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  • Read Sorcery 101 writer notes Final Thoughts

    Here is another batch of writer notes on Sorcery 101. If you want to read ahead on these got ahead on these head over to my patreon.
    Sorcery 101 was my first comic. It took me 11 years to completely. In that time I learned a lot about storytelling and basically grew up. It’s hard for me to look at the beginning chapters because the pacing in those early days meanders a lot. Now I definitely prefer tighter stories. That change in preference and my general tightening up of writing has left Sorcery 101 lopsided. Looking at the two omnibus volumed, a lot more happens in the second half. It’s also unclear what the story is about in the first half, even though I always planned to end it the way it ends.

    I’ve gotten comments about the ending being abrupt and leaving nothing resolved. But there isn’t much else to do with Danny. The unresolved bits are parts of stories that are only tangental related. It would have been impossible to wrap them all up without another several hundred pages. I put them all in there because I saw in the stories I really enjoyed hints of other stories going on beyond the one we were paying attention to. It was something I wanted to replicate. But with my inexperience in storytelling I gave too much screen time to what should have been shorter looks at the world beyond Danny. As I realized that I started to cut out stuff in the latter half of Sorcery 101, most of it about Jeff, Connor, and Kayla. Their stories effected Danny the least, so I cut them down to what was tied to the main plot or had an effect on it, like Connor sleeping with Seth.

    The amount of filler in the beginning of Sorcery 101 makes it a weird story to read. It doesn’t quite work online or in final print. I’ve notice this odd pacing in a several other webcomics. It makes me wonder if the influence/source of the problem was the same. I’m dyslexic and didn’t get into books until I discovered audiobooks in college. At the start of Sorcery 101 my main influencers of story telling were mostly TV and a handful of manga. Both of which are designed to keep going until the audience loses interest rather than to tell a story. I liked stories where there was a big picture getting slowly built from tinier stories. Shows were you still had to watch episodes in order. Those episodes had filler but never for too long and usually that gave the characters room to breath and grow. I tried to do something like that with Sorcery 101. But it is hard to read when you get 3 pages a week. It wouldn’t even work if you got a page everyday. See when TV had a filler episode or manga had a filler chapter, you didn’t have to wait long for the next chunk. Next week their be more. Where as a filler chapter of Sorcery 101 meant a 3 month break. Then if you are bingde reading the book, your story is getting interrupted by something that ends up not mattering. It reads a little bit better in print but it’s still a weird pacing for a book. Overall, after writing 1400 page comic I think long and hard about how long my stories are now and how they read but as they update and when they are finished. I also frequently ask myself is this page/scene/chapter necessary to the story I’m telling.

    Another thing I started thinking about more toward the end of Sorcery 101, was world building. But that has more to do with why I’m probably not returning to the Sorcery 101 world rather than Sorcery 101 itself. Until about 2012, I fully intended to do more stories in this world. After all, then I could actually tell all those stories I was hinting at in Sorcery 101. At that point I had started to tighten up Sorcery 101 main storyline. It was easier because I told myself “Jeff and Connor starting college can just be it’s own comic.” I even wrote a whole draft of the story of how Brad became a werewolf and met Ally. But as I wrote that I started to chafe at the Sorcery 101 world. It was too close to our universe and I was tired of telling people this world wasn’t ours. Also I was going through audiobooks pretty quickly and getting a taste of better more interesting world building. I wanted to put something together that someone would look at the art and instantly see the story didn’t take place in our world. That’s why I ended up writing Fame and Misfortune and started The City Between. It would be a series I could start and stop as it interested me since that stories would all be able to stand alone and I could fully design the world. I would keep the made up histories and city names there and keep anything that needed a setting like the modern day real world in the modern day real world, like Misfits of Avalon.

    I’m glad I stuck to my plan for Sorcery 101 over all though. As flawed as that end was, I don’t think I would have finished the comic if I had to come up with a better ending. There was too much about the comic I had out grown. The redoing the first 450 page to make a book made that clear. A lot of the jokes got toned down or thrown out cause they weren’t funny were over done or just plain offensive. I still liked writing and drawing Danny and everyone at the end of it but I was also starting to get offers that would help push my comics career further. Nearly everything about my life was telling me it was time to move on from this.

  • The Better to Find You With page 4 is up

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    The Better to Find You With page 4 is up.

    Kel has a Patreon! If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! It also will also get you free sketches, earlier writer notes, and a behind the scenes look of the business side of my comics.

  • Read Sorcery 101 writer notes Chapter 38

    Here is another batch of writer notes on Sorcery 101. If you want to read ahead on these got ahead on these head over to my patreon.

    Chapter 38

    Title page
    So I like this idea of Danny being tied up by blood ropes. I have used it in a few promo images for Sorcery 101 in the last few years. The red and teal are the same colors I used for Enemies 2. Since this is a big chapter and is sad I wanted to tie it to a previous chapter where Danny was crushed by Seth.

    page 1358 – 1360

    This is where influence from Joss Whedon shows the most. Cause here is a nice happy scene before something terrible happens. I also put in some info about what lead to Danny and Jackie’s divorce. There have been hints that Danny did some scummy things before his marriage ended. Sleeping around was one of them.

    page 1361 – 1366

    Both these scenes are mostly set up and exposition needed for the end of the chapter. Aaron and Loki’s meeting with Kira also makes it more obvious how much power Asagi has. The order is made of Asagi, Suryu, Frost and a woman named Lilandra, who were all turned by the first vampire. The rest of the Order was turned by Asagi. So votes usually go in his favor. Also her computer business is to go against the stereotype of vampires being associated with older things and I always like it when powerful character have their own things going on.

