New Sombulus page for Thursday!
All about managing the world’s shirtless-men-with-crackly-magic-auras crises. (By panicking a lot.)
Read today’s update here > www.sombulus.com
Are you going to San Diego Comic Con? We’ll be there demoing our awesome new co-op robot board game Jupiter Rescue on Thursday and Friday! You can also buy a copy over at booth 4519. Nice!
(And if you’re just staying home and want a neat game to play? You can get your own copy right here or buy it from your friendly local game store!)
New Sombulus page for Tuesday!
Portals, problems, and piles of (not very conscious) people. Good luck, kid!
Read today’s comic update here > www.sombulus.com
Hey guys, my comic collective is now accepting applications! Spider Forest is a friendly group of fellow webcomic artists and writers. We’ve got a neat forum (and Skype chat now!) dedicated to helping each other out with conventions, critiques, and general encouragement and promotion. I’ve been a member for the last two years, and I love it!
If you’ve got a self-hosted webcomic that you think would be a good fit, you can apply right here!
Apply now > spiderforest.com/apply
Two days left! If you’re a webcomic creator and you want to join forces with the following people to wield the power of AWESOME:
- Yours truly
- (A bunch of people that are equally awesome, I just can’t remember everyone’s Tumblr handles)
…then spiderforest.net/apply is the place to send in your application! But hurry, because applications close July 24 (that’s in two days!)
The book’s actually a bit bigger than what I was picturing, nice large page size. Delphina revised some of the story and art to make part 1 a smoother reading experience, and I had fun spotting some of the changes here and there. I think the revisions made this story arc even better. I’m already looking forward to a volume 2 kickstarter!
Oh, and look at the little Swinson she drew on my shipping label, oh my gosh :o
So dranxis brings up an excellent point that I’ve been meaning to talk about again now that Sombulus Book 1 is available in my store (Get a PDF for $5 or a book for $19.95!) In February, I re-released the whole Tirani Arc of Sombulus with some pretty big edits to snip out unnecessary plot strands and make the characterization stronger. I wrote more here about what I did, but the short version is, I cut a full 30 pages of content and actually made my readers happier for it.
When you draw or write your very first webcomic series, you walk a weird tightrope. The regular practice of cranking out pages makes us better writers and artists, but that always means we start with our weakest foot forward. But editing is a skill that writers of nearly every kind practice, and the fact that we don’t even think about it in webcomics (or sometimes actively discourage it) is a problem. There are comics that tell you to start on page 200 because “that’s when it gets good”, and before these edits, mine was one of them.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of filing away the first arc as a “bonus story” and guiding people to a different start point. Or just writing your first series off as “the price of learning” and doing better on the next one. But let’s say you are interested in getting and keeping new readers for your current story, and it’s a long sprawling epic you’ve worked on for 4+ years. I’m going to give you permission here and now to do these things:
- If something doesn’t make sense to your readers, you are allowed to simplify your story, shorten/remove the scene, and cut/combine characters until it does. I don’t care if you’re merging an entire family into a single character or 100 pages into 10.
- If it doesn’t get your message across (or tells someone an entirely opposite story), you are allowed to change it.
- You are allowed to do these things even if you’ve posted them on the internet somewhere and a lot of people have read them. (…but maybe dedicate a post to saying what you’ve changed and why for your readers.)
- Any content you cut as a result of this was NOT a waste of your time. You needed it to build your skills, you needed it to see what worked and what didn’t. Be proud of it. It was important and it did its job and now it is done. Now do YOUR job and cut it without shame or hesitation.
- And here’s the really important one: If you find the process of editing is stunting the process of creating new content or making all your readers angry, that means you need more practice. And like anything you need to practice? Don’t give up! Try editing smaller pieces first and work up to it, and getting peers you respect to give feedback privately before you make it live. Or building a large enough buffer to give your pages an editing pass before it goes live. But please don’t believe that “the past needs to stay in the past so you can move forward”, because this story WILL have no future if the beginning is nailing you to bland characters and plotpoints that don’t engage your readers.
The Moko Expedition has an excellent episode about how to recognize when you need to simplify your writing. Good editing is well worth the time and effort, and editing after the fact is SO MUCH EASIER to do with a web-based story than just about any other kind. And yet, many long-running webcomic creators won’t consider it, but struggle to grow their story and audience for years, and that’s just heartbreaking for everyone. So please don’t be afraid: editing is your friend!
New page of Sombulus for Thursday!
Be sure to check your labels carefully.
Read today’s update here > www.sombulus.com
New Sombulus page for Tuesday!
Rana, you dropped something! Well, besides the paladin.
