07 January 2011

On the intersection of sprite comics and fairy tales

So, I was talking with some friends the other day about fairy tales. The writing group found a new writing magazine called "Enchanted Conversation: a fairy tale magazine", which asks for submissions on the topic of the fairy tale they have chosen for that particular issue.

The magazine also listed some guidelines which caused us to discuss fairy tales in general, and I was relating to my friends what I took away from a book I read while doing research for the changeling stories. The book is [enter book here], and it was highly interesting. If you have any interest in fairy tales, I recommend reading it.

What's relevant to this post, however, is what the author said about symbolism in fairy tales, and how, I realized today, that relates to the sprite comic format.

You see, in fairy tales, it's nearly all symbols. A fairy tale is a story told in symbols: the "true love's kiss" is a symbol for falling in love, the period of near-death (enchanted sleep, a period of working and waiting) the female protagonist goes through is a symbol for the transformation or period of personal growth she's going through during that period.

There are no thought processes in fairy tales, very few descriptions of anyone or anything, there are only the characters' words and their actions.

And that brings us to the sprite comic format. When I first started planning a webcomic (to the point of starting a script for Script Frenzy), I was aware of the differences in approach that existed between a script and a piece of prose, like a story. But I'd encountered that the year before when writing a screenplay, and so it seemed very easy to write out the character's dialog, and then just sort of imagine I had an artist who would read my notes on what everything was supposed to look like, and so I could describe it that way.

But when I started thinking that a sprite comic would be the way to get this thing actually done, that's when I had to think a little bit harder. Because, you see, the thing about the sprite comic is that it's not about the art. It's about symbols. In this case, it's about visual symbols, rather than words describing symbols, but still: it's much like a fairy tale.

Regardless of how many poses and facial expressions I have for my characters, they are still symbols. And that's a much different way of approaching a story than I have been so far.

So, now I'm even more excited ... also, my sister is going to be drawing my characters' paper dolls for me (and maybe even backgrounds ... ), so I officially have art that won't suck. (Well, it's not official yet. I have to get her the character descriptions, which I am working on feverishly. And should now get back to.)

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