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Thread: TPG: Week 25- Adam Hudson

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 25- Adam Hudson

    Hello, alll. Welcome back to The Proving Grounds!

    This week brings us Adam Hudson. Let's see how he does, shall we?

    Parasites of Eden

    General script notes: All “camera” angles are suggested, if you think you have better ones, let me know, we can discuss it. This goes for the few page layouts I have too. More detailed character descriptions can be found on the character sheet.

    PAGE 1 (4 panels)

    Panel 1: We open on a straight on shot of a church with big wide doors that are closed right now as its Sunday morning service. Stained glass windows flank the doors. One of the windows is a big stained-glass picture of God. (I take it this is outside? What’s the weather like? Are we talking a picture of God [which no one has seen], or Christ [which no one has seen, but there’s an ‘accepted’ blond haired, blue-eyed vision of.] Yes, there is a difference. The only "picture" of God I can recall seeing is Michelangelo's version, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Be clear, Adam. Know what you're talking about.)

    CAP (Narrator): We couldn’t feel his presence anymore… (If you’re talking about God, then “his” needs to be capitalized.)

    PANEL 2: A pew comes crashing out through that stained-glass window. (Must be a pretty huge window in order for the pew to fit through it. I’m not seeing that.)

    CAP (Narrator): We lost our faith…
    SFX: CRASH!

    PANEL 3: Classic spinning newspaper, one reads “GOD IS DEAD” with a photo of the church from the first 2 panels in flames. The second reads “WAR IS IMMINENT” with a picture of one politician punching another one at what looks like a press conference. (I like the sentiment, but it’s going to be hard to pull off with two newspapers. The spinning newspaper in film has the first paper stop so the headline can be read, and then fade out as the next one comes spinning up. This is a static panel, and cannot be done. Pick one, and run with it. I don’t suggest putting them side by side, either, because you’ll lose impact for both. The first one is more provocative, especially for a first page. Congratulations, I’m semi-interested, and we’re only three panels in. Now, this begs the question of how Men know that God is dead. Saying that God is dead and putting that on a newspaper headline means that mankind as a whole recognizes that the Christian deity is their maker, and that would only happen if God came out of hiding and did all kinds of miracles, because Man needs proof. Yes, I could do this all day.)

    CAP (Narrator): Then we lost our minds… (This “narrator” is unnecessary if this is going to be the only captions to be read. If someone else has a caption, you’ll have to weigh either labeling them both, or the one who speaks less.)

    PANEL 4: Is a classic mushroom cloud explosion in the middle of a populated city. (As if cities aren’t populated? That’s not the question. The question is, how large is the city? That will tell the artist how far up to place the camera. The bigger the city, the higher up they have to go in order to get the full effect of what you want.)

    CAP (Narrator): Then we destroyed ourselves… (The narrator is now getting to be annoying, and it’s only the fourth panel.)

    PAGE 2-3 (2 Panels)

    Note: Our first money shot, a big 2 page spread of 2 panels. Split the two panels so they get equalish space over the 2 pages. I’m thinking the Heaven conflict on top and the Hell conflict on the bottom. As far as layouts go either Panel 1 across the tops of pages 2 and 3 or treat pages 2 and 3 as one page and split it diagonally. (Double-splash page. Correctly done. Nice.)

    PANEL 1:
    A half page splash panel of the alien army’s assault on the gates of Heaven. Go crazy here. I’m thinking a big elaborate battle. The alien army attacks from the left. The armies of Heaven stand against them. Behind them lay the pearly gates. (Didn’t I read a pitch for this somewhere? I wasn’t especially enamored of the idea then, either. Now, if this is a big, elaborate battle, where’s the big, elaborate description? Tell what you see. There are lots of ways battles can go.)

    CAP (Narrator): We had no idea what was going on above…

    SFX: (Insert battle sounds as needed) (This is lazy writing. Come up with battle sounds or chanting or battle cries yourself.)

    PANEL 2:
    A half splash panel of the alien army’s assault on the entrance of Hell. Again, go crazy. The alien army attacks from the right. The armies of Hell have come pouring out to meet the attackers. (As above, so below.)

    CAP (Narrator): …or below us.

    SFX: (Again, insert battle sounds as needed) (Again, lazy writing.)

