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TPG Week 66: Being Vague Doesn’t Help The Artist

| March 30, 2012 | 5 Comments

Heroics – 7 Page, short. (A word about the number of pages. If you have an odd-numbered page count, it means your comic ends on the right-side page of a spread instead of a lone left-side page. That also means you can’t a final big reveal on the last page since you don’t have a final page-turn before you end your story. This doesn’t spell the doom of your comic of course, but it might require a more sustained oomph if you want to end on a powerful note.)

 

 

Page 1-4 panels

 

Panel 1

Establishing shot, view from behind our Knight looking on mountainside keep. Saddle up view of the Knight (left side of panel) with sight of keep on right. The keep stretches up to one very tall tower and is surrounded by murky water filled moat. Knight is atop a hoarse (“horse”) in shining armor and finery, sword in his right hand, shield on his back. A cloud looms over the keep but not beyond it. The keep is falling apart, the main hold entrance across an old drawbridge and only one tower (there were two) is still standing with some exposed sections of a main staircase. Atop the tallest tower there is a faint glow of light from a hole in the wall of the top most room. (Got any reference pics? That would help a lot in conveying what you’re using a lot of words to describe. Also, don’t start describing the castle, switch to the knight and then switch back to the castle. Treat one element at a time, preferably in the order they appear on panel, left to right. Finally: what’s the time of day?)

 

CAPTION (all captions are to be lettered in a sans-serif , ‘story book style’ font) (Look up what “sans-serif” means. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” A sans-serif font is one that has no little details at the end of the letters’ strokes. Now when I think of a story book, I think nice sweeping gothic-like or handwritten letters – the complete opposite of sans-serif. Unless you mean “story book” as in “children’s books” as these usually use a simple sans-serif font in a large easily-readable type size. Moral of the story: when describing, either use terms on which there’s a general consensus (“story book” NOT being a good example) or make sure you use the right definition of words.): The Noble Knight traversed far (Don’t you mean “traveled”?) and battled many foes to reach the famed Lady trapped deep within the most dangerous of dragon-guarded keeps.

 

Panel 2

Profile Shot. Knight in the middle of the bridge on his horse, sword pointed to the right of panel (to the keep), his armor glinting in a ray of sun shinning (“shining” – A second mistake and we’re still on the first page. You’re not going to make any friends with editors if you keep on like this. Also you made me read this in Groundskeeper Willy’s voice.) from far upper left corner of panel. (OK so it’s daytime. That should have been specified earlier.) Background; the shape of the dragon can be seen in the air coming towards the keep from left of panel. Only a shape, no real details. (How far off is it?)

 

KNIGHT: Fear not fair lady! (Comma-fail) For I, the noble Knight, have come!

 

CAPTION: Gallantly he rode forth.

 

Panel 3

View from inside the keep entrance looking out at drawbridge. (VERY nice shot!) Horse has reared at the entrance of the keep, The Knight is still brandishing his sword high. The entrance is a massive tall rectangular opening about the size of the drawbridge the knight just crossed. (How long is that drawbridge? If it’s as long as the door is high and it’s as huge as you imply, I’m not sure you’ll have enough room to show its whole height unless you pull the camera back a lot – and then you lose details on the Knight.) Of the drawbridge chains (left) has broken. And is coiled on the ground (This is the first time I mention this but not the first time you do it: you sometimes slip into a telegraphic style that makes your descriptions very difficult to understand. Even though this part of the script won’t ever see print, try to make complete and grammatically correct sentences. It’s no fun having to read again and again just to get what you mean and still run the risk of getting it wrong.). There is charred rock and rubble everywhere. The Knight looks a little worried (Like I said, that’s gonna be hard to show if you’re pulled back enough to show the whole door.) at his horse rearing, his free hand holding the reigns tightly.

 

KNIGHT: Be still noble steed. (Comma-fail)

 

CAPTION: Though noble indeed, the Knight was to travel where no beast dare go.

