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Thread: TPG: Week 45 - Jeffrey Haas

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 45 - Jeffrey Haas

    Jeff Haas has a seasonal offering for us today. Let's see how he does.

    Mr. Claws: A Christmas Story
    A one-shot script by Jeffrey Haas


    Splash Page:

    In a room lit to ensconce its occupier, a young man of thirty sits at his desk, with his back to the reader. He hurriedly pours his thoughts onto blank pages, desperately aware that each word he writes further garners the notice of a terrible being. A small blue reading lamp offers the room its only oasis from the surrounding darkness. The only sound is of the pencil point scratching letters into the paper and his beating heart.

    This is a little thin on visual description (what the man looks like, how he’s dressed, what sort of room this is, etc). You could leave some of the details up to the artist, of course, but you’ve left so much unsaid that it trips you up in later panels. Still, the description is very evocative, and I like that aspect of it. It does do a good job of communicating the feel you want the artist to capture.


    CAPTION:

    I KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA CLAWS….THE REAL TRUTH. THE ONE OUR PARENTS REFUSED TO TELL US ABOUT. I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS THERE. I SAW IT ALL.

    Are you using this as a title page? If so, you should note that, so the letterer knows to include the title and credits (which you’ll need to provide, as well), and so the artist knows to leave some room for them.

    Page break - Always add them. It makes it easier to find your way around a script. You should also put your header information in a header, so it shows up on each page, not just type it at the top of the first page.


    PAGE TWO, PANEL ONE:

    This panel is a close-up on one of the sweat stained pages the narrator is writing upon.

    WRITTEN ON PAGE:

    EVERY SO OFTEN A BRAVE PARENT DARES TO TELL THEIR CHILDREN THAT THERE IS NO SANTA CLAWS. BUT THEY FORGET THAT HE IS LISTENING. HE IS ALWAYS LISTENING.

    Continuing the narration on the pages he’s writing is kind of neat. There are two things I’d suggest though… Firstly: provide a note to your letterer to do the caption boxes in a manner than will emulate the paper he’s writing on (color, sweat stains, lined paper, etc) with a good, legible, handwriting font. Secondly: add a few words from the previous caption, partially cut-off at the border of this panel, to drive home the connection that the page we’re seeing now is a continuation of the captions. That’ll help to tie it all together nicely.

    And I’d also go with a shot that included the man’s hand, holding the pencil as if he’s just finished the line, rather than a shot that just showed the page itself.

    You should also note, up front, that the man is sweating, so there’s a reason for the sweat stains on the paper.


    PANEL TWO:

    Extreme close up on the apprehensive face of the narrator as he hurriedly testifies his story. His hair is wildly unkempt and the bags under his eyes are evidence of his sleepless nights. Sweat streams down his face and his tongue his (is) moistening his lower lip.

    We should have known about his unkempt hair (and the sweating) in panel 1.

    CAPTION:

    FOR REVENGE AGAINST THESE PARENTS, HE KIDNAPS THEIR CHILDREN AND ENSLAVES THEM.

    PANEL THREE:

    As the narrator’s story commences we flashback to over twenty years ago when the boy, named Jeremy, is walking home from school with his friend Mike. In the background, the snow covering the city signals the yuletide. The boys are both eight years of age and are dressed in casual school cloths (clothes) including backpacks. They are smiling brightly as dreams of their Christmas gifts whirl around in their eager minds.

    Only the snow signals the yuletide? No. All snow signifies is winter. Get some Christmas decorations hanging from the light poles, bell ringers outside a store, decorations on the lawn if we’re in a residential neighborhood… stuff that actually signifies yuletide. And what are the surroundings? Downtown retail district? Residential side street? What do you want to see?

    CAPTION:

    THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. AND THAT IS WHY I AM ABLE TO TELL THE TRUTH. THE WHOLE TRUTH.

    JEREMY:

    SO WHAT DO YA THINK YOU’RE GETTIN’ FOR CHRISTMAS?

    PANEL FOUR:

    Close up on Mike, who is smiling proudly, as he anticipates Jeremy’s next question and the bragging rights that await.

