Often in making webcomics, creators may try to have more action than discourse, as it tends to make the comic more visually interesting and give opportunities to avoid ‘talking head’ scenes.
However, I think that sort of conundrum is a potential trap that might prevent creators from truly making use of all the potential their story and characters have- because if done right, everything on the webcomic page IS action.
Discourse or discussions between characters have a natural dynamic and pacing that has to be tapped in, in order to make the scene itself dynamic and powerful even though the character’s aren’t physical with each other.
Usually a scene involving a discussion or argument between characters reads like a neuron’s action potential:
While the line is blue all characters involved are in control and in position (set up for the scene). Then the yellow dotted line is where the tension begins to lead towards the argument. This might be protracted, or extremely short. This tension should be illustrated as the characters begin to be involved in the discussion or the argument.
Then, comes the threshold: the point of no return, after which the argument, the clash, the showdown is unavoidable. It is usually just a few words, or even no words at all, a simple smirk or facial expression that sets off the chain reaction that will lead to the escalation.
The escalation (the red line all the way to the peak) is where the argument will be the most intense and perhaps the most violent with the peak being the apex of the scene, where its point happens: the story plot point, the reason (usually something that propagates the plot) for the scene should happen at the peak, the crowning moment of the entire argument, or discussion that leads to a breakthrough, or similar turning points.
Then comes the de-escalation, where the characters wind down, and that too is very important- during de-escalation is usually where character development takes place as the characters take in and reconfigure according to what just took place. Illustrating the aftermath is just as important as illustrating the tension building up.
The action potential approach to every scene turns every scene into a form of action because it keeps to a dynamic pacing that doesn’t allow for a halt in the progression of the story and its plot. Treating talking scenes as action scenes will ensure that you can have the audience engage just as much as they would in a physical altercation- maybe even more!
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Oct. 28, 2017
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