Episode 430 - Good beginnings!

Jun 10, 2019

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.

Topics and Show Notes

Info dumps explaining the entire premise can scare people away but so can dumping the reader in a complex world and complex situation without explaining anything… One technique is to ease people into the world by starting them off with a familiar and identifiable situation and then building up from there, maybe having the weirdness and complexity being new to the protagonist as well? This is how we start off in The Hobbit (the book, not the crappy films), Magician by Raymond E Feist, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Quasi and Psudo - Waves of contemplative strings, like huge feathered fans slowly wafting in air, thick with importance and potential at the imperial court. The musical atmosphere is rich and heavy… A cheeky clarinet takes up the theme of the deep bass cello, performing a twirling pirouette, before sinking away and ceding to the cello once more. Spikes of harp strings glint like gold reflected from the richly decorated furnishings…

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
QUASI and PSUDO - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/jun/04/featured-comic-quasi-and-psudo/

Featured music:
QUASI and PSUDO - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/QUASI_and_PSUDO/, by 1rd2th3st, rated E.

LINKS
Emma's newspost on Beginnings! - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/jun/07/starting-your-story/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Pit Face - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

Episode 427 - Betrayal

May 20, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 411 - The Right to Copy!

Jan 28, 2019

4 likes, 5 comments

Copyright is a huge thing! It allows us to make money from our creations and stops other people from stealing them. But culture isn't about a series of billions of totally original ideas invented from nothing- absolutely NOT. Culture grows from ideas that are recycled, reiterated, and reinvented. It's all quite derivative and mixed. So there has to be a balance between respect for rigid copyright and some flexibility to work with existing ideas.

Episode 404 - Strong characters

Dec 10, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.

Episode 402 - Audience expectations with characters

Nov 25, 2018

3 likes, 3 comments

We're all back together this week and we're chatting about audience expectations for characters versus the intentions of the creator. Which is more important? Well it's a bit of a balancing act… You don't want to pander to your audience because that's not fun and they won't enjoy it anyway, but by the same token you shouldn't just do whatever you feel like regardless. As a creator you build up a contract between yourself and the audience; if you betray that by subverting their expectations with characters in ways that are very “OUT of character” just because you feel like it then you can start to lose their respect and attention. Killing off characters all of a sudden can be a big responsibility too, try not to take that lightly.

Episode 399 - How many characters is too many?

Nov 4, 2018

3 likes, 2 comments

How many characters is too many? Ensemble casts can be fun and the interaction between characters can be more interesting than the actual plot of a story! But keeping track of characters from the audience point of view or even from the creator's perspective can be hard when you have a lot. Characters can copy each other and just become bad clones or you can forget what some are meant to be doing and create plot holes, audiences can stop caring about some of them or just become really confused. So how do you keep track? I think breaking them into small groups can be one good way to do it… What are some others?

Episode 390 - Imprinting on your characters

Aug 15, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

We nicked the idea for this Quackcast from a newspost by Emma Clare. What we chat about is the unintentional process of giving your characters you own traits or even traits of people you know without realising it: Every time you draw an expression for your character you're not really creating a generic expression but basing it on yourself… when you character is being quizzical or irritated for example people may recognise that as you. It could be in other things too: their taste, the way they dress, what they like to eat, their furniture. things that annoy them, their hobbies etc. It's interesting how tied they are to us.

Episode 375 - Categories, genres and rants

May 21, 2018

3 likes, 5 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about the categorisation of work by specific genres and how it makes it easier to promote your work to people, while for fans it makes it easier to find what you're into, but it can also be a bad thing when people categorise too specifically and narrow their audience to nothing or just pointlessly confuse the crap out of people. I came to this topic because I saw a post on Facebook which was very badly explaining “Steampunk” and “Dieselpunk” while introducing the two utterly superfluous sub-genre names of “Ray-punk” and Atom-punk“.


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