Make Your Filler Comics Fun (To Make) – A Ramble

Well, at the time of writing, I’m busy making this month’s webcomic mini series. However, due to being busy with lots of other stuff, I had to work out a way to make a series of comics quickly and with relatively little effort. In other words, if I wanted to avoid an annoying webcomic hiatus, I needed to make some filler comics.

After thinking about making a series of studies of historical paintings (but with the characters from my long-running webcomic in them), I eventually settled on the idea of making a somewhat non-canonical series of large digitally-edited monochrome single-panel cartoons featuring my webcomic’s characters.

Once I thought of this idea, I suddenly planned out the first five comics (of a planned six-comic mini series) within the space of about fifteen minutes. Here’s a detail from the first comic update:

The complete comic update will be posted here on the 21st August.

The one thing that surprised me the most was just how much fun this comic update was to make. Initially, I was worried that the much more limited format would result in a disappointing comic update. A piece of obvious filler content that was barely better than posting no comics at all. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Since I didn’t have to worry about lots of complex digital editing (since digital editing is much simpler with monochrome art) and since I could make comics quickly, I suddenly found that I felt some of the spontaneity that I used to feel when I made much more primitive comic updates back in 2012/13. Knowing that I could make a comic update within the space of less than an hour felt liberating – and this had some positive effects on the comic.

For starters, the fact that I’d switched to a single-panel format meant that I had to rely a lot more on character-based humour. Since I couldn’t rely on longer set-ups for each joke, I had to focus more on the characters’ eccentricities when planning the comics. This gave these planned comics a lot more personality than many of my 4-8 panel comics from the past 2-3 years have had.

In addition to this, the single-panel format also meant that I had to focus more on things like visual storytelling and implied storytelling. Although this seemed like it would add extra complexity (and time) to the comics, it actually allowed me to do things like include different types of jokes and to come up with slightly sillier premises for each comic. This silliness also reminded me a lot of the comic’s earlier days too, and the joyous spontaneity and randomness that the comic had back then.

So, what was the point of all of this? Well, the best way to come up with good filler content for your webcomic is to go for whatever feels fun. If you can find a way to make your filler comics fun to make, then this will result in better comics.

Even if your filler content is somewhat “lazy”, then this won’t matter as much as you might think if it is fun to make. This is a bit difficult to describe, but fun can be an infectious quality. If your filler comic has badly-drawn art, but the humour and personality that comes from just relaxing and having fun, then the audience is more likely to overlook any visual downgrades you might apply to the art.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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Three Ultra- Quick Reasons Why Filler Content Matters (In Webcomics)

Well, at the time of writing, I’m busy making a webcomic mini series that will appear here in late February. Although the mini series is going reasonably well, my main reason for making it was something along the lines of “I should really make some comics for February!” more than any sudden moment of inspiration. In fact, the mini series will even contain a remake of an old comic, but there will still be original comics – like in this preview:

The full comic update will be posted here on the 22nd February.

In other words, next month’s mini series could possibly fall into the category of “filler content”. But, although filler material often has something of a bad reputation – it can actually be a good thing. So, here are a few reasons why filler material matters:

1) It keeps you creating: Even if you’re feeling so uninspired that the idea of remaking your old stuff or making random doodles of your characters seems like an excitingly good idea, then making this filler content is still much better than making nothing at all.

Why? For the simple reason that you’re still making stuff. You are still creating things. One of the best ways to deal with uninspiration is just to keep making things, regardless of how good or bad they might be. Although this won’t instantly give you any new ideas, it will at least mean that you are still keeping up the momentum of creating things regularly. This will mean that when a good idea does appear, you won’t be out of practice.

Likewise, even making something terrible when you are feeling uninspired can still make you feel more of a sense of accomplishment than you would feel if you made literally nothing. This sense of accomplishment can remind you of what it’s like to feel inspired and can help you to gradually move back to a more inspired frame of mind.

2) It keeps your audience happy: Although some members of your audience might roll their eyes at a quick piece of filler content, they would probably be more annoyed if literally nothing appeared when they expected something to appear.

