Category Archives: useful websites

Inklewriter – Choose Your Own Adventure…and Write Your Own Too!

http://writer.inklestudios.com/

I came across this site after exploring a way to write a “choose your own adventure story” without wanting to rip my hair out. It all started after playing a CYOA called Zombie Exodus, which you can try for free on your Android phone. I don’t know if it’s available on iOS, but you can get the game on Google Play—first two chapters (which are quite meaty and have tons of replay value) are free. Third chapter onwards is just $0.99 to play. Great deal right? The writing is pretty good too.

Anyway, back to Inklewriter: So after getting inspired by Zombie Exodus, I came across this site which essentially serves as an HTML5 app for those wishing to write their own CYOAs. I’m starting one at the moment titled, “Wolf Skin.” I’ll just let you guess at the subject matter. If I ever get something concrete going (there are just so many story paths, omg!) then I’ll post a link here. Until then, you can check out the site yourself and maybe even write your own interactive tale. ūüôā

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#1: Women in Geekland – Nothing More Than Glorified Eyecandy?

Lady Death and her¬†‚ÄėCrusader‚Äô

Because no creature of evil can defend against the MIGHT of a Crusader’s sword.

 

So why is it that girls always seem to be dealt the bad hand in video games, comics, anime, and movies? ¬†Heck, that’s an easy one to answer.

It’s because guys make the majority of the market.¬† We all know it.¬† But does that justify things?¬† Should¬†female otaku and girl nerds stand for a community¬†SO used to seeing women in submissive/background roles, that even when they try to place women in¬†a¬†more complimenting role,¬†they just¬†inadvertently press onto¬†them all the stereotypes of the female gender?¬† I’ve read comics, played games, and watched shows that’ve successfully managed to undermine female achievement through such pitfalls as, “Sentementality,” or “Sexuality.”¬† …Personally, I think it’s all¬†baloney.

Maybe it’s just because most¬†of these¬†guys (in this¬†world of action figures, special edition trading cards, and cosplay) can’t relate to women.¬† I mean, let’s face it, alot of anime and video game fans are socially inept.¬† Or maybe they’re just misogynists who LIKED the big-breasted beauties of the comic/anime/video game universes.

Now…I’m not trying to seem like a crazed femi-nazi…but it DOES get a bit frustrating walking into a comic book store only to earn the suspicious and condescending glares of the guys present there.¬† My friend and I lament the fact that we, as girls,¬†can hardly EVER walk into these sorts of stores without feeling like aliens.¬† And what gives?¬† Women read comics too, and they play games, and they watch anime…granted they are the minority in terms of the marketplace—but does that justify overlooking us?

Others don’t think so.¬† Through a serendipidous entry into Google search, I stumbled across a winner of a site called Girl-Wonder.org, which is (yes) a feminist site designed to fight misogyny in comics.¬† Now, normally I shy away from this sort of thing because alot of times I find these places to be a little too extreme…but I think these people are very fair.¬† They aren’t asking for girls in comics to be made stronger.¬† They aren’t asking for them to be made ‘ugly’ or ‘intelligent’.¬† They’re only asking that women in comics be depicted REALISTICALLY.¬† That means without being objectified, without being shoved unfairly to the side, without being used as tools for violence and degradation.¬†

The site mascot, Stephanie Brown, was Batman’s ‘Girl Wonder’.¬† Her death in 2004 raised a very big uproar among many fans—not so much because she was killed, but rather, how she was killed.¬† I cannot claim myself to be a Batman reader (as of yet, that is…I plan on getting into the story through those big anthologies they’ve got) but I read background information on Stephanie Brown’s death and read some interesting discussions in the forums.¬† I quickly¬†realized that what DC¬†had done really was unfair.¬† As a girl, a budding comic-geek, and an aspiring comic writer, I cannot stand for this sort of attitude to continue.¬† It’s ignorant and old-fashioned—a trend that hasn’t stopped since the fifties for cryin’ out loud.