 

Panel 4

Ground up shot from Knight’s feet looking up at the keep. His head is tilted back to stare high, the sword in his right arm. Knight’s features are all in shadow, save his armor. Background to show a look up at the towers (one crumbled, one standing) (Is the Knight facing us? You seem to say so if you take care to specify that his features are obscured. However, you also mention that we see the tower. Now unless the camera is located right in front of his feet on the ground and looking straight up past his body and the facing structure – and that would be quite a wonky shot – this simply can’t be drawn. Come to think of it, that wonky shot wouldn’t work either because we wouldn’t see his face from that angle: his head is tilted back!)

 

KNIGHT: Whoa…

 

Okay, we’ve got a first page that isn’t working all that well.

 

First, let’s talk about terminology: Comic scripting is relatively simple, and remains that way when everyone is on the same page. Lisa, you’re using terminology that, sometimes, I have no idea what you’re talking about. What is a “saddle up view”? A “ground up shot” is a worm’s eye view (never mind the rest of it is impossible to draw). If your terminology is consistent, then you don’t have to worry about the artist coming back and asking lots of questions, or getting things wrong because you’re not as clear as you could be. If this story were bought, you’d cause yourself unnecessary amounts of red due to the fact that you’re not as clear as you could be. If you’re clear, you’re fine. If you’re not, then the problem starts with you, and you and the editor will go round and round with it. (If the story was bought.)

 

Next, let’s talk about clarity of the panel descriptions themselves. There are certain times when you say things you don’t mean, and would be confusing. One of them is what the knight is wearing, in panel 1. That is a muddled description. Is the horse wearing the shining armor, or is the knight? Panel 4 has the sword in his right arm. I’m seeing the sword being cradled in his right arm. Is that what you mean? Or is the sword still supposed to be in his right hand? Questions that the artist is either going to ask or could possibly get wrong if they don’t ask. Clarity, Lisa.

 

Third is spelling. That is all I’m going to say about that.

 

So why isn’t the page working? The dialogue! I’m feeling constipated with all the cheese here. How do you fix that? Add more dialogue. No, I’m not crazy. I want you to add more. I want you to build the world, because what you have here isn’t enough. Add more dialogue, and if you do it right, you won’t have to worry about the cheese content, because you’d then have the world built, along with the expectation.

 

Then, there’s also the fact that you’ve totally missed the opportunity to name the as-yet unseen maiden and the knight. Perfect opportunity to name them in panel 2, and you missed. Is it important? I’d say so. Give a person a name, and they then conjure up a look in the mind’s eye of the reader. I get that you haven’t described them yet (and hopefully won’t do it in the body of the script), but if you give a name and hide the face, that’s another expectation you can play with. Give a noble name and then have a guy who looks like he couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag, then you’ve played with the expectations of the reader. Same thing with the fair maiden. Call her Mildred or Eunice and make her stunning, and you’ve done it again.

 

Page 2 – 7 panels

 

Panel 1

Profiled view of knight in the first main hall of the keep. Knight has his shield on his left arm in front of him, sword held loosely in his right. (facing reader). The entrance is far behind, with light coming in across the floor. It’s very dark on the right hand side of the panel. (Extra trivia: a castle’s drawbridge entrance usually leads to a courtyard, not directly into the keep itself. But since this is shaping up to be a fairy tale…)

 

CAPTION: Poised for action the noble Knight began into the keep. (Can you really “begin into” somewhere? Replace this verb with another. This is the second page of the comic and you’re again misusing a word, the first time being “traversed”. Come on, Lisa! We know you can do better than this! You’ve shown it here time and time again! And what about all of these flawless press releases for ComixTribe! You need to take as much care polishing your scripts as you do any other text going out to the public. The general populace might disregard a typo in a press release but an editor will judge you harshly if your handling of the English language proves lacking.)

