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TPG Week 273: Missed Opportunities On Georwell

| March 18, 2016

TPG Forbes-Kroboth

Welcome back, one and all, to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have our own Brave One Liam Hayes stepping in! Liam hasn’t submitted anything in a while, so it’ll be interesting to see what he has for us. We also have Steve Colle going back to his notes in blue, we have Ryan Kroboth with the fantastic pencil assist, and I’m the guy in red. Now, let’s all see if Liam can intrigue us with

The Weave

PAGE 1 (Five Panels)

PAGE 1, Panel 1

A daytime establishing shot of a heavily fortified complex surrounded by a large wall. (Note: You established in the preface/character description sheet that this takes place in the near future, so that’s been taken care of and thus, the reason it doesn’t describe it here for those who may wonder.) The rebels have assaulted it, blowing a large hole in the wall and shooting their way to the largest of the buildings, The Loom, and blowing a hole in that. Dead Rebels and Threaders line this path of destruction.

THREADER (FROM THE LOOM): You will never be free, Threadless! (This dialogue doesn’t fit with this panel. I suggest moving it into the second panel, which I have already read the description for, as it requires a more face-to-face confrontation to be effective, so we see who is speaking. Also, is “Threadless” a proper designation for the rebels in this story or is it meant as an insult? The reason I ask is it sounds like something a bully would say to goad his prey, which I’m not associating with a government agent. If it’s official, then I hope to see that term referenced again later to reinforce that fact.)

PAGE 1, Panel 2

We’re inside the Loom. Moira is on the left side of the room, taking cover behind one of the desks, her gun at the ready, backpack on her back. Her body is covered wounds indicative of armed and hand-to-hand combat; cuts and bruises, a bullet wound in her left arm, a gash across her face. Beside her is Jace, who is also in cover behind the desk, but slumped against it, hands over a bloody gunshot wound in his stomach. He is also covered in other minor combat wounds. Further to the right is a Threader firing an automatic rifle at Moira and Jace from behind a desk. The bodies of Threaders and Rebels are strewn about the place to indicate a gun fight, with the Threaders on the right, defending, and the rebels attacking from the left, via the explosion in the wall.

SFX (Machine Gun): Dakka dakka

THREADER: There is no fr–

PAGE 1, Panel 3

Face shot of the Threader as he has been shot in the head from off-panel. A nice spurt of blood is erupting from his forehead and his head is thrown back.

SFX: Blam

I’m going to talk a bit about the Threader’s dialogue of “There is no fr–“ in Panel 2 and the action of Panel 3. I feel like there should be two shots of the Threader’s face, identical save for facial expression, side by side after the second panel, making this a 6-panel page. The dialogue would be placed as overlapping both panels with the balloon’s tail on the screaming face image and have the sound effect of BLAM cutting off his speech in the next panel, similar to how a balloon involving interrupted speech will have a balloon covering up that which was interrupted. Why? Because the way you have it right now doesn’t put enough focus on his/her face for the pre-and post actions of the shot. By having these two shots side by side, that focus is established to clearer effect.

PAGE 1, Panel 4

Zoom out. Mid shot of Moira stood up over the desk, her face a grimace of contempt, holding out a smoking gun in her right hand from just having fired and killed the Threader. As we can now see Moira’s thread glove up close, we see that she has fruitlessly attempted to the remove it by the knife marks on its surface. (Just a note: readers won’t have any idea that she’s tried to remove anything. This is P1. Unless you have some sort of explanation as to what a “thread glove” is and what the hell is going on, they’re going to miss it. It’s going to look like battle scars, and thus, will be overlooked.)

MOIRA: Fuck you, Threader.

*Note to Letterer. The text for Thread Gloves should appear on the digital display*

*MOIRA’S THREAD GLOVE: Error

You could have this page stop here and move the next panel to the 2nd page, but let’s go a little further to see what you’ve got.

PAGE 1, Panel 5

Side shot of Moira crouching over Jace, looking down at his stomach wound with concern. Jace continues to hold the wound and grimaces with pain. His thread glove should be visible and we should be able to see what it says.

MOIRA: Jace… Hold on, Jace. I’ll–

JACE: Leave it. L-Leave me. I’ll gladly die for this. At least it’s on my terms. (This isn’t sounding natural to me, whether he’s dying or not.)

