Monday, November 26, 2007

The Proposition

I received an offer for collaboration the other day. This is quite common when a lot of the people you know happen to be writers and/or artists; you end up with a healthy respect for each others' works. Sooner or later one of you is bound to ask about the possibility of getting your writing and drawing styles in the same bed together, and seeing exactly how the love child will turn out.

Now, I've done quite a few things in my lifespan. In no particular order, I've written formal business proposals, pieces of fan fiction, pitches for comic series, video game scripts, one-act plays, bad poetry, preschool textbooks, and a few short stories here and there.

But with regards to this collaboration... I've never been asked for a webcomic before.

I'm of the opinion that comedy is hard. Oh, it's easy enough to crack a joke and get people laughing with you for all of fifteen seconds, I'm not denying that. But stretch those fifteen seconds into, say, fifteen days, and I'll have a hard time looking for material before the week is out. What more if, say, fifteen months are involved? It's bad enough for me to last fifteen minutes.

And yet that offer's still on the table. Write me a webcomic, Sean. Make it funny, will ya? And no, this is a take-it-or-leave-it affair. Do not pass Go, Sean. Do not collect $200.

I'm just a writer.

I've begun sifting through some basic plot ideas, mind you. I've got nothing solid enough to go on, so far... but I usually have nothing solid to use for my short stories anyway. Sooner or later I'm going to be able to squeeze a good idea out of my head, maybe two days before my partner's deadline and my mind is starting to go on overdrive.

Any second now.

Any second now.

Darn it.

I haven't even decided what genre I should be pursuing for this one. Part of me thinks that I should be writing the fantasy / sci-i / horror / mystery that I normally use. The catch is that there seems to be a lot of those things floating around, and far less of the mundane, modern-world-lifestyle ones.

On the other hand, I'm terrible at writing about modern lifestyle. I barely get out of my house and meet people; how in the world could I possibly write up a digital equivalent of Friends?

Maybe a combination of the two? Let's see... a vampire, a werewolf, a patchwork Promethean, a succubus, and a disco dancer all move into the same apartment. Cue wacky social hijinks as they try to coexist without tearing each others' livers out. Ugh.

I warned you that I wasn't much good at these things. I do melodrama, subtle twists, and cohesive setting. I'm not the kind of writer who has much experience dealing with four meddling kids and an anthropomorphic canine.

At least I get to read webcomics non-stop for a while. It's research, darn it. The fact that a lot of these are already sitting among my "Favorites" links has absolutely nothing to do with it.

A rabbi, a monkey, and a sock puppet suddenly find themselves trapped on a derelict space shuttle? Naaah.

Sometimes I wonder how the established webcomic writers do it. Sometimes I wonder how they keep themselves from going nuts trying to think of new directions to take their creations.

But then again, maybe I should just stick to straight writing. At least there's a lot more certainty there. I'd rather know that I'm falling into insanity than imagine the risk.

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