Personally, I can see how some people could somehow think that but I really hope nobody does, Andrew’s obviously just joking around and doesn’t have anything against them. He’s said a few times I believe that he doesn’t really have anything against Jugalos.
- Question: Supplementing the previous question, from what I have seen a lot of the "value" of the comic is derived from its characters. I realise we haven't yet seen everything, but what has really been "gained" by their deaths vs keeping them. Excluding Kanaya.
- Hussie: Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
- For now, I'll keep the answer mathematical.
- We have gained negative several characters.
- Question: Cause you're almost certainly getting a heapload of "I hate all this Vriska stuff" I would just like to say I'm really enjoying these developments. The fact that I think Vriska is great has absolutely NO bearing on this.
- Hussie: That's cool, thanks. I probably am getting a lot of "WHAT'S UP WITH VRISKA????" questions. I haven't even scrolled down to look, so I'll just answer this one in a general way.
- When examining The Case of Vriska Serket, it helps to zoom way out on the story for a moment. Rewind all the way back to act 4, when just a few trolls were lurking around, and behaving as little more than a nuisance.
- When I was about to launch into the Hivebent arc, I thought one cool opportunity that presented was to introduce a very major character out of nowhere, who we had literally no foreknowledge of other than one shot of a strange looking horn cropped off panel. The entire profile of this character was always meant to be "someone who is in some way involved with practically everything", and the scorpio sign seemed suited to this. This aspect of her profile was conveyed up front in her introduction, and hammered repeatedly with almost every scene she's been in. Hivebent was a good introduction to the ways in which she entangles herself nefariously with everything, and slowly but surely, this has been revealed to be the case in the main plotline. It was unclear before, and indeed unclear that this was even a question that needed to be answered, because she had not been introduced yet. And personally, I think there's something kind of exciting which that proposition injects into a story.
- Before Hivebent, most of the trolls were portrayed as incompetent at trolling. And when the roster was expanded, the question was begged: are any of these trolls any good at trolling? So part of her profile was also to serve as the ultimate troll. Karkat was an effective troll insofar as he was loud and angry and obnoxious, but that's about as far as it went. Vriska was designed to be a good troll in the purest sense of the word. She gets people legitimately riled up. Both in the story, and even more importantly, outside it. There is no other troll, or really even any other aspect of Homestuck, which generates more debate. This was intentional, and continues to be.
- Now if over time it begins to seem she's behind more and more of the negative plot developments, she could certainly start to be regarded by some as a one trick pony, from a plot-impact standpoint. But there's a lot to consider here. First of all, very simply, sometimes a story is going to have that "evil mastermind" character, who by definition is responsible for things to an extent far beyond what first appeared. This I think is a generalized enough concept to qualify as a basic story building block to adapt in creative ways, and is not so specific as to encroach on cliche territory. The mastermind is a sort of archetype, and she's revealed to be one such instantiation, with her own style and set of motives.
- Additionally, everything she's done is just logical with respect to everything we know about her. She is presented with a room full of computers tapped into the session which unleashed their nemesis on them. She has 6 hours to do whatever she wants. Given everything she's done before, the thought that she wouldn't use her time to maximize her influence on that session in every way she can imagine, and every way which suits her megalomaniacal point of view, is pretty implausible. Of course she's going to secretively wreak havoc. We are just systematically discovering how she went about it. This was an ENORMOUS question begged by the Hivebent arc, considering her relevance there. Which was, now that we know about her, what was Vriska's role in the kids' session? This is a really striking point of curiosity, especially since we had never heard a peep out of her before Hivebent. It turns out, surprise surprise, that she had more influence than even the "main troll". The difference was, while he was very loud and stormed through the front gate (backwards), she kept a low profile and was more devious. And if we somehow discovered this WASN'T the case, it would actually strike me as a pretty bizarre development with no real meaning or purpose.
- And going back to the point about "zooming out of the story" for a moment, when judging these things it helps to examine the difference between reading this serially vs. archivally. These are extremely different ways to read a story, and radically affect your perception of developments. Reading all of act 5 might take a few hours, but doing so live takes months, along with which comes a lot of intense scrutiny and speculation. So while you're reading live and it turns out Vriska's responsible for more shenanigans, the reaction can easily turn into "oh here we go again with this", because you're absorbing it in slow motion. Her antics become sort of codified in the rolling serial myth of the story. Whereas reading in one shot, I think all this comes across as more of a reasonably paced revelation of exactly what's going on, in a way that makes sense and ties stuff together. If you just read the story starting today, you didn't even know who Vriska was until a few hours ago!
- In act 4, there was a lot of intrigue built up. And a secret question could have been asked. What if there was an unseen mastermind behind a lot of this? How did that happen, and why? And what if we find out all the answers in the next act, in ways we were never imagining? If you were to entertain such questions at the time, I think it makes for an exciting revelatory process. We are in the thick of that process now, albeit in slow motion.