    MIKE:

    I KNOW WHAT I’M GETTING, JEREMY. I WENT WITH MY PARENTS WHEN THEY GOT IT.

    PANEL FIVE:

    This panel is of Jeremy who is looking shocked and jealous.

    JEREMY:

    NO WAY! THAT’S SO COOL! WHAT’D YA GET?


    Page break

    PAGE THREE, PANEL ONE:

    Imagine the most impressive gaming system you have ever seen and that will be the Gamester FX. The entire panel is of this system and set in front of a white, almost heavenly background.

    MIKE (OP):

    THEY GOT ME A GAMESTER FX SYSTEM!

    PANEL TWO:

    Close up on the overwhelmed face of Jeremy, who is shaking his head as if that could help better formulate his thoughts.

    This is a moving panel. You can’t draw someone shaking their head. (Well… technically you can, using motion lines and ghosted images, but it’ll look awful. That only works for slapstick or Bugs Bunny cartoons)

    JEREMY:

    I…I…I GOTTA MAKE MY MOM GET ME THAT.

    PANEL THREE:

    A panel only of Mike this time who is looking at Jeremy, while smiling widely as if a fantastic idea just occurred to him.

    If the panel is only of Mike, we can’t tell who he’s looking at.

    This highlights an ongoing problem with the last few panels. You’ve got two people trying to interact with each other, and you’re only showing them separately. It’s better to keep both figures at least partially in the panel, to maintain a visual connection between them. It makes the character interaction work much better. It could also help you streamline the book (and it needs streamlining), because you could combine panels rather than having each comment and each response appear in separate panels. Sometimes it’s good to focus entirely on a single character, for emotional impact, but not in every panel.


    MIKE:

    WHAT IF SHE ALREADY DID!? (question mark) YOUR MOM KNOWS MY MOM. SHE WOULD HAVE TOLD HER.

    PANEL FOUR:

    This panel takes up the entirety of the rest of the page. In it the two boys are high-fiving each other enthusiastically.

    JEREMY:

    I BET MY MOM’S ALREADY GOT IT FOR ME! THAT’S SOOOO AWESOME!

    MIKE:

    WE CAN PLAY EACH OTHER OVER THE NET!

    JEREMY:

    OUR FIGHTS ARE GONNA RULE!


    Page break

    PAGE FOUR, PANEL ONE:

    As the scene changes, we now enter the kitchen within the home of Jeremy and his mother. Jeremy, at the top of the panel, has just entered the kitchen from the outside and is still radiating from dreams of hours of Gamester FX three dimensional gaming. His poor mother on the other hand is leaning over the kitchen table with one hand running through her frizzled hair, while she frustratingly pours over the stacks of bill(s) in front of her. Her eyes look as if she’s been crying.

    Why is Jeremy at the top of the panel? Is the viewpoint from the ceiling? Did he come in through a roof hatch? You’re just confusing things by calling out stuff you don’t need to, that doesn’t make sense. Don’t try to get overly specific with your composition unless you’re good at it and are looking for something out of the ordinary. Let the artist know what you want to see, and the viewpoint, and let them figure out the rest. Artists are usually good at that sort of thing.

    CAPTION:

    GREED. BY THE TIME I REACHED HOME, I WAS CONSUMED BY THE BEAST.

    JEREMY:

    MOM! GUESS WHAT! I JUST CAME UP WITH THE COOLEST GIFT FOR YOU TO GET ME.


    MOTHER:

    WHAT, (comma) HUNNY?

    JEREMY:

    I KNOW YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY GOTTON (gotten) IT FOR ME. OR MAYBE YOU ASKED SANTA TO OR SOMETHIN’, BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT SO I THOUGHT I’D JUST MAKE SURE.

    PANEL TWO:

    The panel is focused on the worn face of Jeremy’s mother as she is turning to look at her expectant son. Her face does not appear tired from lack of sleep, but by the concern of an uncertain future.

    CAPTION:

    I WAS SO SELF-ABSORBED (hyphenate or split the word) I COULD NOT SEE THE ANGUISH IN MY MOTHER’S FACE.

