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12/09/2022 4:50 pm  #1

Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

There's an overwhelming amount of good, near-field sci-fi to be written, as the development period of new technologies becomes shorter and the variety of scientific specialties becomes more diverse.

I'm trying to channel my Youtube/Wikipedia rabbit-holes into coherent story ideas, but the volume of material overwhelms my ability to record them in an intelligible fashion.

My best effort so far-- 
1) use post-it notes to brainstorm the database schema of a personal Wiki on a whiteboard
2) use Rocketbook app to upload the image of the resulting flowchart to Dropbox
3) upload the image of the flowchart into the World Anvil app, in the "map" section
4) use the db schema to build out the articles/catergories section of World Anvil
5) embed the "map" of the flowchart with meta-data linking back to the articles/categories

This might sound overly engineered, but the feature I'm designing for is FLEXIBILITY. I can't start documenting my notes (bullet-pointed Word document and speech-dictated notes on my phone) into a wiki without FIRST determining the "table of contents" and I can't do THAT without immediately bottlenecking the adaptability of my world-building ideas. So, creating a table-of-contents that is one level removed from the Wiki means that I can completely overhaul the organizational structure, if that's what the project demands.

Immediate goals are to publish a graphic novel as soon as possible to trademark a title that I want to lock in.

Guess what you think the title might be below, but I'm not going to tell anyone what it is because it's a phrase that's never been used before.

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12/10/2022 3:00 am  #2

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

You need help...

 Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose.

12/10/2022 8:40 am  #3

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Flint wrote:

Immediate goals are to publish a graphic novel as soon as possible to trademark a title that I want to lock in. 

I'd be willing to walk you through trademarking a unique term you have come up with.  As the owner, you would do the filing yourself, but I could talk you through it.  (I'd get in trouble if I did the filing for you with my work account, plus I'm not an attorney and it would be an ethics violation for me to do work for you)

You could theoretically get a trademark for as little as $250 in USPTO fees if you were very targeted and on the ball.  Although you would probably want to take a path that would be more like $2625 in USPTO fees over a 3 year period.

Google USPTO TESS and look your term up in the free database there to see if anybody else has already beat you to it.


12/10/2022 4:27 pm  #4

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

It should be noted, however, that unless this is a truly new word you've invented, like glatt said, then a trademark application for a book title will almost definitely be rejected. Book titles are just generally considered fair game. It's sometimes possible to trademark a series title, but they're still likely to reject it unless you can show that someone else could make money on their fake book simply by capitalizing on the recognizability of your book--which means you can't just publish the series, it has to be wildly successful in order to trademark it.


12/12/2022 6:52 pm  #5

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Sorry, sorry, and thank you. I meant to say "copyright" --like, you can't just publish a comic book called "The Spectacular Spider-Man" or "The Uncanny X-Men" because, like, someone already did that.

I don't know, really the difference, but Googling "how to copyright a comic book title' says--

Download and print Form TX from the US Copyright Office site.
Fill out the form. The first part of the form will walk you through all the information required for filling out the form properly.
Mail it in with the appropriate payment.
Finalize your registration application by submitting your book.

Is that basically it, or is this a gross over-simplification?

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12/12/2022 10:48 pm  #6

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

So, in your example, both Spider-Man and X-Men could be considered infringeable trademarks because they are made up names. So those theoretically might be trademarked, especially because they are part of a series and are famous.

If they're only copyrighted and not trademarked, then you still could publish your competing comic book, and when they sued you, they'd have to show (and they would be successful, of course, but they'd have to show) that consumer confusion could occur between your comic and theirs based on title alone. Again, they would win because their brand is extremely well known, but if it weren't, they'd be likely to lose.

Consider, for example, these two books, which are both named "The Forever War" and have nothing to do with one another. Neither of them is a national phenomenon like the stuff Marvel owns, but both were bestsellers, and both are definitely copyrighted because they came through traditional publishers who do that sort of thing as a matter of course. The existence of the first one did not stop the publication of the second one, and no publisher would ever bother suing in a situation like this because they'd be sure to lose.

The point is, you don't really have to formally copyright or trademark any part of your graphic novel. If they steal your whole graphic novel from beginning to end, you could still sue them and all you have to show is that you created it first, which you could do through docs on your computer even if you never published it at all. And if they steal only your title, I'm sorry, but there is honestly nothing you can do about it.


12/13/2022 5:15 pm  #7

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Thank you, I understand. Thank you both for your input, and  Glatt for your gracious offer of assistance. 

I believe I will stick with my original goal of getting something ready to publish, this will push me to produce a finished product. Often, with self-published comics, you see the author taking several stabs at nailing the right formula, essentially "rebooting" the title with the latest revisions, until they achieve their artistic actualization of the idea. I am a day-dreamer, and I need to have a goal of getting something printed on the page.

I understand now that I won't own the rights to this combination of words, but still I won't say the words until they are published. The reason, as weird as it is, being that when I search for this phrase, it truly seems to not exist in the cultural lexicon. 

