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2nd Jun 2017, 11:41 PM #1
melaredblu

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This one's a sore spot for me. Telling people how to design their own characters is unreasonable, but I dislike treating diversity as praiseworthy unto itself regardless of actual writing skill for my own reasons.

This here is April.
[spoiler]
Image: http://princesschroma.webcomic.ws/files/cast/april.png
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She was always a major character. Early on, I knew I wanted a group of three girls with one "girly-girl," one "tomboy," and April was going to be the "average" one. Thing is, the other girls look like this:

[spoiler]
Image: http://princesschroma.webcomic.ws/files/cast/may.png
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Image: http://princesschroma.webcomic.ws/files/cast/june.png
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Even now, I have sameface issues. It's the fashion choices that stand out. April's middle-of-the-road design drafts were boring, so I gave her a different ethnicity. That way, she'd look distinct from the other girls no matter what she wore. The times I've been praised for having April in my comic ring hollow, especially with comments on early chapters, when I was still an inexperienced writer and my cast wasn't fleshed out. They were praising a flat version of her just for existing. I find that condescending. Fortunately, that doesn't happen often and my regular readers focus much more on the current writing quality.
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29th May 2017, 5:18 AM #2
melaredblu

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Yep, Princess Chroma passes. No surprise there, it's a magical girl comic (though my comic does give larger roles to non-love interest male characters than most magical girl stories). My other comics don't pass because they're short and/or minimalistic and the protagonists are male (plus two of them are based off an existing work to begin with).

The Bechdel Test isn't really something I put effort into. If I pass it, I pass it, but it's not on my to-do list when I set out to write.
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20th May 2017, 7:54 PM #3
melaredblu

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I think I write for both, honestly. Each page I make is centered around communicating at least one important idea. There's either a punchline, a cliffhanger, or a resolution to something at the end, and I try to make each page satisfying to read for people who comment on a weekly basis. But I still generally carry the story at my own pace. The reveals that take a long time to show themselves really only seem that way to people who follow actively, due to Webcomic Time. For people who come in and binge the whole story, though, the pacing will automatically come across as much faster. The same is true for anybody who re-reads the comic. For that reason, I'm careful not to rush the story even though I know my nibbler readers will have to wait a long time for certain plot threads to tie up. I want to make sure that when the comic is done, it will hold up well for people who want to read it from start to finish.

TL;DR: The overall plot progression is done with binge-reading in mind, but I put a lot of effort into making sure every page I upload will give my regular followers something interesting for the week.
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25th Apr 2017, 8:21 PM #4
melaredblu

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Bryfang:Like give me a rundown on how it goes down.

I'm not a shy person exactly, I'm a pretty big extrovert, but at the same time I'm apprehensive to meeting entirely new groups of people. So I kinda wanna brace myself for what to expect.


Well, I think every group is a bit different, but I can tell you how the one I go to works. First, you RSPV for the event on Meetup so they know how many are coming. Meetup will tell you where they are, and when you go to the place, the group will probably have a sign so you know where to go. Our club has a laminated Meetup sign they put on the table, for example. If your group is like ours, they'll have a leader who knows the regulars and will recognize you're a newcomer. They'll come say hello to you and you can ask them how things work and they should be able to give you a quick rundown on the events of the meeting. We start by having everyone quickly introduce ourselves before we get to writing, and our club is pretty chill overall. After the time is up, we hang around the cafe and just chat with each other for a while.

Of course, that's just my personal experience. Meetup doesn't really have "rules" on how groups conduct themselves. It's just a means of organization. Your group may handle things differently. If you're worried, you could use Meetup's chat function. It's easy to use. Just post a comment in the event you want to go. Say that you're interested, but that you're also a little nervous about meeting strangers and would like to know what to expect when you come. Hopefully somebody--probably the leader--can talk to you online. Maybe an online introduction will help put you at ease.
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25th Apr 2017, 4:53 AM #5
melaredblu

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I use it. I go to a writing club in my city once a week and we use Meetup to organize.
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22nd Apr 2017, 7:32 AM #6
melaredblu

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stinger9:The blinking lights I could see on the horizon were Las Vegas (Don't think I quite grasped how far away America is from Britain at that age!)


