Although this is an article about how to improve your own ideas for webcomics, narrative comics etc… I’m going to start by talking about my own webcomics for a couple of paragraphs. Feel free to skip these paragraphs if you aren’t interested.
Even though it won’t appear here for a little over a month, I’m currently making yet another webcomic mini series. The interesting thing was that this upcoming mini series was originally planned to be part of the connected groups of time travel-themed webcomic updates that will finish appearing here in early-mid March. But, I just couldn’t quite get the idea to work back then.
It was only after some careful thought, a few changes and a bit of time that I was finally able to turn this old idea into it’s own distinctive, stand-alone mini series. And, thanks to the changes I made, it will be significantly sillier (and hopefully funnier) than it would have been if I’d gone with my original idea. So, yes, taking the time to fine-tune your comic ideas can pay dividends.
But, how do you do this? Here are a few basic tips:
1) Get to know what works and what doesn’t: It takes a bit of experience to be able to instantly tell whether a comic idea really has potential, or whether it needs major changes. But, it’s totally worth going through several successful and failed comics projects, just so that you have an instinct for what will and won’t work.
If you don’t have the time or energy to gain this experience, then ignore the feeling of “oh wow! I’m going to start a new comic!” and ask yourself honestly about how you might feel about working on this comic project several days or weeks later.
If you start to get the feeling that it may become more difficult or that the novelty value/excitement might wear off, then this is usually a good sign that you need to make changes.
Just remember that fine-tuning is something that is best done before you start actually making your comic.
2) Find the broken parts: Generally, when a comic idea needs fine-tuning, it’s because part of the premise isn’t working properly. Usually, there’s something that really inspires you – but also something else that is holding your comic back. The trick is learning how to separate the two things.
So, strip your comic idea down to the basic thing that inspired you. If you don’t know what this is, just ask yourself “If I had to sum up what excites me about this idea in one or two words, what would those words be?”
Once you’ve found the parts that work, then throw away the parts that don’t and see if you can find a replacement that makes you feel even more inspired. Yes, your comic will end up being slightly different as a result – but it’ll still be true to the thing that originally inspired you.
3) Give it time. Good ideas will always come back to you: Sometimes, finding replacements for the malfunctioning parts of your comic idea doesn’t happen instantly. I mean, with the comic that I’ll be posting in mid-late March, I actually abandoned the original idea at the time. I hadn’t planned on returning to it.
But, then, a few days later, I suddenly discovered a better idea for this project that I thought I wouldn’t make. It happened suddenly and I’m genuinely surprised that I didn’t think of this idea earlier. But, more importantly, it happened on it’s own without any real conscious effort on my part.
Generally, if a comic idea has a lot of potential, but you can’t get it to work. Then leave it. Let your subconscious mind work on it in the background, until an improved version of the idea suddenly appears to you. Good comic ideas are like boomerangs – you can throw one away, but it will always find it’s way back to you.
So, if you’re getting really frustrated by a comic idea that almost works, then abandon it. If it’s really that good, an improved version of it will find it’s way back to you after a while.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