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 SimonMackie, 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 429 - Bad ends, not bad fans

Jun 2, 2019

3 likes, 6 comments

This Quackcast was inspired by the fan reaction to Game of Thrones, a series that I haven't watched but Tantz and Banes have! Specifically it's about poorly written endings and gas-lighting fans rather than admitting to faults.

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 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 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 425 - Pay-off or rip-off?

May 6, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about set-ups. pay-offs, and rip-offs. To make your climaxes and endings more satisfying you have pay-offs for audience expectations: set them up in the story and pay them off at the end. If you fail to pay-off then you get a rip-off, it's pretty simple. Your audience will be really disappointed. That's not to say disappointing and unsatisfying ends to stories are wrong, not at all! Often those are fully intended. We're just talking about satisfying audiences, not “good” endings.

Episode 424 - Selling your creative dish

Apr 29, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

On one side we have creators of content and on the other we have the consumers. The consumers number in their billions and they're voraciously hungry for constant stimulation! Pretty much all creators are consumers too… So why don't they want the beautifully made, clever, spicy, artisanal dish you're selling? Why do they prefer the nice, bland, familiar mass-market high in fat, sugar and salt fast-food of the mainstream instead?


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