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<   No. 3760   2017-11-07   >

Comic #3760

1 Iki Piki: All right, I've got the autopilot software patch.
1 Spanners: Install it! We've got 90 seconds before we crash!
2 {beat}
3 {beat}
4 Spanners: Well?
4 Iki Piki: Progress bar: 2% installed.

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And the computer will need to reboot after installation.

This strip illustrates a principle of episodic writing. I was in the middle of uploading it to the server, in fact after I'd typed the above sentence about rebooting, when I noticed that Iki Piki's opening line was, "All right, I've got the software patch," and that this meant there was not enough context for a cold reader to understand what was happening - you needed the context established in previous strips. This is a bad thing and I try to avoid it where possible. Fortunately, simply adding the word "autopilot" before "software" adds enough context to enable someone to understand the comic without knowing the previous context.

So I added that in at the last minute. And if I hadn't drawn your attention to it, none of you would have so much as blinked at the inclusion of that word. So this was a relatively easy case. Sometimes adding enough context can seem obviously forced and unnatural, and that's where things get really interesting, as I struggle between the demands of natural-sounding dialogue, and making it easy enough to understand each strip in isolation. (I usually lean in favour of more natural dialogue.)

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