forehead hurts

I have a few hundred words, variations on “I’m staring at a blank screen and can’t think where I should be taking Mike and Wendi right now.”

I took a little relaxation, though, and it was worth sharing. The inevitable sorta-digression first.

I read pretty close to sixty web-comics that come out everything from daily to weekly (and a couple that are irregular as heck but still hold my attention). I really ought to share, but instead I’m going to point to one I’ve favored before. Schlock Mercenary is a comic about a group of space mercenaries, for whom the title character works.

I want to be Howard Tayler when I grow up. That’s the creator, artist and writer of the comic. Unlike almost all his competitors, he’s professional. How professional? In eleven and 3/4 years of writing (yes, you read that right) he has never missed a day of posting a new comic. No excuses, no “things happened,” just steady comic after comic after comic. One of the ways he does that is by doing a buffer. He keeps, on average, 30 days of buffer. He says he gets twitchy if it drops to 24, and downright panicky/manic if it drops to 21.

But that’s only the start, and it’s the rest that is why I’m pointing to him again as a writer. He gets stories and plots, and even better he shares and shares well. I’m a fan of his contributions on Writing Excuses (done with Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, and Dan Wells originally, and somewhere along the way Mary Kowell joined). But rather than subject you to all that, I’m going to point to yet another lesson.

He got to do a guest post at inkpunks. It’s a post on writing subplots. While it’s long and full of useful information, let me share one obvious yet often forgotten point to tempt you to go read it: “Because if the sub-plot can tell a story without the big plot, it’s probably a solid story.”

Go. read it, take some time to listen to the hours of archived writing excuses, and set aside a few days to read almost 12 years of a darn fine sf story hiding as a webcomic.


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