Year Two

posted July 9th, 2015, 2:01 am


average rating: None
post a comment
author comments
view GreenKrog's profile

July 26th, 2014, 3:09 am

GreenKrog

reply

I know, I said it in the last 3 or 4 pages, I don't know what is going on. And I really don't. What was with that kiss? Why is she drinking alone? Why does she have so much energy? Since when does she tell off Valerie when they are getting along? Why does the Dethtapus not have a girlfriend yet?!

Stuff I do know: No, she isn't attracted to Jamie. No, she isn't going to get into substance abuse. This is just a weird way to start year 2, and I don't know why she is doing it.

end of message
user comments

July 9th, 2015, 5:24 pm

mittfh

reply

So it seems as though at least part of Annie's story is written on-the-fly, rather than each event being intracately planned out in advance. It may be that you have certain milestone events planned in advance, but no fixed number of strips between them and no advance knowledge of what else will be going on in her life when the milestone event occurs.

Of course, because you've built up a buffer most webcomic authors / artists would be envious of (just over 11 months), it does give you (theoretically at least!) the scope to amend stuff in currently unpublished material if it conflicts with a great idea you've had for something your'e currently writing / drawing...

end of message
view GreenKrog's profile

July 9th, 2015, 6:15 pm

GreenKrog

reply

@mittfh: The way I see it, Annie's story writes itself. I don't retcon things - you can't fix things that have already happened in real life, can you? I have a very, very loose idea of what will happen, eventually, maybe. But how I get to that point, I don't know in advance. I tried early on to force situations to happen, pre-plan an arc, and the dialogue just came out wrong. I needed to let Annie do her own thing, let other people in her life react how they would actually react, and see where it takes her.

I don't regret writing anything I've written because it is like real life to me. She is a character outside of my control. Would you believe it if she suddenly started acting any way other than she has so far?

The most important thing is that, I think, everyone reading should understand all of the characters by now. They know how the characters will react, they just need the inciting incident TO react to. I won't be around forever, but there is no reason why Annie's journey would stop just because mine does, right?

end of message

July 10th, 2015, 1:09 am

Anon (Guest)

reply

@GreenKrog: A respectable way of writing, I think. I've met many writers who, no matter how much I tried to explain it to them, couldn't understand the idea of a fictional character developing a mind of their own, doing things you didn't decide. They weren't very good writers.

The one drawback to this is that the story can feel a bit aimless at times. With only a vague idea of where you're going and your characters given complete freedom, the story seems to repeat itself a lot, and rarely moves forward in a significant way.

Ideally, you should be working in tandem with your characters by inventing a plot and letting them reshape it however they see fit. Without some sort of direction, there is no story, only people wandering aimlessly, and that won't hold reader interest forever. Think of it this way: is there any person you know that you would like to just follow around indefinitely?

end of message
view GreenKrog's profile

July 10th, 2015, 10:30 am

GreenKrog

reply

@Anon: I do agree that aimlessness is a problem if the author cannot inject enough conflict to create story. Many of the plot points of WF have been repeated, but not due to the aimlessness - they have been repeated to reinforce how to overcome them. When Annie is attacked, and she learns how to defend herself (emotionally or physically), and is able to use it next time, this shows both her and the readers how to use what they learned from the first incident. That is deliberate.

I believe that the crutch of 'student in high school' is overused. The reason why it has been so played out is because it forces people into sharing space whether they like it or not. Moving forward is a forced process by grades and by arbitrarity of the school year. There are few other settings where you can't simply walk away from problems and find other solutions. So I do agree that it may feel repetitive, but I do hope you can agree to the framing used.
(I get the feeling you didn't necessarily mean this as part of WF, but I choose to apply the comment to WF anyways).

end of message

July 11th, 2015, 3:11 am

Anon (Guest)

reply

@GreenKrog: Actually, I was talking about WF, and I didn't mean the high school setting.

