#924 "I'd Die For Some Fish Fingers and Custard"

January 5th, 2012, 3:30 am

Average Rating: 5.00

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Reply NtKGar, January 5th, 2012, 3:50 am

Something I forgot to mention earlier: a second person has gotten a Neko the Kitty tattoo! That means NtK has officially achieved cult status!

There's a photo of the tattoo up on the NtK Facebook group (Paige, can you put up a link? I can't get Facebook at work) The design is taken from strip #571, but I'm going to link back to strip #569 because that's where the scene starts :)

Reply Advertisement, May 28th, 2017, 8:53 pm

Reply NtKPaige, January 5th, 2012, 3:57 am

https://www.facebook.com/groups/36426467550/

Consider the FB page linked :)

It's kind of awesome having a Neko the Kitty tattoo buddy, though now I wonder am I being challenged for my crown of No. 1 Fan. Or can I even be No. 1 fan anymore since I'm half of the Neko team now. :P

Reply NtKPaige, January 5th, 2012, 11:26 am

@monfang: I loves the Doctor, and Matt Smith has become my fav doc :)

Allow me to bring up an old favourite.

User's Comments:

Reply monfang (Guest), January 5th, 2012, 5:55 am

Yay, Eleventh Doctor reference!

Reply Tex, January 5th, 2012, 10:25 am

I was going to get a lion tattoo, but a neko tat just seems more appealing now.

What to do..

Reply RoboKitty, January 5th, 2012, 10:56 am

NtK tattoo @Tex: Doesn't it though...

By the way, I stole Keno!
@NtKPaige: I think you can still be number 1 fan. Just because it's partially your work doesn't mean you can't be a huge fan of it.

Reply NtKPaige, January 5th, 2012, 11:14 am

@Tex: Howsabout Neko in a lion costume? :)

@RoboKitty: Yeah, I think I can still call myself No.1 fan, I have more tattoos and I'm sleeping with the creator. Now THAT'S dedication! ;-)

Reply PiMaster, January 5th, 2012, 2:44 pm

Wait He's a hominid? That would explain why he's short, psychotic, and bleeding rainbows...

Reply RoboKitty, January 5th, 2012, 5:29 pm

@NtKPaige: Yeah, I gotta say, that IS hardcore dedication.

I've been thinking lately that I'd like to start my own web comic. Then, I found myself wishing Neko and Maisy had had more kittens so I could adopt one. Just for something to start with. To build a story around. So far, I have nothing except some halfway decent art skills. No concept or story or good ideas yet.

Reply Pumpkindacat, January 5th, 2012, 6:14 pm

Neko, Could I has some leg w/rainbow blood?
Please?

Reply GabrielsThoughts, January 5th, 2012, 8:45 pm

I wonder if it tastes like skittles... I like Neko in the second panel. Although I kind of think he's missing part of a leg and think his chest is too small. You've managed to capture the action hop of justice quite well. Also the looks of curiosity and concern are priceless.

Reply NtKGar, January 6th, 2012, 10:34 am

@RoboKitty: There are two vital steps to doing a webcomic that I absolutely cannot overstate the importance of:
1) Start
2) Keep going

When I started NtK, all I had was a doodle of a cute kitty I'd been drawing in my notebooks for a while (I hadn't even decided he was male at the time, one of the very early strips mentioned that). The cast expanded as I needed new characters, and after a hundred or so strips I had a decent idea of who everyone was and started fleshing them out.

Webcomics is a long game, you have time to tease out ideas and you don't have to define everything straight away.

That said, if you're having trouble getting started, here's a tip: the most important thing in any story is the characters. Figuring out WHO you want to write about is a lot more important than WHAT you write about. Now I'm not saying to disregard plot, but it's the characters that make people care. Know who your characters are and you can just throw them into any scenario and the story basically writes itself if you let them react authentically. The plot's there to show off the characters, not the other way around.

Stories where the characters exist as exposition machines to forward the plot simply aren't interesting, no matter how clever or intricate they are. Lots of stuff happening is just...stuff happening. It might grab peoples' attention for a while, but it's not going to get them to *care*.

Using my own work as an example of characters dictating plot: It wasn't until I got the gang to the doors of the Labyrinth of Death that I realised there was no way in hell Ellen would go in there for the sake of a stranger (and three hundred bucks). Similarly, no way was Keno going to go home without seeing the adventure through to the end. Letting the characters dictate the action there meant scrapping most of what I had planned for the plot and a whole slew of set-pieces in the Labyrinth, but I'm entirely satisfied with that choice.

