mia.xoxoon 03 May 2009 at 9:17 am

    Thanks Avi for bringing that up. B. Mac, when are you going to write articles about the setting of one’s novel/comic or themes that one should incorporate. I’d love to hear your opinion on that!

  367. B. Macon 03 May 2009 at 9:47 pm

    “When creating a fictional city, will the readers be more receptive if I create a city from scratch or if I act patriotic and create a city like my own?”

    I don’t have any clear-cut answers here. I’ve seen excellent stories in wholly fictional cities, in wholly realistic cities, and in real cities that have been heavily fictionalized. The most important thing– in fact, pretty much the only important thing– is that your cities fit your story.

    For example, in Superhero Nation, when I was thinking up an initial setting for Agent Black, I decided on Washington, DC. Like him, it’s bland, uptight and by the books. I used East St. Louis as the gritty dystopia that shapes Jacob. However, I used a purely fictional setting– Surf City– to create a dream-like setting where anything’s possible. I didn’t want to be constrained by audience preconceptions; I wanted to be completely free to make a city that’s wholly fantastical. I’ll probably set the climactic battle in St. Louis or Chicago– two metropolises that are along the Mississippi River, which bisects the US.

    As a rule, I would recommend staying away from New York City, London and Paris if you can help it. There are so many other stories set in those cliche cities that you’ll be competing against a large pool.

    In comic books as a whole, there is an extremely strong bias towards New York City. Almost all of Marvel’s and DC’s A-list heroes work in New York or a city that is clearly based on New York. But only 2-3% of Americans are from NYC. Personally, I’d much rather read about a Midwesterner, a Westerner, or a Southerner. I feel that most Americans feel very far removed (physically, mentally and culturally) from New York City.

  368. Tomon 04 May 2009 at 3:11 am

    I invented the fictional ‘Mega City’ for the location of my story. I also have ‘Blue City’, which will feature in a couple of episodes. Mega City is… well… just a big city. Nothing much to it really.

  369. B. Macon 04 May 2009 at 3:59 am

    How are Blue City and Mega City different? If they’re pretty much interchangeable, you could probably keep things simpler with just one city.

  370. Tomon 04 May 2009 at 4:59 am

    Well Blue City only appears in a couple of episodes, and even then only briefly. It’s just a way to introduce a supporting cast of superheroes without raising the inevitable ‘why haven’t we seen you before?’ Almost everything will take place in Mega City.

  371. Avi Arunon 04 May 2009 at 6:55 am

    I need some city names. I’m not interested in the suffix city nor common words like new, big etc. My city is high on crime rate and I’ve imagined it as a dark and shady city.

  372. Ragged Boyon 04 May 2009 at 8:23 am

    I have a problem with fantasy novels, by fantasy I mean kingdoms, swords, magic, horses, etc type fantasy. I’m reading one now and I’m noticing something that is keeping me from getting immersed into the story. Every time something interesting is about to happen, a random info-dump comes out of nowhere. It spills tons of information that is otherwise meaningless. Most of the info centers around places. I understand that places are important in a story, but my problem with fantasies is that the focus on areas detracts from the story. I usually skip the info-dumps because they add nothing to the story, in my opinion.

    So I ask, can you have a fantasy without focusing so much on the locations and backstory? I think it can be done. I guess I would say that I prefer a story than is a little more character-driven. Which is probably why I make my protagonists the way they are.

  373. Holliequon 04 May 2009 at 9:34 am

    I think you can have a fantasy story without all of that focus on location and backstory (culture is another big fall). I’m trying to stay away from this with my Zoe/Victor story. I want to immerse the reader in my fantasy world without losing the plot and characters.

    The main thing is to include details that are only relevant to the story, I think.

  374. B. Macon 04 May 2009 at 1:30 pm

    One of the advantages of working with a modern setting (rather than an imaginary fantasy or sci-fi setting) is that it requires less setup.

    1. Bring the backstory into frontstory. For example, Silent Dragon did a pretty good job of that. The author’s emphasis absolutely should not be what happened 50 years ago, but why that matters now.

    2. Make the setting interesting. Readers loved Harry Potter’s settings because they felt genuinely different and more lively than what they were used to. Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Azkaban, the Dursley house, and Gringotts are all top-notch settings. (In fact, my brother claims in all seriousness that Diagon Alley is the best part of the series). These places had a distinct role in the story that made them irreplaceable. JK Rowling didn’t introduce these places because she wanted to show off her ability to build a world, but because she needed them to advance a part of the story.

  375. Avi Arunon 04 May 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Ah, old memories. I used to be a big fan of the Harry Potter series. But I gradually lost interest and after deathly hallows, I now totally hate Harry Potter.

    I mean, didn’t anyone realize that Hermione Granger is the greatest and most obvious Mary Sue? She’s the most brilliant student, she’s a master of all spells and JK Rowling herself acknowledged that Hermione was based on her. In deathly hallows, she seems more important than Harry Potter and more magically talented than Albus Dumbledore himself.

    Also, Harry Potter is just another Chosen One story. He can’t do anything without Hermione preaching him. This is just my opinion and would like to hear your honest point of view.

  376. B. Macon 04 May 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I agree that Hermione is a Mary Sue, but I don’t think that it’s a major problem. There aren’t that many situations where her talent makes Harry useless, and I think that her talent is mainly used to show that Harry isn’t necessarily God’s gift to wizardry. In far too many fantasy stories, the hero is born with an annoyingly outlandish degree of talent. Ick. Several characters in the story (Voldemort and Snape, notably) note that Harry is merely an above-average wizard at best.

    There definitely is a Chosen One aspect to Harry Potter. He’s launched into fame as an infant by powers beyond his control. But what redeems HP is that– unlike Eragon– the Chosen One has to make his own breaks after that. He doesn’t have incredible magic and his fame is as much a curse as a blessing. Everyone notices when he makes mistakes, and he makes more than a few along the way.

    Also, the mentor relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is excellent. Most other stories with mentors use the mentor to set up the path that the hero follows. So whose quest is it, the mentor’s or the hero’s? HP doesn’t have that problem. Dumbledore is a tricky manipulator with his own agenda, but the choices that Harry makes are all his. He’s an active player.

  377. Avi Arunon 04 May 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Umm, but Hermione is a character that boasts about her own intelligence. Doesn’t that annoy you? Less talking, more showing, right?

    Also, What fantasy characters are similar to ghosts, but still different in their own way?

  378. Marissaon 04 May 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Hermione does show, though. If she can back up the talk, she’s fine. 😀

    (I, personally, always liked her…)

  379. B. Macon 04 May 2009 at 11:09 pm

    I think she shows herself as intelligent. For example, in Chamber of Secrets (spoiler) she realizes that the death of the roosters suggests that the killer is a basilisk. When it comes to magical trivia, even Snape has trouble stumping her. She solves the logic puzzle at the end of book one. She has a lot of trouble with people, but I can’t think of any times she’s made mistakes outside of social situations.

    On a personal level, I like Hermione because I related to her the most (bookish and prickly). I found myself asking “how can someone smart act so stupid?”, but I’m sure that many people have asked the same about me.

    Also, I think that she generally deals with her emotions in a mostly mature way. Hermione sometimes gets sulky, but she doesn’t go off on “HE KILLED MY PARENTS!” tantrums. My main knock against the characterization of the later books is that the other characters sometimes got emo-ish.

  380. Avi Arunon 05 May 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I have a story. I thought I’d let you review the basic logic first. Anyways, tell me when you are ready to hear the story.

    What do you think happens to a soul when someone dies?

    Personally, I am an atheist and a skeptic. So, my views may be different from others’, but I’d like to think my opinions are based on facts.

    In my humble opinion, soul is abstract. Its just a word used to describe one’s humanitarian qualities and not anything physical by itself. When you die, your body is decayed and becomes food for plants. Your mind is put into a permanent delirium (like sleeping forever).

  381. Gurion Omegaon 09 May 2009 at 11:58 am

    I just saw The Chronicles of Riddick. It did a brilliant job of forging sci-fi and fantasy, but pissed me off. (How dare you steal my idea for a race of beings that are elements?) The novel that I’m planning will definitely blend sci-fi and fantasy.

    P.S. I’ve never thought of this forum as being deserted…

  382. Asayaon 09 May 2009 at 1:47 pm

    After you answer David’s question, does anybody have any tips on how to give good advice? Especially if that person is writing a blog or something?

    How would you guys rate my advice-giving abilities since i’ve been on this site?(Don’t worry, I won’t cry.)

  383. Ragged Boyon 09 May 2009 at 2:20 pm

    My lack of a keyboard has rendered me incapable of using the internet at home. I’d usually be on everyday and leave at least a comment or two.

    David, I’m unsure about magic dialogue. I’d probably go with something direct and understandable. I’d rather my character say bound in irons than snori ni dnoub.

    As for your grammar it’s definitely getting better. There are still a few problem areas, though. For example:

    “currently any magic cast by Banshees, is said in reverse english.”

    – Usually, there’s comma after transition words that part a sentence.
    – The comma in the middle of the sentence is unnecessary.
    – I’m not sure, but I believe the word English should be capitalized.
    – Always capitalize the first word in a sentence.

  384. B. Macon 09 May 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Here are some tips on giving advice.

    1. Cover the “why” as well as the “what.” That will make the advice more powerful and easier to apply. If you explain your reasoning, that will help an author decide whether your advice is relevant to what he’s working on.

    2. Use examples that your target audience will be familiar with. For example, I’m much more likely to refer to Justice League or the Spiderman movies than Anna Karenina because they are better-known to my audience and will feel more relevant. In particular, recent movies and TV shows are usually better-known than books and comic books are.

    3. I recommend acknowledging your limitations. My recommendations are usually laced with phrases like “I think” and “I feel” because I don’t want my audience to feel like I’m talking down to them. Even when I am positive that their grammar and spelling are really bad, I’ll say something like “Your manuscript could probably benefit from proofreading” or something similarly gentle.

    4. Be very sensitive to personal biases. For example, I hate romance, but when I’m reviewing a romance story I try to think like a romance editor would. If a romance editor and romance readers like this story, then it absolutely doesn’t matter whether I do. I think that being able to provide a fair reading to stories– even the kinds of story that you hate– will help convince your audience that your advice is worth reading.

    5. If you do articles as well as review stories, like we do, then I recommend linking to your articles whenever it’s relevant. “I think this character is a bit flat. You might find my article on how to develop characters helpful.”

    6. When you review stories, try to tailor your advice to what the author is trying to accomplish. This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to know who their target audience is. If you’re writing a story for children, your audience will expect an entirely different style of writing and a different plot than what an adult audience would expect.

    7. Be patient. You will probably encounter a lot of idiots. If you’ve tried helping someone and they’re unfriendly or flagrantly stupid, just ban them. Banning idiots is one of the most clearest and easiest ways to lay out expectations for your readers. Another important and helpful step is to proofread comments. When you offer advice to someone that types like he’s texting (i nd hlp plz!!), you might come off looking like an amateur. Proofreading the comments makes everyone look more intelligent and will encourage people to participate.

    8. After you post an article, re-read it immediately. Are there better ways to phrase what you’re trying to say? Is it organized smoothly? Did a typo slip past you? Can sentences or paragraphs be cut out? Etc.

    I hope that helps. What kind of advice are you trying to offer?

    I think your advice is pretty good so far, but I would recommend focusing more on the reasoning.

  385. Avi Arunon 09 May 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Any reviews for the concept I’ve posted above?

  386. Asayaon 11 May 2009 at 4:03 pm

    @ B.Mac-

    ”I hope that helps. What kind of advice are you trying to offer?”

    I asked the question because I have been facing writer’s block concerning what I should post on this blog that I had had for two years, every time I log on my account I’m not sure what to post on it. I have a couple of posts I’m drafting but I don’t know which one to start with.

    I was thinking of using my blog to give advice on how to write and draw about angels, demons and spirits and related stuff, but I think I should work on how to give good advice before I start posting, so I might stick with commenting on this website and get a little experience on how advice is given, and stuff.

    @ Avi Arun-

    I think your story concept is really cool. I think you should use The Butterfly Effect(the movie with Ashton Kutcher) as reference because it sorta involves the same kinds of concepts, like screwing around with time and the consequences of disrupting the space-time continuum.

    I think there should be a bit more consequences involved for the characters, since they CAN control time. Hope this helps.

  387. B. Macon 11 May 2009 at 10:09 pm

    First, I don’t recommend getting hung up on quality. If you check out my first posts here, you’ll see that they aren’t very good. In fact, they’re kind of crappy. If you stick with it, I am positive that your advice will get better.

    Here are some possible brainstorming ideas.

    1. What are some of the biggest stories that fall into your niche of supernatural fiction?

    2. Of those stories, which are mostly good and which are mostly bad? Why? For example, you could review any of the works in this field you’re familiar with.

    3. What are some of the trends that separate good supernatural stories from bad ones?

    4. If you were writing a supernatural story, how would you make sure that the story is closer to good than bad? This is how you take the story from review to advice. Once you’ve articulated some of the characteristics of a good story, it isn’t that hard to make suggestions about how to write a good story.

  388. Davidon 12 May 2009 at 12:55 am

    B. Mac, what do you think about swearing in novels and comics? What’s the worst we can get away with?

    Also, my novel is a fantasy, as you know. Should I keep the currency as gold or should I use pounds or make a new currency?

  389. B. Macon 12 May 2009 at 1:36 am

    It depends on your audience. If you’re writing for readers aged 18+, you can get away with whatever profanity you want. (However, swearing too much can reduce the impact, so I’d recommend against overdoing it… but that’s a question of effectiveness, not of appropriateness).

    I’m not sure about fantasy currency. I feel that this is one of the few times that an imaginary word is usually needed. For example, it would be cheesy to use “gold pieces” as the currency. And it wouldn’t be much better to use pounds or dollars in a fantasy setting. (You might be able to get away with a more obscure currency like drachmas, though).

    I think Harry Potter did currency pretty well. The author used Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. Alternatively, you could try something generic like “imperials” if the country in question is an empire.

  390. Avi Arunon 17 May 2009 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for the email address, RB!

    Now that school has resumed, I have very little time to post here. I can’t skip school because this is my last year of schooling and I got to do well. I’ll only be able to post once in a while, so don’t blame me if all I do is leech.

    Secondly, I’ll only be able to concentrate on one review forum, so Mac or other moderators can delete my second review forum. I’ll use only one forum to discuss everything.

    I won’t completely lose touch with you guys, but this is my last active day. My main aim in life is to become a successful writer, but my family wants me to achieve B.E, M.Sc, P.H.D and post-graduation, most of which I’m not even aware of. What a drag…

    See you soon!

  391. Tomon 17 May 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Supernatural made an interesting Reaper, Tessa. She took the form of a young woman and she came off as a sympathetic and remorseful character. She would look at the person regretfully and remorsefully and say (in a really kind and gentle way) ‘time’s up, time to move on’. I found that to be an interesting character.

  392. Holliequon 17 May 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Death from ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak was a very interesting portrayal. To quote:

    “I do not carry a scythe. I do not wear a black cloak with a hood, except when it is cold.”

    He has a job to do (that is, collect the souls of the dead), but the thing that really troubled him was the people left behind. So he tries to distract himself from it. He actually comes across as someone who really does care, but since he’s powerless to do anything, he tries to ignore that instinct. That was really heart-breaking at times. He’s also honest, straightforward and really quite funny.

    Basically: if you want to do a fresh portrayal of death, go for it!

  393. B. Macon 17 May 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Avi said: “My main aim in life is to become a successful writer, but my family wants me to achieve B.E, M.Sc, P.H.D and post-graduation, most of which I’m not even aware of. What a drag…”

    Well, the good news is that postgraduate education places a premium on writing skills. Not everyone has the focus and dedication to pull off a thesis.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that you can find something that fits your writing/engineering background if that’s what would excite you. For example, my brother is a linguist/engineer that coded an encryption program in college. Now he manages a Japanese firm’s exchange program for Indian engineers. (That’s globalization for you!)

  394. Avi Arunon 17 May 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Really? There are engineering courses related to writing? can you tell me some courses?

  395. B. Macon 18 May 2009 at 12:16 am

    The writing projects would probably be outside of class. I think the best place to start is to introduce yourself to professors to see if they’re interested in taking on help on a writing project like a textbook or a grant proposal. I think your best chances are with a professor that’s doing a project in a subset of engineering that is very familiar to you.

    The work will probably not be glorious or highly creative, but that sort of experience is really solid if you’d like to do something like work with a textbook publisher. Also, if you go on to get a Ph. D, you might end up writing your own textbooks. Finally, the people that go far in academia tend to be excellent at writing grant proposals.

    I’d also angle for a teaching assistant position if those are available to you. I have a friend that started TAing as a sophomore because he was freakishly gifted at chemical engineering. Go figure. (No, it wasn’t Jacob). That’s the sort of position that will help make you look more credible to professors that are looking for help on writing projects.

  396. Ragged Boyon 19 May 2009 at 8:06 am

    I’m doing a final exam project for my International Business and Finance class and I could use some assistance. The project is to start a company (Or create a business plan for starting one). I chose to start a comic book publishing company, unfortunately, I’m not exactly business-savvy. I need a little help with what it takes to start a business, particularly a comic book company. I’ve found a few sites and some are consistent, but I’m afraid for the reliability.

  397. Ragged Boyon 19 May 2009 at 8:14 am

    Also, would I face legal troubles by using Showtime Comics, because of the Showtime Channel?

  398. Holliequon 19 May 2009 at 9:05 am

    If it’s just for an exam, then I highly doubt it.

    Anyway, I’m not particularly well-versed in business, but I can think of the following: start-up fees, publishing fees, advertising fees, budgeting, sponsors and/or grants, projected sales, wages, competition. I think there’d be a lot of registration paperwork, too.

    Hope that helped . . . somehow.

  399. Ragged Boyon 19 May 2009 at 9:17 am

    All of that stuff you said is included on the criteria sheet. It’s a lot of typing and finding out information to make your company sound cool. Although, I’m having second thoughts. How can I make a comic book company new and innovative? I think I may need to switch to something a little more simple. Maybe a fashion company? Or a film company?

    This might take some knowledge of knowing me, so work with what you know about me. What type of company would I run?

  400. Holliequon 19 May 2009 at 9:27 am

    Any sort. Healthy-eating food company (or just a health company)? If you had a company related to food or another industry with extra standards than simple person-to-person business, you might get extra marks for describing it. (I’m not sure how this course of yours is marked.)

    For example, if you were going to do a healthy-eating company, there are all sorts of standards that the food industry has to cater too, both in production and packaging. There are also a bunch of health and safety regulations to follow.

    Um, some ones you could think about: travel, kid’s clothing, formal fashions, IT, furniture, pet food/accessories.

    I don’t think a film company sounds simpler. Define “film company”: Feature films? Animation? Documentary? Adverts? Educational films? Also, think about the amount of competition a film company could face. Fashion is good, but I think narrowing it down would work better (for example, over here we have stores like Adams, which caters to kids, and stores like New Look, which is aimed at young adults).

  401. B. Macon 19 May 2009 at 11:43 am

    First, I’d like to preface this by strongly discouraging you (or anyone else) from attempting to try this in real life unless you have at least 3-5 years of solid experience. That goes for the writers, the artists, etc. However, experience is an obstacle that probably won’t matter in your class, so let’s ignore that for the purposes of your presentation.

    To produce the comic, you’re probably going to need at least two professionals: a writer and an illustrator. Bearing in mind that this is a shoe-string operation, let’s say that both are paid $50 per page and that the art is black-and-white. Let’s also say that each issue of the comic is 32 pages long. This means that the total labor costs for each issue will be around $3200.

    So how many copies do you need to sell to turn a profit? Well, Ka-Blam can print out each 32-page B&W issue for $3.23. So, if you knew that you could sell 1000 copies, you would have to have to get $6.23 for each to break even. If you could sell 2000 copies, you would have to get $4.83. If you could sell 3000 copies, which is highly unlikely, you would have to get $4.30. However, that does not take into account that the distributor and bookstore (if applicable) both get a cut of the action. So even if you could guarantee an impressive 3000 sales, you would definitely have to sell at more than $4.30 to cover the distributors and sellers. I’d recommend speaking to someone that self-publishes, but my guess is that you’d have to sell at somewhere between $5-$6 to break even. Given that Marvel’s most expensive comics cap out at $4, that might be a tough sell.

    Another option– and probably more realistic– is that you forget publishing a paper version altogether and sell the book exclusively as a digital version. Then your only costs are labor ($3200 per issue) and a minor Paypal transaction fee (probably around $.50 per sale). If you sell your book at $3, you’d have to sell around 1280 copies to break even. If you sold your book at $4, you’d have to sell around 900 copies. That strikes me as more doable, particularly if you’re interested in doing color. Printing paper copies with color is a bitch, but color doesn’t really affect the digital version all that much. (Your artist might expect more for his time, but you could get a colored version done for $50 a page).

    As part of your business plan, I think you would need to have sufficient funds to handle at least 5 issues. If you’re doing 5 print-runs of 2000 copies, I think you would need $32,500 for printing costs and another $16,000 for labor. If you’re doing just the digital version, I think you’d need just the $16,000 for labor. Then I’d recommend coming up with some promotional/advertising strategy. That takes money, so budget accordingly…

    I hope that helps.

    Also, as Holliequ noted, self-publishing relies on grants. For example, Xeric is one such source.

  402. Ragged Boyon 20 May 2009 at 7:49 am

    B. Mac, you do understand that I’m not ‘actually’ starting a publishing company, right? I just have to create a business plan for starting one. I don’t want to self-publish, I want to work as a publishing house like Dark Horse. I need more general help about starting a business. The idea is that I’m pitching the the company idea to prospective investors and trying to get investments.

  403. Bretton 20 May 2009 at 8:35 am

    Haha. Slow down there, B. Mac. Its just for an exam. XD

  404. B. Macon 20 May 2009 at 8:54 am

    Ack. My caveat was more aimed at people who are actually thinking about starting up their own company or self-publishing. I wouldn’t want anyone to stumble upon this and think “aha! This is all I need to start up a company.” However, for your purposes, I think it’s a good start on several of the most important factors to a business plan.
    –The costs of bringing your product to market.
    –The marginal cost of producing each issue.
    –Price points.

    As far as attracting investors, I’d recommend stressing the following points.

    –It only costs $3200 to produce a digital version of a digital comic book. That’s a fairly minor investment. In contrast, if we were to look at another sector, it would probably take you hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a restaurant.

    –You only need to sell ~900 copies to get profitable. That’s definitely doable; according to the Comic Book Chronicles, there were 300 different issues that sold 2000+ copies in March 2009. I don’t know how many broke 900, but I’d imagine that the number is much larger and includes more than a few entries from third-string publishers. For example, Ape, Berserker, Boom, Brainscan, Bluewater, and Bongo all had titles that broke the top 300.

    –It is almost plausible that you could recoup your investment within 6-12 months. That’s a pretty good return on investment, much better than typical. For example, if you tried something like starting up a pharmaceutical firm, you wouldn’t even have a product on the market within 3 years. In contrast, I think your comic book company could start selling digital copies within 2 months.

    –Your business plan should probably lay out a viable and cost-effective marketing/promotional strategy. To start with, I think that starting a website is a good start. That costs pretty much nothing and will provide you a platform to sell your product. Then I’d also recommend calculating how much it would cost you to promote at small comic book conventions near you. I don’t have any experience on the business side of comic books (yet!), but I think that a good rule of thumb is that you spend at least as much on promotional expenses as you do producing the comic itself. $15,000 will cover booths at a lot of small conventions. For example, Florida Supercon charges $400 for a booth. If you can convince 100 people there to buy a copy, it was definitely worth your time. (Remember, someone that buys one will probably buy later issues if they liked the first).

  405. Ragged Boyon 20 May 2009 at 9:24 am

    Thank you, B. Mac that was super-informative. Mainly because you reminded me of the capability of digital distribution. I’m pretty sure more distribution at minor cost will sound very lucrative to potential investor. I’m also sure the possible rate of return will also interest investors.

    I’m off to my business plan.

  406. Ragged Boyon 22 May 2009 at 8:13 am

    New question: What could a comic book company do to make itself unique? Even just a little different from the rest. I’m sure there’s something.

    What do you guys think?

  407. Dforceon 22 May 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Perhaps focusing on stories like these?: http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html

    Or just picking a niche and sticking with it, like a genre or setting– I haven’t heard about a lot of comics with steampunk settings, and they do sound interesting. Also, are there comics with steampunk settings?

  408. Ragged Boyon 22 May 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Haha, great minds think alike. What!? How dare you compare yourself to me! I’ll crush you!! 😉

    I definitely wanted my story to have an edge and focus on more creative type stories. I’m not a big fan of steampunk, it looks cool, but I don’t understand it that much.

  409. notsohottopicon 22 May 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Lol, DForce, I am actually thinking of marking a story/comic/manga(haven’t decided which media to use yet) with a short part involving a steampunk world. My story is involved with a lot of travelling through different worlds, alternate universes, and time loops, so yeah. Will do steampunk, definitely. 🙂

  410. B. Macon 23 May 2009 at 8:02 am

    “What could a comic book company do to make itself unique?” Here are a few things you could try.

    Different subject matter… most comic books are superhero stories set in the modern day. If you wanted to do straight-up sci-fi or fantasy, there might be a market there that is not heavily pursued today. The sci-fi and fantasy series currently on the market tend to be licensed properties– for example, Dark Horse does Star Wars, Terminator and Buffy.