What feels repetitive to me is that being transgender has consumed Annie's life to the point where there's barely anything else left. Now, don't get me wrong, I do understand that that's a phase most trans people will go through at one point before things get better and they find a better balance in their life, and I also understand that that phase can last a very, very long time.

However, a story's pacing does not have to be the same as real life. Once the point has been made, you are allowed to speed up the process via time skips to get to a point where the story moves forward.

In the meantime, the lack of anything else in Annie's life besides her constant self-doubt and, until recently, her relationship with Vic has made her somewhat unlikable. She doesn't seem to have any interests and, despite having previously been portrayed as incredibly smart, barely ever puts her talents to use. She kind of just exists as a perpetual wreck of a human being.

Now, you actually have taken steps towards rectifying that recently, and have directly pointed out in the story that Annie is lacking in the personality department, but it also constantly feels like the comic might fall back into old habits again and let Annie spiral back into depression. That would be realistic, but it also wouldn't make for a very interesting read.

While I know that Wildflowers is semi-autobiographical, keep in mind that I'm evaluating it as a work of fiction, and simply holding it to the same standards as I would any other story.

end of message
view GreenKrog's profile

July 11th, 2015, 12:14 pm

GreenKrog

reply

@Anon: Everything you have said is fair and valid. You are quite correct that year one has been pretty much all about pain and survival. Year two is about building on her as a person. I think you will really like it, because it stops being as much about be trans and more about being a full human being.

You are also right that WF is semi-autobiographical, and that has played a large role in things. Annie is already more developed as a person than I am. So I am sort of winging it at this point, and it is becoming more fiction as it goes.

end of message

July 11th, 2015, 3:42 pm

Anon (Guest)

reply

@GreenKrog: What I'd like to see most is a bit more nuance in the way conflict is portrayed in the story. Up to this point, it feels like everyone who has ever opposed Annie is just being a jerk. The fact is, Annie is and has been portrayed as a flawed individual who makes huge mistakes on a regular basis, and it would be interesting to see her actions have consequences in the form of conflict where Annie can be wrong.

end of message
view GreenKrog's profile

July 11th, 2015, 3:57 pm

GreenKrog

reply

@Anon: It does speak strongly to my bias regarding religion, but the majority of people she faces simply ARE being jerks. Those who get any amount of screen time tend to be more nuanced - like the Stronarchs, for example. Both Vic and Sgt had an arc to them, showing why they felt how they felt, growing on top of the 'they are a jerk'. At the start, Vic was simply a homophobic jerk, until you learned his father was teaching him that way. Then you learned his father simply didn't want Vic being hurt, and that is part of his past experience.
There is a lot more nuance to the character Annie has to interact with in year two, because she is going to be attempting stealth. So the enemies will rarely be 'just evil' - they will be he friends and herself.

I think this will be more in line with what you are looking for. Year one and two are drastically different because they have different premise. Year one, Annie hated herself and this was being reinforced by those she met. Year two she is learning to love herself, but doesn't really know what to do with those she meets who aren't reinforcing negativity.
She never really learned how to have friends before. Now, she will make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. Hopefully.

end of message

July 12th, 2015, 3:09 am

Anon (Guest)

reply

@GreenKrog: Indeed, I did find that Sgt. Stronarch seemed a lot more nuanced the last time we saw him. Despite being obviously angry at Annie, he adressed her by her correct name and gender and didn't seem disrespectful. In fact, his reasons for being angry at Annie are legitimate: all he knows is that she somehow caused his son great psychological pain to a point where he got himself hospitalized.

Of course, he doesn't know the whole story, but even if he did, Annie is partially to blame. While she did say she was ready for sexual relations, she was so focused on herself at the time that she failed to notice Vic wasn't ready, and was dealing with issues of his own.

That's extremely well written, and it's the kind of conflict I want to see more of. Nuanced conflict where no one can take all of the blame.

end of message
post a comment