I read a great article on coming up with characters recently, I think it was ('Community' creator) Dan Hartman. If I find the link I'll share it. Anyway: take someone you know, and try to describe them with a single word or two-word phrase. The guy you know who mumbles and spends most of his time looking at the ground but who smiles at everyone before looking away? 'Bashful'. ('Dirty' was the one in the original article. Pretty sure it was Dan Hartman.)

Now these adjectives aren't just the dictionary definition of the word, they're distillations of your own observations - the word or phrase is just a marker to congeal the idea into usable blob form so you can pick it up later without having to re-form it. Form as many of these character-blobs as you like. These are your elements, you'll keep discovering new ones and you can never have too many.

Now, when you're creating a character (or want to define an existing character), take a couple of blobs and moosh them together. Three ought to do it. You can have single-blob characters, but they tend not to have any internal conflict and are only really good for supporting roles. Too many blobs and your character will lack a core identity and be inconsistent. Three is a good number, there's a lot you can do with three blobs.

One of the blobs should be somewhat at odds with the other two - Jean Luc Picard, for example, is 'idealistic', 'compassionate' and 'disciplined' - idealism complements both compassion and discipline, but discipline and compassion often come to odds. You can use the same blob in more than one character without repeating yourself. Change any one of the core blobs and you change the character (change 'disciplined' to 'daring' and you end up with Kirk, change 'compassionate' to 'uncompromising' and you get Batman).

Once you've got the core of the character you can add in details - what kind of music do they like? How do they dress? Where do they work? Do they have any scars and how did they get them?

Now this isn't necessarily a linear process. Maybe you'll come up with a character design first and that will recommend some core character blobs to you. The story of how they got that scar could reveal everything you need to know about the kind of person you're writing. You can come up with the setting first and come up with the kind of people that would occupy that setting. You can even write the character without thinking about it and realise what their core is later! (That's what I did.)

Hopefully that helps. You don't need to adopt a kitten from NtK, cartoon cats are pretty easy to draw, and if you write it for a while the character will reveal itself. It's quick and easy (not to mention free!) to set up a site here on SmackJeeves, and even if you don't get much of an audience...do you have an audience now?

Making comics is fun! Do up a couple of strips over the weekend and stick 'em online.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, January 6th, 2012, 11:56 am

Not that i really care, but here's my two cents as well... @RoboKitty (Opinion)

:3 People like patterns. I'm not one of them, I like tricks and slight of hand. I'm more or less addicted to chaos and change. however, before you think this entire comment is about me...

If your comic has a recogniszable pattern or consistency and it updates on the weekends at the same exact time you are more likely to generate hits.

If your comic features a fetish of some kind, like vampires, werewolves, transgender, pr0n, kitties, or a shallow nasty cold hearted fatalistic protagonist your chances of piquing public interest skyrocket dramatically. I don't know why, the reality of these situations are much less interesting and border more along the lines of tragedy. Still, some of the best comedy is almost always born from tragedy.

Also, it helps to be endorsed by an established comic or critic... so make as many fan and guest comics as you can, because other artists enjoy the break and you can pretend to be sick or something as long as your aren't updating. This can also backfire as most critics are arrogant and think they know the will of GOD. However, the more arrogant they are the better other people can see other three fingers pointing back at the critic. So in a way, even bad publicity is laughably funny.

I don't use social media or pay for advertising, as I prefer the famous amos approach to success. However, I understand it is the current lynchpin to success.

Also, someone can't say they've tried everything to generate traffic as long as they haven't tried money. I like to think having high profile invisibility is preferable to being a complete failure.

Although, technically speaking the only person who can decide if you've failed or not is you. Your comic is not you, it is a unique expression of how you interpret your dreams, fantasies, and the world around you. Write for yourself, don't get trapped by people who tell you to develop you character, time and change happens to us all. The only requirement to be successful is that you believe in yourself and not in anyone else.

Just so we're clear I'm not advocating unhealthy narcissism, and what it means to be an idealist, or having a set of standards and expectations, isn't the same for every person.

Which is why I'm going to have to disagree with Gar's statement that the characters should dictate the plot. I may have misread or misinterpreted what he wrote but most comics exist a fatalist universe, and no matter how much liberty the creator gives the character to explore the character changes with the creator and vice/versa.