    Different themes. For example, if you wanted to do religious comic books, I bet that you could find evangelical customers. There are novel publishers devoted to religious fiction (particularly Christian fiction), so maybe the market could sustain a religious comic book publisher. Alternately, I think the market for stories about poor characters is underserved. African-American characters are also a bit rare. (And, with all due respect, I don’t feel that Static Shock is tough competition).

    Different professionals… more often than not, the writers and editors are white liberals from NYC. It is sort of plausible that you could succeed as something else. For example, Fox is the #1 cable news network because it benefits from the belief among conservatives that every other cable news network is really liberal. If you’re a conservative or right-leaning consumer looking for news shows, there is literally no alternative.

    Aimed at a different audience. This wouldn’t work very well if you were interested in selling out of comic book stores, but a purely online seller might be able to eke out a niche market. Comic book companies typically sell most of their books to readers that are male, 18-30 years old, Caucasian, have a lot of disposable income, a bit liberal, often urban or suburban, etc. I don’t think you’ll be able to get around the disposable income part, but the other elements are flexible to some extent.

    A different style of distribution… for example, most publishers do print-runs rather than just selling online.

    So, for the purposes of your presentation, you might say you were looking to do something like comics for African Americans. That’s pretty much what Gettosake does. I don’t get the impression that you write mainly for AAs, but this is a logical and sound business strategy that will make sense to your teacher, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense in real life.

  411. B. Macon 23 May 2009 at 8:23 am

    Steampunk comic books… There are a few. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is probably the most prominent example, but DC also did a few reimaginings of Gotham City as a 19th century metropolis.

  412. B. Macon 23 May 2009 at 8:27 am

    Ehh… I kind of thought the first half of that EC story could have been improved by removing a lot of the setup. I really liked the last two pages even though they were kind of heavy-handed.

  413. Avi Arunon 23 May 2009 at 10:13 am

    Ah, One more thing :-

    How do I reveal flashbacks in my novel? If one of my chapters is a flashback, Do I have to write the whole chapter in first person (When the rest of the chapters are in third person), and within quotations so that the reader knows who’s narrating the backstory? or can I change POV to suit the flashback (like an younger version of a character)?

  414. Gurion Omegaon 23 May 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Most people write flashbacks in italics, but I think that’s too indicated for me. But I think executing it like the perspective of the character when they were younger is a good idea. I have another question on that, too. Is it misleading my readers if one person has one perception of a flashback when I show it, and then another character views it differently?

    If this hypothetical example helps:

    When Doris is five, she witnesses her half-brother (Shawn) try unsuccessfully to kill her father with a magical heirloom. Shown in flashback.

    Shawn helps his stepfather (Darryl) leave his family by supposedly killing him with the heirloom’s magical traits. But really he called up Darryl’s doppelganger as a diversion and poisons him. He is later thrown in prison, thanks to his stepmother, Yera.

    Yera knew her husband’s promise to give world-traveling a rest was just a farce, but she never saw it coming that Shawn would murder him. Yera never loved Shawn, and was glad to get rid of him. Told in flashback, a little after Doris’ flashback.

    Holy crud…another novel idea… I’m writing this down now.

    Anyways, is that a good idea to do? Flashback-wise?

  415. B. Macon 24 May 2009 at 10:20 am

    Avi asked: “How do I reveal flashbacks in my novel? If one of my chapters is a flashback, do I have to write the whole chapter in first person (When the rest of the chapters are in third person), and within quotations so that the reader knows who’s narrating the backstory?”

    If the rest of the book is in third-person, I would strongly recommend against switching to first-person for a flashback. To reveal the flashback, I would recommend prefacing it with something like “Ten years ago” or whatever. Alternately, if you are REALLY tied to the idea of moving to first-person for this flashback, I would recommend making it something like a diary entry or a letter to another character.

  416. B. Macon 24 May 2009 at 10:26 am

    I think that aiming at a niche audience (like AAs with regards to comic books) is a totally respectable business strategy. I’m not sure that it would be effective in real life, but it will surely make sense to your business teacher.

    I’m not sure what the attraction of slender characters is, though. It seems kind of irrelevant? I’m not sure that readers will think “ooh, I’ve always wanted to read a comic book about slender characters!” In contrast, I feel that blackness is something that will be highly relevant to a financially significant number of readers. Instead of slender, you might go farther with “realistic-looking.” Pretty much every hero and heroine currently on the market is outrageously buff and/or model-like. Superheroines are (CAUTION: UPCOMING LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK) especially bad in this regard. Most comic book readers are not buff or model-like. It seems plausible to me that they would relate more to characters that a bit more look like them rather than like they’ve stepped out of the pages of GQ or Playboy.

  417. B. Macon 24 May 2009 at 10:38 am

    Gurion, I get the impression that there are too many perspectives going on. For example, giving Doris a POV chapter suggests that she’s an important character. But it seems like she disappears almost immediately. I think this flash-backing would benefit from more focus on fewer characters.

    Also, why would Shawn go to prison on behalf of a father that doesn’t even care enough to stick around?

  418. Ragged Boyon 24 May 2009 at 12:09 pm

    “I’m not sure what the attraction of slender characters is, though.”

    Oh, the slender part is for me. I wasn’t going to mention it in my business plan.

  419. Gurion Omegaon 24 May 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Ohhh…well what if the novel was like a supernatural-whodunit-family-saga thingie?
    Oh,yeah…now I get what you mean, but there are novels where the POV revolves, and they do it pretty good…but overall, I generally get what ya mean. Will look the idea over.

  420. Avi Arunon 25 May 2009 at 10:17 am

    I was getting lots of different ideas and to prevent myself from shifting my story again, I tried to merge all the ideas I got. Now, I have one biggg story with me. Surely, The story can’t be fully resoved in one book. I’ll try my best to resolve something in every book but I’m planning to write sequels definitely.

    So, How many books can I go upto in a series if I’m aiming for about 150-200 normal pages in each novel. What’s the longest so far?

  421. Avi Arunon 25 May 2009 at 10:19 am

    Also, can I write a prequel* between two sequels?

    * The prequel precedes the events in the first book.

  422. B. Macon 26 May 2009 at 11:16 am

    So you’d be doing the books in this order: 2, 1, 3, 4? I think it’d be kind of odd to do a prequel right off the bat, but it has been done before.

  423. Ragged Boyon 26 May 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I was pondering that thought myself. I wonder, will B. Mac always be running the site. Who would take his place when he’s gone.

    Ha, this sounds a lot like Battle for the Cowl. Who will be the next B. Mac? All we need is a bunch of site trolls (escaped Arkham-ers),a small groups of very hopeful and qualified candidates (the actual commenters) and rogue B. Mac imposter that doesn’t play by the rule (Davis maybe?) and a whole bunch of drama. Battle for the Mac!

  424. Holliequon 26 May 2009 at 7:00 pm

    @Avi: C.S. Lewis also did it. If I recall correctly, The Magician’s Nephew was the sixth book published. I’m pretty sure The Horse and his Boy and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader were published out of order, too. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it. Why not start with the prequel?

  425. Ragged Boyon 26 May 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Technically, if you start with the prequel, it’s not the prequel. It’s just the first book. 😉

  426. Tomon 27 May 2009 at 3:26 am

    I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but I highly doubt publishing sequel, prequel, sequel works for all but the most successful author, like Lewis. If your work’s not fantastic, nobody will bother enough to read them out of order. Even then it’s still not a good idea. Why would you want to give your readers part of a story, then go back to before the story, then finish the story? The twist you’re concealing really can’t be that important.

    Here’s an idea, write a sequel, but throughout the sequel put flashbacks that form another story alongside the sequel. Make sure both story and flashback have coherent, good plots, and then you’ve got a prequel and a sequel in one book, and a very satisfied audience (provided it’s done well).

  427. Ragged Boyon 28 May 2009 at 7:54 am

    Could some one tell me what jobs the key players and officers of a comic book company would be? All I can come up with is Editor-in-Chief, CEO, and Creative Director. Also do you know how many people should be on the Board of Directors?

    Basically, I need an idea of all the people it would take to run the company?

  428. Ragged Boyon 28 May 2009 at 8:03 am

    Also, could someone help me find recent sales figures for Dark Horse and Image comics.

  429. B. Macon 28 May 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I’m not sure about the board of directors. Unless your teacher explicitly asked you to do a board, I’m not sure it’d be necessary for a startup. Marvel has eight directors on its board, so that’s about one for every fifty million dollars of revenue.

    As for sales statistics… according to Comic Chronicles, the industry as a whole sold about 700 million dollars worth of comics in 2008. It also reports that Dark Horse had a 6.5% share of the total revenue of comics sold, so that would be about 45 million dollars. Image had a 3.7% share, so that’s about 26 million dollars.

    How many employees are you thinking about?

  430. Ragged Boyon 28 May 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I just need to know the main jobs it will take to actually start and run the business. I don’t think we need a board.

    Thanks for the stats. (I’ve recently started using Comic Chronicles. I’d like to be knowledgable about the industry in general.)

  431. B. Macon 29 May 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Ok. Here are some thoughts on the most important employees.

    –Inkers. Fortunately, this is often the same person that does the pencilling. Inking is more related to penciling than it is to coloring.
    –Colorists. I’d recommend giving each series its own colorist. It takes a lot of time to do colors.
    –Conceptual artist. This part-time position is probably not essential and can be done by one of your pencilists/inkers. Concept art is really important if you work a lot with exotic sci-fi or fantasy or anything else that makes you do a lot of exotic character design and fantastic cityscapes/landscapes.
    –Cover artist. If you have a lot of series, you might assign the covers to one artist because few artists have the eye for detail to make a cover rock. This is probably a part-time or freelance position.

    In all, you’ll probably have about two artists for each series.

    –Probably just one per series. If you’re really concerned about costs, you could probably save a lot of money by having each writer do two series. However, that leaves you more vulnerable to delays and mediocre writing. In any case, I think that most small publishers have one writer for every ~two artists… the art usually takes a lot more time.

    –Editors. For a startup, I’d recommend one editor if you do 1-3 series and two editors if you do 4-6. I wouldn’t recommend any more than 6 for a startup. One of these editors will be the editor-in-chief (EIC).
    –Sales/marketing manager. Optional. His main responsibility is to make sure that people buy the comics. He might also be tasked with convincing distributors and stores to carry the product. In a really shoestring operation, this could probably be done by the EIC.
    –Distribution manager?

  432. Ragged Boyon 29 May 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for all your help. Unfortunately, we finished and turned in the assignment earlier today. Luckily, I got all (but with different titles) of the people you mentioned in your information, even a distribution manager. I probably should have included a few more artists and editors, though.

    I think I’ll do good. I doubt my teacher knows enough about the industry to ask that I won’t have an answer for.

    Thanks again, you’re a lifesaver, B. Mac. 😀

  433. Dforceon 30 May 2009 at 6:55 pm

    RB, good luck on your assignment.

    Friends and I have on occasion discussed starting a comic book company, but so far said discussions have been only fantasy. I do plan on one day making it a-lá small business, and I gotta say those posts put things a little better into perspective. Thanks B. Mac.

    Eh, I have been browsing for a little while and have been noticing this orange text that has been blocking my view of posts or articles… is there any chance of it being moved or changed so that it appears only (and while) a mouse hovers over the subscription box?

    I assume it’ll go away after I subscribe, which I am now doing, but still… not very visitor-friendly I think.

  434. B. Macon 30 May 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Ack. Do you use Firefox, Dforce? I’ve been noticing some problems with the e-mail signup as well. I just e-mailed our tech guy.

    As for the practicality of starting up a comic book publisher, here are a few suggestions for adapting this academic advice for a real-life situation.

    –I strongly recommend against starting with more than 2 series or 4 employees. 1-2 artists, 1 writer and 1 editor/business guy. The artists can be freelancers.

    –It is critical to select hard-working employees that can meet deadlines and solve unanticipated problems. Industry experience is also very important.

    –I highly recommend against going into business with your friends. It can easily strain the friendship. At the very least, it’s a major complication.

    –In real life, consumers generally hate paying for digital comic books. I don’t think that you could get people to pay $3 or $4 for a digital comic book. In contrast, Marvel charges $10/month for unlimited access to thousands of titles. I imagine that it would be easier to print and sell black-and-white. I found a printer in the District of Columbia that will print 1000 24-page B&W comic books for $800. That strikes me as very doable.

    –Color is extremely expensive to print. The same print place said that 1000 color comic books would cost me about $6000. $6 a copy just to break even on printing costs? Not a winning business model.

    –Marketing and promotions are essential. Hundreds of comic books come out every month. People won’t just magically stumble on yours– you have to bring it to their attention. The cheapest way to do that is to build a strong website; doing comic book conventions near you is probably more effective. You can buy a booth at a small convention for a few hundred dollars, but you also have to factor in transportation and possibly lodging.

    –Work the web. There are at least 50 credible websites like this one that may review your work if you send a free promotional copy. It costs you probably around $6 to print and ship a copy to a webmaster like me. If that gets you a review that sells even 3 copies, it was worth it. This is a publicity strategy that won’t take a lot of time or money on your part. However, you do have to do some work to make sure that your promotional copies are going to be received by people that like them. If I received a comic book accompanied by a letter along the lines of “Hey, B. Mac! I know you’re into wacky comedy, so I figure you’ll like this,” I’m virtually positive to read and review it. If it’s something like a zombie horror, I’d be more likely to just throw it out. I’m not interested!

    –Even lukewarm and negative reviews promote sales. Fact! If the comic book is completely unknown to readers, a negative review can only enhance sales. For example, a few people I know have mentioned that savage reviews of Twilight led them to read the book. “It can’t be THAT bad, can it?” Also, in many cases, the reviewer hates things that will appeal to at least a few readers.

    –It will really help you if you can convince Diamond to carry your work.

    –Salesmanship is particularly important for the editor/business guy, but everyone that does conventions should be friendly and approachable.

    –I would recommend having each staff employee (the editor and writer but probably not the artists) save up enough to do this for at least a year. I think it’ll take at least a year to build up an audience that’s large enough to sustain the company.

  435. Dforceon 31 May 2009 at 1:53 am

    I use IE before the latest “upgrade” (I tried it, but didn’t like it, so I went back a version– the one I had).

    I couldn’t see myself working with anything more than tone– that is, no color. Black and White is very OK with me. And hopefully, I’d find people that would be in the same line of thought.

    Realistically, the conversations were more of “I’ll start this company and you’ll freelance a bit here– you’ll start that company… etc.” Money-related woes can get very nasty, I’ve seen.


    The only thing I can’t figure out is copyright. I’ve heard/read that you have to get a patent, and then go through a few hoops, then register it with the patent office, and then register again with the Library of Congress, and then get patents outside the U.S… it’s a complicated list from what I gather. Also, I’ve read you need to send copies of EVERYTHING to the Library of Congress. It seems like quite the hassle to me.

    I need to get me to a convention to see all the ins and outs… The sooner the better I suppose.

  436. B. Macon 31 May 2009 at 2:21 am

    I believe that patents only apply to inventions, not publications. If you’re looking to protect your stories, you’d probably want to use a copyright instead. Fortunately, the hurdles for attaining a copyright are vastly lower (in most cases copyright protection is automatic and applies as soon as you have written something).

    Diamond Comic Distributors is pretty much the only distributor of comic books in the US. Your distribution guy will be doing a lot of work with them to make sure that stores can stock your book easily. I’ve never worked in distribution, so I’m not sure what that would entail.

    If you’re going to hire a friend, I agree that it’s best to do so on a limited, freelance basis. For example, instead of offering him a yearly position on your art staff, pay him to do a single cover. If the cover is bad, you lose at most a few hundred dollars. In contrast, if you hire him and it doesn’t work out, you pretty much have to fire him. Very awkward.

  437. Avi Arunon 05 Jun 2009 at 8:15 am

    What are some superpowers mostly only girls have? Also list the coolest superpowers for villains and tell me what type of villains the power is meant to be used with.

  438. Sandmanon 05 Jun 2009 at 9:07 am

    The coolest and scariest superpowers for villains[and i’ll be using some of these myself but feel free tosome as well] in my opinion are:
    1-Haemolysis-use osmosis to burst every cell in a persons body [this could be kind of messy]
    2-Inducing haemophillia or causing a person’s blood to leak out of their body
    3-Mind control-Imagine a villain calling Barack O Bama and telling him to spark world war three.Scary
    4-Stealing superpowers-a la Sylar
    5-Psychosomosis-mental attacks which cause actual bodily damage,for example Freddy Kreuger or that episode of fringe with the hallucinogenic frogs and killer metal butterflies
    6-Generate a horribly deadly disease.

  439. Avi Arunon 05 Jun 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks, Sandman. I kinda like Psychosomosis. I already have a supervillain who can steal powers.

    By the way, visit my review forum. I’ve posted the synopsis of book 1 of my series. I would like some feedback.

    Another thing I wanted to ask is : Is it alright to end a book with a cliffhanger as a clue to the sequel. I mean, after the villain of book 1 is killed, can I show the rise of a new villain at the end of book 1?

  440. Marissaon 06 Jun 2009 at 1:54 am

    You never want to set up a sequel until you have the first book selling well.

  441. Avi Arunon 06 Jun 2009 at 6:20 am

    But then, I have too many ideas that cannot fit into a single book. If I have to write all of it in one book, the book would be atleast 1500 pages long.

  442. Gurion Omegaon 06 Jun 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Alright, thats fine to me. Most debut novels usually aren’t really short, from what I’ve seen. The novel(s) I’m working on will seem to be at least 27-30 chapters each.

  443. B. Macon 07 Jun 2009 at 3:16 am

    I think that would work, Avi. If you can convince a publisher to do your series, I think that killing the first book’s villain and introducing the next is an effective transition from one book to the next. That said, getting a series published is in many ways even harder than getting a single book published. It’s a bigger commitment on the part of the publisher.

    1500 pages is a non-starter.

  444. Holliequon 13 Jun 2009 at 4:08 am

    Literary master?! Me?

    I’ve never taken a writing course in my life, though, unless you count English class (which wasn’t very helpful. What’s with all the said hate?). I’ve just read a lot, from a very early age.

    I think to be an effective author, it’s important to read a lot, and not just things in your genre. I was never really that into writing until a few years back, so I read bits of everything.

    But yeah, I’m not a literary master by any means. I still have a long way to go before I’m close to that title. Cheer up, Avi.

  445. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Jun 2009 at 5:23 am

    “I’ve just read a lot, from a very early age”.

    Me, too. According to my parents, I started reading when I was 18 months old. I remember not paying attention in year one when we were learning the alphabet, because I already knew it by heart, thanks to the extensive amount of reading material I had at my disposal. I still have my first book (it’s just a bunch of loose pages now, haha).

  446. Tomon 13 Jun 2009 at 11:27 am

    I read waaaaay too much when I was a kid. Nowadays I would read more often, but there’s a distinct lack of books that interest me (due to my incredible fussiness) and the fact that I get through books faster than the Flash gets through… places…

    My ridiculously fast reading speed means I never have enough books to keep me reading. I actually read Harry Potter 7 in about 10 hours.

  447. Holliequon 13 Jun 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I read Harry Potter 6 in eight and a half, pulling an all-nighter to do so. That was fun, but I was glad I didn’t have school the next morning. 😛 It also showed me that the book was much improved on #5, which took me three days to read because Harry’s actions kept making me wince and put it down. Did she really have to turn him into a whiny teenage brat? And an idiot? Not cool, JK. Not cool.

    However, I have to admit that #5 was worth struggling through for Fred and George’s (and, in my opinion, the series’) crowning moment of awesome. When I read it nowadays I tend to skip all the annoying parts.

  448. Tomon 13 Jun 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Yeah I never really read HP from a critical angle, I just let the story kinda take me for a ride. As a result I pretty much have zero opinion on the series as a whole. The words ‘casual fan’ describe my level of interest in HP.

  449. notsohottopicon 18 Jun 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Question: I know I’m treading dangerous waters here, but…how can I effectively incorporate personal past dreams into a story?

    I’ve read stories before in which you can actually tell the author based off their dreams, since everyone has some sort of dream pattern(the story I read, it seems like everything was fastforwarded in a blur, so events were described poorly and disjointed).

    So, is it possible to incorporate them into the story?

  450. B. Macon 18 Jun 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I’d say it’s possible, but I’d recommend editing them to make them more coherent with your story. Your dream is probably more useful as a springboard for new ideas than as something that can be inserted intact into the story.

    I recommend keeping dream sequences short. Anything longer than a page is probably too much unless the character has supernatural powers that need more time. (Like prophetic dreams or the ability to enter the dreams of other people).

  451. Davidon 20 Jun 2009 at 4:55 pm

    i say go for it love is love weather real or in story u wont alaient evrey male reader and if any of them have problems thats theair problem not yours

  452. B. Macon 20 Jun 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I’d expect that a romance would probably rub many male readers the wrong way. Very few stories aimed at males handle romances in a more serious way than, say, James Bond or Eragon. (Read: woman as trophy).

    However, I think it worked for the original Star Wars movie. The main reason I enjoyed the Leia-Han romance but detested the Anakin-Padawan romance was that the original movies spent very little time plodding towards the end-goal. I think it also helped that neither one was a main character.

    I’d also recommend looking at Casino Royale, The New Adventures of Lois and Clark, maybe The Matrix, etc. Like the original Star Wars movies, the Matrix movies spent very little time developing the Neo-Trinity romance.

  453. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 20 Jun 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Yeah, romance isn’t really what male readers look for. That’s why I have it as a more of a background theme.

    1st book: It’s not even romance, Isaac’s girlfriend manipulates him into staying with her through blackmail.

    2nd book: Small hints, but the biggest theme is to save the world.

    3rd book: One established couple and one couple trying to get together. However, saving the world (again) is more important.

  454. B. Macon 21 Jun 2009 at 7:28 am

    I see a few possible solutions…

    1. Keep the romance to a minor sideplot, probably something on the scale of the romance in the later Harry Potter books or the original Star Wars movies. This will probably work better if the characters are secondary (like Han and Leia).

    2. Focus on the romance as much as you want and remove men from the target audience.

    3. Change the characters to remove any hint of romantic tension/compatibility between them.

    4. Make the characters dating in the background from the start. I think this would help make the romance more palatable to guys because (to me) the most intolerable part of romance is how the characters bumble towards the preordained conclusion that They Will Be Together.

    5. Change them back to minor characters, so that their romance becomes a more minor component of the story.

    6. Risky business… sometimes it’s possible to compensate for a female-friendly romance by lacing the story with male-friendly components (like action). I think that worked in The New Adventures of Lois and Clark, the original Star Wars movies, the Shrek movies, possibly Heroes (Matt-Daphne) and possibly Justice League Unlimited (the John-Vixen-Hawkgirl triangle).

  455. Gurion Omegaon 23 Jun 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I dunno about you guys, but I NEVER wanna see Robin on any ‘The Dark Knight’ sequel. I mean, the current ….I dunno, feel of the Batman cinmea would be compromised, as if its some dumb reminder that its based on the comics. I dunno, I never really liked Robin, and…well…it just seems better without him…

    And I think that the Joker potrayed in the The Dark Knight is the best film potrayal of a supervillian, period.

    Any objections?

  456. Don 23 Jun 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Hello, and I couldn’t agree with you more, Gurion!

    The Joker was absolutely phenomenal. A beautiful piece of work by the late Heath Ledger.

    Oh, and they can’t bring Robin into the works… it’ll be too… immature? I have no freakin’ clue. It’ll just be bad.

    Anyone have any ideas as to what the Dark Knight sequel will be like? Rachel’s gone, as is the Joker and Harvey.. so what now? Hmm…

  457. B. Macon 24 Jun 2009 at 12:35 am

    I am absolutely positive that a sequel to the Dark Knight will be made– there’s just too much money at stake to let it go– but it looks like they haven’t announced it yet. I notice that a Google search for “Dark Knight sequel” returned hits that are mostly 3-6 months old and didn’t contain anything particularly interesting.

    Apparently, they were scheduled to start pre-production several months ago. “According to Batman on Film, an inside source has mentioned that the filming is slated to begin in summer 2009 in Chicago.”

    I agree that including Robin would be a mistake. In most superhero stories, teen sidekicks are an excuse to overload the story with hormones. Also, I find the Batman-Robin relationship pretty forgettable. Aside from pandering to teens, I don’t think Robin really has a purpose today. Robin was probably most effective in the 1940s and 1950s, when superhero consumers were kids mainly interested in upbeat stories. Now, Robin just reminds me of Superfriends and the awful 90s movies. As far as modern audiences are concerned, that Batman did not exactly cover himself in glory.

    If the film studio felt really strongly about adapting Batman for a younger audience– which I feel would also be a mistake, given TDK’s success– it has better complements at its disposal than Robin. For example, one of Batman’s superpowers is the ability to make Superman interesting. For God’s sake, Batman was able to make Justice League International work. (Incidentally, JLI is very well-written. I highly recommend it).

  458. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Jun 2009 at 6:30 pm

    This isn’t really about writing, but I felt I had to put it somewhere. Since the open writing forum allows more room for unrelated topics, I figured it would fit here better.

    Michael Jackson is dead.

    I thought it was a joke at first. It was the first thing that popped up today, because my homepage is a news website. I gasped really loud, and it’s really big news, so I wanted to tell someone, but I’m the only one awake right now. I was never a fan; he had some good songs, but I never thought he’d die until he was older, in at least thirty years time. I never knew what to believe about him, because everyone knows the media distorts reality.

    Farrah Fawcett died too, but she was really sick and she didn’t have very long, so that was less of a shock. But jeez, I really didn’t see it coming for either of them.

    I guess all that’s left to say is Rest in Peace.

