Anonymous asked: I'm trying to break into comics, but one criticism/concern I've already been getting in the early stages of the drafts of my current story is how difficult or tricky political commentary can be for the reader and publisher. The political commentary of social justice through the character's and their lives is the defining attribute to what I believe makes my story truly shine. What advice do you have for any writer who is writing a story with an unconventional political message?

brianmichaelbendis:

if that is the critique are getting from your friends then I bet your characters are lecturing.

The trick with political messages or commentary is to make it so subtle that most people wouldn’t even notice it. people hate being lectured to. even when people are being lectured about things that they’ve heartily agree with. most people, when they are reading their comics, are looking for escapism or something fun or moving that makes them appreciate the world.

 and just like you wouldn’t want to be stuck at a party with someone lecturing you with their political commentary, you don’t want to sit and read it. 

 that’s why most of the world hates Bill Mahar :)

 now a lot of comics, and a lot of my comics, do reflect the world around us. most of my issues are social but I would be lying if I didn’t say that they influenced my work. and often I am writing characters who have the opposite opinion of what I believe socially and politically and I’m writing them to kind of discover how someone could think that way.

but what I don’t do is lecture.

It may just be that I’m noticing it this week, but between this post, and Si Spurrier’s recent comments, it feels like we’re getting to the nub of what I think of as one of a writer’s key roles/obligations, to the reader but most of all to their stories and characters.

Basically, if your character or story is just a direct mouthpiece for your own opinions, unless you’re really, REALLY inventive, you’re better off writing a blog post than a fictional story.

(Si Spurrier’s comments approach this area from a different angle, but the core message I took from it is the same: You shouldn’t be able to infer that the opinions that come out of a character’s mouth are always those of the writer, and the writer shouldn’t always be putting their opinions into the mouths of every one of their characters.)

@6 months ago with 42 notes | Comments

"This is story of my life inside wallet."

Simon Rich: “Unprotected” : The New Yorker

Absolutely beautiful. Very cute piece of writing.

@1 year ago | Comments

Right on.

sulman:

Some indulgent silliness. 

Imagine that it is the mid Nineteen-Nineties. You are an intelligence officer working universities for potential talent; your aim is to recruit those that will continue the work of the establishment; the cold activities of defending the country and advancing her influence. Murky, deceitful work well beyond the simplistic allegiances of left and right. 

Control of the left is merely one facet of this; it also happens to be part of your section’s responsibility. Oxbridge is a traditional source of recruits, and among the candidates there is a girl there with a suitable background for this kind of role. Extremely bright, idealistic, middle class, and from parents with a gentle socialist leaning. A student already active and influential within left-leaning student organisations. 

Recruitment is merely a patient matter of flattery, advancement and material reward, with one eye on the greater good. “You’re already at the top of the intellectual tree. Why not make a difference from the inside?”

Post-graduation, with a sandstone university behind her, and some appropriate references from the faculty, placement within a leading magazine publication is easy enough. She must be self-styled as the ‘voice of her generation’. The writing style - virtually every article framed within a simplistic sixth-form ideology - has to be clear and repetitive, if well below the quality of her academic output. It doesn’t matter if the tone resembles from cold war Pravda, with a contemporary influence. Few reading will be old enough to recognise that anyway. The goal of this particular approach is empathy  and access to groups of interest. With press as a platform, inconspicuous movement between targets is easy.

Of utmost importance - it will not be noticed - is that she does not engage in any actual investigative reporting. Especially not in the direction of friendly places. An exposé on immigrant labour in the Middle-East - truthfully sourced or not - would be counterproductive for interests in those countries. Write about Palestine all she likes - she is expected to - but stay away from looking too closely at internal issues within Israel. Stick to domestic networks. She should write about her friends. Tell her handler about her friends. Tell her handler about their friends. Tell her she’s making a difference. 

My buddy, keeping his brain ticking over, mining a seam of genius.

@1 year ago with 1 note | Comments

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness 

iandsharman:

My Elephant Words story for this week. Please feel free to comment on the Elephant Words website, as feedback is always very welcome!

Go read Elephant Words, you guys. The writers there always do such great… word… things.

(via iandsharman)

@2 years ago with 7 notes | Comments

A few things I did over the last couple of days…

…in case you missed them:

Corporate Whoring: Graze Free Box Code
Because I love Graze boxes, they gave me this code for people to get a box free, and I get a discount if you use it.

Review: Too Much Sex & Violence #1 by Rol Hirst et al
Self-published small-town weirdness and intrigue, with a variety of cool artists providing support.

Review: Dark Judgement #1-2 by Richard Macauliffe and Conor Boyle
Horror shorts throwing a spotlight on the Dark Judges, set during classic Judge Dredd continuity.