    PAGE 4 (4 Panels)

    PANEL 1: Aerial shot looking down at Alpha Safe, where our story takes place. There’s twisted wasteland all around it. The middle of the shot is the Safe itself. It looks like someone flipped a gigantic gear on its side and embedded itself halfway into the ground. In the middle of the gear is a round door that could be opened if needed in an emergency. What is unique about the door is that it’s almost completely transparent. This lets light into the Safe during the day. (This makes little sense, from an architectural standpoint.)

    CAP (Narrator): We struggled, but we survived.
    CAP (Narrator): Without any help from above. (This line is choppy.)
    CAP (Narrator): The Safes were built with the technology that survived the war that ended the world. (Do we need all of this exposition? Let the information roll out organically, or don’t explain it, and let the reader catch up themselves.)

    PANEL 2: A Safe is a cylindrical hole dug hundreds of feet in the ground, then lined with metal. ¾’s of the way down this hole narrows. Then, comes back out like a warped hourglass. There are many layers to the Safe with businesses, housing and manufacturing on different levels. The shot I’m looking for on this panel is as if someone dropped a camera down one side of the Safe, then aimed it at the opposite wall and tilted it up slightly so we see the bottom side of the top of the Safe which is obviously also transparent. (Most of this is unnecessary from a scripting pov. And the parts that are important don’t describe anything. This panel is a failure. It does absolutely nothing to move the story forward. What is supposed to be seen here?)

    CAP (Narrator): Life started to return to normal, we adapted. (This line makes no sense. Nuclear holocaust, and life returns to “normal”? God is dead, and life returns to “normal”? What’s normal about either of those? And the adaptation part is tacked on. Life can't return to "normal" and people then "adapt." Adapt to what? What they were used to before? Make sense, Adam.)

    PANEL 3: Chest up shot of the main villain in human form, Zane LeMarceau. Our villain in human form, he looks like a retired football player. A big man, but solid, his hair is gray in spots. He’s smiling pleasantly. (Want to say he’s the villain in human form again? I think we missed that somewhere. Anyway, he’s smiling, that’s nice. Where is he? Right now, it’s a white void.)

    CAP (Narrator): The old religions were gone, forgotten with the horrors of the war that was. (Bull. Judeo-Christian mythology has existed for over 2000 years, with Judaism older than that (it also being the basis of Islam). There’s no way that religion can be gone or forgotten. History gives lie to this statement. This is not just lazy writing, but bad writing as well.)

    CAP (Narrator): Zane LeMarceau the world’s first international celebrity after The Cleansing, and people worshipped at the altar of that celebrity. (Now you want to try to get pithy. One word: don’t. Purple prose isn’t for you. It sticks out like a sore thumb here.)

    PANEL 4: A shot of Zane’s corporate headquarters, a large building that spans several layers of Alpha Safe. The symbol of Zane is a stylistic ‘Z’ that figures prominently on the front of the building. (This panel is boring as a page-turn. There is a more interesting way to turn the page.)

    CAP (Narrator): Zane quickly became the most popular man on the planet. (The interest you garnered in the beginning? Squandered. You’re boring the readers now.) These captions are helping to do it. Because no one is actually speaking, there’s a disconnect that’s happening. Captions remove you from the action. I only suggest page after page (after page) of them only if you know what you’re doing. If you’re trying to draw someone in, you also have to be interesting. This isn’t.)

    PAGE 5 (3 Panels)

    PANEL 1: Pulled back aerial shot of the top of the Alpha Safe. We can barely make out a futuristic car streaking away, leaving a trail of dust behind him.

    CAP (Narrator): People need things transported between Safes discretely. This is where Messengers come in. (Adam, I’m going to tell you right now: no one cares how your world works. You just need to make sure that it does. Readers want the story, not the intricacies you managed to come up with to make sure everything hangs together properly. The more craptacular info you give them, the more ammunition they’ll have to poke holes in your world. Then, if your world doesn’t hang together, how is the story going to fare any better? Get to the story. No one cares about this.)

    PANEL 2: Pull in close trailing shot of the car heading towards a large cave. (With this page…)

    PANEL 3: We’re looking behind and above the car. The car’s in the cave, machine guns have sprouted out of the hood of the car and are currently blasting mutants that live in this cave. (…you’ve lost the interest of your readers.)

    CAP (Narrator): Messengers run into their own unique set of problems out in the Waste.

    Messenger: FAWKIN’ RADS! (Five pages until someone speaks? Nice.)

    That’s enough.

