The mediums may be different, but writers and comic creators have the same goals: to create stories and share them. I've been thinking about how writers handle their work, and I've realized that working more like a writer could help me with updating my comic.
I've been posting two pages every other week of my current comic Mandy & Molly. It's been a struggle because this story is more like a graphic novel. The plot builds in a different way, and two pages do not contain enough content to make each update interesting. It would be better if I could post full chapters at a time.
But the problem with full chapters is work speed. Webcomics are expected to update at least every other week. Also posting a full chapter would kill my backlog of pages because I don't work fast enough to do that every month. I could post each chapter as I finish them, but will readers be willing to wait that long for a new chapter?
Another problem is that there's a long time gap with nothing being posted. Not posting work regularly leads to invisibility. This is where I turned to indie fiction writers for help.
Writers typically publish their work when they are done with it. Sometimes there are years between novels, but those who love the story will be right there when it comes out.
My takeaway from this is that it's okay if there is some time between chapters. Those who like the story will be waiting for it. And creating a chapter will not take as long as writing a novel.
Another thing is the time gap. While working on a novel, some writers create short stories as well. Although they're working on this big long project, they still have stories to share so they can keep their work visible.
Right now I'm working on a big long project. Creating shorter comics is a way to fill the gap. At first, I feared that could take away my energy for working on my main project, but then I decided to run an experiment.
I know for Mandy & Molly I am comfortable drafting 2 pages in a day. To compare, I wrote a short comic and started drafting it. With the short comic, I can comfortably draft 8 pages in a day. So drafting one page of Mandy & Molly uses the same amount of energy as drafting 4 pages of my short comic, and I'm sure that won't change much when it comes to drawing and inking the pages.
The difference that the shorter story has simpler page layouts. There are fewer panels per page, but the story is so concentrated that it can be told well with less. But with my longer story, I need to fit more on each page because of the pacing. It's hard to explain, but the rhythm of a short story is different from a long one.
So yes, I can do a long story and a short story at the same time. That means while I'm working on the next chapter of Mandy & Molly, I will be posting pages from shorter comics.
I think this is great because not only will I have a wider variety stories to share, but I can also experiment with drawing styles and color.
So this upcoming Sunday and Wednesday I will be posting the rest of Mandy & Molly chapter one, and a few weeks after that, I'll start sharing pages from my short comic.
I know, it's crazy! But I'm pretty confident that it will work.