JACE: G-Go on, Moira… (This should be said before the above dialogue.)

Here’s another way of approaching the above dialogue: “G-Go on, Moira… leave me… (1st balloon) and “At least I’m dying on my terms…” (2nd balloon). This gets the same points across and provides a different flow of speech that, to me, sounds more realistic.

*JACE’S THREAD GLOVE: KILL YOURSELF (Does he kill himself? Is it deliberate that only the reader seems to see this? Why isn’t there more focus, such as a close up, on what is read on the glove’s readout? If it’s important to the story, then introduce it with a focus. Otherwise, it’s just a happenstance prop.

We have P1 down.

I’m going to talk about overlooking things for just a moment.

I absolutely love the art of Gary Frank, especially when he was working on the Hulk with Peter David. The Hulk was HUGE and powerful and Banner was in full control. This was the Pantheon days. (Anyone know/remember what I’m talking about?)

I remember the Hulk and the Pantheon were fighting against men in tanks. There was this huge splash page, the Hulk with a large gun, firing, and it was epic. I loved it.

A few pages later, one of the people the Hulk was fighting against (or fighting with, I don’t remember), made a remark about the footwear the Hulk decided to don to go to war.

They were pink, fuzzy bunny slippers.

And I had totally missed it.

I went back to the splash page to see if they were there, and sure enough, there they were. They weren’t innocuous. They were right there, plain as day, and I missed them.

And that was obvious. A glove with cuts on it during a a battle? That’s going to be overlooked. A lot. Especially if the people already have wounds themselves. It’s going to be just one more thing on top of everything else. The meaning of it will be lost, if it comes across at all.

The dialogue here needs work. Steve’s suggestion definitely has a better flow to it.

As for the page itself, even though we’re basically in media res, nothing here is compelling. I don’t feel like I want to be caught up.

Do you know why we start in media res, when we do? It’s so there’s the bang of action to get people intrigued as to what’s going on and how we got there. How is in media res supported? With dialogue. Dialogue is even more important when using this technique than it usually is otherwise. And it doesn’t have to be a character’s dialogue. It could be a set of captions. Just as long as we get a sense of what’s going on so we want to turn the page.

This doesn’t make me want to turn the page. This is boring me. And boring is death.

PAGE 2 (Two Panels)

PAGE 2, Panel 1

We’re looking over Jace and Moira, over the desk, and at the machine in the centre of the Loom. It’s front should be facing us. (I didn’t read the character sheet. Hopefully, the machine that’s being referenced here is described there. Otherwise, this is terrible and you know better. However, you have the benefit of the doubt.)

JACE: Free us.

JACE: Free all of us. (If he’s dying, he’s sounding pretty hale and hearty. Why am I saying this, Greg?)

Again, this doesn’t sound natural. Now, being Canadian may have distanced me from hearing your particular accent, dialect, and so forth as you may have intended it for this story. This could very well be the case here, but I don’t think that’s the problem. After the next panel, I’ll propose another way of approaching the dialogue for your consideration.

PAGE 2, Panel 2

Inset. A close up of Moira looking down with eyes closed and sadness.

JACE: And forgive yourself. (If this is an inset and a close-up, his dialogue should be OP.)

Okay, so here’s another way of writing Jace’s speech: Panel 1 reads “Just set us free.” (1st balloon) and “And please, Moira…” (2nd balloon), while Panel 2 reads “… forgive yourself.”

I noticed how, in the first panel, you’re showing the face of the machine and how the dialogue of “Free us” can be directed at either (or both) Moira and/or the machine, so the first line of dialogue I proposed tries to maintain that dual purpose.

To be honest, I’m not seeing a reason to have this page with only two panels. It doesn’t warrant it with the information provided. These could easily be incorporated with the sequence on Page One and provide a strong hook for the page turn.

P2 is down, and really, what we have here is padding.

I think Steve said the rest of it.

However, I do want people to notice something. This is P2, and it’s on the left side. This means there’s no page turn to get us to P3, on the right. We just slide our eyes over. Does anything of supreme interest need to happen at the end of this page? No. It just has to get us to slide our eyes over to the next. Does it do that successfully?

I don’t think so.