Posting filler content shows your audience that you still care about your webcomic, even if you are too busy or too uninspired to make full comic updates. More importantly, it also shows your audience that your webcomic is still current and that they should keep reading it.

In other words, it helps to avoid the appearance of an abandoned webcomic.

3) You can have fun with it: One of the great things about filler content is that it’s an opportunity to try something a little bit different. You can draw your characters in different styles, you can experiment with more minimalist comics, you can see what your old comics look like in your current art style, you can make parodies of other things (featuring your webcomic’s characters) etc…

In other words, filler content can be a chance to do things that might not “work” in one of your “ordinary” comics. So, try to see it as a chance to mess around and experiment a bit. Not only will this provide quick content that will interest and amuse your audience, but it will also make you think more creatively too – which might eventually lead to you feeling inspired again.

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Sorry for the short article, but I hope it was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (19th October 2017)

First of all, apologies if you’ve seen this digitally-edited painting before. I used it in one of my articles from earlier this year as an example of a failed painting. But, I ended up adding it to the daily painting line up because I was eager to get started on this year’s Halloween comic (which will start tomorrow, and has to start on the 20th in order to finish on Halloween. Hence the need for filler material for today, such as this painting)

So, that’s why today’s painting is a recycled piece of old failed art. But, stay tuned for some cool-looking comic cover art tomorrow 🙂

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Abstraction Corridor (again!)" By C. A. Brown

“Abstraction Corridor (again!)” By C. A. Brown

Three Ways To Make Better Filler Episodes For Your (Story-Based) Webcomic

2017-artwork-story-based-filler-comic-updates-article-sketch

Well, due to being extremely tired at the time, I ended up making a filler episode for a webcomic mini series that will appear here in late July. Since this mini series will have an over-arching plot, I thought that I’d look at making filler updates for story-based webcomics today.

Like all good filler episodes, the one I made hopefully won’t obviously look too much like a filler episode, but it allowed me to plan and make a comic episode with relatively little effort. Here’s a preview of one panel from it:

The full comic update will appear here on the 24th July.

The full comic update will appear here on the 24th July.

Anyway, how do you make interesting (and easy) filler updates for story-based webcomics?

1) Focus on the secondary cast: One of the easiest ways to make a filler comic is to focus on a background character (or background characters) who hasn’t had much “screen time” in your webcomic. Even if you use a fairly generic joke or if you just show the background characters discussing what the main characters are doing, then this can be a good way to make an interesting filler comic.

Why? Because these characters haven’t appeared too much in the rest of your webcomic, they’re probably slightly mysterious. So, even if they don’t actually do much in your filler comic, these characters will be interesting because your audience will probably want to learn more about them.

Likewise, even if you just show them discussing what your main characters have done earlier in the comic then this will add some depth to your comic by showing that the “world” of your comic is larger than just the characters who appear in most of your comic updates. Likewise, you can use these character discussions to either add some background details, move the story along slightly and/or foreshadow something that will happen later in the comic.

2) Recaps and flashbacks: Another sneaky way to make a quick filler comic to make a recap update. Not only will this help new readers to catch up on the story but, if you know a little bit about digital editing, you can also create one of these updates fairly quickly by directly copying important panels from your previous comics and collecting them together in a new comic update.

A good way to learn which types of panels you should include is to watch movie trailers and/or the short “previously on…” recaps that often appear before episodes of long-running American TV shows.

If you want some of the speed that making a recap update offers, but you still actually want to include some new stuff in your comic update too, then just include a flashback scene. This is where you show one of your characters remembering something from earlier in the comic. Like with a recap, you can just digitally copy the scene in question from one of your previous updates.

However, to make it obvious that it’s a flashback, it’s usually a good idea to use some kind of image effect on the copied panel. The classic way to do this is to digitally desaturate the panel until it looks like something from an old movie. But, you could also alter the hue of the panel too – for example, the flashback scene in my filler comic has a blue tint to it (which also went well with the colour scheme of the rest of the update).

3) Backgrounds: Another way to make your filler update quickly is to keep the backgrounds as simplistic as possible. So, set your filler update in part of your comic’s setting which is (relatively) quick and easy to draw.

