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Hello, this is Songdog-StrayFang currently manning the wheel. I'm going to be doing some reorganization and cleaning up for the group in the future, so keep your eyes open! I'm also hoping to plan some events and contests. But before I start doing anything, I'd like to get some feedback from the group. I hope to help start developing a culture of community here, but I want to know what everyone would like to see from us. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated; feel free to drop your comments below or send them via note. Anything from how we should organize folders, to what you'd like added, or events you'd like to see.

Here's looking to the future!

Lately I've been noticing a trend that has been bothering me a little. There's been a lot of talk about cliches, but very little actual talk about cliches. What I mean by this is I've seen a lot of "don't use cliches in your comic", "this is cliche and you shouldn't do it", and "this is cliche, so it's bad". The problem is, we're not really addressing what a cliche is, what makes them problematic to writers, why we should avoid them, and if it's okay to use them in certain situations.

First, let's define a cliche. Cliche can refer to an overused expression or saying. For example, 'every cloud has a silver lining' is considered a cliche expression, as is saying 'all in due time'. Verbal cliches are things you should avoid in writing, but they're still sayings that we use. The problem with using these in writing is they're not original, because we're used to hearing them. But verbal cliches are not the ones people tend to demonize.

Cliche can also refer to an overused plot, or even a stereotypical character. For example, 'the liar revealed' is a cliche plot that involves someone lying or misleading others, and then eventually everyone finding out about it. Another plot cliche is the 'underdog story', where a meeker character is picked on by everyone else, but eventually ends up saving the day.

A character cliche may be the obvious bad guy with red eyes, dark colors, a mean face, and 'bad scars'. But, a cliche character can also be a nagging mother, or a character who is very large (possibly fat) and very dumb. There are certain cliches we seem to be much more willing to accept than others. These are things we see in popular, successful movies, books, shows, and games. So what's the problem with them?

Cliche plots can often be predictable, and therefore boring. If we, the audience, know what is going to happen next we won't be as invested in the story. It takes out the immersion, and can also leave us feeling insulted. We don't want to be treated to simple plots, like good vs evil where everything is black and white. Cliche plots often lack depth, and require little thinking from the reader. Good guys and bad guys are easily identified, the former never making mistakes and the latter going out of their way to be as evil as possible. This is just one example, however.

Character cliches are considered 'short cuts'. A writer will assign obvious stereotypical traits to a character so we immediately know what to expect from them, based on other characters from other works. You've seen the big dumb guy in many movies, books, and shows. They're usually strong or overweight. They can either be a bully, or they can be naive child-like gentle giant. But these cliches, like the plots, lack depth. They are cheap tricks the writer uses in lieu of actual character development.

So does that mean we should never use them? There's no simple answer to that. For children's books and movies, we often use cliche plots and characters because it is easier for them to grasp. Additionally, many of the classical characters from legends and folklore rely on stock character types. It's also not uncommon to rely on simplified, static characters for smaller side characters to save focus on our more dynamic, developed protagonist.

We also haven't discussed subversions, inversions, and deconstructions. A subversion is when it looks like an author is using a cliche, but then ultimately we see they're not. Calling back to the previous example, we may see a large, strong character and expect them to be simple minded and stupid. However, it is subverted when the author reveals they are actually intelligent and very well spoken.

An inversion is when the opposite of the cliche happens. So we have a beautiful, blue eyed damsel who is poetic, has a charming voice, but she's the 'bad guy'. Or, we may have a female protagonist who had to rescue a prince who has been locked up in a tall tower. These are the opposite of what we expect to happen based on our understanding of cliches.

A deconstruction is when a cliche is taken, and then played to its logical extremes and analyzed. So there's a 'great war of good vs evil' and only the 'chosen one' can save the world. At first the chosen one is happy to lead the charge. But as the story progresses, we see how much pressure our protagonist is under having to live up to the expectations. He sees his friends die in battle, and instead of stoically continuing his march, he is broken and left with tremendous guilt. He doubts himself, or maybe he abuses his new found power over others due to his title. In the end maybe he does save the day, but he is left a broken, shattered mess that no one can ever fix. Or maybe he is so overcome with guilt, self-loathing, regret, and pressure, that he lets the world fall apart. Deconstructions examine what would happen if a cliche were to really exist.

Again, what does this mean for cliches? The problem is that they are often overused as cheap short cuts and never properly examined. Cliches have their time and place, but new and unskilled writers do not know where or when that is. Instead many writers will rely solely on these cliches, as they have seen them in more popular media. Cliches become damaging when writers use them instead of thinking up ideas for themselves. However, I think it's important that new writers understand the how and why of cliches, instead of telling them blankly that 'cliches are bad and shouldn't be used'. It is always better to understand why something is a problem, than simply being told not to do it.
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CrimsonAlpha Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I feel like I have messed up with my comic, It wasn't until a friend here on DA pointed out that she couldn't follow whats happening at all (this along with other stating that they were confused as well), it's only in the prologue pages right now, I wanted to see what people thought before really getting into my first chapter and the prologue was suppose to have an air of mystery,
But I've been told that rather be mysterious it's just confusing :(

I layed the pages out before me and really looked at what was happening from a readers point of view, without the writers insight, and realized that by page 4 I started rushing things, I no longer was drawing panels out one scene right after another and instead kept jumping forward! I see now that I started moving to quickly and pacing things too differently than when the prologue started.

I want to restart and pace things better and use the art tips that was given to me by other DA artist who reviewed my earlier pages, but I don't know, should I just upload the the latest page that I have drawn out then immediately do a restart? I can't really get myself motivated to finish a prologue which in my eyes seems to have gone horribly wrong!!! :(

Anyone got any advise? Has anyone done restarts like this? The story and what is happening is exactly the same, many of the scenes will be redrawn as they are now in fact, it's just I need to add more panels to help pace things out better so that what's happening isn't so confusing --  Here's a link to the folder holding the pages, just from looking at the panels in the folder without clicking into any of thems, it is obvious now as to how the scenes are getting confusing and start jumping around, pages are i n order from bottom right to top left (my first pages have no colour) ...…
RAE-J Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! I see Songdog has already offered advise, but if you would like to note me as well, I have done total restarts on a few of my projects
La Brea 7 by RAE-J
La Brea: Page 9 by RAE-J
CrimsonAlpha Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Defiantly I will send you a note :D
Songdog-StrayFang Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hit me up a note; I still give critique and advise to those that ask. I can be harsh when it's critique about plot and characters, but with the physicality of layouts, formatting, and the technicals, I can temper myself some. It's daunting when someone points out a major flaw, but to grow we have to take those comments to heart I suppose. That's the nature of the beast :tea:
CrimsonAlpha Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks I'll send you a note so :D
Dalminah Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am thinking of creating another improvisation comic! If you would like to join and hear out more, please check:…
KeIIion Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
huhu would be nice when you add this in your group 

Lupains Air Raid by TX-aster

my friend :iconshanethewolf:  fiction is :icon2020ad:  (alien anthro wolves called Lupain against Humans)

my fiction :iconakira-bounty-hunter:  (alien cyborg werewolves against one anthro and humans)
PaintedCricket Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
All they have to do is join and submit when it's been updated, really =3
ArtWolf99 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Student General Artist
Hey guys! Thanks for letting me join! Much appreciated!
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