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38 Comments on Quality over Schedule

Quality over Schedule

April 20, 2015

Video Transcript

Greetings LeyLians, I need to talk with you today about a very difficult decision I’ve made.

At its core, the big, central issue is this. I deeply, truly, care about this story, and I have so much I want to say. And I’m not willing to compromise its quality for the sake of a schedule.

So, the short of it is, that the script I have been wrestling with to try and fix, there is something worng with it. I’m not sure what. But in my gut I have this strong, strong feeling that there is something wrong with how it is written. I have run it by Cory. He says that it is a serviceable script, even a good script, but I am not willing to give a decent effort. I care about this story too much to not give it my best with every page that I do.

It’s been a really hard decision for me. It was hard for me to just take March off, and I thought, surely, a month was enough to get everything done. Maybe it would have if Cory hadn’t lost his job, but I don’t feel like that is true. I feel like there is something there . I spent the whole time trying to salvage it. Trying to fix a little piece here or there. I thought it was something small, but now I think I need to chop what’s left of chapter eleven and finish the chapter as if it’s something new. I think that at its core there’s something not right there. I don’t know if it’s because I wrote this shortly after the assault last year and a lot of emotions got caught up in it, or if it’s just that my writing abilities since creating this chapter have changed and improved. At this point I just don’t know, but I don’t want to just churn out pages because there’s a deadline.

I started posting new pages because I said that I would come back on a specific date, and I try to keep my promises. I try to stay true to my word. But I didn’t come back from a place of strength. I came back from a place of weakness. With no buffer and no assurance that the script was ready to go. I thought it was. I know it’s not.

So I will be taking a hiatus of an unknown period of time, so that when I come back, I come back with all the strength of a buffer that is fleshed out, and good and strong, that can support tweaks and changes to writing as needed, rather than in a desperate scramble.

I hope that you will join me in waiting for that. That you will enjoy it as a quality product that is the best work I can do. Rather than wanting something on a set schedule at a specific time, more than having a good product.

I trust you guys. I believe that LeyLians are not casual readers. You are amazing, thoughtful people that truly seem to love this story as much as I do. So I am letting myself choose quality, because I feel like that is what you would want me to do.

It’s been a really hard decision, but ultimately I think it’s an important decision. Important not just for the story, but also for my mental health. I have been so anxious and upset about not having it right and trying to reconcile having a script that I have a strong feeling is wrong and trying to get pages out because I don’t want to let you guys.

It’s been a very scary week. My anxiety and depression got way out of control over this false trap of the script is not right, but it has to come out on time. Thursday night was a particularly frightening night. I haven’t been that scared of myself since just after the assault last year. I guess that’s the other thing I’m realizing. I have to do what’s right for the story, and in order to do that, I have to still be here.

So what I’m planning on doing: I already have Twitter and Facebook and DeviantArt and Tumblr. If you follow me there, you will have news on when I decide on a return date. I am guessing between two and six months. I am going to make a mailing list, if you don’t like any of those social media options.

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I will continue doing my weekly video diaries on Patreon, so if you would like to keep track of how things are going, what I’m working, what I’m doing, the process behind that, that’s the $1 a month level for those blogs. I will make some of those public, like this one.

Once I have a clear and certain date for when I’m coming back, I will post it. I will keep you guys informed. In the meantime I hope that you can look forward to this being a high quality story, and not worry about whether or not it will come back. I know that long-term hiatuses are often seen as the death knell of a project. I really, really, truly do not feel that is the case here. What this is like, is choosing a delay in production, for an ultimately superior product. I hope that you guys will look forward to seeing that in its final product, and enjoying the best possible product I can give you.

If you have any questions you are always welcome to email me. I will be doing small updates on the site, because I want to feature my creative consulting and my writing advising that I’ve been slowly developing behind the scenes. I want to feat things a little differently. So things may be changing a little bit on the site as well, but for the most part, I will just try to keep you guys informed.

This project matters to me a lot. I don’t want to hide how hard this decision is for me. I want you to know how much it matters to me, and how much being able to trust you guys matters. Knowing that you believe in what I do. It’s a truly remarkable gift, and I am so grateful for it.

So that’s the state of the union, so to speak. If you have questions, feel free to make a comment or send me an email. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

In traditional LeyLian style, Nama Vone, thank you so much. And I will see you later in the year, with a much superior story for the work.

38 Comments

You’re making a good desicion. I have complete faith in you. :)

How do I say it… you have the best knowledge of the state of things on this project because it is yours. And, knowledge changes over time. Whatever you decide, that is the right choice because you are the right person to make the choice. If you end up getting more information and finding a different choice at some point in the future, then that’s also the right choice even if it might seem to contradict your current choice because we learn more over time and aren’t locked into our past choices forever. Whatever you decide about this project, whenever you decide it, I have your back 100%. :)

I am grateful for your generosity in giving us the details behind your decision making. I understand your desire to want to make the script RIGHT; its so much work to implement a script, and the script is what speaks in a project. Why do all that work drawing when the foundations aren’t right? I look forward to when new pages are available. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this project with us.


