I'm not sure how I found Catalyst. It's been on the edge of my radar for quite a while now, but I never did remember how I found it.
However... I came across it regardless, on a whim I went through the archives recently. It's quite a fun read... the art is gorgeous, the characters (well some of them) are interesting and the world is nicely different and original.
I won't say the writing is bad or anything per-se... but I will be honest that after getting to the end of the archive, something really niggled me about the story, especially when I can't help but feel that something is missing.
I frequently think about what makes good storytelling. In fact I've been accused of (and plead guilty to) of thinking too much. In my previous entry I think I mentioned a phrase that stuck in my head shortly afterward:
Some good writers are bad at telling stories.
This is something I feel quite keenly, because I have a feeling I myself sit in this demographic; that is, I have a pretty good command of the English language, I can write fairly decently and I'm aware what makes for bad writing; I can come up with unconventional original ideas and plots and have the added bonus of being able to draw somewhat.
But damn me, telling them stories well is where I run into all the problems. More often than not what I end up with is a faded, meandering, afterimage of what I envisioned, with the important things left out and what that does remain being arranged out of order.
This is particularly prevalent in my experimental comic, The Longest Sojourn. Granted, it IS a comic I started when I was a gawky teen, when I wasn't aware of the importance of scripting and storyboarding. You can see it by how the chapters jump here and there, and how the plot gets more caught up with the characters's development it forgets about the direction and all that and meanders unnecessarily. Part of it is due to schedule, of course. Having to rush pages in-between real life commitments and flights and buses and trains doesn't make for smooth storyflow. Still...
Anyone can tell a story. The telling it well part is the hard thing.
Hm... about that something about Catalyst which still niggles me, even though I'm willing to bet most of the readers will not notice it on a conscious level- I think I know what it is now. I see too much of the same storytelling flaws I've made in it to be comfortable.
There's a good story in there, make no doubt about that, but means of execution did not do it justice, and that was the niggling feeling. It could have been amazing and it only ended up pretty good.
There is a reason why I turned to scripting entire stories and getting them proof-read and rewriting the flaws out of them before even committing them to paper. Storytelling flaws, once executed, sadly cannot be corrected.
And I knew all this, but sometimes I forget them too.
Well I always did say the main reason I write this blog is to improve my art and writing skills.
Once in a while, I re-learn a lesson I forgot too, and be brought into awareness on how there's a gap in my knowledge that I still need to fill.
And make use of.