I’m not interested, which in itself is terrible since this is only P2. I’ve got no one to root for or against, either individually or as a group, even though one of the people may be dying (or is killing me, whichever comes first). I don’t know anything, and there aren’t any seeds planted at all to get me interested.

I’m more interested in making a tool to remove naval lint than I am in this. And that’s saying something.

PAGE 3 (Five Panels)

For this scene (pages 3-4) Moira is holding a gun in her right hand behind her back. Choose angles which best facilitate obscuration of the gun from both Christopher and the reader. Also, since this flashback set at night, and the present is day, light could be a good factor for contrasting the two time-frames, visually and well as thematically—since the flashback is a bad memory and the present is a moment of redemption.

I think there needs to be more than just a day/night difference to define this as a flashback: Different border shape, black and white coloration, a faded effect to the images, or anything that will help stress that this isn’t just a new scene taking place a span of time since scene one. (I concur. It’s extremely easy for the reader to get lost. They have to be led. You lead them by giving them every opportunity to follow the story. Especially for flashbacks.)

PAGE 3, Panel 1

Flashback. Establishing shot of an tall skyscraper apartment building surrounded by city, at midnight with heavy rain. I’m thinking something like this, but feel free to diverge. (The hyperlink didn’t work for me.) (There’s a hyperlink in there?)

MOIRA (FROM AN APARTMENT WITHIN THE BUILDING): Christopher?

PAGE 3, Panel 2

We’re inside the apartment building and in Christopher’s bedroom. A socket night-light fills the area with a dim glow. We’re looking at the door to this room, at which we see Moira, wearing a t-shirt and pyjama bottoms, peering round it and into the room with concern. Her right arm is off-panel, behind the door. Christopher is lying awake in a bed at the opposite end of the room, dressed in pyjamas. He looks tired as he itches his Thread Glove. (I’m having trouble with this. Ryan, if you would be so kind?)

MOIRA: Why are you still awake, honey?

PAGE 3, Panel 3

Medium close up of Christopher holding out his Thread Glove so the message on it can be read. He looks despondent and tired.

*CHRISTOPHER’S THREAD GLOVE: STAND BY

CHRISTOPHER: It’s still itchy. How long do I have to have it?

PAGE 3, Panel 4

Side shot of Moira, who is sat on the bed, smiling at Christopher. Her right hand is concealed behind her back. Christopher continues to looks at his glove with irritation. (This could be a strange angle. Why is that, Rin?)

MOIRA: Your whole life, silly.

CHRISTOPHER: I hate it. Yesterday it told me to become friends with Sandra. (Change to a comma) but she is mean to everyone at school. (I added the “to”, but did you mean to write this as the following: Yesterday it told me, “Become friends with Sandra”?)

PAGE 3, Panel 5

Face shot of Christopher, looking up at Moira with worry. We’re looking at him from over Moira’s shoulder.

MOIRA: I know, but you must do what it says.

CHRISTOPHER: And what if I had to do something bad? What if it said to hurt people? I don’t think I could do that.

MOIRA: You’d have to, my sweet. (Change to comma) or the Threaders would come and make you do it. (Just to be clear: If you take on the role of an editor, you’re saying you know better than most. This means your scripts should be better than most. Cleaner. Less prone to mistakes. This means, to me, that someone else shouldn’t have to come in and correct your punctuation. When it comes to storytelling and dialogue, I’m much more lenient because everyone needs an editor. But simple punctuation? Two corrections on the same page? That I can’t let pass. We’re editors, and we can do better. There is no way I can find this acceptable. There’s no circumstance I can think of where I can give this a pass.)

P3, and I’m bored. I don’t care about the change of scene. I’m bored. There’s extremely little here that makes me want to turn the page.

We get some information about the glove. No idea what it does or why it does it, but we get some info. We’re supposed to follow its dictates. It sounds like it has some sort of sentience.

Reminds me somewhat of the show Farscape. There were these warriors (raiders, really) who were hopped up on a drug that this glove they wore provided. Increased speed, strength, and durability. It also increased their irritability, causing the characters who weren’t used to it to fight amongst themselves. It also sounds Orwellian, with the glove being Big Brother. (As an aside, there was a comic titled Justice Machine, where the titular team was from a planet called Georwell. Yep, we were really clever in the late 80s…)

Anyway, by the time you’re all reading this, I’ll finally be in my house. I’m working on this on Wednesday, and we close on Thursday. Our household items are scheduled to be delivered today (Friday), so I won’t be around much. I do wish I was at C2E2 this weekend, but putting my home together is first priority. Since I won’t have internet at the house until sometime Friday, and I would hate for this to be late, I’m posting it today (Wednesday). I’m idly wondering who’s going to post and ask why they can’t read the script, even though the link they’re going to click is going to have the date. It never fails.

