1. wolftamer9
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    wolftamer9 New Member

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    Comic Plot Gaps

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by wolftamer9, Aug 25, 2013.

    Hey, I just joined these forums. I've been planning a comic called Para for around four or five years now, and while in some ways it seems like I have a detailed, intricate, full six-arc story planned out, in reality each story arc is more like a shell, with a beginning and (sometimes) an ending. I'm considering giving up on putting things off, and just starting the comic already, but I don't think I can proceed until everything is sorted out, at least in the first arc. I don't even know if I'll be able to do it, but I at least want to try. Can anybody give me advice on how to fill the gaps and get from point A to point B? Or can anyone give suggestions about what should happen in the story?

    Here's what happens:
    A girl named Tara, who goes by Para, is diagnosed with schizophrenia because she sees ghosts. She dreams of being a paranormal detective, and one day as a teenager she meets a young boy named Norm, who's really a stranded alien trapped in a human body. He has knowledge of alien computer programming, but not anything earthly, because he's been spending his six years as a human collecting knowledge about earth. He also isn't telling Para everything about how he got to earth, as he has a criminal past. Para wants to solve a mystery, and find out where the team of aliens that brought Norm to earth went, or if any other aliens came looking for him.

    How do I go from there to them confronting an actual alien? What means of investigation could they use if Norm can't even program an earth computer? They live in New York, so checking records of abandoned children with undocumented parents would be difficult and might not yield usable results.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  2. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I have no experience with comic books but the story I'm working on at the moment had a lot of holes as well. I knew that my characters had to go from A to B but had absolutely nothing in between.

    I think you need to stop looking at the bigger picture. If you focus on just the first comic and the A to B of that story you'll have much less space to fill so you'll be able to work it out without getting too overwhelmed. Sure if you work it all out bit by bit the overall story may not flow as coherently but that's what editing is for. I find it also helps to have a really good grasp on the characters which you seem to so I can see how they would drive the story onwards and then take it from there. It may also help just to jump right into a rough draft and see where that goes.
     
  3. Petrichor
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    Petrichor Member

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    I agree with EllBee, you have a good chunk of plot developed already...you can create an entire story arc with an introduction of your character Para showing the reader that she has a sixth sense which leads up to her being misdiagnosed for schizophrenia and her ultimately meeting Norm.

    Then a second arc can be created by showing the budding relationship between Para and Norm with slight hints that Norm isn't of this world, perhaps through simple human interaction?
    And the arc ending with Para discovering that Norm is actually an alien.

    Just some ideas, I imagine the story arcs would be somewhere from 3-5 issues each

    You've been putting this project on the breaks for so long it seems to me you're just finding a new excuse to postpone production of the actual comic itself (perhaps it's the drawing aspect?) I've done a few mini comic zines in the past and have to admit that it's tedious but in every bit rewarding.

    The story has potential, but you have to stop inspecting every hole in the plot. If you actually begin to create the comic, every hole in the story will get covered as characters begin to develop, just run with what you have already man!
     
  4. wolftamer9
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    wolftamer9 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll see what I can do. I do already know how I'm going to introduce the characters, and some later characters for that matter, although your suggestions were pretty good. I'd like to do what you both suggested once I start writing the script and just write what makes sense. What I'm worried about here is that I don't know what to do next. Once the investigation begins, I don't know how they would even start. I'll try not worrying about where they're going and just let things take their course though.
     
  5. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I find it helps to get to a point first. I spent about a month wondering about how two of my characters would meet a few chapters into a story but when I actually got up to it I found that it all just fell into place and I had only one way to go. I learned the hard way that it's pointless to spend a month wondering about what will happen at a point that will take you two months to get up to. You know that there will be an investigation later on so get to that first and then see what makes the most sense.

    For example what if Norm somehow finds an alien computer that he could program and gets info to help the investigation from that source?
     
  6. wolftamer9
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    wolftamer9 New Member

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    I figured the answer out a while back when the thread wasn't months old. Norm uses radio equipment to digitally communicate with the spaceship Norm arrived in, since he's got such advanced knowledge of alien computers, and radio equipment could easily be something aliens know about. But now I've got another problem.


    I'm wondering how I can make the story more interesting. I searched google for tips on writing mysteries, and I came up with a small list of notes on the subject. Notably in the list is that:
    • The detective must use logical deduction to solve the crime.
    • The killer should be introduced early on as a relevant character.
    • The clues should make it possible for the reader to figure out the solution to the case.
    • The detective must be tested in some way at least twice, one instance resulting in discovering the killer.
    One thing I forgot to mention is that everyone on the ship except for Norm and the responsible killer was murdered. This wasn't important at the time, so I didn't bring it up, but it's important now, as that's what they're trying to find. One problem is that the killer can't be introduced as a character until after they find the spaceship. Another thing is that using radio equipment to find the ship doesn't seem like much of a "test".

    So how do I make the story more interesting and follow the guidelines a bit better?
     
  7. wolftamer9
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    wolftamer9 New Member

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    (I don't know if this should have a new thread. should it?) Okay, this is really bothering me. I've been tweaking the plot left and right, but no matter what I do I can't think of a way to give Para "tests" in the plot. If she doesn't do anything until they discover the villain, then she doesn't really deserve the main role in the story, even though in later stories she does lots of relevant things. My mom thinks there's something inorganic about the story, as she put it, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is. What should I do to change the story?
     
  8. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Change the story. No, really. Change it all.

    You're still at a flexible stage here: the beginning. The story dough hasn't been baked yet, better, it hasn't even been moulded. Ask yourself, you imagination, what needs to be different about the plot and characters and setting.

    Ever notice how serial cartoons have small events that naturally lead to plots and resolutions, all in twenty minutes of screen time? Maybe take notes on some of those.

    Try simplifying your characters. You'd be surprised how many details don't actually matter.

    Pick a different plot. You said yourself that Para is more involved in later stories. Just how many comics actually have to begin with origins? You can do that in a special edition later, when the idea has finally come to you (though having a vague idea of how they started will let you drop hints throughout the first issues).

    Every time I write something, I start it five times. If it's still Swiss cheese, I know that it needs a very big change.
     
  9. wolftamer9
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    wolftamer9 New Member

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    See, while that's great advice, the problem is I've been developing this idea for years (and I already started writing the script). It's hard to let go of something like that, and my ideas have suffered before because I couldn't let go of old ideas that didn't age well. Some parts are all perfect in my head, while others are extremely flawed and full of holes.

    Still, it's a good idea. Maybe I'll make the character introduction a backstory and create a whole new mystery to start the series off, leading into the discovery of what would have been the first villain. But it's gonna take a lot more preparation.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like your ideas, @wolftamer9. All you need to do is start writing the stories. They grow and develop on the page, they don't need to be born fully grown.
     

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