Monday, January 2, 2012

Dee's Beauty Salon .. Hello 2012!!!

Was looking over the "Dark-hives", trying to find the first caption I made that wasn't specifically "magical" .. which took awhile since the first 240 panels* I made were pretty much exclusively dealing with spells, curses, wishes gone wrong, etc .. There was one other caption that left it blank, but it was more implied that magic was somehow the means of transformation. Hence it took me about 3 months (June 2008) into my captioning 'career' to try something out of my comfort zone.

Its fun to look back and see what you were doing then, and how you would do it differently now, 3 and a half years later. This is one of the first times I used my signature font, so it still LOOKS like something I'd do now, though I didn't frame it the way I do now. I also justified the text to whichever side the picture was positioned, which I don't think I did too often. I was still feeling out a style to call my own.

So, design wise, I'd probably do a few things differently (like make all the panels the same width) but I think the story and dialog would stay the same if I was making the same caption today. The main thing that jumps out at me though is this .. I don't usually go this deep into plots anymore. Could I boil this down to one caption sucessfully? I doubt it .. though its definitely a relative of another one I posted here over a week ago .. A Subtle and Tasteful Makeover. In fact, I mention that I didn't want to create a multi-panel caption with a guy picture in the 1st one .. subconsciously I was probably aware that I made a caption much like this one 3 years earlier!

This is something that Simone and I discussed over IM's last night. I think we both started around the same time making captions. We've probably done just about every story line and plot point we could since then. Trying not to repeat ourselves takes A LOT of effort, especially for people we've captioned often. We each have our own ways of dealing with it. I went with making micro-captions .. where I focused more on a specific element of the transformation, where some details are magnified while others are virtually non-existent. So its a "maid caption" but I leave out the "how" or "who did it" and focus on the feeling of having to clean their old mansion.

There are enough differences between this caption series and .. A Subtle and Tasteful Makeover .. that I don't feel that I plagiarized my own work. Others might have different opinions!

* By a rough guestimate, I've made over 1500+ TG panels. I did many more multi-panel captions when I started out. After 6 months or so, I barely went more than 2 panels for any caption I created.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What are some things you do to make sure you don't rehash the exact same captions again and again, especially when captioning a well worn TG motif? Other than trying to not draw attention to similar captions that you've done before .. like I did here! Do you just shrug your shoulders and say, "you can't really reinvent the wheel, so why bother?" or stress yourself to constantly be innovative?


  1. Steffimariechen's Forced Femme Caption Blog
    Lovely blast-from-the-past... :)

    On the discussion question... I try really hard to keep innovating, but it's true that's really only so many different ways you can tell the same basic 6-7 stories, without at least some overlap..

    I just discovered recently that two pics, both called "surprise" are virtual clones of ewach other... The pics are similar, a young girl with a surprised expression, primping in front of a mirror.

    Both times, at least 6 months apart, it lead me to basically the same story. I have told similar "walking in on boy while he is using makeup" stories many times... trying to add details, change names/relationships/ages... but it's still the same basic "caught with consequences" story no matter how I tell it.

    There's always room for a new story, but the more times you cover the same basic "Themes", the harder it gets to be original...

    That's my take, anyways :)

  2. @ Steffi

    This was pretty much a discovery for me as well. I was in the "I am going to find the first non-magic caption and post it on the blog" mood .. and as I was talking about it .. I realized that about 10 days ago, I posted something VERY similar.

    I went away from my original talking points and veered more towards where this post led me, specifically because Simone and I had talked last night about how we dreaded to repeat ourselves.

  3. I'll admit that I try not to rehash material. For quite awhile after I started, it REALLY bothered me. But I've also only been doing this for just over 2 years, and have maybe 300 panels? But as I started to run out of original ideas (or more exactly, realize that I had already been rehashing ideas that others had done), I realized that 'voice' is just as distinctive as 'story'. Sure, there are only a few stories to tell, but my voice is different than others.

    Now a days though, I am running into rehashing caps I did before. So 'voice' is not also being redone. I've recently dramatically cut down on the amount of writing I do per cap. Not only do I rarely do multi panel caps anymore, but I also use about a quarter of the space for words. And I think boiling down these stories, helps reduce the amount of retread. The basic story may be the same, but some of the details that shout out "I'VE DONE THIS BEFORE" just aren't there.

    I figure in a year or two, I'll come round again though, and find myself rehashing my shorter caps. I don't know what I'll do then.

  4. Hey Dee & Caitlyn,

    I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and it's not quite as bad as I have been making it sound... Caitlyn's comment about 'voice' got me thinking...

