Tag Archives: Marvel

No “Hack Jobs” Allowed

MTMTE3When a new movie comes out, or a new toyline releases, or a new TV show takes off, it’s common to see plenty of licensed merchandise on store shelves, hoping to cash in on the “hot property” of the day.

Most of us have probably encountered “hack” novelizations of movies, toy tie-in kids’ books, direct to video sequels….and sometimes feature films themselves which count on popular characters with established fanbases to put butts in movie seats, even if the movie itself is awful.

A major piece of advice I got at Superstars Writing Seminars was never to turn in a “hack” job on anything.  If you’re hired to write purple unicorns, no matter how stupid you think purple unicorns are, you turn in the best purple unicorn story you can.

Your name as an author–the foundation of your writing career–needs to be tied to quality work.  Don’t get a reputation as a “hack.”  Get a reputation of turning in a great story, even if it’s about a concept that you (or other people) might think is silly.

You might be surprised where it leads. 

James Roberts, the writer of Transformers:  Lost Light and its prequel series, Transformers:  More than Meets the Eye, has won (well deserved) awards for his fascinating, multilayered, inclusive, comic-and-tragic sci-fi storytelling.  It’s everything the feature films aren’t.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic is beginning its eighth season soon.  Along with great all-ages comics, a feature film and a spinoff series, MLP: FIM has expanded the My Little Pony brand to all manner of fans who’d never have thought twice about ponies when the show first started.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has built an empire on one-time “B-list” characters whose rights no film studio wanted.   (Black Panther is magnificent.)

None of those success stories would have happened if the creators involved had turned out the minimum effort, taken their paycheques, and gone home.

Make the most of your opportunity.  Respect the franchise you’re writing for.  And build the kind of reputation you want.


About Mary:

Mary Pletsch is a glider pilot, toy collector and graduate of the University of Huron College, the Royal Military College of Canada and Dalhousie University. She is the author of several previously published short stories in a variety of genres, including science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and horror. She currently lives in New Brunswick with Dylan Blacquiere and their four cats.

Captain America: Civil War. Great Art?

chris-evans-captain-america-helicopter-main_0*Warning: Spoilers in the form of 2 pictures, but that’s all*

They say that great art invokes emotion. If that’s the case then Captain America: Civil War must qualify. It invoked emotion for me, much more impactful than entertainment awe.

First, I have an admission. I’ve noticed that many of our blogs this month are focused on Fictorians’ favorite movies or TV shows. As much as I love Marvel and Captain America, that’s not why I chose it. It sounds a bit shallow, but it may or may not be true that I just wanted an excuse to see the film as soon as it came out and knew that even if taking the whole family wasn’t in the budget, my having to write a post would give me “permission” to go see it anyway. We did take the whole family and at the end of the movie, the emotions and viewpoints leaked into our little family to create another civil war.

One of the great aspects of fantasy and science fiction that I love is the ability to present real world problems and perspectives in less threatening ways. By using a fantastical backdrop and alien characters, we get our audience–whether readers or viewers–to let down their guard. There’s a reason that religion and politics are often a taboo subject in our society. People tend to have very set views in those areas and arguments can heat quickly.

Whether we realized it or not, I believe that Civil War took down mental walls and then slammed us with a very real-world question, one that is both philosophical and political: Is it better to have more oversight in an effort to protect or have less in order to safeguard personal autonomy? How much do we want our police policed and how much do they need freedom to make split-second decisions? It’s a question that comes up in stories of every kind, from traditional westerns to post-apocalypse young adult novels.  But I think it’s rare for both sides to be so well balanced. Civil War did a great job representing both sides. Which is what led to the Black family civil war of May 5th, 2016.

Ant ManAfter the movie, we started talking about the parts we liked most; my teenage girls really enjoyed Captain America holding Bucky’s helicopter so he couldn’t take off and my tween son thought Ant-man going giant was pretty awesome. But then my college-daughter expressed how Iron Man had the right of it. Captain America should have just signed the accords. I disagreed. They were too stringent and would get the Avengers caught up in too much red tape. We argued all the way home and it only escalated. Ridiculous, right? And yet, this movie evoked thought, emotion, and real-world comparisons. Which is one of the reasons that I will call Civil War great art.

I think we, as writers, can follow Civil War‘s example. In our own stories, do we evoke emotion from our readers? Does each character’s perspective ring true? Do we present each character’s beliefs like a good lawyer in a courtroom, giving the best representation that we possibly can whether we agree with it or not? As we strive for that level of authenticity, rather than push our own agenda, I think our art can help the world come closer to understanding one another…even if we must wade through difficult disagreements.

Colette Black Bio:
Author PicColette Black lives in the far outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona with her family, 2 dogs, a mischievous cat and the occasional unwanted scorpion.  She loves learning new things, vacations, and the color purple. She writes New Adult and Young Adult sci-fi and fantasy novels with kick-butt characters, lots of action, and always a touch of romance. Find her at www.coletteblack.net