Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

I need advice about writing and any tips or tricks on how to...
ConroyConroy at 6:23PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 24
joined: 11-1-2006
I need advice about writing and any tips or tricks on how to overcome the “My idea is going to suck when I start it” block.
I know everyone says, just start, and that's still good advice. But with me, I've encountered this many times before, where I'll have an idea for a comic and I'll start it for a few pages and I still think it sucks and I stop immediately, toss the idea forever even if it was a good one.
I'm not really thinking of making the comic for anyone else but me, but I am definitely my own worst critic. After fleshing out the idea and then starting on the art, I'll think, “Why on earth am I doing this, it's going to turn out lame. I suck at writing.” This whole awesomely grand internal dialogue of negativity suddenly pops up when I'm drawing/coloring the pages. I can only fight it so far.
This time I actually have a good idea (or what I think is good) and I'm already going through the, “Cool idea, but you're a terrible writer. Stop while you're ahead.”
I've had this problem for a while, and a friend suggested I read “The Artist's Way” which is a great book. But it's a twelve week course for blocked/suffering artists/shadow artists. And I've just barely started the course, but I've been working on this idea for months now and by this time I've abandoned ideas that I've put into purgatory because of the inner voice that hates my work lol. I really would like to know if anyone has any temporary short fixes to stupid internal dialogue. I would like to flesh out this idea once and for all. Even if it does suck. It would be worth it to finally finish.
I was thinking maybe a bizarro 24/48 hr comic might be a good kick off. I was wondering what other people think of this. Any suggestions? Any tips? Is there something in particular that you do that makes you work better/faster/etc?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:44AM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 6:50PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 1,340
joined: 9-2-2007
Well, I think I may have some experience with this. Except I never totally throw the idea away.

My comic has been re-started about 7 or so times. And what I've found really helps is just write down little ideas here and there.

Just keep writing ideas for plots and such, and eventually you should find one that really attracts you.

Make sure you write about something that INTERESTS you. That's a big one. I, myself am interested in Greek Mythology, Sci-Fi, and the like. So I pretty much combined them and boom. My comic was born. If you dislike…say…history, then don't write about it.

So. Make sure you write about something that YOU yourself would be interested in reading.

That's all I got for now. But just remember those tips, and hopefully, you should get past it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
ConroyConroy at 7:23PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 24
joined: 11-1-2006
Thanks very much! That's a really helpful tip.

I was writing something that I thought I'd be interested in. But I think one of the problems that comes up is I get a little embarrassed sometimes about what I'm interested in. I think my friends or family will think I'm weird, they usually do anyways but I still think of what they might say, so maybe that's a big part of the problem. I'll start it, and even if it is something that's interesting I'll kinda, back off a bit, or change it so it's less weird, and then at that point I start hating it.

I'm glad you brought that up, because it shinned a bit of light on an issue that I totally ignored.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:44AM
Skullbie at 7:45PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 4,805
joined: 12-9-2007
This is why i think it's important to separate your online life from your real life, I suggest making a new account no one knows about and letting your creativity flow.

But on your giving up problem, i've been there hundreds on times,and the way i finally figured out how to stop it: short comics with endings.
A short comic means little commitment to drawing, endings mean you know how to get from point a to point b and not have it stray. The hard part is making a short comic and not going a million which ways to the point it becomes 60 pages.

The tips i can offer is don't try to take a complex idea and simplify it as you'll just end up with 60+ pages, use twists as they make a simple idea unique, and don't shy away from presenting a used concept in a different light. Also personal experiences are gold, yours or others.

The way i broke away from endingless comics was ‘20 minute writing’, as in i sat down shut my computers off and got a pencil/paper and just wrote for 20 minutes. You're not allowed to edit anything in this time and you're not allowed to go past 20 minutes- so you have to make up an ending or scrap it.
I work well under pressure so i don't know if this'll work on you-it's worth trying though especially if you have a timer to look at. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:47PM
ConroyConroy at 9:00PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 24
joined: 11-1-2006
This account and alias is unknown to my friends and family, thankfully. But I still sort of have little invisible imaginary versions of them sitting on my shoulder kind of… bugging me. Which is probably part of the reason for some of the negative internal dialogue I get.
Wow thanks alot those are some great tips too! I might do that 20 minute thing and see if I can whip up a quick comic to go along with it.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:44AM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 9:40PM, June 15, 2009
posts: 1,340
joined: 10-4-2006
Just sit down and write it. Right now. Stop reading what I'm writing, open microsoft word, and just write.

Once you've got something, maybe post a cleaned up sample of it (a short sample though, attention spans are shrinking) on the forums here, in Art & Lit Discussion perhaps. See what people think- everyone on DD just LOVES to share their opinions.

If people don't like your idea, tweak it if you want. But trust me, there are weird comics here on DD– and there are weird people here, who are dying to read weird comics.

And your family/friends won't know about it, so don't worry.

(I personally always write an outline first… it helps keep me focused.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:23PM
deepcheese at 8:26AM, June 18, 2009
posts: 295
joined: 9-3-2006
A 48 or 24 hour comic sounds like a good idea in your situation. Because then you wont have time to second guess yourself, you'll barely have time to get the work done. and sure, what you may have is something that is riddles with plot holes or spelling errors, but really, who cares. You wrote a comic in a matter of days! That in itself is incredibly impressive. And I know it isn't a comic recourse, but take a look at the NaNoWriMo forums. They have alot of good advice about just getting it out there and writing under pressure.

Another thing to remember is that a webcomic is essentially a work in progress. No one is expecting it to be perfect right at the beginning. One of the charms of webcomics is watching the art style and story telling ability change and improve.
And as for your family and friends, don't worry about them. Mine won't read my stuff even if I'm constantly pestering them about it.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
Hyena H_ll at 3:07PM, June 18, 2009
posts: 1,568
joined: 11-13-2008
Write it, set it aside for a month or so, then come back to it. If you read over it and still like the idea, rewrite and/or edit a bit. If you're still unsure after that, put it away for another month, come back, etc. You can have a few going at a time. A lot of times things are better (or worse!) than we realise while we're writing. You really need to step back in order to get an honest and accurate perspective on your own work. Eventually you'll get somethin' that you don't hate. Or- er, that's the idea, at least.

It's hard for me to give advice on having confidence; I'd be much more helpful with specific problems you're having in the writing. But if you ever want feedback on a script or somethin', holler at me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM

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