If you look at the bigger picture, I think we¬†can all agree that comics have entered a bit of a slump in the past few years.¬† It’s been largely due¬†to its inability to attract new readers.¬† These movies they keep coming out with have helped, but the majority of comic readers are still¬†of older age…and male.¬† They haven’t tried to change their ways.¬† It’s a stubborness that has¬†fueled the continuous refusal to give comic heroine’s a better deal.

I don’t know if any of you have tried, but jumping into¬†the middle of a long-running comic series¬†is like jumping dead into a hurricane.¬† Marvel and DC have made it extremely difficult for new readers to get interested in their products because they’re too busy making more comic books for their older readers—the readers who have been reading since they were kids

But that isn’t right.

The long-time readers are beginning to stop collecting, and the storylines and alternative universes are getting so muddled that it’s no WONDER no one new has joined the ship.¬† So what should Marvel and DC do?

Try marketing to the youth.¬† Try marketing to the women.¬† Try spreading to other demographics and revitalizing the industry.¬† Didn’t I say that the comic business was elitist?¬† It’s a bitch to get in, and easy as hell to fall out.¬† Women and minorities are misrepresented in stories.¬†¬†Themes that had been done to death are recycled for another regurgitated tale of heroism.

How about something new?

Comics have the potential to do so much socially, artistically, hell—ECONOMICALLY.¬† Some comic creators have already set off doing their own thing, doing just what should be done:¬† Stopping the stereotypes.¬† But they don’t get enough attention.¬† People aren’t hearing about them, because big time comic book companies are blocking our view with their antiquated themes and characters.¬† It turns potential readers off.¬†

So all in all, I think¬†the last¬†thing we’re going to have to admit is this:¬† the big-boys are going to have to¬†clean up their acts and try making their products more universal¬†if we want to see the industry pick up again.

And that means stopping discrimination and eliminating many archetypes.¬† No more Stephanie Brown’s.¬† It’s not just good for women, it’s good for comics.¬† Period.

#1: Comic Writing– Get Your DC Out Of My Marvel!

Writing comics is like having your eye ripped out and stuffed back into your head backwards.

You write yourself a page of script¬†and you see it sink deeper and deeper into the depths of ineptitude.¬† You stare at the word choices, the tenses, the spelling, the pacing, the “show, don’t tells”, the surreptitious slop of slumbering verbs…and then you realize, “Holy spoot!¬† I need to do the opposite!”

Comic pages translate best, not through elaborate descriptions and long shakespearian dialogue–but through concise paragraphs using simplistic words, and breviloquent conversations…granted, every character has their shining moment of soliloquy at SOME point in a comic–but hardly ever does it drag on for more than a page.¬† Creative writing classes will teach you that expanding on ‘glossed’ descriptions makes a story better.¬† But when writing a comic, you can’t get too artistic about things, or else your artist may misunderstand your message and churn out a result you don’t like.¬† So what does the novelist-bred writer do in such a situation?¬† Well…regress of course.¬† Get specific about images you’d like instead of using abstract sentences that get you no where.¬† For example:¬† “Yeah, I imagined a decaying monster-zombie with thinning white hair, jagged teeth, and rotting skin…sort of like the Crypt Keeper–but on steroids!”

The hardest part about writing comics, I must say, is trying to organize the panels.¬† I mean, you’re sitting there typing all of this out in script form.¬† You see the scenes, you hear the voices, you know where things are going…but how do you know what things to put on a page?¬† How big should the panels be?¬† How do¬†you pace things out so that it keeps a well-maintained rhythm that doesn’t disrupt the plot?¬† You try to envision¬†the page design¬†in your head…but as a writer it’s harder.¬† You can’t as easily freeze a perfect moment and¬†SEE it on the page like maybe your artist might.¬† You see the scene as a WHOLE, not in SNAPSHOTS.

That’s why it helps to sketch out a page.¬† That’s why it helps to SEE how things could work in final format.¬† Now, I’ve tried sketching things out myself, but I’m impatient and can’t draw half the things I describe (plus my design skills aren’t all so great.)¬† …But I’ve found a program online that can help.¬† Mac users may be familiar with a program called, “Comic Life.”¬† The program is a nifty little thing that allows users to take images of any kind, and arrange them on pre-formatted panels (which you can edit and resize to your liking.)¬† They feature neat things like captions, and talk bubbles, and comic lettering, to help spruce up your comic-in-the-making.¬† For those drawing comics or writing comics (or both)–this can be VERY useful.

