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Nagging doubts. Topic: Thinking of hiring a re-write writer
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Pumpkin Pie
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Joined: 01 Jan 2005
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:05 pm    Post subject: Nagging doubts. Topic: Thinking of hiring a re-write writer Reply with quote

Things are rolling along nicely for the webcomic. I have a couple programming friends looking over the Help Wanted ad for a web designer. Not their specialty, but they feel they can make the ad more specific and thus more attractive for the web designer and thus better able to get what I want in the website. I'm now holding off from advertising for the artist until the website is done. Given all this...

I've written the first sixteen episodes (14 panels each) and am now wondering if I should possibly hire a good writer to do a re-write or even write a completely new first story.

I view my best contribution to the webcomic being the world creation and marketing. What I'm having nagging doubts about is just how good of a first story I've written. I mean I plan to have a really nice website built for it and hire an even better artist to do the panels. Why give it all that and hurt it with a possibly so-so script? Besides, I plan to eventually hire writers to write story arcs for the webcomic so it isn't as if I was planning on being the only voice for the webcomic. What I'm wondering is if I should start off at that stage and not having me write the opening story.

The script I've written takes a soft launch. Slowly introducing the key players one by one. Building up to the first big action scene ... that doesn't happen until Episode 11. The script pauses at Episode 16 after the first big encounter. I thought that would be a good place to stop. A good place for the artist to work towards.

I suppose if the first story turns out poorly, I could scrap it and do another one. Just hate to do it if it isn't good in the first place.

Is this common stomach butterflies for a writer to have? Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated.
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Tim Tylor
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you could start by getting someone to act as "editor"; get them to give their opinion of the story and anything that might improve it.
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Tim Mallos
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Joined: 23 Apr 2001
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been writing and rewriting an adventure comic kind of thing for ...years now, in what little spare time pops up.

I like it a lot better now, but, yeah. It always feels like it should / can be better.

The first arc is 35 pages, movie script format. I am about to start breaking it into panels and pages. Probably in for more extensive re-writes.


Earlier drafts of my script had a kind of slow build....
I abandonded that to move action up as close to the beginning as I could.

It made me completely change the opening, and, actually, plot, and, now that I think about it, some of the characters....but I think it's a better work in progress than it was.

I just couldn't get past the fact that the slow build didn't really grab me- didn't know how I could expect anyone else to wade through the build-up / character intros / world-establishing.

How does it change your story to start just before the big event in your current chapter 16? Is all the other stuff needed to understand some of what is happening ?

I'd recommend this book to...well, everyone. It's been very helpful to me.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0941188701

Tim
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a common recommendation to writers, but I heard it (in different phrasings and contexts) from both my college creative writing and drama professors that, while the start of a story may stretch back for a very long time before the telling begins, the dramatic action should always open as late as possible. Just because some earlier event is important to the story doesn't mean it necessarily must be presented to the audience prior to other events. The creative writing prof suggested that a story begins at the moment that the first unexpected event occurs.

Having said that, mood and world-building are important, too, and a slow-burn setup can serve important dramatic purposes, depending on how the author wants to affect the audience. Audiences do want to get to the story, though, and will only stay interested so long as they think that something interesting is going to happen next. They're only interested in world- or character-building as long as they think it will service the story.

(These are generalities, of course, and prone to exception.)

So, even though the first big action will happen later, where does the story begin? Does it begin where you've chosen to start?
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Pumpkin Pie
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the advice from everyone. You're saying what the back of my mind has been whispering to me. Of course, the front of my mind is screaming, "Don't you DARE trash those first ten episodes! Don't even THINK it!"

However, my gut has been telling me that it was too slow of a build-up. Reading it over after reading what you all have said here, I see the correct episode to start the story. That's Episode 11. It is where it should begin. Even the front of my head now agrees. And it is best I don't even change it at all. I'll calmly let the world explaining happen naturally and not force it.

Not that I'm going to trash the first ten episodes. I'll save them in a file. For what? I have no clue but it's what will keep the peace with the front of my head. Maybe I will include them in the writer's bible.

I do appreciate everyone's posts. I feel better now. I also feel I need to continue writing the story to the conclusion of the the first adventure. I really doubt any artist would appreciate being handed only six episodes (84 large single borderless panels) to illustrate. That just seems too few. Besides, I'm sure they'd like to finish off the first adventure and not possibly be replaced during its first lull.

Putting fingertips to keys,
Scott
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry- And Yay.

This is tough stuff.

Tim
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ThisBloke
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:10 pm    Post subject: Forms of narrative Reply with quote

Another option is to begin with the end of the previous adventure - thus showing your main character (or characters) in full 'action' mode, using whatever skills they may have, whatever first defines them.
The obvious example is the James Bond films - they start with a bang that often has nothing to do with story, just shows Bond being cool and reassures the audience.

A handy rule in scriptwriting is that the first thing we should see the character doing defines them for the audience - the story either takes them away from that definition as they become a new person or puts obstacles/challenges/temptations/etc as they try to remain true to it.

As a medium that needs people to be drawn back, to want to keep coming back every day/week/couple of weeks, your webcomic should utilise the story structure to this end. You can do soap - each one ending with a big cliff-hanger, or drama - setting up a tension that needs to be resolved, whether low key character or a man coming through the door with a gun, or rely on your characterisations - the wonder of who these people are and what's going on. You can even take it up to mystery/thriller territory and have the puzzle of understanding what's going on be part of the fun.

These are all genre principles and as such, pretty useless in terms of your specific story. I would say though, that you need to make an impact, make all the audience who casually come by (and before you have a repuation or continuing audience, they are all casual readers) come back. Simple fights and explosions may not actually be the best way to acheive that (because we've mostly seen it) but drama is - if you don't think enough is happening, you're probably right.
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Pumpkin Pie
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThisBloke,

Really nice points you've raised there. Thanks!

Scott
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