All of that? More interesting than this script.

PAGE 4 (Four Panels)

PAGE 4, Panel 1

Face shot of Moira. Her smile has dissipated into a more serious look.

MOIRA: Christopher, the Loom knows how everything is going to turn out. It only makes us do things so that the most amount of people end up happy in the long run. (Is the Loom a building, a program, or something else? You mentioned the Loom in your panel descriptions as “the largest of the buildings” and as having the action take place inside the Loom, but here it sounds like something else, like an omnipotent god who makes choices based on the joy of the many vs. the misery of the few. It’s two different messages.)(It’s also kind of the same ground for you, Liam. I know I have problems with organized religion, but I like to think that when I explore it, I come at it from different angles, asking different questions. This seems like it’s hitting a very similar note to other things you’ve written.)

MOIRA: Whatever it says, you have to do it. It’s for the best– the good of everyone. (This second sentence should be divided as follows: “It’s for the best…” and “… for the good of everyone.”)(Are they on Georwell?)

PAGE 4, Panel 2

Side shot of Moira and Christopher. Moira is smiling at him again, and stroking the side of his face with her left hand.

CHRISTOPHER: Even really really bad things?

MOIRA: Yes.

MOIRA: Now get some sleep. (This could be another panel, with Moira tucking Christopher in.)(Or it could be the same panel, with her leaning in to kiss his forehead instead of stroking his cheek.)

PAGE 4, Panel 3

Angle the camera so that we have Christopher turned away from Moira in the foreground of the camera, with his eyes closed. Moira is still sat on the bed, looking down at him with a smile.

CHRISTOPHER: Okay. I love you, mummy.

MOIRA: I love you (Add comma) too. (I’m not raging. Instead, I’m dying a little inside.)

MOIRA: Don’t fret. No matter matter (“matter” was written twice) what you have to do…

PAGE 4, Panel 4

Big Panel. Close up of Moira’s right hand as she holds it behind her back. We see a pistol in her hand, and the display of her Thread Glove. We’re looking past this and at a sleeping Christopher.

MOIRA: …Everything will turn out okay.

*MOIRA’S THREAD GLOVE: KILL YOUR SON

Why isn’t this panel on a page turn? You created a strong hook with “No matter what you have to do…” and then went straight for the reveal on the same page. The tension, the suspense, the anticipation that your Panel 3 could have so conveniently and naturally built up…

gone with the decision to keep it on the same page.

Too bad.

Also, I don’t find the concept of the thread glove is being brought to its full potential. In a nutshell, if you don’t follow what the readout states you need to do, someone called a Threader will make you do it. How exactly? Why not have the glove presented as an “inaction collar”, a punishment device that instead of shocking someone for trying to take it off, shocks if you don’t do what it says? It seems useless to involve a third party, especially with no clear idea of how the Threaders would force the decision to act.

Know what else this reminds me of? Wanted (the film, not the comic—and how many of you were waiting for me to make a film reference?).

In the film, Angelina Jolie recruits Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) to be a gun-toting assassin for Metatron (Morgan Freeman), who is the voice of God (a loom). Weavers became assassins, based on interpretations of patterns they saw in a huge loom. The only real reason to watch the film is, of course, Angelina. (She’s the only reason to watch most films she’s starred in.) This reminds me of that.

That film, however, even without the talents (read: sexybeautifullust-generator) of Angelina, was more interesting than this.

Again, I hold editors to a higher standard. Again, we’re supposed to know better.

The pacing on this is crap. Total and utter.

We finally get some information about the glove (listen to it, no matter what), and then we blow whatever suspense had been built by the unnatural hiding of one arm over a few panels at the very end by showing what that glove wanted her to do. That definitely should have been a page-turn. That should have been pushed to P5 instead of being on the same page. Wasted opportunity to combat the boring. It’s terrible.

But there’s something else missing from this. A full explanation. Simply put, what are the stakes?

What happens when someone disobeys the glove? Why are they even wearing these things? How did that come about? Who manufactures it? How is it powered? How is it connected? If everyone, even children, wears one, does it grow with the child, or do they get new ones as the child grows? How do the others, the Threaders, factor into this?

This page was a perfect opportunity to explain some of that. Instead, we get nothing that we really want to read. The chance to be interesting has been wasted, and no stakes whatsoever have been set. There are no consequences for the (in)actions of the wearer. They get to go about their day. Why even wear the glove?

Right now, I’m just waiting for Steve to stop. We already know this is going back on the shelf.

Just think: by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be in my new house.

PAGE 5 (Five Panels)

PAGE 5, Panel 1

Present. Moira is stood in front of the loom, gun to her side. (Here you have the Loom presented as something she is standing in front of, not inside of as presented at the beginning. This is confusing.) To reflect the previous panel, angle the camera so we’re low, behind her, looking past her at the loom.

I’m feeling a need for dialogue here, something as simple as “You know what?” This provides a lead in to the coming dialogue while also filling the silent panel.

PAGE 5, Panel 2

Moira has taken off her backpack and is pulling some sort of I.E.D out. (This appears to be a moving panel, as at some point, she has either just taken off her backpack or mysteriously did so during the flashback and is pulling something out. Two actions or one with an unexplained result, where your Page Two, Panel 2 could have shown her slipping the backpack off to better effect.)(Maybe not a moving panel, but definitely a bigger chunk of Gutter Time than necessary was used.) She looks forwards at the off-panel machine with anger. (So the Loom is a machine, not a building or room or omnipotent god?) The gun is still in her hand.

MOIRA: Predict this, you piece of sh–

PAGE 5, Panel 3

Close up of the central column of the machine as it opens. Darkness prevents us from seeing the inside, but it would be cool with we could slightly make out the silhouetted figure of the Weaver within.

SFX (DOORS): Fssshh

PAGE 5, Panel 4

Face shot of Moira, visibly shocked and confused by what (Or is it a “who”? Is the Weaver a person?) she’s seen in the machine’s core.

MOIRA: W-What?

MOIRA: Why?

Here’s where I’m actually going to suggest a silent panel. Let her expression tell us what she’s feeling and thinking. (Also, the dialogue here is terrible.)

PAGE 5, Panel 5

Big Panel. We’re looking over Moira’s shoulder and at the machine. The central column has opened completely open (Opened completely open? Really?), revealing the Weaver. He stares out at Moira, expressionlessly. (So the Loom is a machine that has a person, the Weaver, inside of it? I’m a little confused.)

THE WEAVER: Hello, Moira.

And again, you’ve given us a panel worthy of a splash page, even more than Moira’s thread glove reading KILL YOUR SON, so I’m going to suggest an alternative to the previous suggestion: Put the first four panels from this page with the last flashback panel so Panel 5 here can stand on its own. This is definitely the bigger reveal of the two. As for how to create a transition from the last panel of the flashback and intro back to this scene, I had written a Breaking the Page piece on match-cuts a while back at the following link (of which I don’t know how to hyperlink): http://www.comixtribe.com/2013/01/26/btp-scene-to-scene-transitions-made-easy-with-the-match-cut/. In this article, I provided a variety of options for scene-to-scene transitions, many of which could work for a same-page scene change. Use your imagination.

P5, and I don’t know who’s still with us.

Here’s the deal: right now, it’s Wednesday at 8:40 am. I’ve only slept about 2.5 hours since roughly 10 am on Tuesday. Why? Well, I didn’t go to sleep until about 3 am today (Wednesday) because I was downloading something on this hotel’s slow connection. Granted, I didn’t start until 2ish, but still, I wanted to download something and then upload it. It’s a birthday gift for my girlfriend. Then I was woken up by the cats at 5:30. So I’m kinda tired, and sleep would be a very good thing.

I want this to end. Wasted opportunities aren’t interesting to me. Not from someone who should know better.

I want this to end. Why hasn’t Steve stopped yet? I want my pillow. I want my house.

PAGE 6 (Five Panels)

PAGE 6, Panel 1

Medium close up of the Weaver, still expressionless. (This reminds me of The Matrix Reloaded. This isn’t the Weaver, this is the Architect. Hopefully, he’ll say something more meaningful than that character did.)

