So I've just finished drawing the first chapter of my comic Moonover Marsh, and starting on chapter 2.
I have another 5 to 6 chapters written and thumbnailed that are ready since last October, however I'm re-thinking the structure of my story because:
1) I learned more about storytelling for comics since I've started working on that project
2) I've not touched these thumbnails for months and now have a fresh look and see how I can improve.
The thing is that my comic is pretty complex with a lot of stories within stories (within stories... within.. you see) and flashbacks and other reveries, i.e. LOTS of pages that are outside of the basic development of my main storyline.
That's how I like to tell stories, so I'm not ready to give up on that. However, I'm totally aware that not only this is a lot of work, but also that I can easily get my readers lost, especially at the rate of 2 pages per month that I'm currently at (I may be able to do a bit more, but not much: 3 a month is a reasonable target).
So I have a few questions for you:
How would you feel about reading a “story within a story” going for a whole chapter (~30 pages), if it means 6-7 months away from the main story? Would it be completely off putting? If yes, would you prefer that secondary story to be cut in smaller bits, even if that means having two secondary stories interrupting the main story alternatively? (I'm not sure I'm clear so I drew a little diagram):
I have two other side-stories/facets of the main storyline that are even more problematic as they are several chapters long, which means over 2 years of publishing time. I really don't think I can keep them in the main comic, so I was thinking of simply giving them their own comic, but I'm still not sure how to do that.
First one is about a theatre and its director, it will be there in the main comic anyway, but after drawing concept art for it, I simply need more of this theatre, I'm too excited to give it only a few pages (it's inspired by Chinese shadow puppets, the works of Michel Ocelot, and other traditional performing arts). I was thinking of doing an other comic that actually could be inserted in the main one once everything is finished. That side comic would focus of the background of the director + have a full theater performance with its own story.
Second is the romance aspect. I'm not super enthousiastic about it anymore for a single reason: The only time I can introduce it in the main storyline is exactly the worst time to have 2 or 3 chapters away from the main plot. But I still need that romance facet because it has too many consequences/implications in the rest of story to be ignored (+ I do feel like drawing it). So my idea for that at the moment is to transfer part of it (anything that is not absolutely necessary) to yet another comic, but this one I am seeing it a sort of "slice of life", with relatively small, somewhat independent little stories. That would permit me to update when I want, infrequently, but with more than 1 page per update, and update is readable by itself (so even if I update every 3 months, at least every three months there is a mini-story that makes sense and does not require to wait another three months for the end.
The overall idea is to try to put everything I want to have in my comic without making people wait for years for development. With these 3 comics I could be certain to publish 2 pages a month on my main comic and 1 page a month on average on the side-stories.
Good or bad idea? What do you think? What would you do different?
Am I too greedy?