 

 

Panel 2

Over the shoulder view, the Knights head turned towards the ground. View is of a burned skeleton lying outstretched with a destroyed sword just beyond its reach. You can barely see the side of the Knight’s face as he looks on worriedly.

 

CAPTION: Nothing within could quell his courage or stray him from his quest. (Another English fumble: the verb “stray” must be used without an object. Find a replacement!)

 

Panel 3

Long shot. Knight is at the entrance (left of panel) of an enormous ballroom. Show the scale of the room, Knight is very small in the corner. There is a huge chandelier that’s tilted and falling apart made of glass and lots of iron. Tables are strewn about the room with tablecloths burned and ruined. (I’ll assume there are also chairs and so will the artist.) Silver dishes tarnished from age, pikes, poles, swords, shields and bones strewn across the floor. There is a lit fire in a huge fireplace on the far right of the panel. (You’re asking for a large establishing shot in a page that already contains seven panels. Be aware that you’re asking your artist to cram a lot of art into not much space.)

 

NO COPY

 

Panel 4

Shot is looking down from a few steps higher on a spiral staircase at Knight who stands at the bottom, first foot on the step of the stairs. It’s a narrow stairwell with steps missing, broken, cracked and crumbling. He holds his shield before him and has a squeamish look of uncertainty. There are lit torches on the wall.

 

KNIGHT: I am coming my lady. (Comma-fail but innuendo-win!)

 

CAPTION: (I’d start this with an ellipsis to convey the fact that it’s a continuation of the previous line.) He declared with determination before mounting the. (The? The what? RING_RING! That’s a phone call from your angry letterer! Always do a thorough revision of your script, folks. These lettering folks are nasty when they’re drunk in the middle of the night.)

 

Panel 5

Side view of knight climbing stairs, poised for action, shield held high and sword ready.

 

CAPTION: He would not tarry.

 

Panel 6

Same shot, less poised, shield lower, sword dangling a little.

 

CAPTION: He could not tire.

 

Panel 7

Same shot, Knight is dragging himself, looks exhausted, sweating, shield is nearly touching the ground; the sword is dragging on the steps. The top left corner shows an open space in the stairwell. Small bit of sky can be seen and there is more light in this panel because of it.

 

CAPTION: As love and honor gave him strength and stamina to tackle any trial that may cross his path.

 

P2, and I feel like I’m on P12. This is dragging. Not that I want you to make it move faster, but I want you to make it interesting. Why is the knight there? Why is the maiden there? Because maidens are always held captive in keeps by dragons? See all the information that could be given to the reader, instead of making this drag on (dragon), information-less? You add more captions, and you’re doing yourself a service.

 

Now, how does that jibe with the fact that you’re doing a contrast of what’s in the panel description versus the captions? You can still have both. Just make the captions that you add supportive of what you’re doing, while also giving information.

 

I’m wanting to like this, but I’m bored, and boredom is death.

Page 3 – 3 Panels

 

Panel 1

Knight foreground (1 up shot) standing in a space where there is no wall on the stairwell. The wall has crumbled at the edges and exposed his position. Staring at reader with a sweaty face, jaw dropped shocked look, eyes super wide, his hair blowing back away from his face. Torch behind him unlit. Arms dangling at the side loosely.

 

DRAGON (Draon (“Dragon”)font should be jagged and portrayed as massive sound effect: Willing to take suggestions on ‘roar’ vs other sounds a dragon would make or if sound effect is good at all.): RRROOOOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRR (If you really want this to appear as a sound effect, the heading should be “SFX”, not “DRAGON”. Since we can’t see the Dragon, this line should be noted as “OP”. )

 

 

Panel 2

Knights POV. Dragon is hovering in the air right in front of him. Smoke curling out of its nose. Dragon fills most of the frame. (If this is from the Knight’s POV, it means he’s not in this panel. I’d suggest inserting him in the foreground with his back to us, if only to give a better idea of the Dragon’s massive size compared to the Knight. Also, if you stretched the suspense for only a few more panels into a new page 3, you could have the Dragon be revealed on page 4 as the reader turns the page to a much greater effect. That would also have the effect of adding another page, giving you that final page-turn if you needed it.)