Commentary: …Meanwhile, at MCM Expo
Wherein we at MOMBsite give David Wynne a platform to discuss his truly horrid Sunday at the event.

Self-Indulgent Bloggery: This Is How My Day Panned Out
In which I talk about MCM-Controversy induced paranoia, and encounters with a very old friend and JM DeMatteis, one of my comic writing gods. And chicken biryani.

Charity Faceweird: Movember 2011
I throw my hat in the Movember ring - with photos! - because, well, I like prostates, it winds my wife up, and it’s way easier than Nanowrimo.

@2 years ago | Comments

Screenwriting Tip #707

screenwritingtips:

Keep track of story time. It doesn’t take a week to drive across two states, and funerals don’t usually happen the day after someone dies. Make a timeline if you have to.

@2 years ago with 24 notes | Comments
The Message

The Message

(Source: tumblrisforlulz, via iandsharman)

@2 years ago with 12,864 notes | Comments
Why Why Not? by Nicolas Papaconstantinou
I wrote the above story in response to this image. I’m quite pleased with the story. It is short and full of whimsy.
I would like you to read it, tell me what you think, and share it. Please?

Why Why Not? by Nicolas Papaconstantinou

I wrote the above story in response to this image. I’m quite pleased with the story. It is short and full of whimsy.

I would like you to read it, tell me what you think, and share it. Please?

@3 years ago | Comments

"You can scream at a phone for six months straight and Philip Larkin won’t accuse you of fucking it up. A phone doesn’t know, because it’s full of cogs made of light or something, whereas a baby is filled with a kind of haunted meat, probably. I don’t know."

@1 year ago with 71 notes | Comments

Eclipse Us All at Elephant Words

Maureen had a personal rule against asking questions she already knew the answer to. It was a behaviour she found frustrating in others. However, sometimes it was hard to avoid.

I’m back at Elephant Words for the first time in a long time. First prose I’ve done in ages. Eclipse Us All - is.gd/rQzr34 - please read it, and if you like it, tell me!

(If you don’t like it, tell me that, too - all feedback is useful.)

@1 year ago | Comments

"I ‘made it’ when we did our first issue. Everything else - the New York Times, even making a movie - is lesser than Love and Rockets, as far as I’m concerned, and everyone else should treat their work that way. It it’s your own work, it should be treated as the last thing, not the first thing."

Jaime Hernandez

(Source: spx, via yorko)

@2 years ago with 148 notes | Comments
Gary Provost (100 Ways To Improve Your Writing, 1985) via @LettersOfNote

Gary Provost (100 Ways To Improve Your Writing, 1985) via @LettersOfNote

@2 years ago with 1 note | Comments

Hemingway Meme - Six Words Enter, One Story Leaves

The last time people were talking about Hemingway’s six word stories, I did this over at nixsight.net:

2 lifeforms enter, three lifeforms leave.
Just drive, she said. Smoking. Bleeding.
Had the last laugh. Died funny.
Someone lost an eye. Exit fun.
She kissed he cried they parted.
I’m gunna keep on loving you.
High concept? Just another donkey show.
200 guns, 100 men.
Dissatisfied wife finds love with midget.
Her last words were his trigger.
“I didn’t mean to…” it said.
Unaided flight ”fun”? Not so much.
Superheroes but, you know, grown up.
The kid in burberry buys it.
Final act, nothing resolved, closure MIA?
Studio 60 mid-season turnaround imminent?
… and suddenly, the creatures stood revealed…
“Brevity”, he said, “arsehole of wit.”
“Wash off the blood? What blood?”
I have to eat her all?
“So that’s what humility tastes like…”
You’ve been drive-by queer-guyed!

Added 31/10/2006:
Two dads. No mum. Hilarity ensues.
Two dads. Estranged mum. Hilarity ensues.
6 friends. No others allowed in.
Hippy parents BUT ultra conservative son!
Retard ends up saving the day.
Whole damn journey is homoerotic metaphor!
My stupid dog, the alien overlord?
My drooling dog, the second coming?
Two days to retirement. Already dead.
Ripped it up and started again.

Anyone got anything to add?

@2 years ago | Comments

Kurt Vonnegut's rules for writing, via Wil Wheaton 

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

(Source: wilwheaton, via godiseven)

@2 years ago with 1,035 notes | Comments

Terry Gilliam criticizes Spielberg and Schindler’s List.

Totally agree with this. Interestingly, it’s a phenomena largely missing from Keneally’s book, which is far more pragmatic about both historical events and Schindler himself.

Less interestingly, a quick look at the YouTube comments tells you all you need to know about YouTube commenters, and their inability as a group to grasp any particularly complex idea. As if we didn’t know that already.