Oh man, speaking of lights on the horizon, when I was really little, I thought the oncoming headlights on the freeway at night were lights reflected off the surface of the ocean. Apparently I also didn't question why we were constantly driving toward the ocean without ever getting any closer. Kid logic.
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21st Apr 2017, 5:38 PM #7
melaredblu

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I thought Yoshi was a girl because the name ended in "she."
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Result in thread: Manga studio vs. Photoshop
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20th Apr 2017, 10:05 AM #8
melaredblu

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Unfortunately, Adobe isn't the only one pulling this subscription-only nonsense. Microsoft has been getting in on it too, and it infuriates me. God forbid I want to get a copy of Microsoft Word I can work with for a few years until I'm ready to upgrade. Not to mention they won't even sell you older versions of Word, and 2016 Word gave me SO MANY problems. I finally threw in the towel and just bought a used copy of 2013 on Ebay. Why are software companies like this?

But as for the question at hand, I echo most of the sentiments here. Manga/Clip Studio is much more tailored for comics than Photoshop. Photoshop is better than nothing, but the features that sold me on Clip Studio were the lettering and paneling tools. Before that, I'd worked in Photoshop Elements 9 and did the panels and dialog in ComicLife. It was a tedious process and I was more than happy to drop a little extra money to get software that can do everything I needed instead of being force to piecemeal everything.
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19th Apr 2017, 8:06 PM #9
melaredblu

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Most romance stories typically bore me because the characters bore me. They're not well-rounded enough that I care about them, let alone whether they get together. One example (at least on this website) of a good romance is Megan Kearney's Beauty and the Beast. The creator gives the characters strong personalities with believable quirks, flaws, and interests. The story also takes its time with how the characters get to know each other and interact, and it doesn't push aside other interesting plotlines to make more room for lovey-dovey fluff, nor does it rely on contrived conflicts to generate artificial drama. If I go any further past this point, I'll just devolve into gushing about how much I like this comic, but it's definitely one of the most compelling romances I've read.

But yeah, my disdain for most romance probably comes from the fact that romance as a genre has too many of my most hated cliches.

Mela's Top 12 Romance Suckitude Cliches:

12 Shipping baiting. I hate shipping. I hate stories that just wave generically attractive, underdeveloped characters in front of the audience, expecting readers to ship them. Well, guess what? I don't. All you're doing is making the audience write their romance for you.

11 Rape=love. I don't read enough stories with this kind of thing to be all that salty about it, which is why it's so high on the list, but I'm well-aware it's rampant in BL and Yaoi, which is one of the reasons I avoid that genre altogether. It's vile, I hate it, and I will never be able to get behind the ide of a couple where one has raped the other.

10 Our cardboard couple, everybody. The characters you see in most harlequin romance. You know the ones. They have no personality. They're just Barbie and Ken dolls with whatever pointless accessory to make them seem different, but at their core, it's just the same boring template.

9 The enlightened and privileged heroine. You know, the rebellious princess, the spunky woman who can hold her own with the men and never loses, the 18th-century damsel with 21-century values who is also good with a sword. And of course she's always beautiful and strong and everybody who the story wants us to like will respect her quirks, but the villains and/or straw misogynist will hate her and part of her story will be proving them wrong and/or defeating them. Romance isn't the only genre that has these characters, but it is really prone to them and it annoys me even more than the cardboard heroine because at least the cardboard heroine doesn't have the author constantly crowing about how accomplished she is even though this character is just as formulaic as the other.

8 Love at first slight. While the love at first sight thing is pretty cliche, I tend to overlook it as just shorthand for infatuation. What I can't stand is somebody who falls for a character who's a complete jerk to them right off the bat. So many bad romances start with a woman meaning a handsome but asinine man, and it's so freaking stupid.

7 I love you because I say so! Sometimes love confessions are good, but geez, I swear so many romances just think that a love confession by itself is enough to prove they're in love. Uh, no. It's really not. And forcing it down my throat with more sweet nothings won't make me more convinced.

6 Kissing=love. This is even worse than "take my word for it" love confessions because at least a love confession can be done creatively. This is just "we kissed now, so we're officially in love." Ugh. If you can't show your characters are in love without having them kiss, you can't show your characters are in love. Quit being lazy and actually write their relationship.

