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So, I am almost done with my second chapter of my webcomic. I'm looking back on this second chapter and realize that there wasn't really a plot. Everything I did seems pretty essential for the future, but in the short term, it feels like I lost the momentum I had in the first chapter. Now I don't know what to cut our or add in it to make this better.

Basically what happened is that Ch. 1 deals with the incident that sets the characters on their journey. The main character decides to assassinate the king of his country, but this is complicated by his feelings for the princess. The two of them decide to set out together, him trying to keep his resolve to die a savior, and her trying to find another path for them to take.

Ch. 2 deals with the addition of a third character (a knight character who lends much needed contrast and balance to the story) and their crossing the distance needed to continue their journey. This chapter has a lot of important elements like world-building, character development, and establishing character relationships, but the only thing that actually happened was the characters went from point A to point B with some internal conflicts, but little or no external opposition. This chapter has some solid humor and charm to make it worthwhile, but it lacks the tension and drama of the first chapter and third chapter that follow it.

The story may make chronological sense without this second chapter if I just said "They traveled from here to there" quickly. But, if I were to remove the scenes completely like that, there wouldn't be any weight to the major plot points. The reason being, you wouldn't know these characters enough to care what happens to them. They wouldn't have developed relationships amongst each other deep enough for you to buy the risks they take for each other.

So, I'm wondering where the happy medium is, or if maybe there's something new I could add at some point to add the needed tension or drama.
Kohikki's avatar

Devoted Pup

I actually think chapter 2 is pretty important.
It's nice to spend some more time with the characters, I think their relationship is deepened from what I've read of this chapter. (And now I've read the whole thing and my opinion is unchanged. biggrin )
And of course we learned more about Felicia... I don't really think there's much that should be cut here... Like you said, there's a lot of charm.

Not that I'm the best to be giving advice, heh. I'm really enjoying this though.
I would think about it how long the second chapter is. I mean, I don't mind sort of "bumper" chapter before the story really begins, if the chapter isn't ridiculously long, otherwise it's kind of turn off, at least in web comics. Of course, this is just the reader's point of view.
Kohikki
I actually think chapter 2 is pretty important.
It's nice to spend some more time with the characters, I think their relationship is deepened from what I've read of this chapter. (And now I've read the whole thing and my opinion is unchanged. biggrin )
And of course we learned more about Felicia... I don't really think there's much that should be cut here... Like you said, there's a lot of charm.

Not that I'm the best to be giving advice, heh. I'm really enjoying this though.


Thanks! I appreciate the input. The readership has declined a little, and reader activity on the site (comments and stuff) has declined. But this may not be the reason for it. So any and all feedback is important for me right now.

Empuska
I would think about it how long the second chapter is. I mean, I don't mind sort of "bumper" chapter before the story really begins, if the chapter isn't ridiculously long, otherwise it's kind of turn off, at least in web comics. Of course, this is just the reader's point of view.


All the chapters I've planned to be similar in length because I'm compiling them into books. It's going to end up about 70 pages, which is not a lot in the world of manga but for a webcomic it represents over half a year of updates. But... maybe I could have made this chapter a bit shorter and released it with a bonus story for the print version.

Although the print version represents a very slim portion of my audience, they are also the only paying part of the audience, so I have to think about how they'll receive the story. rofl I can just imagine being at a con and somebody asking me "what happens in this book?" and I say "ummmm" which is a terrible problem for me. xp
This is probably why you should write more than one chapter ahead.

EDIT: Sorry, this came off harsher than I intended. Basically, while character-development chapters and/or episodes are important, you must make sure that the character development moves in a way that will benefit the plot later on.

But you really need to plan further ahead.
Zee Coldwater
This is probably why you should write more than one chapter ahead.

EDIT: Sorry, this came off harsher than I intended. Basically, while character-development chapters and/or episodes are important, you must make sure that the character development moves in a way that will benefit the plot later on.

But you really need to plan further ahead.