  459. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 25 Jun 2009 at 7:32 pm

    It’s a big shock, isn’t it? I really didn’t expect it. I guess that life just pulls an M. Night Shyamalan on us sometimes. What a twist.

  460. ShardReaperon 25 Jun 2009 at 8:24 pm

    It was weird. While I was seeing Transformers, some lady behind me said that he died and I just flipped out. It was one of those things that completely hits you from nowhere. I don’t know much about him outside of the trial a few years back, but damn. Him and Ed McMahon and Sarah Fawcett in the course of two days? Jesus.

  461. Don 25 Jun 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I got home from shopping around 5 and my brother opens the door and is like “Michael Jackson is dead.” I thought it was a joke too, and then I just go upstairs and my parents have the breaking news on.
    It was so shocking.. You never expect these things to happen just like that, but they do.

  462. Marissaon 26 Jun 2009 at 2:20 am

    This is totally unrelated:

    I need the name of a trading card. Think, Magic or Pokemon. “Holographic Pikachu” or “Circle of Magic: Blue”, the individual card.

    However, this needs to be made-up. It’s going to be in the year 2050, so the trading card games we have now are gonna be out of style by far…

    It needs to sound generic enough that it’ll be easily identifiable as a trading card game card.

  463. B. Macon 26 Jun 2009 at 5:45 am

    Ok. I’d recommend making up a card game that develops the plot or world or mood somehow. For example, if the government is something like a dictatorship, the game might be a race to defeat sinister rebels. It might be funny if the best cards were all ridiculous best cards were all ridiculous euphemisms for what the government does to keep its people in line. “Addition by Subtraction” wins the game if all traitor cards have been neutralized. The picture could show cute little kids playing with a romanticized soldier/father with a pile of dead bodies in the background. The implication is that life will be better when the enemies of the state are dead.

    Or something else to develop the world in a different way. If superpowered people are repressed in your society, you could play a game where players race to save humanity from the mutants (or whatever you call them).

    What do you think?

  464. Gurion Omegaon 01 Jul 2009 at 1:05 pm

    You know…I think all the solo superhuman cimema is comin’ to a close. At the end of Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson…*cough* Nick Fury talks to Tony Stark about joining the Avengers. At the end of The Incredible Hulk, Stark talks to that military dude about some team that they are “bringing together”. I think Marvel cinema’s best bet is to work on a Avengers movie. And for DC? The only good film I see made in yer universe so far is The Dark Knight…so word to the wise……WORK ON IT, DC!!!!
    But maybe they should audit Spidey though, I still think there’s some juice left in em’, if just for two more movies. DC, when your done getting yer act together, think about the Justice League, and please kill that Batman imposter on Batman:The Brave and the Bold before I do.


  465. Tomon 01 Jul 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Actually an Avengers film is in the works and slated for a 2011 release, a few months after the Captain America movie is set to come out. Coming soon is also a Spider-Man 4, an Iron-Man 2, Ant-Man (I think, not sure), Thor and a couple more of those X-Men Origins movies.

    Then on the DC side there’s a sequel to Dark Knight and… as far as I know that’s pretty much it.

  466. Marissaon 01 Jul 2009 at 2:37 pm

    There’s going to be a Deadpool movie. Not sure if that’s one of the X-Men: Origins movies Tom was referring to.

  467. Tomon 01 Jul 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I knew there was going to be a Magneto one and several others, but I couldn’t remember which. I guess Deadpool’s one too. I wonder if it’ll be Origins: Wolverine Deadpool or proper Deadpool (hopefully proper Deadpool).

  468. Marissaon 01 Jul 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I think it would be Origins: Deadpool rather than Wolverine, if it were an Origins movie. That makes sense.

  469. ShardReaperon 02 Jul 2009 at 8:04 am

    Or maybe just Deadpool. One good thing about the film is that they’ve got Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool again. Hopefully, he’ll be the sarcastic psycho we all know and love. They announced a Magneto Origins movie back in 2007, anyone know the status on that?

  470. Tomon 02 Jul 2009 at 8:21 am

    God I hope Deadpool is the sarcastic psycho and not the Deadpool in name only from Wolverine. He wasn’t bad… he just wasn’t Deadpool.

  471. ShardReaperon 02 Jul 2009 at 8:29 am

    He started out as Deadpool, but then they made him mute. And that’s considered a sin in the Deadpool bible.

    In other news, check out the Spectacular Spider-Man, Monday afternoons on Disney XD. Check your local listings! XD

  472. Tomon 02 Jul 2009 at 9:18 am

    lol, America is so far behind with TSSM. We saw the whole of season 2 months ago in the UK.

  473. ShardReaperon 02 Jul 2009 at 9:25 am

    Hey, do you know where I can watch season 4 of X-Men Evolution? I know it’s on iTunes but it’s a crime how they charge $15 for nine episodes.

  474. Tomon 02 Jul 2009 at 9:28 am

    No idea.

  475. Bretton 02 Jul 2009 at 9:43 am

    They could probably retcon that Deadpool fiasco. There’s really nothing to connect the “impostor-pool” to Wade Wilson as far as I’ve heard. They even had different actors. They could play him off as a clone or something. Or just pretend that never happened. It’s Marvel. They practically invented the modern retcon.

  476. Tomon 02 Jul 2009 at 10:45 am

    “They practically invented the modern retcon.”

    This statement is false but totally true.

  477. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Jul 2009 at 6:43 am

    I just found a really funny comic with Superman and Batman.


    I found the site today, it has quite a few funny strips with references to nerdy stuff.

  478. Trollitradeon 13 Jul 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I read some of those comics just now, Whovian.

    Haha, I liked the later one where Batman complained about being “challenged to the death” every time he and Superman happened to go out in public. Poor guy!

    And Marissa, I don’t think it’s disturbing for you to get story ideas from watching something morbid.
    I think we’re all guilty of that!

    I have watched some pretty horrendous documentaries that got me thinking about writing, lol.

  479. Gurion Omegaon 15 Jul 2009 at 11:56 am

    …Oh well. I can’t say that I was a major, hardcore MIchael Jackson fan, either. I only jumped on the fan-wagon after he died! But I think he was a musical mastermind, not just some great singer. Blasphemy! And sometimes you gotta put aside all the vital-to-the-human-survival stuff and just act de fool. For good time sake.

  480. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 20 Jul 2009 at 9:35 am


    Yeah, I loved that episode of Doctor Who. When Prof. River Song whispered his real name to him, his face was classic! Haha.

    I love being able to say “The Doctor is awesome” and people who don’t watch the show say “Huh? Who’s the Doctor?” I say “The Doctor” and try to get them to say “Doctor Who?” It makes me laugh my guts up.

    I always joke with my family that if there was an epic episode where he revealed his name to someone, he’d say “My true name is…………..Bob!” Haha.


    “I’m currently revising a piece that should be a total failure… there’s a weird mentor, prophecies, designated love interests, and more”.

    I have a very old idea full of that kind of stuff, plus a bifauxnen (girl dressed as a guy), interdimensional travel, dragons, knights, war etc. Haha. I’m going to do a major edit of it and turn into something useable.

  481. Tomon 20 Jul 2009 at 9:36 am

    “I love being able to say “The Doctor is awesome” and people who don’t watch the show say “Huh? Who’s the Doctor?” I say “The Doctor” and try to get them to say “Doctor Who?” It makes me laugh my guts up.”

    You’re in Australia, right? Here in Britain that joke would NEVER work. Doctor Who is like a cultural icon here. EVERYONE knows the show. It’s pretty much the single biggest non-reality show in the UK, well, except maybe for the prime-time soaps. Even people who have never seen it will be able to name at least two of the actors from the show. It’s like one of our main exports; tea, the Queen and Doctor Who.

    “My true name is……………Bob!” And that’s why he’ll never reveal his name. Because the second he does it becomes something lame and non-mysterious.

  482. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 20 Jul 2009 at 9:36 am

    DW is more of a cult thing here. We were talking about subcultural shows in Media class, and the teacher asked us to give examples. I said Doctor Who and Robot Chicken, and my friend said that most anime weren’t well known. When asked to put up our hands to say whether we’d watched any of them, I raised my arm for all three and only two or three other people, counting my friend, raised their arms for one.

    I know a few other Whovians, but I’m by far the most ReTARDISed. Haha. There are about eight people I know who watch the show and absolutely adore it. It has given us all a great appreciation for British TV (and David Tennant, haha)

  483. Scribblaron 20 Jul 2009 at 9:37 am

    I reckon River Song was his wife – why else would she know his name? That was why the expression…

  484. B. Macon 20 Jul 2009 at 9:38 am

    “…my friend said that most anime weren’t well known. When asked to put up our hands to say whether we’d watched any of them… only two or three other people raised an arm.”

    I agree that most anime series are unknown. When you submit a novel manuscript or comic book script, I would recommend against using manga/anime as comparable works unless they’ve sold really well in the West. Also, unless you’re submitting to a manga/anime house, assume that the editors and publisher’s assistants evaluating your submission are not manga fans.

  485. Tomon 20 Jul 2009 at 9:45 am

    Is the reverse true? That is, are most Western works unheard of in Japan?

  486. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 21 Jul 2009 at 4:01 am

    “Is the reverse true? That is, are most Western works unheard of in Japan?”

    I imagine that would be the case. I know that a few Western celebrities are well known there, but I think Japanese actors and voice actors will be better known, because any Western movies are usually dubbed into Japanese.

    While most anime/manga are unknown here, there are a couple of notable exceptions. Astro Boy was and remains one of the most widely loved shows, with a rather large Aussie fanbase. Pokemon, One Piece, Yu Gi Oh and Dragonball were all dubbed and aired on weekday mornings for kids to watch, so they have a few fans, too. They remain very subcultural, though.

  487. Tomon 21 Jul 2009 at 4:10 am

    Okay, that’s actors and celebrities. But are western works of fiction well known there. For example, we love Godzilla here, but do they like King Kong? We like Dragonball Z, but do they love Superman? We enjoy Battle Royale (well, in Britain anyway) but do they like the Saw franchise?

  488. B. Macon 21 Jul 2009 at 7:31 am

    My brother in Japan gets confused for Harry Potter quite frequently. So I assume it’s pretty popular there.

    I looked through Japanese box office results and it looks like Spiderman is doing much better in Japan than most other US superhero franchises. The Spiderman movies combined for 11 weeks at the top of the box office. Batman Begins did 1, Superman Returns did 1 and Wanted did 2. Notably missing: Dark Knight, any X-Men movies and Ironman. (My brother surmised that Ironman didn’t play very in Japan because it has some militaristic undertones).

    In terms of actual ticket sales, Watchmen grossed about $1 million, Wall-E grossed at least $40 million, Wanted grossed $20 million, Ironman grossed $5 million, Hancock (!) grossed about $20 million and The Dark Knight grossed $3 million. That site only goes back to early 2008, though.

    The Harry Potter and Narnia movies did very well. Lilo and Stitch has a huge cult following in Japan. Also, it looks like Johnny Depp is huge there.

  489. Tomon 21 Jul 2009 at 2:28 pm

    So the short answer is no. Western works ARE popular in Japan.

  490. ShardReaperon 21 Jul 2009 at 4:53 pm

    And Japanese works are semi-popular in America. Are Western works popular in the UK?

  491. B. Macon 21 Jul 2009 at 9:04 pm

    “Are Western works popular in the UK?” Umm, I’m not sure I understand this question. If by Western you mean European or American, I’m definitely leaning towards a yes. 😉

  492. Gurion Omegaon 25 Jul 2009 at 1:40 pm

    What is ‘stream of consciousness’? Yeah,yeah, I’ve read One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I never noticed what it is. Anybody know?

  493. B. Macon 25 Jul 2009 at 2:43 pm

    According to Wikipedia, “stream of consciousness is a narrative mode that seeks to portray an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes, either in a loose interior monologue, or in connection to his or her actions.” It’s usually disheveled and requires a shitload of effort on the part of the reader to understand what is going on. Consequently, SOC books are usually super-niche and are extremely hard to publish and sell.

    I vaguely remember reading Hundred Years of Solitude in high school Spanish– I may be wrong, but it didn’t strike me as a stream of consciousness story. I think the style is more associated with James Joyce (Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake) and a few other notables.

  494. Contra Gloveon 19 Aug 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I have a question about point-of-view.

    If, for the previous seven chapters I had one point of view, then shifted to a different one for the eighth chapter, then shifted back, is that bad? I do not wish to switch between more than two characters, nor do I wish to switch perspectives mid-chapter.

  495. B. Macon 19 Aug 2009 at 3:27 pm

    It could be awkward. Generally, I’d recommend introducing the second point-of-view fairly early. When readers get to chapter 8, they might think “what the hell! I’ve been reading about James for seven chapters. Why would I want to read about Felix?”

    At the very least, I’d recommend making the original character prominent in chapter 8. That should help keep it coherent with the first seven.

  496. Avi Arunon 21 Aug 2009 at 8:22 am

    Is it alright if I completely omit the origin of the protagonist’s superpowers? That is, my story is about the protagonist who brutally murders his enemies. The cops can’t get their hands on him because the victims are killed by a supernatural force. So, in a nutshell, the story is about what the superhero does with his powers, rather than how he got them. So, is it safe to omit the origin?

  497. B. Macon 21 Aug 2009 at 10:59 am

    “Is it alright if I completely omit the origin of the protagonist’s superpowers?” Generally, I wouldn’t recommend it. The closest example I can think of is that The Metamorphosis doesn’t explain why/how the protagonist turns into a cockroach.

    If you’d like to omit the explanation for the protagonist’s superpowers, please at least try to establish that this is a world where people can develop superpowers. For example, Wolverine’s origin story was revealed well after the character had become popular. But even before we knew that origin, readers were already familiar with a mostly realistic world where mutant superpowers are not uncommon. That helps orient the readers. We might not know the particulars about Wolverine (yet?), but we should be able to rule out a lot of possibilities. In particular, we should be able to rule out any fantasy origins like magic and demons (unless you’re actually writing a fantasy, of course).

  498. Ragged Boyon 26 Aug 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Things is dope as ever! School’s back in and I worked all the summer, but with new clothes, obligations, and other expenses I didn’t save any gold (jive talk for money) for production of Showtime. Damn me and my need to have individualized clothes.

    I finally got the girl I like to admit she likes me. Things don’t get much better than that.

    How y’all been, sex machines?

  499. B. Macon 26 Aug 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Well, at least you know what you’re getting with clothes and other things. If you want to drop several hundred dollars on art, there is pretty much no way to know beforehand whether you’ll ever recoup that by getting published or if it was just a learning experience. Eww…

    Not that I’m against learning experiences. I would just rather get paid than lose money to do so. Obviously. 😉

  500. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Aug 2009 at 2:12 am

    Oh my God. I just found a funny news article on NineMSN news:


    Don’t worry, it’s not explicit and the pictures were intended to be innocent, so they’re not smut. Haha.

  501. Wingson 28 Aug 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Welcome back RB! Now that I’ve escaped from the plot bunnies, school’s begun, and I’m seeing P on a regular basis (unless he gets SICK again *dagger eyes*), I’m back on SN and happy to be so! Good going on your life, now work on your comic. *dagger eyes*

    B. Mac has a job! *tosses confetti*

    Thanks to P, fanfiction, and Wikipedia, I am beginning to understand what this “Death Note” is (It appears to involve “Death” and “Notes”… *being sarcastic thank God*).

    I also came up with another sequel for HTSTW (Yes, I did.). It’s very tentative and might not make it to the universe, but I liked it.

    Darkstar Rising is coming to life….

    Darkstar: It’s true.

    Me: Go away! *rips open dimension and hurls him into oblivion* I’ll get him out later…maybe. If I feel like it. Eventually.

    – Wings, who argues with fictional characters on a daily basis.

  502. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Aug 2009 at 10:37 pm

    “Thanks to P, fanfiction, and Wikipedia, I am beginning to understand what this “Death Note” is (It appears to involve “Death” and “Notes”… *being sarcastic thank God*).”

    Don’t read the whole plot summary on Wikipedia! Read the manga or watch the anime. If you’re lucky, the anime should be rentable from your Blockbuster or wherever it is you can rent TV shows from. It. Is. The. Best. Anime/Manga. EVAR. Haha. Seriously, the ending is the product of an affair between the daughter of Epic and Awesome and the son of Sad and OhmyGodwhattheheck. It’s like a designer baby. Haha.

    You know something I really want? I’ve seen shirts that say “WWKD: What Would Kira Do?” Next time I see one at the shops, I’m so buying it! Haha.

  503. Wingson 28 Aug 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Anime? Manga?

    Unfortunately, I shall never understand the things that you speak of. I’m not allowed to watch television, or read much manga (Two syllables: Parents), however, since I’m visiting Barnes and Noble this weekend I *might* be able to sneak a few books or read the manga online (Extremely dangerous – since I’m only allowed on the computer for homework most days, and my parents will get mad at me again).

    God, at this point I can SEE the angst in that statement. Curse me. When I’m 18…(Four years…four years…)

    On a lighter note I joined DeviantArt under the name “iriswings”, rescued my iPod, reclaimed by brother’s DSi, and have created a new story: Invertal/Face The Music, my first attempt at realistic fiction andmy second (third or fourth actually, but everything in HTSTW is usually only implied, but Darkstar Rising has Darkstar and Hikari…) attempt at solid romance.

    Thanks to voodoo dolls, anger issues, and a certain umbrakinetic *dagger eyes at Darkstar* I have created the crack/crossover pairing known as BadAssShipping, the pairing of Titan and Darkstar. It was a very strange occurance.

    Yes, I have seen Japanese Spiderman and now can never think of Spidey in the same way again. *laughs*

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get Darkstar out of that alternate dimension I tossed him in earlier.

    – Wings, who supports BadAssShipping

  504. Wingson 29 Aug 2009 at 10:29 am

    Whoops…I meant interval not invertal, sorry.

    I discovered a frightening rumor today: they are making an American Death Note remake that is set to come out in 2011. That’s true, this is the frightening part: A rumor went around that Zac Efron was cast as Light. Yes, THAT Zac Efron. The High School Musical pretty boy Zac Efron.

    This rumor caused me to freak out, panic, and traumatize Darkstar (I would have probably done the last one anyway just for laughs, but the point stands). With the possible exception of P sneaking up on me soundlessly (That is extremely creepy, you know!), not many things make me react in such a manner. Thank God it’s a lie.

    – Wings

  505. Lighting Manon 29 Aug 2009 at 10:59 am

    Y’know, I heard they left the K out of his name, because he’s actually a Z.A.C.

    Zamboni Automaton Created for Killing, after he killed the mad scientist that created him, he needed a last name so he added E.F.R.O.N. or Especially Friendly Rons On the Net.

    Zamboni Automaton Created for Killing Especially Friendly Rons On the Net became an actor with his dashing good Canadian ice-shaping looks.

  506. Wingson 29 Aug 2009 at 11:16 am

    Ah, Disney Channel actors…We all pretty much hate you.

    Now, just wondering:

    For those of you who know what Death Note is, if you found a Death Note, who’s name would you write in it?

    My Death Note:


    I don’t CARE if he’s fictional, I’ll kill him anyway!

    – Wings

  507. Tomon 29 Aug 2009 at 11:47 am

    For what it’s worth, Efron is apparently a fan of Death Note.

    Before you declare ‘link or it didn’t happen’:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OneOfUs (ctrl+F Zac Efron)

  508. Wingson 29 Aug 2009 at 11:55 am

    Interesting. Perhaps he’s human after all and not…whatever Lighting Man said.

    – Wings

  509. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 29 Aug 2009 at 6:24 pm


    Zac Efron is one of us! Haha. I wonder who else is. I never pegged him as an anime/manga fan. Then again, most of the fans I know don’t look it. Hell, I don’t look it. Haha.


    Ah, you found FreeRice. I’ve been there heaps of times. I love that site.

  510. Wingson 30 Aug 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I have learned of this “Death Note”.

    Only problem? There was no book eight, and book seven is *spoiler* when L dies.


    Me: What happens next? What happens next!?!


    From what I read, I’m a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of the best manga series I’ve ever read, but from what you all say I’m expecting a manga god here. Maybe it’s better reading it the second time, when you aren’t worried about being lectured for reading “such a violent book!”.

    Either way, I liked it (Is it natural to wish to kill Light in an extremely painful manner after L dies?).

    – Wings

  511. Marissaon 30 Aug 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Y’know, the anime is much better than the manga, Wings. There are like fifteen more episodes after L dies. But yes, that is very very natural.

  512. Wingson 31 Aug 2009 at 9:12 am

    *is suffering from permenant anime ban*

    Trust me people, if there’s even a little violence in something, we’re never allowed to read it again (My mom banned a book because of a MECHA FIGHT. Those giant robots are SUPPOSED to fight. It’s why they exist).

    Someday when I’m 18…(Four years…four years…)

    Oh, did anyone figure out the origin of P’s username yet (His computer’s down at the moment)? Months ago when I finally persuaded him to join and I questioned the name, he mentioned “L, an awesome detective”. Considering that I had no clue what this referred to at the time I was rather confused.

    – Wings

  513. Tomon 31 Aug 2009 at 9:44 am

    Marvel to be bought by Disney?


    Oh dear.

  514. Wingson 31 Aug 2009 at 10:48 am

    My premonition is coming true! Disney is taking over superheroes!

    – email flashback to when I was panicking over Zac Efron possibly playing Light –

    Me: Zac Efron might have been cast as Light Yagami!

    Darkstar: Why should I care?

    Me: *whispers in his ear* If they were casting for a movie of Darkstar, they’d probably cast Joe Jonas as you.

    Darkstar: *joins the panic party* THEY CAN’T DO THIS TO ME! I’M DARKSTAR!

    Me: And Vanessa Hudgens as Hikari.

    Darkstar: *faints*

    – end flashback –

    Seriously though…Joe Jonas as Darkstar…*shrieks, runs around panicking, and promptly crashes into wall as usual*

    I would sooner bite off my own head! *quoting Agent Orange, except I am not discussing Canadians*

    – Wings

  515. Holliequon 31 Aug 2009 at 11:19 am

    Just seen that article, and my first thought was to come here. Great minds think alike, Tom?

    Sometimes I’m glad I’m not into comic books. This could be good, or it could be really, really bad.

  516. Lighting Manon 31 Aug 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Warner Brothers owns D.C comics, and the only real problems have come from the fact that Warner Brothers is the only studio that D.C movies are produced at, which has hurt movies in the past (Catwoman) but they’ve been smarter since then, and they’re second to none in terms of quality animated productions.

    Economically, it makes the most sense for Disney to leave Marvel as it is, and incorporate Marvel Studios amongst their stable of studios. Most likely, the only repercussions will be a possible upswing in budgets for Marvel movies, and an increased incidence of Disney-properties being peddled by Marvel Comics.

  517. Wingson 31 Aug 2009 at 8:55 pm

    All right, how much are you lot willing to bet that a Disney Channel star (or has-been, whatever you prefer) gets a leading role in a Marvel based movie? The odds are pretty good – over 3/4 of their latest movies/TV shows have been showcases (The so-bad-it’s-not-even-funny-bad JONAS, anyone?) or mishmashes of their stars in borderline Idiot Plots.

    I mean, come on.

    – Wings

  518. Tomon 01 Sep 2009 at 1:59 am

    Look at it like this, Marvel shows already account for 20 hours a week on the Disney XD channel. Maybe that’ll mean more Spectacular Spider-Man?

    Hopefully this will just be a business relationship, not a creative one. (although a Pixar Marvel movie would be awesome. Incredibles meet Fantastic Four anyone?)

  519. Tomon 01 Sep 2009 at 9:05 am

    Do you think Disney will ask to produce subsequent Marvel movies after their last outside contract expires? If so we’ll hopefully get something more along the lines of Pirates of the Carribean than Beverly Hills Chihuahas.

  520. B. Macon 01 Sep 2009 at 10:44 am

    I’m leaning towards no, Tom.

    –Disney doesn’t do a lot of PG-13 movies. But almost every Marvel movie so far has been PG-13. (It’s hard to do satisfying fights in a PG movie and rated-R cuts out too many viewers).
    –The Disney name will probably not help sell a mainstream superhero-action movie. In particular, I think guys above the age of 13 would be noticeably less likely to go to a Disney movie.
    –Disney’s last superhero movie (Underdog) was disastrous. I liked Sky High but it didn’t do much better at the box office.
    –Disney’s live-action movies tend to struggle quite a bit with fight scenes. Unlike most successful superhero movies, I can’t think of any Disney movies with crazy kung fu choreography.

  521. Tomon 01 Sep 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I liked Sky High too. I see your point about the name not selling to over 13s, so I guess they won’t be making any of the movies. I suppose it’s a good thing Marvel are making their own movies now.

  522. Ragged Boyon 01 Sep 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Sky High left me wanting more, but in a bad way.

  523. B. Macon 01 Sep 2009 at 1:13 pm

    How would you have written it differently, RB? What went wrong?

  524. Ragged Boyon 01 Sep 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I’m hoping this includes the warranted step up in maturity level. I think the story wasn’t superhero enough. I liked the battle school idea, but that was about it. I think they had trouble saying “let’s go all the way.” We never even got to see the teens in some form of costume. Or acknowledge a supername. The power system seemed to suck. While one kid get inferno brazo , the other can turn into a guinea pig (who was only useful thanks to the Eigen Plot).If I really wanted to play up a superhero universe, I would give everyone an improving power. Maybe Goo Kid learns to morph. Maybe Glow Boy learns to conjure luminesense. And then I could throw together some real bands of enemies.

