Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Importance of Cast: Voice and Personality

City of Cards C2.7: Here!

Updated the cast page with Rick and Xander's information. I've got two, maybe three more characters to add before I think I'm done with the main cast. Let's see how I feel ten chapters in, though. I also have yet to set up my scanner so hopefully I'll get to that this weekend since I'll be needing that.

Previously at TWC we learned about chocolate, this week you can find out if we get chips in our brains: vote here

I also accidentally took down the code for my links page while trying to update it so that'll hopefully be back up soon. Sometimes stuff like that just happens.

Thoughts On Writing: Developing Your Cast

Today's post I want to do something a little different and I want to discuss something that is very important to storytelling. Reading Bob's post about lame female characters and it got me thinking about lame characters in general. A good story, especially if it's going to be long-form, is well served by a thoughtfully considered supporting cast.

Each character in your story should add something to the narrative by their own experiences and personalities. Taking the time to give voice to background characters creates a sense of place and context to the story and to the protagonist. By taking the time to consider the lives of characters that may not take center stage you also benefit yourself as a writer and create a deeper personal understanding of your own work.

This is an aspect of world-building that is just as important as knowing how toilets flush or what the bus schedule is. Check out the 30 character challenge. Thirty characters in thirty days. If you have a cast of thirty solid characters to pull from you'll always have someone to give a scene personality. No one needs thirty main characters, but everyone needs a waiter or a grunt or couple arguing on a street corner. This is the life that stories, especially comics, thrive on.

The other reason why a story benefits from this kind of fore-thought is that a protagonist's plight is only served by the context he/she is placed in. Why do they do what they do? Who are their families and friends? What do those people do when they're not interacting with the protagonist? Are they just waiting around like a video game NPC for someone to activate them or are they living, breathing people who have just as interesting and complex stories to tell that will have to wait for another time?

None of this information ever needs to be explicitly stated in story, but it's always evident when a writer has taken the time to understand their characters. The older mentor character was once a cocky asshole himself. The girl on the street corner is worried about paying her rent on time this month. The friendly neighbor used to play sports in high school and wishes he did that again but he doesn't have time because his work keeps him busy.

Let your stories breathe. Surprise your audience by revealing subtle personality quirks and engage the reader by having a universe full of amazing and diverse people.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

So Long SoCal, See You Seattle

City of Cards C2.6: Here!

Also, I signed up for TWC and started making incentives. Ace, Plato, and other CoC guests answer your questions about what it's like in their future in stick form: Vote Here!

Feel free to give me more questions. The more, the better, and any topic is open.

So this is my final update from SoCal. Friday I head off to my final destination, Seattle. Life is an adventure, sure, but man I could use a little comfortable consistency.

On a somewhat related note, if you've been viewing my comic on, something I totally recommend because there are a ton of awesome comics to check out there, you may have run into a 404 error on my comic. I have no idea why, possibly a cache issue, but refreshing seems to fix this issue. Beyond that, there's not much I know of to do so I made this:

Simple, to the point, if the page appears to be gone hopefully this message will pop up instead and hopefully prevent people from thinking my comic does not in fact exist.

I also really love Ace's outfit in this. Plato's is okay, but I may have to use Ace's in upcoming pencils.

Other than that, I've been doing my best to prepare for the upcoming craziness of moving again by getting as much of City of Cards inked and uploaded before I go as possible. I'm set at this point pretty much through December so hopefully during that time I'll be able to continue penciling chapter three. I really enjoy seeing where this story is going, hope you all stick around to find out as well. I have at least one other project in the works but information about that will have to come later.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October! Still no ghosts...

City of Cards Chapter 2.5 HERE!

First, if any of the people that read my comic read this post, I want to say thank you. The idea that someone has taken the time to read my work means a great deal to me as I continue to make and share my work. If you look me up on G+ I'm often hanging out there and working on my comic via hangout and I'd love to chat with people.

Since this is the last we see of Xander for awhile, I'd like to say that this is probably one of my favorite panels that I have ever drawn ever:

I'm in LA right now sorting out a few details before I make my way up to Seattle. Pretty soon I will be attempting to get settled in the Pacific Northwest for at least the immediate future in the hopes of finding a job and time to keep my comic going. I'm pretty well prepared for there to be no reason for the comic to not update on time during my transition.

Quick, here are three comics you should check out:

All three are very different takes on sci-fi, fantasy stories but they're all equally worth giving a look.

Oh and hey, I have access to a scanner momentarily so I decided to get some sketching/penciling done. I still plan to get some proper October art done but I had an urge to do some quick concept designs for Plato's outfit in Chapter 3:

My thoughts are that even in the future, Reno probably gets pretty darn cold in winter and Chapter 3 takes place in early December. Oh yeah, random fact, City of Cards comic continuity begins on November 1st of the year it takes place in.

Okay then, back to inking the heck out of these pages!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reno, Vegas, Roadtrip 3

City of Cards Chapter 2.4 HERE!

So this past week was spent largely in Reno and Vegas. I did spend one night outside of Salt Lake City that actually was quite pleasant largely in thanks to the awesome dudes at the Apple Store in the Gates Mall area that replaced my popped/dead laptop battery.

Before I go into the details of Reno and Vegas, I want to indulge myself a little bit and explain something that probably only matters to me:

1) The crown on the cover is based off of the Flamingo casino:

2) The flowers are actually dodecahedron, the fifth Platonic solid that represents the Universe, Heaven, the Aether.

3) Computer circuitry that I also hoped would somewhat resemble routes on a train/subway map.

4) Ace's profile in silhouette.

5) A modified silhouette of Reno Nevada's skyline.

6) Each of the four playing card symbols representing four main characters based on a Yin Yang idea of balancing halves.

So in conclusion, yes, I do over-think things and this is probably something you never needed to know. Now, some photos from Reno and Vegas.