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Eric: Best of all, Greg designed this kickass hat for Trudy.

(From Gossamer Commons. Click on the thumbnail for full sized NOT A SNARK BECAUSE DUDE, IT'S MY STRIP!)

Time moves far, far more quickly than one might imagine. At this stage, we have six full weeks of strips in the Gossamer Commons archives. (Technically, we've been out for five weeks, since we did the prologue all in one day). It seems like a fair enough amount of time has passed to discuss it again -- or at least to discuss the process end of it. There's been some shakedown stuff, and if nothing else a new webcartoonist might find this interesting. If not... well, you can always go reread Einstone The Destroyer's snark, and I'll do something else to follow this up, I promise.

On the quality side of things... I'm not really qualified to judge. I can say that Greg Holkan's art has exceeded my expectations, and I expected him to be great as it was. I'm a lucky person.

Folks are generally positive. There have been some who don't like it, or who don't like where it's gone, and if I were doing it over there are things I would do differently. Pacing, mostly. Along with a bigger mix of humor and gag strips in the first several. We're going through a run of humor right now that I think works pretty well, and then we have some humor and story queued up, and then we have some hard story stuff, and then back to humor. So, it's going in waves.

Though I'm trying to at least sow the seeds of story in the humor, and I'm trying to evoke a smile or two in the story parts. We'll see how it goes.

On the process side of things... we're finally at about 95% on the site. Wednesday has done a phenomenal job. We started things off with iStrip, but figured out pretty quickly we couldn't stick with it. The reasons for that were threefold -- no automated RSS feed (and it was annoying as Hell to update the RSS on a strip by strip basis), the future strips were renamed into something easy to predict, with no mechanism to prevent people from looking ahead to read -- I had one person send me some spelling corrections for strips that were queued two weeks in advance -- meaning I wasn't uploading the strips until the day they went up, which wasn't what I hand in mind, and most of all, there were spelling errors in the status messages on the admin screen.

Hey, it sounds minor, but when you have an error you can't correct staring you in the face every time you go into your site, it sticks out.

Anyway, most of the free automated systems didn't have RSS components either, so Wednesday, being ambitious and mighty (and a little foolhardy) proposed developing a WordPress based Content Management System. Over the next few weeks we did so, and as of today pretty much all the functionality is live -- up to and including RSS and Atom feeds that are automagically generated, delay posting, and a very simple interface for me to go in and update the FAQ, the Cast Page, and so forth. Which means I'm getting back on track with weekly updates to all of those things.

Which brings me to my end of the process stuff. I really am trying to do all the things I advocate here on Websnark, and I think it's bearing fruit. Having just published our eighteenth strip, I have as of today finished scripting strip #36. We have an About page that synopsizes the strip's story elements so far. We have an updated FAQ. We have a Cast Page, and it will be updated to the current strip later today. Having finished the tool that lets me update simply and cleanly, I'm going to be trying to keep those support pages updated on a weekly basis. (That was always my stated goal, but we needed to get WordPress into shape before I could really keep it. This we have now done.)

And we have a forum, and it's pretty active -- certainly given the youth of the strip. We have fans, and we have some detractors, but the latter are generally lucid and intelligent and make points worth making. We have a livejournal feed, and Bloglines feeds, and fan art.

Most of all, I'm enjoying Gossamer Commons immensely. I love writing the scripts. I love getting notes from Greg. I love seeing the art and sending notes to Greg. I love having Wednesday's reaction to things (there are ways she acts like an editor, since as the webmangler she tends to see things well in advance). I love having speculative threads talk about it.

I love seeing the completed strips. Love it. More than anything else, I like reading Gossamer Commons. I like going through the comic and realizing that something has been created here that didn't exist before.

We're not going to become the next Penny Arcade or Sluggy Freelance. We don't expect to. But we're going to keep putting the strip out, and we're going to like every minute of it.

And isn't that the best -- the only reason to do this in the first place?

In the meantime, I just hope people enjoy it. I'll do my best not to bring it up for another four or five weeks.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at April 22, 2005 10:01 AM


Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at April 22, 2005 11:10 AM

I don't suppose we could get some color refs on Trudy and Keith? (Makes ominous kitbashery chuckling sounds....)

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at April 22, 2005 11:12 AM

Oh, and side note: in the cast page, the last word of Keith's entry is wrong. :)

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at April 22, 2005 12:09 PM

I can definitely say I've been enjoying Gossamer Commons. It's not quite laugh out loud funny, nor is it even funny every day, but it's engrossing.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at April 22, 2005 1:01 PM

Dude, it's totally ok to post your thoughts on your own stuff. Why not? We just love to see you write...

I think. Who's with me?

Comment from: Miles Gloriosus posted at April 22, 2005 1:14 PM

I think that the single greatest motivation to a writer is probably the "Hey ma, look what I did" factor. It definitely is for me. And that's just for getting my friends to read my stuff and give me comments. I can only imagine what it's like for guys who are actually able to get actual actors to read their stuff on a stage. Or publishers to make a book. Or artists to draw cool pictures. If the sheer delight of manifest creation ever ceases, I believe that the world will become a very sad place.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at April 22, 2005 2:17 PM

Last night, Pages.

Now, bath.

Tonight, wine!~

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 22, 2005 2:57 PM

Dude, it's totally ok to post your thoughts on your own stuff. Why not? We just love to see you write...

I realize, but part of me wants to keep Websnark and Gossamer Commons discrete, at least in my own head. GC stuff will come up over here, but it's sometimes hard to find the balance between "snarking every third post" and "never mentioning again."

Comment from: Bc9b posted at April 24, 2005 4:35 PM

Do you plan to give out the automated system that you built for your site? Cause that would be awesome.

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