I believe we are living in the singularity of popular culture. It has happened in our lifetimes, and it is a native language to our children. In some respects, everyone is writing the same story, and that's why I'm genuinely surprised that nobody has thought to call it by the title I have in my head.

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12/13/2022 5:43 pm  #8

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Best of luck! Are you doing the illustrations as well?


12/14/2022 7:01 am  #9

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Good luck man! This sounds interesting.

If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you. - Louis Brandeis

12/14/2022 12:21 pm  #10

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Clodfobble wrote:

Best of luck! Are you doing the illustrations as well?

I'd actually been spending hours and hours of time practicing my illustration techniques, doing studies of value, texture, anatomy, motion; but realized I did not know what I wanted to draw.

Subsequently I became interested in a world-building concept I had been scribbling notes about for several years, but, now, seriously trying to document the details and parameters of this world.

I thought, now, about the concepts and images of the world, but realized it would be sterile without people living in this world with genuine feelings and motivations.

This last part has been difficult, and rewarding. I've reconnected with the authors whose work inspired me as a youth, studied characters from popular culture, and done a great deal of introspection.

Finally, I've begun thinking in complete scenes-- the stories and feelings of people living in a specific world, and, when I sketch out visual ideas now, I have something that I feel is worth drawing.

griff wrote:

Good luck man! This sounds interesting.

It's very interesting to me.. so if I follow my instincts and apply great effort and diligence, I expect to produce something which is an expression of these things which I find interesting.

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.--Joseph Campbell


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12/14/2022 6:16 pm  #11

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

So my understanding of trademarks is that it's your identifier for your goods or your services.  If your made up word that is so unique was your company or organization name (and you don't even need to be a real company, you can just be an individual) it could be (assuming it really is unique) very strong and enforceable.

I would suggest the following goods and services for your mark: 

Class 9: "Downloadable graphic novels"
Class 16: "Printed graphic novels"
Class 41: "Providing online non-downloadable comic books and graphic novels"

It would be a trademark like "MARVEL." A better example based on what you have been saying might be TSR, like the Dungeons and Dragons guys.  Even Dungeons and Dragons is trademarked, and pretty damn strong. They have 6 different live trademarks.



12/14/2022 8:01 pm  #12

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

It's not really a made up word, it's a unique combination of two words. The first part is a new-ish word, first added to the dictionary (Oxford) in 2012; the second part is a common word, which gained new meaning as an obscure internet concept in 2011, then got it's own subreddit about 5 years later, and then about 5 years after that, became a popular trend on YouTube.

Like, if the concept "Dungeons and Dragons" was built out of words like "janky terraforming"

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12/15/2022 10:30 am  #13

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

If the two words together are unique, and neither one has been used before for graphic novels, you should be good.  There are other requirements, like the words shouldn't describe a feature of graphic novels or be a foreign language word that describes graphic novels.

The bottom line is you have to decide what your product is.  Is it a specific book title?  Graphic novels in general?  The idea behind the graphic novel?  A novel method or process discussed in the graphic novel?  Those answers will determine if you are looking for a patent, or a trademark or simply a copyright.  And the protections offered by each are very different and of different value.

My expertise, to the extent I have any, is very clerical in filing trademarks. 

All of this is academic if you're not ready yet.  And that's cool.  Have fun with the project.


11/22/2023 4:18 pm  #14

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

Turns out, notes on my phone, whiteboard, and one massive Word document is what I've been using.

The words, by the way, were--

Currently, it looks like only three people have ever said this.
Once on  6/4/2022 (about Fallout 76), one comment from '6 yr. ago' about the DC cinematic universe, and another post from '1 mo. ago' that appears to have been deleted, about Star Wars.

Last edited by Flint (11/22/2023 4:27 pm)

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11/22/2023 5:48 pm  #15

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

I see what you did there.  If you want, I'll try to modify any posts that include a searchable text version of the words.

For what it's worth, the term has never been trademarked and the first word, by itself, is a dead trademark that was not maintained and was cancelled in 2021.  The second word has 240 prior trademarks.


11/22/2023 6:18 pm  #16

Re: Near-field sci-fi // organizational tools

You get what it is, right? It's an "iceberg" OF those "ret.roactive" + "con.tinuity" things.
The iceberg format dives deeper and deeper into increasingly obscure facts about a subject.

So an iceberg of, those things, is a deep dive into, 'edits to reality' ...
The first layer would be obvious tropes, 'dream within a dream' plot twists..
The second layer would quickly burn through everything from Futurama's summary of simulation theory.
Subsequent layers would construct a labyrinth of misdirection, recursion, and be as confusing as the movie Primer.
Deep down into the Iceberg are truths that lie deep within the author's mind, concealed from the reader and the characters alike. Plot twists that have been fundamentally baked into the worldbuilding.
At the bottom of the iceberg is the answer to the deepest mysteries of life, the universe, and everything. The author doesn't know these things, but he will spend the rest of his life working on this problem.


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