    90 minutes is a a malleable space, despite its terseness. A simple story can hold many elements. I don’t suspect it would have been that much harder to put more elements into the story. I like that they wear their own colors, but I think this could have been way smoother and iconically. Maybe we’d get an idea of what their costumes would be one day. Speaking of better portrayals, it’s obvious that we’d have to delve deeper into those one-dimensional character. I could describe each character in two words: Average Joe, Pretty Hippy, Scarred Rebel, Passive Nerd, Typical Goth,etc…

    Royal Pain was a potentially good villain, but fell flat. I liked her plan, but it felt like it was too dumb to work, which it isn’t. It’s actually a pretty clever plan. A think a little backstory could have helped her a lot. Why exactly is she a royal pain? Maybe something showing an affinity to babies or youth or even teaching.

    I think the school was pretty good. I would have liked more history about the school.

    Overall. I think it need a blast of development. Of course, I don’t know if that would work in a PG-rated movie.

    What do you think?

  525. Wingson 02 Sep 2009 at 9:04 am

    Considering that it was one of the few movies I enjoyed watching, I thought it was decent.

    Darkstar: You’re only saying that because of Warren Peace.

    Wings: *pulls out Darkstar voodoo doll and flicks it in the head*

    Darkstar: *reacts as though punched in face* Ow!

    Wings: I do think your ideas would have worked, RB. The glowing kid could easily develop a power similar to Hikari’s – mild photokinesis would be better than being a walking glowstick. Still not the most useful power, but definitely an improvement.

    I also think that the plot could use a slight tune-up – note that every time the main character needed a power, he got it (flight after being thrown out a window – can you say convenient? If anything, wait until he almost hits the ground first!). And, of course, the Eigen Plot.

    – Wings

  526. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 05 Sep 2009 at 7:58 pm

    “You’re only saying that because of Warren Peace.”

    Haha. When I saw that movie, pretty much every girl in there was ogling him. But what’s with the name? I mean, it’s epic awesome, but like any parent would actually call their son that just because one of them was a hero and the other was a villain. At least it’s better than Will Stronghold.

    That sounds too much like “Hey, this guy is the best hero ever!” and comes off as more goofy than cool. Anyone else notice his red, white and blue colour scheme? I’ve seen it on a lot of characters in the past, like Danny Phantom’s civilian clothes, also Jake Long’s. I just think “We GET it! He’s a patriotic American!” It just seems like it’s being shouted at me. It’s pretty obvious that he wants to be a good person and serve his country. Why else would he be going to super school and assigned as a hero?

    But then again, there IS Moon Unit Zappa and Bronx Mowgli Wentz… okay, it’s plausible but not likely that parents would give their kids such names.

    I liked the movie, but the end was just a little too convenient. GlowKid gets to glow for them in the vents, GuineaGirl gets to crawl through a hole and chew on some wires, and GooGuy gets to… go gooey. Lol, that’d be a good catchphrase.

  527. Wingson 05 Sep 2009 at 8:35 pm

    When I first heard his name, the first thing I thought was “Leo Tolstoy” (He was the writer of the book War And Peace, right?)! I never thought of it the other way…

    Darkstar: Moron.

    Wings: Shut it.

    Personally, I preferred Warren’s backstory to Will’s (Hero and villain as parents, people! Think of the possibilities!)

    Darkstar: Fangirl.

    Wings: *whips out Darkstar voodoo doll and hands it to an angry cat* Here, kitty.

    Darkstar: *long string of censored words*

    Wings: I frickin’ love voodoo. Anyway, note to self: slip comment about the color scene red, white, and blue into HTSTW:

    *something like this*

    Character 1: What, no red, white, and blue? How un-American!

    Character 2: Do I look like a walking cliche to you?

    – Wings

  528. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 08 Sep 2009 at 6:22 am

    I just thought up a line I could use and am determined to use it somewhere, but is it worth combing through thousands of words to find a place for it?

    “In a small community, secrets get out faster than someone trapped in a wet paper bag.”

  529. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 08 Sep 2009 at 6:23 am

    Okay, now that I’ve thought for a second, that was a weird question. Haha. Agh, just blame the sugar and lack of sleep. Why doesn’t L ever get like this? (Death Note reference, haha)

  530. Davidon 08 Sep 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hey, guys. I’ve got pictures to show you from from my novel characters on Photobucket but I’m not sure how to show them.

  531. Foxon 08 Sep 2009 at 12:35 pm

    “Okay, now that I’ve thought for a second, that was a weird question. Haha. Agh, just blame the sugar and lack of sleep. Why doesn’t L ever get like this? (Death Note reference, haha)”

    L’s the world’s best detective. We’re just writers. 8) (on a side note, I didn’t think somebody with a Doctor Who reference in their name would have a clue about Death Note)

  532. B. Macon 08 Sep 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Do you have a link, David?

  533. Davidon 09 Sep 2009 at 3:05 am



  534. Davidon 10 Sep 2009 at 1:53 am

    so what do u guys think?

  535. Ghoston 10 Sep 2009 at 5:41 am

    I like them dave.

  536. Ghoston 11 Sep 2009 at 6:27 am

    well I will give yiou that david. Her outfit is a little stereotypical of comic women, but it does work.

  537. Wingson 11 Sep 2009 at 9:05 am

    Note to self – capture a concept artist (The last possible one I had switched schools). Due to a stunning inability to draw, I can’t show the world what my characters look like…

    Good on you, David. Did you draw those or were you lucky enough to get a concept artist? Either way, they have an interesting look (I mean that in the best possible way – the style is something I haven’t seen before).

    – Wings

  538. Davidon 11 Sep 2009 at 1:20 pm

    and wings i got a good artist to do it for $300 if u want i can give u his email if u want ur own pics done

  539. Wingson 11 Sep 2009 at 1:32 pm


    As a mere freshman, I have no money…

    Hopefully I can find an artist at school…(There are a LOT of manga and anime otakus here)

    – Wings

  540. StarEon 11 Sep 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Wow, $300 bucks? Your artist guy must’ve been a pro or something! (I did look at the links you put up, David, and I thought they were pretty cool. I liked the taller girl, and the pics DO look pretty professional, but, but… so spendy!)

    Wings, maybe you could browse around on DeviantArt and see if you can commission some character artwork from somebody? Maybe you’ll find someone to do it for free, or maybe you WILL have to pay some money, but hopefully less than $300!

    I can draw, but not well enough to “hire” for character concepts…

    If you give me a detailed description of one of your characters, and some references pictures, maybe I could TRY to draw someone for you? If it ends up sucking, it can at least be considered “fanart”. 😀 I’ve been so busy lately, though, so I’m not sure when I’d get the chance to do it… It sounds like fun, though. I haven’t drawn anything in AGES.

  541. StarEon 11 Sep 2009 at 1:55 pm

    By the way, I asked some character/plot questions around the website, but now that they’re not in the “Recent Comments” blurb anymore, can people still tell that I wrote something somewhere?

  542. Lighting Manon 11 Sep 2009 at 3:13 pm

    That’s insanely expensive considering the low quality of the art, the proportions are off in several places, stylized as it is. The lighting is perfunctory and basically wrong in quite a few spots, the shading is rough and haphazard. Mist has a belly button on the left side of her stomach for some weird creepy reason.

    I wasn’t really going to comment on it when I believed that a member here had drawn them, but in light of the fact that David paid, I must say, the artist’s skill is clearly below what it should be if they’re charging people. I am an artist, not a good one, and most likely not better then the person that created these, but I can safely say I would not ever charge people for art.

  543. StarEon 11 Sep 2009 at 3:25 pm

    If I charged somebody for a colored artwork of mine, depicting ONE character, I would charge like, $15 or $20 at the most, not $100 bucks a pop. But then again, I don’t think I’m a good enough artist to require payment unless I needed to draw for the person OFTEN, like if I were their cover artist for 10 issues or something…

  544. B. Macon 11 Sep 2009 at 3:42 pm

    $300!? Gah. Unfortunately, I think he ripped you off. 🙁 I don’t think Cara and the dragon are bad, but you could have gotten significantly better for $100 each. As a measure of comparison, Rebecca Gunter charges $50 for the first and $30 for any subsequent characters. (However, she’s not very rapid… she has a 2-month waiting list).

    I think you’ve got to be really careful when an artist quotes you an insanely high price. (And I think $100 in this case is insane). It’s usually more of a negotiating tactic than anything– if the artist starts out very high, he can afford to give away some in negotiations.

  545. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Sep 2009 at 5:06 pm

    “L’s the world’s best detective. We’re just writers. (on a side note, I didn’t think somebody with a Doctor Who reference in their name would have a clue about Death Note)”

    That’s what you’d think, huh? Haha. I like pretty much anything. I wasn’t into manga or anime much until I started hanging out with a total fangirl, who is now my best friend. She suggested Death Note because I love Dexter. I kept putting off reading it until another friend and one of my classmates also suggested it. So I got curious and read it online. I could not stop reading it! Haha.

    Now I own all twelve volumes, plus How to Read: 13, the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, a wall scroll, the first twenty episodes of the anime, the first two movies, and a keychain with Light on it. I also have the two opening themes and the two closing themes on my iPod, innumerable wallpapers for my computer, several gifs that I use almost every day… Yeah, I’m a huge fan of it. All I need now is the last few DVDs of the anime and an actual Death Note. And maybe some plushies or action figures. Haha.

    I have several in-jokes with my friend who introduced me to it. I’ll open my lunch box, and because I don’t normally eat apples, I yell: “Dammit, Ryuk! Stop eating my apples!” Haha.

    On top of Death Note, I also like Black Cat, DNAngel, Love*Com, High School Debut and as a child I used to rent the 1980’s Astro Boy series from Blockbuster (I even drew fanart of it when I was six), and also watched Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.

    Haha, so yeah. I’m not entirely limited to Western works. In my opinion, many cartoons can’t hold a candle to anime. Except Avatar. That show rocks. Haha.

  546. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Sep 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Oh, and I also watched Pokemon and Digimon.

  547. ShardReaperon 11 Sep 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I definetely agree with you on Avatar and Digimon. Anyone else here watch Loonatics?

  548. Tomon 12 Sep 2009 at 3:05 am

    “In my opinion, many cartoons can’t hold a candle to anime.”

    See: The DCAU, Looney Tunes, Animaniacs for why this viewpoint is oh so wrong.

    Interestingly, all produced by Warner Brothers. Huh…

  549. Lighting Manon 12 Sep 2009 at 3:47 am

    Freakazoid! was the single greatest superhero show ever, it is a fact. Y’know when you like die, and you like meet your chosen maker? If you ask him, her or it, hat was the greatest superhero show, it will bellow “Freakazoid!” then reincarnate you as stinky poo gas.

    It is a fact, it happened to my cousin.

  550. Davidon 12 Sep 2009 at 3:59 am

    hmm not wat i exspeted i personly liked it it was 300 for 4 colored pics and he did have a tight deadline for me so thats probs why anwyys wih the transfer rates it really only cost £184

  551. B. Macon 12 Sep 2009 at 6:01 am

    I think Freakazoid’s writing was okay but usually ill-suited for the core audience for Saturday morning cartoons. I think that a show like Pinky and the Brain was more successful because kids could enjoy the plots even if they didn’t get most of the humor. In contrast, if you miss the humor of Freakazoid, I don’t think there’s much left.

    In a typical episode of almost every show, a character gets a problem and has to overcome it, and it’s interesting to see how he will do so. (Or, in the case of PATB, not do so). In contrast, Freakazoid’s nutty mannerisms are sort of a distraction from the plot. (IE: Trying to stop a bank heist, he decides to run in and twiddle his lips rather than actually doing something to stop the robbers).

    Also, the visual design for the main character strikes me as very unappealing. I think that kids have more trouble looking past that than an older viewer would. Also, I once read a psychological study that found that kids are more receptive to people that look like them or their parents. (However, TMNT and Loony Tunes and many other shows have overcome that).

  552. Lighting Manon 12 Sep 2009 at 9:03 am

    Boy, I am never sleeping in my computer chair again. “Hat was the best superhero show” I’m ashamed.

  553. Wingson 12 Sep 2009 at 10:23 am

    Congratulate me universe – I have finished the Death Note manga. Am I the only one who cheered when *spoiler spoiler spoiler* Matsuda of all people snapped and started shooting Light after he was revealed to be Kira? Yeesh!

    Speaking of action figures, guess what I saw at Borders the other day?

    Edward Cullen action figures


    – Wings

  554. Marissaon 12 Sep 2009 at 10:29 am

    I agree wholeheartedly about you getting ripped off, but that’s your choice. However, the Mist you’ve got a picture of and the Mist you’ve written are two completely polar opposite characters. I’d like to think the Mist you’ve written has too much dignity to walk around looking like a hooker. ;D But maybe that’s just me.

  555. Davidon 12 Sep 2009 at 11:47 am

    i admit i had imagend her in something more full fitting probs get her redone

  556. B. Macon 12 Sep 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Yeah, I recommend against sinking more money into art at this point. That way, in case the characters change, you won’t have to spend more money to have the visuals redesigned.

    Also, some advice for anybody that deals with freelance artists… Ask to see a preliminary sketch before the coloring begins. Check carefully for anything that you’d like to alter or edit. After the coloring begins, it is drastically more difficult (read: expensive) to make any changes to the lineart. So, if you had had any issues with (say) her outfit, it would have been a lot easier to bring it up then.

    That said, you’ve given the artist a significant amount of business and might look like the kind of guy that will need a lot of work down the line (like getting an entire comic book illustrated, for example). So there’s some offhand chance that he might be willing to redo it. If he says no, ask him to do just the inks (or even just the pencils). That will save him a lot of work because he won’t have to do any coloring. You won’t get colors, but I don’t think the colors matter here, anyway.

  557. Davidon 12 Sep 2009 at 12:54 pm

    no im gonna look at some artist at the colluge over here see if i can get it done cheaper or free

  558. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Sep 2009 at 7:09 pm


    I cheered too! Haha. I love Light a lot, even though he did some horrible things (spoiler) especially to Naomi! I mean, killing her fiance and then her? Jerk! And his own father! (end spoiler)

    (Spoiler again) But Matsuda is pure awesome for shooting the crap out of Light. And then Ryuk writes his name down! OWNED. (end spoiler)

    (Still a spoiler) Because Matsuda was treated horribly all the time, I felt sorry for him. At one point in the anime, L asks if he really wants to help with the investigation. When he says yes, L asks him to get him another cup of coffee! When I first finished the manga, I cheered really loud and screamed “YEAH TAKE THAT, KIRA!” Haha. (end spoiler)

  559. B. Macon 12 Sep 2009 at 9:21 pm

    “L asks if he really wants to help with the investigation. When he says yes, L asks him to get him another cup of coffee!” Haha! That’s very stylish.

  560. Wingson 13 Sep 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Put it this way. P is a Light fan. Light (as Kira) pretty much kills everyone in his quest to become a god, while P is a pacifist and overall a Good Person. I am a L fan. L’s goal is to stop Kira and is generally a seeker of justice, whereas I am a violent, possible homicidal maniac. ‘Nuff said.

    Personally, after reading the whole series, I still think there’s a good chance of Mello being a girl. Come on, you chocolate addict, cut your hair!

    – Wings

  561. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Sep 2009 at 2:05 am

    “Personally, after reading the whole series, I still think there’s a good chance of Mello being a girl. Come on, you chocolate addict, cut your hair!”

    When I first saw Mello (when he was a fifteen year old at Wammy’s House) I thought he was a girl. Haha. Then after they finally used a gender specific term for him, I realised he was a guy.

    “L asks if he really wants to help with the investigation. When he says yes, L asks him to get him another cup of coffee!” Haha! That’s very stylish.

    There’s a lot more where that came from.

    L: By the way, are you gonna eat that cake?

    Misa: Cake makes you fat. I’m not gonna eat any.

    L: Actually, I find that you don’t gain any weight as long as you burn calories by using your brain.

    Misa: Huh, so now you’re calling me stupid?!

    That may actually be true, seeing as L is 179cm tall and weighs fifty kilograms (5″10′ and 110 pounds). That makes his BMI 15.8, making him underweight. Yes, I actually went to the trouble of calculating that. Haha.

    Then when (spoiler) Light and L are fighting in the hotel while the rest of the investigation team are watching on surveillance (end spoiler) Matsuda phones the room to stop them. L picks it up. Matsuda says that Misa is at the top of a celebrity popularity poll. L hangs up and Light asks what it was.

    L: It was just Matsuda being stupid again.

    Light: Well, that is his specialty.

    Matsuda: I can hear you, you know…

    Haha. I love Death Note. Can you tell?

  562. Wingson 14 Sep 2009 at 11:58 am

    I thought that this Death Note fancomic was entertaining: http://silentreaper.deviantart.com/art/Death-Note-The-Show-48105656

    Heck, anything by silentreaper for Death Note is good.

    Favorite line of the above comic: *Mello: And I’m a guy, damnit! What? A guy can’t have nice hair?*

    Yup, I can tell!

    – Wings

  563. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 21 Sep 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Blah, I’ve been sick lately and so haven’t been around SN in a while.

    Haha, Misa and Mikami fighting over Light and the Death Note. Priceless.

    Oh, I found a really cool avatar the other day. It’s a picture of Light holding a coffee mug and he has a speech bubble. Inside it just says “lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies”. Haha.

  564. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 21 Sep 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Incidentally, the picture of Mello on the cover of volume eight reminds me of Willy Wonka from the 2005 film.


    His hair is in a similar style, only blonde instead of black. He’s holding a chocolate bar (but then, when is he NOT holding a chocolate bar?) and the chair looks like something Wonka would own. Not to mention Mello’s top looks like that paper stuff that seperates the two trays of chocolate in a box of assortments. The crumpled material at his feet could be mistaken for a river of melted chocolate. Haha.

    I have chocolate on the brain.

  565. Melloon 21 Sep 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I do not look like Willy Wonka! Now leave me alone, I have to catch Kira.

    (takes a bite out of chocolate)

    I do not look like Willy Wonka. (sniffle) You’re just like the kids at Wammy’s House. I hate you all!

  566. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 21 Sep 2009 at 7:31 pm


    Wow, I never picked Mello for a crybaby. (shrugs)

    (gives Mello chocolate, glomps)

    Now go catch that Kira!

    Mello: YAY!


  567. Marissaon 21 Sep 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Hahah, Whovian, you went all-out and posted a post as Mello himself? Takes dedication. 😛

  568. Marissaon 21 Sep 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Tom, I don’t have your e-mail, but if you see this, could you e-mail me? It’s ‘xnihility[at]gmail.com’.

    It’s important. You can probably guess, if you’ve got an eye on things.

  569. Wingson 22 Sep 2009 at 8:44 am

    *grabs Mello away from Whovian*

    Mine! Mine to fangirl over! *holds Mello up to the light* You’re slightly creepy, but we all still love you.

    One question in a lot of memes these days – are you on Team Kira or Team L?

    My ansewer? Team Mello. Because he has chocolate AND guns.

    – Wings the Trigger Happy

  570. Lighting Manon 22 Sep 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Death Note scares me. never read it or really watched the show, but I always got the feeling when people referenced it that if I gave it a chance I’d enjoy it, and I can’t enjoy anime, it’d kill me if I did, I already know more about hundreds of fictional characters then I did my first wife, and I think I’m about full of useless information.

  571. Wingson 22 Sep 2009 at 7:02 pm

    *pats head*

    Meh, I’m supposed to be smart, with the small problem that I know almost nothing about the outside world (I thought Michael Jackson was a basketball player and I forgot what “LOL” stands for – and that’s just what happened at lunch today). The only things I do know are completely random, useless facts that will never help me in real life. It’s a lonely existence, and if I didn’t have P, Wikipedia and TVTropes I’d never have a clue what anyone was talking about. *sighs* I’m pathetic…

    – Wings

    ((Wow, I sound depressed.))

  572. Ragged Boyon 23 Sep 2009 at 5:06 pm

    RB is officially back, sex machines! And his brain has been a’workin’. Meet me in my forum if you wanna chat. I have construction to continues. Haha!

  573. D.macon 24 Sep 2009 at 5:14 am

    You’re not pathetic wings, you would be supprised how meany folk are like you’re self. I mean iv had times when iv forgoten someones name while talking to them and iv known them for months its weird.

    Welcome back ragged boy you have you’re own form now? cool.

  574. Holliequon 27 Sep 2009 at 7:06 am

    I’m sure B. Mac has made a post somewhere about how to form vague ideas into a proper story, only I can’t seem to find it. Can somebody help? D:

  575. B. Macon 27 Sep 2009 at 10:24 am

    [UPDATE: I later found the article about how to turn jumbled thoughts into a coherent story— feel free to disregard the rest of the advice if you’d like.]

    I’m not sure what sort of advice I’d recommend for that. Two articles come to mind that feel vaguely relevant. First, if the concept for the story feels vague, that probably means that the protagonist is not well-defined. I’d recommend Creating Interesting Characters. If the concept feels vague because you’re not sure where you’re going with it, How to Beat Writer’s Block might help.

    Is that sort of similar to what you were thinking of? Maybe you could explain the problem in a bit more detail and I can produce or find something more helpful.

  576. Holliequon 27 Sep 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Oh damn. Looks like the false memory effect is in action again. Those weren’t what I was thinking of… but those will probably work anyway! 😀 Thanks, B. Mac. I’ll have to look at my antagonist in closer detail.

  577. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 27 Sep 2009 at 10:25 pm

    “Hahah, Whovian, you went all-out and posted a post as Mello himself?”

    Huh? What are you talking about? Haha.

    “One question in a lot of memes these days – are you on Team Kira or Team L?”

    Hmm, I’m not even sure. I mean, by killing all those people, Light decreased the crime by 70%. Imagine all the lives that were saved by that. Also, he genuinely believed what he was doing was right, but it drove him utterly insane and he lost a lot of sympathy when he killed (spoiler) Raye Penber and Naomi (end spoiler) and then later on (spoiler) he was directly responsible for the death of his OWN father, even if he wasn’t actually the one that did it (end spoiler).

    L, on the other hand, well, you must admit the cuteness. Haha. He has generally the right idea about how to deal with Kira, but he also sacrificed lives to catch him. Like (spoiler) Lind L Tailor (end spoiler). Both of them are evil in their own way, both are willing to sacrifice lives to win, though L is less extreme, and neither one of them is morally pure. Though, where would the fun be in that? Haha.

    And finally, other than my moral standing on the whole thing, Light and L are both pretty good looking. Haha, also Mikami and Mello. I showed one of my friends a pic of each one, she squeed. I think Near is cute in a little brother type way, as in not attractive but I could picture him as my brother.

  578. Marissaon 27 Sep 2009 at 11:13 pm

    IP addresses don’t lie, Whovian~. ;D

  579. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Sep 2009 at 1:18 am

    Well, you know how darn crafty those Wammy’s House kids are. He probably just hijacked my computer from a remote location, or just hijacked my IP address.

  580. Holliequon 28 Sep 2009 at 4:35 am

    One word: proxy. 😉

    On the subject of L or Kira… can I say neither? I’d never support Kira in a million years, but L did some pretty bad things too. Of course, I am mostly basing this off the live-action films and what I’ve heard of the manga/anime. And that said, if I absolutely had to choose I’d pick L every time. Supporting Kira would kinda be like digging up the body of my beliefs, looking through it’s pockets, and then dancing on the whole thing. (Hurrah for Skulduggery Pleasant references that I don’t think anyone else will get…) In all seriousness, I very much disagree with Kira’s method, regardless of the results.

  581. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 28 Sep 2009 at 6:42 am

    Though Light saved a lot of people by murdering, I think I would definitely choose L’s side. Even though he also sacrifices lives, he does it on a smaller scale and if he is evil at all, he’s far more morally pure than Light is. So if I HAD to choose, I’d run to L’s side while covering my face. Haha.

    If I had to choose a side, Mello or Near, I’d pick Near. Mello is liek teh awesumz, (slipping into fangirl mode a bit, haha) but Near’s method is better than Mello’s. But I think it was awesome how Mello brought in the head of a mob boss even Light couldn’t kill to his gang when he was just fifteen. If it actually happened in real life, I’d be horrified, but because it’s fictional it somehow makes it awesome. Haha.

    You’ve seen the films? All three? I think they’re awesome. You should read the manga and watch the anime next, they’re even better.

    The movies skipped a lot of detail, they left out Mello and Near in the first two, then introduced Near in the third in an un-Kira-related plot. They changed (spoiler) Naomi’s death (end spoiler). In the movies it is made more epic, in the moment, but in the anime/manga, it is so sad and gets you so angry at Light that you wanna kill him. The movie makes you want to kill him for (spoiler) having Naomi kill Shiori and then herself (end spoiler) but I think the anime/manga is sadder.

  582. Holliequon 28 Sep 2009 at 8:12 am

    Oh, I haven’t seen the non-Kira-related one. I didn’t know one even existed! But yes, the Death Note manga is on my “to read” list. So unfortunately, I can’t decide between Mello and Near yet. 😉

  583. Wingson 28 Sep 2009 at 9:33 am

    Meh, when it comes down to it I support L (What? He has candy! And Wings likes candy…). And, when made into a plushie, his is by far the cutest *hides L plushie materials behind back* Not that I’d know…*formulates distraction* Oh my god Kira just killed Willy Wonka! *L, Mello, and everyone else look away while Wings takes off running*

    The one thing about Near is that he manages to be an extremely creepy child…without even being a child. So, yeah.

    Mello? In P’s words..what was it…I think he used the term “crossdressing freak”? Of course, Mello is also an ideal mode of transportation as depicted here: http://moirgane.deviantart.com/art/DN-Near-s-means-of-transport-43742238 .

