John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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The NeverNever Problem

Have you ever been working on something that you thought would be terrific if you could just get it right, only to have it go astray again and again?

Have you ever been trying to drive in a nail that insists on bending rather than go into the wood?

Have you ever had a perfectly fun afternoon of roughhousing ruined because somebody got poked in the eye?

I have, and I call it NeverNever.

When I first created NN, I knew right from the bat that it had a sustainability problem. I came up with the first 30 strips or so quickly and easily, more or less over the course of a slow week at a boring temp job, but then was struck with, "Okay, I've got this kid and this faerie ... what do I do with them?" That's when I came up with the whole "Arthur as Pendragon" thing, to give me a larger plot for the strip to work on.

Except, I overdid it. Starting with the summer camp storyline, NN got way too heavy and way too big for its own good, and I haven't been able to wrest it back on track ever since.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that my depression came along shortly after I started doing the comics, and knocked my sensibilities all asunder. It's very hard to write whimsically while your soul is bleeding, and to that extent, NN suffers from an acute case of bad timing. And whimsy is the very soul of NeverNever.

I'd like to think the strip is salvageable, and I'd like to get it going and keep it going again. But as of this moment in time, I've just got a big empty blank on what to do with it. I can get the characters out of their current mess, but whence from there? Once you been to the crucifixion, how do you go back to cupcakes and bottlecaps?

I wonder if I should just make a clean break of it and try to come up with a spinoff strip that would scavenge the best parts -- which is to say, Mopsy and the faeries -- and lose the stuff I'd rather not deal with, such as Camille and Jenny.

This is one of the big hazards of comic strips -- because you're making them up as you go along, you can't see the mistakes until they're already made.

-The Gneech
Tags: comics, nevernever, writing
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