Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting Stuck

The Wotch is one of the comics I keep checking and hoping it'll update.  The last actual story update was 2 years ago, almost exactly.  There's been a couple of guest strips, but that's about it.  At least until this week when it was announced the comic was coming out of it's unplanned hiatus.  Which of course means I had an article idea all set up to feature the comic and it threw all those plans in the gutter and stomped on them.

I'm still going to do the article, of course, but now that there is a solution to the hole the Wotch got stuck in, I can at least cover that as well.  I've been stuck before, not just writing this blog, but writing in general.  Writing and artistic blocks are hard to overcome.  The first step in doing it is to determine WHY you're stuck.  The issues vary but can easily determine the best course of action to resolving the problem.  Anne has made clear that the Wotch's problem had multiple layers so I'll cover each of them as best I can.

The simplest problem is simple writers block, unable to figure out where to go next with a story.  It seems obvious that the most recent (the one that stalled 2 years ago) wasn't exactly going the way they wanted, and they couldn't quite figure out how to make it do so.  Solutions here are many, and the Wotch actually has several options.  The first is to simply abandon the story, snip it from the archive and start a new story.  Given that this last story line was fairly young, this wouldn't have been too bad a solution.

The next is go with another story.  The Wotch has quite a cast behind it, so simply switching over to a "meanwhile" type storyline until the other one gelled would have been a perfectly valid solution to the problem.  Also simply resolving the stuck story "off panel" would have helped as well, adding some mystery and drama to a tale that may not have had it before.  As of yet, there's no indication on what they're going to do to resolve the storyline, but I think a partial reboot may come into play, and likely simply remove the story the got everyone stuck in the first place.  We'll see next week when the comic updates.

Artistic blocks are something I sadly can't relate to (I draw terrible stick figures).  I think the best solution here is to simply draw.  It doesn't have to be comic characters or anything, but draw.  Flex your artistic muscles and try to get back into it.  That still may not work, and I have no solutions to offer.  It seems, though Anne has had a bit of an artistic block, but the real problem is more about time and stress.

Which are the two biggest and hardest problems to solve.  The vast majority of webcomic artists are NOT professionals, they do other work and webcomics are a hobby.  When it comes head to head with real life responsibilities and work, then webcomics lose, and lose badly.  I think this is the majority of the problems for the Wotch, and I can provide no easy solution.

That said, the Wotch has found their solution to the problem:  Letting others take up some of the load.  Ian Samson, creator of City of Reality, is taking up the bulk of the artistic duties and probably will have quite a bit of input storywise.  They've also cut back on updates to once a week.  This SHOULD allow the comic to come back to full strength in a few months.  But nothing is guaranteed.

I'm glad the Wotch is coming back to life.  A 2 year hiatus is a LONG hiatus for any comic, though, so we'll see if it can recapture it's former magic (heh).

Until next time kiddies.

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