For example, in the mini series I’m making at the moment, many of the comics are set in a rainy, neon-lit futuristic city. This usually involves time-consuming things like digitally adding rain to the comic in MS after scanning it etc… Sometimes, I can cut down on this by just showing the cityscape through a window in the background, but it still involves extra editing.

So, if you take another look at the preview at the beginning of this article, you’ll probably notice that whilst there’s still a window in the background, the blinds happen to be drawn. The rest of the background still looks a bit like the backgrounds in other comic updates from the mini series, so it’s still clear that it is taking place in the same city – even though it doesn’t actually include a detailed cityscape in the background.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Creating Good Filler Content For Your Webcomic, Blog, Fiction Series etc…

2015 Artwork more filler content article sketch

Yes, I’m going to have to start by breaking my “don’t blog about blogging” rule for what is probably at least the fifteenth time in two years. But, as usual, there’s a good reason for this and hopefully it will be useful to you.

But, I will warn you that this article is like a magician revealing their secrets – because, well, it’ll teach you how to create the illusion of always being inspired – even when you have a severe case of writer’s block and/or artist’s block. And, well, the only way that I’m going to be able to explain how to do this is to give you examples of when I’ve done it recently.

Once you’ve read this, you can’t un-read it. Are you still interested?

As regular readers of this blog have probably noticed, there’s been a lot more filler content on here than usual over the past couple of weeks. There have been loads of reviews, rambles, short articles and cleverly-disguised re-hashes of things that I’ve already written about. Hell, even this article fits into the last category on this list.

In short, I’d been feeling less inspired than usual when I wrote those articles (and this article) but, like all periods of uninspiration, it was only temporary. Although, it lasted far longer than I expected – so, the next couple of weeks’ worth of articles may have more filler content than usual in them.

If you write and/or produce art regularly, then this sort of thing will happen from time to time – inspiration is a fickle thing. This is also why knowing how to create good filler content is an essential skill that every creative person on the internet should learn.

But what is good filler content?

This is probably a matter of opinion, but I’d argue that good filler content is filler content that doesn’t look like filler content. Good filler content can be made with very little inspiration and, at first glance, will appear to be no different from the “ordinary” stuff that you post online.

The fact that you’re working on the internet can help a lot too, since websites are usually read in a non-linear way. People very rarely read literally every article on a blog in exact chronological order. Likewise, if you’re making a webcomic that doesn’t tell a continuous story, then most of your readers probably won’t start at the very beginning.

What this means is that if you’re seriously uninspired and need to make some new content then you can just re-make some of your old stuff, change a few parts of it and add a couple of new things and – to most readers, it will appear fresh and new. After all, most of your readers probably won’t have read your old stuff when they stumble across your re-made article or webcomic entry via a search engine or whatever.

To give you a recent example, yesterday’s article is basically just a very sneaky reworking of this article that I wrote last year.

The article from last year was about how you shouldn’t try to write like G.R.R Martin and yesterday’s article was about how you shouldn’t try to write like Hunter S. Thompson. I changed the author I was writing about and added some humour (without changing the basic message of the article) and, hey presto! I had a brand new article in a relatively short amount of time.

You can also do the same sort of thing with webcomics too. In fact, the cool thing about doing this with webcomics is that you can easily disguise it as a “running joke” or as a sly reference to your earlier work (that old fans of your webcomic will enjoy).

Likewise, another way of creating great text-based filler content is to review things. Yes, I know, a well-crafted review can be even more difficult to write than an original article. But you don’t have to look for inspiration or new ideas when you’re writing a review – you just write down your thoughts about something that you’ve read, seen, listened to and/or played.

Another way of creating great text-based and comic-based filler content is to give your readers a glimpse “behind the scenes”. You can show your readers some of your notes, pages from your sketchbooks and stuff like that. If people really like your work, then they’ll be too fascinated to realise that you’ve basically just shown them some pre-existing stuff rather than created anything new.