    Let’s run it down:

    Your panel descriptions are okay. They could use some beefing up, but you’re definitely on a good path. A few instances of lazy writing, but more practice should clear that right up for you.

    I get the fact that you have a vision for your architecture. Having a vision is good. And I get the fact that this is comics, and that there is sometimes an inherent silliness that comes with them. However, I don’t believe your safes are going to work the way you’re describing them. I think you should revisit this concept, and at least make it semi-plausible.

    Your dialogue—I’m not a fan of it. There’s one time when you dipped below the acceptable level of crappiness, and I called you on it. Beyond that, you’re doing things with your dialogue that you don’t need to. Part of it is mechanics, part of it is storytelling. Mechanics first.

    Besides a decent polish for every line written, your first five pages are nothing but captions. Like I said before, captions push the reader back from the immediacy of the story. There’s a disconnect that happens, because whenever you use a first person narration, the story is always and immediately in the past. The story’s already done, and the reader is just being told it like a bedtime story, instead of being actively involved in it, having it unfold for them along with the main character(s). First person narration is a cheat, and I always ask the same question whenever I see it: whom is the narrator talking to? The narrator cannot be talking to the reader, because that makes the reader part of the story. (There are times when this can be used effectively, though.) So, if there’s no one around to listen, are they talking to themselves? No, I’m not much of a fan of first person narration.

    The use of captions, like I said, causes the reader to take a “step back” from the immediacy of the story. It’s subconscious, but it’s very real. The reader knows that the story is already done, and they’re hearing it from a first or second hand account. If it’s an action story, they know that the protagonist survives, because they’re (usually) the one telling the story. Unless you want to try to pull an M. Night Shamalamadingdong on the storytelling, it’s just something the reader has to sit back and accept (you hope) in order to get to know what the story’s about. (And for the love of ferrets, if you’re going to try to play with the narration/storytelling, don’t telegraph it! When I saw The 6th Sense, I got the story immediately from the start, and thought everyone who was “blown away” by the “reveal/twist ending” was stupid. If I got it within the first ten minutes, and I’m not that smart, what does that say for the rest of the public? Don’t telegraph it. That’s all.)

    Let’s talk about the story, starting with the dialogue. You start out with a ton of exposition. Five pages worth. Five pages of crap no one’s going to care about. Why is it crap? Because it’s uninteresting. If you have to do all that up-front setup, what’s the point in telling the story? Do I need to know the mechanics of gravity to know that if I throw a ball in the air, it’s going to fall back down, possibly on my head if I’m not watching it? No, I don’t. And if I went into a dissertation of gravity in order to explain my ball story, people’s eyes are going to glaze over, and I’m going to lose them.

    This is exactly what you’re doing.

    Do you want to make your world feel fully realized? Don’t explain. Let the context explain the content. If you start explaining the content, then you’ll lose your audience. Explanations get technical. Learn the lesson of the latest Star Trek movie. What is ‘red matter’? Exactly. It was introduced, and the context explained the content.

    As for the story itself—again, I’m unimpressed. I wasn’t impressed with the pitch, and I’m not impressed with the story being presented here. To my mind, aliens and God don’t mix. You’re not doing anything BUT explaining in order to get aliens into heaven/hell, and have them be a true threat to God. You’re already starting from a position of weakness with this story. I think most storytellers have had a “god gets captured by xx” tale. I know I’ve had my share. I think we tend to abandon them when we realize just how powerful a god is.

    I think the story itself is going to be an extremely difficult sell. A lot of problems to overcome. If this is your opus, I suggest putting it on the back burner to let it simmer for a good long while before deciding to tackle it. I’m not saying that this is a story that cannot be told, but I will say that this is a story you’re going to find extreme difficulty in telling: the material isn’t going to lend itself to be sold to publishers; the subject matter is going to be assailed by every cut-rate theologian around; if you self-publish, it’s not going to be finished. The sales aren’t going to warrant a continuation past the third issue, if you’re able to get that far.

    That's really about it. This needs a lot of work.


    Now, for a little bit of business:

    I apologize to Luke Noonan, who sent me a script a while back, but somehow got dropped out of the que. He's going to be next week, and then we'll have Mark McMurtrey, Joe Webb, Michael Gerberding, Aaron Thompson, Barri Lang, and Calvin Camp. That's what I have for the next seven weeks. I'm going to create a sticky of who's going when, so everyone will be able to see when they're up. This should not happen again.

    Okay, that’s it. Let’s discuss this.



