Webcomic... how to jump start it?:

Total posts: [11]
Well, I'm starting a webcomic, with a friend of mine doing the art (and me doing the writing, myes), except... I'm not quite sure how to get it started.

To avoid giving out to many details, it's about this young Proud Warrior Race Girl who gets sent off into the depths of an ancient temple in order to recover an old tribal relic. Most of the story and characterisation are told through flashbacks, with the present basically being 'the main chracter overcoming challenges and fighting weird monsters.'

So I can't decide: should I start it with a flashback (perhaps of two characters talking)? An inner monologue? A fight scene (or something else action-y)?

edited 11th Oct '10 1:25:23 PM by E.H.Grayson

My new account at: Eventua
I think a fight scene in present time would be a good way to start, as long as you keep it brief. If it drags out, the readers would probably get confused and lose interest because they have no idea who this girl is and why she is fighting. A flashback explaining why she is there next would be good. Personally I'd avoid infodumping in inner monologues.
"Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane"
Please don't start with action. It's hard enough to follow the action in a comic when you know the characters, much less when you don't know them yet. Start with something that helps cement the characters in your head.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
4 Ronka8712th Oct 2010 01:29:21 PM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
^ You can do that with action; just insert an Establishing Character Moment. But granted, actions scenes at the beginning have to be clear and the lead character enticing enough to want to read about.

OP: Frankly, of the options you listed, action seems best— flashbacks tend to be drawn-out, confusing and pointless, and conversations are generally boring. When you start a story, you want something that will grab the reader, and action does that well (so long at it's over quick and not confusing). It's not the only way to start, though—just so long as there's some pressing event introduced early on. Remember, a story happens when a character wants something badly and has trouble getting it.

Here are three good articles on writing beginnings.
Thanks for the all fish!
5 A_H_R12th Oct 2010 01:31:45 PM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
Characters first, angsty backstories second. Or better yet, fifth.

edited 12th Oct '10 1:32:04 PM by A_H_R

I think Webcomics are different, and an action scene is a confusing, frustrating mess if you don't already care how it turns out. I'm much better drawn in by a character in trouble, but in a nonphysical manner. Someone drops their keys down a storm sewer or their ladder falls while they're cleaning out their gutters, you feel bad for them, you relate to them, and you want to make sure they make it out ok.
7 A_H_R12th Oct 2010 01:47:18 PM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
That's why Cerebus Syndrome is so popular. It's easy to keep up with a gag a day comic and safe for the writer, and by the time it changes, you are invested in the characters and the writer has had time to gauge his potential audience.

In a perfect world, that is.

edited 12th Oct '10 1:47:41 PM by A_H_R

This is one possibility for a very simple 'opening page' (plus title)...

Title page. Adila, in her outfit, stands in front of the entrance to the temple, the morning sun rising and filling the area with warm yellow sunlight. Her sword is strapped to her back, and she looks onwards with a determined look. The title, 'Blade of the Salamander' is overlaid at the top of the page, with 'credits' at the bottom, in the right-hand corner.

Page 1.
1st panel: She's just entered and is standing in the lobby.
2nd panel: Closer-up, she takes a look around...
3rd panel: Before then heading down a random tunnel.

I'm not sure, is this lame? o_O

edited 14th Oct '10 1:49:50 AM by E.H.Grayson

My new account at: Eventua
Also known as Katz
It's true that, even if it isn't a "funny" comic, a short string of jokes is a great way to get a readership hooked. It worked for Goblins, anyway. But that's not an option for every comic.

Don't start with an action scene. Opening action scenes when you don't yet know or care about the characters are one of my bugbears.
Well I definitely wouldn't start off with a flashback, makes the timeline a little confusing. A fight scene is an idea, but again that can be a bad thing to start with, no emotional investment and no explanation.

Here's an idea though, maybe the aftermath of a fight? Corpses of the enemy, the protagnist bandaging a wound, maybe killing one which springs up from the dead. Shows a little action, the character can make a few comments, and provides some foreshadowing. I like it grin
Dreamkeepers Prelude, check it out!
11 Gvzbgul14th Oct 2010 01:56:01 AM from Middle Earth
I've found that webcomics that ignore introducing the characters or having any real plot intro. eg, Penny Arcade, Questionable Content, Order of the Stick. But those are comedy webcomics you probably will want something different.

I like your 'single character by herself' start. She's the focus of the story so that would ensure that she's the first thing the audience sees and gets to know. The only downside I can see is if you have her on her own too long.
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Total posts: 11