Archive for March, 2012

Mar 26 2012

LeFlamel’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

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.

LF: “I have a protagonist motivated by revenge, an antagonist trying to better society, and a Master Mind manipulating them both because of romance.”

5 responses so far

Mar 26 2012

13 Ways to Develop a Story That’s Too Short

If you haven’t yet reached your word-goal for your novel (probably 80-100,000 words for a professional-length manuscript or 50,000 for NaNoWriMo), here are some ideas for making your book longer without just dragging it out.

 

1. Add a new complication. If something goes wrong with what your characters have already done or are doing, it will take them time to resolve the complications. I would recommend using this extra space to develop characters and/or advance the plot and/or raise the stakes. For example, in the Hunger Games series, the main character (spoiler) survives a Rollerball-style death match, but her new fame makes her a symbol of a brewing rebellion and puts her family at risk of government reprisal. Before, (only) her life was at stake, but it gets even worse for her.

 

2. Add intermediate scenes, ideally fleshing out character development and/or smoothing out the plot with necessary details. If you’re inserting a scene between A and B, it should add something you didn’t have before.

 

3. Add another goal or a change of goal for a major character.

 

4. Expand scenes you’ve glossed over. For example, if Silence of the Lambs had been shortened by paring back the conversations between the main character and side-antagonist Hannibal Lecter, the plot would probably have been much less interesting. In this case, additional material with a side character developed a main character and gave the main character a few tantalizing scraps of information with which to accomplish her goal (find the main antagonist before he killed again).

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16 responses so far

Mar 26 2012

How to Write Interesting Characters

Creative Writing Resources for English Class

Feel free to use this printout for your creative writing classes or whatever else you have in mind.

Below, I’ve included a text version, mainly to help Google “read” this.

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10 responses so far

Mar 24 2012

Please Donate

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I would appreciate if you would consider making a donation. Thanks.

 

 

16 responses so far

Mar 22 2012

A Dialogue Comparison of Twilight and Harry Potter

When people speak they have their own biased version of facts. This is based on their intelligence, experience, and beliefs. Dialog should not only tell readers the actions your characters take, but why they are making them.

 

Let’s see how effective, or ineffective dialog can be. I’m going to look at excerpts of dialog from Eclipse (pages 101-103) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (pages 213-215).

 

Continue Reading »

16 responses so far

Mar 20 2012

Writing Prompt: Can Rear Leaders Be Interesting?

A politician* recently declared this about a particular military operation*:

 

You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that [the objective] was there.

 

If 100 authors each wrote a story about a commando raid, 98-100 would focus on the raid itself and/or the outcome rather than the decision to launch the raid.  Your prompt today: Write a story where a decision by one person or one group of people is more important than its execution by a different person or group of people.  Military/political setting not necessary.

 

*For our purposes here, it doesn’t matter which.

2 responses so far

Mar 17 2012

Carl Shinyama’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Carl: “I’d love to see the feedback on my comic book, ‘The Aloha Girl’ (currently in development).”

14 responses so far

Mar 17 2012

Cresc’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Cresc: “I am currently developing a superhero comic titled ‘Hi-Tech Girl’ with the intent to publish digitally.”

23 responses so far

Mar 12 2012

If You’re a Fan of Chess…

Published by under Eccentric Tangent

I found this Bobby Fischer graphic novel interesting.  It’s refreshing to see a use of chess that isn’t a Hollywood cliche (e.g. the villain bullying the hero around the board until the hero unleashes a checkmate at the last moment).  I think the characterization could be stronger, though–that would probably help give it some appeal beyond chess fans.

 

If you’re not a chess fan, it’s similar to a sport, but with more violence*, State Department shenanigans, and (above all) bedroom hijinx with Russians of dubious character.  In most sports, if a guy flops, he’s probably trying to draw a foul call from a referee.  In chess, a guy flops because he drank a KGB cocktail.

 

*Assuming you’re playing it right.  Who would waste poison on a beginner?

One response so far

Mar 10 2012

Oddly, This Relieves Me

Published by under Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon gets as confused as I do when characters have names that start with the same letter.

 

 

By the way, his description of his upcoming movie John Carter gives me the overwhelming impression that this will be a case where talented, motivated people are thwarted by circumstances mostly beyond their control (in this case, subpar source material). Extremely depressing.  Thinking more positively, what are some more encouraging examples of stories that are significantly better than the source material? For example, Iron Man was an okay character in the comics, but the Iron Man movies were preposterously enjoyable (93% and 73% on Rotten Tomatoes). Fantastic Four was probably source material for The Incredibles*, but The Incredibles was a huge upgrade in terms of characterization and the depth of noncombat scenes.

 

*The superpowers were uncannily similar and the plots were similar enough that FF received last-minute changes to distinguish it from The Incredibles. In the end, Fantastic Four wasn’t similar enough–it scored 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 97% for Incredibles.

