Not green and white


A lot has changed in recent years and writing is no exception.  Movies, books, graphic novels, and even music have changed many times over recent decades and people have been impressed by this.

Or are they?  Just as there have been many objective reasons why new things have changed art for the better, there are objective reasons why changes have worsened art.

So how does one change things, then?

One could analyze all was that an art form has evolved, track the cons and pros of each change and subject all pieces that have changed it to objective scrutiny and read as many arguments for or against the piece in order to deduce the worth of a certain change in a medium.

Or you could not waste time and don’t bother… thinking about it, not changing it.

Change best come form a need for it.  When an art piece changes the medium in a good way, it shows the need for the change doing the best with the potential of actual art.

Will Eisner changed the way most people view comics.  It is because of him that it was necessary to use the term ‘graphic novel’ as a separate kind of book than a comic.  But the reason people viewed comics as a potential to show a story of an impact, drama, length and as a medium aimed almost entirely as adults was because he showed us that a graphic novel could be good.  Before him, comics were short strips, a page or three at most of silliness and goofiness aimed only at children.  The reason we believed comics could be graphic novels was because he gave us a great story that many adults liked and were interested in.  His change was good because it was needed in order to make the piece.

Changes done when the art is not up to par or don’t even need it are what rub people the wrong way.  Take the Stargate movie.  Not all, but most people didn’t like it because it relied too much on special effects and felt there was not enough on a story worth their time.  It was a flop and it is still nearly universally known for sucking.  Stargate the movie was followed up by ten season of Stargate SG-1 as well as many spinoffs of that.  The shows have a huge fan following, and the sets are almost as cheap as those in Xena (for the record, I liked a lot of Xena; it was just obvious they kept reusing the same plastic armor).  Stargate the movie didn’t need the effects. The change of the effects themselves and how much the effects were used failed and aggravated people because they were given a story they didn’t like.  There was no potential shown for the story and thus they felt there was no potential for the effects.

Change should come from the need for it; actual progress in both art and tools.  Don’t think to yourself what to change, how to change it, or even why.  These will come to you when you need.  Focus on your art as much as possible and seek change it you find there is not way to show it at its best without change.  Progress comes for necessity and understanding.

The self-examined pen

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