Sometimes – not often – I wish I knew how or even cared to tell happy cheerful stories. Doing so is difficult for me but I feel that happiness is a tool I need to master just as I should master every tool in the writer's emotional toolbox. That's what I was attempting to jump-start with my Sketch – Happy Land piece (found at fav.me/d3sijw7
), my hope was that writing an over-the-top happy story would help me break through my happiness block. I wanted to write a story so happy that everything I wrote afterward would be tinged with that happiness, if even only a little bit. But I forced the issue, or perhaps it's more accurate to say I cheated. The inhabitants of Happy Land, at first glance consisting of magic pixies and bubbling slimes, express the idea that no not-happy feeling can be had in Happy Land. Maybe for them this isn't so bad, they're not human after all … but I think that for a human Happy Land would be a boring place to live. Happiness is only one emotion after all, and variety is the spice of life. And because writing and art is about making the reader feel, doing so with only one emotion really would be boring. Happiness is a brush to paint with and a writer should no more only paint with that brush as they should avoid the brush entirely. That's what I need to remember. Shortly after writing Happy Land I would have said it was something of a failure, because I didn't succeed at my impossible goal of writing a purely happy world. The truth is that I succeeded, because I was able to write a world with plenty of happiness and a few more emotions besides. Do I like the piece? The jump scare amuses me, as does the two characters playing Fly before, but after that there's not much more to the piece, it was writing practice and nothing more. What did I learn? Happiness is a tool like any other, to be used as the story needs.
This week it's another chapter of Pokemon: the Game! Clay's secret is revealed and Cid is worried, she doesn't want to be arrested! Meanwhile the others are being true to their responsibility, nothing will happen to that package until Clay gets it! Next week will be the concluding part of High War's chapter nine, please look forward to it, I know I am!
by Luka Delaney
Questions can make and break a story. When positive such secrets can intrigue the reader, convince them to continue reading so as to discover the truth, hold them until the end while the secret is dangled before them like a carrot on a stick. These positive questions are often centered around characters, such as: does the protagonist have a power hidden within them? What is the ally's true motive for helping the protagonist? Who is that masked man? When the answer is not revealed by the end though, the reader is left feeling unfulfilled. And when questions are negative they confuse the reader, convince them to go elsewhere for their entertainment. These kinds of secrets are often centered around the story itself, such as: is this story ever going to start feeling hopeful? Does the author have any real point or vision to this story? Is any of this even real? Questions like this take the reader out of the story, but they can be avoided by not implying them in the first place. A webcomic like this has questions of both kinds, and so will succeed or fail depending on if the answers are received well. Even worse, the answers may only really come at the end of everything, meaning that the author must rely on readers not giving up part way through. Not every story takes that risk, and that can be charming in a way. Our protagonist is from “our” world and has been summoned to a rich fantasy world of gods and demons, but he may be dreaming everything that happens or even exploring his own madness-tinged subconscious. His love interest and appointed guardian isn't too happy about those latter two theories, but she's even less happy about his multiple personalities and apparent breadth of random magical powers when in them. Meanwhile a thief is getting it on with the princess our hero was summoned to save, the soul of whom is now trapped along with a whole heap of dead people in our protagonist's mind, while the gods wander the land and make mischief for everyone as they work to prevent some kind of godhood apocalypse from happening again. The art starts a bit rough but gets professional with time and is full color most of the way through
Why you should read this: The author takes the issues of multiple personalities (for the protagonist) and gender-queer (for the protagonist's real world friend) very seriously, making this story somewhat of an exploration of both. The story is also a trope deconstruction of such things as the Hero's Journey, Freud's theories of the mind, magical girl manga and even fantasy in general.
Why you shouldn't read this: Don't bother if you frequently get lost trying to follow challenging plot-points and the actions of background characters, this story is made of them and may take a few reads to understand. Also there's been a few hiatuses and the artist may have offers of other work coming in.
Other cool stuff: The new website is nice, but like the old one still has a strange archive. There's a LiveJournal for random art and news – seems the artist is now involved with Homestuck? - and there's a whole bunch of fanart from a whole bunch of people. Very cool is how you can ask the author any question using the Anti-FAQ and maybe even have it answered with the truth.