Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wonder Woman and Superpower Inflation

I saw the Wonder Woman movie the first week it came out and immediately decided to write this post. However, between life getting in the way and the fact that I’m a procrastinator, I’m only now getting around to it. 

First off, let me say I liked the movie. It was fun and had plenty of action, and, unlike the Superman vs. Batman movie, mostly made sense. But something did bother me about the movie, something that’s been bothering me about superhero movies for a while now. 

Superpower inflation. 

Now I understand the writers need to keep upping the ante in order to keep people flocking to see these kinds of movies, and it’s certainly easier to make the good guys (and of course the bad guys) more powerful than it is to come up with more compelling stories. But for a guy who grew up reading superhero comics back in the day, I find this trend disturbing. 

I don’t want to date myself, but back when I read comics, superheroes had to walk three miles to get to work, uphill—both ways. Back then, Wonder Woman wasn’t a demigod. She wasn’t picking up tanks and throwing them. Being an Amazonian, she was stronger than most people, was good at fighting, and had a strong sense of right and wrong. But other than her magic lasso and invisible plane, that was about it. Now my daughter tells me Wonder Woman has been rebooted so many times that now she’s supposedly almost as strong as Superman. Sigh… Back when I read comics she was basically a female version of Captain America. 

Of course, Captain America has been getting stronger and more invincible with every movie too, so I guess it’s only fair. In the beginning, Cap was great at absorbing punches. In Captain America: Civil War, the characters were surviving 20 to 30 foot falls onto hard metal platforms over and over again with apparently nothing more than a few bruises. Everyone else on the planet would have been dead. 

And it’s not just that everyone’s superpowers are getting bigger, it’s that they’re gaining powers they’re not even supposed to have. In Deadpool, for example, during the final climatic battle, every character started out with different powers, but once the battle began everyone seemed to be pretty much the same, super-strong and super-resistant to damage, even if that had nothing to do with their original abilities. After a while, all the characters became interchangeable. And that’s the real concern. That all the superheroes will eventually morph into the same SUPER superhero.

I could go on, but I’m probably in the minority here. Maybe superpower inflation is necessary to keep the superhero movies coming. And more superhero movies is (probably) a good thing. And to be honest, this inflation has been going on for a long time. Heck, in the first Superman comics (long before I read them), he couldn’t even fly—just jump long distances. I suppose when they finally gave him his flying abilities, the Superman aficionados of the time probably railed against superpower inflation then too.

That’s my two cents. 

What do you think?


Friday, July 14, 2017

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 174

Seems like this is the summer of missing blog posts. Another Wednesday slipped by before I remembered I had a post due. I've given up on the concept of feeling guilty about these missing posts. As long as I'm making progress on the writing front, I'm still happy. 

At least I had a bit of an excuse this week. As luck would have it, I had submissions for both my critique groups due this week, so I concentrated on getting those done. My biggest obstacle came from one of the submissions, where I couldn't decide which of the two stunts my protagonist was trying was going to succeed. After spending an embarrassingly long time pondering this question, I finally realized the correct answer should be "neither of them." Never make it easy for your protagonist. 

Actually, the tight deadlines wound up helping me out. I didn't have time to finish one of the chapters before it was due, so I fixed up as much as I could and just stopped writing, figuring my critique partners could see the last few pages of the chapter next month. Turns out the arbitrary cutoff point I'd chosen was actually the perfect spot to end the chapter. 

As much as I hate them, deadlines are good for me. 

Anyway, enjoy the links and have a great weekend! 


How to Tell if You’ve Received a Genuine Publishing Offer

Why Your Protagonist Should Have a Past “Wound”

Raise a Question, Earn the Backstory

The Basics of Advertising for Indie Authors

Mystery Cliches: Are They Boring Your Readers?
I found this one entertaining. 

7 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Book Promotion

7 Keys to Creating Bloodcurdling Monsters

Friday, July 7, 2017

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 173

Why am I posting this week's writing links late on a Friday night? Shouldn't I be able to find something a little more exciting to do? Well, the answer is that I've been on vacation all week (although that didn't stop me from participating in the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop  on Wednesday), so today was all about recovering from that vacation. And sitting down and sending these links out is a great way to relax and feel productive. 

I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July. The weather was great in Michigan, and I only got a little sunburned. Actually made some progress on the writing front too. 

Anyway, enjoy the links and have a great weekend! 


Writing an action story: 8 tips for good pacing

How Indie Presses and Authors Can Collaborate on Marketing Campaigns


What Do You Want Readers to Wonder About?

Define Your Target Audience: The Intermediate Stages (Branding/Discoverability)
As usual Kristine Kathryn Rusch has great information.

Rejected By BookBub? Look In The Mirror And Change Your Marketing Ways

What you NEED to know for successful Amazon Ads!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Lessons Learned

Today is July's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

Worrying that my vacation this week isn't going to be long enough. So this month I'll settle for answering the question of the month.

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

That's a hard one for me. I've learned so much over the years, there are too many to choose from. Here's my short list: 

1.  One of my first lessons had to do with showing and telling. I had no clue what "telling" was back at the beginning, and it took me years of practice before I could recognize it with regularity. Yay! Then, after a couple of years, I learned it was possible to show too much and eased back on it a little. 

2.  I used to think mortals like me could never dream up enough words to fill a 300 page book. Now I've learned the importance of cutting back and tightening my writing so my stories don't balloon into magnum opuses. 

3.  I used to be so obsessed with the rules of writing that I put off finding a critique partner for years because I was positive they'd be horrified with all the rules I broke, many of them without realizing it. These days, I understand the rules are more like guidelines. Heck, sometimes I break the rules just to see how my critique partners react. 

So when it comes down to it, I guess my most valuable lesson learned was the importance of having critique partners. With their guidance, my writing has grown tremendously over the years.  If you don't have a critique partner yet, get one. Reading books on craft and attending conferences help, but nowhere near as much as having another set of eyes on your work. You don't know what you don't know.   

If I had to do it all over again, I'd find a critique partner as soon as possible.

How about you? Are any of you still looking for critique partners?