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Thread: Expanding Ideas

  1. #1
    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    Expanding Ideas

    As seen in the "Pitch Your Project" Thread, the users of MT seem to have lots of different ideas for comics and manga. However, it seems that very few of us ever really try to work on these projects more than a few scattered drawings of the characters. (Exceptions go to Reg and Cake. Keep up the good work, guys.) With that in mind, how exactly does one take an idea and grow it in to a full length comic?

    I've personally written a one shot two or three times, but I feel that is a lot easier. When thinking about full series, I generally know what I want for the first few chapters, and what should go on to get the story to it's end, but filling in the middle always seems hella difficult. How do you guys think that should be done?

    (Think of this thread as a continuation of the PYP Thread, where users try and help you get in to your comic's progression and get it moving.)
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  2. #2
    One Thousand Member Regantor's Avatar
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    To be fair, everybody hits that point at the very beginning, just before they concrete decide that "this" is the idea. The reason why it is so hard to choose one idea, and stick with it, is because it's difficult to tell exactly where you will end up with it. Will you be bored of your plot by the time anything interesting actually starts happening? Comics can be an uber slow process when uninspired.

    I can offer three options, really, none of which I can guarantee will succeed. That's where personal willpower comes in. But, hey, it beats forcing yourself to work on a massive tedious script and killing your inspiration whilst it's still fresh;

    1) Work out of order. Draw the entire thing just vaguely so you remember what is supposed to happen, and only work on what you want to work on. Pros; You can draw characters that you feel like drawing when you want to draw them, or backgrounds if you aren't feeling confident on the designs yet. Cons; It's an all or nothing strategy. If you try more than fifteen pages, you have to complete all of them before you can show any of them. Works best for; Horror, Crime Fiction.

    2) Be mercurial. Almost the exact opposite. Draw in order, but ignore your script and wing it every time you come up with something that sounds more exciting. Pros; Always fresh ideas, all the time! Cons; Needs to be drawn in order. You'll need to continuously re-writing that script if you don't want a complete train wreck, and some sense of a plot direction. Works best for; Comedies, Action Adventure.

    3) Start in the middle. Probably the most practical, but the most tricky to get right. Remember the very first star wars movie where Vader just walks in, killing dudes? Nobody had to know his origin story off the bat, you just had to know he was some big evil guy. In other words, if you have a script for your idea, start whilst the interesting things are happening, and drop the readers off in the middle. All that backstory will give something for the characters to talk about later. Pros; Instant action! Fresh ideas! Cons; If you fail to worm the plot in subtly, like using massive flashbacks or pages upon pages of wordy exposition, it will kill the flow of the comic dead. Works best for; Action, Mystery, Martial Arts.

    In terms of actually writing the middle of a story, I can only really say it depends on what the exact story is. Obscuring the path to victory always helps, through. If it's a romance, give the main character an alternative person to knock boots with. If it's an action thingy, make the villain perhaps not so villainous after all. In other words, never give the characters what they want on a silver platter. For bonus points, have them make the situation worse, be it via an misunderstanding or some massive character flaw.

    At the end of the day, it's characters that should drive a story, not the plot rails that you've predetermined for them.

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