5 The second-act breakup. Our characters are forming a relationship and seem happy. Let's throw a monkey wrench into that and have them split over something petty so we can have more cheap drama before we shove them back together again. That's not pointless and stupid at all.

4 The tsundere couple. Yay, another couple who can't stand each other. Why is it so difficult to just have two characters start a relationship because they get along? I don't hate tsundere characters, but their relationships are boring and contrived.

3 Love triangles. You think you're clever, author, but 9/10, it's incredibly obvious who you actually plan to pair together by the end of this story. Like I said, I hate shipping in general, and I hate it in-story when it's already obvious who the canon couple will be, just sure, let's waste time playing relationship hot potato. Gag me.

2 Romantic plot tumors. Yes, I read TVtropes. It's still a valid criticism. I don't appreciate all other plot threads being shoved to the sidelines so the shippers can have more to squee at. Get on with the story!

1 The Misunderstanding. "I overheard something out of context and now I must jump to conclusions instead of simply confronting the other person, therefore padding this trainwreck with even more pointless nonsense because we all know this misunderstanding has no bearing on the actual plot or character development." How I LOATHE this cliche. It needs to die. Die die die diediediedieDIEEEEEEEEEEE.
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13th Apr 2017, 3:28 AM #10
melaredblu

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PeterVonBrown: It would be better if we could choose multiple genres/categories. My comic (and others' who have expressed as much) has a difficult time fitting into just ONE. Then your 'problem' would be solved. ;)


Seriously though, why isn't this a thing? Very few comics, especially those with a plot, adhere to one genre and one genre only.
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8th Apr 2017, 10:28 PM #11
melaredblu

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I think I understand how you feel. I've spent a lot of my life feeling like I don't deserve people's regard and thinking nobody will like me unless I "buy" them, usually by doing them favors. And yeah, most of those people stop caring about me once I can't afford to buy them anymore. It hurts and it makes me feel even worse than I did before, because deep down, I thought that if I bought them long enough, I'd eventually pay them off completely, instead of paying for rent-a-friend.

But I don't think it's true that real friends don't exist. It feels that way, and rent-a-friend happens a lot, and it's hard to tell if somebody was really just a fair-weather friend all along. I won't pretend it doesn't hurt. And I'm aware that, to some degree or another, most people only care about me because they benefit from it or we're just in convenient proximity to each other at the time. But I know there are people in my life that I care about even though they have nothing to offer me.

I had a friend I was really close to, and right now we're drifting apart. It's been a combination of physical distance, schedules never matching up, and us leading totally different lifestyles now. We have almost nothing in common at this point, and we probably won't ever be as close as we used to be again. And yes, it makes me sad, terribly sad sometimes. But if there was ever anything I could do for them, I would do whatever I could to help support them. It doesn't matter to me whether they would do the same, because when I did need them the most, they were there for me. And there was never anything I could have done back then to repay them. I don't know why they ever even spent time with me. They just...did. At the time, them just being there mattered more than anything, and it still matters now. I wouldn't be sad about us drifting apart if it didn't matter. Nowadays if I needed something, they probably wouldn't even be able to do anything about it, but that isn't important to me. I still care about them even though, socially-speaking, we don't have any connection anymore.

I choose to believe that if I'm capable of caring about another person that way, then other people must be too. I'm certainly no better or more caring than anyone else. It sucks when somebody you care about isn't in your life anymore. It really does. But when a loved one dies, we don't suddenly think they weren't really our loved one. I think the same is true when somebody is alive, but simply isn't in your life anymore for reasons beyond your control.

This probably isn't all that uplifting, huh? But that's how I see it, anyway. I'm sorry about what you're going through either way. I think I do get where you're coming from.
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7th Apr 2017, 1:19 AM #12
melaredblu

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Where is it?

Patient is unconscious. Proceed.

*squish*
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5th Apr 2017, 9:01 PM #13
melaredblu

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When I was watching it, partway through I had guessed that since the premise was supposedly a guy giving a robot a Turing Test, that meant the guy who built her was actually making her play the tester against him. Basically, he kept assuring the tester that he just wants him to test the 'bot, and the robot kept assuring him that the guy who built her is up to no good. Meanwhile, unknown to the tester, the guy is watching every exchange and knows what's going on. He's waiting to see if the tester will choose to believe him, a human being, or take the robot's word for it. If he chooses to believe the robot over the human, then obviously he has successfully created a robot that can successfully convince somebody that she is sapient and not only could pass for human, but could even be considered more human than a real human.

