The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Behind the scenes at World Wide News

They say that if you want a big following on your blog, you need to write in it every day. As you can see from the fact that this blog has been going for a few years, and yet it has no following, I don't do that. It's not that I don't have a lot to write about, it's that it's not all on one topic. So, I get an idea for what to do with this thing, then see that I have other ideas, and eventually, I don't do anything.

So, instead of just wasting away, blogging when I get mad about something, or when I'm working on NaNoWriMo, I'm going to just blog away, sometimes it'll be comics, sometimes politics, sometimes TV shows, sometimes just thoughts, and sometimes I'll write about writing. How Meta of me.

Today, and to start the year(Yes, I know January is almost over...shush with you), I'm going to write about the comic strip I'm doing with Dan Mohr, World Wide News.

I came up with the start of the idea YEARS ago when I was working on the late, lamented “Asylum on 5th Street” strip. One of the characters worked in radio, and I had a LOT of ideas about someone working at a talk radio station that got terrible ratings, and the personalities who worked there. The artist, on the other hand, wanted more stories about herself, and since she drew the thing, it was a good idea to listen to her. So, I put the idea away, and it went onto the stack of notebooks I have by my computer.

About a year ago, when I got laid off, I figured that now was the time to start working on some of the idea floating around in those notebooks, and I worked up a pitch. It had the basic premise, and I took a couple of days to come up with the characters that I would need for the strip to work. In the past, I've usually come up with the situation, and then the characters, so it wasn't that hard for me to figure out what would be a good mix. Oddly enough, a few people have said that I must have been influenced by “Newsradio”, and I don't have the heart to tell them I haven't watched the show. Same with “Sports Night”, “Lateline” or other similar TV shows.

No, my biggest influence was “Doonesbury”.

Maybe now that I mention it, you can see it. Or not. I see the starting of Doonesbury as taking a few characters who are the core of the strip, and then as time goes on, it builds outward. World Wide News (I call it WWN) started with the 2 writers, the station manager and Bill O'Bradley (who is fast becoming my favorite character to write). Then, I figured I'd add a few more characters who could be good foils for the whole thing, and expect to add more as time goes on.

After I got the characters in my head, I figured I would structure the strip so that if the main artist wanted a break, or if I couldn't get a main artist and instead had a few people work on the strip, it would work structurally. I wrote the strip with story arcs of 5 – 10 strips about a certain situation, and then would have more topic strips inbetween. It's the same way that the current Spider-Man comic works...they have different creative teams for each story so that the book comes out three times a month but no creator has to do three comics in a single month.

Luckily, Dan, who I met through NaNoWriMo, was very excited about doing the strip, and didn't need to take breaks. At least not yet. I still have a few people who have said they want to draw their own story arcs (I'm working on one now for a new artist), but for the most part, Dan has taken the ball and run with it and I'm damn happy with the results.

Now that he's working on the last story arc from the initial pitch, I'm writing up the stuff in the notebooks that I came up with about a year ago, and since I've gotten to know the characters better, I think the upcoming stuff is MUCH better than my earliest scripts.

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