Webcomic Dos and Don'ts

Or: "Everything I know about webcomics, I learned from Dominic Deegan"

1. Don't invent metal.
2. Don't start hating your most interesting character.
3. Don't spend FIVE MONTHS on world building all in one go.
4. When your character has a development arc, do not abandon it.
5. When that arc is complete, either find a new arc for the character, or find some way to remove him/her from play (*looks at Luna*)
6. Keep professional distance to your main protagonists.
7. Try to improve something in your art every year.
8. When you try some subversion, think it trough, economical, sociological, psychological.
9. When in doubt: no rape; when not in doubt: don't do it either.
10. Don't invent pointless strawman characters to show how Impossibly Pure, Good and All Round Better Than Everyone Else your favourite characters are.
11. Don't cripple your most interesting characters by making them Evul for Evlulz sake.
12. Characterisation is for everyone, not just for the hero and his consorts.
13. Don't put more Maltak in your Karnak, it'll give your readers flashbacks.
14. If you're gonna draw "sexy" scenes, you need to have a basic understanding of anatomy.
15. Spend more time on plot than you do on filler.
16. In extension of 11 and 12, "evil" is not an acceptable motivation for anything. Anything.
17. Criticism is your friend, not just the words of haters trying to keep you down.
18. Alliteration isn't a substitute for jokes.
19. Putting "Rock on" at the end of your newsposts is the quickest way to destroy any and all credibility you once had.
19b. Do not explain your methods in the newspost. It's better for your comic as a whole if your readers don't know that a bowl of cereals or somesuch inspired today's potentally deeply profound character moment.
20. If you have the leisure have someone proofread your stuff before you post it. Have someone functioning as an editor, to catch the bad stuff if you yourself can't.
21. If your protagonists' victory depends on an obscure point about the natural/mystical rules of your universe, explain it before the relevant confrontation, not after.
22. Don't try to portray things which are beyond the limits of your artistic ability.
22a. Don't publish things you know you can't draw, practice them first.
23. Remember your own damn stuff. Don't consistently forget your own characterization, plot, or art style. If you're bad at remembering things, take notes. Or use the archive like the rest of us.
24. Show don't tell.
25. Structure the comic around a series of key themes and ideas.
26. Plan the ending when you write the beginning, and make every story and character contribute towards the nature of the ending.
27. Decide the nature of your project, and stick with that nature. A nature can be multiple genres, or changing genres, or lots of little extra side elements, or none…As long as you're ready for that, and know what you're doing and why.
28. Don't remind everybody that you're a geek even if you're proud of it, after a while people get tired of it.
29. If you're vegan that's good for you, but remember that there are people who are not and don't want to be reminded of it every other newspost.
30. Text should be generally easy to read and consistent. Distinct text formatting such as different fonts, all caps (or lowercase in usually all-caps text), italics and bolding should only be used for specific purposes, not randomly dropped into sentences.
31. "It's a hard knock life", "I'm emotionally insecure", or "People laughed at my Ice-Themed comedy routine" are not adequate justifications for sociopathy.
32. New ideas are nice, but they need to actually fit into a story and be connected to the rest.
32. For the love of God, please learn to draw more than one face and just tossing a curve at the end of the eyes, tusks and/or upturned noses don't count.
33. Get help for any childhood tramas you have so your bitterness towards a certain groups (i.e. Jocks) doesn't cloud your work.
34. Rulers are your friends when making panels.
35. 2 x 4 panel layouts are very limiting for adventure comics.
36. Puns are best when done sparingly.
37. For emphasis: Know what you're doing when you bold words in your sentences. They are not there for every little inflection.
37b. Do not bold your puns, thus drawing attention to them.
38. Author Avatar Avoidance: Your main characters should not always be right. Real people are not. It's just ego boosting.
39. Plot Armor Principle: Allow your characters to get injured or hurt in some significant way that has lasting effects. There is no dramatic tension if your readers do not believe that your characters are in any real danger.
40. In extension of 38, your characters should have (at least some) values and opinions not held by you.
41. Make it clear when you are and are not having a flashback.
42. Bondage costs extra.
43. If you create your world, at least roughly know the statistical data like population size & mix, borders, national territory, city names, rivers, mountains.
43a. If you create your world, at least roughly know important cultural elements like religions, gods, heroes, myths.
44. Don't show action sequences for the sake of showing action sequences. Either draw them to be visually impressive, or include content to make them worthwhile.
45. You don't want to remind people of other, better comics they could be reading instead of yours.
46. Don't make an reference in the dramatic resolution of an arc, it distracts and destroys the emotional response.
46a. References belong in comical moments, not dramatic ones.
47. Do not use a "Rule of Cool" moment when setting up a plot element. The new conflict will lead to an analysis of the comic, destroying the emotional response. And the logic problems of the "Rule of Cool" moment will kill the tension of the new plot.
48. Make sure your character is actually special before you have other characters drooling about how special they are.
49. If you're going to make something into a running gag, make sure that it's funny the first time.
50. If a character handles with something important and traumatic, don't shift the spotlight away from her by giving another character similar problems.
51. Your comic will be more interesting if things actually happen in it.
52. Don't world build if it turns out pointless to the story.
53. Having your characters act like idiots for comedy purposes in the middle of a dramatic plotline isn't the way to do it.
54. Keep your magic rules consistent.
55. Speak only when the words outperform silence. Write only if the text will improve a blank page. Update only if the result is more bearable than a 404 error.