Finally, one good way of creating good filler content is to make something generic – but to do it well. A well-made, but generic, website update is better than no content at all. Plus, although your readers may suspect that you weren’t feeling very inspired on that particular day, they won’t feel like they’ve been fobbed off with low-quality filler material.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

The Stories And Articles That Never Were! (Deleted Scenes)

2015 Artwork unfinished articles post sketch

Well, I was procrastinating on Youtube a few weeks ago when I stumbled across this videogame review by General Lotz (one of my favourite game reviewers on Youtube).

Interestingly, this was a review that was supposed to be posted online in 2013 (?), but General Lotz didn’t think that it was good enough for some strange reason. Of course, it’s still an amazing review (and creative people often underestimate their own abilities and/or what their fans will like).

Anyway, after this, I wanted to do something similar here – so I thought that I’d give you a glimpse at some of my unfinished articles, short stories, reviews etc… from the past couple of years that never were.

Surprisingly, these actually took me quite a while to find – since most of the stuff I write usually ends up on here. But, this isn’t everything – so there may or may not be another one of these articles at some point in the future.

Still, I hope that you find this glimpse into my “rubbish pile” interesting. And, if you don’t, well, hopefully I’ll think of an idea for a proper article tomorrow.

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For your convenience, here’s an index of everything here:

1) “The Vitalist” (Unfinished Short Story)
2) “Art As A ‘Superpower'” (Unfinished Article)
3) Random Unfinished Short Fiction Fragment (Written on 6th August 2013)
4) “Dextek City Blues : Introduction” (Introduction To Unfinished Gamebook)
5) “The Joy Of… Space Opera” (Unfinished Article)
6) “Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ (Film)” (Unfinished Review)
7) “Review: ‘Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Extended Version)’ (TV Movie)” (Another Unfinished Review)
8) “Moonlight Sonata” (Unpublished (?) Poem)

Anyway, enjoy 🙂
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1) The Vitalist (unfinished short story)

It was never about magic. It was never about sorcery or necromancy or even just philosophy. It was about something much greater than all of that, it was about the very stuff of life itself. The energy that animates all living matter. It was all about finding the hand inside the glove in this puppet show that we call existence.

They called me mad and much worse, they hounded me out of every magazine and every university I went to. Even though I tried to dress it up in all sorts of interesting disguises – mitochondrial cell function, metabolic anomalies and even the latest New Age theory, it all came back to that one word. Vitalism. I’d read that word in every rejection letter and dismissive speech I’d received.

To the New Agers, I was being too scientific and to the scientists, I was another crank. Another Jane O’ Bedlam who thought that because they’d read something in an old book they deserved a full research grant, a doctorate, a publishing contract and a legion of lab assistants.

The thing about old books wasn’t really my fault. They were the only source material I had, even if they did occasionally go off on a tangeant about the four humours or the soul. Hell, I was working with everything I had.

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2) Art As A “Superpower” (unfinished article)

Despite loving Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” in my early twenties and being a fanatical “Power Rangers” fan when I was a kid, I’m not really a fan of the superhero genre.

Yes, I get that it was a way for American comic artists to keep producing crime comics after the introduction of the comics code in the 1950s – but, well, it’s just slightly too contrived for my liking.

I don’t know, it’s probably just the silly lycra costumes they wear- but I just can’t take superheroes seriously. Still, the genre isn’t entirely without merit….

The themes of double lives and secret identities in superhero stories are really fascinating (and this was used as a brilliant LGBT metaphor in the old “X-Men” films and in this poem by Julia Serano ) but, most of all, I find the idea of superpowers to be a really interesting one.

After all, who doesn’t want to have a unique “superpower” of some kind or another?

And, well, this made me think about art. You see, it can sometimes be fun to think of having the ability to create art as being a “superpower” of some kind.

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3) Random Unfinished Short Fiction Fragment (written on 6th August 2013)

It was like seven sparklers in a tin can. I stood there and watched as it sputtered and guttered in the corner. Harlow put his arm around my shoulder and said ‘Ha! Perfect. Just the reaction I was looking for.’

‘You really think it’ll work?’

