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How Little and How Much?

Banes at 12:00AM, July 16, 2020

In the early weeks of the pandemic, I started updating my comic more. Shortly after that, I took two weeks off work and went even harder.

I was updating furiously, at least in comparison to what I'd been doing for a year or two previous. In fact, after about 8 weeks, I'd done more pages than I had in the entire previous year. Since I'd been going REALLY slowly and sporadically before that, I was excited to do it. Part of it was determination to finish at least that episode before the world ended, or at least to spend more time doing one of the things I love doing - making comics - rather than letting so much time go to daily obligations.

Anyway, I was very excited to reach the end of that story (now, on to the next issue!).

But toward the end of that issue, excited with the momentum I had and eager to show people what came next, I did a couple of VERY long pages (about double long). Most of them worked well, but I felt that a couple had too much story crammed into them and maybe came out too quickly (two a day at a couple points). I think I could have separated out some of that stuff and stayed to 3 or 4 a week to give some story elements a chance to sink in and let people ponder what was happening and maybe predict what might come next.

In the end, if anyone reads it after the fact, it doesn't matter; they will read one page after another and pause or click away when they want to.

But when the story is first being uploaded, I sometimes wonder how much is too much and how little is too little.

Either one can be frustrating.

Too much material, either an overload of text or a super long page can be hard to absorb properly or more than a person wants to take in at once. Too little can result in the story moving WAY too slowly.

My rule of thumb is that either a cliffhanger, payoff/revelation or twist, or a joke (or a scare, dramatic punch or whatever, depending on your genre) should happen on each page. If there's none of that, stretching out the page is the way to go.

Too many story points, mood changes, or exposition is hard to take in.

Or maybe I'm completely wrong! I've toyed with the idea of doing an entire 20-30 page story, stretched down so it can be read all at once in 10-15 minutes. But the file size might get too big, and even worse, it might be overkill.

What do you think? How much is too much? How little is too little? As a reader? As a creator?

Have a good one!




Banes at 9:16AM, July 16, 2020

@Avart - Yeah, it's often a struggle. It's cool that you have a structure figured out like that; the way your pages are set up I never even think about the structure of it, since I can never see the whole thing at once. An effective approach I'd say!

Banes at 9:12AM, July 16, 2020

@kawaiidaigakusei - Thank you! Yeah, this whole thing has been a shakeup for me. Changed my working situation, got me much more devoted to comics and writing. I still waste time, but a little less, maybe? It's a reminder that we don't know what the future is going to be, and it can change radically out of nowhere.

Avart at 9:09AM, July 16, 2020

Totally agree Banes. I usually make a full chapter which more or less have between 60 - 75 frames (I use 3 canvas, 50K pixels tall) the I crop into "pages" that may have around 7 frames. This way I could update like 9 weeks in a row, but making this format takes me a long, long time. But I think that if I have a splash page with only one frame, it won't be enough for the reader, and it depends on the mood of the scene too. If it has too much dialogue and few drawings, it may look dull or boring. This is my day by day struggling.

Banes at 9:08AM, July 16, 2020

@dpat57 - that's a good rule of thumb!

Banes at 9:06AM, July 16, 2020

@ozoneocean - it truly is, and with a different answer in different contexts! ......@cdmalcolm1 - thanks!

kawaiidaigakusei at 4:54AM, July 16, 2020

This is so cool to hear you talk about Typical Strange again and to hear how you were reenergized with vigor to work on it. That is one of my takeaways from this whole quarantine—it has finally given us a chance to really focus in on the things most important to each of us as an individual. Would half of our recent decisions have been made if we were not in a pandemic craze?

dpat57 at 2:03AM, July 16, 2020

Yep, as long as there's a cliffhanger, reveal, money shot, etc. as you said, go for these longer pages. We're making webcomics with no limits, so full speed ahead and damn the big floaty things.

cdmalcolm1 at 12:41AM, July 16, 2020

The double page worked with the whole Void BG.

ozoneocean at 12:04AM, July 16, 2020

It's a damn tricky balance!

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