“How do you feel about Homestuck in general, and the characters in particular?”
I like it, and I like all the characters.
It’s successful in every way that is important to me and has met all of my goals or surpassed them dramatically. It has been executed perfectly when taking into consideration all self supplied constraints and personal artistic criteria.
It’s so great.
“do you keep your notes on homestuck down on any kind of paper? what does your desk look like? “
I have a few really frivolous things documented in a text file. Most of the time it’s nothing more than a funny phrase. I actually maintain more rigorous advance documentation for SBaHJ comics.
What’s on my desk right now is a little container full of ridiculously tiny dice. There’s also a fushigi contact juggling ball which I kind of suck at, and one time I may have hairline fractured my knee bone with it. There’s an opened bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups. Some more dice. Some super-magnetic Buckyballs clinging to the metal leg of my desk. A lamp. A tablet. Some crumpled sbahj sketches. Some other trash. Me hunching over it like some nefarious fucking fleshgargoyle plotting some shit.
“Tell us about post-scratch Maplehoof.”
It’s kind of a small horse.
“We know that Dirk has a genuine fondness towards Rainbow Dash. What are your thoughts on Friendship is Magic? Do you enjoy the show, or did you only include the cyan pegasus for the sake of humor?”
I’ve seen like one episode. It’s nicely done, but it’s a damn show for kids. I do some silly shit with my spare time but I am not a child. Some people think this makes Dirk a “brony.” I think it’s more that he really does watch it and evaluate it for whatever studious purposes he has, but just happens to like that one pony unironically. A brony does not this a dude make.
“What’s up with the pink moon of Alternia”
It’s small and it’s pink and it’s a moon and it has another little moon.
“Wow this question is silly, BUT DO ADULT FEMALE TROLLS WEAR BRAS? Or do they not have meat sacs on their chests?”
Whatever it is they wear, they probably don’t call them bras. They probably call them something ridiculous like heft satchels or protrusion hammocks. Bulbhuggers?
Ok one more…
Actually no that’s all I got.
“Did Mindfang make Jane say what she said to Jake?”
This question implies there actually needs to be an external reason for something like that to happen.
Shit like that happens every day, in millions of different permutations in a wide variety of social situations. If you browse the reactions to it, how often do you see people saying, “omg jane is me…”?
Jane fucked up. She was put on the spot and totally choked. Then she kept digging herself deeper and deeper in the hole. She did this because she’s a teen. Even some people who are older than teens fuck up like this. Being a young human is often a mercilessly awkward proposition.
“Do you read dirty homestuck confessions?”
But, full disclosure?
I am its sole author.
“While not exactly too meaningful a question, my interest is quite piqued on a couple ruminations: 1. When designing Prospit and Derse, were your inspirations or designs ever culminated from Anor Londo (a location) in From Software’s Dark Souls? There are a few panels of both dream worlds that remind me so much of it. Secondly, Are you, or have you ever been an English major? Your English is exquisite.”
No, I just thought “purple and yellow gothic cathedral planets,” and collaged a large number of cathedral bits and pieces together and heavily modified them in Photoshop.
I was never an English major and most of the time in my estimation I don’t really come close to sounding like it. Most of the time I’m pretty casual and breezy with language, even/especially in the story, usually to go after what I like to call Big Laughs. But sometimes I attack statements with more vehemence for whatever reason, but usually approach these tasks as if I’m solving some sort of logic problem with words rather than engaging in what is recognized by big time scholars as the formal discipline of writing. (I like to picture those scholars as wizards FYI.)
“Is there any reason you use girl models only for the hoodies?”
That’s the person who runs the whole WP operation. When it’s time to photograph some products, usually it’s just easier for her to throw the shit on and snap some photos herself than do this whole rigmarole with a model. I think the photos all look good.
“What happened to SBaHJ #39?”
“Would you agree that there are no bad ideas in fiction, only good ideas that are poorly executed?”
No there are some really really terrible ideas, trust me.
“Can blood castes lower than purple be seadwellers?”
No only Eridan and Feferi’s castes.
“Is there any part of Homestuck you’re particularly proud of?”
All the great shit I did.
“How far until UU is revealed?”
