Thursday, February 21, 2013

City of Cards: Chapter Four: Ghosts of Samsara

City of Cards C4-4.1: STARTS HERE!

So to start, this is an Ace chapter. That isn't to say there haven't been Ace parts to the other chapters, and that isn't to say Plato isn't in this chapter, but this chapter will hopefully give a bit more insight into Ace's personality.

City of Cards C4.7.1

This is also one of my favorite chapters. It is also 49 pages long, so expect this to be a long ride, even though with the schedule I've worked it should go at a decent pace. In a way this is my second try at this chapter. Back in early 2010 I used this chapter as my test to see if I was going to be able to tell this story, or if my skills just simply weren't up to par.

I've been going over, panel by panel, my original version of this chapter to see what's been worth keeping and what has been worth discarding in terms of layout and structure. Yes, all of it's being redrawn from back then, but it's still a weird and fitting experience considering the theme of this chapter.

Emerald City Update:

Printing is progressing. I actually ran out of ink and had to do a quick order so that I could finish printing the mini in a way that would guarantee that they looked as consistent as possible. I've started printing copies of my CoC Chapters (thankfully I have plenty of black ink) and I've been working on button designs to go with the King of Hearts comic (there will be four of these in the end):

City of Cards C3 Back Cover

I've had a lot of ideas for blog posts that I have either started and never posted, or never wrote in the first place. I'm changing that up and writing one I've wanted to do called The City of Cards that Never Was. This will give you an idea of how terribly wrong this story could have gone. Pretty much everything that was in the original story got scrapped over the many years (over ten) of figuring stuff out.

(Spoiler cut just in case, but I honestly don't think any of this is spoilers)

Originally Ace's character was very different; much colder, fairly indifferent towards most people, and tended to stay out of people's way.

Ace did not live with Plato, and only used his apartment as a late-night crash pad and the two interacted on a very distant basis and they definitely never dated. Plato was also a computer guy (and not a wrestler), which made sense because Xander didn't exist until about seven years of sitting on this story.

Candy was Plato's girlfriend from the beginning and was actually kinda bitchy, but meant well. Ace accidentally killed her (or something) and brought her back to life. (I will not pretend any of this wasn't stupid)

Ace lived in an abandoned building with Trump, who was not a worn out shop clerk, but instead highly autistic. (Really glad I didn't go this route)

Ace survived by being a pick-pocket and street magician. (I still think magic is cool)

Somehow this all involved a plot with an evil corporation that was going to destroy the world (or something) and the story involved Ace observing humanity through short vignettes while the larger conflict with the evil corporation grew to a grand finality and I'm pretty sure the universe ended because I didn't know what the heck I was doing.

I almost cut the supernatural elements entirely, but I found that they were too tied to Ace's identity and that in order to tell his personal journey in contrast to the rest of the story it couldn't work any other way.

If you want to know why I put off working on this story for about ten years, it was largely because I knew it was crap. I think there's a sort of sixth-sense you can have even when producing your early works where you know that the idea isn't right yet.

Can I assure you that the story I'm working on is better? Well, I'd hope so. No story is totally perfect, but I asked myself what kinds of stories did I want to tell, what kinds did I like to read, and what was getting in the way of telling a good story. I can also tell you Plato is much happier about most of editing decisions.

It basically came down to spending time really developing character backstories, putting a greater emphasis on interpersonal relationships with the knowledge that any real story development can only have impact if there's an investment in these people and what they're going through (important for the reader, but even more for myself as a writer), and that any magical elements in my story had to have a purpose.


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