Monday, February 7, 2011

The chopping block

As you may or may not know, one of my greater passions is making games on the side. In fact, when I think about game design, I tend to get this look on my face that I can only assume tells people "I am either thinking about something VERY HARD or have to take a REALLY bad crap." (Hopefully more of the former than the latter).

In any case, I had some ideas churn up over the weekend that I really wanted to get down the code for. But I wasn't about to ditch my comics for the week to do this. So I decided to hammer out both thumbnails for this week and enlarge them so that I could tackle them on Monday and Tuesday.

I don't do scripts anymore. This isn't really out of laziness as it is I tend to change my mind a lot about the story. When I started Lumia's Kingdom, I wrote about 60 comic pages worth of scripts. I got half way through them before I altered the story incredibly. Now, we couldn't be any further from what I originally wrote than we are now. Nowadays, my thumbnails are really my first stab at writing anything for a page. And for the most part, I'm alright with this.

Tonight, I was driving home and thinking about my current story arc--the retelling of Knaddian history. It's a doozy, considering I cover a lot of different characters and how they contribute to the current situation. I often argue with myself over how long I should focus on one event before moving on to the next. I know I got a bit too narrative heavy in some pages while perhaps spending too much time focusing on the earlier stuff.

In any case, it dawned on me that I could cut out what was to be Tuesday's page entirely and simply cut to what was going to be Friday's page. Tuesday's page would have focused on the moment-to-moment events between three of the characters. Instead, it cuts straight to a more narrative page that describes what happened quicker and moves the story along faster. I debated it for a while--did I need a page explicitly expressing how Myriam felt about Lumiere's decision, or could I get away with simply alluding at it in the next page?

I talked over it with my girlfriend. She seemed to agree that I didn't need Tuesday's original page and as long as I took the time to properly word the narrative for a smoother transition, the edit would work just fine.

This isn't the first time I've done something like this. I once cut a six page mini-arc in Blue Zombie in half. Not because it was laborious, but because I found out that the first three pages had served the purpose of the entire arc and the last three were redundant. And there were some pages of Lumia's Kingdom that I got part way through and then ditched and redrew.

Now, I'm not claiming the be the greatest when it comes to self-edits, but I can't help but think that a lot of comics could also benefit from this kind of editing (including a large number of action-oriented manga). I realize that so much of it is to build up suspense and a lot of it is mitigated by having a more consistent and frequent release schedule, but MAN, if I had a nickel for everytime I wish Goku could've just shot his enemy in the face with a pistol and be done with it or wondering why it's so hard to get deported from Japan... I mean, don't those guys have bills to pay?

In the long run, LK needs a lot more editing like this...I'm a 140+ pages in and I've only covered about a week in their world. A lot of comics need to do the same, I think. But I don't think the lot of us will realize this until we take a step back and thought really hard about what's really needed and what's fluff.

Here's hoping I get to Lumia's inauguration before I hit 300 pages.

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