    MOTHER:

    I THINK IT’S TIME WE HAD A LITTLE TALK. COME SIT DOWN.


    PANEL THREE:

    Jeremy and his mother are now sitting at the kitchen table, but while Jeremy is awaiting the good news, his mother feels the guilt of what she needs to tell him welling up inside her.

    MOTHER:

    YOU KNOW THINGS HAVE BEEN KIND OF TIGHT AROUND HERE LATELY, RIGHT?

    JEREMY:

    YEAH, I GUESS.

    MOTHER:

    WELL…IT SEEMS TWO JOBS DON’T GO AS FAR AS THEY USE (used) TO.

    JEREMY:

    ARE YOU GOING TO BE GETTING A THIRD THEN?


    PANEL FOUR:

    Mimic the point of view of the previous panel but now the mother has one hand on her son’s leg as she leans forward and looks tenderly, but sadly into her son’s face.

    If you want this to work, you need to specify, in the panel before this one, that they’re sitting close together. With what you have, they could have been sitting at opposite sides of the table.

    MOTHER:

    WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS THAT CHRISTMAS WON’T BE COMING THIS YEAR. THINGS ARE JUST TOO TOUGH RIGHT NOW.
    I think this balloon needs to be broken up, to indicate some hesitation and heighten the emotion of the delivery.

    JEREMY:

    THAT’S OK. SANTA WILL GET ME IT INSTEAD. PROBABLY SOME GAMES TOO.


    Page break

    PAGE FIVE, PANEL ONE:

    Close up on the face of the mother as she is looking directly towards the reader. Her expression is a cross between embarrassed that she has not told her son the truth earlier, and concern but (about) how he’ll take the news.

    MOTHER:

    I KNOW I SHOULD HAVE TOLD YOU THIS SOONER, BUT SANTA CLAUS ISN’T REAL. I’M SORRY, HUNNY.

    I think this would work a lot better as a shot from over Jeremy’s shoulder, so the visual can carry the emotional connection between him and his mother.

    I would break, “ I’m sorry, Hunny,” into a separate balloon.


    PANEL TWO:

    Jeremy’s reaction is part shock and part horror. It is okay to make his expression slightly comical.

    Now this panel would work as a solo, close-up shot. But you’re not calling out the viewpoint or camera distance at all.

    CAPTION:

    IN AN INSTANT, MY WORLD CRASHED DOWN AROUND ME.

    JEREMY:

    HUH? BUT YOU SAID….

    PANEL THREE:

    Mimic the point of view from panel one of this page, but have one of the mother’s hand motioning towards her son, as if it would help relax him from the force of the blow she just dealt him.

    What do you mean by “motioning towards her son?” And how do you expect to portray that in a static image? I think you’ve got another moving panel, and I don’t even know what movement you’re asking for. And, if you use the same view you described for panel 1, it’s a close-up of her face, so we can’t see her motioning anyway.

    MOTHER:

    I KNOW WHAT I’VE SAID. THAT’S JUST SOMETHING PARENTS SAY SOMETIMES. YOU DO UNDERSTAND, RIGHT?

    This balloon needs to be broken up. Same reason as above.

    PANEL FOUR:

    Focus again on the face of Jeremy similarly to the point of view in panel two, but this time his face is flushed with anger.

    JEREMY:

    YOU’VE BEEN LYING TO ME……MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    PANEL FIVE:

    Jeremy is now standing up between the door and the kitchen table and looking horribly angry. The chair has been pushed aside by Jeremy, leaving his mother by herself at the table looking hurt and guilty for having made her son feel so upset.

    CAPTION:

    I WAS UNFAIR TO HER. I KNEW HOW HARD SHE WAS WORKING FOR ME. FOR US. BUT ALL I SAW WAS THE GAME THAT JUST EVAPORATED FROM MY DREAMS.

    JEREMY:

    HOW?..I MEAN…NO CHRISTMAS?..I GOTTA…GOTTA GET SOME AIR.

    Instead of the dots, I’d break this into separate balloons to get across the hesitation and confusion. Or maybe drop the question marks. Having a question mark and then dots… it just doesn’t look right.