Thank you so much for your support! Everyone has been so understanding. It is the best gift I could ask for. I feel like it is propelling me up, past all those anxious clouds, into a space where I can breathe and create again. It is truly remarkable.


I was all set to release The Only City Left with some minor changes after I wrote it as a weekly serial, but I paused, reconsidered, and worked on it for half a year or so, completely changing a lot of the book.

With the sequel, The Fifth House, I had the whole book written from multiple third-person POVs, and then rewrote it and changed it to two first-person POVs. That took 9 months.

My fingers are crossed that I’ve got the style of the series down for book 3, and I only have to write it once. o.O


Robin – let me just say that the storyline is yours. You own it. You make it what it is. We, the readers, get the joy and privilege of reading the story because you are taking the time to tell it.
I know there are probably a lot of people who have a good story, but don’t take the time to tell it. You do. I think it’s not just you, but we, who are blessed with your presence as well.

I know right now it’s a frightening time and you have some doubts and fears.
But I want to say that I’m confidant that you’ll return with something that YOU’ll be happy with, which in turn will make US happy with.
You have a plan of action. You aren’t just taking a hiatus, you are taking responsibility for your hiatus. You plan on giving updates, video logs, all that jazz. A lot of artists would NOT do that.

You are. And we appreciate that.

You’re a strong person. To come to the internet and expose your feelings in video? More balls than I have..and I have a pair…of them…literally. ANYHOOO.

The best e-hugs I can send are coming your way, my dear. I know you’ll get through this, and if you need to call on the help of some of your friends, I think you have a pretty amazing network of folks to lend a hand.

take care!


You never fail to make me smile Shayne. If anything, knowing you and your fellow LeyLians are out there makes it easy to share my feelings. I know and trust that you will treat them with care. And that is a very precious thing.

Keep being great, my friend!


I think this is the right choice, really. This project still has a looonngggggg time to go, so I don’t think a few months really makes that much of a difference at all.


Hahaha! Very true. We’re only really through the first unofficial arc. There are many, many, many more years on this project. I will probably look back on this and wonder why I was so worried about something as brief as a few months. :)


I have been in your shoes… it’s why Plague took SOOOOO long to get written as a Novel, because I couldn’t find the right muse to pull all the pieces I wanted together and get it running right.

I see no issue with you taking the time you need to get the story where you want it. Because if you don’t like the story, you won’t stick with the project, and you need to make you happy with it not us first.

We are much more forgiving of things like this. RL happens to us all, and sometimes that is dealing with stuff like not liking how a story turns out.

I’ll be sad not to see updates, for sure, but I think it’s the right decision for you and your sanity.

We’ll certainly miss you! But we’ll be waiting eagerly when you return! Sure as the sun rises and the tides go in and out!


It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who has been in this spot! (Logically, my brain knows this, but it’s different to hear it from a fellow creator!) You make a really great point. Far better to create a story I love, and stay with because I want to, than to let it become something I’m unhappy with, and force out because I feel I have to. Taking time to make it what I need it to be actually ensures its survival far more than pushing past healthy limitations.


Making tough decisions for all the right reasons is one of the hardest things for a creative to do. It’s a difficult path, being a cartoonist (or Artist/Writer if ya wanna be all fancy) — mastering 2 distinct art forms (writing and drawing) isn’t easy. I’m in the same situation.

I have faith in you, your advancement in both art and story over the years has been wonderful to see.

Hope Cory’s Job situation gets better soon!

If I could afford to fund a patreon campaign, your would be the first I’d do.

Take as long as you need, story trumps all. I’ll be waiting patiently and wishing you nothing but wellness.


I think part of being a creative is having an intense desire to share. I know I feel very connected to my readers, and I always want to give everything I have. Choosing to step back and take time to make something better, away from that readership for a while, is really hard. It’s also really necessary, and I’m so grateful that LeyLians seem to be viewing it that way. It makes it so much easier to go at this project with even more gusto. I was getting so weighed down with guilt, anxiety, and stress. Now I feel free of it, and already the creative drive is responding to that lack of pressure. Odd that sometimes, to go faster, we have to consciously go slower.


Somehow, I am not already following your DA…this must change. Immediately. I think I’ll also sign up for the mailing list just in case something goes out through there and not on DA XD I’m paranoid like that.

THe hiatuses that are webcomic death knells are the ones where the mangaka (I use that term because english does not have a good term for someone who is both the artist and the author of a comic, and japanese does) is taking an indefinite multiple-month hiatus because ‘they don’t feel like it anymore’. These are the ‘hiatuses’ where the mangaka doesn’t touch the project again, just sitting around waiting for something to inspire them – which inevitably is something that inspires them to create a NEW project rather than return to the old.