THE WEAVER: This is not what you expect(ed?), Moira. You think a machine capable of processing the innumerable threads of causality. (Are these supposed to be questions or are they observations regarding her reaction?)(Why is Steve correcting your tenses? Why is Steve asking about your ending punctuation? Know what? Line of Demarcation. Which is just sad and inexcusable.)

PAGE 6, Panel 2

Zoom to show the two. Moira has dropped her backpack and the explosive. (When did she pick up her backpack again?) She still has the gun in her hand, however.

MOIRA: Y-You… You are the one who —? (You don’t need the question mark, especially given it sounds more like an observation and not a question per se.)

THE WEAVER: Yes. I give you that action, (Take out the comma) and you kill me. (Shouldn’t this read “I give you that direction” instead of “action”, as the action is the result of the direction?)(Matrix Reloaded.)

THE WEAVER: That is what happens.

PAGE 6, Panel 4

We’re looking down at Moira from over the Weaver’s shoulder. She stares at him, bewildered.

Weaver: Again you are bewildered. You do not think it odd you are given an action (direction) which begins (starts) your rebellion. (This doesn’t read properly. Is it meant as a statement of question? Are you asking “Did you not think it odd to receive a direction that would lead to your rebellion?” Please clarify.)(Matrix Reloaded.)

Weaver: It does not occur to you that the The Loom (Why is this in quotes? Is the Loom not the proper term?) would know this to happen. (You have everything in a seemingly matter-of-fact statement form, but it doesn’t entirely work.)(Matrix Reloaded.)

MOIRA: You–You knew I would end up here?

MOIRA: And what (Take out the ellipsis and put a question mark.) You want me to…? (You’re using the ellipsis when it should be a double dash to indicate interrupted speech vs. trailing off dialogue. That’s wrong. And is this a complete segment of speech, as it can be read as such?)(Matrix Reloaded.)

PAGE 6, Panel 5

Face shot of The Weaver, still expressionless.

THE WEAVER: You do not want to live like this. They take a boy with a special brain, (Take out the comma) and reduce him to a machine. (Who are “they”? Why did you go from talking about her and making observations [or assumptions] about her state of mind and intention of thought to a sudden drop about how this boy with a “special brain” is reduced to a machine? Where is the transition? Where is the flow?)(Matrix Reloaded.)

THE WEAVER: They call him “The Weaver” and they hurt him until he does what they say.

I’m not liking how you did a 180° turn here, taking the focus away from his talk about Moira and changing it to a very bad explanation of his own creation.

P6, it’s crap, and Steve hasn’t stopped yet.

Does anyone find it interesting, humorous, or ludicrous that I can basically say that this section of dialogue is very reminiscent of Matrix Reloaded? All three?

It feels like we’re nearing the end. Then sleep can claim me. Or I can claim it.

PAGE 7 (Five Panels)

PAGE 7, Panel 1

Side-by-side split profile of Moira and the Weaver. The Weaver continues his story with absent emotion. Moira is solemn and saddened.

THE WEAVER: He thinks he does good and makes people happy. (Comma instead of period) but he sees his own thread–He sees that he will not live. He is born into the coffin in which he dies, a shrivelled pale thing. (I’m pulled out of the story. This dialogue isn’t getting your point across effectively.) (Matrix Reloaded.)

THE WEAVER: He makes tears. He makes smiles. He makes pleasure and pain and life and death– (Ellipsis instead of double dash, with the following text in a connected balloon preceded by ellipsis marks.) None of these his.(Matrix Reloaded.)

PAGE 7, Panel 2

Medium close-up of Moira pointing her gun and intense anger at The Weaver.

MOIRA: You did this just so I would–

MOIRA: You put me through fucking hell just so I would kill you?!

Just to clarify for lack of complete understanding, this is her son Christopher, right? Or is it? If it is, why are you doing everything in your power not to name him and explain that emotional connection for Moira? Give the reader something to make the connection, too. (I don’t think this is Christopher. I think this is some random person. Why? Because unless his crypto-statements are lies, he was born in the machine. Also, unless there is a succession of Weavers, Christopher wouldn’t have been able to get the message on his glove. And unless a message can be sent back in time like the film Prince of Darkness, why would she get a message to kill her son? No, I don’t think this is Christopher. If it is, then there’s a shit-ton of ‘splainin’ to do…)

PAGE 7, Panel 3

Face shot of The Weaver. (Still expressionless, I take it?)

THE WEAVER: It is the easiest and only way. Others fail; (Ellipsis in place of the semi-colon, connecting the text to continue the thought in one sentence.) cause too much pain. Some falter only at the last moment. You do it. Only you.

THE WEAVER: So I slip an action past those who monitor me. (Question: Is the term “action” for you the British way of saying “direction” in my mind? If so, that can be confusing if your story sells outside of the United Kingdom. Then you have a joker like me saying “it’s wrong” over and over. Tell me honestly.)

PAGE 7, Panel 4

Close up of the gun in Moira’s hand; her grip loose on the handle.

THE WEAVER (OFF-PANEL): It is decided, Moira. There is no augment against fate. (Is this supposed to read as “argument” instead of “augment”?) This happens.

PAGE 7, Panel 5

Same shot. Moira’s grip on the handle now tight.

THE WEAVER (OFF-PANEL): Do it.

I’m sorry. I can’t do it. Stop flashing DO IT on my Thread Glove. I’m not afraid that the Threaders will come and make me continue. I’m rebelling (or maybe I’ve just had enough).

It took me a few days to go through these pages and though I had the intention of going to Page Ten, I just couldn’t keep myself in the story.

I’m curious as to how old this script is. It feels like a backwards slide from the material I used to edit of yours from a few years back here on TPG. I didn’t enjoy how this was laid out in the least (and I’m not referring to the format). Let’s see what Steven has to say.

No one cares what Steven has to say! He’s a hack! He’s an ostrich sandwich on the vegetarian of life! He has no…

Wait. Steve has stopped? I’m free?! Let’s run this puppy down so we can run away!

Format: Flawless Victory. I’ll say nothing more about this.

Panel Descriptions: A little odd at times, sometimes I had a little trouble in seeing what was written, so I had to go back and rearrange the camera in my head once or twice. Once I did that, I could generally see what was supposed to be happening. Generally.

Flashbacks. These have to stand out more. I don’t know if simply going b/w will cut it. Maybe, maybe not. However, I think if it stood out more, it would be very difficult for the reader not to understand that they were going into a flashback.

Pacing: Horrible. This stays on the shelf because nothing interesting happens soon enough. Terrible to say, but true. There are opportunities to be interesting, but they’re wasted instead of being capitalized upon.

Dialogue: This is where this piece really falls down, on several levels.

First, there are the wasted opportunities to actually tell the story. And then when you try to tell something of the story through the Archi—I mean, the Weaver, it comes off sounding nearly intelligible. Nearly. Meaning it isn’t intelligible, but nearly so.

Next is the punctuation. I generally don’t harp on this overmuch except for commas, but I’ve noticed something lately:

Writers are putting in commas when they’re really looking for periods. I don’t understand that. I’ve seen it a lot. Drives me bonkers.

Finally, there’s the punctuation and tenses from an editorial view. Like I’ve already said, I hold editors to a higher standard. As leaders of the way, we have to be better. We have to be. How can we correct someone else if we’re doing the same things they are? How can we call that being competent? I’ll have more to say on this in just a moment.

Content: As a reader, this stays on the shelf. There isn’t enough to keep me interested.

As an editor, this would get a slow, wondrous head shake. And not in a good way.

As a story, this needs help. That’s fine, because that’s what editors are here for. We’re here to help you find the story. This needs a rewrite in order for the reader to get out of it the thought you put into it. Right now this isn’t happening.

As one editor to another, though…this isn’t good. Not in the least. There are problems here that just shouldn’t be happening, and it makes me sad. Steve is giving you the benefit of the doubt by hoping this is an older piece. I can’t. And not because I’m a jerk (because I am), but because your email basically said that this is a newer piece.

I’ve written bad scripts. I’ve written bad scripts and posted them, learning as I went. I’ve submitted old scripts that I knew were bad (before I learned) to see if there were things that I missed in my own self-editing. Even then, there wasn’t a problem with punctuation and tenses.

Inexcusable. And it breaks my heart.

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

Like what you see? Steve and I are available for your editing needs. Steve can be reached here. You can email me directly from my info below.

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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 [email protected] for rate inquiries.

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