Trying to decide on a tone for my series

Let me just say I never realized how much went into a comic book series (spoiler: there’s A LOT). Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out if my series is going to be lighter in tone (like Manimal or the Ace Attorney games, my two initial inspirations) but with a darker side to it or more serious with some comedic elements (like NCIS, my favorite currently-running show on American television). Also, how do I keep my characters from all being the comic relief. I’ve noticed when writing with all of them except Brianna, they either end up as hot-headed and scarcastic, cheerful and quirky (both different manifestations of my personality), or depressed and moody (if they end up with a personality at all, and yes, I’ve tried character sheets, but maybe not as much as I could). Any advice?

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  • In my experience character sheets only serve to give a character filler, which isn't what you are looking for. What you need are characters with a purpose... With your overall story in mind, take each character and figure out what important events happen to that character from start to the end of the story (even if the reader will never see it all). This gives your character a meaning and through developing that you can better define their personality. This keeps from having just random characters and you start really flesh out the story as a whole.

    All my characters, main characters as well as minor characters each have a detailed background story...I know their purpose and it helps keep their personality consistent.

  • What do you feel more passionate about when you write? I'm only happy when I'm working on sad and dark stories about emotional triumph, and lighthearted themes just don't grab me. Is there anything like that when you write? If something you write makes you excited to write the next page, that's what you excel at! 

  • You are correct, it is a lot of work! Congratulations for sticking with it and not giving up.

    I think the key is to find balance. Choose the main mood for your story (serious or lighthearted) and make the majority of the characters fit that mood. But then provide some type of balance. For instance, have a happier character in the middle of a moody group of people. Or have one character who is always glum in your lighthearted story. Yoshi makes some good points about having new quirks to round out a character.

    Ultimately the main mood needs to be chosen by you and reflect the story you want to tell. Write a story that you will be satisfied with.

  • I have designed A LOT a characters, and they often ended up being the same way. Very black and white, or colorless overall.

    What I did was give them quirks that could show someone a new side to them. 

    My moody guy is a music enthusiast, my happy girl became easily lonely, my comic relief guy had a much darker side that scared even ME, etc.

    Try making a list of characters that absolutely can't be comic relief, a list of occasional comic relief, and a list of permanent comic relief people.  If a scene needs comic relief, depending on the amount, the list will help determine who can be there.

    I hope this helps you!

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