    Face it, when we were in elementary school we all probably could have used a Mikami. (Not sure if this was manga only or not, but he defended a lot of bullied kids…)

    And who the heck is Matt supposed to be? Everyone fangirls over him, yet he only existed for twelve panels. Why?

    As for Light….Apparently there are countless groups finding the weirdest faces he makes. That should sum it up.

    – Wings, who now understands Death Note

  584. Wingson 29 Sep 2009 at 9:02 am

    I have finished…

    *holds up a handmade L plushie*

    It took two weeks, but I finished it…*in an un-Wingslike display of fangirlism, gives it a hug*

    You never saw that! *hides the plushie behind back*

    – Wings, who has finished chapter 2 of HTSTW at last

  585. Beccaon 29 Sep 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I would be eager to hear what everyone would think of a historical superhero novel… doable? Readable? Marketable?

    It just kind of feels almost like I wrote my novel in the wrong time period. Either I change the time period, or change the theme and plot. Either way I think it’s total-rewrite time.

  586. B. Macon 29 Sep 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Historical superheroes. Yeah, I think it could work.
    –The League of Extraordinary Heroes is set in the early 1900s.
    –The Wild Card series starts in the 1950s and continues until at least the 1980s.
    –The Watchmen is still popular even though it is a 1970s period piece. The 1940s come up a lot in time-travel, but I think it maybe could possibly work for historical superheroes.
    –Maybe Zorro. He’s in the 1830s.

    Watchmen is still pretty popular and I think that the Wild Card series is very readable. (Additionally, the series keeps getting new issues, so presumably it has sold pretty well).

    I would sort of recommend against going noticeably earlier than the Industrial Revolution, though. My gut instinct is that one of the most distinctive characteristics of the superhero genre is the blending of reality with the fantastic. So I think that it is really helpful to pick a setting that people find at least somewhat relatable. This is one of the reasons that there are pretty few superheroes that spend most of their time away from Earth.

  587. Lighting Manon 29 Sep 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I think it would depend on the time period, any time in the last forty years might seem a bit Watchman-ish, or like a prequel, unless it pops between now and then. I think anytime after the Dark Ages and then might be interesting, certainly readable, and I think it has been done before with some success, Batman: Gotham By Gaslight takes place in 1889 and features Batman investigating Jack The Ripper.

  588. Beccaon 29 Sep 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I was thinking of creating a superhero in, perhaps, Regency-era London (I’m a Jane Austen worshipper). It would be fun to contrast between a female superhero’s life in society and her life as a crime fighter.

  589. B. Macon 29 Sep 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Hmm. What would you do for her powers and origin? I think that the hero’s origin will be tricky in a Regency-era book.

    I see three main possibilities. (Feel free to add any that come to mind).

    1. No superpowers. This sort of book will probably feel like a detective novel with extra fighting. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that– detective novels sell quite well). Explaining how a woman might learn these fighting skills would be challenging but, I think, challenging in a good way.

    2. Superpowers that are rooted in an artifact or the occult or something else mystical or lore-based. (I’d recommend against making her a wizard, but it is an option). For example, the most cliche origin here is getting bitten by a vampire, but the artifact route is pretty decent. This would obviously have more a fantasy feel, which would probably make the marketing a bit harder.

    3. Wacky science. Depending on the mood you’re going for, it could be over-the-top like Wild Wild West, or depressing and bleak like Jekyll and Hyde, or something else entirely.

  590. Lighting Manon 29 Sep 2009 at 8:36 pm

    When I was responding, it occurred to me how awesome something like that could be, so I certainly think it sounds fantastic.

    Beyond what B. Mac suggested, you could go with a practical mass mutation origin that isn’t revealed until it is necessary, as seen in D.C Comics with some of the metahumans, X-Men and Heroes. Depending on what the powers are, you could have it explained to or by the lead character using some sort of superstition, for instance, a myth about Joseph Merrick was that his mother was so scared by a elephant while he was in the womb, that he actually took on attributes of it. Perhaps an avian hero’s mother was attacked by a raven? Or so on or so forth, just an idea though.

  591. B. Macon 29 Sep 2009 at 8:39 pm

    I’m generally more cynical than LM, but I agree this could work.

    I like the idea of superstition giving way to a man-made cause. It feels very thematically appropriate for the industrial era.

  592. Beccaon 29 Sep 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Haven’t really thought about potential powers or origin yet. I think I’m leaning towards giving it both a comedy-of-manners type of feel, mostly when she’s keeping her identity a secret, mixed with action and intrigue when she’s actually fighting. Mixed with some good old feminist themes.

    In a previous superhero story I wrote, feminism actually tied into her powers and origin, but I don’t think I succeeded in that story. Maybe I could try that again? It was a vague idea but I could develop it much better. For example, her powers could come from having been in a morally compromising situation (for the time period, this could be something like having been wronged by a male suitor) and experiencing a lot of grief from this. Not sure exactly what I’d like her powers to be, though. What do you guys think of this?

  593. Holliequon 30 Sep 2009 at 5:31 am

    Hmm. If she’s been “wronged” by a male suitor and her powers come from grief, that would suggest something mental, like… telekinesis or something similar.

  594. B. Macon 30 Sep 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I don’t know, Holliequ… that sounds a lot like Carrie.

    If for whatever reason you’d like an alternative to the jilted-lover angle, you could always make her a victim of laws that made it very difficult for daughters to inherit family property— so she’s left to fend for herself or get married to a rich chump and either one is difficult and/or unpleasant.

  595. Beccaon 30 Sep 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Good idea, B. Mac. That could definitely be a source of grief. What kind of powers would maybe come from that? Some kind of superstrength? I think physical strength would be an interesting contrast to the helplessness she could feel as a woman in a man’s world.

  596. B. Macon 30 Sep 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I think superstrength is a bit too obvious.

  597. Holliequon 01 Oct 2009 at 7:13 am

    Oh, whoops! I’m afraid I’ve yet to read Carrie so I didn’t realise it was a little too similar. Sorry about that. 😛

    But I agree with B. Mac; superstrength seems a little obvious. If the main villains are going to be male (I’m just assuming, here, but that sounds like the angle you’re going for), I think it would generally be more impressive for her to outwit them than to overpower them.

  598. B. Macon 01 Oct 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Becca, I think it’d be unexpected if your main villain were actually a woman.

  599. ShardReaperon 01 Oct 2009 at 6:53 pm

    By main villain, do you mean the one from the start, or the one that’s been pulling the strings? Either one is good though with the first category, I haven’t seen any good ones. Sio from Afro Samurai comes to mind, until I remember how badly she screwed herself over at the end and that hint of a deeper love for her brother.

  600. B. Macon 01 Oct 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Hmm. I’d say the main villain is whichever bad guy gets the most screentime. Usually that’s the highest-ranking villain, but sometimes it’s an underling (Darth Vader instead of Palpatine, for example).

  601. ShardReaperon 01 Oct 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Ah. I understand now. Like how in Lord of the Rings, technically Gollum was the real villain since he got more screentime and was somewhat of an underling to Sauron and Saurman, if that makes sense.

  602. Wingson 02 Oct 2009 at 9:59 am

    Hmm…My “main villain” is obviously Crimson in HTSTW and TAWNBT, while Pyric takes center stage in the Third Book. However, in Darkstar Rising the main villain is taken to be Pathos while Shift is pulling all the strings.

    – Wings

  603. Holliequon 02 Oct 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Anybody here doing NaNoWriMo this year? 😀 I know it’s a bit early, but I normally start planning in October anyway. And the forums are quite active, even this early.


    Shockingly, my name on NaNo is Holliequ. XP Add me as a Writing Buddy if you’re participating! I’d love to see how you do over the month.

  604. B. Macon 02 Oct 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I don’t know… Is Gollum really a bad guy? I think he’s more of an anti-hero than an antagonist– he doesn’t really do all that much nefarious besides killing an irrelevant hobbit deep in the backstory. (Or, at least, I can’t remember him doing very much nefarious).

  605. Marissaon 02 Oct 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I’m doing NaNo, along with StarE and Ean.

  606. Beccaon 02 Oct 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Gollum seems like just a poor, unfortunate soul to me. Sauron is definitely the main villain, Saruman a sub-villain.

  607. Marissaon 02 Oct 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Finished NaNo in six days last year. This year’s five. Anyone want to give me a run for my money?

  608. StarEon 02 Oct 2009 at 10:02 pm

    How on earth did you find the time to write 500,000 words in five days, Marissa? Heehee, did you do nothing but write and drink coffee? I would love to hit the 500,000 words within the first week. Because then I could spend the rest of the month writing at the same pace, and maybe I could actually finish a rough draft of my whole novel, haha. I don’t think 175 pages will cover the length I’m going for.
    I would love to add Hollie and BananaSlug as NaNoWriMo buddies! That’d be fun, to get a bunch of us together.

  609. Marissaon 02 Oct 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Didn’t you mean ‘50,000’, StarE?

  610. StarEon 02 Oct 2009 at 11:36 pm

    YES. Sorry! I think I’ve been writing it wrong lately, but saying it right.

  611. Anonymouson 03 Oct 2009 at 6:32 am

    Wow, Marissa, that’s pretty impressive. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write 10,000 words a day. I finished in 15 last year and then slowed down majorly, so maybe this year I can finish in 12-13 and actually keep up the pace. 😉

    Maybe we should make a topic for us all in “writing groups and clubs”?

    By the way, if you would like to add me as a buddy it would be kind of helpful to know your username there. ^^; Or is it the same as here? x.X

  612. Hollieon 03 Oct 2009 at 6:33 am

    Ack, that was me! My computer seems to have forgotten some things.

  613. Marissaon 03 Oct 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Spiritua Masquerade is my name over there. 🙂

    Hey, that’s an idea. Except we could do it on the NaNo boards. “Writing Groups and Clubs” forum, a thread for “Superhero Nation” folk.

  614. Lighting Manon 03 Oct 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I had been planning on attempting to pen a real world version of a fictional book in my graphic novel, “Urgh Argh: The Denaturalization of The Human Race Will Lead Them To Inhabiting Equatorial Areas After The Initial Zombie Outbreak – The Fictional Account of a Real World Garden Of Eden” just for fun, but my birthday is in November, Thanksgiving, my family celebrates a version of Passover on the 13th, which means no computer for a week, and college work ramps up so there just won’t be time.

  615. Luna Jamniaon 03 Oct 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I’m aliiiiiive! My laptop was on its last leg and then that was mercilessly cut off too, so now I get to share mum’s computer with my bros. I do have my own account, which makes me happy.

    Anywho, NaNoWriMo? I always thought of joining that, trying out and all. But I just don’t have time. I would, except I’m looking for a job as well as the cure to my writers’ block (the economy isn’t so great). Wait a second–did you say you finished NaNoWriMo in SIX DAYS? Are you insane, Marissa? (just kidding) holy cow.

    I don’t think Gollum was a bad guy, the Ring was just using him and it screwed him up, if you know what I’m saying. He would’ve been a perfectly normal hobbit-like guy and have died a long time ago if the Ring hadn’t ensnared him, and he became rather insane and … pretty much what B. Mac said. I really don’t think he was deeply involved in any of it except that he had a love/hate relationship with the Ring–I mean, the bad dudes captured him and tortured him and all to find the location of it (“sshiiire … bagginnssssssssss”-movie quote) and he didn’t want either the ‘good guys’ or the ‘bad guys’, he just wanted to be left alone. He wanted the Ring, but in the end the Ring didn’t want him, because it’d only used him in hopes of eventually reaching its Master.

  616. Beccaon 03 Oct 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I finished NaNoWriMo last year, as in, got to 50,000 but didn’t finish the actual story. I’m planning to really try to use a beginning, middle, end structure this year! My account on there is owlsarefun, I think.

  617. Marissaon 03 Oct 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Indeed. It would’ve been five, but I had stuff to do. =/

  618. Wingson 03 Oct 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Huh…I’d love to do something like that NaNoWriMo thing, but I can barely get on this website a couple times a week, considering my parents are kinda against letting us kids use electronics at all (I’d be insane without my iPod. That is, more insane). Bet it would be awesome…I mean, I’d still have HTSTW, Darkstar, and Between Light And Darkness on the side (Between Light and Darkness is a romance with a dash of the paranormal), and it would allow me to explore concepts like Hunter’s Abomination (The new concept on my second forum).

    Should I go for it?

    – Wings

  619. Holliequon 03 Oct 2009 at 5:00 pm

    If you go for it, Wings, it might be useful going with a current project. If you do go for this, you’ll be focussing on one story for the whole month. A whole month! You probably won’t have time to do more than dabble in your other works.

    This may not affect you, but I find that when I focus on one idea I forget about the others, and then I’m just not feeling as enthusiastic about them and they eventually end up abandoned. Plus, working on several projects at once is hard.

    By the way (as you’ve started HTSTW and *I think* Darkstar Rising already), you don’t have to throw out what you’ve already written. The NaNo “rules” are really quite relaxed – you’d just have to write 50,000 words more of your story, if you see what I mean.

    If I were you, I’d give it a try! Even if you don’t finish in the month, you’ll still have an extra several thousand words you wouldn’t have had before. That’s the great thing about NaNo – even if you don’t win you’ve still achieved something awesome. I was talking to a girl last year who unfortunately ended up on 40k (she could have got 50k but life got in the way). She was disappointed until I pointed out that this was 40k more than most other people in the world have written.

    So, in short… yes! Go for it! 😀

  620. Marissaon 03 Oct 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I posted in the Writing Clubs and Groups forum for a Superhero Nation Club. Go on over and say hello. ;D

  621. Wingson 03 Oct 2009 at 7:31 pm

    You lot convinced me: Iriswings is now a member!

    – Wings, alias Iriswings

  622. StarEon 04 Oct 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Hooray! I think I added you as a writing buddy on NaNo, Wings. 😀 It’ll be fun to work with all you guys and watch progress and stuff. It’s good for motivation!

  623. Marissaon 14 Oct 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Hey, ‘sex machines’. :O (Sorry Ragged Boy, had to steal your line for a second.)

    I’ll be on my way out for a while. Call it ‘college kicking my butt’, if you want. Not sure when I’ll be back, but… I will. 😀

    Tata for however long it’s tata for~!
    – Marissa

  624. Lighting Manon 15 Oct 2009 at 12:48 am

    I had a sex machine once, had Vista as its O.S, I finally broke down and replaced it with a girlfriend, she nags me less. “Are you sure you want to confirm the ability to agree to have the ability to agree to this?”

    You’ll be missed. College sucks, plus, it’s rigged anyway, college teachers are always wrong in some key area, making it difficult to succeed without lowering yourself to some level of wrongness. I had a teacher that sincerely believed Islam was not an abrahamic religion, teaching a class about the historical interactions between Islam and Christianity. So you’ve certainly got my sympathy.

  625. StarEon 15 Oct 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Aw, you’ve got the same problem as me, Marissa! College is slaughtering me. An eight-week statistics class is brutal, and my professor? Merciless.
    So I’ll be waaay busy or the next week while I struggle to pass my stats final, but after that, but then I’ll be able to concentrate more on my novel. Hooray!
    And hello, Lighting Man! I’m sorry about your professor not knowing… that… thing. Er… What’s an “abrahamic relgion”? Does it refer to a time period? *knows nothing*

  626. B. Macon 15 Oct 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Holliequ, I just found the article about making jumbled ideas into a story when I was updating the index.

  627. ShardReaperon 15 Oct 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Say, could someone go to my forum and look at my latest post? I need feedback.

  628. B. Macon 15 Oct 2009 at 8:47 pm

    StarE, the Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    Tom adds: So called because the point where they diverged is with Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac.

  629. Wingson 21 Oct 2009 at 11:57 am


    If you were to rewrite any popular book, how would you rewrite it?

    For instance…

    If I was to rewrite Twilight, I would have completely overridden Bella’s current (lack of) personality and made her into a borderline Tsundere who despises men (Which would explain why she disdains all the other guys but Edward). I’d also seriously tone down her Sue characteristics, take away about 75% of the guys tailing her. She’d honestly find most guys annoying and only suitable as friends.

    Edward would get a complete personality 180. He’d go from the broody, “Greek god” sparklypire he is now and become a Deadpan Snarker who inwardly has no idea how to interact with humans (I could get an interesting conversation out of the “watching-Bella-sleep” sequence:

    Bella: *wakes up to find Edward standing on her windowsill* What the HELL are you doing.

    Edward: I…uh…

    Bella: Get OUT of my damn house, stalker! *throws something at him*)

    I actually might decide to keep the sparkypire angle if only to satirize the living crap out of it.

    (Bella: You’re secretly gay, aren’t you.


    However, I’d probably change them into more atypical vampires. For instance, although not completely bursting into flames at sunrise, they are just extremely sensitive to the sun and get burned extremely easily, require human blood but do not have to kill their victims, etc.

    Jacob would probably be similar to the way he is now, after all, he is the only canon character with a personality. I, however, would cut out the *shudders* Breaking Dawn part of the series. That was just…a mixture of Dark and Crack Fic.

    Go for it, minions!

    – Wings

  630. Lighting Manon 10 Nov 2009 at 12:35 am

    The thing that bothers me most about Twilight is that it happens to have already been made, bad science and all, under the exact same name as a movie…that was good! It was an actual horror movie to boot, it was called…Near Dark and featured a young couple made up of a teenager and a hundred year old vampire that fell in love, despite the initial hesitation of the vampire’s family and ended up getting into trouble, surviving against all odds, only to end up exactly the same species, living happily together.

    Stephanie Meyer ripped off a Lance Henriksen movie for her vampire love story, do you know that means that Pumpkin Head is now liable to be a sex symbol?

    The mind boggles…

  631. Tomon 13 Nov 2009 at 9:14 am

    If I were to re-write Twilight, I’d have Edward go temporarily evil and start killing off her friends. He’d get better, but heck it would be fun to have a Bella vs Edward fight.

    …Why yes. That is exactly what happens to Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I figure since Meyer’s already ripped off almost every other part of Angel.

  632. Wingson 13 Nov 2009 at 10:26 am

    I’d read that. Must resist urge to write a vampire novel….

    At least Twilight has been a big self-esteem booster for me. “Think! If crap like that can become a bestseller, my books can get published too!”

    …It’s worth a shot.

    – Wings

  633. Lighting Manon 13 Nov 2009 at 11:03 am

    Knowing Stephanie Meyer, if she wrote it, some weird rule would require that Evil Eddie kill all of Bella’s in the same manner as the never-happened but we’ve got a ritual for that, ritual required for humans to give birth to vampires. just to offset the squicky ickiness that is a puppy werewolf making sweet, sweet puppy werewolf love to a seven year old child.

    I’ve always wanted to write a vampire romance novel where being a vampire just sucked, and not for mopey dopey reasons, but real ones, like the infection changed your features to resemble Nosferatu, you didn’t get super-strength or speed, you were frozen in the exact same state health-wise as you were pre-death, and you couldn’t improve or change because your body always healed back to the exact same state, including your hair, which would leave you forever stuck in whichever hair era you were infected during, so all the vampires from the 80’s were very angry. The lead character would have fallen in love with the high priestess for the largest vampire coven in the world, and try to gain notoriety in the group only to find out that they were a bunch of L.A.R.P-ers that didn’t know vampires really existed. The planned ending would have been him butchering an office full of people at a company that would’ve stood in as a parody for White Wolf Publishing, before getting shot and killed by a dashing vampire hunter.

    Then I realized that sounded like an SNL skit and gave up on it.

  634. B. Macon 18 Nov 2009 at 6:03 am

    Don’t kill White Wolf! Mage is fun and not thoroughly creepy. Vampire and Werewolf, on the other hand…

  635. Wingson 18 Nov 2009 at 10:35 am

    Just read a Twilight article in today’s paper – and I feel just a tiny, infinitesimal amount of pity for the actors. I mean, they get asked stupid questions by fangirls, fan-interviewers, and they will forever be judged based on the amount of money Twilight pays, not because they’re “good actors”.

    I mean, due to the fangirls, they’ll be stuck as recluses for the rest of their life. Rich, well-known recluses, but yeah.

    – Wings

    ((On the same note, my mother is trying to drag me to see New Moon, since she needs a teenage girl to justify her presence there. I’m trying to find a nicer way to say “**** no.”))

  636. Avi Arunon 12 Jan 2010 at 9:07 am

    I’m not sure if this is the right place for this question, am sorry if this is not.

    What must be the minimum age for a POV character? or in other words, How do I effectively write from the point of view of a three year old?

  637. B. Macon 12 Jan 2010 at 10:34 am

    I’m not sure I would consider them effective, but I’ve seen POVs as young as a child in the womb. As for how to do super-young POVs effectively… I think it depends on the target audience and what you’re trying to accomplish. I wouldn’t recommend taking it in a cute direction because I think that would get cloying pretty fast. For example, I usually pop an Advil whenever an author does a kiddy speech impediment like switching the r’s with w’s or something similar.

    So, what are you trying to accomplish with this character? Why is he three rather than, say, 6+?

    I don’t know what your plot is, but I imagine that a toddler wouldn’t have much ability to affect the plot. (In contrast, a somewhat older child might run off and interact with people in a more proactive way). Also, his perspective would probably be pretty limited because he doesn’t understand a lot about what’s going on around him.

  638. Avi Arunon 12 Jan 2010 at 11:59 am

    My story is melodramatic and the main character is anti-heroic, hence I guess his actions must be described from the point of view of an ordinary person to sound relatable. I thought of writing from the point of view of his girl first, but that’s way too overused (it’s even used in Twi*Sparkle*Light), so I wanted to do something different. Hence, the toddler POV.

    A local literary agent advices me not to post original extracts from my work online as it is not copyright-proof. So, I’d just give the gist.

    A group of travelers (Older Brother, his wife, and their baby (POV character); Younger Brother and his close friend) meet with an accident and the older brother’s wife is fatally wounded. She is admitted in the local hospital and dies soon after. The older brother gets emotionally broken apart after his wife dies. A popular psychiatrist asks the family to stay with him for treatment until the older brother gets better.

    They stay at the rich doctor’s manor. The story moves in the POV of the baby (trust me, it won’t be kiddy). Since the baby has more leeway to roam about than others in a new situation, I reckon the baby could be an effective POV character.

    First, she (the infant) discovers that the doctor comes from a unique bloodline and that all his senses are many times sharper than an average human. Through the course of the story, the younger brother comes to know about this and holds a suspicion against the doctor.

    The doctor helps everyone in the family in a way and the older brother gets rapidly better because of his treatment. The younger brother’s close friend (she’s a girl, if you were wondering) gets emotionally attracted to the doctor which further makes the younger brother suspicious whether the doctor is using his senses to brainwash his family.

    The younger brother sends anonymous false legal appeals against the doctor. But, when he fails to get rid of the doctor this way, he decides to kill the doctor himself. The doctor denies all the allegations the younger brother throws at him and ignores his threats. The younger brother takes desperate measures and bombs the doctor’s hospital, killing the doctor’s trustworthy butler, who had been his father figure. The doctor barely escapes due to his senses, and in his uncontrollable rage and the urge of his bloodline, gets home and kills every member of the family except the baby. The doctor comes back to his senses on seeing the baby and falls on his knees and regrets his action.

    The story ends with the cliffhanger as the doctor speaks his last lines to the baby: “Why can’t I kill you? Why do you have to give me that familiar feeling? I feel like an innocent baby just out of my mother’s womb whenever I see your hazel eyes. What are you doing to me? You must be one of us!”

  639. Avi Arunon 13 Jan 2010 at 9:48 am


  640. Wingson 13 Jan 2010 at 10:21 am

    Interesting. I should like to hear more.

    – Wings

  641. Anonymouson 10 Feb 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I am coming up with visual designs for the characters in my planned comic book and I am struggling to come up with a design that matches their personality and makes them distinct. The story takes place in a modern day setting, but I would like to give them an appearance that makes them easily noticeable and memorable.

    What kind of clothes would a shy, quiet person wear? What might a straightforward, blunt person put on? What would a laid-back, easygoing person wear? My characters are generally in the 15-17 yr-old age range, and I kind of liked the designs of the characters in that game, The World Ends With You. I would welcome any suggestions.

  642. Asayaon 10 Feb 2010 at 8:29 pm

    From most of the comic-books and graphic novels that I’ve read, I assume that a shy, quiet character might wear clothing that unconsciously, is a way of hiding themselves.

    A shy person might wear longer sleeves over their hands and, maybe, baggier, more concealing clothing(jackets and hoodies and turtlenecks). I’m not really an expert, but thats all I know.

  643. B. Macon 11 Feb 2010 at 11:59 am

    I’m not familiar with that series, so please take all of this with an appropriate grain of salt.

    “What might a straightforward, blunt person put on?” If the character is a female, maybe something a bit more risque than usual. (In comparison, a more reserved female might wear something less revealing). Bold colors. A wild haircut. (For example, if you’re familiar with Skies of Arcadia, the aggressive Aika has crazy red pigtails and tighter clothes whereas Fina the demure healer wears white clothes and a veil). Or you could try something like a t-shirt with a message printed in bold on the front or back, like “GET OVER IT” or “I’M SORRY, I COULDN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

    Laid-back… I’d go with casual, comfortable clothes, maybe a bit on the slobbish side. Maybe shorts and a t-shirt. Cheerful colors, but maybe a little bit on the subdued side because you might want to reserve the wild stuff for the blunt character.