Read today’s update here > www.sombulus.com
My 7 year old son was shot down by his 1st grade teacher
The american public education system in a nutshell tho
My third grade teacher actually had a conversation with my mom that I was reading to well and told her to stop having me read at home
My first grade teacher said that it was problematic that I was reading ahead of the rest of the kids in my grade and asked my parents to stop letting me read Harry Potter.
My fourth grade teacher thought it was wrong for my dad to be teaching me complex math because it fascinated me.
My elementary school music teacher hated the way my piano teacher taught me, and how I was more advanced than many of her students, and so told me, in front of my peers and my mother, that I was not good enough to participate in the state solo festival. She would not give me the form. We had to procure it from the district instead. She also hated how I excelled at reading and playing music for the recorder, and so she refused to give me my “belts” (colored beads to signify our level) and humiliated me in front of the class repeatedly.
My eighth grade algebra teacher used to fail me on take home tests because I didn’t solve problems exactly the way she showed us in class; I used methods that we had learned for other types of problems that also applied to these. She took points off my tests because I didn’t bring a calculator even though I got 100% without it, because I was able to do it by hand. I had to call my father, who is an engineer, down to the school to shout her down and give me back my A in the class.
My 10th grade Spanish teacher yelled at me in front of the class numerous times because she didn’t like the way I took notes; she thought that since I didn’t write every word off the slide, I wasn’t getting it all down. I had to explain to her that people who have taken advanced courses, like AP or IB classes, know that in a fast-paced learning environment you need to take quick shorthand notes that contain the necessary information rather than wasting time writing every word. She almost gave me detention.
My 11th grade English teacher gave me a poor mark on my first short essay because she believed that I was looking up unnecessarily complex words in a thesaurus to try and get better marks. The phrases in question: “laced with expletives” and “bombarded”. She wouldn’t hear any defense from me.
My 11th grade history teacher failed me on an essay about the 1950s because I misread the prompt. Except the prompt wasn’t words; it was a political cartoon. One of the figures was clearly president Eisenhower, but the other I couldn’t place. My teacher would not tell us who it was. I labelled him as the governor of Little Rock Arkansas during the integration period, and wrote an essay about that subject. My teacher said that no, it was Joseph McCarthy, and that there was a small picture of the man in our textbook and therefore I should have recognized him instantly. Half the class, apparently, did not.
The American school system is not here to educate us or to encourage us to learn; it’s here to keep us in line and silent. It’s here to keep us from deviating and being our own people and forming our own ideas. Don’t let it win.
When I excelled in public school I was placed in the academically and intellectually gifted program in elementary and middle school, and I had the opportunity to take honors, AP, and community college classes in high school. When I read a lot of books at levels far ahead of my grade in elementary school, I simply took the Accelerated Reader (which is a program I hate for many reasons) tests and passed them and used my point hoard to buy cheap AR point presents for my classmates. In high school, I participated in a successful campaign to make them offer AP US History in the classroom instead of online (I then took and passed the class and did well enough on the test to enter college with a total of eighteen credits), Once, in high school, I flat-out did an assignment wrong and got full credit. Our US History teacher gave us pictures of people from the Civil War era as inspiration and told us to ignore who they actually were and write a short story about them and to include X number of Civil War facts. I just plain couldn’t do it and I wrote about a country doctor or something who looked exactly like Ulysses S. Grant (that was my picture) and wound up dying on the battlefield. I got full credit for writing a decent story that was clearly researched even though the closest thing to a CIVIL WAR FACT! I included was strongly implying which battle the guy died in.
Points that I feel are important, especially since it is so fashionable to hate on the US on Tumblr: There is not just one American education system. There is not. Educational standards differ from state to state, and education itself differs from district to district, from school to school. I come from a poor area where the schools don’t receive very much funding, and yet I never had the experience of this tumblr user. My school experience was largely an encouraging one. Maybe sometimes some people didn’t get it exactly right, but I never felt that I was deliberately being kept down and molded into one obedient little shape by The Man.
I’ve had some really interesting conversations with one of my teacher friends about how there’s this very traceable educational pendulum of attitudes that swings between restrictive educating to meet the requirements of standardized tests, and more freeform creative educating that lets the teachers choose which methods they feel work best for their students to learn.
It’s a web of politics that changes not only from state to state, but from district to district, school to school, teacher to teacher, and year to year. And it’s definitely more complex than saying “American schools have always sucked because anecdotes”, because the school you went to is almost certainly not the same as the school kids are going to now.
So yeah. Food for thought.
My web server’s been under some nasty attacks this weekend, knocking out both sombulus.com and whirling-derby.com, so I cheered myself up by making a Emma/Warrick Grab-ilation photoset! From the wonderful comic Namesake by savvyliterate and secondlina, and specifically inspired by this page of adorable awkwardness.