I've been working on and off on my story for close to 20 years. As such, there have been tweaks to the story here and there. The main part hasn't changed, but "B" stories or thinking behind certain other parts definitely has. Tooled to refit maybe changes in my personality as I age, or storytelling that I've abandoned for different tones.
But perhaps the biggest changes has been how I planned to present the story.
At its inception, it was a straight-forward action book with a family dynamic. I had planned out a years worth of story for 12 issues. It was heavily influenced by the idea of single stories that contained "B" stories that would build as the 12 issues went on.
Then I modulated it into a bi-monthly at a bigger size that would be more story focused and less on a continuity.
It was until the mid-2000s that I decided to do a graphic novel. As my work schedule got more hectic and trying, I wanted to figure out a way to produce my book realistically. So it was going to be an introductory novel with a beginning, middle and end in case that was all I would be able to produce. I kept this particular plan to the completion of the first part of the story in September 2014.
The sheer weight of the story though, became a bit much for my self -employed self to put together. So I decided to serialize it.
It was a hard decision that even now I have a time with.
It's primary effect was supposed to be more spontaneous chapters. But the fear that it's starting to feel disjointed is there. I'm not creating this in harmony as the books get finished. I have to break to refocus on what pays the bills. So it can be a month or so before I can get back on the horse again. And then, there's that moment of inferiority. Can I do at least as well as the previous issue, etc?
And then there's the conventions. The graphic novel was going to be a complete story. I didn't have to fear that someone might purchase parts of the story and not be able to get the continuing parts for one reason or another. But now I do. And while I've only sold at a couple of shows, there's a part of me that kind of holds back because I'm not selling the whole thing.
Now that I'm actively producing the book, and I have a few readers following it, it's interesting how my decisions aren't just about me now. It's about my story and how it's being interpreted. Adds a whole new layer to everything and believe it or not is pretty calming. It keeps my changing in mid stream tendencies to the side.
But not too much.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.