that is the question, right?
Hey, hi – hello, I’m damehelsing and this is my first article.
I’m new to this but I have a lot of thoughts and instead of talking to myself, I can talk to you.
There’s always a spark of joy and a roller coaster of emotions when you’re writing your own story, aaaaand some times we can get really carried away, right? To the point we want to write down the tiny details of our characters’ lives; from getting up in the morning to them maybe going on shopping sprees and random banters they might have with their friends. These details are always nice and in a way comforting – when you imagine this all it’s like a movie going through your brain and it’s a great feeling.
Unfortunately this doesn’t always apply best to webcomics.
Normally with webcomics, we can’t really afford the luxury of too many pit stops. (Of course this highly depends on the story too.) Webcomics are slow paced by nature because of our one/two/three-update-per week schedule or the “Once in a Blue Moon” update, and because of this I, personally, just want to get to telling the story ASAP but of course I also want to show my readers the little bits of it too.
I’ll use my own comic, SCORNED, as an example.
Even though we’re still really early into the story, it’s already established that there’s a friendship between the main cast except for one character in particular, who is Annie. She’s brand new and because of this, showing the bonding moments between her and the others would be great and is essential to a point, how else will she develop a connection if there are no moments to establish one?
I can’t show everything and that eats at me. I’m always stuck in a limbo of “What can I keep and what should be removed?” SCORNED is by no means, a long story, it’s actually a rather short one and because of this I have less time to show the many pit stops that I imagine – and I’m left wondering, “How can I make Annie and the characters bond without dragging out the story?”
So here we are, to keep or not to keep.
When I was in high-school I had an English teacher who was writing his own novel so I went to him looking for assistance, “how do I make these little journeys actually enjoyable and part of the story, a journey where the reader won’t roll their eyes and skip a few pages?” or possibly in a webcomic sort of case, just eventually not return?
If I’m being honest, I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I recall being told to find a way to let the story make these pit stops happen. Basically… don’t force things to happen. If the pacing isn’t right, don’t do it and if I’m really trying to make it happen, don’t feel urged to do it right away and risk putting it in a spot of the story where it’s completely messy and the pacing is sloppy.
I carried that advice with me and its helped me decide on what to keep and what not to keep. Details such as someone’s favorite food or color? I don’t need to have my character say it, it’s not a dating show ;) but I can show it by drawing it in an appropriate scene. Someone’s past? Especially with a past as long as 1000 years? I don’t need to reveal it all or force-feed it to my readers, I can reveal the tidbits when relevant and it will be relevant at some point. (There’s just no way you can write a character with a 1000 years on them and NOT show some of it.)
So all these pit-stops, unnecessary outings and more, can be decided with the pacing of your story and if it fits or doesn’t. This doesn’t mean don’t do it at all or scrap all those little things you’ve written, just hold it and see if it works, heck, maybe all those small details can be worked into the story in a completely unexpected way.
I know that Annie and my characters will bond as the story goes on, some times it’s not the amount of time you spend together but the way you spend it. Or maybe Annie won’t bond with any of them and she’s secretly the big bad. WHO KNOWS? I’m not telling ;]
I’m not a professional and my article is not meant to be a concrete answer to writing but instead just an opinion on one of the many subjects to writing.
What are your thoughts on this and how do you decide what details you want to keep? Or are you a majestic beast who just writes everything they want because it’s your story and you do you? ;)
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damehelsing at 12:00AM, March 21, 2021
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