    For the shy character, I agree with Asaya that concealing clothing would make sense in most cases. Loose. Bland colors. For a librarian-esque feel, you might want to try something like plaid or something a bit more old-fashioned. For guys or girls, maybe something a bit more nerdy. Larger-than-average glasses.

    I hope that helps.

  644. Lighting Manon 11 Feb 2010 at 12:48 pm

    If the shyness isn’t matched with academics (popular culture says shy – smart most of the time) but out of personal history, or simple misanthropy, Seattle-type skater-grunge culture is a nice place to mine for how they might dress, they tend to wear several layers, baggy unflattering clothing, prominently designed sneakers (some type of car is the name of the most popular brand, but I wouldn’t get that far into it, I think they’re called Trucks though.) and although they sometimes wear the bold attention-drawing shirts, they also commonly wear simple patterns such as stripes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FklUAoZ6KxY is a good example of what I’m talking about.

  645. Gurion Omegaon 13 Feb 2010 at 7:00 pm

    What.The.Heck. Just saw the Avatar trailer for the live action film…when? Yesterday? All white cast. Guess they didn’t see the series. Jeez.

  646. B. Macon 13 Feb 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Nobody’s Asian in the movies. Oh, also, in the .00000042% chance that SN ever gets turned into a movie, Gary will be a smoking hawt ex-Navy SEAL (“who wants to watch an IRS agent, really?”) and Agent Orange will be a quippy black guy.

    The only way an average-looking guy can get major parts is by being a successful comedian. By and large, ladies don’t even have that option.

  647. Gurion Omegaon 13 Feb 2010 at 8:01 pm


  648. B. Macon 13 Feb 2010 at 8:15 pm

    At this point, my expectations of Hollywood are so low that white-washing a movie where the race of the characters is ambiguous is almost a given. (At least, I think the main characters look white… I haven’t seen the show, though).

    I tend to get much more riled up when the character’s race is a hugely important aspect of the story and the casting director (or art director) changes it anyway. For example, putting a white girl on the cover of Liar was a travesty because it’s absolutely not true to the book and misleads prospective readers. I hate encouraging adversarial author-publisher relations, but that’s the sort of extremely rare situation where the author may be entitled to say “change this or I walk.” As a rule of thumb, please don’t even THINK about issuing an ultimatum unless the situation is so serious that self-publishing would appeal to you more than continuing on with the current publisher. Even one ultimatum could send you to the unemployment line and you should be careful not to build a reputation as an author that’s hard to work with.

    Okay, that’s all I’ll say about this issue, lest I offend Avatar fans that have higher hopes for Hollywood than I do.

  649. Asayaon 13 Feb 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Y’ know, the same thing happened with a movie based on Ursula K. Lr Guin’s Earthsea books. Ursula herself criticized the movie for choosing a lead actor that didn’t match the visual description of the actual protagonist in the books. Ah, well. The special effects looked good though. On Avatar:The Last Airbender, I mean.

  650. Gurion Omegaon 16 Feb 2010 at 9:26 pm

    How can I avoid the cliche long skirts that most females in fantasy books wear? Now, I don’t want them to go to the OTHER extreme overly manly wear, like in ‘fantasy’ stories like The Seeker. Is there any hope for me?

  651. Gurion Omegaon 16 Feb 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Yeah uh, I’d like it if it still looked feminine, and fit a fantasy setting. Plausibility, basically.

  652. B. Macon 16 Feb 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Ack, I’m pretty clueless about women’s clothing. I’ve mentioned that the only thing I know about the fairer sex is that they dig giant robots, right?

    So, umm, I guess you could do something like a dress, but that’d be unwieldy as hell, particularly if your story involves wilderness treks or any sort of fast-paced action. Robes are similar to dresses but less girly and more action-friendly.

    Are pants too masculine? Are shorts too modern?

    Anyway… I don’t think that these sorts of visual design issues are particularly important for a novel. I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless her wardrobe has a major impact on the plot.

  653. Holliequon 17 Feb 2010 at 8:50 am

    Even in the most conservative societies, I’m pretty sure it’s acceptable for women to wear trousers (or pants, for you crazy Americans) when that is the most practical solution. If you wanted them to be feminine, they could probably be quite loose-fitting?

  654. B. Macon 17 Feb 2010 at 10:23 am

    I assume that GO’s story is set in medieval-ish times, like many fantasies.

  655. Lighting Manon 17 Feb 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I think that two viable options instead of dresses, would be robes as B. Mac mentioned, or appropriately designed armor, if it fits with your story. I would lean away from having it be sexual in the slightest, Red Sonja’s bikini armor is one of the most infamous fantasy elements ever due to the fact that it doesn’t make a quarter of an inkling of sense.

    I do feel like it is worth pointing out that an element such as dresses have quite a hard time becoming cliche without elements surrounding being similar across many works, so while I’ve little doubt that thousands of novels set in fantasy-medieval times, feature dresses, I don’t think it could be considered a cliche. Those scenes in movies, comic books, graphic novels, songs and every other story-telling device in which a woman shows up a failed suitor by appearing attractive in a slick black dress, that could be a cliche with ease, but I don’t think that a dress in a medieval work is really that problematic. It is simply a matter of practicality. It takes only a few cuts, a few seams to make a sturdy, well-made dress out of a relatively small amount of material, contrasted with the greater difficulties associated with making pants, particularly in times before machines to assist. If you’re crafting one of those universes with steam-punk type dwarves, that’d be different, I suppose. Plus, if you consider older values of modesty, propriety and place in society, a dress handles all of those without getting into the complications you’ll find in human history as clothing progressed, such as harnesses, corsets, bras, garter belts, many of which, while used as components or accessories to clothing, also arose primarily as dresses moved away from being simple.

  656. Lighting Manon 17 Feb 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Erm, that should read “components or accessories to dresses” instead of what it does, heh.

  657. B. Macon 17 Feb 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Hmm, yeah. These attire choices are SO elementary that I don’t think readers will mind them. For example, how many guy protagonists are you familiar with that don’t wear pants or leg-length armor? Robin and Namor gamefully try to make speedos work, but nobody gives them creativity points.

    I think that it’s most critical for an author to distinguish his story on the elements that matter the most. In particular, the personality, traits and voice of the main character(s). Character goals and obstacles. The plot and scene selection.

    If anybody remembers what the characters wear, I think it’ll be because it tied into one of the above. For example, at the most cliche, it could be a female protagonist opting to wear pants instead of a socially acceptable dress because she’s the sort of lady that wants to run off and kill dragons rather than get married.

  658. Gurion Omegaon 20 Feb 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Ok, thanks. As long as her attire isn’t of any relavance to the plot, don’t worry so much about it, thanks. The setting has (basically) these elements:

    Flying-crafts, sorta like the ‘air-ships’ of Final Fantasy

    Something similar to holographs, but presented like pools of water.

    A little more spiffed up firearms, like crossbows and rifles, those things.

    I’ll probably go with the trousers, thanks for the advice guys.

  659. k1dorkon 20 Feb 2010 at 6:17 pm

    B.Mac, I was fortunate to recently have my novel published. The publisher set up a website where people can buy the book, but I want to set up a more interactive author website.

    I am clueless when it comes to such, so what do I do? Do I find a company to build a website for me? Do you know of any good ones? Also, if you email me, I’ll send you a free copy of my book to get your take on it, as your site has helped me greatly.

  660. B. Macon 20 Feb 2010 at 8:36 pm


    You can hire a designer to do a custom website for your book. However, in my experience, it’s expensive (more than $500, especially if you have customization in mind). I’ll ask my tech guy if he recommends someone and has any technical advice…

    Normally, if you’re a bit tech savvy, I would suggest doing your own website through a site like WordPress. Now, this is the free version of WordPress, so your website’s URL would be http://www.YOURTITLE.wordpress.com, but with a bit of tech savvy and ~$10 a year you can claim http://www.YOURTITLE.com, which is easier to remember and sounds more professional. Another option is doing a website through Blogspot. My impression of Blogspot is that it is easier to handle and requires hardly any technical ability, but it offers less customization.

    However, this isn’t entirely a normal case because your book has already been published. I practiced with trial-and-error a few years ago and started out absolutely horrible, but it wasn’t a problem because a publisher wasn’t counting on me to be professional. In your case, I think expectations will be higher.

    Here are some elements that you may wish to include.
    –Header art (or, more cheaply, a header photograph), preferably something that grabs readers and feels appropriate for your book. For example, I wouldn’t recommend doing an ominous photo of a full moon unless you’re doing supernatural fantasy like vampires/werewolves/etc.
    –A summary of the book.
    –Sample pages (usually a sample chapter or two)
    –About the writer
    –Notable reviews and blurbs, if you have any.
    –Linkbait, something designed to attract prospective readers. For example, whenever someone Googles something like “what’s an average novel advance?”, Tobias Buckell is usually one of the top 2 results. “How to write a superhero story” and “how to write a comic book” usually yield SN as one of the 2 top results.
    –Your promotional schedule, if you are doing promotional events. (Say where you’ll be and when, what you’ll be doing, and why they will want to come).

    If you’re interested, you can see what I’ve done for my comic book, The Taxman Must Die, here. My artist is still working on the header, though. It’s a very fledgling effort at this point.

    If you’re on LinkedIn and are a member of the Novelist Networking Group, I’d recommend checking out this discussion thread about websites for authors. If you’re not on LinkedIn or aren’t a member of the NNG, both are free.

    Whatever you end up doing, I’d be glad to link to your site and/or provide suggestions.

    Congratulations again!

    I’m sorry, I don’t see your e-mail address. If you e-mail me at superheronation-at-gmail-dot-com, I’ll be sure to send you my address (or you can just send an electronic version of the book, if that would be easier).

  661. B. Macon 20 Feb 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Oh, also, I’d really recommend getting active on LinkedIn, Facebook and possibly Twitter. Even a brief post every few days will help remind your readers that you’re alive. (If readers check in and see that you haven’t posted anything in the past month, they may wonder whether your site is “dead”).

    I’d also start cultivating personal relationships with anybody that might be in a position to move copies when the book is actually available for purchase. Here are some good people to consider.
    –Librarians, particularly in your area. Librarians collectively buy a LOT of copies and talk amongst themselves like crazy.
    –Journalists that do book reviews, particularly at small newspapers and local access television stations near you. (The local connection gives them a great reason to cover your book). If you’d be interested in learning more about how to network with journalists, I can help with that.
    –If your book has something newsworthy going on, you can also chat it up to news reporters near you. For example, if you wrote it when you were younger than 18 or on your latest tour to Iraq or as you were raising four kids, you have some otherwise newsworthy background information, that gives them a reason to cover you. However, if you wrote your book when you were younger than 18 AND on your latest tour to Iraq AND raising four kids, I’d recommend calling a therapist first.
    –Possibly schools and teachers. (I know someone that sold ~600 copies because his old junior high school used his book as assigned reading for 3 years).
    –Book store staff, particularly in your area. If you talk up your book to them and they like it, they may put it on their staff-recommended list and suggest it to people that ask for advice.
    –If you were doing anything superhero-related, maybe comic book store staff as well.
    –Bloggers in your niche. For example, review blogs that handle your type of book, writing advice sites that focus on your kind of writing, etc.

  662. k1dorkon 20 Feb 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Thanks B. Mac. I sent the email.

  663. k1dorkon 20 Feb 2010 at 9:40 pm

    One more question, B. Mac. You mentioned “linkbait.” How does that work? For instance, I found SN by typing in “How to write a superhero story.” Is something built into your webpage that gets it to come up when that question is asked? Would I just tell the designers what kind of “linkbait” I want to lead to my site?

  664. B. Macon 20 Feb 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Ooh, also, my tech guy just got back to me. That was fast.

    1) Build it on top of a CMS (Content Management System) such as
    Wordpress, which will allow you to add new content without having to
    dabble in HTML or anything. The best ones (such as WordPress) also
    have plenty of plugins to use to add common features, for example user
    surveys or Amazon affiliate links for your books, to your sites.

    2) Web design is a fragmented market which goes from your cousin’s
    high school son for pizza money all the way up to thousands of
    dollars. Most starving authors would be better served by getting a
    neutral template from a site (free or paid — paid ones run less than
    $100, typically, with $15ish and $40ish being common price points) and
    adding a logo to the top of it. The logo will run about $250 or so on
    99designs.com or less money but more time if you find a cheap
    freelancer (e.g. art student) to do it for you.

    3) If you find a cheap artist whose style you like and who works well
    with you, hang onto them for dear life. I really can’t say enough
    good things about Gursimran Kaur, who did my website (hers is
    http://www.gursimran.com ). Authors need to understand that artists
    can be cheap, reliable, and talented — pick any two.

  665. B. Macon 20 Feb 2010 at 10:12 pm

    The reason that SN comes up for “how to write a superhero story” is less a design thing and more a writing thing. Use the search terms reasonably often and you will probably do pretty well on searches. In particular, Google values it very highly if you use the terms in question in your URL and/or site title and post titles. So, for example, since our site name is “Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books,” we place well on most queries that involve “superhero” and “write.”

    Another important thing is links. It REALLY helps if you can get incoming links. Links generally make your site appear more credible to Google. Google also checks what the the links say. For example, if the link to your website says something like “K1Dork’s new horror story is one of the scariest I’ve ever read,” you’ll place better on queries that include words like “horror,” “scary” and “story.” (Not that you’re writing a horror, of course).

    Here are some other factors that affect how well you place on a particular search.
    –How old is your site? Your site is penalized for being younger than a year old. (I kid you not: it took me about six months to beat Time Magazine on queries for “Superhero Nation,” in quotes. Time Magazine has an old article about Spiderman named Superhero Nation).
    –How competitive is the search? Sadly, the “list of superpowers” search heated up and we’ve dropped to around #10 or #11. SN gets beat on “list of superpowers by (among others) a website called The Superpower List. It’s hard for us to compete on that search with a website that has the relevant search terms in its title and URL.
    –I think it matters whether the site is regularly updated.
    –How many links do you have? This is one of the way Google determines how good your site is. For example, Tobias Buckell will smash me to pieces on a search for “average novel advances” because his article is really popular and has a ton of links.

    Linkbait is content that’s designed to attract incoming readers, because it 1) provides information that people are searching for and 2) is well-tailored to win the search. So, for example, if you’re looking for information about novel advances, you might enter Buckell’s writing website even though you weren’t specifically looking for him! Linkbait is critical because it’s how you attract prospective readers that DON’T know who you are or why they should read your book.

    That’s why I’d recommend against a writing site named after the author. Any fans that do a search for B. Mac or Brian McKenzie will find me without much effort, whether or not my website is named http://www.brianmckenzie.com. The problem with naming my website after myself is that it doesn’t appeal to prospective readers. No one is searching for Brian McKenzie, and if they are, they’re already in my camp. I’d recommend going with a name that 1) makes it clearer to prospective readers what you offer and 2) uses words that readers actually are searching for. (Remember, you get a big plus from search engines for using search terms in the title and URL).

  666. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 04 Mar 2010 at 2:29 am

    Oh. my. God. I haven’t been here in AGES! I’ve been having a ton of schoolwork lately, which makes sense because I graduate high school this year. I’ve been so swamped and combined with all my slacking, I haven’t made much progress since last time I was here. I better get writing. 😀 I’ll try to be around a bit more, promise!

  667. B. Macon 04 Mar 2010 at 6:56 am

    Welcome back, Whovian. I had two significant developments recently. First, I got hired as an assistant editor by a comic book company. Second, I have my sample pages ready. If you like those, please sign up for a chance to win a free signed copy when it comes out. Thanks!

  668. J. Teeron 14 Apr 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I would like to start a magazine for action hero themed prose. I just got the notion and will research it on my own, but I just wanted to start here by asking if any of you know where to begin? Is it even possible for someone to accomplish in America with no big finacial backing?

  669. B. Macon 14 Apr 2010 at 2:22 pm

    If you’re a college student or instructor/professor, you might be able to find grant money on-campus. Besides that, I think this would be financially very difficult. I guess I’d start by looking at funding sources. Maybe somebody like the NEA will have grant money. Or Xeric, perhaps.

    I don’t suppose you’d happen to have publishing experience? I’m having trouble seeing anybody signing off on thousands of dollars for a publishing enterprise launched by somebody completely new to the industry. (Unless there’s some unusual circumstance, like an experienced Ph. D starting up a scholarly journal). When I applied for (and received) a grant for a novella, I had a novelist/writing instructor serve as a faculty advisor.

    I’d recommend to somebody that works with similar material (like the editors for This Mutant Life or A Thousand Faces) to see how much you should budget. My guess is that something between $5000-10,000 per issue will cover your costs.

  670. J. Teeron 14 Apr 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks B. Mac. My only publishing experience is the book I sent you (Did you get it?).

    Other than that, I submitted some stories to This Mutant Life, but they are only accepting standalone stories, and what I submitted was intended to be a series.

    But, yeah, I’ll look into grants.

  671. B. Macon 14 Apr 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Transcendance? Yes, I got it. So far, I’m up to chapter 10.

    If your goal is to publish your own series, it might be cheaper to publish yourself rather than make a publisher that handles other people as well.

  672. J. Teeron 14 Apr 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Do you think a newspaper would run a superhero themed series?

  673. J. Teeron 14 Apr 2010 at 8:43 pm

    “Transcendence? Yes, I got it. So far, I’m up to chapter 10.”

    Sweet. Thanks for taking the time.

  674. B. Macon 14 Apr 2010 at 9:16 pm

    A newspaper? Probably not, unless you’re doing a comic strip.

  675. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 May 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Hey guys! I know I said I’d be on more often before, but stuff happened, and is still happening, and as a result my hobbies (and schoolwork, hehe…) have suffered. The crap has died down a little now, but it’s still pretty bad. And it’s not just happening to me, it’s happening to my friends too, so I have been spending time supporting them through their troubles. I will endeavour to be here more often, but I will probably be a bit distant for a while because everything is just a bit too difficult right now.

    Oh, also I turned seventeen on Friday. WOOT! 😀

    Did you miss me? ^_^

  676. B. Macon 31 May 2010 at 4:13 am

    “I will endeavour to be here more often, but I will probably be a bit distant for a while because everything is just a bit too difficult right now.” No worries. Life definitely comes first.

  677. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Jul 2010 at 5:55 am

    I have no idea why, but looking at pictures of Perth inspires me to write. I mean, sure, my book is set there, but I don’t really know WHY Googling Perth makes me want to write. Hmm, weird…

  678. Wingson 27 Jul 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I have a…slightly odd question for the male posters in the audience.

    …Men’s sleepwear. What is it? Pajamas? Oversized t-shirts and boxers? Just the boxers? WHAT IS IT??? I have been observing family members, but have discovered next to nil*.

    Help me.

    – Wings

    * Other than the fact that my younger brother keeps a Boba Fett plushie on his pillow when he sleeps. Which is endearing in an odd way.

  679. B. Macon 27 Jul 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I can only speak for myself, but I usually wear regular shorts and a t-shirt. I feel that a guy would probably have to be middle-aged, a child, or perhaps British to wear actual pajamas. (I suppose it also depends on whether he is alone or not–dress to impress!).

  680. Ragged Boyon 28 Jul 2010 at 10:20 am

    Wings, I’m gonna say that it varies between person. So it could easily be all the things you said. But like B. Mac suggested there are other variables such as social status and climate. I wouldn’t wear silk pajamas in Africa, I’d burn up. Nor would I wear just boxers in a Siberian shack. Personally, I wear just boxers because I don’t like being hot when I sleep.

  681. Wingson 28 Jul 2010 at 11:13 am


    I feel that to properly capture the world on paper, I must know almost everything about it first. Which is why I have been eavesdropping on various adults to find out how gossip works, studying my youngest cousin in order to pick up various behaviors, and sending off emails to my friends with questions like “What’s the meaning of [love/life/football]?”.

    …Still haven’t figured out the meaning of the last three, but I tend to get the same answers for “life” and “football”.

    – Wings

  682. B. Macon 01 Aug 2010 at 11:04 pm

    “…Still haven’t figured out the meaning of the last three, but I tend to get the same answers for “life” and “football”. Humiliating Georgians? 😉

  683. Wingson 26 Aug 2010 at 5:32 pm

    @ B. Mac The most memorable answer has been “Men in tight pants”. It makes so much sense!

    Is it probable that Darken, while carrying a small child, could leap out a second story window/off a balcony with both landing unharmed?

    – Wings

  684. B. Macon 26 Aug 2010 at 6:01 pm

    It’s a fall of probably around 15 feet. I think that’s plausible, particularly if he uses a bit of skill. For example, he’s in this girl’s house, right? Let’s say it’s the bedroom. There’s a bed and a bedsheet. First, tie together two bedsheets to form a rope roughly 12-14 feet long. Second, move the bed as close to the window as possible. He can tie one end of the rope to the bed and let her climb down low enough that she could safely jump.

    For a little bit more pizzazz, a superstrong character could beat out enough of the wall to drop the mattress to the ground. Acing a jump 15 feet onto a mattress seems well within the bounds of believability for a superhero.

    In real life, I think a 15 feet jump onto pavement will probably cause at least a leg injury. I Googled [a fall of 15 feet] and I’m seeing a lot of broken/fractured ankles.

  685. Ghoston 26 Aug 2010 at 6:29 pm

    B. Mac,
    I like your resourcefulness. Both plans sound like the would work.
    The only way an average person could survive a 15 foot fall unharmed is if they did a roll at the end of their fall. It doesn’t require a lot of skill, just an understanding of the proper method and accepting that it is probably going to hurt a little bit. If you watch a parkour video you will see what I am talking about. I have to admit though that it would be a difficult feat to pull off with a baby in your arms, but hey that’s why they are call superheroes.

  686. B. Macon 26 Aug 2010 at 6:34 pm

    “it would be a difficult feat to pull off with a baby in your arms, but hey that’s why they are call superheroes.” Haha, I like your thinking.

  687. B. Macon 26 Aug 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Here’s a parkour jump of ~15 feet.

  688. Ghoston 26 Aug 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I just had a thought. Darken takes a running jump off the balcony of a burning house. Lands, rolls, and comes to his feet. Then walks up to a random fire fighter and pulls back his cloak to reveal a baby.
    Fire fighter “What the hell you could have killed that kid!”
    Darken passes the kid off to the fire fighter “Well that’s why they call me a superhero not a fire fighter.” Then he turns and walks away. I think it would be a great way to show his casual cocky attitude.

  689. Wingson 26 Aug 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Ghost, I LOVE YOU.

    You have just given me an ideal way to work in the other suggested line I liked: “See, that’s your problem. You care. If you didn’t care, your boss would have to pay you more.”* This way, I can have the firefighter ask Darken if he cares at all about whether the kid was hurt, and Darken following up with the above line.

    Everyone else, you are also loved for being helpful. Now that this issue has been taken care of, I can fully concentrate. Whee~!

    – Wings

    * Thanks to B. Mac for this. I might change it slightly, but it was originally your idea.

  690. Ghoston 27 Aug 2010 at 5:39 am

    I am glad you liked the idea, but I do want to caution you about making Darken sound to indifferent to the child’s safety. I think that if he comes across as to indifferent then readers will not be able to associate with him. So I would recommend giving him some internal monologue prior to the jump off the balcony debating to likelihood to their survival. I think that if he is recognizes the dangers and still does then he only sounds glib and not serial killer indifferent. I mean if he was rescuing an adult it might be a different situation (he might throw them off the balcony kicking and screaming, while berating them for getting themselves into such a mess), but with a helpless child I think that even the most hardened individual will care about their safety a little bit.

  691. Asayaon 12 Oct 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Just wondering, are there any fans of Watchmen here? Reading it is an observation into the intricacies of storytelling and symbolism, not to mention characterization and perspective. It should probably be required reading for anyone that wants to go into the comics biz. I borrowed it from my schools’ library(didn’t know they had graphic novels, though).

  692. B. Macon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I thought it was pretty good. However, some of the storytelling choices annoyed me, like the recurring Black Freighter stuff. The Black Freighter tangents mostly struck me as a waste of space, which may actually have been the point (to help the writer finish the story on schedule).

    I thought the protagonists behaved pretty stupidly at the end. (Spoiler) Their rationale for not killing Ozymandias is pretty weak. They want to avoid nuclear war, but the connection between killing Ozymandias and nuclear war is very tenuous. Is there any logical way killing Ozymandias might trigger a nuclear war? Just murder Ozymandias and, if anyone asks any questions, chalk it up to the mysterious killers that somehow offed the Comedian and Rorschach. 😉 (In the movie version, it would have been preposterously easy to pin it on Dr. Manhattan, who Nixon thinks is actually responsible for the destruction of New York).

  693. B. Macon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I do love the symbolism of the ticking clock, though.

  694. Asayaon 13 Oct 2010 at 10:49 am

    Or the use of Rorshachs’ inkblot mask in some scenes. For the strangest reason, he was one of the characters I had the most sympathy for. It kinda sucked that he got killed off, but it was the only way Adrian Veidt’s plan could hold together.

  695. Lighting Manon 13 Oct 2010 at 11:34 am

    Not really though, he was a well-known crock, a violent psychopath that was only just broken out of jail for the violent murders of police officers, and killed numerous individuals while escaping. His journal didn’t contain any real evidence, just his ramblings and investigations, and so on down. Ozymandias had access to Nite Owl’s knowledge of what little Rorschach actually had uncovered, such as the company links, so he would easily be able to hide them before the press could get a hold of it.

    Rorschach would have been written off without a doubt by all but the most fringe thinkers, and it’s not like he would pop up on Oprah, he’d shout his knowledge from street corners, send oddly imposing letters to them and so on. In the end, It’s not like people weren’t going to disagree with the new world order, the whole reason the scheme gets “threatened” by journalists is because they disagree with it.