  2. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    PANEL 1: Aerial shot looking down at Alpha Safe, where our story takes place. There’s twisted wasteland all around it. The middle of the shot is the Safe itself. It looks like someone flipped a gigantic gear on its side and embedded itself halfway into the ground. In the middle of the gear is a round door that could be opened if needed in an emergency. What is unique about the door is that it’s almost completely transparent. This lets light into the Safe during the day. (This makes little sense, from an architectural standpoint.)
    It could probably be done, or a close semblance. The gear shape is just a shape, no problem there - it could be poured concrete (as could the tube below). The tricky part is the transparent door. We don't really have a transparent building material strong enough to be much of a door all on it's own. There are some that come close, that would work for a decorative door - but I suspect the door isn't decorative. The simplest solution might be a steel frame door with a really thick sheet of lexan (depending on the scale of the door you may need a steel grid and multiple sheets). That'd probably keep out the mutants.

    But if this is supposed to be a radiation-proof shelter, you may have more difficulty. Lead shielding is what you need now. There is such a thing as radiation protective lead-glass, but I don't know if it's up to shielding against stuff more powerful than hospital x-ray equipment (you'll have to look into it, I've used up all my amateur scientist powers getting this far) - and you'll also need an airlock with some sort of decontamination system, if that door opens to a contaminated area.

    But that, then, raises the question, if everything on the surface is contaminated so that people had to go underground... how did they survive long enough to build the safes? But what the heck, back when I was watching Cleopatra 2525, I didn't worry about how they fought off the aliens long enough for a major construction project to build their tube, so maybe it's not that big a deal.

    CAP (Narrator): The old religions were gone, forgotten with the horrors of the war that was. (Bull. Judeo-Christian mythology has existed for over 2000 years, with Judaism older than that (it also being the basis of Islam). There’s no way that religion can be gone or forgotten. History gives lie to this statement.)
    I agree. There is no way the church (any church) is going to give up it's power without one hell of a fight. There's no way people entrenched in their faith will give up hope, either. Even if it were somehow proved beyond any doubt that God was dead, the church would come up with a spin-doctored story about how, if we keep our faith alive and live right, God will return from the dead to storm the gates of heaven and smite the alien hordes. And most people would grab at it like a drowning man after a life-preserver. If people are beaten down so far that religion completely failed... everything else failed first, and they aren't building any Safes.

    Now if you were to say that religious faith is in decline and the church is a weak shadow of it's former glory... that I might buy. Gone? Forgotten? Uh uh.

    PANEL 2: Pull in close trailing shot of the car heading towards a large cave. (With this page…)

    PANEL 3: We’re looking behind and above the car. The car’s in the cave, machine guns have sprouted out of the hood of the car and are currently blasting mutants that live in this cave. (…you’ve lost the interest of your readers.)
    Aww... and I thought it just got interesting.
    God is dead and the world glows in the dark... okay, whatever.
    Mad Max Pony Express... hell yeah, that's a comic book!
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Monday, July 13, 2009 at 02:09 PM.



  3. AdamH Guest

    "Show don't tell" is the biggest message I got from this review, that and don't be lazy. More on that after we go other some particulars.

    (I take it this is outside? What’s the weather like? Are we talking a picture of God [which no one has seen], or Christ [which no one has seen, but there’s an ‘accepted’ blond haired, blue-eyed vision of.] Yes, there is a difference. The only "picture" of God I can recall seeing is Michelangelo's version, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Be clear, Adam. Know what you're talking about.)
    Yeah, the Michelangelo version is what I was going for. Description and link to the picture always help.

    PANEL 2: A pew comes crashing out through that stained-glass window. (Must be a pretty huge window in order for the pew to fit through it. I’m not seeing that.)
    I had already looked up pew dimensions to counter point this when I realized what you were saying. Yeah, that should of been "The end of a pew comes crashing out" the way I had it written the pew is coming lengthwise.


    (I like the sentiment, but it’s going to be hard to pull off with two newspapers. The spinning newspaper in film has the first paper stop so the headline can be read, and then fade out as the next one comes spinning up. This is a static panel, and cannot be done. Pick one, and run with it. I don’t suggest putting them side by side, either, because you’ll lose impact for both. The first one is more provocative, especially for a first page. Congratulations, I’m semi-interested, and we’re only three panels in. Now, this begs the question of how Men know that God is dead. Saying that God is dead and putting that on a newspaper headline means that mankind as a whole recognizes that the Christian deity is their maker, and that would only happen if God came out of hiding and did all kinds of miracles, because Man needs proof. Yes, I could do this all day.)
    Point taken on the spinning newspapers, I'll cut it back to one. As far as how Men know that God is dead, that's for later on in the story and not easily explained here.

