Well, since I’m busy making a webcomic mini series (that will probably start to appear here on Wednesday. In the meantime, my other mini series can be read here, here, here, here and here ) at the time of writing, I thought that I’d talk about webcomic planning again.
In particular, I thought that I’d take a very quick look at the whole subject of backup ideas (and how useful they can be). I’m sure that I’ve talked about this before, but it’s a very useful technique that I should probably talk about again.
Although I haven’t planned this entire series out before beginning it, I usually try to plan many of the updates I’ll be making at least a day in advance. Since I usually make about two updates per day (even if I only post one here per day), this usually means that I try to have at least two new planning sketches made by the end of the day.
The interesting thing is that, when it comes to making comics the next day, I don’t always end up using the rough plans that I’ve made the previous day. In fact, I’ll sometimes end up abandoning one or two of them if I have a better idea. Here are some of my abandoned ideas that didn’t make it into the upcoming series:
So, why do I bother with making plans if I’m just going to abandon about half of them?
Well, it’s all to do with creative confidence and writer’s block. I’ve found that if I already have some or all of the day’s updates planned out in advance, then I have something to fall back on if I don’t have any better ideas.
Not only that, already having the idea for the next comic or comics planned out the day before means that I don’t have to worry about writer’s block. So, if I decide to think of a better idea for that day’s comics, I can do it in a much more relaxed way than I otherwise would since I don’t have to worry about falling behind schedule (since, if I can’t think of a good idea, then I can just use one of my backup ideas).
It also means that if I do get writer’s block, then it affects me the day before it actually matters (eg: when I’m planning the next day’s updates). This gives me an early warning and it also means that I have more time available to sort out the problem before I fall behind my self-imposed production schedule.
In fact, this actually happened to me when I was planning the fifth and sixth comics in the upcoming mini series. I felt like I was completely out of ideas, but I forced myself to make two planning sketches. After trying out several failed ideas (and scribbling them out), I eventually managed to plan out two fairly crappy comics.
Since I technically had two ideas ready for me the next day, the writer’s block didn’t last. The surprising thing was that, when I got round to making the comics, I suddenly realised that – with a few small adjustments – one of my “crappy” ideas from the previous day would actually work well as a reasonably funny comic.
The other idea got abandoned though when, after feeling satisfied with finishing my altered comic, I suddenly had a much better idea. But, if I hadn’t, then I’d still probably have been able to improve my other “crappy” planned comic.
So, yes, planning out your webcomic updates a day or so in advance can be extremely useful – even if you don’t actually use the plans.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