Thinking about it, changing the name of the story from Schindler’s Ark to Schindler’s List speaks to what Gilliam says here. Choosing the passenger list for an ark involves hard decisions and calculated attrition, but you can keep adding items to a list for as long as you want.

(Source: youtube.com)

@2 years ago with 2 notes | Comments

Anonymous asked: I'm trying to break into comics, but one criticism/concern I've already been getting in the early stages of the drafts of my current story is how difficult or tricky political commentary can be for the reader and publisher. The political commentary of social justice through the character's and their lives is the defining attribute to what I believe makes my story truly shine. What advice do you have for any writer who is writing a story with an unconventional political message?

brianmichaelbendis:

if that is the critique are getting from your friends then I bet your characters are lecturing.

The trick with political messages or commentary is to make it so subtle that most people wouldn’t even notice it. people hate being lectured to. even when people are being lectured about things that they’ve heartily agree with. most people, when they are reading their comics, are looking for escapism or something fun or moving that makes them appreciate the world.

 and just like you wouldn’t want to be stuck at a party with someone lecturing you with their political commentary, you don’t want to sit and read it. 

 that’s why most of the world hates Bill Mahar :)

 now a lot of comics, and a lot of my comics, do reflect the world around us. most of my issues are social but I would be lying if I didn’t say that they influenced my work. and often I am writing characters who have the opposite opinion of what I believe socially and politically and I’m writing them to kind of discover how someone could think that way.

but what I don’t do is lecture.

It may just be that I’m noticing it this week, but between this post, and Si Spurrier’s recent comments, it feels like we’re getting to the nub of what I think of as one of a writer’s key roles/obligations, to the reader but most of all to their stories and characters.

Basically, if your character or story is just a direct mouthpiece for your own opinions, unless you’re really, REALLY inventive, you’re better off writing a blog post than a fictional story.

(Si Spurrier’s comments approach this area from a different angle, but the core message I took from it is the same: You shouldn’t be able to infer that the opinions that come out of a character’s mouth are always those of the writer, and the writer shouldn’t always be putting their opinions into the mouths of every one of their characters.)

6 months ago
#Si Spurrier #Brian Michael Bendis #writing 
"You can scream at a phone for six months straight and Philip Larkin won’t accuse you of fucking it up. A phone doesn’t know, because it’s full of cogs made of light or something, whereas a baby is filled with a kind of haunted meat, probably. I don’t know."
1 year ago
#Charlie Brooker #babies #writing 
"This is story of my life inside wallet."

Simon Rich: “Unprotected” : The New Yorker

Absolutely beautiful. Very cute piece of writing.

1 year ago
#writing #fiction #Simon Rich #New Yorker 
Eclipse Us All at Elephant Words

Maureen had a personal rule against asking questions she already knew the answer to. It was a behaviour she found frustrating in others. However, sometimes it was hard to avoid.

I’m back at Elephant Words for the first time in a long time. First prose I’ve done in ages. Eclipse Us All - is.gd/rQzr34 - please read it, and if you like it, tell me!

(If you don’t like it, tell me that, too - all feedback is useful.)

1 year ago
#Elephant Words #writing #Nicolas Papaconstantinou 
Right on.

sulman:

Some indulgent silliness. 

Imagine that it is the mid Nineteen-Nineties. You are an intelligence officer working universities for potential talent; your aim is to recruit those that will continue the work of the establishment; the cold activities of defending the country and advancing her influence. Murky, deceitful work well beyond the simplistic allegiances of left and right. 

Control of the left is merely one facet of this; it also happens to be part of your section’s responsibility. Oxbridge is a traditional source of recruits, and among the candidates there is a girl there with a suitable background for this kind of role. Extremely bright, idealistic, middle class, and from parents with a gentle socialist leaning. A student already active and influential within left-leaning student organisations. 

Recruitment is merely a patient matter of flattery, advancement and material reward, with one eye on the greater good. “You’re already at the top of the intellectual tree. Why not make a difference from the inside?”

Post-graduation, with a sandstone university behind her, and some appropriate references from the faculty, placement within a leading magazine publication is easy enough. She must be self-styled as the ‘voice of her generation’. The writing style - virtually every article framed within a simplistic sixth-form ideology - has to be clear and repetitive, if well below the quality of her academic output. It doesn’t matter if the tone resembles from cold war Pravda, with a contemporary influence. Few reading will be old enough to recognise that anyway. The goal of this particular approach is empathy  and access to groups of interest. With press as a platform, inconspicuous movement between targets is easy.

Of utmost importance - it will not be noticed - is that she does not engage in any actual investigative reporting. Especially not in the direction of friendly places. An exposé on immigrant labour in the Middle-East - truthfully sourced or not - would be counterproductive for interests in those countries. Write about Palestine all she likes - she is expected to - but stay away from looking too closely at internal issues within Israel. Stick to domestic networks. She should write about her friends. Tell her handler about her friends. Tell her handler about their friends. Tell her she’s making a difference. 

