Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working for the BoA

This was something I wrote for Bren, who has probably been my friend the longest on the Haven. We both started around the same week or two, and figured out many of the intricacies of the Haven on our own.

I posted this one to the blog because I've noticed a few people are posting on the Haven that they are currently in the middle of a writer's block, and hope to get over it soon. I figured I would hit upon a few things that might help others.

I don't want to admit this because some people might be pissed that I've made a shit ton of captions and it might sound like a brag, but I rarely get writer's block. For me, the delay is mostly imparted by a lack of time and availability to make captions. I think there are 2 main reasons why I am not often stumped for ideas when it comes to creativity.

One is that I don't usually put much pressure on myself to (a) make a caption, and (b) make a GOOD/GREAT caption. If the thing sucks, it sucks, and oh well, I'll get 'em the next time around. I think I've gotten to a point that, at worst, my caption is going to be rated "meh" and I can live with that LOL Most of the time, I won't even stress that much if its not flowing well. I will just save it, and try to revisit it another day. There has been quite a few captions that I've rescued out of the old graveyard and re-purposed with either a newer picture, or a modified story. Talk about being green and recycling, huh?

The other thing is that I tend to make things that are a moment in time, and nothing that has an overreaching arch. I find an anchor point, and craft everything else around it. I will let my mind meander around that point to flesh out something in my mind, but I don't have to include all those details IN the caption. That way there is always a focus.

Since I often do "a moment in time" captions, I can do use just about anything that happens in my life, or in the life of others that I know. Just reading the web for information, I can jog my mind to see a TG moment lurking somewhere underneath the surface of the story. In the above caption, I took a real life and current happenstance, and related it into a TG plot line. For those that don't know, Bank of America is instituting a monthly bank fee of 5 dollars for most of its customers, just for using a debit card. This is on top of whatever other fees they collect for the individual transaction and other fees. Naturally there is an outrage among customers.

Banks piss people off. I would imagine they piss off magical beings as well. Doesn't seem like a stretch to think that THIS scenario would happen and happen fairly often in the Haven realm of worlds. I took it up a notch by showing that it was getting tiring for Bren, and that this thing has happened before. I wanted to show the drudgery of daily life, where even a TG magic event was just another annoyance in an average person's day. "So yeah, I was stuck in traffic, the network went down, I was turned into a girl, and they were out of hummus at the deli! Thank god I'm home!"

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Do you need the TG element of captions to be fantastic, life-changing and the complete center of the whole thing, or do you like them to be a sub-plot or piece of a whole puzzle? What is a good percentage of "actual change" to "rest of the story" when you are reading (and/or creating) a caption?


  1. I'm going through my own change right now. Playing with story idea, as well as designs. The main thing 'story wise' that I'm working on is moving from the 'fantastic, life-changing, complete center of the whole thing' story, to the 'moment in time' story. First, I'm doing that so that if I want to focus on the design, I can be more flexible with the story. If I need to cut some out... no problem. If I need to add a few more lines... no problem. But I've always admired these 'moment in time' caps, as I could fill in all the juicy details myself.

    Right now I'm only putting minimal effort into the stories. I think if I put just a little more effort into them, I can succeed at them. As to percentage of change to story... I think there is room for all varieties. I love many caps that are completely centered around the change, both mentally and physically. I also like ones where it is almost a detail that could be left out. An 'oh by the way, she used to be man too' kind of way.

  2. This question purely depends on what's required. I'm very much a "it's done when it's done" type when I write a caption so if the story needs to be a moment in time, than that's fine. If the story best requires a longer arc, than I'll go with it.
    I think length also plays a part in it. Moments in time are excellent for single panel captions when you want to caption a feeling, emotion or crystallize a raw energy. I believe deeper explorations of a TG journey are better served by multi-pannel "stories with image" type captions. It really comes down to space/design at that point.
    As for it being a major theme or sub-plot, it also depends on what the story calls for. I suppose if I'm making it purely to make it, I prefer it to be necessary but not so much the BIG THEME. If it's for someone else, that all depends on what their preferences call for.

  3. @ Simone

    I agree with you, but I was looking to see if there is a "tipping point" where too much or not enough of either .. would make someone hate the caption.

    I guess I could liken it to "CSI" vs "Columbo" where one is VERY procedural and the other sort of meanders around the crime .. they both reach the same conclusion, but its how they get there. The same goes for TG captions.

    @ Caitlyn

    I just saw what you mean in the latest posting on your blog. When doing concise, moment-in-time captions .. the economy of words means that whichever words ARE there should be vibrant and as descriptive as possible. Not everyone has the vocabulary to make that work. You (and Simone as well) can handle that challenge.

  4. I never really put much thought into it, i go from idea to finish pretty fast, and it's usually a knee jerk reaction that tells me the story. So, if that's what the idea calls for, then that's how It comes out.

    More often then not though, it's normally a moment in time that try's to capture the emotions behind the scene, so I would say it's more of the situation they find them self's in that drives my story's.