Apr 20, 2020
Certain tropes or stylistic ways of telling a story can get really, really popular and trendy very quickly and it seems like they're everywhere! Suddenly many story are all told with the same sort of stylistic flourishes. The first few times it's done that way it's clever and meaningful but after that people just use the same thing without understanding it properly and consequently usually do a really crappy job!
Topics and Show Notes
My biggest bugbear currently is the stories that are split across multiple timelines: So we show concurrent storylines but one or a few of them are actually set in the past and they're interspersed with a storyline from the present as if all events are happening at the SAME time. The Witcher handled that very badly because it had no context clues about where you were at the “time”. The Medici series is another example. In that they DO give you context clues however because the characters actually look different but it's still annoying because they switch back and fourth far too regularly.
When this style of fast temporal storyline switching was first introduced in novels (in the 80s) it was reasonably clever and interesting because it was new at the time. But it is something that has to be handled carefully in order to work well. It doesn't lend itself to overuse! Unless there's a good reason and you REALLY know what you're doing, either tell your story in a linear fashion or give us extended scenes that take a full chapter/episode to complete
Banes made a post about love triangles. That's another trope that can be terrible if overused but great if used with a bit of tact and skill. Other examples are subverted character types (evil angels/good demons), subverted humanised villains (good Maleficent), bad heroes (rapist knight in shining armour)- these things are ONLY interesting because they're a twist on a standard trope and a variation from the norm, but when they BECOME the norm there's no reason for them to exist: they self invalidate.
What are some you've noticed?
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Space Daddy Adventures - A big dose of early 70s prog concept mixed with 1960s beat poetry. It reminds me of the music of the British prog band Jade Warrior from their eponymous 1971 album. Breathy flute, percussion, and a spare, jungle sound with creepy British vocals… Slip into your tight black polo-neck and black beret, sip on an espresso and flick your fingers in appreciation of this coooool retro piece!
Topics and shownotes
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Banes' newspost about love triangles - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/apr/15/we-three/
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Space Daddy Adventures - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Space_Daddy_Adventures/, by Hushicho, rated M.
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Feb 16, 2020
What happens to characters after the big action scene or climactic moment? This could be anywhere in the story but it's usually close to the end. Do they process any of the things that have happened to them to lead them up to that point or do they just forget about everything and simply act as if nothing except the last 4 seconds matter? The later seems to be the trend in a lot of badly written fiction, and it's a notable trope in 80s style action films. Death of family members or lovers are irrelevant when you have a hot action star standing next to you!
Aug 26, 2019
Cooperation Vs Competition. For decades the mantra was competition is good: it produces progress and makes things better… Well that's actually false. Competition is what you're forced into as a response to limited resources, so you do what you have to to win, which mainly involves losing everything that doesn't serve that specific objective. Competition is massively harmful to progress in general, it ONLY helps you excel in one small area to massive cost. Think of it in terms of an Olympic sprinter: they become the fastest runner in the world, but to what point? Only the artificial structure of a sporting event… they spend years training, exercising, eating right, wasting a huge portion of their lives, creative, and intellectual potential on that one meaningless goal, and IF they achieve it they might get a bit of fame and money and a footnote in history because someone else will inevitably take their spot. More likely though they won't achieve the goal and instead be forgotten.
May 20, 2019
Betrayal is an interesting thing to use in fiction. You can have betrayal of your nation, your organisation, friends, lovers, religion, beliefs, self. In stories it can be used to add a nasty twist or completely change the flow of events and alter the balance of power in a dramatic way! It can be devastating in relationships. The story of Judas betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver is one of the most famous betrayal stories and became so iconic that the phrase “30 pieces of silver” or just the word “Judas” became synonymous with the act. Of course the inspiration for the best treachery and betrayal comes from real life and the names of the betrayers often echo down through history. IFrom Rome we have Brutus, in the USA the name “Benedict Arnold” has a similar meaning to “Judas”, the 20th century gave us the term “quisling” after the Norwegian political leader Vidkun Quisling who sold his country out to the Nazis.
Mar 11, 2019
What is Social Marketing? Basically its word-of-mouth and viral marketing smashed together and weaponised: Marketing companies hijack hot-button social issues and hitch their client's brand to them in clever campaigns (“We can be better”, etc). The purpose isn't really to make a brand seem progressive, modern or new, rather it's another way of getting it trending on social media that's guaranteed to work, unlike the legion of hit or miss but mostly failed “Viral” campaigns. Whether people say negative or positive things about this issue is irrelevant to the marketer, as long as people are talking about the brand is all that matters. Free advertising is the goal, but it has a social cost.
Mar 4, 2019
The entire team is here this time, no one was cut… So we're chatting about CUTTING, as in cutting out scenes to make a story cleaner, leaner and less flabby, but also NOT cutting because in a webcomic you don't have to, and when you cut badly you end up with a “D movie” effect where story scenes don't follow, don't make sense and plots seem to go nowhere or happen for no reason.
Jan 20, 2019
Coming up with character names can be a real challenge because once you settle on one they can define the character just as much as their personality and looks! Names also affect how you name other characters: are they too similar, like Betty and Barney? Will it be an unintentionally meaningful combo like George and Washington? There are so many things to consider, it can be daunting. In this Quackcast we talk about some of the methods that duckers have used to come up with character names. It's pretty novel and interesting, anything from using friend's names, names that have special meaning to them, names that have inerrant meaning, names that deliberately have NO meaning, place-holder names, names from the phonebook and more. Your options, methods, and reasons are endless! Tell us what's behind YOUR character names!
Jan 14, 2019
The topic we discussed in this Quackcast was looking for symbolism, meaning and intention in comics: The English literature approach! Deeper meanings and all that. It's fun to do actually and sometimes you really can hit upon the intentions of the creator, uncover NEW meanings, or just do it to entertain yourself. We used our own comics for an example and talked about things beyond the superficial for a change. For example: Banes' comic Typical Strange is a sitcom set in a video rental store, staffed by a group of characters that make up the cast. Why is it set in a place that is clearly decades out of date and relevance? A video rental place is an anachronism in this time. Is it saying that the characters themselves are stuck in time? It's a sitcom comic so situations often reset or rewind back to the status Quo, so that interpretation would seem to fit… Of course that wasn't Banes' deliberate intention but it's fun to think about that way.