Harlow brushed his fingers through his blue hair and nodded at me. We’d done it. Not that it was anything special, it wasn’t even a firework. Still, it’d be the perfect signalling tool. Small, discreet and easily-made. Laura would know exactly where to look.

‘You.’ I grinned at Harlow ‘ Are a genius.’

He kissed my neck and I kissed his. The trick with the beacon was that it was mostrly visible in infra-red. Laura could see it a mile away. Or, rather, eight miles away. That was the idea.

They’d been running us down for weeks and we knew Laura would be next. It was only a matter of time. Five of them had got to [random character name and time?]

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4) “Dextek City Blues : Introduction” (This was the introductory chapter to my unfinished attempt at writing a “fighting fantasy” -style cyberpunk gamebook in late 2013, which would have been based on my “CRIT” comic series from earlier that year.).

By the time that the last CEO verified the peace treaty, the city had been carved up into three sectors.

There was SYL-Corp’s sector to the north and Makerton-Riyadi’s sector to the east. But, as the viewscreens in every street tell you, you’ve had the good fortune to end up living in the Dextek sector. Fortune seems to be the right word, you think bitterly – it was only by chance that you ended up on this side of the border when the war kicked off.

Even with all the neon signs and technology adverts covering every corner of every street, it’s easy enough to remember that, only a year ago, you were charging along them with a pulse rifle in one hand and deep ochre bloodstains on your midnight-black Military Police fatigues. After the treaty had been signed, your sergeant liked you so much that she offered you either a command position in the Sector Security Police or a leadership position in the sector’s new C.R.I.T unit.

The C.R.I.T units were part of the treaty. Company Response Investigative Teams. Each company had one, they were supposed to be like a second police force – a secret police force – who were also tasked with upholding the terms of the treaty at any cost. From the rumours you’d heard in the mess hall, they were apparently even more bloodthirsty than the DX-TK Commando squads who, according to Head Office, never even existed.

So, you turned her down, vowing that you’ll never wear a uniform again. Brushing a strand of red hair behind her ear, she smiled coldly and said that she understood. But, as you turned in your uniform and badge, she said: ‘You know, there are two types of people in this city. Company people and everyone else. Don’t forget what you are.’

A year later, things aren’t going too badly. After paying off the right people, you’ve finally got your private investigator’s licence. As much as you hate to admit it, finding out things seems to be practically in your genes. Of course, the licence comes with a whole string of restrictions and conditions although most of them boil down to the fact that you aren’t allowed to carry weapons of any kind and, most of all, you are absolutely, categorically forbidden from interfering with criminal cases.

Yes, you think, you’ll mostly be checking whether people’s partners are as faithful as they say they are and snooping on sick employees. But at least being gutter-scum is better than being a uniform again, right?

Still, after a productive and fulfilling evening spent taking compromising photos of the husband of a prominent stockbroker and the husband of a nobody filing clerk from the district office, you get a call. The line is filled with static and the voice appears to be electronically disguised. From what you can make out, it says: ‘Reifland Street, behind waste unit forty three.’

The line crackles for a few more seconds. You tap a button on your comms unit and re-play the call. After about the third playback, you start to realise that this can’t be anything but the beginning of a criminal case. The terms of your licence dictate that you report this to the Sector Security Police immediately, but something about the tone of the synthesised voice makes you think that this wouldn’t be a good idea.

So, letting out a sigh and pulling up the hood of your cheap blue Cag-Tek waterproof jacket, you step out into the rain and look for a bus to Reifland street…..

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5) The Joy Of… Space Opera (Unfinished article)

Although this is an article about one of my favourite genres of writing and storytelling, I’ll probably mostly be looking at examples of it from TV – rather than in prose fiction or comics. This is mainly because there are many more great examples of this genre on TV than there are anywhere else. I am, of course, talking about space opera.

If you’ve never heard of space opera before, Wikipedia describes as: “a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, weapons, and other technology“.

