Information, information, information

 

When readers turn up for a story the creators have to provide the information the readers need in order to construct the world that they will be inhabiting for its duration.  They, of course, won’t be a blank slate.  They will arrive prepared with their own expectations and knowledge of genre, character, plot development, psychological models and so on.  For example, a reader of a graphic novel, one that is set in eighteenth-century Paris and whose central protagonist is Casanova will very likely have a base set of assumptions upon which to build.  That knowledge may be quite vague so any cultural references or information that are included in the narrative needs either not to be essential to the understanding of the storyline or, if so, made clear by the context or through additional information, for example when Bechard refers to Cicero.  Information regarding the setting, of course, will overwhelmingly be provided visually.  However, this being a graphic novel, many other forms of information will also be provided in visual form.  Body language, gestures and facial expressions will all contribute information, notably the immediate psychological state of a character and the nature of their relationships with other characters.  By and large, the more information that can be delivered visually, the better.  Of course, much information will be delivered through dialogue and labels.  ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ does at times diverge from this general advice quite markedly by including a prologue and a series of monologues.  We judged, however, that the gains outweighed the losses.  A lot of information will be introduced early on to establish characters: their histories, moral codes, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses, relationships and so on.  As the narrative moves on there will be less information and what new information there is will tend to be of a different kind, tied more closely to moving the plots forward, and creating interest and surprise, often by encouraging the reader to re-evaluate what they thought they knew.

 

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.

27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

 

#behindthescenes #storytelling #graphicnovel #information