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Staying Organized

damehelsing at 12:00AM, Aug. 15, 2021

It’s no secret that having a healthy work life revolving around your webcomic could be because of organization.

Staying organized can help you understand where your characters are, the path they’re taking and their part to play in the story, and that could eventually help you figure out their future roles and if you want to change it. The same is said about your story, you can figure out where it’s at right now and always change the path down the road.
Also, staying organized with your webcomic will probably make you wayyyy more at ease IRL.

Keeping ahead of your story has massive pros and maybe some cons. (maybe some.)

But… how do you stay organized or how do you even start the organization process?

The following can really happen in any order you wish. This is all up to you, personally, I’m someone who normally thinks up a character and the world they live in then write a story around it.

Create one main folder with the title of your webcomic.
Inside this folder you can now create other folders, some such as “characters” – “world building” – “the plot” (which is not supposed to have gifs of many anime tiddies, but you do you.) maybe even “fun facts” and so on.

Now, inside each of these folders you can have more folders.
Characters: Main Characters > Side Characters > Minor Characters > Relationships (a way for you to attach those strings between characters and get a good idea of how they know each other)
World Building: Countries > Lore > Environment > Concept Works > Keynotes
The Plot: The Setting > Chapters > Keynotes > Possible Outcomes
Fun Facts: honestly, you can put anything here, maybe additional information you know yourself but there’s no point revealing it in the comic because there will never be a moment where this specific thing will get talked about, but hey, it’s a fun fact and you wanna share it.

Now inside each of these folders, again, you can have more folders. Such as:
Main Characters: Superman > Batman > Green Lantern > Wonderwoman > etc
and you can fill those up with information, concept work, their history, their biography, keynotes, possible outcomes of their paths, where you would like to see them go and how they’ve shaped the story and how you plan for them to shape the story.
And the same can be applied to “Side Characters” and “Minor Characters” – the relationship folder is really self explanatory as stated before.
And again, for the other folders such as the ones in World Building, The Plot and Fun Facts, the folders within those can be filled with more information, such as the “Countries” folder can have a folder for each country you have within your world, now, be careful, a lot of people say you can really lose yourself in world building and spend way more time on that than your plot, and it’s true, so I would say: focus on what is currently present in your plot, work on the most important parts and work on the least important or those to come scenes as you go. But moving forward, for each country’s folder you can now have laws, lore, background, history, etc.
Honestly, it’s a whole lot of folder making going on, but this is just one of the ways to stay the most neat when it comes to organization. You can absolutely merge folders and go through less hoops to get to where you want to go.
Such as in the “Main Characters” folder, instead of having a folder for each character, I can just keep the Main Character folder as is and just make documents with the names associated with each character, such as Superman could be “SM-bio” for Superman’s biography or “SM-concept-designs” which is pretty self explanatory. OR merge it even more by just having a document with “Character Bios” and just have all of the character biographies on one document. But you get the point. You’re a smart cookie.

How about with writing?
Using your “Plot” or “Chapters” folder, you can start inserting your script.
However you write your script is entirely up to you.
Personally I do it sort of like:

PAGE # (whatever page you’re on, bby – also totally optional though, page numbers are always subject to change depending on how you decide to layout your page!)

CHARACTER’S NAME (emotion/action they are performing)
What the character is saying
(You can now proceed to describe what is going on, etc)

Page numbers really help me keep myself in check because there are times where I will draw these massive panels to show the tiniest thing off and end up making the chapter last much longer than it needs to because of this, but I’ve also have always been a person where I believe you shouldn’t restrict the amount of pages BUT if that is something that works for you, then do it.
Actually in one article of mine, Comic Prep I stated I was very much against a page count because I believe that really hindered the writer’s/artist’s creativity and hushicho sort of disagreed with me and left a pretty great comment that inspired me to try to restrict myself, I highly suggest reading their comment to fully understand what I mean.

Thankfully, having the amount of pages listed per chapter has also granted me the ability to use spreadsheets.
Like this:

I’m sorry if the picture doesn’t have the highest quality – I had to reduce it by a ton but I still wanted it to be large enough where you could read what’s going on and even make a copy if you want.
Using this spreadsheet has allowed me to keep track and stay on track. It starts at page 24 because that was the page where I decided to finally start scripting everything and keeping track of my story :p lol
Which, not gonna lie, I absolutely MISSED writing out the chapters. It has helped me really stay on track with my story and stay ahead and I don’t have to worry about whipping things out of my ass.
Also, I highly suggest you go back and revise your chapters every time you decide to proceed with another one, you don’t have to edit if there’s no need to, but it helps remind you like “Hey, this happened this chapter, maybe it’ll reflect with what we’re going to write in this one” or at least it’ll be one of the more “frequently visited” spots so your brain has it down for a bit.
More on the spreadsheet, you can figure out a deadline, review the process you go through, keep track of pages you want to work on and how far they’ve come along. I’m pretty much a go from page 1 to page 2 kind of person, I very rarely skip pages, but if you’re the type that does that, I think this would come in handy in keeping track on what has to get done.

Back to writing, you can write out summaries for each chapter, which characters are relevant in them, the settings you plan to use and what is the main goal of the chapter, what you want to show the reader and of course this is always subject to change. The more you develop your story the more you find out what you want or don’t want.

What are pros of this organization? 1.Keeping track of everything, 2.not writing yourself in a corner and if you do then just maybe you have enough resources to backtrack and get out of there, 3.maybe find and fix plotholes because we’re all human and we always run the risk of screwing something up, 4.writing a cohesive storyline and 5.most importantly, keeping a healthy schedule and working webcomic environment for you.
What are the cons? There is a lot of effort to starting a nice organized workflow and then staying organized, that’s the only con I can think of.

Once again, this article is not a “you should do this” article but a “hey, this is what I’ve learned and this is how it has helped me” article. I just enjoy sharing my thoughts and things I’ve picked up along the way.
My suggestion will always be, do what makes you happy and what works for you. If you enjoy the cliches, then do the cliches, if you enjoy writing as you go, then do that.

Anyway, YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE HAS A LOT OF WRITING AND ORGANIZATION? THE DUCK ANTHOLOGY. DASSSS RIGHTTTTTT. You can purchase it by clicking here and supporting the costs of giving the Duck a brand new make over so we can finally reach the year 2077!

So, if you're the type to be organized, how do you stay organized? What are your tips and what are ways I could have improved this article? Let me know. :] see you next Sundayyyyyy!



Andreas_Helixfinger at 8:59AM, Aug. 15, 2021

I have all the main comic scripts in one folder and all the one shot stories for Imsies the Imthology in their own folder. Everything else, in terms of world building and character stuff, is clumsily and chaotically scattered around in documents all over the place. I guess I'm someone who's perhaps too comfortable with keeping most of this stuff in my head at all times, as not a single day go by without me tirelessly going through the different scenes and background info and what-not of all of my stories and characters^^Regardless, very useful stuff in this article👍

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