Slice of Life

I've posted this before on another webcomic, but It warrants re-posting, simply because I feel it's necessary to establish my feelings about webcomic genres.

Slice of my Own Life! I'm interesting....right?

Something that has been picking up speed in the webcomic world like a speeding locomotive that needs to crash into the proverbial brick wall are "slice of my own life" comics. These comics are based on the genre of comic known as "slice of life"
"slice of life" : A comic based on the life of a real person, most likely the creators of the comic.
"slice of my own life": A comic about the life of the creator, typically a "mary-sue" type of comic.
Those are the basic definitions of the two variants. The "slice of life" category of comics make the comics unique because the characters are only based on real people, which gives the creator(s) the freedom to alter reality as they see fit to make it more entertaining or special from other webcomics of the same genre. The "slice of my own life" comics are purely autobiographical. A "slice of life" comic usually starts out as a "slice of my own life" comic because it is "safe". The creator(s) already know the people they are putting into the comic which are usually them with different names (sometimes). What makes these comics different is that as they get the hang of things (i.e. making a webcomic), they make it more interesting by bending reality and it becomes a "slice of life" comic which in turn usually means it will be successful in some form or fashion.
Comics that start and stay "Slice of my own life" are boring. This is because the creators think that everyone will think they are interesting, and they won't have to do any creative work because people will just love love love the comic because it's on the internet and they can get famous for just being them.

Alas, some "slice of my own life" comics think they are "slice of life" comics. Example: No one is going to buy that there is a robot in the future who has serious girl problems and bad halitosis. Everyone will know it is you. You are boring and sad. Adding the bells and whistles of an altered reality doesn't make up for the fact that your character is based on a real person (can't relate + complicated = boring!) and therefore has character limitations. No one wants to read about you going through blah school with your blah friends doing blah blah blah and then waking up the next day and doing the same thing because it's boring and no one can relate to something so specific as your particular school with your particular friends doing something specific in specific places.


How to make a pure "slice of life" comic:

Make your characters believable, but not TOO believable.
Emphasize a characters physicality, personality and especially a grace or flaw.
Fiona is beautiful and slender (physical) frequently nice (personality), however SHE NEVER BATHES (flaw).
Brad is big and fat (physical) generally grumpy and irritable (personality), but has a secret love of unicorns (grace...or flaw, depending).

2. I don't like you very much, therefore I'm going to stop reading your comic *CLICKS ON X*.
Don't make characters "too real".
Characters that are "too real" probably "are real" and the readers know this. Don't treat your readers like they are idiots. No one is going to buy that a robot has girl problems and halitosis.
Generalizations of people (archetypes) are what allows the reader to relate to characters. It makes the characters interesting because they are general enough for readers to relate to rather than a person with "too many" qualities. The more specific you are about a person or character and the more complicated they seem, the less people relate because it becomes more apparent that the character is not, in fact a character, but a real person.

3. Soooo...there are sentient robots that look like people? How come we never see one? I don't like unexplained references very much, therefore I'm going to stop reading your comic *CLICKS ON X*.
Does your world have talking cars and flying chairs? Then please elaborate. Don't leave out the world! The world is something that is never ever "too" detailed. That is something you should be at liberty to be creative about. Is your world this world? Then explain or show where they live so that your readers have an idea of where to push the pin in in a map. Or if you want to be general about where they live so it's as if the characters could live down the street from the reader, don't forget to get them outside to show this. In short: Don't forget the environment!

4. It WAS about Tina and Skylar getting married and moving to Chicago, but now it's about Dave and Jason fighting crime. I don't like Dave or Jason very much, and I don't care about them fighting crime therefore I'm going to stop reading your comic *CLICKS ON X*.
What's it going to be about? Video games? Relationships? Art? Pick a general theme and stick to it! You can add more sub themes as you choose If you deviate from the original theme, you will lose your audience.

These are just basic rules to go by. Don't forget a varied group dynamic and good dialogue. Dialogue and character interactions are what a "Slice of life" comic is all about.

The bottom line of this post is this: Don't do a "slice of life" comic. You'll try to do it but it'll probably end up being "slice of my own life". There are too many out there trying to be Penny Arcade (video games) or XKCD (math/relationships) or Questionable Content (indie bands) ect. Do something original. Fill in a niche that hasn't been filled or that doesn't get a lot of attention. If you do happen to do a "slice of life" make it fresh, make it interesting, and above all, make it unique.

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