 

NO COPY

 

Panel 3

Side view, long shot. Dragon left. The stairwell and Knight right. Mountain in background. Knight has his shield raised, eyes closed, mouth open in a scream., crouched down to brace behind his shield wedged between it and the stairwell wall. Dragon has mouth open wide, fire breathing at Knight engulfing the entire stairwell.

 

KNIGHT (knight font but enlarged like, but not to the same degree as, the dragon font): GAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

 

CAPTION: He laughed in the face of danger, daring the beast to do it’s worst. ( “its” not “it’s”.)

 

Alright, P3, and we’re finally getting somewhere. I’d just wish you got rid of the dropsies. I know it’s difficult to keep a running patter up, but once you start, you have to keep going. It is imperative that you keep going, otherwise, you’re going to give your readers a very jerky-feeling read. The starting and stopping is not helping you.

 

But the real crime here is the pacing. You’re robbing yourself of suspense and drama by not revealing the dragon on a page-turn. You could have done this as 7 panels on P1, having him travel to the keep, explore, and see the dragon all in that first page (keeping the dragon hidden), and then do the powerful reveal on the page turn with three or four panels: one large one, and then the rest smaller. Two pages, which means you have a page of padding. (I’m suddenly struck by an oldish R&B song called “Tighten Up.”) Fix the pacing by trimming the fat and adding more dialogue (captions).

Page 4 – 5 panels

 

Panel 1

Medium shot (torso up) Facing reader, Knight is running up the stairs. He looks frantic, eyes glancing behind him. Fire fills the stairs behind him. He has his shield, which is now black, and sword still in his hands. (Funny how in all fairy tales and fantasy epics, the laws of thermodynamics seem not to apply. Apparently, the principle of convection is absent from this world because otherwise the Knight would be cooked just from the super-heated air that should now fill the stairway. Of course, this has no bearing on the script at hand but I just thought I’d share.)

 

CAPTION: The Noble Knight stood and fought mercilessly with the dragon giving no quarter. (Comma-fail)

 

Panel 2

Ground up shot looking up at knight bent gasping for air, sweat dripping from his face, left arm over his belly as if he’s cramping.(I don’t understand why this can’t be a simple medium shot. You’re having the Knight’s sweat dripping into the reader’s eyes! If you want to shake things up and vary your shots, I’d suggest setting the camera either a few steps above or a few steps below the Knight, but not directly at his feet.)

 

KNIGHT: Holy… hell… it’s… enormous…

 

CAPTION: Courage was his ally…

 

Panel 3

Small panel, medium shot. View from on top of bridge looking at Knight peeking around doorway corner, eyes looking up, and his face nervous. The bridge is rickety and with only one set of rope rails for crossing. (Maybe you should put leprechauns in this comic too because this bridge is magically delicious! There was no mention of it when you described the keep in your establishing shot. In fact, you made it pretty clear the stairway the Knight just climbed can only be part of the lone standing tower.)

 

CAPTION: …all fears long forgotten.

 

Panel 4

View from stairwell door. (Interesting shot!) Knight (back to reader) stands at the bridge, tallest tower in background. Knight stands a few steps on the bridge, looking down, sword in his right hand, left hand holding the one rope ‘rail’ tightly. Shield is left back by stairwell side of the bridge(bottom right of panel) in foreground.

 

CAPTION: So close to his Lady the Noble Knight would let nothing stop him. (Comma-fail)

 

Panel 5

Over shoulder view looking down from the bridge the Knight is crossing. Can see a huge drop along the mountain face down to the moat below. Shoulder of Knight frames the bottom of the panel, with his sword in view. Dragon is flying underneath the bridge much farther down. (Adam! Our new star pupil! As an exercise in thought, can you cut this panel description to less than 30 words?)

