Today’s comic ends with Snout curling up and going to sleep. That’s it. That’s the ending of today’s update. No cliffhanger. No joke. No enticing hints at what’s to come. There’s no character development or quirky moments. Snout curls up after a long, dangerous day and goes to sleep.
Do-nothing pages like this, when used carefully and at the right moments, are important. Rest is important. You need rest in real life, whether it’s a creative or physical endeavor. Your body can become overworked. Your mind can become fatigued. In those moments it’s vital to step back and do nothing. Your characters need those same moments of rest.
If you employ too few do-nothing pages, you lose sight of the character. They become less real, less endearing, and more a vessel for whatever story they’re meant to move along.
If you employ too many do-nothing pages, you lose sight of the story. Not only their story, but the momentum of whatever tale they’re meant to move along. Seeing what a mighty hero does in their downtime is important, but seeing nothing but their coffee-time conversations can result in a Monty Python-like chorus of “GET ON WITH IT!” from your frustrated readers.
It’s easy to find that perfect middle ground. Just sprinkle in a few pages between stretches of action or drama, and show instead of tell. Merely watching a seasoned warrior put their sword aside, silently brew tea, and sit down with a book tells you volumes about what’s important to them instead of a blatant, lengthy explanation of why they enjoy it.
Rest is important. Your characters don’t always have to be moving forward. Sometimes they need to curl up and go to sleep. These are the little moments that make them characters instead of vessels, people instead of archetypes, and reflect upon the rest we need in our real lives so we can move forward.