So, as I’m sure that everyone has heard by now that Narbonic is free again. For those who may have been hiding at the bottom of the ocean, or on the moon perchance – go, check it out, yadda yadda.
In any case, in celebration of it being free, I’ve been perusing the archives here and there. Not the entire thing, being that, these days, I am frightfully busy – but various key segments, especially in light of the grand finale the strip is heading for.
The main arc that I took a browse through was the time travel arc, for somewhat obvious reasons. I had remembered little hints of the things to come, of course – what I hadn’t remembered was the sheer quantity of them, nor how direct some of them were.
I really, really, really like foreshadowing like this. The idea that a story is already thought out years in advance, and that the bones of what is to come are already laid in place, is greatly appealing to me. But it can’t be easy to do – I can’t imagine the thin line an author has to walk between leaving hints versus directly giving away the story.
And how does an author handle it when someone does see what is coming, and accurately predicts the ending? Most seem to stay silent on all counts – you know, smile the mysterious little smile, and let people wait and see. I’ve noticed some take a more active approach – Rich Burlew, creator of the Order of the Stick, prohibits any predictions about the strip that aren’t given the spoiler tag, so he can avoid seeing what guesses are being made, and thus resist the urge to change things and ensure an unexpected plot twist.
On the one hand, I can see the value of wanting the readers to be surprised – but I generally value the integrity of a story more.
In any case, I was pleased to see how well the stage was set in Narbonic – and again, because I haven’t said it enough, go read it if you don’t already.