atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#201: Even More Megumi's Diary

Three more pages, and the Hand continues to surprise me.

Instead of introducing the character I had thought to introduce, the Hand has added another little mystery to the story.

After they are given their "Scarlet Letters", Jun and Megumi are walking home from school and talking about Ms. Matsuda. Jun makes a comment about Ms. Matsuda, who just happens to overhear it....

She confronts the girls, but after a few words she abruptly turns and leaves, and Megumi realizes that their teacher was crying as she ran away.

Overall I think I see where this is leading, and it'll make for good story, so I'm not about to change it.

Besides, I can still introduce that new character right on the heels of this little situation; that gives me a way of keeping Jun and Megumi from focusing too much, too soon, on what made their teacher cry. ^_^

That makes 25 pages in chapter two, though.

When I was still drawing layouts for American Dawn I was never able to churn them out like this, except for late summer of 2000, when I was working at Rockwell-Collins as a technical writer. We had run out of budget for writing, so I went to work and sat at my keyboard trying to look like I was doing useful things--and more often than not I was either surfing the internet or writing something for my own amusement. When that palled, I would draw American Dawn pages; I literally had nothing else to do.

The psychotic nature of big business forced that on me. Work done on this or that project had to be charged to a specific budget code; but those budget codes were out of money. Because there was no money to pay for it, I literally was not allowed to do any useful work. Fortunately there was apparently plenty of money left in the "overhead" account.

It was only for about three weeks, but it seems longer in retrospect. (It seemed pretty long at the time, too.) I did quite a few interesting little pages.

AD has stalled for quite some time, now. I am stuck because the next thing which happens in the story is kind of complex and I was never sure how to draw it. I need to draw a character's car (that's where the next scene takes place) but I never decided what kind of car he owns, nor could I really decide how I wanted the action to go. The story drifted into limbo.

It's possible--even probable--that the story will go off to the land that all "first stories" go to. Few comic artists ever do much with their first ideas, and AD suffers from many of the problems that beset beginners. It's too ambitious, combining too many elements, and tries to be too many different things.

AD is supposed to be a romantic comedy with fantasy and science-fiction elements. Just to name a few things: There are elven characters, who can use magic. There's at least one alien invasion. One story arc is an homage to Ranma 1/2. The primary antagonist tries to commit suicide and is saved by the main character. This same antagonist--the most popular girl in school--has set up a social structure which guarantees that people she doesn't like are unpopular (by the way, I came up with this years before I saw Hana Yori Dango).

It may be possible to do it and make it all work; but I would have to utterly revamp the entire thing, and I have other, more interesting projects to deal with. Maybe, someday. But there are over 50 layout pages of it, and it's all disjointed. I set up the "alien invasion" plot in the first ten or fifteen pages of the thing, and then it is never referred to again. That's just not-good plotting.

My other stories are a lot more cogent; but so far, Megumi's Diary is the only one which I've been able to pound into a relatively coherent form.

MD is relatively simple to work with because the premise is rather open-ended: each chapter features a day (or several days) in the life of a slightly exceptional Japanese high school girl. The "school life" genre lends itself to drama and humor, and one can tell reasonably entertaining stories about characters without relying on "special effects". There is no magic, no aliens, no tentacles, and no elves in MD. But it doesn't need those things, because the story is about the characters. It may not end up being the most exciting comic/manga in the universe, but I am drawing it for my own amusement first--and I like it just fine.

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