    And I have to ask you... when you were eight years old, would your mother have really have let you run out of the house and head off down the street, without being hot on your heels? I sure wouldn't have gotten away with that when I was eight, and parents weren't nearly as paranoid about kids getting snatched back then.

    Around here, these days, kids aren't even allowed to walk home from school without crossing guards at every corner keeping an eye on them. And this is a rural area with not a lot of crime. I never see eight year old kids wandering the streets alone.

    I also wonder if, "I need to go get some air," is a realistic reaction for an eight year old. Run to his room to cry into his pillow, hide in his tree house in the yard and sulk... those I'd buy. But, "I need some air," and heading into town, doesn't feel right to me. 'Course it's also been a hell of a long time since I was eight, or spent much time around someone who was eight, so maybe kids are different these days.



    Page break

    PAGE SIX, PANEL ONE:

    Jeremy is now walking down the street, with his hands gesturing furiously as he talks out loud to himself. In the top right corner of this panel there is a small light twinkling in the evening sky, like a small red star.

    Another moving panel. How do you expect to portray “gesturing furiously” in a static image?


    CAPTION:

    IF I HAD KNOWN WHAT AWAITED ME OUTSIDE, I WOULD NEVER HAVE LEFT THE HOUSE. INSTEAD I WOULD HAVE BARRED THE DOOR.

    JEREMY:

    I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE DID THIS TO ME! MY CHRISTMAS….RUINED!


    PANEL TWO:

    Focus in closer on the twinkling light as it approaches towards Jeremy. The exact details of the object are still unclear, but it is beginning to take on the appearance of a crimson vehicle.

    You need to describe the crimson vehicle here, so the artist knows what appearance it’s beginning to take. Hide things from the reader if you want to, but never hide things from your artist.

    And unless you show Jeremy in the panel, how will we know the vehicle is approaching him? You don’t want a shot of just the vehicle. You want a shot of Jeremy and some buildings in the background (which you should have mentioned in the last panel too), with the vehicle in the sky above them, to give the vehicle the illusion of distance.


    JEREMY(off panel):

    CAN’T AFFORD IT! MIKE’S PARENTS CAN!


    PANEL THREE:

    The crimson vehicle is now flying just over the road as it heads towards Jeremy, who is walking with his back to it while still conversing with himself animatedly. The vehicle’s type is now clear and it’s a red limousine, but more aerodynamic and sleeker then any other.

    JEREMY:

    AND THEY ONLY HAVE ONE JOB.

    PANEL FOUR:

    This panel is solely focused on Santa’s limo as it touches down on the road. Its brakes screech as it attempts to slow down, and its wheels burn a trail of fire behind it.

    Moving panel again. If the limo is just touching down, it’s not also screeching its brakes in an attempt to slow down – one follows the other. And how will we know the brakes are screeching without a SFX?

    What I think you should do is show the limo already on the road and skidding toward Jeremy, maybe the rear slewing sideways to suggest it skidding. Use sweeping motion lines, behind it, to suggest the descent. I don’t think you need screeching brakes, but add a SFX if you want it.

    I also think you should combine it with the next panel, so you’ve got Jeremy’s reaction in the same panel as the limo skidding toward him. That’s a strong visual. Capitalize on it by making it big, dominating the page.


    CAPTION:

    I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SOUND IT MADE AS IT LANDED….LIKE A THUNDERCLAP OR SONIC BOOM.

    PANEL FIVE:
    Reaction shot of the utterly awestruck face of Jeremy, as he is being pushed back by the sheer force of the jet propelled limo landing.


    Overall...This is kind of cool. I could see some potential here, but it needs a lot of work.

    You need to get a little more detail in your descriptions, think them through a little more in places. Some of the dialogue is a little clunky, but nothing that can’t be handled with a little polish. You have a lot of moving panels. You’ve got a lot of disconnect between characters because you don’t show them together in the panels enough (which, in some cases, is also contributing to your scenes taking longer than they should). But those are all minor problems, compared to the biggest two.

