The best advice I’ve received as a prose writer is to read widely. Read poetry to improve on imagery. Read short stories to learn conciseness in worldbuilding and pacing. Read creative nonfiction for narrative voice. Expose yourself to different forms of storytelling besides the three-act structure like kishōtenketsu and the daisy chain. Branching out has been beneficial, but recently I’ve been wondering: What about visual storytelling? What can filmmaking, television writing, video games, graphic novels, manga and comics teach prose writers? Apparently, Wandering Souls, a short story webcomic by Diana (greyolle), proves that you can tell an enthralling narrative with a familiar premise.
In my case, exploring and reading webcomics over the last several months has taught me a lot about storytelling. Like with all genres and mediums, there is so much to explore, tropes and genre conventions to tackle and subvert. The talent and efforts of creators to tell compelling stories from a variety of genres and styles amaze me. A while ago, I reviewed the webcomic A Plant Called Milo by anana alog, a quiet story that leaves an emotional impact. Wandering Souls does the same, demonstrating the power of visual storytelling.
Wandering Souls tells the story of two souls in the afterlife finding their way home and reuniting. Yes, there are countless stories with a similar premise; however, Diana has crafted a memorable and emotionally resonant narrative in just four episodes. Also, there’s no dialogue, which can be difficult to pull off, but Diana knows what they’re doing. Their execution kicks out any notion that the story has been told before. Instead, Diana unfolds a new perspective for their readers.
Diana’s fluid art style provides a unique reading experience. To me, the dynamic landscapes and character expressions make it feel like I’m watching an animated short. The story, easy to follow, leaves an emotional imprint at the end. While reading, I could feel the desires of the two main characters, their search for each other, and then their reunion. The level of detail and consistency impresses me.
Wandering Souls transcends boundaries when it comes to art and storytelling. Diana has created a refreshing and unforgettable story about the persistence of love during hard times.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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