    Rorschach had to die because that was the only thing that fit the political theme the writer was trying to stuff down the throat of the story, and the story suffered for it.

  696. Asayaon 13 Oct 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I’m speaking about sympathy in terms of his background before he became Rorshach. The characters’ harsh childhood shaped his perspective on life. Also, I disagree with you about the theme of the story- the original theme is about examining the interactions between five characters of widely varying psychological temperaments. The Cold War atmosphere was supposed to serve as the background for the story.

  697. B. Macon 13 Oct 2010 at 5:03 pm

    “Not really though, he was a well-known crock, a violent psychopath that was only just broken out of jail for the violent murders of police officers, and killed numerous individuals while escaping. His journal didn’t contain any real evidence, just his ramblings and investigations, and so on down.”

    While it’s true that he was probably light on evidence and lighter on sanity, I suspect that raising any sort of questions about Ozymandias’ operations would quickly lead to the emergence of the truth. Given that Ozymandias’ computer prompted for additional details when Rorschach tried “Ramses” as the password, I’m guessing his information security is not the stuff of legend. At least, not the stuff of any legend you would want to be a part of.

  698. Mr. Crowleyon 18 Feb 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Really, what would killing Ozymandias accomplish? I mean, yeah he killed thousands, and killing him could be justified with ‘avenging’ them, but when its all said and done, I wouldnt matter, he won. They didnt not kill him because it would trigger nuclear war, its just that it would just be, in the end, pointless in every sense of the word. This is just my interpretation, and Alan Moore intended it to be read a little differently by everyone.

  699. B. Macon 18 Feb 2011 at 9:00 pm

    “This is just my interpretation…” True. Personally, I’m pretty hard on antivillains and I think that Ozzy was a soft-spoken psychopath. (I don’t buy the “Galactic Empire is the good guy” theory, either).

    “What would killing Ozymandias accomplish?” The biggest reason would be preventing him from destroying another set of cities the next time he guessed the world was teetering on the edge of nuclear war. Additionally, his millions of murders were probably utterly unnecessary to avoiding nuclear war*. We’re well beyond a harmless bit of civil disobedience here.

    *I don’t see any particular reason to think that nuclear war was looming between the US and USSR. (Over Afghanistan? WTF? The USSR missiles in Cuba were a real crisis because it was extremely hard for the US to not respond to a direct threat to its homeland**, and yet the world survived that just fine).

    Furthermore, if killing several million people was somehow necessary, it seems that Ozymandias decision-making process was so bizarrely poor that he could not possibly have sanely concluded that. Watching a series of television casts and concluding from the images that society is subliminally primed for war is, ahem, unsound bordering on “WTF.” It would only make sense to the sort of “genius” that had his computer prompt for additional details when Ramses was given as the password.

    **Similarly, the USSR tolerated the preceding US/NATO missiles in Turkey rather than, say, invade Western Europe.

  700. Trollon 23 Feb 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Hey B. Mac, what do you know about story analysts and development executives?

  701. B. Macon 24 Feb 2011 at 2:18 am

    I’ve never heard of either job in the novel or comic book publishing industries, but one Hollywood script reader/story analyst explains his position here. Development executives come up with new ideas for films and TV shows. I don’t know anything first-hand about Hollywood.

  702. Goaton 26 Feb 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Hey, what did you guys think of “I am Number Four”? I was pleasantly surprised with the movie, the book was just okay though it did have more backstory on Lorien.

  703. B. Macon 28 Feb 2011 at 4:20 am

    The opening action scene was pretty hot. It really raised my expectations that this movie would be drastically better than Jumper. Unfortunately, the other first ~90 minutes of the movie felt slow and cliched to me.

    The writing felt rushed. There were more than a few lines and scenes that felt like first-draft placeholders with “FIX THIS LATER” scrawled in the margins. For example, “Your hands are really warm” is delivered like it’s supposed to be romantic. FIX THIS LATER. “You can’t stop what’s coming.” “You have no idea what I’m capable of.” Those last two even made the trailer!

    I mostly agree with this reviewer’s take that “the dialogue is truly mediocre—there are too many scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny but aren’t supposed to be humorous at all.”

    I don’t think it was the writers’ fault, though. I get the impression they weren’t given enough time to do it right. DreamWorks acquired the rights in June 2009, hired the screenwriters in August 2009 and began filming in May 2010. I know absolutely nothing about Hollywood, but based on my experience working with writing-by-committee and getting writing approved by multiple layers of people (SLOW SLOW SLOW), I’m guessing the writers had maybe four months to get the first draft out.

    Some other impressions:

    –I am not a fan of lengthy exposition delivered through voiceovers. On the plus side, these voiceovers were not as comically bad as the ones in The Last Airbender.

    –The gilled enemy aliens looked a bit goofy.

    –The villain was neither interesting nor scary. He doesn’t even get a name! Come on. Even Godzilla got a name. You know who didn’t get a name? The enemy commander in Battlefield Earth.

    –I was (ahem) not impressed by the shots at comic book fans. To be fair, though, pretty much all of the characters were teen cliches, like the new guy struggling to fit in, the bully jock, the arty girl, the geek/dweeb, etc*. (2 of the 3 credited screenwriters were Smallville writers, so…)

    *All of which have been done so much better by so many other stories, except maybe the jock/bully.

  704. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 13 Mar 2011 at 2:28 am

    Hello! I’m not sure how many of you know me, considering the number of posters seems to have increased since my last visit and the fact that I have not been on for months.

    Yeah, last time I posted I said I would definitely try harder to post more often, but then I didn’t. Truth be told, it’s because of some MAJOR issues from the past couple of years constantly shoving me into a corner of self-pity. And no, the fact that I am posting this does NOT mean that anything is any better. In fact, it’s worse.

    But I finally decided that enough is enough, and these issues will not get in my way anymore. This time I’m gonna post as often as I used to (and hopefully get some work done on my novel…) Because hey, no one’s stopping me but me, and I’m telling me I’m sick of my procrastination and wangsting. (Slaps self) Bad me!

    So… anyone remember me? 😀

  705. Gurion omegaon 08 Mar 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I’m thinking about a alt history story. It has elements of magic espionage and politics. Would it seem arrogant to title it after a poem in progress I’m writing? Sorry. I’m texting this so I can’t punctuate properly for some reason.

  706. Gurion omegaon 08 Mar 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Yeah.real sorry for crappy post. Whos pysched for spring break!?! I know fur sho i is!

  707. ShyVioletson 08 Mar 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I need spring break so bad or i may just have a mental break down and i wish i was kidding about that :/

  708. B. McKenzieon 09 Mar 2012 at 3:48 am

    “Would it seem arrogant to title it after a poem in progress I’m writing?” You’re fine on arrogance/modesty. However, I’m not sure on effectiveness. It depends what the title would be and whether it sells reader on the story in question.

  709. B. McKenzieon 09 Mar 2012 at 6:23 am

    Ack, I’m sorry to hear that, ShyViolets.

  710. shyvioletson 09 Mar 2012 at 6:51 am

    There is just soooo much drama then the counslers are pressuring everyone about how we need to know what we want to do with the rest of or lives RIGHT NOW and I don’t know yet. 🙁

  711. B. McKenzieon 09 Mar 2012 at 7:44 am

    In 99.9% of cases, I think it’d be perfectly fine if a college senior had a pretty vague idea about what he/she would like to study in college. For example, if you have some inkling you’d like to study some field of science, you can find schools that will be generally good at science. If you’re wavering between two substantially different disciplines (“I’m not sure if I’d like to study biology or political science”), you can find programs that are good at both and/or have a major that combines both disciplines (like public policy with an emphasis in public health or epidemiology).

    If you go to a college and realize it isn’t the right fit, transferring is a totally acceptable option. After a year at the University of Illinois (at Champaign), I transferred up to Notre Dame because Notre Dame didn’t accept me the first time. (My grades were much better at UIUC than in high school–by the way, at both UIUC and Notre Dame, the courses were MUCH easier than in high school). Anyway, I ended up getting the same Notre Dame degree that I would have gotten if I had been accepted the first time.

  712. Zoeyon 09 Mar 2012 at 10:06 am

    If you were to write a story in first person POV, how would you get to describing how the main character looks without sounding horribly cliche?

  713. B. McKenzieon 09 Mar 2012 at 11:07 am

    A few possibilities:
    –Some aspects of the character’s appearance fit into dialogue. E.g. if somebody goes on a blind date with a professional chess player, she might comment that he’s a lot taller and fitter than she was expecting. Alternately, maybe a blind date grossly exaggerated his height and Photoshopped his abs and she might comment about that.

    –You give us enough information that we can infer what the character looks like. CHARACTER 1: I made the cut! I’m going to the Olympics!
    *Character 2 stares at him skeptically.*
    CHARACTER 2: Let me guess. Chess?
    If chess is the first sport that came to mind, chances are Character 1 doesn’t look very athletic. (By the way, did you know that Olympic chess players have drug testing? IOC, nobody likes a player-hater).

    –The first-person narrator tells us what (s)he looks like in a way that’s plot-relevant. For example, if a character’s luridly jealous of her sister, contrasting the sister’s luxurious locks with her frizzy mop might help. Alternately, perhaps the sister makes the contrast on her own.

    –The character may be on the cover.

  714. Nayanon 11 Oct 2012 at 2:15 am

    Preparing for the last exam of my engineering degree. Now, I will get enough time to work on my novel from tomorrow. It will be great if I get a job quickly.

  715. B. Macon 11 Oct 2012 at 12:14 pm

    In the United States, at least, it is vastly easier to get a reliable job with an engineering degree than with a liberal arts and science degree (e.g. English or creative writing). I suspect you will not be hard off for work.

  716. Nayanon 18 Oct 2012 at 7:01 am

    Wow. Wrote about 2000 words today. Feeling tired now. Just realised that my clock (time zone) is ahead by around 10 hrs of B. Mac’s.

  717. Nayanon 18 Oct 2012 at 7:12 am

    I listed Superhero Nation as my most favourite website in my CV. Previously it was IMDb (due to my unconditional love for movies).

  718. Nayanon 30 Oct 2012 at 8:43 pm

    My sincere condolences to the people suffering losses from superstorm Sandy.

  719. Nayanon 14 Nov 2012 at 7:20 am

    @B. Mac
    Once I read an article about non-white superheroes on this site. Now I could not find it. So, I am putting it here.

    At first I was considering to make the main character of my comic book Indian. But I realized that it may hamper my chance of getting accepted. Since most of the comic book readers are white and/or Americans. But I can make one major side character Indian at least. Right?

  720. Karmaon 14 Nov 2012 at 9:54 am


    Are you planning to publish the book in India?

    Hmm….even I had once considered making my character as White(rather than Indian),now you have made me think again.

    But if we are publishing in India,wouldnt it be best to choose an Indian protagonist ?

  721. B. McKenzieon 09 Jan 2013 at 12:03 am

    If you’re discussing political issues, please make them somehow relevant to writing careers and/or superhero stories.

  722. B. McKenzieon 21 Jan 2013 at 7:11 am

    “But if we are publishing in India, wouldn’t it be best to choose an Indian protagonist?” That strikes me as intuitive. But I don’t think the character’s race would likely be a huge obstacle to success–e.g. do U.S. or European movies do well in India even though they don’t have Indian protagonists? If I could use an example from closer to home, Iron Man sold about $20 million in Mexico even though he’s an exceptionally American character and American exceptionalism is about as popular in Mexico as the Mexican Cession. (That said, Iron Man and virtually every other Hollywood movie do much more business per capita in the U.S. than internationally).

  723. Dr. Vo Spaderon 13 Mar 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I just read that Jim Carry is in Kick Ass 2. 🙂

  724. Mister Phenixon 14 Mar 2013 at 12:39 am

    Can “shared universes” fit into novels like they do in comic books?

  725. B. McKenzieon 14 Mar 2013 at 1:30 am

    I think it depends on what you have in mind for a shared universe. Attempting to develop 10+ superheroes will probably spread your time/space/words too thin. That said, I think Wild Cards did such a good job on that front that it’s definitely worth checking out…

  726. Elecon 14 Mar 2013 at 1:39 am

    B. Mac, my cousin and I are writing a magazine with short stories in it, is it okay if, to give it some extra bulk, I include some of the articles from this website in it? Just because the sort of people who would read the magazine would probably be the same king of people that come on this site. I would, of course, give you full credit for the article, and a link to the website, so it could also improve your traffic.

  727. B. McKenzieon 14 Mar 2013 at 6:58 am

    Sure. Which articles?

  728. Elecon 15 Mar 2013 at 3:32 am

    Mainly articles that are related to generically improving your writing. I’ve talked with my cousin and we both agree that the following will most likely be used:


    Just as a guide, we’ll just tell you what article we plan to use, so, if you don’t want it published, feel free to tell us. We will try to stick to your newer articles, as a rule.

  729. Elecon 15 Mar 2013 at 4:32 am

    Is that fine?

  730. B. McKenzieon 15 Mar 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Yeah, sounds good. Thanks.

  731. Elecon 16 Mar 2013 at 5:38 pm

    No problem, after all, your doing all the work 😀

  732. Hotrod198on 17 Mar 2013 at 7:05 am

    Just out of curiosity… whats a good way to cover a hero having a good and bad side? Such as he means good and all that but he knows theres something evil in him and he’s constantly fighting himself mentally to try and stay good. What’s some good scenarios/scenes that could help me write to it and make it good?

  733. Dr. Vo Spaderon 10 Apr 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Wow. In an upcoming DC comic issue, a Batgirl will reveal that she is transgender. It’s…crazy how different things are. Blew my mind, just thought I’d share.

  734. B. McKenzieon 10 Apr 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Sales pressure is fierce, and at least a few media organizations bite when comic book companies run publicity stunts. My thinking is that if a character is so uninteresting that his/her sex/gender is the most notable thing about him/her, something has gone terribly wrong for the writer(s).

  735. Nayanon 29 Apr 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hello. I have not been able to visit the site for the last couple of months as I am very busy. Has anyone watched Iron Man-3. How is it?

  736. Elecon 30 Apr 2013 at 1:30 am

    Great, great movie, which, in my opinion, is better than the first two. Some of the fight scenes… and the humor… incredible.

    Kid: I think we have a connection!
    Stark (in flash car): Uh hmm.
    Kid: It’s cold out here (sobby face).
    Stark: I can tell, you know why? (patronizing voice) Because we have a connection! (drives off).

  737. B. McKenzieon 30 Apr 2013 at 4:49 am

    Nayan, Iron Man 3 is averaging 90% so far on Rotten Tomatoes (compare to IM 1 at 93% and IM 2 at 73%). Far, far better than anyone could have expected – I was secretly (perhaps not so secretly) fearing a plunge in quality a la Spider-Man 3 or X-Men 3 or (maybe) The Dark Knight Rises. (TDKR was actually quite good, I thought, but expectations were incredibly high).

  738. Dr. Vo Spaderon 04 May 2013 at 9:05 pm

    So…I know it’s early, B. Mac, but have you seen Ironman 3?

  739. Dr. Vo Spaderon 04 May 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Wow. Totally missed the above comments. (I blame this iPhone)

  740. B. McKenzieon 05 May 2013 at 12:51 am

    Yes, DVS.

    Some thoughts (including spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen Iron Man 3 yet):
    –I suspect that most people will enjoy it more than Iron Man 2. The main difference is that the focus is a bit lighter on comedy and heavier on action.

    –When the President opts to call the Mandarin, I would have made that a more consequential decision (e.g. have it reveal the President’s location to the bad guys).

    –In retrospect, holding the President hostage in a fully-loaded War Machine/Iron Patriot suit was a questionable judgment call by the antagonists.

    –I really like how the movie had Stark and Rhodes go unarmored for much of the movie. In that vein, it probably would have been more interesting if Rhodes had secured the President on the oil rig by sending the President off with the suit. (Unusual choice… raises the stakes… presents an interesting obstacle for the characters… etc).

    –There were several moments of comedic genius (e.g. the dunce cap). On the whole, I didn’t find it as funny as, say, Iron Man 2, but still strong enough that I’m not surprised it’s averaging ~80% on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. I expect it will probably settle in the mid-to-high 70s.

    –The Stan Lee cameo could easily have been removed or improved.

    –The film spends perhaps 45 seconds discussing the military rebranding War Machine as Iron Patriot. It’s funny and makes the superhero identity thing feel a bit more believable. However, given that Rhodes only has perhaps 5-10 minutes of screentime, I’m slightly surprised that it got even 45 seconds. This could probably have been tied into the central plot (e.g. anything somehow involving Tony Stark/Iron Man or the villains) more coherently. On the plus side, I think the creative team understood how minor the character’s name is. I’m grimly confident that DC/WB would have made a major arc out of it.

    –Granted, Rhodes is a side-character, but I’d have him last at least 20 seconds in combat in Pakistan.

    –It would have been 100% insufferable for virtually any other superhero to spend more than 5 seconds talking with a child. (E.g. Green Lantern and his nephew). However, Tony Stark’s refreshing brusqueness really saved the day. The conflict between the two was effective (e.g. Stark drove off alone, even after the kid shamelessly attempted to guilt-trip him). I believe that the resolution to this thread could have been more interesting, though. Something more satisfying Tony Stark giving the kid a lot of stuff. For example, have you seen Up? The scene where Carl stood in for Russell’s deadbeat dad at the ersatz Boy Scouts ceremony was extremely well-executed and fitting.

    –The main villain’s motivations felt a bit off to me. He has this miracle technology which can make people into superhumans and/or regenerate limbs at will, and his main goal is to use a war to generate billions of dollars? Weak sauce. (Though, to be fair, the execution was better than in Tomorrow Never Dies).

    –The main villain’s death was a bit anticlimactic. A missile explodes and that permanently kills him? Umm, if it was that easy, how did he survive that long against a squadron of Iron Mans?

    –The use of the Mandarin as a cover identity… I found it sort of refreshing that the actual main villain was the opposite of a megalomaniac. The other 4 people I saw the movie with found the Mandarin character (as played by Ben Kingsley) some variety of hilarious. I wasn’t as impressed, though depending on your expectations, the character might be a breath of fresh air (e.g. perhaps he’s in some way analogous to Tony Stark — if you came into a movie expecting every protagonist to act in a stereotypically heroic way, you might be put off by a hero that essentially abandons a kid for being too annoying). The Mandarin character doesn’t play out like anything the audience would expect for a villain. (One huge plus: the main villain actually does work more or less like I’d expect a main villain to, so the patheticness of the actor playing the Mandarin doesn’t compromise the overall danger level or suspense very much).

    –In Iron Man 2, the violence level (besides one fairly intense scene with someone being hanged off-camera) was closer to PG than PG-13. Iron Man 3 definitely did not shy away from PG-13 violence.

    –It looked like the director was not sure whether he was actually supposed to wrap up the series with #3 or leave doors open for a potential fourth entry. (Robert Downey Jr.’s contract expires after Avengers 2, so he could say no to additional movies). I don’t know whether Downey is interested, but if he is, the money will certainly be there. IM 3 will almost certainly be one of the 5 top-grossing movies of all time (the cutoff is $1.1 billion worldwide, and it’s already up to $700 million after one weekend in the US).

  741. Iggy The Invincibleon 06 May 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I came up with 5 potential stories:
    1. A bounty hunter from the 1800’s with an advanced healing factor who hunts down aliens.

    2. There are a million stories on how people accidentally gained their powers, so I thought I’d create a superhero who accidentally lost his powers and in order for him to protect the city from evil, he would have to push his body beyond the physical & mental limits.

    3. A vampire who once served as a student to Dracula gets recruited by an organization that fights against evil supernatural beings.

    4. A man who tries to balance his life as a movie star & a superhero.

    5. I always liked the concept of X-Men. So I thought instead of the people fearing and hating mutants. People would fear and hate others who use magic.

    Which idea do you think I should go with?

  742. Nayanon 06 May 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Finally watched IRON MAN 3. Very good movie. Much better than IRON MAN 2, but nowhere close to IRON MAN 1. For me that remains the best of the series. IM 3 is action heavy. Must have been a treat to watci in 3D. But I watched in 2D.

  743. Dr. Vo Spaderon 16 May 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Hey look…”Agents of Shield” show! I’m not sure if I should be overjoyed or worried.

  744. Elecon 21 May 2013 at 1:41 am

    Hey all,

    I’ve been on this website for a while now, and working on my own story for even longer, so it’s time to unveil my book’s new website! Just click on my name :).

  745. Nayanon 15 Jun 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Man of Steel is doing impressive business. It is doing well in India too. I think it will be a hit. Good for WB/DC.

  746. B. McKenzieon 16 Jun 2013 at 12:44 am

    1) The new Superman movie is opening very strong and may set a box office record for best opening weekend among non-sequel films.

    2) It’s averaging about 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. This suggests to me that it is not likely to age well from one weekend to the next (but will still probably be profitable, especially after the product placement).

    3) There is an extraordinary amount of product placement in the movie.

    4) Instead of focusing on boring/pretentious parental dialogue in the trailer, I would have instead focused on the sort of terrifying ultimatum Earth receives (there is a “fugitive” hiding on Earth; turn him over to an alien general or suffer–the U.S. government is not sure of who’s up to what).

    5) I won the office pool betting how close we could guess to the Rotten Tomatoes average for the movie (I took 60%; the actual number was 57%).

    6) I agree the movie merits a 57%. All of the dialogue needed work, but particularly for the Kents and Jor-El. There are maybe 2-3 memorable lines throughout the entire movie, and maybe 2-3 lines which were bad enough that the audience reaction was noticeably negative. When Perry White/Laurence Fishburne (i.e. Morpheus from The Matrix) calls Lois Lane about FBI agents looking for her, she looks out out the window and sees tons of cops searching for her… someone in the audience yelled “USE THE SCAFFOLD, NEO!” and that was probably the only humor I got out of the movie.

    7) The Metropolis fight was interminably long and monotonous; Superman’s powers don’t lend themselves to much creative choreography, but there has to be SOMETHING he could do besides 5+ minutes of flying at his enemies and hitting them through buildings. The effect was very Dragonball zzzzzz.

    7.1) The staff of the Daily Planet watch a giant ****ing spaceship hovering over Metropolis with a giant ****ing laser for maybe 5 minutes before they decide to clear out. While their journalistic curiosity is admirable, Darwin would not approve.

    8) I like the idea of having Superman make an unusual choice NOT to save Pa Kent, but the execution on the scene could have used a lot of work. First, because the presence of many witnesses is critical to Superman’s choice, I would have moved the scene to some place and/or situation where it would be plausible that there would be so many witnesses (e.g. a crowd gathering around a building on fire, or an armed bank robbery). Just randomly having 20+ cars backed up on a rural highway in Kansas does not make any sense. In addition, showing people rushing to an overpass during a tornado is a TERRIBLE plan.

    8.1) This scene did a very good job making Superman’s secret identity feel high-stakes.

    9) The movie is short on charm and pretty much devoid of humor.

    10) I loved the visual design on the villainous armor.

  747. Nayanon 19 Jul 2013 at 10:13 pm

    @B. Mac

    I am writing a superhero novel in my native language. If I need help or opinions with the novel, can I translate the writing to English and post on this site? Will you allow that? I think rules of writing apply to all languages.

  748. B. McKenzieon 21 Jul 2013 at 12:11 am

    Sure, Nayan.

  749. B. McKenzieon 21 Jul 2013 at 12:36 am

    I saw RIPD today. My initial reaction was that it was an almost-competent supernatural take on Men in Black and that it would probably score something like 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s actually at 11%. I don’t think I’ve ever been that far off on a Rotten Tomatoes guess before.

    This movie was not even remotely as bad as its Rotten Tomatoes rating suggests. It sucked a hell of a lot less than Spawn (19%), Men in Black II (39%), or Green Lantern (26%).

    That said, for a movie with a reported budget in the $130-200 million range, its visual production values were shockingly incompetent. In particular, the villains. Oh, God, the villains. Everyone involved in the visual design of the villains should immediately be forced to watch Alien, District 9, and Amazing Spider-Man until it sticks.

  750. Dr. Vo Spaderon 21 Jul 2013 at 6:53 am

    Hey! Long time no post! Just got news from Comicon…Man of Steel/Dark Knight movie to come next. Henry Cavill as Superman. Batman yet to be cast. Zack Snyder says he’ll direct, I think he hinted Superman and Batman will be rivals.

  751. B. McKenzieon 21 Jul 2013 at 10:32 am

    A Batman/Superman movie sounds a lot more promising than Justice League.

  752. Nayanon 01 Aug 2013 at 11:25 pm


    In which article did you put the fan art of your comic book characters? I saw it once, but can’t find it now. But brilliant art. If I remember correctly, the human character was holding a pen like a revolver in James Bond style. Very innovative.

  753. Dr. Vo Spaderon 14 Aug 2013 at 4:18 pm

    @B. Mac,

    I know you really don’t like politicking on your site, but what do you think about MSNBC? Their viewership has dropped dramatically in recent years and…well guess I was just curious what your view would be, from a critical point of view. (If you had one)

  754. B. McKenzieon 14 Aug 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Ack, I’m sorry I can’t help much, but I don’t follow cable news very closely. All I have is anecdotes, unfounded insinuations, and hopefully by this time next week a love life out of a spy novel.

  755. Dr. Vo Spaderon 14 Aug 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Heh, got it. Thanks anyway!

  756. GreenWithAwesomeon 15 Aug 2013 at 4:29 am

    Hey y’all. So I’m writing a novel at the moment and I’m not sure where to ask the question so I’m coming here.

