Being the Editor-in-Chief at C3: Collective Crow Comics, I have read more Crow fanfiction than most could even imagine exists; and most of it, has been so bad, it was unreadable. I see the same errors committed time and time again; so I thought I would write this, in order to help people know what errors to avoid and what things one should do, when writing a story set in The Crow universe.
Firstly, before we get into any particulars of The Crow, we shall cover a writing basic, that all people should do before they submit any written work:
1) Make sure all of your spelling is correct, modern computers have spell checkers, use them. If you don't, and most of your words are spelled wrong, the editor will not read past the first page.
2) Make sure all grammar is correct, most word processors have grammar checkers, use them. Grammar is not as big of an issue as spelling, but if you do not know the differences between then and than; there, they're, and their; to, too, and two; weather and whether; well and while; do and due; its and it's; an & and; and that "a lot" is two words, then again, the editor will stop reading in the first page or two.
3) Seriously, use punctuation, and try to make sure it is correct. If you don't use punctuation (and you would be surprised and how many submission I get from people who fail to do so), your work will be thrown out after the first 3 groupings that should have been sentences.
4) Don't use all caps, and please capitalise the first letter of the first words in sentences, names, and the personal pronoun "I"; you would not believe how many manuscripts I receive where all of the "i"'s are lower-case or every letter is capitalised or every word is. This is not as bad as having no punctuation, but it does make the editor say to themselves "This person cannot write!"
5) Use paragraphs, please! There are few things more boring than seeing an endless wall of text with no differentiation or structure.
6) If you are writing a novel, please write it in novel format, with paragraphs and quotations; do not write your novel in script format. if you are writing a script (film/comic/play), write it in the correct formatted script for that kind of work; do not write it in novel format. You would not believe how many "novels" I receive in script format and visa-versa. I instantly just tell the person to re-write it in the correct format and re-submit.
Now that we have gotten the basics out of the way, here are the things specific to writing a good The Crow story:
1) If what you are writing seems, "So cool! It is just like the first movie/graphic novel!" Stop right there, and throw it away. It has clearly already been written, and a hell of a lot better than you will be able to do. Think about all of those "Crappy" sequels, and think about why they are considered to be of such poor quality; is it because they are too derivative of the first? Do they simply follow all of the same beats, "Person and loved one are killed by group of people, one of them comes back and one by one kills the people who killed them, the lovers are reunited." and do so poorly, not coming anywhere near to the beauty, poetry, and quality of the original? If the answer is, "Yeah!" Then take that as a lesson to not repeat the same mistake: Write something unique, follow your own path, surprise the reader! 80% of what I receive are just poorly written re-writes of the Brandon Lee movie; everyone has already seen it, and it was far better than what these writing-flunkies are submitting. Please do not send anything resembling the first film, or any of the films or TV show for that matter; do not submit a "The Crow: Painted By Numbers" script.
2) If while writing it, you find yourself saying, "Yes! That is so cool! That would be badass to have them say that!" After every bit of dialogue you write; please slap yourself and re-write every line spoken! Do not turn your characters into walking catchphrases, that is how you get Mr. Freeze from the film "Batman and Robin", and trust me, you don't want that. Keep "Cool" dialogue to a minimum, sometimes less is more, and the rarity is what makes it stand out.
3) Do not make your villains "Pure evil!" or use "Because they are evil!" as your only motivation for the killings. Caricatures are uninteresting, boring, and create zero investment in the characters or the story; it is too fake, it is unbelievable. Worst of all, it is laughable, and again you do not want to create Mr. Freeze (and even he had a non-evil backstory, he was trying to save his wife), or Snidely Whiplash or Dr. Evil. Make them into real people, with real motivations, goals, dreams, desires, hobbies; make them have real lives, make them come alive to the reader. They must have reasons behind their actions, they cannot do things simply "Because they are evil!"
4) Let's get one thing straight, "The Crow" is the bird, the person is called "The avatar of The Crow". There are a few instances of the avatar leaving notes signed "The Crow" but those are the exception to the rule; just don't do it, The Crow is not a superhero story, unlike Peter Parker who is Spiderman, the avatar is not The Crow, they do not wear a mask and tights, and go around fighting super-villains.
5) Speaking of Super-villains, for the love of all things Crow, do not write story with "Stairway To Heaven"-style Snakes in them! They go against the entire concept of The Crow. In the TV show, a "Snake" was: 'anyone killed by an avatar of The Crow, they would be resurrected by The Snake as an evil version of the avatar.' Well now, that just goes against the entire concept of The Crow, now doesn't it? If one of the things an avatar of The Crow normally does is kill the people who killed them; then wouldn't the concept of every person they kill being resurrected as a more powerful Snake, kind of destroy the purpose of that? What idiot came up with that?! And more-so, what idiots keep on submitting things to me which have Snakes in it?! I swear 40% of what I receive has Snakes as villains. I am not saying Snakes are not allowed, just ones created in the same way as the ones in "Stairway To Heaven" are not allowed; although resorting to super-villains is uncreative, cliched, and a cop-out.
6) The Crow (The Bird!) in the comics, could usually only be seen by Eric, with the occasional rare exception where it could be seen by a villain moments before they were to die, or even rarer, by a friend; The Crow was a figment of Eric's shattered mind, it was ethereal, non-corporeal, mythical, mystical, a Spirit-Crow (i.e. it was not physically there, it had no body, it was not a real bird). That means, no one can kill it! So stop submitting those thousands of scripts that have the same old, overused plot from the films, which have made every darn single film predictable, formulaic, and boring with their, "Kill the bird, kill the man." Bullshit. It is boring, uncreative, we have already seen it, no one wants to see it again! It wouldn't even work in the comics, since The Crow is not a physical crow and only the avatar can see it.
7) The avatars of The Crow cannot see things when they touch objects nor can they see other people's memories or transfer memories to others. Only in the movies do they have those powers; the original graphic novel and the other comics, have never shown them having such powers. Basically the only powers an avatar of The Crow has are they are resurrected from the dead, and some of them (not all), to an extent, can heal from wounds: That is it, that is all.
If one follows these guidelines, then they will be closer to writing a professional quality story set in The Crow universe. I hope this has helped, and I hope to see everyone's amazing Crow stories soon.