    The biggest problem is that you told me the whole story on the second page. After that, I was just waiting for it to be over. That’s a big problem. Get rid of Page 2 Panel 2, or change the dialogue so it doesn’t give away the story (personally I’d just do your Page 1 and then go directly to the kids at the beginning of Page 2, and save yourself some space). Keep the reader wondering what the bad thing is for as long as you can. Then, when you do let them find out, hit them with something worse.

    The second big problem is the pacing. These first few pages were a little slow. You could get the entire scene with the two kids done on page two. Then you could probably get the scene with Jeremy & his Mom, Jeremy talking to himself, and the limo landing, on pages three and four. That’s two whole pages saved, so far. And this was the fast-paced portion of the story – it gets slower as it goes. You took four pages just to get Jeremy from the street to Santa’s workshop. That was complete overkill. After he got there, it dragged even worse. We’re eighteen pages into the story before there’s anything resembling tension or excitement. Eighteen pages before there’s a hint that something remotely compelling happens- that’s some bad pacing, there. You need to tighten this up. You need to tighten this up A LOT.

    That's about all I've got. What do the rest of you think?





  2. BarriLang Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    Splash Page:

    In a room lit to ensconce its occupier, a young man of thirty sits at his desk, with his back to the reader. He hurriedly pours his thoughts onto blank pages, desperately aware that each word he writes further garners the notice of a terrible being. A small blue reading lamp offers the room its only oasis from the surrounding darkness. The only sound is of the pencil point scratching letters into the paper and his beating heart.
    Ok
    1st thing I've noticed, and this maybe a bit anal but I learned from the best.
    The character having their back to us will make it VERY difficult to show him writing anything. How wide is this book that it extends wider than his torso?

    2nd
    No SFX. the pencil scratches need to be added (with instruction for the letterer) as with the heart beat. Sure you can leave it to the letterer but it can cause problems in the long run (so I've been told)



  3. BarriLang Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    Imagine the most impressive gaming system you have ever seen and that will be the Gamester FX. The entire panel is of this system and set in front of a white, almost heavenly background.

    MIKE (OP):

    THEY GOT ME A GAMESTER FX SYSTEM!
    Ok Anal issue #3 (and it's VERY anal) I'm a firm believer in making the unbelievable more believable by having believable details. So 20 years ago it would have been the NES or Master System. It's a tiny quibble and I'm probably the only person in the world it would bug


    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    PANEL FOUR:
    This panel takes up the entirety of the rest of the page. In it the two boys are high-fiving each other enthusiastically.

    JEREMY:

    I BET MY MOM’S ALREADY GOT IT FOR ME! THAT’S SOOOO AWESOME!

    MIKE:

    WE CAN PLAY EACH OTHER OVER THE NET!
    Again I'm being a geek but I don't think online gaming was around 20 years ago... not in the UK anyway. These are tiny stupid things but things that would bug me (quick fix clearly point out on page one that the narrator is living in 2040 and so the flashback happens in the present.

    Sorry for dipping in and out like this but I'm in work so am reading offline and posting online.



  4. BarriLang Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    MOTHER:

    WELL…IT SEEMS TWO JOBS DON’T GO AS FAR AS THEY USE (used) TO.

    JEREMY:

    ARE YOU GOING TO BE GETTING A THIRD THEN?
    I think this is one of most perfect lines I've read on The Proving Grounds. Child logic



  5. BarriLang Guest

    Interesting. It is... but only just. Like Calvin said the pacing needs picking up. Get Santa Pimp in there nice and early.

    I was worried at the start "Santa Claws" I thought it was gonna be another Santa is a monster story. And maybe he is but you're more creative with the execution than I've seen over the years.

    Overall it was nice work.

    Get it sorted and lets see you develop it.


    (Oh and I agree... NO 8 year old says "I've got to get some air"

    "I HATE YOU! I WISH I WAS NEVER BORN!" maybe thump thump thump (stairs) SLAM! (door)... that's how I remember it



  6. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    Ok
    1st thing I've noticed, and this maybe a bit anal but I learned from the best.
    The character having their back to us will make it VERY difficult to show him writing anything. How wide is this book that it extends wider than his torso?
    Good job, Barri. And not anal at all. I really should have spotted that, and I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't.