- And this doesn't mean we should take her at her word when she says she's behind "everything". That's obviously how she would view it of course. But to take that literally would be to underestimate the complexity of what's going on. There's a lot happening, and really she's just another cog, even if it's a major one.
- She gets a lot of screen time because she's a major character now, and as I said, that was in fact built into her profile before I even drew her. If you're wondering why we camp on her when there are so many other nice trolls to dwell on, well, sorry. There are major characters, and there are minor ones. If you're waiting for me to fire up NEPETAQUEST 2011, don't hold your breath.
- Question: Sometimes stuff you say just makes me so mad I want to punch you in the mouth and take away your teeth as a trophy. Stop pretending to be so smart, you arrogant cumlicker! You don't have to buy a new copy of windows, the key is RIGHT THERE on your box! :\
- Hussie: You are a strange and terrible person for saying these things!!!
- I didn't own Windows, or a box, or a key. It came installed on my previous computer. I used to own Windows XP, but lost that CD a while ago. I have since bought Windows 7, in order to refurbish my spare computer.
- Wait, why I am telling you this?!?!
- I guess I'm holding out an olive branch to you, anonymous formspring guy. The ball is now in your court. Let's be best friends together.
- Question: I'm excited to see how you manage to write nepetaquest in a believable manner now
- Hussie: Where do you think she spends the rest of her 8 lives??????
- Question: Why is Equius smiling, even though he was being murdered in murder mode?
- Hussie: Can you think of a better way to go than being subjugglated to death by a rampaging highblood? I can't.
- Question: Alright, I'll admit it. I'm surprised by how Equius dies, so you did what you set out to do there. But funny as it was, I was also disappointed. Did you always want for him to have such a lame death?
- Hussie: Of course it was lame.
- Disappointing? I don't think so. More like suitable for everything we knew about the character. Which wasn't all that much.
- This was a character who was introduced with horse porn on his walls. His entire presence in the story was a gag. I think literally every conversation he had was centered around his obsession with the hierarchy, his perverse enjoyment in being bossed around by those under him, and his desire to be subjug(gl)ated by his only land dwelling superior. He mentioned he didn't think he could raise a hand to the highblood. When it came down to it, he couldn't, not even to save his life. Such was the extent of ridiculous submission fetish. He was devoted to the caste system to a fault, and he died for it.
- To be disappointed is to crave a more challenging or heroic death. Which I guess is fine. But to crave a scenario in which a more dynamic duel occurs and he rises as some sort of hero would be overestimating the relevance of an utterly marginal character, someone designed to be not much more than a really strange piece of an ensemble cast. What he contributed to that ensemble was, as I said, completely centered around a gag, and I stayed true to the gag to the bitter end. His death was as much a sight gag as his introduction. This effectively concludes his arc as a minor character. (OR DOES IT????)
- I think of the big picture, and like I say all the time, I consider how it reads straight through as opposed to dripped out tortuously for day to day analysis and second guessing. In the slow motion of present moment, the readers deal in countless WOULDN'T IT BE COOL IFs, but each of those is lacking broader vision. I'm the one keeping track of the big picture here, and if I happen to mention that Equius going out with a bigger bang would have been kind of dumb, like so many other things on people's wish lists, I guess you just gotta trust me!
- Question: Except that a transportalizer can take you anywhere. This is more like having a door lead to a hallway that runs some circuitous path to a neighboring room and one door would suffice.
- Hussie: I like that through formspring there appears to be emerging fanon-assertion that a room with two distinct points of exit is something that is necessarily less than logical.
- It proves beyond question that there is absolutely nothing people will not take the opportunity to argue with me about.
- I will call it the Two Doors Theory of idiotic argumentation.
Can I just remind you guys that I’m NOT Andrew Hussie.
Yeah I messed around before, but I’m actually feeling guilty that I can’t answer some of these questions I’ve been getting in my inbox lately, even sarcastically.
Sorry if you thought you had your chance to ask that super important question, but nope. I dunno man.
- Question: How did you manage to make the word "honk" so scary and hilarious at the same time
- Hussie: I merely yanked the sheep's clothing off the intrinsically dreadful word.
you dont pronounce it at all.
- Question: Normally, the arrows are "==>" because the two dashes on two letters means 4 kids, right? And same with the trolls having "======>", too. Does the "-->" arrow here mean anything?
- Hussie: Yes.
- It means "arrow."
- Question: Do you ever have to make the conscious decision of foreshadowing something you plan on doing based on whether or not you think it is worth the chance people will figure it out ahead of time?
- Hussie: If I want an outcome to be less guessable then I distribute the foreshadowed data more carefully and cryptically. Practically nobody ever guesses stuff I seriously don't want them to guess.
