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It's all about the Characters!
Thom Revor posted a blog entry in So you want to make a Webcomic...?I was sitting in traffic the other day when a very dirty and disheveled man walked past on the side of the road. This is not an uncommon occurrence in any city, but the writer in me couldn't let it go. Who was that person? What paths led him here? Was it by choice or circumstance? And then the scenarios began running through my head. He could have been a former executive who through a bad choice ended up losing everything. He could've been a foreign agent, disguised as part of the "invisible crowd" so as to scope out his target. He could've been someone who was just having a very bad day -- Murphy's law run amuck. These are the sort of things you should ask yourself when you create characters. Characters in your webcomics should be more than just the two dimensional figure on the screen. They should live and breathe in your head. You should know their background, their likes and dislikes, their loves and their fears. Back when Darin Brown and I did a filler comic for John Lotshaw's Accidental Centaurs, we had a scene where one of the main characters went into a bar. As such, we wanted to do a riff on Cheers. So, instead of "Woody", we got "Wood-eye". The popular barfly was "Nahrm". A Naga in the background was "Kalif". With the exception of Nahrm (who, as the town blacksmith, was instrumental to the story), they were all what I call "throwaway characters". They were there... then they were gone. Except... they weren't. Take the character of the bartender Wood-eye. Why "Wood-eye"? Well... obviously he had to have a wooden eye, which means he lost an eye somehow. How did he lose it? So, the bartender became a former soldier and he lost it in battle. If he was a soldier, what did he do? And from there, a throwaway character -- just for my own sake -- began to take on a life of its own. I never expected to do anything with these characters again. They were for a short run of comics made to expand out the background of one of Accidental Centaurs' main characters, to give him a little more character (no pun intended) within the comic himself by giving him armor and a sword. But people began asking about Woodeye and Nahrm. People *liked* them. People wanted to see more of them. I credit that to the strength of the characters. That, in the short time they were around, had something that made people wonder about them. They had questions about these characters and wanted to know more. And that's when Darin and I started up our own comic of Crossworlds. Where the throwaway and joke character of Woodeye became much more than just that. We got to see more about him and the other characters. And where their lives and situations became more than just a couple of strips. Now, I'm not saying you have to have an encyclopedia-sized history for each and every figure that appears in your comic. In fact, an overly detailed background can actually be hazardous to story telling. There need to be gaps in to which your characters history can grow. But don't hesitate to ask yourself the questions of who they are. Sometimes you'll surprise yourself. And they may surprise you, too.
Zee McZed posted a topic in General DiscussionThere is a lack of good EGS fanfic out there, which is a bleeding shame because the world Dan's given us is WAY too fun to not be explored in writing. This topic, then, is both to catalogue the joy that is Shivefics, and to encourage forumgoers to write their own! Just one caveat - please LINK to fanfics, rather than posting them here. Discussion of said fics is still cool. An Archive Of Our Own is a good place for completed works (as well as the venerable Fanfiction.net); for WIPs, may I suggest Pastebin? FICS: -Raven's Thoughts, by LoreWren. http://archiveofourown.org/works/311446 - A prose version of one of the 4th wall mail slot comics. If you like Mr. Raven, you'll like this. G-rated. -Silly EGS One-Shots, by yours truly. http://archiveofourown.org/works/5312912/chapters/12266816 - This one's a what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Presently sitting at five one shots, PG-13 at the worst. -First Contact, by scriptdragonslayer. http://archiveofourown.org/works/5070703 - About Susan's OCD and overcoming it. Susan/Elliot, light shippiness. G-rated. And now, for those that have not yet seen it (and hopefully to spur discussion and writeyness): 50 EGS FANFIC PROMPTS. 1. Grace turns evil. Sort of. Kind of. A little. 2. Sarah turns evil. Sort of. Kind of. A little.3. Susan turns evil. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL.4. Jeremy’s day out.5. Tedd’s date night.6. A day at the video store with Tensaided.7. An episode of the Review Show goes… off script.8. The TF gun breaks down.9. Vladia starts working at the comic shop.10. Hedge starts working at the theater.11. Guineas starts working IN HOLLYWOOD.12. The Demonic Duck waits in line at a convenience store.13. Pandora waits in line at a convenience store. Although she does not have to.14. A remarkably quiet day at the office for Mr. Verres.15. Grace gets driving lessons.16. Justin and/or George deal with a fanboy.17. Nanase and Ellen ponder whether they’re getting too ‘Scooby-Doo’.18. Elliot gets a goldfish.19. Someone reprogrammed the TF gun. Badly.20. Diane and Rhoda dance around the topic of magic, refusing to talk about it directly.21. Catalina JACKASSes someone who deserves it quite a bit.22. A discussion devolves into a sissy slap fight… again.23. Sarah’s webcomic gains an unexpected fan following.24. Jerry’s last thoughts before the end.25. Susan takes a lesson from Sensei Greg. 26. Two characters critique a very bad romance novel.27. Two characters critique a badly written El Goonish Shive fanfic.28. Amanda and Dr. Germahn meet Tedd on the bus. 29. Raven and Noah go to the zoo.30. A ship you enjoy falls apart in a remarkably civil manner.31. A ship you dislike comes together in a way that makes sense.32. The true story of how Lord Tedd came into power. 33. Justin’s sparring match ends unexpectedly.34. Inopportune times for involuntary shapeshifting.35. Tedd and Elliot go on a road trip.36. Dinner time at the Dunkel household.37. Date night turns into WACKY MISADVENTURE night. Again.38. Truth or dare occurs, and gets out of hand immediately.39. Susan gives us five reasons never to play Truth or Dare with her friends.40. Ashley tries to dodge the notoriety that comes with the “Griffin Incident”.41. Winter means cold, and cold means snuggling for warmth.42. Rich and Larry discuss public figures that are TOTALLY aliens.43. Sensei Greg and Dex dissect an anime together.44. Other uses for fairy dolls.45. Dan and Minion do something DIABOLICAL.46. An argument over a video game turns into transformation inspiration.47. Tedd invents something mundane. 48. Grace and Sarah ponder an inane school assignment. 49. SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE!50. “Why is there a wand in this box?”