Episode 431 - Political messages in your work

Jun 17, 2019

This Quackcast is about having political agendas in your work and expressing them well! We're talking about deliberately putting in ideas that you want to get across to people, NOT the idea that all work has agendas and ideas no matter what. That's not relevant to this discussion. When you want to want to get your ideas across there are good ways to do it and poor ways. When you do it poorly your work either has the opposite effect (people will laugh at your agenda or despise it), or it becomes propaganda. Propaganda is for preaching to the converted, it's terrible for changing minds. The only thing it's good for is motivating people who are already on-board with you.

Topics and Show Notes

To do it well you want to be able to bring anyone on-board, even those who disagree with your ideas, and hopefully change their minds or at least get them to consider what you're saying. A popular approach now is for people to say “Oh, I'm sick of codling people and leading them by the hand, I'm just going to say what I want” - this will result in people either fighting or ignoring you. You can't convince anyone of anything by shouting the loudest, that leads to isolation and echo-chambers.

The best approach is to have your ideas presented within a story rather that simply developing a thin, perfunctory story around a idea. Make your characters and situations identifiable and convincing, but AVOID straw-men! That leads to propaganda and failure. None of this is to say you need to sugar-coat your work, seduce the reader and stroke their egos to get your ideas across, not at all: There are plenty of examples of hard hitting work that contains big ideas and is still able to change minds such 1984, A Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and Maus. Just tell a good story without preaching to or trying to overtly manipulate your audience, and then even if they don't agree with the ideas you present they'll still enjoy your work anyway.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Monkey Nukes: Long black roads, damp streets reflecting yellow street lights, red tail lights streaking ahead in the dark, Friday night is the time for parties, pubs, and potential… one drink follows another, friendship flows with the beer, danger lurks in the shadow. Perfect homage to early 80s electronica!

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
Monkey Nukes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Monkey_Nukes/

Featured music:
Monkey Nukes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Monkey_Nukes/, by Simon Mackie and Ben Rowdon, rated M.

LINKS
From Tantz's Newspost - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/jun/14/working-with-political-agendas/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/

*Cover-art from the movie poster for METROPOLIS, not Atlas shrugged :)

Episode 430 - Good beginnings!

Jun 10, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

At the beginning of a story how do you grab and KEEP your readers? This comes from the Friday newspost by Emma Clare. Her advice was pretty brilliant. From my own perspective it's generally characters that grab me first before anything else. Great art and a fantastic cover can hook your eyes, but without a great story or interesting characters there's zero to keep you there.

Episode 428 - Expectations of Male and female audiences

May 27, 2019

3 likes, 2 comments

What are the different expectations for female and male audiences? This almost entirely a culture based thing, it changes depending on where and WHEN you are from as well as your age and experience… but some obvious things are determined by our physiology: sex sells, but there are slight differences based on gender. I wasn't interested in the “why” (genetic predeterminisim or evolutionary psychology), just the “what”.

Episode 426 - Sidekicking

May 13, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Inspired by Emma Clare's Friday newspost about supporting characters, today we're discussing sidekicks! Sidekicks are a useful character type that are used in so many different ways. They can be a specialised type of supporting character that are also a main character or they can be the main protagonist in some cases. In comics sidekicks came in during the early days as a way of giving juvenile readers their own insert character who they could identify with… Bucky Barnes, Jimmy Olsen, Robin etc. They had other functions like giving the hero someone to save, providing commentary, reaction and exposition. Later when that kind of sidekick fell out of favour they became superheroes in their own right.

Episode 423 - Fave weapons in fiction?

Apr 22, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.

Episode 422 - Positive promotion and controversial characters

Apr 15, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

The entire gang comes together today for two topics that were taken from recent newsposts: Emma Clare's Positive self promotion, and Tantz Aerine's Handling Controversial Characters. First up we chat about why it's always a great idea to sell yourself positively, NOT be arrogant or douchey, but rather by talking enthusiastically about what you genuinely love about your work and using that REAL and SINCERE enthusiasm to infect others with your love of what you do. Emma was mainly talking about the way you introduce your comics to friends and family but it definitely applies more broadly to self promotion in general: Don't try and get sympathy through self depreciation (oh, it's not very good…), and don't be an arrogant ass (My stuff is AWESOME!), rather you should just be honest about what you love about it (This story was so FUN to write!).

Episode 421 - Dreamcast

Apr 8, 2019

2 likes, 8 comments

Today we're talking about all the ways nightmares can be used in stories. This is based on a newspost by our very own dreamboat Tantz Aerine. Nightmares are great for foreshadowing through premonitions, forcing characters to confront things and change their minds, ratcheting up tension in a story and all sorts of other useful things that you'd never consider.

Episode 418 - Many kinds of love

Mar 18, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

There are many kinds love. Love is a great thing to include in your story for all sorts of reasons: it's an easy way to develop characters, give a character something to strive for, it's universally relatable, You can use it for tension, all sorts of things! There are different kinds of relationships you can use as well, not just heterosexual or homosexual relationships and the common trope of showing the beginning of a relationship, you can show crushes, established relationships, platonic relationships, relationships collapsing and exes coming together. For this topic we were loosely inspired by Tantz and Emma's great newsposts about romance and platonic love. We chat about luuuurv and tricks like lurv triangles!


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