Have you noticed that it’s very rarely that in a webcomic (or any narrative work) there’s a category of tasks or activities that people do very often in real life, but extremely rarely in stories?
Watching TV, being on the computer (when NOT being a hacker or doing intense research montages), being in the bathroom (when NOT seducing someone in a bubble bath), studying or working for the actual course or actual job the characters are supposed to be doing, and so on…
The worst offenders seem to forget altogether that people need to eat, drink and go to the restroom at all during the intense unfurling of the plot (I’m looking at you, 24).
Does that make for bad writing or storytelling?
Of course not.
Especially when the story takes place in such a way that large (or fairly large) brackets of time are glossed over, it is safe to assume the characters engage in these necessary/ typical/ unavoidable tasks off-camera (after all, we don’t really want or need to watch our main hero or villain pooping). And even when it doesn’t, and the story takes place in a short amount of time we can suspend disbelief or assume that a character will “forget to eat” or do any other thing, or skip work, or just not do what they would normally do in their routine simply because the plot is taking place.
However, what I think would add a lot to a story by at least increasing the level of authenticity/realism one might want it to have, is to incorporate one or two of those tasks into the plot as plot devices: A character might miss an important phone call because they’ve stepped out to get food; another might be saved (or doomed) because of an urgent nature call that forces them to change course; another may stay glued to watching a series and forget they were supposed to meet someone; yet another might be sleepless due to cramming for an exam, and react differently than normal, and so on and so forth.
Sometimes, real life provides a ton of hurdles we may neglect to employ as problems or causes for plot development as creators (perhaps because we seek to escape the experience of the crappy civil servant that takes 2 hours to sign a document)- but which can offer ways for the audience to identify and even project their own emotions onto the characters and thus be engaged.
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 27, 2018
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