 

 

DRAGON (roar is distant enough to be a smaller than the last page): ROOOOAAAAR

 

P4. I’m still not yet getting the point of this story. As it stands right now, this tale HAS no point, no reason for being. This being P4 means this is terrible.

 

Okay, so answer me this: if the knight had his shield on his back before while riding the horse, why did he leave it behind in his attempt to cross the bridge? I have no idea, other than the fact that you wanted it that way, which then means you’re forcing the actions instead of letting them play out naturally.

 

I’m just waiting for this to get interesting. A dichotomy is fine, but you’re holding it too long without any relief. What would be relief? Real information as to what’s going on here. That would serve to keep reader interest. Right now, at P4, you’ve given little desire for the reader to continue. Not good, Lisa. Not good.

Page 5 – 5 panels

 

Panel 1

Shot of Knight on opposite side of bridge at tower door. Eyes closed, leaning against the wall, sighing in relief.

 

KNIGHT: Whew…

 

CAPTION: Proudly he strode to the tower door, the Dragon vanquished, ready to carry the Lady safely home.

 

Panel 2

Knight POV shot of the Lady’s chambers. (You know what would be great here? The Knight’s shadow falling into the room, cut against the door’s rectangle of sunlight.) A four-post bed with lace curtains has been burned, holes ripped and walls crumbling. The floor is dirty, and everything in the room is charred. Tall window (left of panel) has been ripped apart and is now a huge hole in the wall.

 

KNIGHT: My Lady? (If this is the Knight’s POV, he’s not in the panel. Hence this line is “OP”.)

 

Panel 3

View of far corner of room, the Lady is crouched on the ground in a white gown with her back to the reader. There is a mess of hay and fabric on the floor in front of her (with bits visible beyond the large dress).

 

KNIGHT: Ah, there you are. (Extra space – and really, there should be a comma here instead of a period.) My… uh…

 

KNIGHT: … Lady. (Extra space between the opening ellipsis and first word.) I have come to save you from this wretched place.

 

CAPTION: The Lady within was the image of loveliness and beauty.

 

Panel 4

View is a little closer to the Lady. Over the shoulder of Knight, sword lowered, left hand outstretched. The lady stands, back still to knight. Her hair is messy, tangled and long. Her head has turned to look at the knight just a little. (This isn’t bad at all but there’s room for improvement. Connor, would you do the honors?)

 

LADY (‘me’ is emphasized) (You wouldn’t have to say this if you used underlining instead of italics.): To save me?

 

KNIGHT: Yes! But we must hasten. The dragon-“ (What’s this quotation mark doing here? And if the Knight’s speech is interrupted by the Dragon’s roar, it should be a double-dash here and not a single one.)

DRAGON (distant, therefore smaller. Have text run along the bottom of the panel): rrrooooooaaaarrrr

 

Panel 5

Closer on the lady, she is now facing the reader full on; her dress is even more dirty and sooty in the front. To the side of her gown little dragon wings can be seen, a tail or two. The lady’s face is emotionless; her head has a slight tilt to the right.

 

BABY DRAGONS: Rooar, Raoaar! (Little roars and screeches) (So the baby dragons are actually saying “(Little roars and screeches)”? Because that’s what you mean when you put anything on the right side of the colon.)

 

KNIGHT (off panel): My… Lady?

 

CAPTION: Astonished by her loveliness the Knight was at a loss for words. (Comma-fail) This was the woman of his dreams.

 

P5, and what do we have? We have a final panel that is extremely vague. Where are the baby dragons? How many of them are there? And, really, while I don’t ask often, what does the damsel look like (and the knight, for that matter)? The question is a good sign, though, because I have some interest in the answer. It’s late, but it’s there.

 

Again, though, the big problem is pacing. Because you don’t give any information as to what this story is about, I don’t care about it. There’s some whimsey, but there’s no charm. If you give information as to why this story deserves to be told at the end, it will more than likely be too late in the extreme.