    I want my main character to find their powers before they consider a career in superheroics (is that a word? lol). I need some sort of situation where the character discovers their prowess in super strength. Not THEY PICKED UP A CAR OMG; something subtle, but noticeable (at least, to the character).

    They go down to the shop to buy a few things, so that’s the setting. I’m trying to avoid the generic LOOK OUT HEEERE COMES A SHELF/ CHANDELIER/ COUNTER or HELP THIS LADY ACROSS THE ROAD WITH A TON OF BAGS scene if I can, because I’m pretty sure that’s been done. Not to mention it’s not fun.

    Any help appreciated. Mucho thanks 🙂

  757. Blackscaron 15 Aug 2013 at 1:27 pm


    Perhaps they could go to tug open a door, only to accidentally tear it off its hinges?
    Alternatively, they could be fleeing from some sort of adversary, go to slam a door shut, and crack it in half.

    Hope this helps!


  758. GreenWithAwesomeon 17 Aug 2013 at 4:08 am

    @Blackscar; aaaah that’s actually not bad… I think I’ll try something like that! Thanks very much!

  759. JayNotKayon 17 Aug 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Hi! I am writing, (just like everyone else here) and I want to know a good name for an immortal super villan. An ideas?

  760. Dr. Vo Spaderon 23 Aug 2013 at 7:24 am

    So, um…Affleck. Any thoughts anyone?

  761. B. McKenzieon 24 Aug 2013 at 5:43 am

    Warner Bros’ decision-making process frequently stump me. As a business matter, I’d be uncomfortable trusting a multibillion-dollar Batman franchise to an actor with so few strong action performances and somewhat little experience with darker roles. I’d be comfortable with him in a director and/or screenwriter position, but he’s not a very good actor. In the last 10 years (going back to Daredevil), there have been 14 movies where he’s acted without having a screenwriting or directorial credit. They’ve averaged 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. You know who else has had acting performances averaging 44% over the last 10 years? Val Kilmer.

  762. Nayanon 06 Sep 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I found an interesting picture on internet which shows different categories of characters.

  763. B. McKenzieon 07 Sep 2013 at 10:34 am

    Okay, Nayan, I’ve inserted the picture above. I had to reformat it to fit into our 225-millimeter width columns (or 637 pixels) — it got horribly mangled when I tried to upload it without a reformatting.

  764. Elecon 16 Oct 2013 at 1:32 am

    I like the pictures :). Thanks for sharing!

  765. B. McKenzieon 23 Oct 2013 at 5:41 am

    This question goes out to anyone who watches Breaking Bad: Does Skyler White have ANY redeeming qualities? She gets 0-2 interesting lines per season, makes few if any interesting decisions, and has a maddening and total lack of self-awareness. If a character needs to be this abrasive (e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark, Dr. House, Deborah Morgan), I think it would go over a lot better if the character is more competent and witty, and hopefully contributing something to the plot besides just being a problem. Also, all of those characters are AWARE they are sometimes a jackass and mix in moments of non-jackassery.

    In fiction, can a romance work if the love interest is so unlikable? (I’m not a huge fan of the main character, either, but at least he does things besides complaining).

  766. Dr. Vo Spaderon 26 Oct 2013 at 4:49 pm

    “I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.”

    So the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” trailer is out! I personally have a good feeling about it. The Freedom vs Fear seems to me like a strong theme to play on, but could also have more potential to fall flat. I think what I’m most nervous about is the other characters (mostly Black Widow).

    Any thoughts?

  767. Dr. Vo Spaderon 27 Oct 2013 at 11:53 am

    And the DHS is (at least partially) taking on the role of bad guys. I’m getting excited for this one.

  768. Dr. Vo Spaderon 21 Nov 2013 at 6:39 pm

    “I AM AN F-B-I AGENT!!!” – Keanu

    @Brian McKenzie:
    Two parents have marital troubles. A son/daughter assumes that the father cheated, and the father does not correct this to preserve the pride of the mother. The father passes and the son/daughter learns of the truth from a sibling when it’s too late.

    This scenario has been done before, we’re just not sure if it’s cliche…what do you think?

  769. B. McKenzieon 21 Nov 2013 at 9:21 pm

    “A son/daughter assumes that the father cheated, and the father does not correct this to preserve the pride of the mother.” This is a MAJOR sacrifice on his part. Is there some reason he’s letting them incorrectly think he cheated on his wife? E.g. it’s sort of believable that a superhero or criminal might let a loved one think he was being unfaithful rather than tell them something which could be very dangerous. I’m not sure his wife’s pride would be a believable motivation here, especially if they’ve already been having marital problems. Also, how does confessing to an affair protect her?

    Slightly alternate possibility: the father knows that he’s going to die (e.g. he’s got terminal cancer and knows his time is short), and he falsely confesses to an affair because he thinks it will make it easier for the mother to raise the kids once he’s gone than if they knew the truth. (For example, maybe the kids are aware that the parents have been fighting over an affair, but they aren’t sure who committed it. It was actually the mother, but the father throws himself on the sword because leaving his kids alone with a mother they despise would not be good for them). As before, one of the siblings knows the truth, but maybe the father’s dying wish was that the sibling not damage the family by revealing the truth about their mother). As before, I think this would be an extraordinary gift to a wife that probably does not deserve it*.

    (In addition to his desire to keep the kids from hating their only parent, his motivation here might also include some sort of guilt/unease. Perhaps he feels a bit responsible for the wife growing so far apart that she ended up cheating on him).

    *She’d probably either have to knowingly stand silent as her husband dishonors himself for the family or be completely clueless to miss that at least one of her kids suddenly treats their recently departed father as a dirty memory. Either way, she’s probably not coming out of this looking very good).

  770. Dr. Vo Spaderon 22 Nov 2013 at 6:16 am

    @B. McKenzie:

    This is friggin great help. Thank-you! The idea was to have the son/daughter find out about the affair on their own, and then the father protects the mother.

    “Perhaps he feels a bit responsible for the wife growing so far apart…” – FANTASTIC! I was afraid that his motivation was somewhat weak, but this AND his knowing about his own upcoming demise should cement it pretty well.

    Side note – The children in this case are adults, moved out of the house already. Maybe should have wrote that in the above. Hopefully, this shouldn’t be too big a block to get around…

    Thank-you again! Awesome help, awesome site. 🙂

  771. B. McKenzieon 22 Nov 2013 at 7:45 am

    “Side note – The children in this case are adults, moved out of the house already.” Ah, okay, I misunderstood. In this case, I’m not sure him knowing about his impending death would change very much. I could MAYBE see a dying father falsely confessing to adultery if he thought that was the only way his kids would have a normal childhood with a parent they didn’t hate. However, if the kids have already grown up, this extraordinary sacrifice would not serve his kids so much as it would serve the wife. If he and the wife are sort of estranged, I’d recommend coming up with a more believable motivation for him letting them think he committed adultery.

    Also, if this story is being told from the perspective of one of the adult children, is the truth of the parents’ relationship relevant enough to be high-stakes for the main character? Will it actually be important to the “now” of the story? (Will readers care about the fidelity of a dead character? It seems like it’ll probably be a moot point).

  772. NatureWitchon 22 Nov 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t know were I should put this, but here it goes:

    In a swedish short-story competition you are supposed to write a first-person perspective shortstory that happens during 2050. I’m actually quite horrid at writing first-person perspective, because I’m not that good writing of the fullscale of emotion a person experiences when you see it from first-view. So I wonder if it doesn’t seem to offputting to write it in a past tense, as if a person recollects something, even though the short story is played out in 2050. Yay or Nay?

  773. B. McKenzieon 22 Nov 2013 at 4:36 pm

    In English, stories are almost always told in past tense and I would recommend using the past tense in 99% of fiction, regardless of when the story is set. (Exceptions: If/when a character writes a letter or email or text message or perhaps a journal entry, use present tense if that feels more natural). I don’t have any experience with Swedish, though, so if Swedish handles tensing differently, please disregard.

  774. NatureWitchon 23 Nov 2013 at 3:56 am

    Well, past tense is kind of the standard in swedish literature too, but maybe I didn’t explain this as completely as I could.

    More then the past tense being an issue would it seem strange that someone is telling the short story as if it happened a long time ago, even if it happened in OUR future.

  775. NatureWitchon 23 Nov 2013 at 4:10 am

    But otherwise thank you for the answer 🙂

  776. B. McKenzieon 24 Nov 2013 at 10:31 am

    “Would it seem strange that someone is telling the short story as if it happened a long time ago, even if it happened in OUR future?” No. 99% of futuristic stories use the past tense. It is absolutely intuitive and standard.

    If you feel that there is any potential for confusion about when the story is set, you could mention the year or give us a clue (e.g. if the main character’s personal vehicle is a 2048 Dodge Singularity, we can reasonably infer that the story is set after 2048) if you want to. I don’t think it’s necessary, though.

    Writing a futuristic story in the future tense would be a hell of a lot stranger, especially in action and dialogue. (E.g. “Ender will pick up his blaster” vs. “Ender picked up his blaster”. “‘I love you,’ he will say” vs. “‘I love you,’ he said.”

  777. Nature Witchon 25 Nov 2013 at 2:40 am

    Okay, good to know 😀

  778. Kevinon 15 Dec 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Hi, I am new here and currently in the process of writing my first novel (not in English), and I am coming across this plot point which has been giving me this nasty headache for the past month. I am looking for help in order to resolve this issue as it has momentarily, but completely stopped my progress…

    The issue is as follows: at this particular point in the story, two characters (the hero and a villain) have an encounter and fight each other. Then, the victorious hero has the villain at his mercy but chooses to kill him anyway. This is an unexpected move (from the reader’s perspective) and represents the beginning of a darker turn for the main character. The decision is motivated by hate, rage and the impulse of the moment.

    My problems are related to the means of killing and to the setting of the scene. For story-related reasons, it is imperative that the action takes place within a generic modern (American) city; preferably in one of the poorer areas. However, the death shouldn’t be overly violent – think of a PG-13 rating for the book.

    The solution with the best effect I could think of was to have the hero push the villain off a cliff. But where could this happen in a city? I can only think of the top of a building, but why would the characters encounter each other in this bizarre location? Is there anywhere else in a modern city where one could be pushed to their death, without the setting feeling too unnatural or far-fetched?

    As for other death methods… most of those I could think of would be too violent, and/or don’t offer the suspenseful moment I am looking for, during which the hero makes his choice and surprisingly pushes the villain off a ledge.

    So does someone have an idea? Any advice would be greatly appreciated…

  779. Cat of Darknesson 15 Dec 2013 at 5:09 pm


    I had a little trouble understanding what you meant at first, but now I get it…

    The hero (more like anti-hero) could snap the villains neck. This way, there would be VERY little blood. It would escalate quickly and it’s not overly violent (saying as the villains neck/head wouldn’t be stuck in one position)

    Hope I helped!

    -Cat of Darkness

  780. ShonenChicoBoyon 15 Dec 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Snapping necks is more unrealistic than being pushed off a building, and arguably more violent. @Kevin— try a bridge perhaps? Bridges are symbolic in and of themselves.

    I think you might want to reevaluate the plot point altogether though. A villain falling to his death is pretty cliche, actually. If you don’t create enough reader sympathy for your protagonist it can very quickly turn into a boring read. And he probably should have more of a motivation to kill then simple “hate.” This is a good starting point, but show us why. Especially if the protagonist is an antihero. If his actions aren’t sympathetic, they should at least be logical.

    Also, may I ask. What language are you writing this in?

  781. Cat of Darknesson 15 Dec 2013 at 8:10 pm


    You’ve got a point. I won’t argue with you.

    -Cat of Darkness

  782. Kevinon 15 Dec 2013 at 9:31 pm

    @Shonen- if I may elaborate…

    First, I guess I should have added ‘revenge’ to the list of motivations from the protagonist. Prior to this, the villain has performed truly horrible actions and during that scene, both the protagonist and the reader have reasons to be looking for retribution.
    Until that scene, I would define the main character as a flawed hero, at moments morally ambiguous such as this one. Character sympathy is built prior to this point, but this is one key moment where darkness starts to emerge from him and the reader is meant to question the protagonist’s choices, and whether or not the character will continue down that path.
    I’ll have to think a bit more about that bridge idea; how the various details could potentially fit in… unless you can think of another way the death could happen, considering the scene is to be hinged upon that ‘suspenseful’ moment I described above.

  783. B. McKenzieon 16 Dec 2013 at 1:26 am

    “Snapping necks is more unrealistic than being pushed off a building, and arguably more violent.” I agree it’d be a lot darker to snap someone’s neck than to push them to their death. If you’d prefer the hero to push the villain off of something, here are some possibilities that come to mind:

    –A plane or any flying vehicle. Alternately, if the characters can fly, an aerial battle can easily end atop a building or on a building’s floors (usually by one combatant throwing another through a broken window).

    –A rooftop. This strikes me as pretty believable/doable — for example, if a villain with Spider-Man-like mobility is trying to flee a battle and is caught in a building, it makes sense that he’d run for the roof (or a window, but opening a window might not be that easy in the heat of the moment). Alternately, if the villain is attempting to escape a building via helicopter, he’d probably have to get to the roof first.

    –Any building/bridge/landmark that is the scene of an ongoing crime. For example, if a supervillain has taken hostages in (say) the Statue of Liberty or Sears Tower, the hero can finish the battle by throwing the villain to his death. (If you want to avoid any witnesses, the hero can either give the hostages a chance to escape before the battle ends or the hero can kill the villain in such a way that the witnesses cannot see what is happening — e.g. by taking the fight into a different floor).

    –The hero allows the villain to be killed by something even though he could have easily intervened. For example, if the building is on fire or about to explode (e.g. because a fire started during the battle* or someone set off a bomb or a reactor overloaded or whatever), the hero could knock the villain out during battle and consciously decide to not rescue him even though he knows that the villain will die. Alternately, perhaps a villain’s powers are about to kill him (e.g. a powersuit about to explosively overheat or someone with Bane-esque chemicals needing to be disconnected to avoid a fatal overdose) and the hero chooses not to intervene.

    *If either the hero or villain use any sort of explosives, it’s definitely believable if a fire gets started during a fight. Even a nonlethal explosive like a flashbang or Batman’s stun grenades could start a fire depending on what it hits.

    –Any other death (sort of) of the villain’s creation. For example, if a villain has created a poison he intends to use against the city, it probably wouldn’t be terribly out of bounds if the hero used this poison to kill the villain (e.g. dropping him into a vat of the poison).

    PS: Is this decision actually a big deal? Generally, I think it’s pretty standard for action protagonists to kill homicidal antagonists.

  784. Kevinon 16 Dec 2013 at 8:22 pm

    @ B.McKenzie

    Thank you, that’s a lot of very interesting ideas; unfortunately not all applicable to this particular story (the hero’s abilities do not allow him to fly or anything similar) but some could perhaps be adapted with a little tweaking. I do need to think about it more…

    Something else I should have mentioned; part of the ‘impulse of the moment’ factor comes from the fact that the villain is the attacker, and takes on the protagonist off-guard – there is no ongoing crime. I must figure out (and that’s the hard part) a reason why they both find themselves where the scene needs to take place in order for the fall, or other form of death, to occur. As long as the location is plausible, the action can then be built backwards in such a manner to make the scene work.

    “Is this decision actually a big deal?” Yes, considering the hero is transgressing a moral barrier which he has originally defined for everyone, including himself (implicitly). Think of Batman’s no-kill rule which, in his eyes, separates him from the criminals he’s after. By transgressing this rule, the protagonist is making a definite step towards becoming a villain himself; or at least, his own definition of what a villain is.

  785. Cat-Vacuumer Supremeon 27 Mar 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Fenderzxl, did you mean to write words somewhere in there? No one can help you if they can’t understand what you’re saying.

    B. Mac – I’ve been wondering when/what you’ll make another article, you have great advice.

  786. B. McKenzieon 30 Mar 2019 at 9:24 am

    “B. Mac – I’ve been wondering when/what you’ll make another article, you have great advice.” Thanks! I’ve written a few million words already, I’m not sure what I would add. I’m open to suggestions.

  787. DocTachyonon 31 Mar 2019 at 10:31 am

    Hi B. Mac, long time reader here: It could be interesting to see your take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Specifically, your take on how the interconnection works (or doesn’t) and whether you think that the ability of the MCU to tell their stories is helped or hindered by being part of a mega-franchise.

    And, additionally, I don’t know how much in your wheelhouse it is, but it could be cool to get your take on the marketability of superhero novels in the current climate, given the saturation of superhero movies. Does it help? Hurt? What’s the market look like in general? That sort of thing.

    As one last thing, I’m super interested in knowing where you’re at with the comic Superhero Nation, with Agent Orange and everything. I read those sample pages from way back when, but as I recall, there hasn’t been anything since. I was just wondering where you were with all of that?


  788. Ujjwal bhargavon 01 Apr 2019 at 7:43 am

    I have so many characters and I need so much suggestions and I find your site best for this
    My some major characters are like this
    Oculus- a highschool nerd who gets power after he gets attached to an alien eye like artifact on chest
    His powers are flight energy projection telekinesis and a very powerful move I’ll name oculus stare in which the alien eye opens and evaporates the individual standing in front (this power is so much exhausting that he can’t use anything else after this )
    Sargent Nuke-an ex military officer who gets nuclear powers after falling in a nuclear testing pit
    His powers include matter control atomic blasts

  789. Ujjwal bhargavon 01 Apr 2019 at 8:02 am

    Terror- Again a army officer because of whose arrogance his whole crew include his best friend dies due to which he becomes a terrorist hunter vigilante with a symbolic weapon of chainsaw
    (need suggestions for not making him like punisher)
    The night (any name?) – a paranormal investigator with werewolf powers(kept in control by an enchanted locket)
    Abhishekh (no alias thought so need suggestions) -a vigilant with advanced high tech weapons came back to end drug dealers after his life is ruined by drugs
    Alex – alien human hybrid made during an extraterrestrial war by another alien species (who are allies) to defeat enemies
    Saber – a billionaire by day and a gang leading antihero during night ( yeah a gang) he has super strength and extremely fast learning abilities ( he can learn a new martial art after just reading about it)
    Please help me with these characters
    And sorry for this long and lengthy comment

  790. Ujjwal bhargavon 01 Apr 2019 at 8:29 am

    And yes I forgot Arsus
    King of a world called Mortalita he has super fast reflexes speed strength he’s genius and he has some fancy epic like weapons such as a spear ( called phantom edge) which can be summoned at site and after throwing it comes back ( pretty much like mjolnir) a sword called dragon blade which can rip apart any material and his iconic shield( lion shield) which has a lion like aura that protects him from enemies(not some badass ones) they are acquired by him during his quest of alliance in Mortalita
    The story is something like this
    Mortalita sis d

  791. Ujjwal bhargavon 01 Apr 2019 at 8:41 am

    Mortalita is divided in many nations who are followers of different weapons
    They are in a huge war when Eric (arsus’s father) makes a small nation for those who want peace and has a dream of unity in Mortalita but unfortunately he and his small nation is destroyed by a nation ( devotees of sword) and fortunately arsus is saved by some of the trusted and loyal generals of Eric
    After this Arsus embarks on journey to unite Mortalita and make it peaceful
    The other nations are bladers (the swordsmen) sniperdons( archer) Speardons (you know who they are) Mages ( skilled magicians) althebeans ( snake human hybrid don’t know whenever I got the name ) GIGANTUARS( giants and organized) and smashers ( club and heavy weapons users) and an underground world of demons called Infernal quiteor

  792. Ujjwal bhargavon 03 Apr 2019 at 10:24 am

    please reply

  793. B. McKenzieon 04 Apr 2019 at 10:48 pm

    DocTachyon: “Hi B. Mac, long time reader here: It could be interesting to see your take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Specifically, your take on how the interconnection works (or doesn’t) and whether you think that the ability of the MCU to tell their stories is helped or hindered by being part of a mega-franchise.”

    –The Marvel cinematic universe relies heavily on abrasively charming characters (e.g. Iron Man, Thor, most of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Dr. Strange). For the most part these are “hub” characters easily able to have interesting conversations with most other characters, which makes them very valuable in shared works. Most of their other characters (e.g. Captain America, Bruce Banner and Black Panther) are “spoke” characters that I think would have a relatively hard time creating interesting dialogue without help from a “hub” character. Most “spoke” characters are more agreeable and have a harder time doing the outrageous things that allow Stark to have interesting scenes with everybody in the galaxy (besides Pepper Potts). Over at DC, normally Batman is one of the finest hub characters ever created*, but his failure in that role was probably the main reason that Batman vs. Superman and Justice League did not come close to working.

    *E.g. he’s witty, clever, high-conflict, suspicious/paranoid, charming, usually not 100% on board with other characters’ methods and/or goals, completely willing to go his own way, and almost always aware enough of the central plot or what other characters are going through to have a meaningful conversation with them.

    –One of the most dangerous types of character to write is abrasively uncharming. Marvel has almost completely avoided this type of toxic character (besides maybe a few early scenes for Dr. Strange). Catwoman and Green Lantern pretty much lived here. UPDATE: Captain Marvel and MCU Spider-Man too.

    –A relatively new development for Marvel is black hole characters like Spider-Man and Captain Marvel so devoid of personality/charm that they suck the energy out of their scenes. Too bad Thanos only got rid of half of them.

    –Marvel usually plays its villains on the safe side. Less space, less development, usually more generic backgrounds like evil businessmen or more recently alien conquerors. Exception: Thanos led Infinity Wars’ cast in screen time. His role was reasonably effective, I think. He was consistently watchable but did not rise to the “you’ve got to see this to believe it” quality of Dark Knight’s Joker or Darth Vader. He had notably better dialogue and character depth than most alien conquerors, though that is a low bar.

    –Marvel screentime and dialogue usually focus heavily on main characters, which is very normal. (This is NOT standard practice at WB/DC, e.g. Superman’s parents had 2x as much dialogue as he did in Man of Steel and many of their movies burn a noticeable amount of time on military/government extras).

    –I think being a part of a mega-franchise probably limits creative options. Most notably, Marvel and DC need to mine their characters for decades, which probably makes character deaths or major character changes less likely. With a few exceptions (most memorably Captain Marvel, the Hulk movies, and Spider-Man Homecoming), I think Marvel’s movies have been at least pretty good, though, so I’m not knocking this system too much. Just most masterpieces aren’t written this way. If you have a finite end in mind, it opens up creative options like Red Weddings (surprising deaths of major characters) and Purple Weddings (fatal twists or betrayals for major characters) that probably wouldn’t be considered in a mega-franchise.

    –Marvel characters (besides Spider-Man) are pretty consistently good at what they do. There’s almost none of the idiot plots plaguing the DCU. DC’s most recent works, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, have been much better on this point than Superman’s movies and Suicide Squad.

    –My perception is that Marvel’s writing quality has probably dropped noticeably over the last few years (though their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes have risen over that time). E.g. Thor: Ragnarok feels to me like an example of “same time next year” writing — well executed filler, sometimes very well executed, but not much forward development beyond changing Thor’s hair style. In a non-billion-dollar series, Asgardians fleeing their homeland would probably be a huge deal but I think it’ll just be a different set of backdrops with very little tonal shift. Compare to the destruction in New York early in the MCU which is now played for comedic effect.

    “What’s the market look like in general for superhero novels, given the saturation of superhero movies?” If you have a great story, I’d push forward with it regardless of market conditions. This said, it would probably be a tougher sell than a more conventional fantasy/romance/sci-fi/detective work.

    “As one last thing, I’m super interested in knowing where you’re at with the comic Superhero Nation, with Agent Orange and everything. I read those sample pages from way back when, but as I recall, there hasn’t been anything since. I was just wondering where you were with all of that?”

    I haven’t worked on The Taxman Must Die in a long time. Probably not happening, unfortunately. If somebody put a gun to my head, I’d probably go in a more fantastical direction (e.g. a novel scrapping the Earth setting altogether, creating a fictional setting, maybe something like a loose confederation that’s on the verge of upheaval and/or institutions and traditions breaking down). The taxman would probably be a federal collector collecting taxes from an increasingly restive state. As before, the Gain character would be working with the taxman not because he’s particularly supportive but because the taxman is targeted for death by somebody important and is the only major lead in that case.

  794. B. McKenzieon 04 Apr 2019 at 11:16 pm

    “Mortalita is divided in many nations who are followers of different weapons
    They are in a huge war when Eric (arsus’s father) makes a small nation for those who want peace and has a dream of unity in Mortalita but unfortunately he and his small nation is destroyed by a nation ( devotees of sword) and fortunately arsus is saved by some of the trusted and loyal generals of Eric
    After this Arsus embarks on journey to unite Mortalita and make it peaceful
    The other nations are bladers (the swordsmen) sniperdons( archer) Speardons (you know who they are) Mages ( skilled magicians) althebeans ( snake human hybrid don’t know whenever I got the name ) GIGANTUARS( giants and organized) and smashers ( club and heavy weapons users) and an underground world of demons called Infernal quiteor”

    I’m having a hard time following along. This sounds like it might be a different story than the characters you were previously describing (e.g. a billionaire leading a gang by night) and, if so, I’d definitely recommend just working on one story at a time.

  795. Ujjwal bhargavon 05 Apr 2019 at 12:43 am

    Yes they are all different ideas
    Actually it’s like I’m creating a new superhero nation with a group
    We are thinking that we will show them one by one in standalones then maybe bring them together against a bigger threat or maybe presenting them in different crossovers ( like night and terror together against a big terrorist who is involved In dark magic)
    That is I’m first creating characters then their origin and journey then uniting

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