    I was reading something into the script that wasn't there. I pictured that panel as a 3/4 shot from the rear, sort of looking over his shoulder... which is what it should be (if it's going to be from behind at all), but isn't what was written.

    2nd
    No SFX. the pencil scratches need to be added (with instruction for the letterer) as with the heart beat. Sure you can leave it to the letterer but it can cause problems in the long run (so I've been told)
    Hmmm... I question whether those were intended as things that should actually be heard by the reader, or if it was for ambiance to get the artist in the mood. I assumed the later (which is always dangerous). It should be clarified, one way or the other.

    Again I'm being a geek but I don't think online gaming was around 20 years ago... not in the UK anyway. These are tiny stupid things but things that would bug me (quick fix clearly point out on page one that the narrator is living in 2040 and so the flashback happens in the present.
    I think you're right, that there wasn't anything in the way of online gaming 20 years ago. Not console games anyway, though there might have been something for computers. Another good catch.

    That also somewhat impacts my comment about it being weird that the kid is walking the streets on his own. That becomes slightly more plausible when I'm reminded that it was supposed to be 20 years ago (though still probably not an example of the best parenting).

    I think this is one of most perfect lines I've read on The Proving Grounds. Child logic
    Brat logic. But, yeah, it's a good line.



  7. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    "I HATE YOU! I WISH I WAS NEVER BORN!" maybe thump thump thump (stairs) SLAM! (door)... that's how I remember it
    Ha! Yeah, that feels more familiar.

    I was worried at the start "Santa Claws" I thought it was gonna be another Santa is a monster story. And maybe he is but you're more creative with the execution than I've seen over the years.
    Having read further into it than what is posted here, I can say that Santa is, indeed, a monster (in his own way), but it's a more creative approach than just a Slasher Santa. The "Santa Claws" thing seems to be pretty misleading, really. The trick would be finding an alternate title that would be sufficiently sinister without giving too much away.



  8. drgerb Guest

    I gotta admit I'm intrigued by this story. That says something. At first I was reading this, wondering why I was reading it, and eventually it just sort of grew on me.. Now I'm left wondering what happens next, and wondering what becomes of Santa pulling up on his big red limo (great image). Buttt, for the record...

    The biggest problem is that you told me the whole story on the second page. After that, I was just waiting for it to be over. That’s a big problem. Get rid of Page 2 Panel 2, or change the dialogue so it doesn’t give away the story
    Personally, that was probably the one line of dialogue that kept me reading through the rest of it. Which is a plus, in that you HIT when you hit.. But when you miss, your hit makes up for it. So keep THAT up. The catch is, Calvin said that line says your whole story. Did Calvin read your whole story? If he did, change the ending. Calvin saying your whole story (if he read it) is summed up on page two is a killer. If, somehow, there's a twist ( /hug Calvin... Twist...), then keep it going. I dunno if you sent your entire 22 page script to Calvin (thus he read it all and knows the real ending) or if you only sent a few pages, and Calvin is misjudging this on his own, or what... But...

    The narrator said:

    CAPTION:

    FOR REVENGE AGAINST THESE PARENTS, HE KIDNAPS THEIR CHILDREN AND ENSLAVES THEM.
    So it's leading to me you sent your entire script to Calvin, and after reading the ending he caught on. Change the ending, and you've got a story. For the record, he never said HIS parents, and he never put himself into the shoes of the children. Until it happened. But maybe the ending (enslaving) never happened to HIM. Maybe the narrator (telling the story years after it happened) is explaining it as it was explained to him, or how he interpreted. Whether or not that ended up happening to him is besides the point at this point (woot for 2 'points' in 4 words.. erm...)...

    At this point (wow, 7!), I'm left wondering what happens with the narrator. He's obviously still alive (and still serving Santa? One can only wonder) and has a story to tell, thus he's telling it (or writing it, bleh)... But yeah. He doesn't really TELL the entire story on page 2. He just foreshadows what WOULD happen, hypothetically, if the main character is 'just another kid destined to serve Santa for all of eternity,' which by the reading of it, I don't think he is. Anyway...

