Read This: Comic Books

I’ve been reading a ton of comic books lately and I have to say, it’s not a bad thing. So my recommendation this week is to go to a source of writing that might be uncommon for some.

At worst, comic books can show you how NOT to write dialogue. But at their best the storytelling is clever and the dialogue is worth learning a thing or two from. Writers of comic books work under constraints most of us don’t have to deal with, so it’s valuable to see what they do within the “rules” of their genre.

Some comics I would recommend:

  • March: This is a story of the American Civil Rights movement told from the perspective of now-Senator John Lewis, who was deeply involved in the movement. A lot of the writing is narrative, but the weaving of narrative and dialogue is really good.
  • Thor: Goddess of Thunder: I absolutely love how they deal with Thor going from a traditionally male role to a female role. They tackle it head on with no apologies.
  • Ms Marvel: The mix of playful high school kid lingo and humor and serious cultural issues makes this worth reading. But the book also happens to be a brilliant story written well and accompanied by great art.

There are about a gajillion more examples out there. Instead of following the links I provided above, find your local book or comic book store and buy physical copies in person! There’s nothing like browsing aisles and aisles of books mmm 🙂

WAW: Keep Your Promises

Writing About Writing: A once-a-week post about some aspect of writing. I’m not an expert; I’m just some guy. Take it with a grain of salt.


One of the things I find the most disappointing and unforgivable when I’m reading is broken promises.

If you watched the rebooted “Battlestar Galactica” show from 2004-2009 you experienced a prime example of broken promises. (Mild spoilers will follow.)

For several seasons, viewers were taunted and lured with mysteries and secrets. We glimpsed snatches of the truth in dream sequences, flashbacks and inexplicable bursts of insight gleaned during routine missions. We learned tidbits and it only made us hungrier for the full picture.

But when that full picture was delivered, it was full of holes. The series finale left many disappointed. And it’s because we trusted the writers and they broke their promises. All the mysteries and hints built up to nothing.

Deliver

We felt disappointed because we believed we were seeing pieces of a large, beautiful tapestry. It turned out to be a crappy blanket full of moth holes.

What we should learn from that is how important it is to keep our promises to readers. It’s like the old advice about the gun on the mantle – “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there” (source).

Promising mysteries and secrets and big reveals only works if you keep your promises and deliver.

Resources:

A more detailed explanation of Chekov’s gun.

Read This: Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower

Source: Physical book


Another book and author that really don’t need my little blog for promotion, but–

OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD.

I saw this book among a Humble Bundle and purchased the entire bundle just to get it. And, honestly, if it’s the only book I read out of the bundle, it’ll be money well spent.

Not only is the book itself amazing and beautifully written and so hard to put down, but it’s written by a woman of color. Octavia Butler smashed her way into sci-fi and dared anyone to tell her she didn’t belong there. If you don’t think that’s awesome, you probably shouldn’t be bothering with this blog anyway.

The thing with Parable of the Sower, in particular, though, is that it’s eerily… true. It’s eerily real. You see present-day evils taken to their logical next step.  It’s frightening and illuminating all at once and I’m tearing through it at record speed.

WAW: When MC = Author

Writing About Writing: A once-a-week post about some aspect of writing. I’m not an expert; I’m just some guy. Take it with a grain of salt.


Let me get this out of the way up front: This is going to be more “just my opinion” than most of these posts.

But I really hate when I can tell that your main character is you.

Like, really hate it.

It’s like watching someone masturbate – not the porn star version, a regular person who I’m not dating or into. Kinda gross, mostly boring and totally not why I’m here (yeah yeah some people like it blah blah relax, it’s a joke).

Mary Sue

Mary Sues are a cliche in fanfiction. People take some shit that doesn’t include them and just add themselves in, as though all the fans of that thing were sitting around thinking, “You know what my favorite show was missing? This random ass person I don’t know.”

Books, Too

But, sadly, it’s not just fanfiction. Real deal authors make themselves main characters all the damn time. I can always sniff it out. Like, it has an actual odor to me. Because it’s boring, bad, annoying writing.

Of course there are exceptions etc etc blah blah blah. But as a rule, it isn’t good. Like, not even a little.

Resources: