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TPG Week 209: Year’s End

| December 27, 2014

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Hello, all, and welcome back once more to The Proving Grounds! This week is our year’s last, and we have a new Brave One to see it: Amit Moshe Oren. We also have Samantha LeBas in purple, and I’m the guy in red, as always.

Before we begin, let’s recognize everyone who’s submitted this past year (as I like to do every year.) Also, if there’s a number beside a name, it means they’ve submitted multiple times.

Jeremy Jackson, Nyisha Haynes, Christopher Knox, John Heidt, Tommy Sigalov, Michael Hasset, Frank Martin (2), Cody Stewart (2), Schuyler Van Gunten (3), Dan Dayton, Curt Achberger, Talisha Harrison, Michael Mourounas, Veronica Massey, Michael Mullane, Chad Handley, James Sarandis (2), Micah Bryant, Alyssa Crow, Sam Roads, Jon Parrish (2), Ben Goldsmith, Justin Schepper, Jim Mello, Luke Pierce (2), Andrew Brinkley, Morgan Wellborn, Joshua Crowther, Chelsea Smith (2), Luke Noonan, JP Polewczak, Jason Bonine, Kyle Raios, Jose Pereira, Andrew Burgess, Toy Spears, Nanda Luazan, Paul Im, James Palmer, and Rin Kiyoko.

I’m also going to go ahead and fail this script on format right off the bat. Sam has done an admirable job in making this conform a bit more to what I usually see, but I did some work on it before she sent over her version. I had initial trouble with the opening, because the first lines (the Page 1 (4 panels) part) was right justified for some reason, and the cursor kept jumping over to the left after every space, for some reason. The punctuation would end up in the wrong place because of it. Frustrating. And with only the that naming element right justified, it no longer has internal consistency. So, no Flawless Victory for format.

I also had to change the font size from 11 to 12. You’re all welcome.

On with the show.

 

PAGE 1 (4 panels)

 

PANEL 1

An establishing shot. The most desolated desert you’ve ever seen. Just hills of sand, and that’s it. Not a single cactus; not a single sign of life. It’s the climax of a summer noon. A weak sandstorm is taking place. The desert is empty from anything or anyone. We’re looking down at the depressing desert in a bird’s-eye view shot. (I have no idea why these are centered. Makes no sense to me, but as long as they’re consistent, I don’t mind. Now, if this is an establishing shot, where’s the time of day?)

 

No dialogue. (No copy. Words that are on the page are called “copy.”)

 

PANEL 2

An extreme long shot in the same bird’s–eye view angle (You’re mixing your terms. I’m confused, but then again, I’m easily confused.). We’re getting a little closer. Now we can see that Ray Roberts is walking in this desolated desert. We can’t see his face. We can barely see anything of this character, except for his good old cowboy hat. (We were looking at an empty desert, and now this guy just shows up. We can barely see him, but we know he’s wearing a cowboy hat… No, this doesn’t make any sense.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

After my runaway, I hadn’t drank, eaten or slept.(I can’t tell if you are mimicking a dialect or if this is just awkward phrasing. A runaway is a noun, usually a person. I am not familiar with this usage.)

PANEL 3

A long shot from above. Zoom in further(closer?) on Ray. His cowboy clothes are ragged and sweat smears are coming out of his underarm.(Could we see this in a shot from above?)(Make up you’r artist’s mind. Do you want a long shot, or do you want to come in closer? You can’t have both.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

I was worn out from wandering in a never-ending desert.

PANEL 4

A full shot. Ray Roberts is in front of us(Is he looking at us/cam?). We can see his whole body; we can see his face through the light sandstorm. His eyes are half shut. Ray is dropped down on his knees. It needs to look like he’s going to fall and pass out at any second, which is what he’s going to do in the next page.

Caption (Ray Roberts)

So, I gave up.

 

(Is this a final panel that makes you want to turn the page? ‘I gave up’ May not be the strongest line to generate interest. This is a self-contained story, not saying it’s an epic, but it’s all sewn up by the time you get to the last panel on the page. There’s not any mystery here, feels like it’s over already.)

P1 is down, and I’m not impressed.

Mixed terms are going to give your artist mixed signals. The artist will then do one of two things: they’re either going to ask, or they’re going to assume. If they ask, then you’ve created more work for them than necessary. If they assume and they’re wrong, then you’ve created more work for them than necessary. This is what happens when you try to sound like you know what you’re doing without really knowing what you’re doing.

So the panel descriptions are a bit confusing because of the terms. The next question to ask is: is this interesting?

No, not really. There’s a mini-mystery to this, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to warrant turning the page. We’re basically seeing a guy in the desert, which we’ve all seen before, and he hasn’t said anything interesting yet.

I’m a little concerned about the dialogue. I could be mistaken, but I do not believe that English is Amit’s native tongue. And that’s fine. He’s doing a great job so far (except for the mixing of terms), and I’ve got a general “view” of the page, but the dialogue doesn’t seem quite right, as Sam has pointed out. That first sentence is what’s doing it. I can understand it, don’t get me wrong, but the possible misuse of the noun as well as the tense will throw people right out of the story.

At least there are no spelling or punctuation mistakes to make me lose my mind. I call that a win.

INSERT PAGE BREAK

PAGE 2 (5 panels) (This? Not a win. Learn how to put in actual page breaks. Learn to use your tools. If the beginning didn’t earn you a forfeiture of a Flawless Victory, then this would have.)

 

PANEL 1

Ray Roberts is lying on the sand on his stomach. All of his clothes get a bit covered in sand.(We don’t see him fall? I feel like you’re skipping a step?) (Definitely skipped a step. Bad pacing.)

 

No dialogue.

 

PANEL 2

From far west(Why not use left or right? West is left?), we can see two horse riders ride towards Ray. We’re looking down at the action from a bird’s-eye view shot, and we can’t see the two men’s faces.(Are they wearing hats? That would show up from this angle.) (“Far west”? That means nothing. If we’re looking from North to South, then West is on the right, and that would make this panel wrong. Why is that, Rin? And for an empty desert, it’s suddenly very crowded. All of these people are magically delicious.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

Just fell a last good sleep in this fucking desert. (Again, I am not sure of your phrasing, ‘fell a last good sleep,’ is awkward. I am not sure if you are imitating a dialect, or if this is just an error. If this is meant to be a dialect, it’s not one I am familiar with. I don’t know how effective this choice is.) (Personally, I have no idea what this line means.)

PANEL 3

The two men stop near Ray while looking down at him. We’re staying in the same high angle we were last panel.(Is the camera in closer here?)

 

No dialogue.

 

PANEL 4

One of the men is already on ground, and he seeks with his hands on Ray’s body for a weapon.(Like kneeling on the ground? Or just dismounted? Need more information here. (Moving panel.)

 

Mysterious Man #1

Alive and unarmed.

PANEL 5

The same man who searched on Ray’s body picks Ray up and put him on his left shoulder. The other mysterious man is still on his horse.(Moving panel. Need more information about the camera angle. Is the man facing us or are we looking at him from behind. Can we see the man on horseback? What are their expressions like?)

 

No dialogue.

 

P2 is down, and I’m still unimpressed.

Okay, here’s what we have: people magically appearing in a desert, moving panels, and information being kept from the artist. I hate it when info is kept from the artist, but we’ll get to that.

You started with an empty desert, giving no indication of any kind of life, and then three people just sprout out of nowhere. Well, three people and two horses. Can’t forget the horses.

Is this making sense to anyone else? Is it only me? I’m willing to concede that it could just be me. I don’t think it is, though.

Moving panels are simple, folks. They can grow like weeds, but you can stop their proliferation in a couple of ways.

The first is to understand that artists can only draw still images. This means two things: first, you have to think through just what it is you want the artist to draw; second, you have to remove the word “and” from descriptions of actions.

When it comes to panel descriptions, generally, the word “and” is your enemy, because unless you learn how to tame it, it will cause you to write a moving panel. It takes a lot of strength to hold back the usage of the word, because it’s very sexy and alluring. You have to fight it.

Along with fighting the usage of the word “and”, you also should think of using past-tense verbs. Most of the time, the use of past-tense verbs will also get rid of moving panels.

For practice, I always suggest thinking of a movie, pausing the action, and then describing only what you see. Put in a movie and try it.

Now, while you’re trying it, make sure you don’t keep information from your artist. “Mysterious men” won’t cut it. The artist has to know who these people are so they can draw them accordingly. Keeping information like this from the creative team isn’t good. They’re not your audience. They’re the ones helping you make your book. Don’t keep secrets from them. You’ll only frustrate them.

As for the dialogue… It may need a better polish than what I originally thought. That one line just doesn’t make any sense at all.

And I’m still uninterested. I’m not invested in any way to find out what’s going on, because there isn’t enough to read here to make me interested. Five panels, and only 2 of them have dialogue. Not good. There are a lot of things that can be said here, and you’re building your world. If there’s no action to draw interest, then you have to do it with words. So far, this isn’t working.

 

INSERT PAGE BREAK

 

PAGE 3 (6 panels)

 

PANEL 1

We’re looking at Ray lying on a tiny bed that almost doesn’t fit his average sized body. His jacket and all of his other clothes are hung on a hook. He’s shirtless.(Scene change should be on an even page. We’ve moved to an interior, but you have not described it. You are welcome to describe this setting in a separate document, but if you do so make sure you refer to it by a name that links the document to this description, something like, Home of Mysterious Men, etc.)

 

No dialogue.

 

PANEL 2

A close up on Ray’s face. A stream of water splashes on his face. His face gets distorted as a normal reaction.(I am not sure what this last sentence means. The phrasing is awkward.) (I understand what it means, but you’re right in that it’s awkward. It’s also close to a moving panel.)

 

No dialogue.

 

PANEL 3

A POV Low angle shot. Ray’s POV. What Ray actually sees is two men looking down at him. The old man named Nelson, and the young boy called Billy. They look down at him like he’s some kind of an alien. They discuss in whispers between them, while they examine Ray in curiosity.(Why don’t you refer to them by name earlier? Which one of them searches/carries Ray? How old is the young boy? A teenager? A kid? you need to be more specific.) (Moving panel.)

 

Billy

That’s the tough guy?

 

Nelson

Shh! keep(Capitalize) it quiet.

 

PANEL 4

Same shot. Now, Ray’s muscular hands are choking the two men’s throats. Billy seems completely shocked. The old man’s head starts to blush while he looks at the young boy in a red “Look what you’ve done” face.(OH, COME ON. He is subduing two grown men at the same time, by squeezing their throats with one hand. He was just passed out in the desert. This is ridiculous.) (Here is something new for me. I’m calling it something simple, something that everyone will be able to understand and get behind. This is the Line of Demarcation. This is the line where the piece has officially become crap. Let’s get used to this one, shall we?)

 

No DIALOGUE.(Really? No reaction? Just silently accepting their fate? Ok.)

 

PANEL 5

Although Ray seems very angry, the young boy dares to be upset about Ray’s actions.(And what, pray-tell, does this look like. This is not a visual idea, it’s narration. I have no idea what is happening visually in this panel.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

First, I had to make them think I gave a fuck where I was. (This basically comes out of nowhere.)

 

Ray

Where am I?! Tell me now!(This is really similar to the caption. It feels a little obvious. Maybe try: ‘I had to make them think I cared’ then keep your line here?) (Or how about something totally different that actually works? He goes from passed out in the desert to having water splashed on his face to making a plan almost instantaneously? As they say in the south, that dog don’t hunt.)

 

Billy

Jesus! Calm down, you stupid shit.(How is he talking with a hand around his throat?)

 

PANEL 6

Ray’s angrier than ever; as if the young boy just broke a rule of his or something. Billy makes Nelson furious as well.(What does this look like?)

 

Nelson

Billy, shut the fuck up!

Nelson

-Alright, alright, we’ll tell where you are. Just let go of us. Please. (Double-dash, not a single dash or em-dash.)

(Well, you’ve stopped writing panel descriptions. That’s always good. (This, if anyone doesn’t know, is sarcasm.)You put us in a new setting and don’t tell us what it looks like. Then, instead of giving us an idea of what the scene looks like, you describe the emotional states of the characters. This could be helpful, if you had described their placement, their actions, the environment, the camera angles, what’s visible on panel, etc. As it is written though, it is not effective. Knowing the character’s expressions won’t help us fill in any of those blanks.)

P3 down, and I just like Jimmy cracking corn, I don’t care.

Sam basically summed this page up, and I don’t have much to offer in terms of expanding it without sounding like a parrot.

Guess it’s time for a story.

I’ve said before how I went to two different high schools, the first private and the second public. I played football for two years (freshman and sophomore), and ran track for three (freshman, sophomore, and junior–yes, I was a slacker my senior year).

New York gets cold, folks. Long Island is a special kind of cold, because of all the water. I mean, it’s an island, right? Surrounded by water. The ocean, to be exact. Not some rivers or lakes, but the ocean. So when winter comes, it’s a different kind of cold. It’s a wet cold, and it gets down into your bones.

It’s my sophomore year in high school, and the football season is over. (We were the division champs again, with a record of 9-1, the same record we had freshman year. We were nearly unstoppable.) Our football coaches wanted us to stay active during the school year, so we had to take another sport. My father played football and ran track, and I am my father’s son…

So it’s winter track, and we had a meet. The girls and the boys teams rode on the same bus. It’s a Friday, so we didn’t have anything to do for the weekend besides go run this meet. We even got to leave school early so we could be there on time. The meet was about an hour away. I forget exactly how far.

I ran my races (the 4×1 and the 100m dash–we won the gold in the 4×1, and I took silver in the 100m dash), and we were on our way back when the bus broke down.

Now, we’re about 45 min from home, and we’re not wearing much. Sweats are fine, but the only thing we had under them were shorts. No long johns. A jacket over our sweatshirts, but we weren’t wearing much under the sweatshirts. Just a t-shirt and an extremely thin tank top. And for shoes…I was wearing my socks and my flats.

We were all cold. We were all damned cold. We had gotten off the bus for a bit, but then the wind was ripping through us, so we got back on the bus, and we started huddling together, girls and boys. (The coach/teacher was outside, trying to find out what was wrong with the bus and get a mechanic out.)

I was dating my ex-wife at the time, and she was on the track team as well. She and I were huddled together, but my feet were freezing.

Here’s a fact, and some of you may find this gross: feet sweat. You can lose up to half a pint of moisture from your feet a day. That’s a lot of damned sweat! (This is why when you’re on a forced march, it’s a good idea to change your socks when you stop for a rest. Keeps your feet dry and comfortable. The old socks? Tie them to your pack to dry out. Change as necessary.) Anyway, my feet were cold because they had sweated, the sweat was trapped by the socks, and the coldness of the air was stealing the heat away from my feet. It was terrible.

My hands were cold, too, and body heat is the best thing for it.

Well…I asked my girlfriend (now my ex-wife) if she could hold my feet in order to warm them. She did it, without any complaint about it. I had complained about cold feet before (my father likes to keep the house cool-ish), so it wasn’t something new to her. That didn’t piss her off.

What pissed her off was the fact that there was another woman holding my hands to keep them warm, while she held my feet…

I guess the girl liked me, because she was all smiles while she held my hands (I didn’t know this at the time–hindsight is 20/20), and my girlfriend was incredulous that she was holding my feet while another woman held my hands. I told her that I couldn’t ask someone else to hold my feet, but handholding was perfectly acceptable!

We’ve had many an “argument” about that, even to this day. All fun and laughs. No, I never found out what was wrong with the bus.

All of that? More interesting than the story Amit is attempting to tell.

INSERT PAGE BREAK

 

 

PAGE 4 (3 panels)

PANEL 1

It’s been a couple of minutes since last page. Ray is already standing on his feet and way calmer since before. Ray buttons his white long blouse(Women wear blouses, men wear shirts. Unless you mean to have him dressing in women’s clothes, you need to change this word.) while the old man talks.(What is Nelson doing? What part of the room are they in? Is Billy in this panel?) (Fainting to standing? Uh huh…)

 

Nelson

Welcome to Brookmeer, Arizona, my friend. By the way, we’re sorry about before. The inspector told us to wake you up and– (There’s no such town, and I only know that because I was interested enough to look it up seeing as how I live in AZ. It’s not wrong at all. Just wanted to point that out.)

 

PANEL 2

The young boy interrupts Nelson. He looks down while stroking his red throat; pissed at what has happened earlier. Ray ignores him.(Who can we see in this panel? Where is the camera?) (That first sentence cannot be drawn.)

 

Billy

–Speak for yourself, Nelson, okay?

 

PANEL 3

A full low angle shot. Someone else enters the room. He’s standing so close to the opened door that the daylights barely let us and Ray see who this guy is. (Why are you keeping things from the artist? I don’t even know what this panel looks like. What are we seeing? How is this person dressed? I have no idea, because you didn’t say. At least one part of the creative team is going to need to know this information.)

The Inspector

Hello there. (Comma-fail.)

 

(Oh, man, the reactions here just do not make sense to me. I have no idea what is going on. We are 4 pages in, and I have no idea who these people are or what they want with each other. That would be fine if it seemed like you were creating a mystery, but it feels like oversight, not intention. Why are there so few panels on this page? We need to know more about these people and this might have been the page to do that.)

P4, and cricket chirpings are more interesting than this.

It’s P4. What’s going on? When does the story actually start? When does something interesting happen? I know you think something interesting has happened already, but like Prince, I’m here to tell you… Nothing has.

This is already back on the shelf for being uninteresting and for being crap. When we hit the Line of Demarcation, it almost felt like a comedy piece. The other two panels also felt like comedy. It wasn’t good, because there was no setup for it.

Ever watch Psycho? Have you ever watched it while understanding just what you’ve seen, what Hitchcock did? Sure, everyone knows about Norman Bates and wants to know how he got that way, but the first act of the film isn’t about Norman. It’s about a woman who embezzles some money from her job and has gone on the run. After a few hours, she decides to go back, but it’s getting late. She stumbles on to the Bates Motel, and meets her fate. The movie seems to be about her, not Norman. It’s jarring. It’s what helped viewers of a generation fearful of taking showers for a while.

Comedy isn’t like that. Comedy needs a setup before it can be truly funny. Otherwise, it just looks like things come out of nowhere.

This is just going deeper into the “not good.”

INSERT PAGE BREAK

 

PAGE 5 (5 panels)

 

PANEL 1

The inspector comes a little closer. We can see him now clearly. (This is not a panel description. What’s missing, Schuyler?)

Stan(Is Stan the Inspector? Mention that in the panel description.)

I see you’re already awake…

PANEL 2

A Close-up on an offered handshake by Stan. His right hand is not like a usual hand. His right hand is a ProstheticHandfromVictorianEra. (Why are we even having a close-up of this? What purpose does it serve? I know what you think it serves, but why is that thought wrong, Felix?)

Stan

Name’s Stan.

PANEL 3

The handshake is happening.(Is this another close up?) (This is not a panel description. See? Sam was very right in saying you stopped writing them.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

This time, I had to be someone else. A new name… A new character… Maybe someone friendly for a change. The name Dan(This should be set off in single quotes since he is referring to it in the sentence) seemed pretty okay to me back then. (“Back then”? Now this begs the question as to whom he’s talking to.)

Ray

Dan Emerson. (You do understand that this is the only name the reader has, right? They don’t know him by any other name.)

Stan

Nice to meet you.

Where from?(Hinky phrasing. ‘Where you from?’ something like that works better.) (Interrogation much?)

 

Ray

Virginia City, Nevada.

 

PANEL 4

Stan’s prosthetic hand hugs Ray from the side and his hand leans on Ray’s shoulder; like they’re best friends already. Stan escorts Ray out of the room. We see only their backs as they walk together side by side. Billy and the old man look at them surprised.(MOVING PANEL.)

Stan

Then let’s get you out of here, Dan from Nevada.

 

PANEL 5

We’re now looking at the guys from the front at a medium shot. It’s an afternoon. Some people look suspiciously at the new guy. We’re now outside of the room. Stan is happy as hell, and Ray with a fake smile.(‘Outside the room’ is kind of broad. Who is ‘everyone’? Where are they? What does the building look like? Can we see it behind them? You need a lot more detail here.)

 

Stan

Long black hair, a tough look, kinda’(You don’t need that comma to the top.) muscular… The ladies are going to like you here.

 

(This new character and all that is happening seems random, but all right.)

 

Really understated. You’ve effectively put the audience to sleep. I’m yawning right now, and I slept for a good while before I started this.

We don’t know who these people are, and we don’t really care to know them.

This new guy, Stan… Good guy or bad guy? No idea, because there’s no inkling as to what kind of character he is. The low angle may have given some inkling, but not really enough. It could have been interesting, but no one cares.

What’s the point of all of this? It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at all. Meandering? Maybe. I have yet to see one thing and go “Ah-HA! That’s going to come back and be important down the road!”

Basically, right now it’s just bad storytelling, especially considering the big thing staring us in the face:

You changed locations, and failed to mention the new location even once. There’s no indication at all as to where this new location is. That’s horrible. It means we went from a desert to a white void. Fun, right?