And up until the security footage scene, I was convinced I was watching a movie that was basically one man falling victim to an unethical social science experiment and slowly losing touch with reality. I thought the ending was going to be that the guy who commissioned him to test the robot reveals he knew he decided to trust the robot, which means his robot has passed the test and he no longer needs the tester's services. He gets his paycheck and gets booted out the door, but the whole thing has completely screwed him up in the head and despite everything, he still believes the robot over the human. And the movie would end with the audience having to decide for themselves 1) what this man's fate will be now that his psyche is totally broken and 2) whether WE believed the robot too.

And that would have been a pretty cool psychological horror story. Alas, I was wrong. Buuuuut I guess with some tweaking, creativity, and original characters and settings (so as not to be a total plagiarist), I could probably write that story myself one day.
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Result in thread: Internet Negativity
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1st Apr 2017, 8:03 AM #14
melaredblu

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It's not like there are any consequences for being rude on the internet, especially if you're anonymous. Maybe they do it because they know they can get away with it. It's probably a little pretentious of me to say, but I think there's a certain degree of maturity and character you need to reach in order to restrain yourself from doing something you know you can do and get off scott-free, even though you know it's a bad thing to do. And while I don't assume every person who does those things lacks character by default, it's at least probably a lapse of character in that moment. At worst, it's just plain malice, but I think most of the time it's just that "I did it because I can" attitude. We all take the low road sometimes. It's not something to be proud of, but it's true. Still, there are a lot of nice people on the internet as well. They just...kinda get drowned out by the jerks, I think.
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30th Mar 2017, 4:04 AM #15
melaredblu

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Never heard of it before, but I bet its official anthem sounds a lot like this.
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28th Mar 2017, 11:25 PM #16
melaredblu

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*edit* I had a comment here, but I kind of misread everything and I now can't delete the comment entirely, so never mind me, carry on.
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Result in thread: portraying crying?
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28th Mar 2017, 6:43 PM #17
melaredblu

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I don't really like any of the sound effects I've come across for crying, really, so I also like the wobbly speech balloons approach. I prefer to let the visuals do the talking when I have a character cry anyway. If you draw it right, a character's facial expressions and body language can convey the sound of crying better than any sound effect I know of.
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26th Mar 2017, 10:36 PM #18
melaredblu

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Steven-Vincent: He did not come off as a troll to me. But then, I don't like anime or manga so I'm not liable to be offended by his OP.


I'm not personally offended either, but it seemed to me like his OP wasn't really asking questions so much as being really critical of a particular art style, regardless of his intentions. And he did make some statements that are rather misinformed, in my opinion. Either way, I still agree with the broader point others have made--dog-piling the guy isn't a fair response. At best, he really is a troll and you just gave him the response he wanted. At worst, you're picking on a guy who was being in earnest even if was wrong about a few things. Neither scenario is good.

And yes, I'll admit suggesting he's a troll isn't assuming the best of him on my part. I'm not going to claim I'm the bigger person here, it's just the impression I got.
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26th Mar 2017, 6:04 PM #19
melaredblu

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I agree jumping down somebody's throat probably isn't the right response, but considering the original post, I almost wonder if he was just trolling. I mean, the topic seems to be asking why so many people have a manga-influenced art style here (fair question), but the actual post is just complaining about anime having no visual progress in 30 years and being "stuck in a rut" which is...demonstrably false. Nowhere in the comment does it even ask the question the title seems to be asking. It's like the title was specifically made to lure in artists who like that style so they can talk about why they like it, and then the minute they walk in, they're greeted with a slap to the face insulting their chosen style.

I can't claim to be a telepath reading this guy's mind, but this does seem like the kind of thing a troll would do just to get a rise out of people. And if that's the case, I guess he did it. Probably would have been for the best to ignore this thread altogether (says I, stepping in to drop my pointless two cents).
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Result in thread: Bass-Ackwards Reviews
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24th Mar 2017, 6:08 PM #20
melaredblu

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Thanks to everyone in this thread for being such a great sport. I have some work I need to catch up on, but maybe someday when I get some free time again, I'll open another one of these threads.
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