Presenting the cipher of the Aremian language! This is a substitution set-up that will allow readers to translate Aremian script found in the comic. I will be writing signs, papers, and other background points in Aremian, so you can translate the text into English.
Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! I am going to start posting here more with art, updates, notifications and Djinnborn world information. I will also begin populating the DjinnWiki with a lot of the information I post, and some information I don’t post!
I’d like to kick off this effort by posting about the Minister’s Council of Aremshah.
The Minister’s Council is a body of seven people appointed by the Caliph to help him govern Aremshah. Those seven people are as follows (click on the name to jump straight to the description):
The Caliph may appoint or dismiss ministers as he sees fit. Some positions have been passed through family lines for a few generations while other positions are held by new nobility. The only positions that are traditionally never hereditary are the High General and the High Priest.
Without further ado, I present to you the Minister’s Council!
I’m trying to assemble the script for my mini-comic, but it’s tough. I think I have a good spread of information. I just don’t know how to tie it all up at the end. I feel like it will end abruptly and I’m not sure what to do about it. I am actively soliciting feedback and critique on how to make this a better outline.
I have two goals for this mini-comic. The first is to explore Aremshah City and Aremite culture.
The second is to set the stage for the first Djinnborn story. I want to show some landmarks that will appear in the story. That is why I want to take the tour to the Soaring Palace and the Temple. I hope to create familiarity so that when these places appear in the story, readers will recognize them.
Here’s the outline. I don’t mind sharing it since it’s not spoilers. Most of the information you’ll read in the mini-comic can be found online and will be in the DjinnWiki once I get that ready. If anyone has any suggestions, fire away!
Arrival at Aremshah
Visual First Impressions
Rounded features and motifs
Spacious open areas.
People and clothing
Loose fitting clothes
Art (Glassblowing and use of glass decorations)
Food and Recreation
Delicious pastry treats
National favorite alcohol
Wind instruments and singing
Major city landmarks
The Soaring Palace
Center of Aremite government.
Home of the Caliph.
Meeting place for the Ministers’ Council
Kept on the Jewel of Aremshah (name for the lake) to represent connection to Djinni of Water.
No building in the city is allowed to stand taller. The palace’s height represents connection to Djinni of Air.
Both symbols reflect the royal family’s direct descent from the two Djinn.
The Temple of Air and Water
Built in a circular design to reflect the significance of the circle and the cycle of life to Aremites.
Working on a design for the site. It’s taking considerably longer than I expected but I should have it ready soon.
In the meantime, I’m also creating a mini-comic guide to the Djinnborn world. This comic will be about 20-30 small pages and will be a visual introduction to the Djinnborn setting. It will provide an overview to the world, and then go through each of the five nations and give a little bit about each. It will serve as a complement to the DjinnWiki. The DjinnWiki will have more in-depth information.
The comic will be portrayed in “tour guide” format, and this strapping Krekonian fellow will be the tour guide. Krekonians are the most widely-traveled of all races and so I decided to use one as the narrator.
Eventually I will make mini-comic guides for each nation and possibly some other points of interest. I’ll post updates here periodically as I develop more of the mini-comic. When I get some pages completed I’ll even post some previews!
So, a question for those of you out there and reading: What would you like to see in the mini-comic? What points of each nation would you be most interested in reading about?
I’ve started writing sample dialogues to prepare myself for writing the comic’s dialogue. It’s good practice for finding my characters’ voices and personalities. They also help pass the time on my walk to and from work each day. I installed Evernote on my phone and I tap out stories, plot info, and dialogues with my thumbs the whole way. If you see any bizarre typos, that’s probably because of a bad autocorrect that I didn’t catch in my edits.
One of these days, all this typing while walking is going to be the death of me!
Since I need to make a blog post, I thought I’d share one of these dialogues with you.
This story takes place after Osoron has become Caliph. He quickly learns that life as a nation’s ruler is a lot different from life as a skyship captain.
Since I started building Djinnborn, I’ve gotten comments on how big and in-depth the world is. The detail is intentional. I going a little overboard, but the more I design this world, the more I’ve fallen in love with it. I know not everyone will come to love the world as much as I do, but a guy can dream, right? It’s my hope that someday the Djinnborn world would become popular enough that other people will want to write and draw their own tales and characters within the setting.
Big dreams, but if a guy can’t dream big, what can he do?
This means I’d be giving the world permission to freely use the Djinnborn setting to write their own stories and characters. All they need to do is credit me as the Djinnborn creator and they can’t sell their creations for money. I know it might be years before anyone does this, but again, a guy can dream, right?
This idea came about from a conversation with a few people on Google+ (add me if you’d like!). We’d briefly discussed our frustrations with the current Marvel Comics meta-plots. One idea tossed around was similar to what I’m considering for Djinnborn.
The thought was that if the Big Comic Companies let indie developers create and publish non-canon stories using their worlds, good things would happen. It would open the market to a lot more potential — who knows how many amazing comic writers and artists are out there that could make great use of this opportunity?
