also by the MotA team
  • >Golden Dames Project
  • Red Nebula Studios
  • Lovefeast
Commission Keith W!

Chapter two

My original idea for chapter two of Mysteries of the Arcana was more akin to what we did in chapter three: pair them up, put them in some wacky adventures that helps expand the setting. As I sat down to write, however, I realized that at webcomic pace Theresa's background wouldn't be revealed for years in real time.

After some thought, I decided to have Theresa forced into a confrontation with the tragedy that pushed her over the edge. I wanted to handle the topic with sensitivity and honesty. I also wanted some level of shock and horror. Plus, I didn't want to do the same, standard style flashback that I had employed in chapter one. I came to realize that chapter two was about reflections and it shows in the imagery: a world of mostly water, slow moving turtles who represented wisdom and introspection, and even the goo enemy who was shiny. That lead to my brilliant idea: the flashbacks would be done as reflections! Theresa's flashback, in which she has to relive the memories of the horrors her best friend went through (or her imaginings of them, which are even worse), would be reflected on the surface of the goo monster. Chrys's flashbacks, explaining Dreamers and her birth, would be a reflections in the water. Keith did a fantastic job, I think, of illustrating those.

Even then, chapter two was one of the hardest things I've ever written. The topics it dealt with are never easy to portray and I feared creating something that exploited and titillated. Hopefully, I succeeded in my goal and the Theresa's flashback sequence wasn't too insensitive.

Of course, chapter two left me with a big problem as well. It created a rift between Theresa and Chrys that I had to heal if I wanted to get the story back on track.