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ocel0t's avatar

Dangerous Ladykiller

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Hi everyone! I am starting on building a comic, but I am mainly in the drafting mode. It'll probably take me a few months to get to actually writing, but I really want people to like this comic I am making. I have inspiration behind him, whether its Scott Pilgrim, Modern Fantasy, or an old story I tried to create but went down hill. However, I just don't know what some cliche, unoriginal, story plots people are throwing into the mix out there.

It's a heavily based female comic, though I am hoping to create more males! Mostly all of the characters are named after a certain flower. Like my main three characters are Lilac, Tulip and Ash. All with diverse backgrounds but still flowing, it's just the setting I want to throw them into. I know for sure I don't want to stick them into a high school setting but more of a pre-college, or college, lifestyle.


TL;DR
Creating a comic, need tips and pointers and what to stay away from. It'll most likely be a Modern Fantasy based era!

Also, a nice "how to create a catchy title" would be pretty neat too c:
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

It's hard to tell you what not to do, partly because there's a lot you shouldn't do, but also because a lot of things that might seem awful can be done very well. I recommend hopping on TVTropes and familiarising yourself with some of the tropes you expect to have in your comic (warning: TVTropes will suck away all of your free time if you're not careful). I recommend looking up works that are somewhat similar, and looking through their trope lists. See which tropes work well for those works and try to figure out why that is. Same for tropes which work against them. But remember: Tropes are not bad!

You could post your story summary and character concepts for critique, so that we can give more concrete pointers.

Also, do not set out to make a comic everybody will like. You'll only set yourself up for disappointment. Make a comic you would want to read, and try not to turn away everybody else in the process.


Catchy titles: There's no "how to" really, it's a matter of trial and error.

Some criteria that might help:
1. Keep it easy to remember/say/spell. Most people take this to mean "make it short", but it doesn't have to be. "Lord of the Rings" isn't all that short, and neither is "A Series of Unfortunate Events", but these are successful titles because they're simple to remember and they don't sound like other things. They're composed of words everybody knows, but in contexts that aren't very typical, which makes them memorable.
If you want to be daring and use fictional words/names as your title (e.g. Skyrim, The Hobbit, Ayreon), you should make them easy to pronounce and make the pronunciation evident from the spelling (note that this depends on the language of the audience, so base it on your target audience).

2. The title should give the feel of the work. Tone and theme are the big ones here. A fantasy work would benefit from having fantastical concepts implied in the title. Hinting at the setting is good too, but explicitly stating it is usually a bad idea since settings are usually not the main draw of a story.
So, "The Dark Tower" (hinting at a bleak tone and some sort of important, fantastical tower - a non-fantastical tower probably wouldn't be "dark") is a better title than "The Gunslinger" even though both are relevant to the story - the latter says nothing about the tone, and gunslingers are associated with westerns and specifically crime-themed action stories.

3. Avoid being overly specific. The title is one of the first opportunities you have to grab potential readers. At that point, they don't care about anything in your story, so if you throw something at them that only has significance to someone who has read the story, it's not going to stick. You can certainly reference story-specific events and concepts in your title, but they should sound intriguing on their own. Most readers aren't going to care about "Blake's Frog" unless they already know who Blake is and why a frog is significant at all, but "The Mage's Frog" is a bit more interesting because it gives some more general context, and provides an unusual juxtaposition.

4. Avoid being overly general or describing the entire genre. This one is closely related to #2. The title should be specific to the work, and should probably not work well for any other work. A generic title doesn't make people interested in your work, and it makes it sound like your work doesn't bring anything new to the table. "The Witch of New York" sounds like a generic urban fantasy set in NYC, or worse - like an essay about either history or the genre. "A Summoner on Broadway" sounds much more specific and even implies what some of the stakes in the story are - Broadway is famous for its big theatres, so if something nasty gets summoned there, a lot of people would be in danger. And that's fun to read about!
The only thing you should avoid doing is cliche's. People don't like them, they're overused, and they kill "originality". Be the person who sets a new trend, don't follow ones made by previous authors.

Also make you actually love what you're writing. Get a script of an entire chapter done before you work on it.

From there, storyboard in sketches.

Once you have an idea of which speech bubbles can fit in which panels, the flow of conversations from speech bubbles, and the tempo to the next chapter via page-flow, you're basically riding it home with the art.
ocel0t's avatar

Dangerous Ladykiller

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Kyousouka
I
You could post your story summary and character concepts for critique, so that we can give more concrete pointers.

