i just saw the form on How do you get your ideas for your comic's next strip and after i spent some time thinking on my answer though i would share it here too.
I compress time boil it down and inject it straight into my blood stream then I follow my process.
I start with a premise. This is usually an interesting way of looking at a story. If I am going to be doing a lot of world building then it is what one way is this world different and what will follow from that (a comic I am working on right now started off of what if there was magic that you could give to others, but couldn’t be taken).
Then I make an outline. I start with the goal (ie what the main character wants) and then ask what gets in the way. I then also work on the main characters (protagonist antagonist and anyone else major) while working on those three points I try to focus on the big picture first. What broad strokes can I make before I start which will make for the most interesting possibilities later. I commonly foil characters but am truly looking for what will spark the most conflict (two characters being on the same page isn’t really that interesting). After I spent forever in that existential Purgatory I give it a short break and come back fresh and look at what doesn’t work, what could work better, and anything I could add or come at form a different angle. the amount of time varies for this stage. I only spent a week on Books Don't Work Here, but I spent over a month on The Odd Wicked Exploit.
Then I start mapping out the plot. I make a new word document for this with multiple sections (characters, plot, world building, jokes, and another for the script for each page). I am constantly thinking about what I can add to the story since I write via emurjsion and anything that stays the same after being tumbled around for a while gets written down in the word doc.
Once I am done with a draft and I let it sit for a while ( to get a fresh look at it) I try to make it to the next level. Anything I have written from a basic character concept to the dialogue on a page can always do more then one thing at once. If I find anything that is flat, cliche, or just not pulling enough weight I try and figure out how to make it deeper. There is nothing wrong with cliches there is a reason they worked well enough to be remembered after all. I just want to find out why they worked and use that wile making it unique to my piece. It is really hard to explain this part since it involves the most creativity but the best I can think of of the top of my head is as follows. imagine you are the second writer ever and you are doing a simple boy meets girl story but that has already been done and you want to spice it up a little. So you decide to add in a third element and make it the very first love triangle. Now when the girl says she likes the boy's flower it can have a lot of extra meanings such as it is so pretty, I wish boy2 would give me flowers like this, I wonder if I can accept it to make boy 2 jealous with out being mean to boy 1, I wonder what my best friend would think of that, and how will I sneak it past my mom when I get home. Anyone can be in a cliche moment you just have to make sure that your characters moment is more memorable then whatever your readers are comparing it to.
Once I have gone through enough drafts that I cant think of anything different to change about the story (or my deadline is coming up) I find a bit of alone time and swear to myself that I wont procrastinate on the internet and write out the actually story following my outline. For comics this means dialogue and descriptions of setting. After I have mapped out enough of the story or simply hit a brick wall (I commonly get false starts and will give myself a short deadline (20 min or so) to make sure I get something down. It doesn’t matter how good it is I tell my self (otherwise I will spend the whole time analyzing the the first sentence and never type it). While many times I wont be able to get in the zone and will just do a little bit and go back to brainstorming for a bit before I try again everyone and a while do get in a grove. When that happens I wipe everything off my schedule that I can afford to do with out getting disowned or fired and keep writing until I run out of juice.
Then I let it sit till I can look at it with fresh eyes (going back and brainstorming again or working on another project since I always have to think about something). Then I pull out the red pen and mark the whole thing up. I usually do this on the computer with notes and a different text but on big projects, ones someone else has workshoped, one the last draft before a big deadline I actually print it out and mark it up. I will commonly make a new section in my outline for improvements (positive thinking for problems) and brainstorm how to fix any weak points in the story. Then I go back and fix them. If I really cant think of a way to fix a problem I will simple rewrite that section and then compare the two and see which parts are better and try and find a way to mash them together.
Once I am done with draft 2 I start work on draft 3, then 4, and well my professor in college said that for even a simple short story you should do a dozen drafts. I am usually lazy and spent most of my time trying to shoot down bad ideas before they make it into the actually story and don’t do that many drafts. The exact number varies from project to project but you should always do at least one more.
Somewhere along the line I try and have it work shopped by someone else. Before I give it to them I take a good 2 hours (depending on the length of the script it can be more) and fix every spelling error I can see. There will be more of course I can not spell for beens, but most of them wont pop up on spellchecker anymore by the time I am done.
If I am writing for a comic I then make a thumbnail laying out what goes on in each panel and how big and where it needs to be on the page. Then I open up daz and spend some time configuring my model in what ever convoluted position I couldn’t draw with out ripping one of the arms the character (I am a trained writer not artist). After I have that outline I tweak the lines add clothing and detail. I then spent a while on the expression and forever tying to think of a better way to do it. Then I grab a new page and ink it since there is no way I could erase everything. I scan it in and go to work on gimp ( a open source version of photo shop). I color in each page I scanned in and then add them as a new layer to the main page (I draw everything bigger and usually don't even try to fit it all on one page). I then add in the text, then panel outlines, then word bubbles. Then I do any backgrounds I didn’t draw by hand (flat and right angle things usually like walls and doors). Finally I clean up the edges and look for mistakes. After I triple check spelling I (try to) write something witty and post it, and check my stats every 20 minuets to see if anyone new has read it.
I do a lot of my brain storming while not at my computer. Anytime I read a book, watch TV, check my comics, think about philosophy, get lost on TV tropes, or talk with someone I think about what I could take from that to make an interesting story. I don’t always have someplace to write it down (and couldn’t read my own writing anyway) but I have trained myself to recognize if not recall every concept I dwell on in my free moments. Even if they don’t get written down in my premiss document I like to be able to pull them off the shelf while writing a story. In short the best way to get ideas is to think about how to get an idea from everything you come across and then spent forever analyzing how to make it a better idea.
I am official changing the schedule from 7 days a week to five. This is for multiple reasons first that I spend more time on this comic then I have on some jobs and I don't want to burn out doing it 7 days a week with no break ever. Second for the next while I am getting visitors every weekend bringing food and social interaction and it is hard to put in an 8 hour day on the comic with them around. I do not want my comic to be one of those that misses updates but that means that I cant set a schedule that I know I wont be able to meet. I will still be trying to get some work done this weekend to build up a buffer again and if I have time and there is interest I might post a few goodies for you all beyond the weekdays update schedule.
On a happier note I would like to thank everyone who has read the comic. We had a bit of a lull for the last three days but we're finally back on the popular now page, and it is all thanks to readers like you. So thanks for recommending the comic to friends, blackmailing your enemies, or just clicking on the pretty link when you saw it.