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The Wall has won

 
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Levhanti



Joined: 22 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:16 pm    Post subject: The Wall has won Reply with quote

I am completely open to and looking for advice on this particular dilemma.

I have been working a a story for the last three years. It started out with a vague idea that I fell in love with and suddenly exploded into a great story. I developed multiple plot points, invested time in character development. In the last three years, I have been deployed twice, and most of my writing was done in the practically infinite amount of free time I had. The story was written and trashed repeatedly. No matter how much I loved the idea, I could not get it to come out right on paper. I even brought many of my friends into this, who threw in multiple ideas that i do believe made the story better, but none which have made the writing work any better.

After smashing my head against the wall for three years, I put the story into the Tartarus that most of my ideas wind up in. This was a great disappointment to many of my friends who helped me try to come with ideas.

A couple months ago, it was brought back up in conversation, and we joked about turning it into a webcomic. While we talked out a lot of the key points of the story, I started to think it was possible. The story itself was always very relaxed for the most part, with quite a bit of comedy. I have seriously started thinking about this, and began shifting into into a comic style.

I already have the intro completed worked out on paper. (about 15 pages)

My problem, which I am sure is the same with many writers on this site, is that I can't draw. Not even kind of. This would involve finding someone else, and considering the military doesn't exactly pay well, probably someone who wants to be my artist for free. Which I am pretty sure brings it's own amount of struggles and heart ache.

And yet, not that a raised my story from the dead, part of me wants to try writing again. Part of me feels like giving in to this webcomic idea is giving up on it. I know picture paints a thousand words, and where that may be true, I still feel like the story won't be fully met out there in comic form. That something will be missing.

And now I ask for an opinion from the audience. Should I work towards this new idea, and seek to make a fun webcomic for all to enjoy for years to come? Or should I not relent in my struggles and go back to work on trying to write the story I loved?
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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Location: Here and there...mostly there. Sometimes kinda in between.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you can't find n artist, that answers your question right there.

Different stories are suited to different mediums. Comics don't have to be funny, there are many serious webcomics. In general, a story needs strong visual elements to be a good webcomic. Movies need visual elements, radio plays need to be audible, and books need deeper ideas.

In general, most stories can cross media boundaries, but they change somewhat in the telling.

My first advice to writers who need artists is: Learn to draw. You'd be surprised how much better you can probably draw with regular practice. It takes time, and some people just can't. But most people probably can. Don't sell yourself short. the world could always use another webcomic artist.

The other thing here is that if you've got a mental block, making a webcomic probably won't make that block go away (it might). It almost certainly wont if you just drop your prose into the lap of an artist and tell them to get drawing.

If it started out as a book, you're probably best off to finish it as a book first. It sounds like the specific problem you're having is writer's block. You don't need a new medium, you need to think through your story with new eyes. Having someone else draw your story won't fix that. You might get unblocked if you re-draw your story, even badly. Then you can finish it as a written story.

The other alternative is to take a few writers (plenty here on this forum) into your confidence and have them help you work out kinks in your story.
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The other alternative is to take a few writers (plenty here on this forum) into your confidence and have them help you work out kinks in your story.

Don't do this. Writers are dicks. They will steal every good element of your story and repurpose it to something they're working on. Then they'll act all offended when you accuse them of plagiarism.

Actually, it turns out a lot of artist are dickish in that way, too. Do a Google Search on plagiarized art and be prepared.

VL's other advice is good, especially the one about giving yourself new eyes. Scratch down whatever remaining thoughts you have about where it should ultimately go, then do something else creative. Write a short story about a Blueberry muffin that hates butter, or get into an eternal and reciprocating Facebook feud with a distant relative. Do anything that will keep the creative bits of your brain engaged while your original story simmers on the back burner. Go back to it in a few months, and you may find the impediments have been worn away.
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Lavenderbard
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Don't do this. Writers are dicks. They will steal every good element of your story and repurpose it to something they're working on. Then they'll act all offended when you accuse them of plagiarism.


That's because if you only steal elements, and then repurpose them, it isn't plagiarism. In order for it to be plagiarism, they have to steal your actual words as you wrote them. Ideas are not copyrightable.

Besides, they probably can't help it. Everything I read, see or hear goes into my backbrain where it composts, and stories grow out of it. By the time it becomes a part of one of my stories, I usually can't even remember where I read/saw/heard it the first time. I don't care, either.

But I agree with that setting the story aside and writing something else is probably the best way to neither give up on it or to let it drive you insane.

If it were me, I wouldn't turn it into a webcomic, unless the story itself was saying "I won't be told right if I'm not told in pictures" and it sounds to me like the opposite is the case.

Personally, I find doing a story in pictures so much slower than doing it in words, that there's no way I would go to all that extra effort if just writing it out instead was a possibility. But some of my stories absolutely insist on having pictures. So here I am.
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mcmasters



Joined: 28 Jun 2012
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Quote:
The other alternative is to take a few writers (plenty here on this forum) into your confidence and have them help you work out kinks in your story.

Don't do this. Writers are dicks. They will steal every good element of your story and repurpose it to something they're working on.


