Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome to The Raptor Clause

Hi everyone. Sorry the place is kind of sparse right now. I just moved in, and I'll get it spruced up here as I go along.

I expect that most people here right now are coming from Thunderstruck, so I'm going to talk about that. For those of you who don't know, Thunderstruck is a web comic that I've been self-publishing since May 31, 2004. I just ended it today, and I'm betting there are some readers who won't be happy with me about that.

The last strip of the comic pretty much gives you my reasons for bringing Thunderstruck to its abrupt close. Here's a little more about why I chose to end the way I did.

There was a strong pull to wrap the story up in some way instead of severing the plotline in the middle. As I examined this option, I realized that there was no way to do this in a satisfying fashion. Everything I considered started to feel cheap, rushed, and uninteresting. If I crammed the ending into a small space just so I could have something that felt like a conclusion, it would've been lousy.

I considered publishing a kind of outline of where I thought the story would go. That was even worse. First of all, my outlines are only general guidelines, and I know just how much I deviate from them when it gets down to the actual writing. Secondly, outlines are just boring. I know some of you may be frustrated by not knowing how things turn out or what the secrets are, but I don't think an outline would've brought any real satisfaction.

I then considered at least getting to the end of the chapter, just to get a better closing point. Since all the chapters end in cliffhangers, that's not saying much, but it would've at least been a cleaner breaking spot. The problem with that was that I knew I was going to end it. Thunderstruck demanded a great deal of time, energy, and passion, and that last ingredient is the key. I couldn't devote myself in the way that any story deserves, especially a demanding one like this, if my heart wasn't in it.

And there's the other trap. If I kept writing until the end of the chapter, the pull to carry on after that would start to creep up on me. I'd fall back into my routine -- demanding, yet comfortable -- and might lose the momentum to do what I know is the right thing.

I know the ending is sudden. But it's time.

Thunderstruck has always been a labor of love. It is very hard to let it go. It's been a part of my life and my identity for over five years now. I know I'm going to miss writing it, and miss interacting with all of you who have read and enjoyed it.

I've learned a lot from writing Thunderstruck. And I plan to put that knowledge to good use.

7 comments:

harmelin said...

Wahhh! I can't believe it! I've been following Thunderstruck for YEARS and suddenly it just gets shut down! It's horrible!

I might have to steal the characters for my upcoming comic: The Social Challenge, just to keep them alive!

It's so sad! I can't believe it.

Ha. How about publishing a tutorial on how to draw Sharon and Gail, just to make it easier for me? ;) (Improbable, but still)

rustmon said...

You ba-

Nah, Can't say it - it makes sense, and you need to go after doing what you need to do.

I'll simply say that after ditching most of the online comics I read, yours was one I read faithfully from the beginning. Thank Jeremy for that, he got a bunch of us hooked big time.

Good luck, and keep writing; we'll keep reading.

Cheers -

Rusty Lloyd (Avon, IN)

Antoni Ten said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yours was a webcomic I really loved. One of the most inspired webcomics not drawn by professional artists. Ever M/T/F, I could not wait for my fix, and often visited your side early morning (at GMT+1) just to check is you had updated, often reloading multiple times until I saw the update.

I know it's probably asking too much, but perhaps instead of finishing it so abruptly, and so definitively, couldn't it be possible to simply restrict it to a weekly of biweekly comic? If it's not possible, then perhaps could you leave us a glimmer of hope that you'll eventually finish it/publish it as a novel (graphic or otherwise)?

phairnys said...

Can't say I'm happy to see the comic end just like that, but I sure understand your reasons. Good luck with the writing career!

bjorn204 said...

Of the 30+ webcomics I follow Thunderstruck was the one I followed most rigorously. It's complex, well executed and enormously entertaining storyline along with the frequent and reliable updates made it the one a sure stop after university every MWF afternoon/evening.

While I'd be lying if I said I wasn't greatly disappointed in seeing thunderstruck end like this but I know the conditions free webcomics are being made at and can easily understand your reasons.

I'll be following your blog and when the book can be found I'm pretty sure I'll be buy a copy asp. Good luck with your new career!

And I'll keep hoping that sometime in the future you'll complete and publish Thunderstruck in some form, some medium. I can't speak for others but I think I'm not the only one willing to buy it should you want payment for it if/when you release it in the future.

raginggail said...

I read the comment as to why you cut things where you did, which explains things a little better. As mentioned at the old site, I'm not sure this was the way to go, doing the equivalent of skipping town in the middle of the night and leaving the keys on the table.

Even if you did end up doing the end with a sequence worthy of an episode of MOONLIGHTING, perhaps a week or two's warning that things were coming to an end would have been preferable. Billing the last one as a "special episode" or a "big surprise" would have prepared your readers for the end somewhat better (though admittedly, even with warning this plug-pull might have still ticked a few folks off).

Again, I can understand going where you need to; I've had a few projects I tinkered with at the expense of keeping RAGING GAIL ready to post on time, so I'm not able to get first in line for the stones here... I wish you all the best with the new work, and hope for that rpofessional sale soon.

That, and a little more warning the next time there's a "-30-" coming up...

Jasper said...

*sigh*

When you get published, please publish where to get the book. You're a fantastic writer - your vision of Thunderstruck proves that - and I can't see anything you do publish as anything less than a best seller.

May the wind be at your back and fortune forever in your grasp.

Are you going to keep the webpage up for a time?