My buddy, keeping his brain ticking over, mining a seam of genius.

1 year ago
#writing #Sulman #politics 
"I ‘made it’ when we did our first issue. Everything else - the New York Times, even making a movie - is lesser than Love and Rockets, as far as I’m concerned, and everyone else should treat their work that way. It it’s your own work, it should be treated as the last thing, not the first thing."
Jaime Hernandez

(Source: spx, via yorko)

2 years ago
#comics #creativity #Jaime Hernandez #writing #Love & Rockets 
Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness→

iandsharman:

My Elephant Words story for this week. Please feel free to comment on the Elephant Words website, as feedback is always very welcome!

Go read Elephant Words, you guys. The writers there always do such great… word… things.

(via iandsharman)

2 years ago
#Elephant Words #Ian Sharman #writing 
Gary Provost (100 Ways To Improve Your Writing, 1985) via @LettersOfNote
2 years ago
#quotes #authors #writing 
A few things I did over the last couple of days…

…in case you missed them:

Corporate Whoring: Graze Free Box Code
Because I love Graze boxes, they gave me this code for people to get a box free, and I get a discount if you use it.

Review: Too Much Sex & Violence #1 by Rol Hirst et al
Self-published small-town weirdness and intrigue, with a variety of cool artists providing support.

Review: Dark Judgement #1-2 by Richard Macauliffe and Conor Boyle
Horror shorts throwing a spotlight on the Dark Judges, set during classic Judge Dredd continuity.

Commentary: …Meanwhile, at MCM Expo
Wherein we at MOMBsite give David Wynne a platform to discuss his truly horrid Sunday at the event.

Self-Indulgent Bloggery: This Is How My Day Panned Out
In which I talk about MCM-Controversy induced paranoia, and encounters with a very old friend and JM DeMatteis, one of my comic writing gods. And chicken biryani.

Charity Faceweird: Movember 2011
I throw my hat in the Movember ring - with photos! - because, well, I like prostates, it winds my wife up, and it’s way easier than Nanowrimo.

2 years ago
#comics #MCM Expo #writing #blogging #MOMBsite #Too Much Sex & Violence #Dark Judgement #Movember 
Hemingway Meme - Six Words Enter, One Story Leaves

The last time people were talking about Hemingway’s six word stories, I did this over at nixsight.net:

2 lifeforms enter, three lifeforms leave.
Just drive, she said. Smoking. Bleeding.
Had the last laugh. Died funny.
Someone lost an eye. Exit fun.
She kissed he cried they parted.
I’m gunna keep on loving you.
High concept? Just another donkey show.
200 guns, 100 men.
Dissatisfied wife finds love with midget.
Her last words were his trigger.
“I didn’t mean to…” it said.
Unaided flight ”fun”? Not so much.
Superheroes but, you know, grown up.
The kid in burberry buys it.
Final act, nothing resolved, closure MIA?
Studio 60 mid-season turnaround imminent?
… and suddenly, the creatures stood revealed…
“Brevity”, he said, “arsehole of wit.”
“Wash off the blood? What blood?”
I have to eat her all?
“So that’s what humility tastes like…”
You’ve been drive-by queer-guyed!

Added 31/10/2006:
Two dads. No mum. Hilarity ensues.
Two dads. Estranged mum. Hilarity ensues.
6 friends. No others allowed in.
Hippy parents BUT ultra conservative son!
Retard ends up saving the day.
Whole damn journey is homoerotic metaphor!
My stupid dog, the alien overlord?
My drooling dog, the second coming?
Two days to retirement. Already dead.
Ripped it up and started again.

Anyone got anything to add?

2 years ago
#nixsight #writing #fiction #Ernest Hemingway #reblog #six words 
Screenwriting Tip #707

screenwritingtips:

Keep track of story time. It doesn’t take a week to drive across two states, and funerals don’t usually happen the day after someone dies. Make a timeline if you have to.

2 years ago
#writing 
Kurt Vonnegut's rules for writing, via Wil Wheaton→
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

(Source: wilwheaton, via godiseven)

2 years ago
#writers #writing #Kurt Vonnegut 
The Message
2 years ago
#writing #time-travel 
2 years ago
#Schindler's List #Schindler's Ark #literature #writing #movies #Thomas Keneally #Steven Spielberg #Terry Gilliam #Stanley Kubrick 
Why Why Not? by Nicolas Papaconstantinou
I wrote the above story in response to this image. I’m quite pleased with the story. It is short and full of whimsy.
I would like you to read it, tell me what you think, and share it. Please?
3 years ago
#writing #Nicolas Papaconstantinou #Elephant Words #image