Friday, March 20, 2009

IITS Creative Process - The Original Short Story

Islands in the Sky actually started off as just a fun distraction from our day jobs. We didn't really set any rules for ourselves other than, "Let's create our own world and characters." For about a year, we worked on IITS in our free time...coming up with stories and ideas and characters. It wasn't till about just about May 2008 that we decided to do a comic book. When we started talking about what the story in the comic would be about, we naturally looked towards a short story I wrote set in the IITS universe. I won't torture everyone by reprinting the whole thing here but I thought a few excerpts might interest our readers. Remember the two pages of Kayli struggling with the blankets? If you're new to the site and haven't read our comic, the pages I'm referring to are in the preview we've provided on the sidebar. Anyway, in the original story, it's one paragraph:

Kayli mumbled into the pillow, pulled the furs closer around her, and turned over onto her stomach. Cold air assaulted her bare legs and buttocks. With one hand, she tried to pull the furs over her exposed parts but too much of the blanket was underneath her body and she was unsuccessful. She whimpered but went still. After a few moments, she made another unsuccessful attempt; straining her body a bit and making a feeble grunt. Grumbling softly, she became motionless once again. Suddenly, she twisted her body and flopped like a fish out of water, freeing some of the blanket but not enough to cover herself with. Her body, once tensed, now drooped in resignation and after a minute or so, she began to snore softly.

We're really happy with the way the whole sequence turned out in terms of pacing. We imagined it as an animated movie and so the pauses or beats were important to properly convey the humor in a visual medium. Turning the sequence into comic panels actually improved it because while we were story boarding it out, we realized that it was sorta missing something and that's when we added the idea of the sunlight slowing working its way over Kayli's bare butt for some yummy warmth.

We still consider Islands in the Sky to be a work in progress and based on what works and what doesn't, we're still considering changes to the stories we want to pursue and even the personalities of the characters. On the website, we present Kayli as blissfully unaware and happy-go-lucky. This can be explained due to the fact that our web comic was to be a separate set of stories from our print comic. I've always felt it difficult to follow strips such as Rex Morgan M.D. and Apartment 3-G. We don't have the time to pursue more complex stories (I know, like the print comic is fine literature, right?) in a web format so a simplification of the characters personalities seemed in order. Here is another excerpt from my original short story that show a bit of the personalities of Kayli and Gordo and their relationship:

“Did I really eat all of your food?” Kayli stopped packing for a moment and scratched the tip her nose. A thought occurred to her and she opened up the forward storage hatch of her glider, pulled out some jerky, stuffed one strip in her mouth, and handed the rest to Gordo.

“Mergency rashons…gud shtuff too,” she reassured him.

“Jerky? I had some prime meat in my pantry.”

“Behguz cawnt be choosuz.”

“Beggars? What? You ate all my food, remember?”

Kayli laughed and then coughed and began to choke. After awhile, Gordo realized it was serious and began swatting her on the back. She coughed and spat out a wad of barely chewed jerky while saliva leaked down the sides of her mouth and down her chin. She looked up at Gordo and smiled.

“Sexy, yeah?”


“Ha ha ha… (cough)…haha… (hack)…don’t lie… (spit).”

From the outset, I wanted to tell a fun story. While I love deep and complex stories that make me think, I wanted Islands in the Sky to be a great adventure story with likable characters, great action scenes, and lots of boob physics. What can I say? I'm a simple man with simple tastes. That said, in the future, our stories will get a bit more complex and we will continue to develop the personalities of Kayli and Gordo as well as their past. We hope our readers will look forward to seeing all the places they'll go.

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