Friday, December 16, 2011


Alright before you go ahead and tackle your conflict there is one more thing I need to mention. Silly me not to have mentioned it before, but see both the dream and the conflict rotate around one fundamental factor: who are you writing this story for?  What's your goal?

These two questions can be summarized in a simple word: target!

Let's analyzed them. If you are writing this story for yourself and yourself alone then you can ignore everything I am going to say next. If you are crafting this story around an audience the second question needs to tap in and affect the answer to your first one.

If you are making a story for others then ask yourself: who? and what for?

For money... you can skip what I will say next. All you have to do is make it completely wrong, dumb, ugly and post it on your blog with lots of advertisement. The internet has changed the World, turning people into trolls and lots of people like to feel good about themselves by bashing others. I thought I was the only one complaining about this phoenomenon until I read this article:If you want your piece to go viral, it's smarter to make a cringe-worthy video rather than an awesome one, because they know our asshole nature will get us passing it around. And they're right." - and then he says - it's a proven fact that we are horrible dickheads who love to just point and laugh at other people's failed attempts at creativity. We refuse to just let it slide when someone shows us something like Why Must I Cry opting instead to laugh them out of existence."

So I was reminded of how many of my friends spend their time talking about stuff they dislike and yet when I always the question: but if you hate it so much, why do you keep on reading it?
The answer is always: because it's so bad, I want to see if it gets worse.

So here's the solution to your money problem, make it super bad, send it viral, become Rebecca Black (you know, right, she was "built" to make money off of trolls!) and you are settled for life.

But now let's go back to serious creation, the one that will make you die happy but starving... but happy, but starving, but happy, but... I could go on for ever.

Choose your target audience and never forget who you are writing for. 
Some stories may start as kids stories and change along the way as the audience grows old and mature with the characters (long running series like One Piece, for example, do that).

You make sure that right from the start you hint at elements that even though, right now, are not there (like death), they might be there in the future and that is a warning, a warning that says: I am starting G, but I'll go T+.  If you don't do that then you are bound to stay in you G for ever and ever, it's a matter of honesty.

So... is your story a story for children or adults, is it for boys or girls?
Sometimes making these kinds of decisions not only will craft the narrative tone of your stories but even whether or not they are plot based or character based.

The younger the audience the more the plot will take over. Older audiences are into character development instead.

Children tend to like stories with more plot and a proactive protagonist who is also one of those OUT characters that will move mountains and stuff.

If the hero makes no effort to gain the happy ending they will blame you for telling a lame story.

Girls don't dislike slower pace and IN characters.

Older audience love slice of life, historical things, period dramas and such.

The choice of your target audience will also affect your color schemes and packaging. 
The younger the audience the more vibrant the colors will be.
You give a black and white comic to a five years old, he'll grab his crayons and color it for you (and that's what my nephew did to my comics, they look much prettier now).

Now let's say you are crafting your story around teenagers... good luck. The market is literally gone to crumbs and the invasion of the ultratrolls has lowered the quality of the language spoken by a lot. You will have to spoon feed a lot, while keeping a zillion subplots that, sometimes, are really not useful to the story at all. You will be a servant to the market and will be crafted by the market. You will be forced to obey the audience... if you want to survive. If you don't obey they leave you.

This is how the Japanese market was molded by his fandom and forced to create harem stories with particular stereotypes included: meganekko, antenna girl, chibi, lolicon, and so forth. One character for every slice of market.

You cannot afford a lot of nicely rounded characters and have to stay a bit flatter, making sure your hero is always politically correct. The moment they stop loving rainbows and unicorns or whatever thing is in fashion, the audience will accuse him of monstrosities and leave him. The moment his love is not devoted or is awesomeness is not bad-ass even when he does not win... he is done for.

Teenage market is very whimsical but if you go for it choose to write for girls as a female audience is more loyal than male readership.

All of this comes from many years of reports and numbers, coming from the marketing department, of a famous publisher I was working for. The Italian would say: carta canta e vilan dorme (paper signs and farmer sleeps). It's the paper talking here... the paper is valid even when the farmer forgets about it... unfortunately. I can only warn you and nothing more. The final choice is yours.

In the end whatever target you choose and however you decide to tell the story be also reminded of one thing: there are a lot of trolls out there that will throw piles of crap at you for the heck of it.
Trolls are easily recognizable: they don't know what they are talking about and their comments are clearly generic and showing that... they never did read your story to begin with, they are just there to bash you because their lives suck.

Two things you can do with those messages: you ignore them; or you read them, collect them and create a blog around them. People will flock to read your blog even if they  never read your comic... and that's because of the above mentioned article. LOL

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