Tag Archives: cartoons

#MondayBlogs Cartoons Make You a Better Writer

21 Sep

Intro:

I love cartoons, and I love comic books and manga, and I’m very open about my love for these things. That being said, cartoons and comic books and manga are often depicted as things for children…something I obviously disagree with. J There are many reasons to love cartoons, and today, author Grant Goodman gives us yet another reason to love them. It helps with your writing.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Cartoons Make You a Better Writer by Grant Goodman

When I sat down to write the first Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve novel, what really drove me was my love of cartoons. I wanted to create—in written form—the cartoon series I always wanted to see.

I grew up with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was glued to the sofa when they stormed the Technodrome to fight Shredder or when they teamed up with Casey Jones. Each episode had cool fight scenes, a sci-fi invention, and at least one funny line from Michelangelo. The turtles were my first obsession and they propelled me to join a martial arts school when I was in elementary school.

grant

My elementary school mornings and weekends were filled with Tom and Jerry Kids, Inspector Gadget, X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman: The Animated Series. While most of them were in short story format, the X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman series began to introduce me to the idea that 30 minute cartoons could build a larger story. Spiderman had “The Alien Costume” arc, which gave Venom’s origin story over the course of three episodes. But that wasn’t quite enough. I wanted a longer storyline.

The first episode of Dragonball Z aired when I was in 6th grade and when I saw it, my head nearly exploded. A series in which nearly every episode built off of the last. A cast of characters who did martial arts AND threw fireballs. An entire universe of heroes and villains, legends and lore.

DBZ led me into the wide, wild catalog of Japanese animation that revealed an entire cultural art form that offered a great deal of respect to storytelling in animated form. I watched Vash the Stampede try everything he could do to avoid taking lives in Trigun, I saw Miyazaki’s phenomenal Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and I was completely swept away by Fullmetal Alchemist.

All of it—every episode of every series I ever watched—has somehow contributed to my abilities as a writer, and it will for you, too. You learn how to plot an action scene that matters, because you see plenty of them that don’t. You learn how to keep two characters pining for each other in order to build tension between them. You learn the importance of a cliffhanger to keep your audience hooked.

Most importantly, however, watching cartoons will teach you how to keep your imagination active, because without a strong imagination, you’re going to write something boring.

If you’re aspiring to write a MG or YA sci-fi/fantasy action series, my best advice to you is to watch cartoons. Lots of them. Go watch the first season of The Legend of Korra for a masterclass in serious-but-not-pitch-black YA storytelling. Seek out Samurai Jack for how to do fight scenes that flow.

This may be the only time anyone in your life tells you this: stop reading for a bit and start watching!

Grant GoodmanBio:

Grant Goodman is the author of the Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve novels, a series for readers anywhere between 9 and 900 years old. His YA lit blog, November Notebook, is for teens, adults, ghosts, robots, unicorns, dragons, and aliens. He teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in November, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

Writing Tips: Play Character Games

9 Dec

So this isn’t my usual kind of advice, but I shared it on my Author Facebook Page, and I thought it would be a fun idea to put on here.

As a writer, I sometimes have days where I am simply burnt out on writing. Because of this, I’ve had to find fun ways to spark the imagination again, and my main way is by playing games. Yes, it might seem childish. Yes, I’ve known fellow writers that said, “No way this is for me.” But most of those same people who tried it out, ended up letting me know how much they enjoyed it – they also said it helped them discover more about their characters. So I’m going to share a few examples and why it helped. Hopefully, you might check it out yourself 😀

Here are things you can learn and/or get inspiration from taking a moment to play a fun game:

1. Basic and detailed descriptions, including common facial expressions.

Jonathon with Rinmaru

Jonathon with Rinmaru

On Rinmaru Games, specifically the Manga Creators, you aren’t limited to changing their clothes and their hair color. You can often move limbs, facial expressions, backgrounds, and more. To the right, you should see my example of Jonathon in The Timely Death Trilogy. In this case, this game allowed me to manipulate his eyes, so that each eye had a different color. He is blind in one eye, which you can see through his glasses. This was the main reason I chose this game for him, but it’s also a little sneak peek into Seconds Before Sunrise – and a little to do with writing and technology, which I wrote about before. In SBS, you will see Jonathon with his phone. The question is: what will be on it?

2. Interaction with other characters

This is probably my favorite part of Rinmaru. There are plenty of games to chose from that have more than one character – sometimes, three or more – that are interacting with one another. If you’re familiar with The Timely Death Trilogy, then you can probably guess that the photo below is of Crystal Hutchins and Jessica Taylor at lunch – often seen during the school scenes. Granted, the school doesn’t look like Hayworth High, and Crystal is more of a burger and fries chick than a bento box girl, but – hey, that is exactly what I’m talking about. When you’re playing it, you might hear your character say, “I wouldn’t eat that. I don’t even know what that is.” while another character might be more adventurous and ask to try it.

Crystal and Jessica

Crystal and Jessica

3. Their style, hair, and wardrobe 

Camille

Camille

Okay. So I know I’ve been talking up Rinmaru, but this is when I generally go to eLouai’s Candybar Doll Maker 3. I’ve shared this game before. It’s an endless stream of characters, hairstyles, clothes, pets, and all kinds of things.  It’s especially good for fantasy and science-fiction, because it has things like wings and fangs. For instance, my example to the right is Camille from The Timely Death Trilogy. This game allowed me to get the completely black eyes that I needed for her half-breed, “Light” appearance. Think of this game like figuring out what they would wear and wouldn’t wear – what colors they enjoy wearing – what they wish they were confident enough to wear – what clothes remind them of, like other characters or their childhoods.

So I hope you try it out and find out something new about your story while also having fun. On my Facebook Author Page, Ky Grabowski tried it out and said, “Love this! Thanks for sharing. It was fun to create my own characters using this. It makes them more real I also like this because you’re not choosing a real life person to portray them. It allows imagination.”

Have fun! 

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: