- A Monstrous Waste Of Time!

Slimebeast's Projects => The Slime Pit => Dribs & Drabs => Topic started by: Slimebeast on 03:19:59 AM 01/01/13

Title: Being Creative: Hearing Things & Stuffing Stuff
Post by: Slimebeast on 03:19:59 AM 01/01/13

You want to create a super-hero comic book.

You sit down and think: "Who's my main character? People use "Super" and "Captain" and "Spider" and "X" all the time, so..."

Flash of genius.

"Captain X-Spider!"

A mutant spider-like-man who somehow became the Captain of something. Great. Now flesh that bad boy out!

What's his secret identity? I dunno... let's just throw "Rick Richardson" down on paper and see how it looks. Eh, good enough!

Throw in a few more flashes of geniuseses, and you've ended up with Rick Richardson, X-Spider... defender of Volcano City and love interest for Betty Ericson. Also, she's a newspaper reporter.

Congratulations, you just boiled up a big pot of useless.

While it may seem like most creators just whip ideas out like wangs at a wang party*, there are usually at least two "hidden" routines they may have become accustomed to. These routines can be key to creating something that, on the surface, looks like they're just magicians who can sit down at a desk and instantly conjure a bunch of cool stuff.

(*Yeah, I don't know what this means, either.)

Hear Things

You have to open your ears. Yes, your eyes too, sure. Keep them open.

"X", "Captain", "Super", "Spider", those are the concepts that have been shoved in your face and smeared all over you like lotion at a wang party. It's easy to just pick one up and run with it.

The best inspiration can come from things totally unrelated to what you're planning to create.

If you had been "hearing things" properly, while chatting up your neighbor you might have known that he (Philip Ian Shaw) had a badass name. You might have noticed while at your computer that "Grayscale" sounded like some kind of evil dinosaur. Maybe one of your buddies happens to ask what's on that "Dark Ridge" over there. (FYI: It was me. Didn't say 'hi' cuz I was stark naked and pretty high on coke.)

The last time you went grocery shopping, you may have noticed the Manager beating the living spit out of a shoplifter... "Huh," you might've thought, "The Manager."

Wait - The MANAGER? That's stupid. What do I expect you to use THAT for?

Nothing right now, so what you need to do is...

Stuff Stuff

Naturally, all this crap you're looking at in a different way isn't going to go into one big book/comic/film/erotic play. So what do you do with it?

Stuff it.

Spreadsheet programs like Excel are especially nice for this task, but keeping a note pad or writing on your walls in organic matter may work just as well.

Create a single file and keep all your random crap in there. When you have a new idea, write a blurb about it and save it. Did someone have an interesting last name? Stick it in there. Did a word catch you in such a way that you felt it had some sort of use to you? Plop it down in that file!

(And back up this file often.)

As an example, I personally keep an Excel file like this. I created "tabs" used for seperating types of information, and the "tab" dedicated to characters alone is approaching 3,000 entries.

There's no way I could remember all of that! Especially not the fleeting, half-formed inklings.

Now you've heard things. Now you've stuffed stuff.

Let's go back over the beginning of this thread... but this time you're referencing a file filled with stuff you hadn't thought to notice before!

Is the following the most fantastic thing you've ever heard? Ha! No. Is it much more 'original' and 'interesting' than your average slap-together of over-used terms? I hope so...


You want to create a super-hero comic book.

You sit down and think: "Who's my main character?"

"The Manager!"

A semi-psychotic mystery man who sees it as his duty to "manage" and "audit" the actions of all other super-heroes, much to their discontent.

What's his secret identity? "Philip Shaw"?

Check into a few more file entries, and you've end up with Phil Shaw, The Manager... self-appointed overseer of Dark Ridge and love interest for Kira Novak. Also, she's a party planner.

I think you know what kind of parties.
Title: Re: Being Creative: Hearing Things & Stuffing Stuff
Post by: Le_Bard on 04:57:16 PM 01/01/13
The problem that arises is that the folk that try to be different and change the style of the name just end up being inadvertently the same. Fighting the cliches a  cliche worse than the original!


You want to create an awesome comic book. You try not to be a cliche so you make your super hero "Dodson  James VII"
And phooey if he doesn't like secret identities, he's rather full of himself. In fact, his super intelligence is a power in itself. Hell if he needs a secret when he has money Why have a power when you have brains and technology?!

See? So original! I bet Iron Man got nothing on this gu

And so we go  ::)
Title: Re: Being Creative: Hearing Things & Stuffing Stuff
Post by: Slimebeast on 12:46:21 AM 01/02/13
Yeah, "Cool" or "Unique" names that are trying too hard also stick out like a sore thumb. If it's a fake name, like a character CALLING himself "Zack Maniac", then it gets a pass because that's the character's own idea of what sounds cool in his/her world. Expecting us to believe someone is simply named that for no particular reason is just head-shaking silly.
Title: Re: Being Creative: Hearing Things & Stuffing Stuff
Post by: Le_Bard on 11:29:01 AM 01/02/13
I always say, the best way to fight a cliche is to give up and stop fighting it. What's been said or written that hasn't been done before? The point is to bring YOU into the writing, not NEW. We've got enough people trying to figure out what's new nowadays anyway.

You're always going to have an everyman character, so focus on making the story and cast worth reading about. Make  Joe Shmoe Smith the everyday bartender an undeserving hero of his town, only called such because he was at the right place at the right time. Make Smith, whatever his cool super hero name is now, battle whether or not he deserves the title as terror ravages the town and he's the only one standing in its way. And you know why? Because the everyevilman Dr. Wily Doomsday is just as afraid; he thinks the bloke is super, too! So what happens next?

It's a terrible plot that you've probably heard of before, but the goal is to add the pizzazz you can only add. So make the character a tool for the story, and not vice versa and you might end up with something! :D
 *grabs a grog and runs off to wonderland*