 

If you added dialogue as captions like I suggested, giving real information as to what’s going on, then I don’t think you would have the problem of reader disinterest.

 

As to the panel descriptions themselves, there are times when you’re terse with the information. Is that a bad thing in itself? No. However, when it comes in the form of incomplete sentences, it makes it all the more difficult to understand.

 

I’m not big on looking to change a writer’s style. Not if their style works. Does your style lend itself to being easily understood? There are times when I have to say “no.” There are other times when it works. The trick is knowing when and where. What I would suggest, then, is to learn to write in complete sentences. What does this do for you? It makes you more easily understood by the artist (as long as you aren’t vague).

Page 6 – 4 Panels (This is the start of the last spread since you don’t have a final page. For a better effect, I would suggest waiting to show us any part of the baby dragons at the top of page 6. That way, you create suspense and then release it on the pageturn.)

 

Panel 1

Side view of Tower room; The Knight (left) staggered back with shock on his face, his sword has been dropped and is falling to the floor. The Lady (right) has one baby dragon (1) perched on her shoulder with its wings extended in a stretch and mouth wide in a yawn. Two others are flying towards the Knight, little swirls of smoke coming from the closest, (2) a touch of fire from the next (3). A fourth is clinging to the Lady’s gown about thigh height and is hissing (4). The lady grins faintly.

 

KNIGHT: BY THE GODS?!?! (Unless you know for sure that your letterer is going to use a font with mixed upper and lower cases, chances are that it’s going to be all in caps so your capslock exclamation won’t stand out. If you want to emphasize this, underline it.)

 

 

Panel 2

Same view (a bit tighter): Knight (left) has stepped back, unknowingly, towards the hole in the wall while swatting at Baby Dragon 3 who is breathing little bits of fire on his face, Baby Dragon 2 is standing on top of his head, talons clutching, wings extended. Baby Dragon 4 is flying towards the Knight breathing smoke. The Lady is knelt by the sword on the ground with her left hand on the hilt, BabyDragon2 still perched on her shoulder, looking very relaxed. The Lady has a devilish smirk on her face.

 

CAPTION: With haste and deft hands the Noble Knight lifted the sweet Lady into his arms. (Comma-fail and this should end with an ellipsis.)

 

Panel 3

Close up Knights leg hits the ledge by the gaping hole in the Tower room.

 

NO COPY

 

Panel 4

Wide shot from hole in Tower looking down at the Knight who has just fallen from the hole. His arms are extended, Baby Dragon 3 is flying back towards the reader, Baby Dragon 2 is (“has”) just let go of the Knight. (Is the Knight looking towards us a la Hans Gruber or does his talky end point towards the ground?)

 

CAPTION: Sweeping her off to safety. (And this should START with an ellipsis.)

 

Okay, P6, and we finally have something that can be taken as real comedy. It’s too bad you’ve turned the reader off by P4. This is a story that should be a lot of fun, and instead, you elected not to give the reader anything to have fun with, which is a shame.

 

Panel descriptions that aren’t vague, and dialogue. Notice a trend of what I keep repeating?

Page 7 – 2 Panels

 

Panel 1

POV of Knight looking back at the tower. Baby Dragon 2 and 3 are flying to hole. Baby Dragon 1 sits on shoulder of the Lady. Baby dragon 4 sits on rubble edge of hole looking down blowing out smoke. The Lady looks with pity down at the Knight, her right hand waving to him. (The Knight is falling awfully slowly if the Lady had time to walk over to the edge, wave him goodbye AND still be visible from where he is at this point in his descent. Who knew armor provided so much air resistance?)

 

 

CAPTION: Off into the distance they rode, the slain dragon and wretched keep in their wake.