I’ve used the program myself and have come up with some nice results.¬† It’s help me already see how a page can better function, and because of it I think my ideas translate better.¬† Here’s a quick example of what I mean:

My incredibly sketchy/simple/sucky/recreated-demo-page-cuz-the-original-wasn't-saved pic

Yes, I drew those.¬† No, that’s not the best I can do.¬† Yes, the design isn’t the best.¬† (I had to re-create the page I did before, since my original demo¬†page wasn’t saved)¬†

Now, the program was originally made only for Macs…but fear not, PC users!¬† I’M not a Mac user, and I used the program!¬† The developers of Comic Life have now undergone the beta stages of their Windows version.¬† They’re currently asking for PC users to download the program and test it out for bugs.¬† If you want to try this amazing tool, go there now and download the beta version!

But what about the bigger details?   What about the struggles of new comic creators in an industry now grown elitist and isolated?

…The bleak projections from the comic industry show that big time publishers like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image are completely dominating the market–meanwhile, independent publishers are scurrying about the ground¬†in¬†a panic, trying their damndest not to get smashed by their wrathful Grand Canyon-sized feet.¬† But its becoming more and more clear through examples like Seth Gordin, Fred Gallagher, and the guys off at Penny Arcade that WEBCOMICS are the new way to go for starting comic creators.¬† Sure, the internet can be an iffy place to get going, but consider this:¬† When corporate big shots easily snuff out small-time voices beneath the ash of their cuban cigars, wouldn’t it be better to beat out the blood-suckers through the speedy and edgy path of the world-wide-web?¬† At least through building up an audience FIRST, you don’t find yourself shelling out cash to produce 33-42 page tradeback issues that no one will buy–AND you guarantee yourself a steady platform to which you can begin selling your product!¬† Preferably a graphic novel of at least 60-100 pages…

So there you go.¬† Feel disheartened no more, fellow comic newbies.¬† We’ve still got a chance.¬† But we still need help, don’t we?¬† We still need some guidance.

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=41155418&blogID=198683183&Mytoken=FDAF3F2A-188A-458B-A8790409F13DF0399265888

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=41155418&blogID=224057739&Mytoken=3F8E8120-103E-4DEB-8226E3B66A93D39983221516

That blog, among other things, discusses the struggles of up coming comic artists AND writers, and gives a plethora of links to sites that aid the creative process in the two links I’ve given above.¬† (I’m sort of lazy and don’t feel I should re-link what this guy’s already so NICELY linked already.)

So there you have it.¬† My splurge on comic writing and some of the things I’ve used to get me along in my projects.¬† The story I’m writing is not something I talk about in too much detail online (being the paranoid little monkey that I am) but I’ll probably post teasers of my work if I feel it’s good enough.¬† I kinda already have posted a teaser.¬† I’ve had to severely edit my script since I’ve started, and the only thing I can say is this:¬† NEVER use archaic X-Men comics as a model for your work…you’ll only come across as old-fashioned, unoriginal, and really boring.¬† >_>;;

P.S.¬† And just to justify my titling of this post…I’d just like to say that Spiderman 3 was a disaster–almost as bad (if not, worse) than X-men 3.¬† The coming Fantastic Four movie will only earn money from me because they’ve got the Silver Surfer in it…and the upcoming Batman movie (said to have Joker in it) had better be good.¬† I hear that Heath Ledger is playing Joker, and my heart can only cry at the fact that–even without Ledger–Hollywood will NEVER get the maniacal marvelousness that is Joker down right.

¬†P.P.S. (is there a such thing?) And I know I haven’t continued talking about the anime I mentioned in my last post, but I’m just trying to survive my final year of high school, and with time stretching on, my familiarity with the shows has faded away.¬† For curious birdies, I’ll be posting an anime list consisting of all the shows I’ve completed, the ones I stopped watching, and the ones I’m currently watching.¬† It’s really just to show that I SORT OF know what I’m talking about. ¬† @_@