    Pat still not very good at teaching earth spells. Also, I wanted to make it clear through Pat why Cassia is going to jump Brad and Ally. Basically, no one who knows about the supernatural will buy the suicide angle.

    page 1367 – 1373

    So this whole fight is basically how someone weaker than Seth can get the better of him if they are prepared. Note that Aaron very reloads the gun because he knew he wouldn’t have time because of Seth’s speed. I liked choreographing the fight and thinking how Loki and Aaron keep switching back and forth on who attacks Seth. But Seth focuses on grabbing Aaron cause he’s the weakest. It was all fun to draw. That is the end of Seth’s coat but he’ll probably get a new one.

    page 1374 – 1381

    When Seth comes up to Danny, he’s still got a hole in his shirt from getting shot because I wanted it to be clear that he has been on the move since his fight with Aaron and Loki. This scene I also wanted to establish that since Danny know what Seth is up to now, they are a little more balanced powerwise. However, Danny also realizes that this is a case where if Seth’s in trouble, he’s in trouble. We also get to see Seth drive for the first time.

    Ally and Brad’s scene is mostly about getting them in place for their finale.

    page 1382 – 1389

    Cars are hard to draw. Clearly artist me did murdered writer me’s parents and needed to be punished. This maybe didn’t come out exactly as planned. It was cooler in my head. If I wasn’t judging this Misfits of Avalon, I could have spent more time to make these pages work better. But they turned out okayish. I like Danny’s screaming face on page 1383. I also liked thinking of the actually effects of Seth’s bad driving such as Danny throwing up and Seth going out the window. That is the end of Danny’s porche. He won’t be buying a new one.

    I always think about show don’t tell and I wanted to save the explanation for how Seth can go in sunlight for a late reveal. It’s also why neither of them flat out say it’s Seth’s pendent. But I had Seth burn his hand a little to visually make the point clear. It’s the last bit of given Danny a more even playing field before I kick all his happiness out from under him. Like Seth is still stronger, Danny now knows Seth’s biggest secret and Seth can’t control him. Seth can still threaten him but Danny can respond by not doing what Seth wants. So I’m making Danny feel pretty cocky for a guy who’s car just got totaled.

    page 1390 – 1392

    Cassia stays in shadow cause the sunlight will burn her up. Her hand is shaking because I wanted it to be clear how upset she is. And Brad’s wound smokes after getting grazed by the first shot to show it’s silver. Some folks must of missed that because I got some comments along the lines of “how can a shot to the gut kill Brad if a shot to the chest didn’t earlier in his life?” But that detail is why I focused on Ally looking at Brad’s minor injury rather than Cassia’s face. So Brad gets shot pushing Ally out of the way but Ally hits Cassia hard enough to knock her into sunlight. I cut off there because I wanted it open ended until Brad’s funeral.

    page 1393 – 1399

    I like that Seth sees Loki and Aaron and then immediately makes a break for it. I also enjoy Seth being upside down most of the scene. It made this whole scene which is very text heavy more fun to draw. The amount of text is really clunky at the start of the scene. When Danny hears the news I tired to make him look small. I probably should have done something more interesting with the text as it hits him. Cause the details aren’t super important. I maybe should have faded it out and made it the background. That would have been better.

    page 1400 – 1403

    This whole exchange between Aaron and Danny I tried to make Danny look small. Also Aaron offers Danny a cigarette as a peace offering to mirror him refusing to give Danny one when they first met. I also tried to make sure that Aaron is sympathic to Danny’s plite. I also wanted to end on Danny’s shocked expression about Brad. I tried to slowly zoom in on Danny as he found out in those last 3 panels.

    page 1404 – 1407

    This is Brad’s funeral. I had some people who thought it was Danny’s but Brad’s family is at the funeral and none of Danny’s. Also Danny’s a member of the royal family in another country. So his fake funeral is pretty showy. I asked Andrew to pick kinda dull colors for these last few pages, cause sad times. I wanted the first page to have no diolague for the same reason. When things move over to Danny’s new apartment I wanted to make is seem very empty. Any finally the last page is the same layout as the title page for the first chapter.

  • The Better to Find You With page 3 is up

    20170124

    The Better to Find You With page 3 is up.

    Kel has a Patreon! If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! It also will also get you free sketches, earlier writer notes, and a behind the scenes look of the business side of my comics.

  • I’ll be at NYCC this weekend

    Hey folks! I’ll be at NYCC this week. I’l at table I-5 in artist alley. It’s right here:

    I’ll also have two signings at the Darkhorse booth.

    Thursday, October 5th at 2:00pm – 2:45pm

    Sunday, October 8th at 11:00am – 11:45am

    I’ll also be on a panel Thursday morning. Come here me talk about Fantasy Worldbuilding. It’s 11:15am in room 1A05!