Archive for August 25th, 2011

Aug 25 2011

More Google Queries

Published by under Reader Questions

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.

How are superheroes created? Write a comic book, short story, novel or graphic novel and submit it to publishers.


Writing Secret Service characters – You’re probably already familiar with the physical stereotypes (beefy, imposing).  But I’d like to recommend checking out this article for some mental characteristics in SS agents, like incredibly strong situational awareness, restraint (as the situation dictates), quick reflexes, pattern recognition, a basic grasp of first aid and an ability to override basic human instincts. (If somebody drops dead of a heart attack, the Service’s only concern is ruling out biological and chemical weapons).  Also, I haven’t read many novels where SS agents have searched dumpsters for explosives or taken Class 3 offenders to the movies while the President’s in town.  😉


Target audience for superheroes and villains—I think it depends on the medium.  Most superhero comic books are aimed at guys 18-30.  (“The number of girls who read superheroes is extremely minimal,” according to comic book writer Trina Robbins).  Most superhero cartoon shows are aimed at boys younger than 13 (although some develop a peripheral following among older viewers).  Comic book movies are usually aimed more at guys than ladies, but I think it’s much closer.  According to one report, 48% of the opening night audience for Dark Knight was women.   Age-wise, I think most superhero movies try to appeal to viewers from 13+.  I think the level of gore is usually lower than in most other kinds of action movies (e.g. war movies and shoot-em-ups).


 Say it loud!  I’m Mac and I’m proud?


Best superhero comic books for girls.  Obviously, it depends on the girl’s tastes.  I think I’d start by considering Invincible, Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.


What’s a TPB?  A trade paperback, a reprinted collection of comic books bound together as one volume.  Traditional bookstores and libraries are usually more amenable to trade paperbacks than comic books.  For more, please see Dark Horse’s FAQ.


Best theme song ever.  “Lemmetellyasomethin’. Bustin’ makes me feel good.”  Honorable mentions: Jurassic Park and Star Wars.


pokemon parody murder lizard.  I’ll keep my eyes open.


kid bruce wayne as a student in hogwarts fanfic.  “MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!!”  “MINE TOO!!”


Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Aug 25 2011

How to Deal with Unconstructive Criticism


1.  Not all impolite criticism is unconstructive.   There are some people that would like to help you but are not naturally diplomatic or polite.  “Your spelling needs work!” is a bit rougher than I’m used to, but I’d give those reviewers latitude because they’re trying to help.  Also, some editors are pretty blunt and learning to work with different sorts of people is an important professional (and life) skill.


2. Genuinely unconstructive reviews tend to be insulting and/or completely miss the point of what you’re trying to do.   If you feel like the reviewer’s main goal is proving that he/she is a better writer than you rather than helping you improve your writing, the only two people in the world that have any reason to care about the review are the reviewer and the reviewer’s therapist.  I would recommend disregarding these reviews as soon as possible because they won’t help you grow as a writer and aren’t meant to.


3. If you’re not sure whether a review is abusive or not, here are some red flags.  

  • It uses words/phrases like “awful,” “really bad,” “terrible,” profanity and/or “sucks” with reckless abandon.  I could (maybe) forgive one use, but anything more than that suggests that the reviewer is not trying to help you.
  • The reviewer states everything as facts and commands.  However, unless a review focuses on obvious mechanical errors (like “tehn” -> “then”), virtually everything in it will be some sort of opinion.  A reviewer that uses personal qualifiers like “I think” and “I feel” and suggestions probably cares more about trying to help than about establishing dominance.
  • The review gets too personal and/or reaches negative conclusions about the author based on the quality of the writing. For example, I think it’d be really dubious to imply or state that the author is an idiot because he/she doesn’t understand writing mechanics yet.  One reviewer got in a pissing contest with an author that turned out to be a grade-schooler.  Smooth move, champ.  (Another possibility: English isn’t the author’s first language, but he’s writing in English because it has a larger online audience).


Continue Reading »

10 responses so far