Eh, well I did. I write several chapters ahead of myself in full script, and I have a detailed outline for the rest of the way through to the very end of the story. Everything that occurs in this in-between place benefits the plot later on. That is my problem. I don't feel like I can cut anything and still keep the story in tact, but I feel like it is getting boring.

I'm really trying to think of an alternate way to provide the reader with the same information, but still keep the story suspenseful.
            ɩ ʟσvҽ τнҽ wɑʏ ʏσυ ʟɩҽ
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                      I've actually just read your comic through tonight and enjoyed it. What I think is missing but isn't too late to point out is to have a strong opposing character. Someone that's going to try to stop them from assassinating the king. So far it's been her talking about being killed whether she succeeds or not, but there isn't much opposition aside from what's inside her mind (if that makes any sense). Maybe bring in a group even, like the King's royal guards (since the princess had a set of guards). That way you could even bring back some of the princess' guards later on if you wanted in a different chapter.

                      All in all I've liked the flow of the story so far and how you've introduced the characters and the general plot. Hopefully this helped somewhat.

                      Edit :
                      Another thought would be, since they're traveling the next day (if I remember right), a good way to introduce the opposing character would to just cut away from the duo/trio and move to them. Since by then it would be safe to assume the guards have shown up for work and they realize that the princess isn't there, and have to inform someone about the disappearance. That way you could also gauge the King's reaction as well and provide some more depth about the King, since we know close-to-nothing about him yet.
Sanguine Balladist
            ɩ ʟσvҽ τнҽ wɑʏ ʏσυ ʟɩҽ
            ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••



                      I've actually just read your comic through tonight and enjoyed it. What I think is missing but isn't too late to point out is to have a strong opposing character. Someone that's going to try to stop them from assassinating the king. So far it's been her talking about being killed whether she succeeds or not, but there isn't much opposition aside from what's inside her mind (if that makes any sense). Maybe bring in a group even, like the King's royal guards (since the princess had a set of guards). That way you could even bring back some of the princess' guards later on if you wanted in a different chapter.

                      All in all I've liked the flow of the story so far and how you've introduced the characters and the general plot. Hopefully this helped somewhat.

                      Edit :
                      Another thought would be, since they're traveling the next day (if I remember right), a good way to introduce the opposing character would to just cut away from the duo/trio and move to them. Since by then it would be safe to assume the guards have shown up for work and they realize that the princess isn't there, and have to inform someone about the disappearance. That way you could also gauge the King's reaction as well and provide some more depth about the King, since we know close-to-nothing about him yet.


Thanks for reading through it! 3nodding I know it's really long so it's a lot of work, so thanks very much. Those are some really good ideas that you threw out for me.

I have these characters that are an opposing force, but they don't show themselves very often. They were going to appear in the next chapter to stop the assassination attempt, but cutting to a scene of them now would be pretty effective, like you said. I was going to cut to the revolutionary faction, but I think I will cut to the king instead. I should write more encounters with these characters into the plot. That would raise the tension a little, I think.

Here's a breakdown of them:

Prince Argotta: Lavender's younger brother, who is a sadistic little terror. He meets them by protecting his father (next chapter), but later disobeys the king and hunts the heroes for his own reasons.

Alexander: The hooded figure who spoke to Felicia in part 1. Second-in-command of the revolutionary forces. He appears to be an ally at first, but it's easy to see that he's manipulating the princess to some other end.

Venessa: King Meavian's personal aide, a secret assassin. She and her group are to discreetly hunt for Lavender.

Although I have these characters, I haven't really made many opportunities for the king himself to appear. So far, we don't really know why Felicia wants to kill him so badly other than it is a misled personal issue.

So, I'll cut to the next scene of Meavian being a royal a*****e and introducing some of those characters. XD Thanks for helping me with this idea!
Reveal those world building and characterization elements through side conflicts. (Look up "rising action" if you're not familiar with it.)

Subplots should be related to the main problem, but they don't have to be directly leading to it. Like, maybe a conflict arises as a result of the main problem, but is actually irrelevant to resolving the main problem. (Also, later you can bring something back from the subplot to help your characters.)

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