What you are doing is something completely different. You are taking a hiatus specifically to work on THIS project and bring it to the level of glory you feel it should have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and rather than being a death knell, it is a strong sign that when the comic returns it will be at a higher level of quality and bring in a new era of more readers and acknowledgement than ever before(*squashes oratorial part of brain so she can talk more normally*).

As many others have posted before me, you DO have our support. And we all look forward to seeing what you bring back, and finding out what the ‘something wrong’ was!


When you present it that way, it does seem definitively different, and it matches much better with what I’m trying to do. As a webcomic reader myself, over the years I’ve come to regard “Hiatus” as a bad word. It always meant I was losing something I loved, because I knew the creator wasn’t coming back. Being on the other side of the table now, I worried people would give up on my story, when I wasn’t. If anything, I feel more committed to LeyLines than before, because I’m not willing to compromise it. I’m so glad that readers are seeing it this way too. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted, and my mind is bubbling with excitement to dive into writing and problem solve. I didn’t have that before, when all I could worry about was getting something out the door.


I’m glad to hear that! *grins* It might just lead to the hiatus being shorter, if your mind works like mine – when I’m enthused about something, it always seems to get done at least three times faster than I expected. In actual time, not perceived time.


(My English is not my native language, so if I make a grammar or vocabular mistake, I apologize)

I cannot say I recognize your feelings. But that is because I did not yet undertook such a great challenge, such a wide story. I can understand your panic very well.
It must be frightening, the thought of to dissapoint your readers with a lesser than the best possible story.

But do not worry too much. Your past chapters have shown that you try to give your best. (My favorite chapter is by the way chapter ten, with Dream-Eeater at the verge of angry isanity and Mizha confronting her inner demon)
And the comments above me show that nobody doubts that you will go through this difficult time.
They have confidence in you, so trust yourself too.

Do not let doubts and anxiety cripple you.(Though, that is understandble)

And, maybe this is inappropriate, but may I recommend you a story? I think it will inspire you and give you courage.

You like, so I have read at your posts, emotional stories with changing protagonists and great themes. Then I think you have to read ‘The Sandman’, written by Neil Gaiman.
It has a enormous scope and a own mythology.

Probably you have already read that comic. But If not, then I think, this may hopefully help you. With your doubts. With your problems. With your story. And if not, I think you will just enjoy it. And that is also a good thing.

It has at least helped and inspired me! Serously, I could write essays about that story…

But I distress! Excuse me about that.

I wish your much good luck and patience with yourself and the story.

(I hope I was clear and hopefully coherent. Ask me if something was unclear and I will explain)

With friendly greetings,

Pieter


I tried to read Sandman a long time ago, when I was in my early teens. I think it was a little over my head at the time, so I didn’t get very far into it and don’t remember much about it. (Although I adore the spin-off series, Lucifer, as one of my favorite stories of all time!) Perhaps it’s time I look it up again.


“Taking a story in a direction it doesn’t want to go is like pulling a small child away from a toy store. It can be done, but nobody’s happy with the result.” – me

You gotta do what you gotta do. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I’ve been in that situation many times, just glaring at the page thinking ‘I know this is wrong, but I have NO IDEA how to make it right!’ It’s maddening. And sometimes it just takes more glaring and fussing, and sometimes it takes walking away from it for awhile and coming back at it with fresh eyes. Don’t worry, we’ll be waiting eagerly for your story once you’ve got it sorted out.


That saying is so perfect on so many levels. This really does feel like a small, and exceptionally stubborn kid, who knows EXACTLY what they want, but is completely HORRIBLE at communicating it to me. Other than through a lot of angry shrieking.


I’ve been there. I stopped doing Castle Whatsitsname in 2013 because I just had too many family crises. I still mean to go back, hopefully this year. But I know how it feels to be overwhelmed and to not want to sacrifice the quality of your dream. Take all the time you need! LeyLines is worth waiting for!


It’s been good to hear from other people that I’m not the only one that has had to make this difficult choice. Reminds me that life does go on, and the future is yet to be made.


There’s no joy in pressing on with a story you know you’re not happy with. At the end of the day, it’s not just about the readers; you have to be able to look back on your work and be proud of it. In a project this big, a hiatus to get things sorted could save a lot of time and stress in the long run!

TL;DR : Take your time, we’ll be here!


I just got caught up again after being behind for a few months and … and … hiatus!

Take care of yourself. Job-change stress is one of the top 10 IIRC.


Thanks for the good wishes. Cory continues the hunt, and I’ll be joining him once my current job is done for the year. Everything is up in the air for a while. Hoping it stabilizes soon.


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