The Marvel Cinematic Universe For Writers

Would you believe that as I was watching The Avengers: End Game, I was learning the craft of writing? Okay, maybe not the first time but for sure the second time. There is so much useful information is the whole universe Marvel created that even a casual viewer can pick up gems. So to speak.

In this article, Praiz Prosper (yeah, great name, dude) points out key elements in a few of the films. Like that you don’t have to go see a superhero movie and expect a two-dimensional story of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Ignore genres and clear your mental cache of expectations. I like the idea that Thor: Ragnarok is a buddy movie, and that Captain America: Civil War is a spy thriller. I’m going to have to start at Iron Man 1 and go through the whole series AGAIN so that I can look deeper into these ideas.

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K.M. Weiland takes time to break down each film set, like all the Iron Man and all the Thor films and point out the good, the bad, and whoa, the ugly. But remember, we all have opinions. In my Romance Genre, half the readers love a good surprise baby. The other half is so tired of that trope. Some of you possibly loved the first Incredible Hulk, in spite of it being a useless bit of cinema. (And the first first Hulk, in 2003, which I have to admit I haven’t seen. The plot sounds good!) (Eric Bana, Edward Norton, or Mark Ruffalo?) While you ponder that important question, let’s keep looking for the other bits of craft skills here.

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On the ProWriting Aid blog, Kyle A. Massa pulls things apart to the basics, like planning ahead (I was blown away by all the power stones that showed up in the early movies. I want to use that method to weave my stories into each other. I have a character in Crazy for Trying who is a secondary there but will be the main character in Crazy for Lying. The police detective who gets involved will be the hero in Book 4, Hold Me Tight. Kyle also says to commit to character. Like the Marvel Universe, my stories sprawl across a small fictional town on the mid-California coast. But as I weave the characters through each others’ story arcs, I must make them memorable, individual, true to their own person, and make my audience care about them. Otherwise bringing Adam and Valerie from Crazy for Trying back in other stories is going to bore the audience.

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The Mission (no individual credited) gives us 20 storytelling lessons to glean from Marvel. These are great points like give your hero flaws (here the term hero is for male or female characters), show what makes them tick, learn to use subtext, make secondary characters real people, make your villain a piece of work, and choose every word with care. I would add (maybe I missed it in the quick read I did) look for unlikely buddies to throw together. I’m thinking Thor and Bruce Banner.

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Summing up the skill and time that went into just Avengers: Infinity War, Tom Philips shares an interview with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Writing a story with 20 main characters could be impossible if you don’t have the proper mindset and guidelines. Plus having another person to keep you on the right road is a plus.

The Marvel Universe Stories are a bar set very high at this time. Like shooting for the stars, even if we miss, we’ll be heading in the right direction. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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