    (This “narrator” is unnecessary if this is going to be the only captions to be read. If someone else has a caption, you’ll have to weigh either labeling them both, or the one who speaks less.)
    This is where more of my "show don't tell" should come in, no exposition, just slap the reader in the face with it, they'll be intrigued, they'll want to know more, they'll keep reading (hopefully).

    (As if cities aren’t populated? That’s not the question. The question is, how large is the city? That will tell the artist how far up to place the camera. The bigger the city, the higher up they have to go in order to get the full effect of what you want.)
    Bad description on my part, it's the same problem I had with the pew. I saw the correct thing in my head, I just didn't describe the picture enough on the page.

    CAP (Narrator): Then we destroyed ourselves… (The narrator is now getting to be annoying, and it’s only the fourth panel.)
    He's going bye bye in the next draft, refer to my show don't tell comments above and below.

    PANEL 1:
    A half page splash panel of the alien army’s assault on the gates of Heaven. Go crazy here. I’m thinking a big elaborate battle. The alien army attacks from the left. The armies of Heaven stand against them. Behind them lay the pearly gates. (Didn’t I read a pitch for this somewhere? I wasn’t especially enamored of the idea then, either. Now, if this is a big, elaborate battle, where’s the big, elaborate description? Tell what you see. There are lots of ways battles can go.)
    I was little torn by this, my first version of this page had about a page, page and a half of battle description. Then I chopped it way down because I didn't want to limit my artist if they didn't want to draw it that way. Seems silly in retrospect because I'm sure an artist would need more description than this to draw a battle scene.

    SFX: (Insert battle sounds as needed) (This is lazy writing. Come up with battle sounds or chanting or battle cries yourself.)
    Caught.

    CAP (Narrator): The Safes were built with the technology that survived the war that ended the world. (Do we need all of this exposition? Let the information roll out organically, or don’t explain it, and let the reader catch up themselves.)
    "Let the information roll out organically, or don’t explain it, and let the reader catch up themselves." Needs to be my motto for this script.


    PANEL 2: A Safe is a cylindrical hole dug hundreds of feet in the ground, then lined with metal. ¾’s of the way down this hole narrows. Then, comes back out like a warped hourglass. There are many layers to the Safe with businesses, housing and manufacturing on different levels. The shot I’m looking for on this panel is as if someone dropped a camera down one side of the Safe, then aimed it at the opposite wall and tilted it up slightly so we see the bottom side of the top of the Safe which is obviously also transparent. (Most of this is unnecessary from a scripting pov. And the parts that are important don’t describe anything. This panel is a failure. It does absolutely nothing to move the story forward. What is supposed to be seen here?)
    Here I was trying to set the stage, give the readers kind of an overview of the city my characters lived in. Throughout the next few issues though, they get a pretty good view of the city in bits. Throw it in people's faces when I should let them figure it out on their own.

    PANEL 3: Chest up shot of the main villain in human form, Zane LeMarceau. Our villain in human form, he looks like a retired football player. A big man, but solid, his hair is gray in spots. He’s smiling pleasantly. (Want to say he’s the villain in human form again? I think we missed that somewhere. Anyway, he’s smiling, that’s nice. Where is he? Right now, it’s a white void.)
    I didn't include the character bible, that would've give tip off as to what I mean by human form. That section of the description isn't needed honestly. In the next issue I show the transition between his 2 forms. Also I agree, a background would be nice.

    CAP (Narrator): The old religions were gone, forgotten with the horrors of the war that was. (Bull. Judeo-Christian mythology has existed for over 2000 years, with Judaism older than that (it also being the basis of Islam). There’s no way that religion can be gone or forgotten. History gives lie to this statement. This is not just lazy writing, but bad writing as well.)
    It's more exposition that wasn't needed. If they reading, my readers are going to travel through my world and realize how much religion has faded from this world.

    PANEL 1: Pulled back aerial shot of the top of the Alpha Safe. We can barely make out a futuristic car streaking away, leaving a trail of dust behind him.

