Jun 27, 2022
A and B stories… And C, and D etc. It seems that it's more popular than ever to have stories with multiple concurrent threads. This is when you have a main story and a bunch of other sub stories all happening at the same time. These might come together at the end of the story or they might peter out. We don't get many stories just made with just an A-plot and nothing else these days.
Topics and Show Notes
I used to think it was the mark of a superior writer, but it's really not at all, it's just another in a long line of techniques that has its uses and missuses; most annoying of which is when cutting to the B story takes the momentum and energy out of the A story or it changes the tone of the overall story in an unfavourable way. While a good use of a B story could be to give the audience a momentary rest from the stress and urgency of the A story, while retaining the momentum.
The multiple thread story structure is most obvious in sitcoms, but it's really everywhere and when it's good you don't tend to notice too much. Do you write stories with multiple subplots? Can you name a story that's just an A plot and nothing else?
This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Into the Bookwoods - A folksy calming journey into dark green, misty, warm depths and golden lit fields in afternoon sun. An acoustic driven piece with the pleasing sounds of plucked wire strings!
Topics and shownotes
Shadow Born - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/jun/21/featured-comic-shadow-born/
Into the Bookwoods - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Into_the_Bookwoods/ - by Kvalhissir, rated E.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
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Jun 20, 2022
Sometimes it's worth revisiting old ideas because you can do them better or explore them deeper. This could be in the form of a full reboot, or it could be as simple as reusing a pose in a panel or using the same theme again like Pixar does with 90% of their output i.e. “coming of age”. Like them you don't need to feel obligated to always do something totally original, revisiting old ideas is a great way to refine them, create better work, or explore different aspects of them you hadn't considered before and put new and interesting spins on things. Consider that Pixar's Turning Red, Encanto, Moana, Coco, The Incredibles 2, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Brave, Onward, and Luca all share the same “coming of age/childhood independence” theme and yet all do it in unique and original ways, exploring different aspects of the idea from all sorts of angles.
Jun 13, 2022
Our very own Tantz made a newspost last week about the idea of “Heroes” who are really villains… or at least they're actually villains who think they're the hero, but come to realise that they aren't. Sometimes that makes them change their ways and they seek redemption, maybe even becoming a true hero. Sometimes they just lean into and embrace their true villain nature.
Jun 6, 2022
How do you keep on with your creative output when something happens to you? When you lose function or are impaired in some way, how do you adapt or relearn so you can keep on as you were before? Maybe you can't and have to change to another medium that's a better fit for your abilities? Comic creator Bravo1102 once talked about how he moved from drawing to using action figures to make his comics partially because of his eyesight. My own eyesight has suddenly started to go bad and I'm having to adapt to that, and Tantz tells us how her deteriorating eyesight forced her to work digitally.
May 30, 2022
Adaptations of one thing into another is an interesting process. What's lost, what's gained, what modifications do you have to do to make it happen? As webcomicers we do it all the time in many ways, we have to adapt our influences into ideas, adapt those to stories, and adapt those to images and comics, which isn't trivial! It's often quite difficult to transform the written word into narrative sequential art- what portion of the writing gets directly turned into images, what's cut, and what becomes dialogue? For me about 20% is cut, 78% becomes art and 2% becomes dialogue or captions.
May 23, 2022
We start off with the idea of talking about art techniques, tips and tricks we've mastered and could help people with but the cast turned into a discussion about drawing male and female characters- also trans, androgynous, etc. There's an art to representing gender in imagery! It's super important to remember that the way we see gender in art is mainly culture based rather than an innate biological reaction and the perception of gender in art is different according to your cultural background. It's basically a visual language that everyone learns, but as an artist you have to learn to actually “speak” it, and that's not as straight forward as you think.
May 16, 2022
Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?
May 9, 2022
Let's go forward in time to the past so we can get back to the future and kill our grandfather and be our own ancestor while we step on a bug and change the course of evolution 200 million years in the future and doom the Morlocks to a date with Doctor Who, while Bill and Ted drive a Delorean in the Old West and save Fry's dog as it waits out the front of the Pizza place… Time travel is fun to talk about, but it's easy to mess up because paradoxes in plots pop up all over the place as timelines intersect and cross over and over, getting tangled and logically prevent events that have already happened from happening!