- Other times I leave more obvious bread crumbs to let certain outcomes be more guessable to the public. With the whole Kanpire thing I think I was pretty much beating people over the head with foreshadowed elements, including a brazen link to a SBaHJ comic in which Jeff appeared as a vampire directly below the scene of her demise. Hence her resurrection could safely be conducted to a chorus of NO SHIT!s with a few smug CALLED IT!s chiming in for backup, oh and also some HELL YEAH VAMPNAYA TIME!s working their way in there. This is not to say the outcome was a lock, because there is always the possibility for red herrings, and enough of those have been established so that you can never feel completely safe with a prediction. That is their primary value. Seriously, it isn't just messing with people. Making a story unpredictable has a lot to do with showing you are capable of doing practically anything at any time. Sometimes you bluff, and sometimes you play it straight. It's a little like a poker game. If you do too much of one or the other, people can read you easily. Even the silly self insert stuff has benefits in this regard. Predicting what's to come in the story is no different from putting yourself in the head of the author. If the author paints a portrait of himself as kind of a loose canon, either through a volatile narrative, or in an absurdly literal way as I do with the AH nonsense, that will be the consequence.
- Part of the fun of a story is its unpredictability, and this one has had plenty of it so far I think. Unpredictability is a significant basis for suspense, and I'm sure has other benefits we could examine. But I think there is also enjoyment value in occasional predictability, or rather, guessability. Setting up some obvious clues, and running with them to their logical conclusion. It's like throwing the reader a bone, particularly those who may be prone to feeling a little overwhelmed by getting perpetually outfoxed by the narrative. Another example of that was Jade's penpal letter. I designed it so that the clues would scream GRANDPA GRANDPA GRANDPA, and of course that's what most people were guessing. And the guess was very much on the right track. But that doesn't mean it was safe from another twist. It was her grandson, which is an outcome still compatible with the original clues, in a way. And while managing to be surprising, and not particularly guessable. So in that sense I guess that development had the best of both worlds. Letting people pick up on some more obvious clues for a change, and still delivering a surprise.
- How guessable something is also relates to how close to the event you get. Prior to Eridan's entrance into the room, and even during, the deaths were completely unguessable. After Feferi's death, Kanaya's becomes considerably more so, but still quite uncertain. After her death, all bets are off. Not only do all deaths thereafter become guessable, but in some cases, "predictable". That's because it was the line between a series of shocking events, and the establishment of an actual story pattern. The new pattern serves a purpose, as a sort of announcement that the story is shifting gears, that we're drifting into these mock-survival horror, mock-crime drama segments, driven by suspense more than usual. The suspense has more authority because of all the collateral of unpredictability built up over time, as well as all the typical stuff that helps like long term characterization. But now that the pattern is out in the open, following through with more deaths no longer qualifies as unpredictability. Just the opposite, it would now be playing into expectations, which as I said, can be important too. This gear we've switched to is the new normal, and any unpredictability to arise thereafter will necessarily be a departure from whatever current patterns would indicate.
girl, 11 party HaRD!!!!11! bi. random. cool. if ur a hatr get out. i do wut i want. dont make me angry or u will regret it.
(ahhhhh <33 thank you!)
- Question: What should I ask you about?
- Hussie: Why don't you ask me about the one ton of shaving cream?
- Was it really one ton?
- The answer is, yes it was.
- The weight of a can of Barbasol is 11 ounces. I calculated you'd need approximately a 14 x 14 x 14 cube of them to weigh a ton. Which is exactly what's there.
- Question: Are you ever planning on the guardians of the kids (John's Dad, Rose's Mom, Dave's Bro, Becquerel) becoming more developed? It's almost disappointing how little characterization they've gotten, compared to everyone else.
- Hussie: They don't even have faces.
- I'd posit that for faceless parental automatons who receive very little screen time, they've actually been given a considerable amount of characterization.
- Question: How the fuck does ~_^ represent winking anyway both of the damn eyes are closed. I never got this.
- Hussie: ^_~
- Question: How do you manage to time real world dates with things that happen in the story? The lab ball dropping on NYE comes to mind. Total coincidence?
- Hussie: I didn't even really plan the ball dropping thing until shortly before New Year's. I just make anything fit with anything. They are often crimes of convenience which suggest premeditation. It is the way many aspects of the story are put together.
- Dropping the ball New Year's-style wasn't really enough. I also wrung a callback to Jailbreak out of it,
- http: //www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=1&p=000107
- Wherein the huge pumpkin rolled off the tower and settled nearby a stump, which through MSPA lore has always been affiliated with suicide. This subject was pertinent to Jade and Jadesprite's conversation.
- http: //www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004391
- The fellows in Jailbreak even had a goddang harpoon gun, just like Jade. But... I didn't get to work that in. Not every idea I have gets worked in, if you can believe it.
- And one final note, this whole thing neatly solved the problem of building up Jade's house. I had long wondered how I might handle that, with it's unusual design. I concluded the best way was to knock off the tower/ball part, and build up the blockier structure
- Question: I believe that you added Feferi to the "Wake" flash primarily as it showed she could not be revived when this happened. Does that mean Nepeta is next?
- Hussie: are YOU next?