The answer to any question like this is “probably months” because things take a long time to unfold and develop. I update frequently but by the standards of readers’ humongous appetites for more, the rate of progress is still glacial. There are things like animation time to factor in, drawing lots more new “plot advancing assets,” juggling a bunch of different story threads and so on. It’s a slow, steady creep, but it’s always going somewhere, and that destination has become reliably combustible.
But making decisions to accelerate your plans because people are impatient is the same thing as making bad decisions. To put everything in perspective, think of it this way. Cascade didn’t happen 4 months ago. It happened about an hour ago, or maybe less. Because that’s how long it takes to read what I’ve written since then. It’s almost nothing. No matter what doldrums we appear to progress through serially, or what elusive payoffs seem to perpetually hover in the distance, all of that is insignificant and easily endured in the archival readthrough by the wide eyed and uninitiated. One who watched Cascade an hour ago is propelled through succeeding material still spurred by the energy and curiosity generated by that explosive multi-threaded plot crescendo. And if Homestuck were finished, they’d just keep reading to the end without handwringing over who’s gonna be introduced when or wondering why teen drama has replaced “real plot advancement” or stuff like that, because they don’t have time to form those thoughts because there’s always another page to click on. All those things are quickly contextualized and paid off because you just keep clicking next, while all the entertainment value is heavily compactified, easily compensating for the kinds of lulls or buildup measures that can absolutely torment some serial readers and push them to the threshold of bizarre histrionics and irrational ragequit oaths.
Wait, I’ve wandered into the serial vs. archival reading issue again. This isn’t even all that pertinent to the question. But it’s a topic I seem to get into a lot because it’s important, maybe even THE most important consideration for how a story is perceived, i.e. the rate at which it’s absorbed. Few seem to understand this. And those who do often forget, and get caught up in kneejerk judgments that would never be made otherwise. It kind of blows my mind observing some of the reactionary dementia that crops up in a huge serial readership, which is a double edged sword: fun to watch the day-to-day excitement over developments, painful to behold the ubiquitous impatience and the corrupting influence that has on the judgment of content. In many respects it’s a very bad way to read a longform story, dribbled out in pages rather than in big chunks. Impatience among some generates toxicity over time, like they’re gradually, unwittingly developing a grudge against the story because of the pace they’re forced to read at. This then warps everything they see. As if a tainted a witness. If they crave swift advancement, then pages that do not accomplish this adequately like gags or character developing interactions become like personal affronts to them. Good material is like a slap in the face. And the irony is, the more they like the story, the more toxic the attitude can get, because they badly want to see it get somewhere fast, and they can feel let down or like the work is in decline because they’re forced to sit through its responsible, judicious development in realtime. But this is an almost nonexistent phenomenon with archival reading, which lends itself to a little more detachment and reservation as one cruises through the material at the speed of reading. Judgments are formed less at the atomic level of the story’s building blocks, a bit more holistically, and individual developments are never agonized over. They may ultimately not love the story, but at least the resentment complex that can fester in the space of the serial drip never had a chance to skew the result.
Probably some people think it’s weird that I put emphasis on long term archival pacing when I produce a thing serially, page by page. I do think that is the only way to make something good in the long term. But aside from that, consider that by now the vast majority of the readership began reading relatively recently. Most current readers have experienced most of the story by catching up through the archives, so any attention I put on pacing that out with patience and discipline has directly benefited, it turns out: MOST READERS! This trend will probably continue as more pile on in the future and HS approaches its end. But then the funny thing is those people who catch up then dive into the huge serial mosh pit, and immediately assume the psychology and habits of serial readers, most of the time without even being aware of how radically this will alter their perception of all events that follow, better or worse. It’s kind of a strange mill of human perception I’m running here. A weird factory where droves enter curious, proceed fascinated, and exit frenzied. But while that process for them is quick, they should try to remember the factory took three years to build, and its construction is ongoing at the same slow pace it always has been.
“Now that Jake and Jane are a official non-couple is Jake and Dirk going to be a couple and what will happen with Jane and Roxy?”
I couldn’t quite follow your question because I was too distracted by drawing Jane and Roxy making out for the next 500 pages.