    CAP (Narrator): People need things transported between Safes discretely. This is where Messengers come in. (Adam, I’m going to tell you right now: no one cares how your world works. You just need to make sure that it does. Readers want the story, not the intricacies you managed to come up with to make sure everything hangs together properly. The more craptacular info you give them, the more ammunition they’ll have to poke holes in your world. Then, if your world doesn’t hang together, how is the story going to fare any better? Get to the story. No one cares about this.)
    So very true, here's me not trusting in my scenes to explain themselves. Letting the world unfold as it were.

    PANEL 3: We’re looking behind and above the car. The car’s in the cave, machine guns have sprouted out of the hood of the car and are currently blasting mutants that live in this cave. (…you’ve lost the interest of your readers.)
    Honestly this comment confused me, after 5 pages of exposition we're finally getting into some more action, I would hope that would pique the readers interest.



    I get the fact that you have a vision for your architecture. Having a vision is good. And I get the fact that this is comics, and that there is sometimes an inherent silliness that comes with them. However, I don’t believe your safes are going to work the way you’re describing them. I think you should revisit this concept, and at least make it semi-plausible.
    This plays into the whole, "don't reveal too much about your world, then people have more ammo to poke holes in it". I think it does work, and if don't focus on it to intently at first, readers could see this living space working because they'll the characters interacting in it.


    Your dialogue—I’m not a fan of it. There’s one time when you dipped below the acceptable level of crappiness, and I called you on it. Beyond that, you’re doing things with your dialogue that you don’t need to. Part of it is mechanics, part of it is storytelling. Mechanics first.
    Most of the exposition is getting cut, I'm going to let my panels and my world speak for themselves.


    Besides a decent polish for every line written, your first five pages are nothing but captions. Like I said before, captions push the reader back from the immediacy of the story. There’s a disconnect that happens, because whenever you use a first person narration, the story is always and immediately in the past. The story’s already done, and the reader is just being told it like a bedtime story, instead of being actively involved in it, having it unfold for them along with the main character(s). First person narration is a cheat, and I always ask the same question whenever I see it: whom is the narrator talking to? The narrator cannot be talking to the reader, because that makes the reader part of the story. (There are times when this can be used effectively, though.) So, if there’s no one around to listen, are they talking to themselves? No, I’m not much of a fan of first person narration.

    The use of captions, like I said, causes the reader to take a “step back” from the immediacy of the story. It’s subconscious, but it’s very real. The reader knows that the story is already done, and they’re hearing it from a first or second hand account. If it’s an action story, they know that the protagonist survives, because they’re (usually) the one telling the story. Unless you want to try to pull an M. Night Shamalamadingdong on the storytelling, it’s just something the reader has to sit back and accept (you hope) in order to get to know what the story’s about. (And for the love of ferrets, if you’re going to try to play with the narration/storytelling, don’t telegraph it! When I saw The 6th Sense, I got the story immediately from the start, and thought everyone who was “blown away” by the “reveal/twist ending” was stupid. If I got it within the first ten minutes, and I’m not that smart, what does that say for the rest of the public? Don’t telegraph it. That’s all.)
    This is a good point about the captions, lesson learned. I can definitely see where they could pull a reader out the story.


    Let’s talk about the story, starting with the dialogue. You start out with a ton of exposition. Five pages worth. Five pages of crap no one’s going to care about. Why is it crap? Because it’s uninteresting. If you have to do all that up-front setup, what’s the point in telling the story? Do I need to know the mechanics of gravity to know that if I throw a ball in the air, it’s going to fall back down, possibly on my head if I’m not watching it? No, I don’t. And if I went into a dissertation of gravity in order to explain my ball story, people’s eyes are going to glaze over, and I’m going to lose them.

    This is exactly what you’re doing.

    Do you want to make your world feel fully realized? Don’t explain. Let the context explain the content. If you start explaining the content, then you’ll lose your audience. Explanations get technical. Learn the lesson of the latest Star Trek movie. What is ‘red matter’? Exactly. It was introduced, and the context explained the content.
    A good example of the point your trying to get across.


    As for the story itself—again, I’m unimpressed. I wasn’t impressed with the pitch, and I’m not impressed with the story being presented here. To my mind, aliens and God don’t mix. You’re not doing anything BUT explaining in order to get aliens into heaven/hell, and have them be a true threat to God. You’re already starting from a position of weakness with this story. I think most storytellers have had a “god gets captured by xx” tale. I know I’ve had my share. I think we tend to abandon them when we realize just how powerful a god is.
    I'm hoping that pulling the reveals I put in the first few pages, jumping right into some action, and letting the reader figure them out/put together the story on their own will sway people over that are not fans of the original concept.

