“Tight storytelling” is a writing buzzword that I use a lot but have difficulty actually defining, so today I’m challenging myself to do so. A tight story, in my mind, is one that feels efficient – no time is wasted on sideplots or other developments that don’t directly serve the main storyline. This doesn’t necessarily mean a completely straight shot from beginning to end, but it definitely excludes the sprawling, twisting threads of most webcomics I can think of.
There are interesting layers of meaning to the word “soft”. In one sense, it can mean comfortable, inviting, pleasant to touch. In another, it conveys instead looseness, a lack of structure, or a yielding quality. These connotations have an unspoken gendered quality to them – “soft” is code, in so many ways, for “feminine”, and whether something being soft is a good or bad thing betrays much about the speaker’s attitude towards femininity.
Many, many hands are wrung all the time about the dearth of original ideas in the world, and how to create something new. Sometimes the answer lies in simply combining elements from existing genres – supernatural detectives, alien spies, pop witches. And while the results of these mashups can be a lot of fun and, yes, original, sometimes a better route is to take an existing genre and subtract things from it.
I admit it: I don’t really “get” New York City. I’ve been there of course, visiting friends, etc. I’ve seen the Met, the village, the park, the restaurants, the bridges, the endless highway gridlock, the claustrophobic streets, the inescapable smells… you know, the whole experience. And I didn’t really like it! Maybe I’m a country critter at heart, but even other cities I’ve seen and lived in have never felt so fundamentally alienating as New York.
There are certain comics that I might, if pressed, refer to as “entry level”: comics that are accessible, easy to read and follow, and that tell original, quality stories that are nonetheless a bit familiar to readers. Comics you can recommend to new friends, acquaintances, people you don’t really know – comics that can enjoy a fairly wide appeal. Then there are comics that I would have to call… “advanced”.