“today i got my wisdom teeth out and i was awake the whole time and the only thing that got me through it was the happiness from the fact that for at least one day, dirkjake was canon. thank you”
I still have my wisdom teeth and they’ll probably have to be removed at some point before I die. I’ll try to remember that thinking about Jake kissing Dirk is a good way to make the experience endurable. Thank you for the tip.
I keep answering questions that involve children kissing.
“how much of homestuck is improvised as you go along? or does it follow a fairly strict plotline you’ve written out beforehand?”
It’s a blend of foreplanning and spontaneity. Maybe in roughly equal parts, but this is a thing that’s really hard to measure.
“What happened to the Alpha session’s Black Queen?”
“Are there classes and titles other than the ones shown so far in canon, or have we seen them all?”
Maybe. Readers tend to make up their own. Some of them sound decent to me, others do not. They can only have one syllable. Any that has more than one syllable is automatically not good.
“Who is this Cerulean damsel and is Mindfang’s journal just a giant fanfiction?”
The damsel is somebody who looks like Vriska.
Mindfang’s journal entries were always intended as narrative departures in which I would deliberately drag the story into what I call “The Bad Fanfiction Zone.” Without necessarily laying it on TOO thick (because holy shit, fanfiction can be REALLY bad), I specifically emulated some common impulses of fanfiction writers to open this backstory portal, to fill in some world building details and contextualize the arcs of the troll kids. It’s kind of bombastic, character-aggrandizing, uncomfortably erotic, and florid. I wanted to leverage the Bad Fanfiction Zone for useful story purposes, primarily because this was a funny idea to me. It’s one of those gags which I don’t expect the majority of readers to pick up on. Some people LOVE the Mindfang stuff because, among other reasons, they’re often the sort of people who genuinely like to read fanfiction! Whereas some others HATED the journals, probably without even fully understanding why. The reason is because I bombed my own story with bad fanfiction, and tricked them into reading it. This is absolutely the most hilarious consequence of this gag.
But don’t get me wrong. Just because I call it the Bad Fanfiction Zone doesn’t mean I actually think the Mindfang stuff is bad. All the lore is good and I like the indirect filling in of events and details of alien culture as you’d reveal through study of historical documents and journals. But the execution is humorously heavy handed, somewhere between lavish old world prose and an enthusiastic fandom hackjob, and this was a conscious layer of the gag. And there are some people who do pick up on this.
“Any chance you’ll be willing to give a listing of which classes are active/passive or is this something to be revealed fully later on?”
This is exactly the sort of thing that gets nibbled away at as the story goes along. A little here, a little there, without giant info dumps. It makes no sense for me to say now. It’s much better for people to invent their own rules, roleplay with them and stuff, and then for their ideas to gradually get debunked by canon.
“How do you overcome your art/writing blocks? if you have any”
I guess I don’t really have those. When it’s time to write there’s always something to write. When it’s time to draw there’s always something to draw. I never worry much about how good any of it is so that kind of helps.
I do have people blocks sometimes. Times where motivation is sluggish on account of let’s just say Problem People.
I don’t know if being in a bad mood ever affects my work negatively though. I remember some patches of the story where I was not in a great mood, but you would never know it by reading that stuff. It always just comes out kind of the same.
The truth is that an artist’s appraisal of his own work, in terms of how much better some stuff is than other stuff, is probably completely meaningless. If you grab a random person off the street and hold up two things and say this is my good shit and this is my bad shit, he probably won’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. 9 out of 10 people will probably say it’s the same exact shit.
This is why worrying too much about the quality of what you do is kind of ridiculous, and worrying about it is what leads to blocks. In the end what you make is the result of your capabilities and your effort, and practically nothing else. So you might as well stop worrying, drop the bullshit, and just make it.
“So what is troll genitalia exactly? They don’t reproduce in the same way humans do.”
“The trolls had 48 zodiac signs, yes? So are the 48 new “quiddles” you are introducing those members of the previosu session? Cause 12 trolls for the kids zodiac signs…yeah.”
Stay tuned for the new 48 SQUIDDLE INTERMISSION!!! It begins TOMORROW!!!!!
I have been making this same joke almost constantly for the last two years.
“What’s the closest you’ve been to completely quitting MSPA and never coming back to it?”
There’s only been one small blip on this radar and that was when it looked like it was going to cost literally $100,000 to host Cascade for several days.
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