Good advice in general but there are exceptions. I'll cop to being a bit of a dick, or more than a bit, but I give you my word I won't steal anything, period. Nor would CN or VL. It's only 15 pages; if you want to shoot it to me I would be happy to comment, maybe a fresh opinion would spark you to some new ideas on it. I have only to recommend me my own site, WP (below) but like you I have several unpublished and unseen works I think are quite good but am unsure if anyone else thinks so, so I sympathize with someone in a similar boat.

www.mcmasterscomics.com
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Ronin Glen



Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot left out in your brief synopsis of the problem so it's hard to really give solid advice but I'll give it a try anyway. As mentioned by others here, comics are a visual medium and they need to be driven by the mixture of words and pictures. It's unlikely that the only thing holding you back is the dearth of pretty pictures (it could be, but I doubt it).

When I was a creative writing major in college I had numerous stories I thought were good in my head but wouldn't fully work on paper. The reason was almost always in the details. Point A and Point C are in your head and awesome but you forgot about Point B. After careful review it turns out there isn't really a logical way to get to Point C and what you thought was a good story really isn't.

Ouch.

I have no idea if the above applies to you or not but for what it's worth I wouldn't give up on it. One of my professors used to say the best way to improve a student work was to throw away the first four pages and in my case he was right. Maybe you just need to surrender certain parts, make the hard choices to finally get it to work.

Good Luck!
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Levhanti



Joined: 22 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys are right, that was very vague and mostly unhelpful for trying to explain anything, so I will try again.

I had an idea for a story involving superpowers. I didn't want it to just be "bang, people have superpowers" because I think that sounds stupid 90% of the time. And, on top of that, I want their to be a growing sense of conflict with the world as a whole, so I want it to be a developing problem. So, I planned to take an evolutionary approach to it. The story revolves around a community of mostly super powered individuals. I have a back story that reasons out the hows and whys the world has decided to mostly try to isolate these individuals in one place, and is crucial to the story.

The community is a regular medium sized town that has a residential area, is mostly self sufficient, with multiple generations of both super powered and non-super individuals. Therefor it has everything from elementary to college level schools. The story takes place around a kid who effectively gets shoved out there mid-college.

The biggest problem I am having is that I cannot get the X-Men feel out of what I am trying to write. The other major problem I had I have actually figured a way through recently, which involved me not getting what I want in order to make the story flow.

I do thank all of you for your help thus far, and though I haven't finished making up my mind yet, I have moved forward with the story itself, which is excellent regardless.
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 271

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levhanti wrote:
The biggest problem I am having is that I cannot get the X-Men feel out of what I am trying to write.

Imo, this isn't something you're going to be able to escape if you're doing a superpower-people-in-modern-society thing. I do a webcomic on a superteen with most of my inspiration being anime and music, and to be honest, I know hardly anything about X-Men. But that hasn't stopped others from trying to compare me to it.

One guy complained that my art style wasn't enough like it, and it was too light-hearted for a dark story. Then telling me that "X-men is your history" as far as superheroes go, and I'm expected to know about X-men if I even dare to write a superhero comic.

Whether or not I'm similar enough to even compare isn't something I'd know, but I don't let it bother me because I know what I want to do. I spend more time wondering if I'm too much like some animes I used to watch. But even if I am, they were a big part of my life at one point, so I don't mind tipping a hat to them, because I'm plenty different.

So unless you're going to do something that's really different, don't be surprised if you get compared to the big names in the genre. Whether or not it's warranted. Just make sure whatever you come up with is what you want it to be.

If you're afraid of seeming too much like a possible influence, maybe check out other hero stories in closely-related genres. Magical girls, epic-fantasy, aliens with special powers (the game Mass Effect is really cool), whatever. Then work in elements you like from those and make your own thing.


But going back to your original post, I think you need to weigh a few things. If trying to make this as a novel only leads to your own frustration and canceling the project, but you'd be able to see it through as a webcomic, that's something to consider. On the other hand, if the webcomic version really isn't your true vision and doesn't capture the story in the same way you want, creating it may just lead to disapointment.

How likely are you to see this through as a novel? As a webcomic?
Is actually completing it more important than how it turns out? Or is your vision the most important thing, and if you can't get it right, it isn't worth it?
How much are you willing to compromise?
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At its core, the X-Men were always a metaphor for institutional discrimination. First of racial minorities, later (in the 90's) of homosexuals and other "lifestyle" minorities. It's no insult to have people think of the X-Men when they read your work. (Except that idiot that told you your art wasn't X-Menny enough, Chimera. Over 40-odd years and at least ten regular titles, which particular style did he mean?)

If you want even more of that forced separation feeling, you may want to refer to people that lived it. The Diary of Anne Frank, Passing by Nella Larsen, or Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston all convey the fear and the outrage of being forcibly separated from your fellow human beings very well.
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 271

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
(Except that idiot that told you your art wasn't X-Menny enough, Chimera. Over 40-odd years and at least ten regular titles, which particular style did he mean?)

I'm actually not sure. He was rather vague, which is the most useless kind of criticism.

But yeah, mine doesn't really deal with discrimination so much. Maybe a very minor theme, but only to emphasize another theme.

I try not to worry about being "too much" like a thing, unless being like that thing derives from my actual message. Everything has been done already, so I can't be completely "original." So really, my job is to make sure my delivery is interesting and/or entertaining.

If people want to say it's like X-men or whatever, okay, cool, thanks. But that won't influence my direction.
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