My big problem with Marvel is that lately they don’t seem to know what they want to do. Their metaplot jumped the shark sometime in the past decade or so. To me, it feels like there is no end-point for the metaplot (and there probably isn’t). I get the sense Marvel knows there’s no planned end-point and that they probably should have an endpoint. I get the feeling Marvel just doesn’t know what to do with itself anymore, so each successive metaplot point gets more and more ridiculous. I feel like ever since M-Day, if not earlier, their big story is just one fumble after another.
On the other hand, I’ve loved a lot of their new lines. I thought Ultimate X-Men was a lot of fun. I loved New X-Men until the Belasco/Magik parts. Runaways was a whole lot of fun. In addition, I’ve really taken to a number of DC’s New 52 titles like Teen Ttians and Legion of Superheroes. To me, this is a sign that Marvel needs to pull its head out of its rear end and try another reboot or draw their metaplot to a conclusion.
One thing I’ve learned in writing is to write with an end — a final end — in mind. This clearly is not what Marvel’s doing, and I think it really shows in how shoddy their storytelling’s gotten lately. Characters and ideas do get stale and there just comes a point where it’s better to gently retire characters rather than keep trying to shoehorn them into horrible ideas.
I know I’m not alone in this belief, though I also know I might be in the minority. Still, I can’t help but wonder how Marvel and DC might benefit from both an expanded universe and from drawing metaplots to a final close.
Marvel and DC universes are both large enough that people could play in them and make their own characters and stories without watering it all down too much. And when a particular writer or artist gets popular enough, Marvel or DC could go look at what that creative person is doing and maybe even hire him or her to make that storyline official.
Even if it didn’t work out that way, imagine the potential for other storylines and other characters. Only things officially published by Marvel, DC, etc., would be canon. But it would allow other people to express their views through their own creations. I think that’s a good thing.
Personally, if Djinnborn ever gets big enough that people do write other stories that aren’t part of my canon, I’d love to see what they come up with. I’m curious how other people’s contributions can enhance my own vision of the setting.
What do you think about this idea? I know it’s far-reaching and might even involve some delusions of grandeur, but it is fun to think about. I’m hoping to make my own expanded universe for Djinnborn, even if others don’t. Once Osoron’s story draws to its conclusion, I just might start a new comic in another part of the Djinnborn world. Perhaps others will get motivated to do similar!
Okay, things have been really, really busy on the home front lately. I am trying very hard to get a long overdue commissioned project done for Joe, the guy that writes and draws Shattered Myth. It’s long, long overdue and it’s taking higher priority than just about every other artistic endeavor on my plate right now.
However, I have some free time where I can’t work on that project right now because I’m not on my desktop with all my handy comics-making tools, so I thought I’d babble a little about my plans for Djinnborn posting and publication.
I’ll be posting pages twice per week. Not sure what days yet, but twice a week worked for me in Metamorphosis and will work for me here, too.
Djinnborn will be released in a 20-page-per-issue structure.
When I started Metamorphosis, I was doing the “chapter” thing. The prologue went for about 13 pages. Chapter 1 was just over 30. As I started writing the script for Chapter 2, I realized Chapter 2 would be over 60 pages, if not more. I looked at future story arcs and realized each individual “chapter” could become even longer.
This didn’t sit well with me. It took me a little bit to realize why.
Web-based comics are a slow medium. This can’t be helped. Even if you post a page every day, it is still pretty slow. I mean, let’s face it. You can go to the store, buy a print comic book, and read it as quickly or as slowly as you like. You watch a TV serial and you get an entire story arc for just an hour of your time.
With an online comic, you’re bound to a single page when the writer/artist decides it should be posted. Suppose the comic posts new pages twice a week. That can take a long time to resolve a single story. Let’s take my Metamorphosis examples and see what that means.
Metamorphosis updated twice a week. Granted, I didn’t update every week, but I hit most of them. For the sake of argument, though, let’s say I updated twice a week, every week, starting with the very first page.
My prologue was about 13 pages. That means it would take over six weeks just to introduce my comic. That’s a long time just to get a story started! Now consider the fact that Metamorphosis had over 100 pages spanning the prologue, two story arcs, and starting into a third. Even if I had posted twice a week every week without fail, it would have taken me over a year to show the whole story.
Look at it another way. It takes a whole year to show roughly three episodes of a TV show.
Back to the Issues
I decided to switch to using “Issues” instead of “Chapters” a little ways into the second story arc. As I mentioned, I realized my “chapters” were getting progressively longer. I felt that dragging a single chapter on for the better part of a year meant I was taking too much time. Though really, it’s a matter of semantics.
Here’s what I like about the “Issue” model.
The average DC or Marvel issue has about 20-30 pages. Each issue is a self-contained story. Sometimes that story is part of a larger arc. But generally, each individual issue has a beginning, climax, and end. Readers can get a sense of closure for the immediate story, even if that closure is immediately followed by a cliffhanger (as is usually the case in serial comics).