In short, space opera is kind of like a soap opera, but with much more inventive storylines, far more interesting settings and – of course- characters that can usually go for five minutes without arguing loudly with each other. Examples of this include a lot of wonderful TV shows like “Firefly”, “Stargate: Atlantis” and all of the various versions of “Star Trek”

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6) Review: “Ghostbusters” (Film) [Yes, I was going to review “Ghostbusters” last autumn, but I ended up abandoning it mid-sentence for some wierd reason]

Yes, strange as it may sound, “Ghostbusters” is one of many cinematic classics that I’ve never watched before. Well, until a few weeks ago at least. Seriously, I’m not really that much of a movie buff (and, yes, I still haven’t seen “The Great Escape” either).

So now, thirty years after it was originally realeased, I thought that I’d review “Ghostbusters” today. Seriously, who says that I’m behind the times?

As almost all of you probably already know, “Ghostbusters” is a comedy film about a group of freelance ghost exterminators in New York called “The Ghostbusters” who get together after Dr. Venkman (played by Bill Murray) has his parapsychological research grant at Columbia University cancelled.

One of their first jobs is to help out a professional cellist called Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver) who claims that there is mysterious entity inside her fridge called “Zuul”. Although Venkman and the team look into it, they can’t seem to find any answers. So, they eventually end up moving onto a series of other cases and becoming wildly sucessful.

However, after New York is thrown into chaos by a number of bizarre events, it quickly becomes clear that Zuul is more than just a figment of Dana’s imagination…..

One of the first things that I will say about this film is that it is a lot funnier than I expected it to be. Although most of the humour is fairly subtle and sarcastic, there are some absolutely

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7) Review: “Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Extended Version)” (TV Movie) [Yes, it’s another unfinished review]

Well, since it came as a freebie with the UK DVD boxset of the first half of season four of “Battlestar Galactica”, I thought that I’d take a look at the extended version of “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” today.

Before I go any further, I should also point out that this review will contain SPOILERS. You have been warned.

One of the other things I will say about “Razor” is that you probably shouldn’t watch it until at least after you’ve finished watching season two of “Battlestar Galctica”. If you haven’t seen the episodes featuring the Pegasus, then this feature-length episode probably won’t make that much sense to you. So, yes, this movie isn’t for people who are new to the series.

Although “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” is set after Admiral Cain’s death, it mostly focuses on life aboard the Pegasus before it’s encounter with Galactia in season two of the TV show. All of these scenes are shown via a new character called Kendra Shaw, who has flashbacks about her time serving under Admiral Cain throughout the film.

In addition to this, there is also a storyline about a raptor crew that has been captured by a renegade group of obsolete cylon centurions and a sub-plot about Bill Adama’s experiences during the first cylon war forty years before the events of the TV show.

If this description of “Razor” sounds abrupt, it’s because I’d probably end up writing several thousand words if I had to describe this film in more detail.Yes, it packs a lot of storytelling into just 99 minutes. Whilst this is quite an achievement and one of the film’s major strengths, it is also one of it’s major flaws too.

The main reason why I consider this tightly-packed storytelling to be a flaw is because it can make the film slightly confusing at times. The film occasionally cuts between different flashbacks and storylines at an incredible speed and, unless you’re taking notes, it can be easy to lose track of the storyline or remember exactly who is having a flashback during a couple of parts of the film.

As you might expect, “Razor” is primarily character-based and there is a lot of good characterisation and acting here. However, the film mainly focuses on just three characters – Kendra Shaw, Admiral Cain and Bill Adama and it does a reasonable job at giving these characters slightly more depth.

The most interesting of these characters is probably Admiral Cain. Although the film doesn’t provide a huge amount of backstory or extra detail about her, it shows us enough to make her at least a slightly less unsympathetic character than she is in the TV show.

Yes, Cain isn’t exactly presented as a heroic (or even likeable) character in the film but, for example, we get to learn some of the personal motivations behind her decision to allow the cruel treatment of the “number six” cylon prisoner on board Pegasus.

As for the new character, Kendra Shaw is shown to be one of Admiral Cain’s proteges and – in terms of her personality – she’s fairly similar to Cain. However, she feels a lot more morally conflicted about her time on Pegasus than Cain probably did. Still, we get to see a lot of her backstory and get to learn how her experiences moulded her into the character that she is for most of the film.