Reply NtKGar, January 6th, 2012, 1:31 pm

Well there's a synthesis of elements. If the plot forces the characters to do something they wouldn't do because of who they are, then you need to either change the plot or the characters. Give characters moments of development and catharsis so that they come to each plot point when they're ready to be there. The plot shouldn't send the characters to anywhere they Would Not Go. If a character is doing something against their wishes, then there needs to be a bit where they're forced, coerced, or otherwise convinced that going along with the plot is the only viable course of action. Characters can't just do stuff because the plot demands it, they have to do stuff because that's what they'd do, and then the next bit is what they'd do next. Characters behaving out of character is just bad writing.

Although I will admit my way of writing isn't everybody's way. I'm basically the Bob Ross of storylines. I write by the seat of my pants and learn as I go along. Mistakes are just happy little accidents, and I'm getting better with practice (if there's a secret, it's practice). You can pick up the loose plot threads and just tie them off as you go, leaving new threads for you to pick up later in the process. Keep leaving threads dangling and you can go on forever. It's a webcomic - the various storylines finish when they finish. There's no time constraints, no page count, no limitation to content or form. It's your world, you can do what you want with it.

Happy tittle trees.

Write something YOU would want to read. That's not necessarily the same thing as "writing what you want to write", and you absolutely NEED critics to point out the weaknesses in your writing so you learn to write better. The people who defend you (if any) will be the ones pointing out strengths. You need to pay attention to both kinds of criticism.

Reply NtKGar, January 6th, 2012, 1:36 pm

OK, and it's Dan Harmon, not Dan Hartman, who does community, so that's why I couldn't find the blog earlier.

The thing about creating characters from core ideas is here http://danharmon.tumblr.com/post/9510780192/hi-dan-my-wife-and-i-love-community-and-cant-w ait

He explains it better than I did, I left out the bit about making lots of characters and seeing how they react with each other, and the 'molecule' metaphor is much more elegant than the 'blobs' metaphor. That's just because Dan Harmon is, for the time being, a better writer than me :P

Reply GabrielsThoughts, January 6th, 2012, 2:31 pm

You may need critics to improve, but not all critics are competent. Not to change the subject or anything, but back to the subject of "needing" critics. I have standards for critics when they don't meet those standards I will ignore them. If the critic doesn't know how to complain effectively (if not objectively), and their sole purpose is to make the other person look or feel "stoopid durr" than they are it's not criticism it's abuse. These critics instantly loose credibility with me. They often loose more points with me when they use persuasion tactics like "social proof" to prove they are right, or if they lack the capacity to tell the difference between facts and opinions. In as much as, a good critic should be able to ask, or know how to ask questions in order to clarify understanding. Also, any critic that uses NLP is just asking to be taken down a peg or two, there's a reason hypnotists should be certified.

I honestly don't care if they are judgemental or not. If they weren't judgemental they wouldn't be critics.

Reply NtKGar, January 6th, 2012, 6:17 pm

By 'critic' I mean someone who offers critique. Reviewers that just go 'this sucks and I don't like it' aren't worth the bandwidth they're printed on, but a good critic will point out areas that aren't working and hopefully suggest stuff you can do that might make your work Work.

You can decide whether the criticism is valid or not, you can question the critic and get them to clarify exactly what isn't ringing true to them, but generally they're not out to get you.

Yes, there are those that delight in cruelty for cruelty's sake, who will savage everything you put on the page and acknowledge no redeeming quality, but generally when someone takes the time to write a detailed critique they're trying to help you. They're not just saying "this isn't good", they're saying "this could be good, if".

Take it all with a pinch of salt of course, the critic is only giving their opinion, and in semi-rare cases they're just being assholes, but if they say "you need to work on [identified problem]" and you agree with them and go do something better, then everybody wins!

Reply RoboKitty, January 7th, 2012, 8:09 am

@NtKGar and Gabriel'sThoughts: Thanks for all the wonderful advice, guys. I've now got ideas on crack inside my head and a way to organize them. And a way to handle critics. Very much appreciated! :)

Reply Arietta (Guest), March 1st, 2012, 7:06 pm

Meant to post here

Reply kolda, April 24th, 2012, 7:34 pm

Ah, i'd rather have some yogurt, with all the disgusting little bits in it. Or give me bread and butter. I won't throw it out the door. I'd welcome it. In my mouth. I don't really have any cravings for apples though. I don't like beans either. Fishsticks and custard doesn't taste bad though.

Reply KittyLitter, September 2nd, 2012, 6:41 pm

That top-view shot of Neko is just ridiculously cute.

Reply Pepperpot (Guest), January 6th, 2015, 10:06 pm

genius i know this is three years late but some of the techniques you guys are presenting here are simply gold, i'm glad people like you are out there willing to share your experiences with creating with everyone else

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