The Unique Challenges of Webcomics

In this post from last year, I wrote about my month of writing a graphic novel script and what it taught me.  I decided this year to work on the scripts for a webcomic that I had every intention of seeing published in the future.  Already I’m running into some new lessons:

Each strip has to stand on its own.  Although the comic has plot arcs and character development, I can’t force readers to click through a week or more of strips just to get the joke.  this is somewhat different from a graphic novel, where readers expect to flip through pages of content for a story.  The change in format demands a change in how I approach each page of the script.

Formatting should be more consistent.  Of course there are exceptions to this rule, and have seen them before in comics I read regularly.  But for the most part, webcomics follow their own pattern that resembles a print comic strip or page.  I’m making a strong effort to stick to this rule, forcing myself to wrap up every mini-story in four panels ending in a punchline.  The story in Lily’s Odyssey stretched out over several pages that didn’t and shouldn’t look the same.

The comic in progress can be seen here.  I’m writing with a twice-a-week update schedule for one whole year in mind.  Whether it’ll be illustrated, and who will do that, is a question for the end of April.

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