Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hotspot #16: Happy Birthday. Now here's a white glove to the face!

So it was my Birthday on the 13th (last Saturday).

While I spent it in a manner that was err... interesting, what I want to talk about today is how birthdays make you think about your life and all that you have achieved and all that you haven't.

In my previous Hotspot I talked about time and comics, and the good thing about it is that it made me look beyond the present and what I wanted to be doing comic-wise, a year from now.

Let's be honest, I love my experimental comic, The Longest Sojourn. Messing around with it has taught me so much, but I don't want to be still doing it by next year. I want to be working on The Jaded by then. I fully intend to finish these two comics, and I already have another one lined up that I don't want to be starting until at least finish TLS.

The thing is, TLS is indeed on its penultimate chapter. And while that sounds tantalizingly close to completion, it's not when you bring out the math.

My chapters for TLS average at around 60 pages per chapter. I update a page every week. I'm currently close to halfway through the 2nd last chapter, so even with my conservative estimate of needing at least 100 pages more to finish the story, it's going to take me 100 weeks to finish the comic.

100 weeks is 2 years, give or take a few weeks. So regardless of what I want, I will still be doing TLS this time next year at the rate I am going.

Let me reiterate this. I do not want to still be doing TLS by next year.

And I do not intend to leave it unfinished.

Which means there is only one solution to this problem. Despite my real life commitments, difficulties and what not, I need to increase my update frequency. There is no way around it.

Sometimes, nothing is as good a motivator to a flagging schedule as asking yourself what you want to be doing the same time next year and crunching the numbers for the math.

Updating once a week = 52 pages
Updating twice a week = 104 pages

So the gauntlet is down. 

As they say: nothing to it but to do it.


  1. Happy Birthday, Ping! YAY!! :-D
    (maybe I should ask you to define 'interesting' in the context of your celebrations...)

    Anyway, I know where you're coming from with this post - having a serialised story where the arcs are long and complex can make for an update marathon. I was facing a similar situation with the previous chapter of Magellan - what I had originaly planned would take 100 pages/1 year max was still going some 200+pages and more than 2 years later... with the end some distance in the future. Although I was starting to feel somewhat fatigued by that point I really wanted to get it finished... and finished within the year.

    At one point I pushed the update schedule to 3 pages (up from 2 pages) per week. I was able to sustain that up to a point but the art and my sanity started to suffer as a result.

    The next solution was to look at how I could push the story along by trimming all but the necessary components out of it - it was a case of "getting to the point"). It might sound like a brutal process but I believe it tightened up the last 75 or so pages very nicely and helped get me across the finish line a lot sooner than I might have otherwise. The overall story didn't seem to suffer as a result, if anything it was improved (but that's just a personal opinion!) I learnt a fair bit about narrative structure as a result. Whatever you decide to help you achieve that goal... good luck!

  2. Wish I was there to witness your "interesting" birthday :p
    Can't wait to see more of TLS. Yay!

    And glad you like my two minute sketch HNTRAC style, right before my car crash too!

  3. I think I remember those days I was updating The Jaded twice a week and TLS 3 times a week, writing for Comixpedia and moderating for CG. It was pretty insane.

    I think you did a pretty fine job at Bad Karma, Stephen. It was uncommonly long, And I probably would have broken it up into two parts, but overall it was sublime.

    I'm kind of curious on how the crossover with Mindmistress will go. Al is a fine writer, I remember when I worked with him to do that Clan of the Cats guest story it went so awesomely smoothly. I think the best thing is he's open to changes and suggestions. It's not like a you-draw-I-write thing.

    Maybe I should start doing collaborations again, now that's Golden's over. *sigh*

    "Interesting" celebration... hehe I mentioned that to a Polish guy at work and he said: "A lot of drink then?" without skipping a beat. Uncanny people, the Poles. Or maybe it's just customary for them at birthdays ^_^.