Archive for the 'Navel-Gazing' Category

Mar 03 2009

5,000 comments!

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.

Today we received our five-thousandth comment.  Incidentally, today we also received our fifteen-thousandth piece of spam.  According to Google Analytics, we’ve only had 65 Russian readers but somehow about a third of our spam is in Russian.  Assuming that all of the Russian-language spam came from a Russian user, that would be an impressive 75 messages per user.

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Feb 12 2009

Doing tables in HTML? Use Tablemaker

If you find it tricky to code tables in HTML, I highly recommend Tablemaker.  You give it the data you’d like in the table and it gives you the appropriate HTML.  Neat.  Your table might look something like this break-down of our user statistics for the past year.

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Feb 11 2009

Ack! I am horribly ill

It will probably be a few days until I get around to doing regular updates.

10 responses so far

Feb 01 2009

Sunday Updates

  1. In February, we set a new personal record for new visitors.  (We had around 10,000 for the month).
  2. Today, we reached 75,000 total visitors.
  3. On Centsports.com, I am putting my $4.75 on Arizona to beat the Steelers today.  I fully expect to lose (defense wins championships), but I am fully buying into the much-hyped Arizona miracle.

7 responses so far

Jan 12 2009

The copyright on “superhero”

Fevered rumors occasionally surface that Marvel and/or DC have copyrighted the word “superhero” and plan to sue anyone that uses them.  That’s obviously bunk.  However, a more credible blogger claims that Marvel and DC have jointly trademarked the term superhero and are the only ones that can use it when naming a comic book.  It is true that they have the trademark, but there is virtually no chance that it would hold up in court. (Whether or not your publisher is actually willing to risk a case is another question, though… it’s cheaper to come up with a new title than go to court).

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53 responses so far

Jan 06 2009

No alcohol was involved in the conception of these covers

Superhero Nation is slightly eccentric and wacky, so I kind of want an eye-catching cover that conveys that.  Here are a few of my latest ideas for our first cover.

1.  This cover shows a desk with a careful array of US presidential bobbleheads.  (It’s Agent Orange’s desk, so this should look a bit wacky).  At the front of the desk would be bobbleheads of Agent Black, Agent Orange and their boss.  In the background, we’d place a motivational poster for humorous flavor.  (Maybe “Human Resources:  Killer Service Every Time.”)

ALTERNATIVE:  The desk still has presidential bobbleheads, but the bobbleheads of the cast are gone.  Agent Orange is behind the desk in a surly boss pose and Agent Black is staring at him dumbfounded.  As before, there’s a motivational poster for humor.  (Hat-tip to Brett).

2.  Agent Black is getting chewed out in an over-the-top manner by Agent Orange.  I’d probably frame it like a scene between Peter Parker and JJ Jameson.  I’m relying on the “what the hell?” factor of having a mutant alligator as the boss to make this eye-catching and appealing.  I’d probably give Agent Orange a business prop like a wacky chart or graph in lieu of the motivational poster.

3.    Agent Black is in a mock Rambo pose, ineptly wielding a machine gun on a firing range.  All of his bullets are wildly off his target.  (The bulletholes may spell out the Superhero Nation logo).  Agent Orange is looking on exasperatedly with a hand on his forehead.  He’s shaking his head.  This is probably better-suited for the second issue than the first.

7 responses so far

Jan 02 2009

New Year’s Resolutions: 2009

  1. Expand this site to 500,000 hits and 1.5 million page-views. That would be about 1500 and 4500 of each a day, growth of roughly 400%.
  2. Get a comic book series published. I need to receive my first paycheck before graduation in May.
  3. Finish writing a nonfiction book about how to write superhero stories and get them published.  I expect to have completed this before graduation because I’ve already done so many articles for this website.  So the content is mostly finished.  Now the main task is adapting the chapters for a younger and more superhero-interested audience.
  4. Chip away at the novel.
  5. Get a fulltime job. Ideally, I’m thinking I’d work there for a year or two before moving on to grad school.

30 responses so far

Jan 01 2009

User Guidelines

My goal is to provide high-quality writing advice for adults and young adults.  Here are a few ground rules.

 

1.  No R-rated sexual content.

Anything more sexually graphic or creepier than a James Bond movie is probably not a great fit for this website–for one thing, about half of our readers are younger than 18 and many of the rest are teachers.

 

2. No gratuitous self-promotion.

I’d love to see your website, but contribute something first.  For example, if you’d like to link to your site, connect it in some way to previous comments or the article itself.  If you’d like to market yourself without contributing something, please go somewhere else, okay?

 

3. Don’t give too much information.

In particular, please don’t ever post your phone number or address on an open forum, especially if you’re younger than 18.  It is not the best way to convince a professional to reach you.  Personally, when I see someone post a business proposal with a phone number in an open forum, I’m more likely to think “Good God, what’s he thinking?” than “Wow, he’s really making himself accessible!”

