It was an interesting experience. In some respects it was easier than last years since I was dealing with characters I had already established in my head and in others it was more difficult. Last years just ... FLOWED. This year I was genuinely baffled what would happen from page to page and I think the pacing shows that.
Looking back at the story there are things I would change... it starts too emotionally charged...I wish I had let that build more. I wish the interaction between characters had been stronger and allowed to escalate so by the time the story hits the emotional high point it has more impact.
It could do with a rewrite.
However, it's a 24 hour comic and it stands.
Don't get me wrong, I AM proud of the story. I like quilting as a bit of a metaphor...which I made up on the fly but I think works. I like the drawings. I think the lettering has improved this year. I like the facial expressions. I like seeing where our frisky newly married couple are a year and a half later and the notes about their marriage and relationship.
I picked up "Loose Threads" a year and a half (how long it had been since I did the last 24 hour comic challenge,) after the events of Puzzles and it was fun exploring where these guys were at. Some things I expected...others were a total surprise. I am proud that the events feel fairly natural though...nothing is being shoehorned into a plot. It's also much darker than Puzzles...which truthfully wasn't really that lighthearted a story. It's less funny...but I think it's actually a more mature work.
It's funny...I'm much less...BITTER...this year than I was last...which I think may be the reason it's not as laugh out loud funny AND I was much more okay with giving it a darker ending. Last year when I finished "Puzzles," I felt like I was in emotional shambles. Part of my brain thought, "I can not let ANYBODY who really knows me READ THIS." (and then it got published. Hee.) This year, I enjoyed the experience and certainly lifted events out of my life as well as nearly whole lines of conversation (which I massaged for maximum impact,) but it wasn't the cathartic experience Puzzles was. As I said...I'm feeling a lot healthier. ;)
I identify with all of the characters...what writer doesn't? Last year though...I most identified with LJ though I think she was the one who "behaved the most badly." She was by FAR the most deeply flawed character in the piece. This year though ... though yes, still huge empathy, identity with LJ...this year I really identified with Jules. I'll let you guys read it. Discussion group after. ;)
Overall it was Big Big Fun. Had a few friends pop their heads in to see how I was doing and to wish me well. Lisa flew into town to see the process. I told her it was going to be rather boring for her. "I'm going to sit there drawing...and if you hang around TOO much it's going to be a distraction."
I really missed Jeff Johns (the guy opposite me last year,) but the fellow this year (Mike Lindsay) was a trooper. Hiis story is officially considered a "Gaiman variation," (full story, not 24 pages,) he was good company. The news media came this year...but I had holed myself back in a corner and didn't even notice them until they were leaving. I figured I could sit more upfront and have a more racous good time...or I could sit myself back in the corner and finish. There are pros to both scenarios...but honestly, my ego wouldn't let me do less than I did last year.
When it was finished one of the guys participating in the challenge read it and said, "Oh...this is your `Empire Strikes Back!' I can't wait to see how it resolves out next year!"
I have no idea how I would resolve it...I hadn't even thought about making it a trilogy...but after rereading it...it does very much feel like a dark Act II...and it does cry out for a resolution.
At anyrate...I'm really glad I did it. What it takes out of me physically and emotionally though...I think it's good this is a once a year challenge.