2 responses so far

Mar 09 2012

Picking the Right Main Character

What are some stories that picked the wrong main character?  Who would you have used instead and why?

 

At the risk of idiotically commenting on a series I haven’t actually read, I think Twilight would have been more interesting from Jacob’s perspective* than from Bella’s.  The story, as I understand it, is a tragedy about an emotionally ravaged Bella falling in thrall to an abusive boyfriend and pushing non-abusive guys out of her life. I suspect Stephenie Meyer would probably have realized how creepy the Bella-Edward dynamic came across if she were writing from the perspective of a third character.  (Plus, it would have spared readers the cesarean-by-teeth scene).

 

*Or the perspective of Bella’s mother or father.  They’re probably not aware that their daughter attempted suicide over a high school romance, but the father would have to be oblivious not to realize that something was distinctly amiss.  (I suspect the mother would be more interesting–she might have some conflict with the father about whether this custody situation is healthy for Bella.  The plot would probably have to change to bring the mother more into contact with her daughter, though).

18 responses so far

Mar 09 2012

TheTacosAreHere’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.

One response so far

Mar 07 2012

Huzzah, Part 1

Published by under Congratulations!

Candlemark & Gleam is releasing Matt Adams’ superhero novel, I, Crimsonstreak this May.  I’m not sure which of his signature feats is more impressive–getting published or surviving a man-eating frog–but my panel of publishing consultants* agreed that the publishing deal would pay better.

 

*Three hobos and a bus-driver.  The bus-driver may have misunderstood my question, because he threatened to throw me into the street if I tried to pay my fare in frog legs.

 

 

If you’d like to be part 2 of the only series that combines publishing congratulations with man-eating fauna, please let me know if you have any exciting writing news to share.  (You’ll get a free link and help remind prospective authors that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t necessarily an oncoming train).

 

 

I’m not sure if this counts as a preemptive huzzah, but I’m upping my New Year’s resolution from 275,000 hits this year (25% more than last year) to 300,000 hits (36% more).  So far, traffic this year is up 31% compared to the same period last year.  Thanks for reading!

6 responses so far

Mar 02 2012

MoguMogu’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

MoguMogu writes: “A socially inept loner is thrust into the world of superheroes against her will. She can either run away and and abandon everyone that needs her or fight it out at the cost of her health and sanity. She doesn’t want to be famous or save the world; she just wants to be left alone.

 

Target audience: Humans. Preferably alive.

 

I’m looking to get published, so in the form of reviews, spare nothing. As long as it’s constructive, I’ll take it.”

18 responses so far

Mar 02 2012

M. Happenstance’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Please see the comments.

One response so far

Mar 02 2012

How to Give a Character a Personality

One English teacher asked for an SN poster for his classroom.  Here’s a poster I made out of a much longer article on how to make boring characters interesting. As always, please feel free to give advice/feedback/creative insults.  Feel free to use it if you’d like.

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18 responses so far

Mar 01 2012

Nightwire’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

NW writes:

“I’ve been gestating a concept for my steampunk-superhero novel, Ghost In The Machine. It is set in a Constructed World plagued with individuals who suffer from a mental condition called Tinker’s Syndrome (or Mad Scientist’s Disease).

 

My protagonist, a young Tinker named Matthew Bartholomew Grayson, is a sophomore at the University of Cogsworth (think Unseen University for mad scientists). He is the son of Maxwell Grayson, a renowned toymaker (for being the only one of his craft to include a self-destruct mechanism in his toys).

 

Matthew’s alter-ego is the Gremlin of Cogsworth. He has some sort of mind-link to a dead gremlin, which effectively causes him to share his mind between two bodies (the human one and the gremlin one). He is able to jump conciousness between two bodies at will, yet he cannot control both at one. So whenever he uses one body, the other one is basically dead.

43 responses so far

Mar 01 2012

InfiniteRider’s Review Forum

Published by under Review Forums

Infinite Rider writes: “My story is in the developmental stage. Here’s a general overview:

 

The story takes place sometime in the future. A new sport has started, Air Riding.  (Name tentative. Maybe something with Gravity or Aero).  Air Riding is a sport where riders use air boards or OT Skates to race around the city. The city is filled with gangs and these gangs all have their own territories and emblems to mark them.

 

Air Riding is used to Race for territory, battle, etc. Need For Speed sort of feel.

 

I want my main character to be a delinquent that gets in way over his head when he tries to race a member of an infamous gang. After experiencing a humiliating defeat he decides to get better. While doing so he makes his own gang and starts to work his way up.

 

How does this sound? I’m really just writing this for entertainment purposes but I may decide to go for a more serious approach. Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated.”

14 responses so far