    If not, well you're definitely entitled to your own opinion.



  4. AdamH Guest

    I wanted to add a big thanks to Steven for taking a look at my script and just for creating this column: giving us amateur writers a place to post our scripts and helping improve our craft.

    Thanks

    -Adam Hudson



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    SFX: (Insert battle sounds as needed) (This is lazy writing. Come up with battle sounds or chanting or battle cries yourself.)
    Ok, see I don't see this as lazy writing.

    Sure, he could have been more specific as to what the SFX should be, but by saying "as needed" rather than saying "I want three budda-budda-buddas, 2 SMASHes and a single KRAKKA-BOOM, right....there..." he takes a lot of the control of the art away from the artist.

    I don't think he INTENDED to be lazy, so much as he was trying to give his artist room to go nuttty on the fight scene.

    I've been known to do the same, though I'm a tad more specific by saying "add gunshots or smashing sound effects as the picture warrants," among other details for the fight. This way my artist is set it up his way, and we'll do the sound effects later.

    In fact, I usually assume that after I see the finished scene, I'll write in the specifc sounds for the letterer.

    It's sorta 99% Traditional Scripting and 1% Marvel scripting.

    Sorta.

    Dammit, Forby, you know what I mean!
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  6. Dungbeetle Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamH View Post

    This is where more of my "show don't tell" should come in, no exposition, just slap the reader in the face with it, they'll be intrigued, they'll want to know

    He's going bye bye in the next draft, refer to my show don't tell comments above and below.
    Spot on. Best thing I ever did with my projects was resist the urge to narrate, especially when you're dealing with noir.

    If you haven't already, I'd suggest reading some of Phillip K. Dick's short stories. There's a collection called the Phillip K. Dick reader. He is particularly brilliant at just throwing the reader in at the deep end, making it interesting, and letting the strangeness of this version of the world, or the universe, come out organically (more often than not, through dialogue). Presenting an audience with something unusual and then having characters act blasse about it, or speaking as if some concept from the present (in this case, the idea of God, maybe) is completely ludicrous and unheard of, are both good.

    Introducing your villain as a good guy initially and then unravelling their tangled web gradually is always a good call too. There's a Russian narrative theorist called Vladamir Propp who wrote this theory about how all fairy tales are structured. In most of them there are these set roles, a princess, a hero, a false hero who is later exposed, a helper etc. Hero doesn't, always, in this case, mean protagonist, as with Red Riding Hood, the lumberjack is surely the hero. Just like villain doesn't necessarily mean "the obvious bad guy". For example, in the movie Fifth Element, Gary Oldman's character would obviously be seen as the bad guy, but in narrative terms, he's merely the false hero, who works off deception, while the "ultimate evil" threatening everything is the real villain, albeit it a bit impersonal in its villainy.

    Anyway, I'm rambling, but all pedanticness about logistics of transparent materials aside (Doris Lessing's "Mara & Dann", one of the best post-apocalyptic stories I've ever read, had some hardwearing material people used for clothing in it, which was never explained properly, and wasn't anything from our time) I quite like some of the ideas. I really like the first page and how it opens. Like Forby said, interesting. The hell and heaven alien battles are conceptually ridiculous but very very fun. I don't really know what's not to like about aliens fighting seraphim and demons. But if you throw that in straight away then it's almost like I, as a reader, am going to expect that sort of thing to be happening all the way through.

    Think of different ways of presenting the present-day flashbacks. An old archivist going through the remaining scavenged videos from the people who search topside? You could actually use narration to a greater effect then, with it actually being the voice of the archivist trying to explain what he thinks is happening in the pictures, but often getting it wrong because of the assumptions he has about the past (our present) based on the world he lives in.

    Also, I'm not sure what the tone you're going for here is. If it's a more mature thing (good luck putting out a "God is dead" themed kids' book in America) then the artistic approach to aliens, angels, demons etc. is going to have to be something different that just X-Wings shooting lasers at golden-haired cherubim. Unless you just want to go for the full on cheese factor which can work if you keep your tongue firmly in cheek.