I think this is a good tactic for long-form online comic producers to follow. Gag-a-day and similar comics don’t have to worry about it as much. But long-form/serial online comics could gain much from it. If you take your big story arc and break it up into a series of smaller, more contained arcs. As many of us know, Internet users are notoriously fickle and have short attention spans. The sooner you can give them satisfaction, the better. If I break up Djinnborn into a series of 20-page issues instead of one big 100-page chapter, I can provide a lot more closure a lot more quickly. It will take me 10 weeks to reach a dividing point instead of a year. It’s still slower than a monthly serial, but it’s faster.
It isn’t very different functionally. You still post X number of times per week. It’s just a different way of structuring and labeling your comic.
Addressing the Issues
“Issue” format has another advantage from a writing perspective.
First, by forcing yourself to divide your story into 20-page blocks, you set up a systematic wave of events that can help you structure your outline. Most fiction-writing advice will tell you that a good story is set up in a wave. You build up and build up and build up, then you hit the climax point and then everything comes to a head. There are many, many books on this topic and I can recommend some titles if you’re interested. Many novels and other stories repeat countless smaller waves within the course of the big wave.
So why is this relevant?
Have you ever reached a point in a story where nothing seems to be happening? Or the story wanders off to things that are not important? That’s because the story lost track of its wave.
The wave of start -> buildup -> climax -> resolution is a big part of what keeps readers engaged. When the wave goes out of sync, readers usually lose interest.
This wave does not apply only to the overarching plot, either. Take your favorite novel and go through it. Try and spot how many smaller waves you find. Chances are, almost every chapter, every scene, sometimes even every dialog is built using the wave. It keeps things exciting and drives the plot forward.
I believe the smaller waves go a long way toward keeping a long-form online comic engaging. It certainly works for the big name comics, right?
Issues of Restriction
The other major advantage involves placing restrictions on yourself to better yourself.
That sounds kind of counter-intuitive, right? Well, bear with me for a little while I explain.
Placing restrictions and boundaries on what you can do with a creative work actually encourages your creativity. A lot of drawing exercises forbid you from using certain techniques or colors, or limit how what tools or even what shapes you can use. Have you ever heard of flash fiction? The goal of flash fiction is to tell an entire story with only a few (usually 100) words. It’s hard!
But here’s where the advantage comes in. By forbidding yourself from thinking about a story in one way, you force yourself to think of it in other ways — ways you probably never would have considered before. This ultimately expands your creative muscle and gives you a much bigger arsenal once you remove the restrictions.
One of the problems I’ve seen with many long-form online comics is that they start to wander aimlessly with no real sense of direction. The writer has a vague idea of what he or she wants to do but no real road to follow. There’s no wave, so the story falls flat.
I think forcing yourself into an issue format can make you more conscious about the wave. Tell yourself that you need to contain an entire section of your story within 20-30 pages — pick a set number so that you have a clear goal. Tell yourself this 20-30 page section of the story needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Do this with each part of your plot and see how your story turns out.
This style issue-based style of writing has helped me tremendously in learning how to write a webcomic during Metamorphosis. I plan to refine the idea for Djinnborn and really make it work for me.
So I kind of suck. I was supposed to post twice already. But I had all of last week off and I completely lost track of what day it was. My return to work kind of snuck up on me and surprised me. So yeah, I am a big failure in that regard. I do apologize. I can say once I get started with the webcomic, updates will happen regularly and on schedule. If nothing else, I was pretty good at that during Metamorphosis.
Today I don’t have a visual post. I have a couple non-Djinnborn projects that I need to finish. One of them is for Joe Cook, writer/artist for the very excellent webcomic Shattered Myth. He’s publishing a book soon and I have a long overdue guest act I need to get done for it. This guest act is a joint project between myself and Rolando Garcia of Roshow.net. He wrote a story set in the Shattered Mythoscape and I’m illustrating it in comic form. This is something I’ve had on the back burner for far too long. Now I’m almost finished and I need to get it done.
I also got hired by my tabletop GM to create several visual aids for our new Pathfinder game that we’re starting this Sunday. I don’t know that I’ll have them all done by Sunday but I think I can at least have a sketch or three ready. I also want to sketch my own character. I’m playing a rakshasa-blooded sorcerer who is going to fit the charmingly dorky con man archetype. He’s devilishly handsome, as a rakshasa-blooded sorcerer should be, and he has several powers that let him get into people’s heads. This fellow’s a good guy, he’s just chaotic good and sometimes gets himself into trouble. Still, at level 12, he’s got access to a good hand of “get out of trouble” cards, from suggestion and charm to teleport.
That being said, I have some Takhari drawn up and I am going to post them in my next feature. I’m also (slowly) setting up the DjinnWiki and I hope to have that presentable very soon.
Today, I’m going to talk about religion in the Djinnborn world. Hit the jump to see it!