 

Panel 2

Large half page shot. Foreground the Lady is by the hole. The sword is rested over her shoulder; BD 2 is resting on the end of it, wings outstretched. Baby Dragon 4, same position as P1and BD 3 is perched on the rubble wall. BD 1 has neck outstretched towards the Lady, she is scratching under its chin with free hand. Background there is a very small man on a horse cresting a hill towards the castle. The Dragon is in the sky not too far from the opening in the tower wall, neck coiled back, snorting smoke from its nose, head looking down at the fallen knight. (I have trouble picturing this. You’ve established that the tower is quite high, no? Then what sort of camera angle would allow you to see both a nearby hill and the dragon in the sky? If we can see the hill, it means the camera is probably angled down and then the dragon has to be flying right next to the tower to be seen. If we can see the dragon, it means the camera is at least level with the top of the tower and we can’t see the hill or the man unless they’re really far away in the background… and then the Lady can neither see nor hear the man. Is the hill actually higher than the keep? Who builds a keep somewhere else but the highest point in a region? Leprechauns probably…)

 

RIDER IN DISTANCE (Words are muffled from afar, very small but still legible): Have at the foul beast! (Either this is some archaic formulation that I don’t understand OR what you meant to say was “Have at thee, foul beast!” But, like I said before, an editor probably wouldn’t get this far anyway.)

 

LADY: They never learn.

 

 

CAPTION: And they lived Happily Ever After.

 

Okay, let’s run this down.

 

Format: I’ll give it a flawless victory, even with the slight gaffe with a direction to the letterer.

 

Panel Descriptions: They could use work. Again, I’m not fond of the telegraph style you fall into sometimes. Notice, I have not said that it is wrong and to never use it. I said that I’m not fond of it. This means it is my personal qualm, and has little to do with your scripting ability. I try not to let that distinction get in the way.

 

Now, with that being said, the style that you fall into at times can lead to confusion on the part of the artist, which will cause them to ask questions that they shouldn’t have to. That, and being vague. If they’re asking questions whose answers should already be in the script, then that is your failing as a writer to make yourself understood. If you use complete sentences, you have a smaller chance of being misunderstood by the artist and not getting what you’re asking for. Something you should work on.

 

Pacing: This thing drags. You’ve done in 7 pages what could really have been done in four or five. You could tighten this up a lot without even trying hard. I think it would also be funnier, but we’ll go over that in a moment.

 

Dialogue: There doesn’t seem to be that much of it. It feels like a fast read to me, even while it drags along. Not good, Lisa. By adding dialogue, you slow down the reading pace. You have a LOT of captions here, which has the reader sitting back, disengaged in the story. By adding more spoken dialogue, you engage the reader better, making them sit forward, making them interested.

 

Also, you can add more backstory if you add more captions. You can still have the contrast you’ve set up, but more backstory won’t hurt what you have here at all.

 

Content: As a reader, I’m pretty “meh” about fantasy stories. This is personal, and not professional. I find fantasy to be pretty boring. As a reader, this didn’t draw me in, despite the contrast and attempt at humor. Again, this is personal, not professional. I’m in a minority, and I know it. Take this as you will. However, with that being said, this was still a pretty boring story, because of the lack of backstory.

 

Editorially, this needs a lot of work. Vagueness, terminology, and the storytelling all need a good polishing. The pacing is off, because of padding. Cutting the fluff would tighten it, making sure the vagueness is removed and the terminology is correct would mean the artist would be able to draw this, and adding dialogue should make it more interesting.

 

You’re also forcing character actions. Not good.

 

Finally, I think you took the lazy way and used the knight/dragon/damsel as shorthand for the story, since everyone knows it. However, you forgot to give reasons for anyone being anywhere: why is the knight there, except you want him there? Why was the damsel taken by the dragon? Is she a Lady of the surrounding lands?

 

There is a LOT of story to be had, that you just gloss over because everyone knows the story. You have the space to put that backstory in. Do that, make it interesting, and this story would be better received by readers.

 

And that’s all there is for this week. Check the calendar to see who’s up next!