    I caught on to a few errors that Calvin missed (ugh, Calvin dude! Lol), but other than that Calvin really seems to make some good points that we all should be listening to. And I just gotta give Mr. Haas props again for holding my interest through the whole six pages. After the first 2 pages, I was wondering why I was reading this. But I kept on til the end. So props for that. Keep it up and maybe eventually it'll work for other people, rather than just me. Muahah.

    Also gotta mention that bit that everyone else mentioned. Getting fresh air when you're 8 is so pointless. You don't even NEED fresh air at that age. Lol. Anyway... Keep it up. Peace.



  9. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    I caught on to a few errors that Calvin missed (ugh, Calvin dude! Lol),
    Jeeze, D... if you spot me making a mistake, tell me what is!
    It'll happen. I'm new at this. So throw them out there and let us all see where I messed up. That way we can all learn more.

    As to your other comments... different viewpoints are always good to see as well. The more the better. And you bring up some things I should probably clarify.

    I was not able to read the story all the way to end, so I guess I was misleading there. When I said the whole story I meant the whole story as presented to me. Jeff sent me the first twenty pages of what is looking to be a GN or mini-series, so there may well be something after that which leaves me amazed (and there are some things I wouldn't mind knowing - how Jeremy escapes, etc).

    The problem is that there were no significant reveals, no new information (outside some neat visuals & such) in those first twenty pages that wasn't already revealed by that line on the second page. And that's too far to go without giving the reader something new to think about. On page seventeen, Jeremy finally JUST learns what we already knew the whole time. At the end of the twenty pages I was given, the $#!t has finally hit the fan (and there was a pretty decent cliffhanger too). At the end, Jeremy knows what we know, Santa knows what Jeremy knows, and the story finally STARTS. That's right, I said the story doesn't start until page eighteen.

    Because we already knew about the kidnapping and enslaving, and were just waiting it out until Jeremy is clued in, it relegates the whole thing, up to the final page or two, to nothing more than an extended prologue. So the suspense he's trying to build in those twenty pages just isn't there. And twenty pages is a long time to be not building suspense in a story like this.

    It's a little ironic, given that we've just been talking, over in Lee's column, about hooks for pitches, because that's basically what that "spoiler" line is. It's a hook. It's the twist, the surprise, the major factor that the story (or at least this segment of story) hangs on. But instead of putting that hook at the beginning of a pitch, to snare an editor, he put it at the beginning of his story. Then he went onward trying to build slowly up to the surprise that he'd already given away.

    Now you want to give a little bit away. Jeff should tell us, right away, that there's something dark and scary about Santa, because that will help build suspense. But he should also hold back from revealing exactly what that dark and scary thing is - because then the reader will be dying to find out, and we all want our readers dying to find out what's going to happen next.

    But the reader only wants that carrot you keep dangling, if it's just out of reach. You don't want to give them the carrot, let them eat it, and then expect them to watch your home video of how you planted it, watered it, and grew it in your garden. They won't care, because they already got the carrot. Once they've got the carrot, you need an even better treat ready to dangle or you'll lose them.

    And, just for the record...
    The narrator did say, "THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME."



  10. ChrisLewis Guest

    I agree that there needs to be some tightening, but the Santa Limo reveal sounds cool. I do have some comments about the static images vs. moving panels discussion, particularly because I'm guilty of the same things and would love to get this figured out before my review is up on the 24th.

    What do you mean by “motioning towards her son?” And how do you expect to portray that in a static image?
    I guess it's wrong to assume that the artist will know exactly what this means, but wouldn't we all naturally see this as the mother holding her hand out to her son? Her hand is frozen, as this is a static image, but it's not as though she would just be holding her hand out with no previous motion. Don't our brains put this previous motion into the picture, creating the image of motion?

    Jeremy is now walking down the street, with his hands gesturing furiously as he talks out loud to himself.
    This would also be up to the artist, but I imagine two fists raised into the air.

    Is the issue here how the scene is being described Calvin? That Jeff wrote "gesturing," which implies motion, instead of something like, "his fists are raised in defiance"?



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