 

INSERT PAGE BREAK

PAGE 6 (4 panels)

 

PANEL 1

Ray eats his breakfast in the Brookmeer’s(who are the Brookmeers?) small wooden dining room. He’s sitting alone on a big table that fit for ten people, but he doesn’t care about it. He focuses on his eating while part of the town’s men look suspiciously at Ray.(Why are the town’s men in someone’s dining room? How many of them? What do they look like? What are they doing? Standing in a line looking at Ray, apparently.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

They needed to trust me. (This makes no sense, not only because he’s lying–hopefully for a purpose–but because it comes out of nowhere.)

PANEL 2

Stan sits on a chair in his house/office. He seems very discouraged and tired. Tired of being in charge. He puts his face in his hands while leaning forward on his seat.(Is he in a separate building? What does this setting look like? Where is the camera?) (How is a reader supposed to know that he’s discouraged and tired of being in charge? That’s prosaic and can’t be drawn.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

Stan needed to, at least. (Sense? It’s still losing it’s battle.)

PANEL 3

Ray harvests with his hands some wheat from the small fields of Brookmeer. It’s a hot morning and the sunshine is blazing at Ray. His long shirt sleeves are folded, and he’s very sweaty. Although he works hard in absolute inconvenient conditions, He seems peaceful. Even a tiny real smile comes out.(Hmm, okay, well, wheat would not grow near a desert, and you don’t harvest it by hand. He would need some sort of tool like a thrasher or a scythe. What’s the camera angle here? How wide is the shot?) (Is this a static panel? No, I’d say not.)

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

So(comma) I worked my ass off. All of a sudden, I was a good guy. This work kept me so busy; I forgot who I really am for a sec.(The tense is off, this should be ‘was’ instead of ‘am’. And why ‘sec’ does that mesh with the dialect?) (No semi-colons in dialogue.)

PANEL 4

An establishing bird’s eye view shot of Brookmeer. It’s night time. Everyone’s still asleep. I recommend seeing this picture to understand the idea I have in mind regarding this panel: clickhere. From afar, a convoy of horses gallops toward the town.

 

Caption (Ray Roberts)

But like always, unfortunately… all good things must come to an end. (Learn how to use an ellipsis. Spaces mean something when you use an ellipsis.)

(This has gotten messy. Your pacing is all over the place. The beginning is impressively slow. Then we throw in a new character and a hint of a plot line and start skipping all over the place. There is not enough ‘why’ in your storytelling. Let’s look at it. Ray ran away. Why? The two men brought him back to town. Why? He easily overpowers them. Why? He needed to make them think he cared. Why? Stan takes him under his wing. Why? He gives them a false name. Why? He starts working in a wheat field. Why? You have to tell us why, or we just can’t care. I’m not suggesting that you need to answer all the questions right now, but you need to give us more than we currently have.)

We’ve reached the end! Let’s run this down.

Format: We’ve already discussed why there’s no Flawless Victory here.

Panel Descriptions: Very weak, and the run the gamut of problems panel descriptions can have. (Which is interesting in itself.)

Moving panels. I’ve already explained those.

Prosaic. Artists can’t draw prose.

Not enough information. There’s definitely not much here in a way of description, which leaves us in a white void. Not good.

Pacing: The pacing here is a crime unto itself. Nothing of interest happens while being slow, and then it bounces around everywhere without doing much of anything. Seven pages, and there’s still nothing here that gives any inkling as to why we’re reading this. Terrible.

Dialogue: First, there isn’t enough of it. I believe that more dialogue would help to make this more palatable…provided, of course, that there’s actually anything worth reading.

Second, since English doesn’t seem to be your native language (correct me if I’m wrong), I’d say you need to run your dialogue through someone in order to make sure it makes sense. And by “running it through someone”, I don’t mean just an editor. I mean anyone who’s willing to help. Who’s willing to listen to what the character is supposed to be expressing, and then help you write it so it makes sense.

Content: This is crap. As a reader, I’d wonder what the publisher was smoking in order to approve this.

Editorially, this needs an entire rewrite. You need to understand how to tell a story within the medium. You’re close, but you’re not quite there yet. Know what it is you want to do with the story, and think more clearly about how you want to accomplish that objective. Slow down and think it through, and ask yourself after every scene (if not every panel) “Is this accomplishing the goal I want to achieve? Is this affecting the reader the way I want them to?” Stopping to ask and answer these questions will go a long way toward making you a better writer.

And that’s it for this week! Check the calendar to see who’s next!

Like what you see? Sam, Liam and I are available for your editing needs. You can email Sam here and Liam here. My info is below.

Click here to make comments in the forum!

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Category: Columns, 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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