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Category: The Proving Grounds

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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  1. Deep breaths and a shot to help: It’s a lot to take in but you’ve brought up some important points and sadly I feel like a goof for the spelling mistakes. I could have sworn I’d gone over this more than a dozen times with a fine toothed comb but now I know to stop, come back and go at it again with a clear head for the next dozen times.

    Terminology is something I’m definitely going to need to study more on. I’ve read the scripts here and have read a few elsewhere but I haven’t paid mind to it as much as I should have. New homework task!

    Naming: I wanted to have them be that stereotypical Knight and Lady without names and the story is meant to be a little hokey (though not so much on the first page). I can see why it would need more dialogue, not much is explained but as a short I was relying a bit on the reader assuming it would be like every other fairytale story of a knight and a princess. Concept flaw there I would say.

    Hurray for innuendo-win!!

    Forcing Character/Shield Answer: Assuming that he’s tired and can no longer hold it. But it should probably be emphasized more as you would think a man hunter by a dragon would cling to his shield for sheer life; another big mistake on my part.

    A note on space: I was tackling this as a short for an anthology not as a single one off or stand alone comic. With that in mind was trying to limit myself to 8 pages or less. The only real reason I didn’t go to 8 was a decision on formatting that, to be honest, was the wrong one.

    Questions: Do scriptwriters sometimes choose fonts for the letterer? Or is that a bit too much of a comic-zilla thing? I was wondering about that while writing because the difference in fonts was important to me. But I’m not a letterer and someone who does it on a regular basis would probably know more than I would.

    How many Leprechauns do you think the story needs? I’m thinking maybe 4-5 but maybe upwards of 10 would really set this comic apart! Give it that oomph it’s missing. LEPHRECHAUNS EVERWHERE!

    Now I think we all should hail the queen of comma-fails (moi) as she bows her head in polite shame to go and fix what she’s done.

    P.S. As I work in publishing (day job) it’s pretty damn embarrassing to flub Sans-serif backwards. I think I type/read sans-serif so many times a day I didn’t even notice it upon editing. So yes it was supposed to be a serif font which would probably make ‘story book’ a better identifier for a font.

  2. Liam Hayes says:

    Leeches, elderberries and now leprechauns? This is getting silly.

  3. View is a little closer to the Lady. Over the shoulder of Knight, sword lowered, left hand outstretched. The lady stands, back still to knight. Her hair is messy, tangled and long. Her head has turned to look at the knight just a little. (This isn’t bad at all but there’s room for improvement. Connor, would you do the honors?)

    Its important to keep the details organized. I personally start with the ‘cameras’ placement. Then placement of the characters in panel. Then I do facial expressions. And of course this is all done left to right.

    Panel 4. Over the shoulder of the Knight, we’re closer to the Lady. The knights sword is lowered, his free hand outstretched dramatically. The Lady, now standing, has her back to the Knight. She peeks over her shoulder, a mischievous look on her face.

    I left the line in about his sword being lowered in there, but if its over his shoulder, how I picture it, the it wont be visible, I left it in though. Then, regarding “her hair is messy, tangled and long.” You can leave that in your character descriptions, in a different doc.
    I also added in a facial expression based on the dialogue that follows. Not sure if Steven will agree with this, but its how I’d do it.

  4. Also want to say, that ending reminded me of the ending of “Sleepaway Camp”. If you haven’t seen the movie, Youtube the end. It may be just as creepy out of context, while in context lol

  5. Lauren(ce) S says:

    Funny twist on a fairy tale that is hurt by pacing issues.

    I felt that you had too many panels that visually weren’t moving the story, and had no copy to fill in the gap. If we’re just watching him climb the stairs please give us seomthing to read.

    I think this script would be hilarious if the Knight himself were narrating it. Telling the reader who he is (give him a name) and how lucky the princes is to have caught his flamboyant eye.

    I also think adding in a comment about the laws of thermodynamics, maybe with a quick cut to Stephen Hawking explaining it, would be over the top funny.

    —–

    I’m up next! I’m going to get creamed!

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