Guest blogger, Kate Brown: The Piper Man

Hello! Following my post about the process of creating Fish + Chocolate, I’d like to begin talking a little about the actual stories themselves.

I’ll start with The Piper Man! ^_^

As I mentioned in the “process” post, the stories were designed to be read together, and for each segment of the book to create one mass of atmosphere and feeling. I wanted each story to play off the others. For instance, the first two are really very similar, to my eye. It was really fun (and heart-breaking) to try and get all three stories to line up with each other! I do love making short comics… I would love to make another book in a similar style/format to F+C at some stage…

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Anyway! I did have a specific angle for ‘The Piper Man’. Several years ago, I read a short story that made me feel very icky. When I discussed it with someone else who had read the same story, I was interested to learn that they had come away with a totally different point of view as to its meaning. This completely fascinated me, and I do believe that the story itself had been constructed to play upon different people’s upbringings, circumstances, and personal histories to create a unique effect.

Being familiar with the idea of an “unreliable narrator” in fiction, I felt like this type of storytelling, when successful, was the unreliable narrator’s slightly devious uncle – the way it relied upon the reader to create the story out of the information presented was something I was totally into… it was something I wanted to try for myself when I made ‘The Piper Man’.

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On the subject of reader interpretation, I used to be all, “No no no! This thing I made, you should be reading it like THIS!” but I found it’s not something I can necessarily control. When you hand over a story to someone else, it might not have the effect you want it to have, regardless of how well-constructed it is. I think it’s always going to vary, depending on peoples’ backgrounds and individual standpoints. So, I gave up assuming my story was going to stay my story after I’d finished it and handed it over to an audience, and started enjoying what might happen after I’d completed the story instead. I think it is quite fun… I encourage you to try it at least once with your own comics!

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Trivia! There’s a panel in which Marie is typing on her laptop and you are able to see a little bit of the screen… it’s actually a screen-dump of the notes/script I initially typed for The Piper Man.

More trivia! I was trying to decide what to name a road featured in one of the pages, and all I could think of was Glenn Close. I know this is terrible. I couldn’t leave it like that, but I was in a rush… so I changed it to Glenn Place. And now you know.

Thank you for reading! I’ll be talking about the second story in the book – ‘The Cherry Tree’ – in my next post. Take care, all! ^_^

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You’re reading the behind-the-scenes story of Fish + Chocolate exclusively on the SelfMadeHero blog. Lucky you! Join tomorrow for the third guest post by Kate, where she’ll be writing about her tale ‘The Cherry Tree’, the second of the three stories in Fish + Chocolate.

Fish + Chocolate by Kate Brown is published by SelfMadeHero this month! If you live somewhere remote or heaven forfend… abroad, you may like to consider purchasing it from our online store, powered by the mighty Amazon. But, if you live or work near a comicshop or bookshop, we ask that you consider supporting them first as it is widely stocked.

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