Although I try to keep my philosophical beliefs out of these articles, I’ll have to mention them here. Don’t worry, there’s a practical reason for this and I’m not trying to evangelise in any way.
I’ve come to these beliefs through my own thoughts and subjective experiences, yours might lead to other equally-valid [in personal terms] beliefs. Different beliefs work for different people.
Anyway, amongst other things, I believe in the concept of parallel universes and a fairly new-agey version of the “many-worlds” interpretation of the universe.
In a nutshell, the “many worlds” theory suggests that, for literally every possible decision or uncertainty, all possible outcomes are played out in a variety of different parallel universes. The theories about exactly what happens next may differ slightly, but we only end up experiencing one of these outcomes – even though the others may or may not still exist or play out in parallel universes.
Yes, there are probably a couple of scientists facepalming at the screen right now and I apologise – these are personal beliefs [loosely-based on scientific theories] and not necessarily facts. I might personally see them as facts, but that doesn’t mean that you should.
So, why am I mentioning this stuff in a blog about art, comics and writing? No, this isn’t an article about writing sci-fi stories, but you can certainly use what I’m about to tell you for sci-fi stories and comics.
I’m mentioning it because, one of the most fascinating things about parallel universes is that they allow us to think about “what might have been” or, more accurately “what may exist somewhere else”. I’m absolutely fascinated by the idea of alternate versions of myself and the idea of alternate timelines where my life played out differently.
I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who doesn’t at least have a passing fascination with this kind of thing. Some of your fans may have a vague curiosity about it too.
So, to keep your fans, interested in your work – it might be an idea to give them a tantalising glimpse into “what might have been”. No, I’m not talking about writing stories or comics that include parallel universes (although this can obviously work too). I’m talking about taking a look at all the projects you either left unfinished or the plot ideas which you eventually decided not to use.
If people are interested in your work, then they’ll also be interested in the things you could have made and the directions your stories could have gone in.
So, you can satisfy their curiosity by providing things like alternate endings for your stories. For example, I did this in my “Jadzia Strange” comic from last year – although this was only because I couldn’t decide which ending I preferred. Choose for yourself:
In addition to this, it can sometimes be a good idea to release sketches from comics you decided not to continue and to release tantalising short extracts from unfinished stories you’ve written. These sorts of things make your readers start to wonder and theorise about what could have been.
These things make your reader try to complete the story in their own imagination and discuss their ideas with other readers. Hell, your fans may even bring your unfinished and abandoned ideas to life in their own fan fiction and fan art. Whatever they do, they’ll be thinking about and/or talking about your stories.
And, in keeping with all of this, here is an exclusive never-before-seen piece of art. It was the cover art to a sci-fi comic I was going to make about a month and a half ago called “Orbis Viridis”. For various reasons, I never got round to making the rest of the comic – but, for the first time, here’s the cover of it:
Anyway, I hope that this has been useful 🙂