Archive for March 7th, 2011

Mar 07 2011

Writing Memorably

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1.  Think outside the box. When you’re writing, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the most conventional (and forgettable).  It probably came to mind first because you’ve seen it (or something like it) so many times before.  If for some reason you need to try something that’s very conventional, at least have characters respond in a different way or build to a different outcome or try a different angle.  For example, killing off the parents in a superhero story gets used more often than a taser at a hippie convention, but it was still extremely effective as dark comedy in Kick-Ass.  (Instead of leading to a “MOTHER, I WILL AVENGE YOU!”, it was a deliberately random aneurysm).  Likewise, instead of another scene where a protagonist saves a love interest, the fugitive protagonist of Point of Impact breaks into an FBI-guarded morgue to reclaim his dead dog.  It’s a memorable scene because the character is putting himself on the line for something that wouldn’t matter to pretty much anybody else.

 

2.  Let your characters act unusually compared to other characters in their genre(s). If the characters only make decisions and do things that 90%+ of other characters would do in the same situation, they’re probably going through the paces of a pretty banal plot rather than anything we will want to remember.  This is most immediately noticeable for protagonists, but distinctive villains can also excel.  For example, who else but Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter could get away with psychically strangling one of his boss’ subordinates in front of him or taking down two cops with his teeth?

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