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“8) Moonlight Sonata” (Unpublished (?) poem)”

Moonlight sonata,
a room at midnight,
music on repeat,
dog-end chesspieces
on a grey ash board.

Moonlight sonata,
incipient winter,
a coming darkness,
a little apocalypse.

Moonlight sonata,
amber streetlights,
unfinished stories,
dream of the eighties.

Moonlight sonata,
a song of memories.

Moonlight sonata,
warmth in the cold.

———

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll write a proper article for tomorrow.

Three Ways To Recycle Something You’ve Already Posted Online

2014 Artwork Recycling old stuff sketch

Although I’ve already written about how you can recycle your unpublished creative work, I thought that I’d take a look at how you can recycle your published work. Obviously, this should only be done as a last resort if you’ve got an extremely tight deadline and/or a terrible case of writer’s block or artist’s block.

Not only that, you should also check whether the site you are posting your stuff on allows repeated content. However, some of the methods I am going to describe may or may not give your “recycled” work enough originality to be classified as a new work. But, even so, you should probably play it safe and check nonetheless.

So, how can you re-post the same thing twice without alienating your audience? Here are a few basic tips.

1) Make it a feature: Back in July, when I thought that I’d have to set up another blog (and before I realised that the other site I’d started to use didn’t allow previously-published content) I needed to come up with some filler content to schedule for the first few days- and fast.

So? What did I do? Simple, I planned to start a feature called “From The Vault” where I’d show off themed collections of my old “How To Draw” guides every few days. Hell, I even made a title graphic for these posts (and I’ve already used it twice here over the past week or two):

2014 Artwork Pekoeblaze exile vault graphic

If you’ve got a large “back catalogue” of work, then collecting it together in a new way (eg: showing a couple of poems about the same subject, or a couple of paintings in the same genre) and re-posting it as a regular and/or semi-regular feature can be a good way of generating content quickly. Your regular readers will like the nostalgia trip and it allows new readers to catch up on the history of your work fairly quickly too.

2) Remake it: I’ve already written about this before and I’ve even used this old trick myself on here fairly recently. But, if you’ve got a fairly old drawing or painting that you’ve already posted online, then try re-making it from scratch.

Since a lot of time has passed since you’ve made the original picture and since you’ve hopefully learnt a lot in the meantime, then your new version of your old picture will look a lot better. Kind of like a “HD remake” of an old computer game.

Yes, this technique only works if you have enough time to do it but it can be very useful if you have artist’s block. Not only that, you can post both the new version and the old version of your picture side-by-side to both show your audience and yourself how much you’ve improved as an artist. Like this:

"Overpass (II)" By C. A. Brown

“Overpass (II)” By C. A. Brown

"Overpass" by C.A.Brown  [19th November 2012]

“Overpass” by C.A.Brown [19th November 2012]

If you’re a writer rather than an artist, then you can still use this technique – just take an old short story that you wrote at least a year ago and try to rewrite it using all of the knowledge and skills that you’ve picked up since then.

3) Add something: I’ve sure you’ve probably seen DVDs or Blu-Ray discs which claim to be an “extended version” or a “director’s cut” of a well-known film.

Sometimes, these are genuine director’s cuts – with major changes to the film in line with the director’s original vision – but they’re just as likely to be nothing more than a copy of the original film with only a few minutes of additional footage.

Well, if this trick works for Hollywood, then it can work for you too! Just take one of your old stories and try reworking it a bit – take out a few scenes that you don’t like (as long as it doesn’t affect the story) or even write a few more new scenes for it. I mean, even if it’s 90% old content and 10% new content, then your fans will probably still be interested in reading it.

But, if you haven’t changed too much, then don’t try to sell the new version of your story – it may be technically legal to call it an “expanded version”, but your fans will feel cheated. So, only make minimal changes if you’re posting something online that people can read for free.

Using this tactic with comics and art is a bit more difficult, but not impossible. You can add an additional page or chapter to your comic if you have the time to do this or you can re-edit your existing artwork digitally (if you’ve learnt a few new editing tricks or got some new image editing software).

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