 

4. No fan-fiction. 

Is your main goal as a writer to have a good time?  If so, serious reviews listing 25+ possible revisions for a chapter would probably be more emotionally overwhelming than fun.  If not, I think you’d give yourself a better chance to develop writing skills by building your own stories/premises/characters/settings from scratch rather than starting with a story somebody else has already written.  For fan-fiction reviews, I’d recommend fanfiction.net instead.  Yes, the reviews will generally be as useless as “this’s really good!!!” or “this sux!!!” , but that’d only be a problem if you wanted to become a professional author.

 

5. Be friendly and professional.

A professional demeanor and friendly attitude are extremely helpful. Probably more than raw talent, actually.

 

Thanks!

84 responses so far

Dec 17 2008

Dammit, I’m not a squid!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I got an e-mail about an annual conference at the Naval Academy and now all of my Google ads are from test-prep companies.  “Do you want to get into Annapolis?”  No!

One response so far

Dec 08 2008

Bad news

It’s almost the end of the semester, so our staff will be writing considerably less here over the next 10 days or so.  Thanks for your patience!

No responses yet

Oct 27 2008

I am not fond of Cyprus

Published by under Navel-Gazing

If only I had realized that before picking it as the topic for a research paper.

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Oct 18 2008

I’m officially white-collar!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I went to a pub tonight and ordered a glass of wine instead of a Sprite or Guinness.  According to the menu, my wine was supposed to taste of “notes of white and black pepper with a forward fruit.”  Hmm, not quite.  It tasted more like someone stabbed my tongue with a cattle prod.  I ended up getting a Sprite and a Coors to wash the taste away.  Blerk.  I’m going Guinness next time.

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Oct 15 2008

100,000 pageviews!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

Today we reached 100,000 pageviews.  With ten weeks left in the year, we should be able to clear 150,000 by New Year’s.  Thanks for coming!

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Oct 08 2008

Our projected pay has doubled… but minimum wage is still far away

Published by under Comedy,Navel-Gazing,TWPL

We did some calculations on the back of a napkin and concluded that the author of Things White People Like received an advance of 2.33 cents per hit.  Assuming that our advance earned us the same amount of money per hit, our projected pay per hour of website work has doubled to $1.75 over the past three months.   At this rate, we might reach minimum wage by the time I have my degree.  [JACOB ADDS:  Barely.  Won’t your parents be so proud?]

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Oct 07 2008

Getting close to 100,000 pageviews

Published by under Navel-Gazing

In the next 2-3 weeks, we’ll clear 100,000 pageviews for the year and should clear 125,000 before the year is over.  When we set our New Year’s Resolution, we were hoping for 50,000.  Thanks for your traffic.

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Oct 04 2008

We’ve added a “Recent Comments” widget

Published by under Navel-Gazing

Hello, commenters!  We’ve added a new widget to help you figure out if we’ve responded to your comments yet.  It’s near the top of the sidebar, right below our list of superhero writing articles.

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Oct 04 2008

Superhero Nation’s traffic for the past month

In case you’re interested.  We use this data to help us determine which site-edits are effective.

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Oct 01 2008

Come on, Jeopardy!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I took the online Jeopardy test tonight.  I think I did well enough to get a call back for auditions.

One response so far

Oct 01 2008

Non sequitur!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I hate ancient philosophy.  I find it interesting that the only endeavor in which the ancients are generally taught to undergraduates is philosophy.  In 2000 years, I hope that students (to the extent that we have students in 2000 years) learn more about us than the inconsequential quibblings of our philosophers.

No responses yet

Sep 25 2008

Share This!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

We’ve started using Share This on about 20 of our most popular articles.  Hopefully it should be easier to share our sage insights with the unenlightened masses now.

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Sep 25 2008

We’re (probably) getting a grant!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

A few weeks ago, we applied for a university grant to underwrite a non-fiction book about how to write superhero stories.  (Ahem, we’ve written more than 50,000 words about the subject here).  Today I learned that our application was very well-received…

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Sep 14 2008

Webcomic in hibernation

Published by under Navel-Gazing,Webcomic

Yeah, I’m really sorry about this, but I don’t think we have the time to pursue the webcomic with any degree of regularity over the academic year.  We will continue regular updates in May.

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Aug 27 2008

We Added a Blogroll

Published by under Navel-Gazing

Our new blogroll focuses on the sites we find particularly funny, but we have a few sites devoted to writing and the publishing industry. If you’d like to suggest a site, we’d love to hear from you.

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Aug 26 2008

First anniversary!

Our website is a year old now. Without navel-gazing too much, I’d like to offer some quick visuals to suggest just how dramatically our crappiness quotient has dropped. These are our first six months worth of headers…

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