So last week I spoke about how my webcomic, Lined Paper Lamppost, came to be: what drove me to create it, some of the struggles I’ve had while creating it, and how excited I am for it to actually be released after so much time being created. Today I want to speak on what it’s all about.
If last week was the “why,” let this week be the “what.”
Speaking to what LPL is all about is something I haven’t done much of. And even when I do try to tell someone about it, it’s usually in the vaguest of terms–largely because, and strap in your butts, I don’t actually know what it’s about quite yet.
George R.R. Martin said,
“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
When it’s come to writing, I’ve always been the architect. I’ve measured, I’ve sketched, I’ve planned out everything–every sentence, every comma, every twist, every turn–and for the longest time, it’s worked out beautifully. My pieces in college were all well received, I enjoyed writing them, and, in my mind, I’d finally figured out the secret to authorial success. During my senior year, however, I began to realize that I was very wrong.
During that year, I was set up alongside some brilliant friends and brilliant writers–writers whose prose may not have been as flowery as mine, whose sentences weren’t as complex, but writers who, without much effort at all, had something more important: emotion. As great as I could make something sound, I had a very difficult time lacing my words with emotion, and as the writing became harder, and the people around me got better, I began to realize my greatest flaw of all was that people just didn’t care–about my words, what I said, how I said them, or the big picture, regardless of what it was I was saying.
That’s a flaw in my own style. I’m long winded. I ramble. I try to bounce from thought to thought and come back to the start without much of a break in between, but it’s something with which I’ve begun to get better, even if I’m doing it slowly. The other part that contributes to that flaw is the planning and how I’ve always taken to being an architect without much thought as to why. Planning every little thing out runs the risk of extracting from what you are writing, or drawing, or doing in general, the joy, the passion, and the emotion. And for me, I’ve found that, it does just that (or has done so in the past): sterilize my writing to just words and syntax without much of a meaning underneath.
Lined Paper Lamppost then is a sort of experiment.
When I began planning out the story, I took the bare bone elements–the theme, the characters, the overall flow–and pretty much left it at that. I knew what it was about, I knew what I wanted the characters to feel and do and accomplish, but I didn’t know, in any sort of way, how they would go about getting there. This coupled with the fact that I’m limited by my art skills and am not in a place yet where I can draw what I see in my mind, the story has been subject to a sort of “devil may care” attitude that will probably always be present.
With that in mind (and I’m sure you’ve been waiting): What then is Lined Paper Lamppost?
Lined Paper Lamppost is a comic about a twenty-something year old guy named Penley. Penley leaves his small, wooded, seaside hometown for college and with it, everything he knows, understands, and truly cares about. Less than a year in, he calls it quits, hops on a train home with the full expectation that everything will be there where he left it, waiting for him to come back and press play.
Life moves on, and the hometown Penley was a part of is growing out and moving on without him. Such is life, the change inherent to it, which Penley tries to put halt on with results he isn’t expecting.
Lined Paper Lamppost is all about change. It stems from the point in my life where I began it (and still am) where life is moving forward, and so is everyone, and I’m being dragged along with them. It’s about the uncertainty of adulthood, of the nostalgic wistfulness of childhood, and the growth of a young man from stubborn child to functioning adult through less than ideal circumstances.
Oh and there’re ghosts. A lot of them. Yeah. Get excited about that.
LPL is still in development (believe me–I’m slaving away at it every single day) but it will be out very soon. I’m excited to share it with every one of you.
I hope you’re excited too.