Also, do not set out to make a comic everybody will like.


3. Avoid being overly specific. Most readers aren't going to care about "Blake's Frog" unless they already know who Blake is and why a frog is significant at all, but "The Mage's Frog" is a bit more interesting because it gives some more general context, and provides an unusual juxtaposition.

Thank you so much for your wisdom! I would post my plot, but that is still in a developing mode with a rather jumbled idea of what I want to happen. The main thing is just about a girl trying to find herself, by running away from the things back home.

And so in that case, I'm confused with titles. Knowing that saying something as just the girl's name would be dumb, but if I were to go with "Lilac's Lie" would that leave someone uninterested? Even after the summary of the comic talks about the main character being named Lilac. Or, should I rather go with something more like "The New Girl's Secret"? I know its a much longer title, (and would probably not go with something like that) but does it all really depend on how much information you give, that makes the title interesting?
ocel0t's avatar

Dangerous Ladykiller

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xVagina Explosionx
The only thing you should avoid doing is cliche's. People don't like them, they're overused, and they kill "originality". Be the person who sets a new trend, don't follow ones made by previous authors.

Also make you actually love what you're writing. Get a script of an entire chapter done before you work on it.

Ah, good! I planned on working on the script first, just so I'm not confused when drawing nor frustrated.

However, I'm not really well known about Comic cliches. I know of the Mary Sues and Gary Stus aspects, but not of plot lines. (except of course, of the over used say about a girl who meets a cat and is now protector of the earth...or the guy is now the chosen one to save the planet.)
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

ocel0t
Thank you so much for your wisdom! I would post my plot, but that is still in a developing mode with a rather jumbled idea of what I want to happen. The main thing is just about a girl trying to find herself, by running away from the things back home.

It's much easier to just help you find problems once you have a detailed summary written. Crafting a story is 10% writing, 90% editing. Even the best writers often have to make major changes in the process of writing, as they can't anticipate every problem.

The way to avoid problems is to make sure that everything you do is for a good reason, that everything enhances the story/the art's ability to tell the story. If something can be chalked up to laziness, it's probably (but not necessarily!) a poor decision.

ocel0t
And so in that case, I'm confused with titles. Knowing that saying something as just the girl's name would be dumb, but if I were to go with "Lilac's Lie" would that leave someone uninterested? Even after the summary of the comic talks about the main character being named Lilac. Or, should I rather go with something more like "The New Girl's Secret"? I know its a much longer title, (and would probably not go with something like that) but does it all really depend on how much information you give, that makes the title interesting?

"Lilac's Lie" might actually be a good title for a wholly different reason - alliteration! Alliteration is catchy.

As for information conveyed through a title - it matters, but it's not simply a matter of "more is better." The type of information is what matters. "The Mage's Frog" works because it juxtaposes two entities that normally have no relation. "The New Girl's Secret" isn't interesting because there's nothing inherently unusual about a new girl having secrets. The only curiosity there is why this is worthy of being the title to begin with - sadly, that doesn't amount to much in this case.

Since "Lilac's Lie" gives no indication otherwise, a person will assume there's nothing fantastical about the story, that it's a drama story about a girl named Lilac who has to deal with the consequences of a lie. If that's what it is, then that's great! But if there is magic, then you're risking getting attention from the wrong audience, and being ignored by your target audience.

A title needs to either make the reader curious, or get lodged in the reader's head. The best titles do both. You can achieve these things in a million different ways.

However, remember that your title will rarely be on its own, especially in a visual medium like comics! You can use your logo and/or banner/cover to add an extra layer of meaning to your title. For example, if you combine "Lilac's Lie" with a visual of magical sparks, a reader will be curious about how the two relate, and they'll suspect the story is fantasy.




Jan 9 Edit: Get a good chunk of your comic done before you give it a title. If you can get the whole thing written first, do that. You'll have a much better idea of your tone, themes, setting, etc. You might even be able to mine it for quotes that make good titles.
Stories change in the process of being written. If yours doesn't, you're probably not looking hard enough for ways to improve it xP These changes can make a title meaningless, so it's best to wait before settling on one. Nothing wrong with a working title though, as long as you don't advertise it.

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