People experience the pace of a story in different ways according to different story mediums.
When I bought some collections of the old newspaper strip “Li'l Abner”, I was interested to see how many strips would have a panel of recap from the story so far. It was funny to read a whole page of strips, where multiple rows of comics had the same recap.
Of course, this comic strip was being released in newspapers, one strip at a time. There was no way of knowing whether each strip would be a reader's first strip, so Al Capp would bring them up to speed in the first panel. This would also refresh the memory of a busy reader who needed to be reminded of the situation so they could enjoy the comedy.
Anyway, this idea came to me as a result of a new comic page from jerrie, here on the Duck, on one of his author notes where he said he's editing down some of his fight scenes in his wrestling/action series because of complaints from some readers that the fights are too long.
Interestingly, he also creates pdfs of his stories, and the complaint from THOSE readers is that the fights are over too quickly! This puts him in a tough spot, and he said he's doing different versions for the different styles of release. That seems like a good way to do it - I wonder if he'll find it a pain to have two different decisions to make for every fight/action scene in every comic, or if he'll like being able to give the different readers the best experience he can.
The physical mechanics of reading can really change the way a comic comes across - scrolling down a pdf is VERY fast. Clicking to the next page - and especially having to wait for new pages to be completed - is a different reading experience.
Especially if creators are slow - like me - and a lot of time can pass between pages at times, the experience of a story can be extremely different.
I try to have most pages stand alone as much as I can, with most of the information needed to understand the moment/the joke/the scene be there on that one page. It's not always possible, though, and I do it without recapping on every page. To get the bigger picture, readers have to read the whole story.
Having said that, the set ups and payoffs for jokes, plots and characters…that's a lot of the FUN of writing stories. Callbacks are a lot of fun. I still have all of that stuff in my stories - as often as I can come up with something I like, that is. But there's a good chance that a lot of this stuff is missed by readers due to how long it takes for me to get through a story - even in my more productive periods.
The medium is the message, as an old saying goes…even though this topic has nothing to do with that old saying. How do you think story pacing/writing should be adjusted for different mediums or the release schedule? Would you pace your stories differently with a different type of release?
Bye for now!
Banes at 12:00AM, March 17, 2022
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