    Anyway, enough of my drivel. I'd suggest the Phillip K. Dick reader, Mara and Dann, and I've also read about, but not actually read, a book called A Canticle For Leibowitz which is about a post-apocalyptic order of monks. The writers entry on Wiki says "Significant themes of his stories included loss of scientific knowledge or "socio-technological regression and its presumed antithesis, continued technological advance", its preservation through oral transmission, the guardianship of archives by priests, and "that side of [human] behavior which can only be termed religious." Definately on my wish list.



  7. AdamH Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    Ok, see I don't see this as lazy writing.

    Sure, he could have been more specific as to what the SFX should be, but by saying "as needed" rather than saying "I want three budda-budda-buddas, 2 SMASHes and a single KRAKKA-BOOM, right....there..." he takes a lot of the control of the art away from the artist.

    I don't think he INTENDED to be lazy, so much as he was trying to give his artist room to go nuttty on the fight scene.

    I've been known to do the same, though I'm a tad more specific by saying "add gunshots or smashing sound effects as the picture warrants," among other details for the fight. This way my artist is set it up his way, and we'll do the sound effects later.

    In fact, I usually assume that after I see the finished scene, I'll write in the specifc sounds for the letterer.

    It's sorta 99% Traditional Scripting and 1% Marvel scripting.

    Sorta.

    Dammit, Forby, you know what I mean!
    I really can see this both ways, you're right, what I was trying to do was say I want a big battle here between aliens and demons, draw it how you want but make it look awesome. Then put in SFX as appropriate.

    I'm not sure if the whole description is lazy writing or if its giving the artist latitude to come up with a kick-ass double splash page to hit the reader in the face with.

    I had a big description in there, I took it out. I wasn't sure how much detail to put in or leave out. Maybe a happy medium is in order?



  8. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Well, one of the things that we can't really show here, is the back-and-forth between writer and artist.

    Forby can only evaluate what's there, and, as this is a script only column, that's all he has to work with when coming up with his critiques.

    Ideally, you would have an relationship with you artist that goes beyond "here's the new script, I nedd back by such-and-such a date."

    You don't have to be best buddies and flat-mates, but you should be able to talk a bit.

    One of the artists I'm working with right now lives in Idaho. I'm in Florida. We communicate though emails and text messages. When I send him the scripts, I include some comments, thoughts, and directions in the email with them. He'll send me responses with questions or thoughts of his own. We take whichever ideas work the best. For example he had two panels that were giving him trouble, so ultimately he showed me some concepts where he had tweaked them to work best for him. They didn't alter anything storywise, and looked great, so I was fine with them, and we went from there.

    For a fight like this one, I would just tell Mike to pretty much draw the fight however he wanted, just that guy A should be winning, or guy c should be dead at the end, or whatever little specifics i needed for the story.

    My point is, if I have one, that the writer/artist communication shouldn't end with the script, and while what Forby is doing here is helping make sure that you can write the best, most solid script that you can..because BELIEVE me...there WILL be times when you're working for a company and your communication DOES end at the script. You write, they take it, assign, an editor goes over it, and you only see the "finished" product. So, for that scenario, you WILL need to be able to convey exactly what you want within the script.

    I just felt that dismissing the panel description (or lack thereof) as "Lazy Writing" was too much of a blanket statement, and wasn't taking into account the validity of such a panel under the right circumstances, as freeing up the artist to do his or her "thang", so to speak.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  9. AdamH Guest

    I am totally on board with the communication not ending after the script has changed hands from writer to artist. The artist on this script 1) Came up with the basic story ideas and then I expanded on them 2) I've known for most of my life 3) Lives not 3 hours away from me.

    - Adam Hudson



  10. StevenForbes Guest

    I'm here! I'm here. Just not as much as I want to be. Preparing for everything else has gotten me a little behind, but I'm here, and trying to write way forward in order to be able to coast.

    No need too thank me for this column, although I do appreciate it. I'm honestly doing it for all of you.

    As for the lazy writing:

    It is, from a sfx pov, which is what I was talking about. You're the writer, and as such, you're generally responsible for the framing of the book. At least throw the letterer a bone as to what you want. Without that idea, they can put in anything they want, and if you don't like it, you're then stuck having to go back and forth with them over it, instead of just coming up with something yourself in the first place.

    The purpose of the full script method is to cut down on the amount of work you have to do on the back end. Everything else can be tweaked after the pages come in, but it shouldn't be a lot of work from that point on. The same cannot be said for plot-first.

    And now, I'm off to work!



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