I spent just about all day yesterday and today scripting. So long I started getting a headache today and had to stop. It's not like I have writers block. I just have... let's call it "character overwhelment". There are so many players in this story with their own goals and agendas and relationships with the other characters in play. Giving each one full attention and following each one around linear events would make the story meander forever. I don't want that. I won't have that.
I actually had a script ready to go for Monday and the next few strips tightly scripted too, but it was one line in the strip that made me pause. I realized that one line fixed a character in a particular point and time that would require a bunch more strips to tell. But if I was clever I could tell that part of the story a better way. And for that I'd need to pin down where everybody was and would be, not just the 'major players' in what's occurring (and the major players may not be the ones you are currently thinking of).
So I said to myself "alright self, let's pin them down. Work them out. See the gaps, see what I missed" and wow was that a rabbit hole. I wasn't tying stings to thumbtacks in a wall of photos like Lemony Snicket in the "Look Away" opening to Netflix's Series of Unfortunate Events (a family favorite), but it was close. It involved a whiteboard, a ton of sticky notes, and four clipboards. And no, you can't see a photo of it, it only makes sense to me anywho. Crib notes for my brain. I digress...
It took all yesterday and today (Today being Tuesday 4/10/18) but I got it 90% done and ordered. Then I looked at the clock. 8pm. I still needed a tight script. One that would not screw up the 10% that still needed hammering out. I knew... KNEW... I had already failed in my mission of getting a strip up by Wednesday. Even if I hacked something together it wouldn't make it in the queue until after midnight and with the new system there ARE no late strips. A Strip after midnight is just NEXT midnight's strip.
I feel terrible. Like I've made a huge mistake by not posting SOMEthing. And a bigger mistake by not taking the time to get this next bit right.
I know for a fact that one thing I was looking forward to about the new system was to NOT have that midnight guilt-deadline on my back every night. It's been liberating shaking that daily midnight stress off. It's chilling to find it back.
Despite how I feel I've chosen my path. To write this "right." The next comic you see here, which may be tomorrow, maybe the next day, it won't blow you away with amazement. BUT the comics that follow should paint the clear and building story it needs to be.
Thanks for having more patience with me than I have with myself. And thanks specifically to you Defenders 20+ for giving me the chance to write better and relax more. I'll get the hang of living outside the cage sooner or later!
And just think: you were originally planning on wrapping up this entire comic by the end of last August. Clearly, given the complexities you're discovering even now, that would not have gone well! Personally, I've shifted into treating this comic like a graphic novel now. The new way updates happen mean Sluggy no longer feels like it's running in lockstep with the real-world calendar, and while I do miss the 'present'-ness of the old way, I feel like taking the graphic novel approach is more appropriate for the story you're trying to tell (like, this chapter vs Six Months Later is night and day - er, nothing against that chapter, but Entanglement is above and beyond quality-wise. Seriously, this is one of the best written chapters you've done, aaand I'm gonna stop now because this parenthetical is getting way too unwieldy).
So even though it's cool that you come in with news posts like this to be transparent with us, honestly you could go dark for a week with no explanation, or just a "taking some time to script!" and I'm pretty confident everyone's in a mode now where that wouldn't be too weird. Anyway, you're a guy who's nuts enough to spent 20 years writing the same story. At this point, we take it as a given that no storytelling difficulty is gonna stop you forever :P
A bit unrelated, but still helpful: in case you missed it, the Sluggy 20+ Tech support already has a big repertory of all the issues the archive might have, including all the pages where the comics were badly cut.