Apr. 18th, 2010

I knew as far back as around #10 that #30 will be significant.   Between #10 and #30 I was moving my characters from point A to point B; the characters having fire and destruction, metaphorically, five steps behind them.  Until I reached Point B, the scripting and drawing was rather simple: take the characters where they were then, and use their momentum to advance them a bit.  Simple stuff, and mostly automatic.  Of course, I did an unplanned detour with the Marian Tealy sequence (#13..#19 and #25..#28) to vary the pace, but otherwise it was just walking from A to B.

I reached B in #29.  Scripting became difficult.  It wasn't because I didn't know what should happen next; it happened because I did not believe in what was supposed to happen next.  I had to take my overall strategy I have for this story, and translate it into a tactical plan that would carry me up to at least #40, perhaps even #50.

Here's what the problem was: my initial tactical plan was to have Grossom and Pacwoman engage in a Mission Briefing.   I'd already scripted a beautiful strip starting it.  But it was DEAD ON THE WATER!  I could not find any enthusiasm for actually drawing that strip.  Now, that's my sure sign of the script SUCKING.  Only I could not come up with a better script; it was time to go back to the strategy and rethink the tactics.  That meant I had to take a break.

Break nominally over yesterday, I opened the script again.  No joy.

There was better luck today.  The big problem with the existing script is that it's safe.  You do need safety every now and then, to provide  contrast to the jeopardy, but too much safety is boring.  Without spoiling #31 too much, I'm going to borrow a tactical maneuver from Raymond Chandler: "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

Thus, I now have new tactics.  The mission briefing is still there, but transformed.

I believe I can get #31 drawn for the Tuesday update and get back to schedule for a while at least.

Update: The strip is pencilled, but inking and coloring cannot be completed in time.  I need to watch my sleep rhythm, and I got started too late.  Sorry.  But Thursday's looking really good: about half, time-wise, is already done.  – Yes I know, I should have a buffer like that Howard Tayler guy.  Someday, I swear...

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Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho

April 2010

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