A Broken Winter by Kale Night – Guest Post

A Broken Winter Webcomic (10th Anniversary Edition)

I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Never hire a comic artist to illustrate a webcomic based on the first draft of a hastily constructed script. It’s not a good idea. Especially when said script is written by someone with a propensity for overcomplicating everything. Someone who has neglected to use anything vaguely resembling an outline. Unless, of course, you want a ludicrous labyrinth of plots with no resolution and characters doing things that make no sense. Then by all means.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of my webcomic, A Broken Winter, I’ve taken steps to correct this oversight. I’ve made a number of changes to reduce the complexity of the story and eliminate problematic content. I’ve rewritten dialogue, reordered chapters, added 10 new pages (with the help of my illustrator, Archie the RedCat), and deleted over 40 pages. Most of the pages I cut were intended to tell a story that looked cool, instead of telling a story with a coherent plot. Some of the scenes I deleted include a ritual held in ancient ruins, a gigantic werelemur, and priests being chased by stone narwhals (it seemed like a good idea at the time).

Caliban, the werelemur. Caliban was transformed by his mother, Sycorax. Sycorax can still be spotted in the new edition, but there’s no mention of Caliban.
Magic narwhals are great for restraining troublesome priests. The priests targeted by the narwhals played a huge role in the original draft, but have been removed from the new edition.

In the original draft of the comic, seven-year-old Keita Kaneko is sent to the Farm. The Farm serves as the source of food for everyone in the country of Terasyn and provides a convenient way for the Emperor to dispose of political dissidents and their families. People like Keita. General Auryn Tyrus, who runs The Farm, intercedes on Keita’s behalf. While Auryn tries to figure out what to do with Keita, he places him in the special division – a group of prisoners who exchange labour for a chance at survival. Keita’s experiences in the special division further traumatize him, eventually resulting in a major breakdown. Only then does Auryn step in and take Keita into his care.

As the script became a novel, and the novel underwent a number of rewrites, this scenario started to bother me. If Auryn cared so much for Keita’s well-being, why the hell would he allow him to work as a janitor in a slaughterhouse? If he had the authority to do so (which he does), he’d want to spare him from all that. So, I removed all of Keita’s experiences with the special division. As soon as Keita arrives at the Farm, Auryn takes him and tries to make him feel at home.


Keita experiences a rare peaceful moment as a member of the special division.

I know the result is still far from perfect, but that’s okay. There comes a point when you have to accept that a project was completed without your current skill set and move on. The past ten years have been a wonderful learning experience, even if most lessons were learned the hard way.

  • Kale Night

Kale Night is the writer and creator of A Broken Winter and lives in northern Alberta, Canada, where the weather provides inspiration for a world trapped in eternal winter.

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