    Sure, there are a finite number of ways to tell the same basic plotline, but 'finite' doesn't mean small... Using the same basic story I mentioned earlier, "boy caught primping in front of mirror", these are some ways you can go...

    You can change POV.. focus on the discoverer's feelings.
    You can focus on the "caught's" emotions... fear, humiliation, or pride, acceptance, resignation... etc.. etc...
    You can focus on the physical sensations, feeling of lipstick/gloss, smell of perfume...
    Change WHO the "discoverer" is... lots of leeway there... it changes the whole flavor if it's the sister, the mother, the brother, the father, the Wife, a Friend, a teammate... etc...
    You can change the tone... It can be dark and humiliating, light and funny, sensual.. sweet/sentimental...etc...
    You can add a plot twist... it was a trap.... oh look, here's your girlfriend/crush/boss/co-worker, too!, it's now permanent, etc...

    Plus, everyone has a ditinctive writing style... distinctive turn of phrase, adding a specific 'voice' or 'flavor' to the caption....

    Lastly, the source pic itself... Every pic has it's OWN 'voice/'flavor'.. adding into the mix...

    MOST times, the same exact text has a different feeling to it based entirely on the source pic...

    I did a trading caption for someone a while back.. basic story "reporter caught, forced feminized into arab's harem slave"... The original pic I found was and attractive, late 20's belly-ance type leaning against a wall... half-smile on her face.. the text was dark, but it worked...

    Then I found a much better pic, a darker one, with a younger (early 20's) harem slave, manacled, obviously miserable/scared, a little dirty, more tanned/bronzed than the original...

    I literally plugged that image into exactly the same cap, and re-gifted it to him... Of course, it was a "better" caption, because it matched the text better... but it also changed the whole tone of the caption... making the dark parts darker, more palpable...

    So in conclusion... Yeah, we don't want to rehash the same exact story over and over again.. and it's good to self-aware, and try to keep on an eye on that... there are dozens and dozens of ways you CAN tell the same story, AND still keep it new and "fresh"...

    Not only does each caption maker have their own voice, but they can also choose to impart any number of different voices and/flavors to the story being told, making it a new and different experience for the reader...

    Sorry for the rambling.....

  5. Well I don't know if I can go in that vip list that start to think about if they are doing the same stories over and over again... because well, ummmm I've been doing them for a year.

    Since I tend to write some Sci-Fi and Fantasy themes and moreover tend to write longer caps... I think I didn't deplete my mind yet *giggle*

    Now for that very important of repeating a story for me works like this:

    - Same characters, same plot, same backstory, same elements (Note that if we are using the same elements in the same backstory it's repeated)

    - Subplots are nice, but tend to be repetitive so for those... I think it would be better to not use them much

    - Sorry to be the one preaching in the desert, but no, no I don't think there are a few limited scenarios... you can surely drop to the point to the last final scene where the one your are changing or you being changed... ends changed!

    For me that doesn't make justice for a great told story, so I prefer to think that there are countless of ways to tell how someone is changed, even if that means that the base of the story is only one!

    I'm not sure if that makes too much sense for you!

    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

  6. @ Caitlyn

    I noticed that you had arrived at the pretty much the same brick wall we all tend to hit. Some people are just like the Kool-Aid man that just busts through it by just sticking to what they do, and just keep plugging away at the same stuff they've always done. I appreciate the way you keep trying to evolve, and I think you kick ass no matter how you attack the issue.

    @ Steffi

    I've always been pretty tied into the pictures, and that can help vary up the stories, as I always base the story on what you see. The minutia within the situation is how I've been able to stay fresh within well worn TG topics.

    I think one of the issues I didn't mention above is .. 98 percent of the captions I've done have been for others. Its hard to spread your wings when people define their preferences so narrowly. I'm a fairly well known captioner, so I get a bit more leeway when making captions for others, but if someone wants to be a pregnant lesbian, but by means other than magic .. its REALLY hard to make that caption more than a few times. I think that is why I'm going to start doing more "blog exclusive" captions, so that I can do what I wish without having to hit certain demanded plot points.

    I might touch more on this in the next blog post.

  7. And as for "the voice" aspect, I totally agree. Awhile back in one of the posts, I made mention of how I can often tell WHO made the caption by the design, but also by how the story is written, how it flows, how the dialog is crafted, and the context of how its presented.

    For instance, the ironing caption I posted a week or so ago. I know that if Caitlyn, Steffi, Jennifer, and Simone all had that same source photo .. even if they had the same general outline, the outcome would be far different. They'd still fall within each one's own voice.