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TPG Week 192: The Resubmission That Didn’t Learn

| August 30, 2014



Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds. This week, we have Brave One Luke Pierce back with a resubmission! Hopefully, this is the start of a trend. I like resubmissions. We also have something of a graduate from TPG: Liam Hayes has stepped up to try his hand at editing. We’re going to see how he does.


So, let’s see how Luke does with his retitled piece


That’s What I Want (was The More Things Change)



Note to Artist:


I hope that I’m a pretty relaxed writer because I don’t actually like to get precious about things. If there’s something that would look better if it’s illustrated in a different way, just let me know.


This short story is going to be set in the 1970’s, where there were all kinds of crazy assumptions about what science could, and couldn’t, achieve. In this instance, what we’re going to go with is the Hammer Horror kind of setting as it’s something a bit more familiar to aficionados of comics. The campy feel is definitely the setting required.

Because this is a “fun” piece, it might actually be funnier if the art takes the script as seriously as possible.


There will likely be a few in-jokes, but I’ll tag these as we go throughout the script.



Note to Letterer:


I’m enclosing the script, as is, just so you have an idea in mind as to what kind of font will suit the story best. Obviously, on completion of the artwork, what I will do is send the finalised copy of the script and with all dialogue in lower-case.


If the editor wants a credits box, I’ve tried to anticipate leaving room in the very first panel. (Credits box? Why would we give anyone credit for the story? It just came out of the aether, fully formed. While we don’t need credits here in TPG because we aren’t dealing with art, think about having a credit box in all of your stories.)



Page One of Six

Three panels


Panel One


This is a panoramic shot, just so we’re scene setting.


Letterer Note: As mentioned, if we do need a credits box, it’ll be located in this panel.


We’re in the RECEPTION AREA of OLMEC RESEARCH. (An external establishing shot would do a better job of placing the reader. This could be the reception area for an interplanetary plumbing department for all we know. You could also name the building organically by placing a sign outside.)


The reception area is a quite large open block area and, if it were empty, it would measure approximately 50 metres in width, 3 metres in height and would stretch to around 10 metres in depth (I’m using metres here as it’s the standard for building now, rather than back then, plus it’ll be easier to reference if needs be). (That’s a silly amount of specificity. Who cares how big the room is?)


The desk area should look something like an enlarged version of this reference: reference! Great. So why did you need to take measurements? This is all the artist needs.)


To give an idea of imagined size, it should be big enough to sit 7 receptionists with ease. The height should reach up to the ceiling (even if we don’t see it going up all the way) and, above the desk itself, the corporate logo of OLMEC RESEARCH should be clearly visible.

This should leave visitors in no doubt as to where they are.


(You’ve given a bizarre amount of thought to this room and its desk. Why exactly seven receptionists? Does this come up at all in the story? I can’t imagine how or why.)


In and around the Reception there should be people milling around: talking in small groups, making their way to conferences/research facilities. Some will be clearly dressed as doctors, some will be in suits (Dirty Harry is the best 70’s example of this, I feel).

As this is the 1970s, the men will be outnumbering the women, however those women that we do see will be dressed in suits.


We don’t properly see her, but ANITA STEWART is talking to one of the receptionists. (If we don’t properly see her, and I have no idea what that means by the way, how is the letterer supposed to know where she is? Do you mean she is obscured by the detail, as in not the focus of the panel? This also begs the question; why? You’re introducing us to a character but deciding it’s best that we don’t actually see her? I can’t see the narrative reason for this. There’s no dramatic reveal or expectation to defy when you do actually reveal her, so what’s the point?)


1 RECEPTION: Appointment at nine with Dr? (Doctor.) (If you add an ellipsis between the word and the question mark, it will let the reader know that a question is being asked, wanting to know the doctor’s name.)


2 ANITA: Sochs.


3 RECEPTION: Through corridor B4 and room 32. (Going through room 32? Probably not what you meant, but definitely what you said.)


4 ANITA: Thank you.


(That’s a pretty boring panel to open with. Why start here, with the character in reception? Can’t you skip this? Is her checking in integral to the plot? What does it reveal about her or the story that we can’t get from going straight to see the doctor? Here you’re telling us that she’s going to see the doctor as opposed to showing her going to see the doctor. You should always try to show instead of tell. Showing is more immediate and involving.)



Panel Two


We now see ANITA for the first time (Mid-shot? Close-up? Full shot?) (see Annex A for full character details). As a quick run down, we can see that she is a stylish woman and very in keeping with the 1970s fashions. (Don’t point to your character descriptions and then go on to describe the character. That’s redundant and a bit condescending to the artist.)


She has a knowing smile as she walks away from the Reception Area, her head tilted slightly higher than normal in order to carry some air of confidence and authority. Her eyes don’t even look back at the men, her eyes are fixed firmly ahead, as if these particular men aren’t even worth her time and effort. (A combination of needless description and prose. You’re describing actions that Anita doesn’t do. The artist isn’t going to have her look back at the men unless you tell them to, so what you’ve written is gratuitous. Secondly, you’re telling the artist what Anita thinks of the men she isn’t looking at. How can this be drawn? It can’t.)

Anita carries a clipboard, which accessorizes with her clothes. (Alacazam! A magic clipboard has appeared. We should have seen this in the previous panel along with seeing Anita.)




In the background, a couple of men have turned to look in her direction (One especially needs a 70s porn tach’). (Maybe this is a bit of a nitpick, but ‘are looking’ works better than ‘have turned to look’. It’s just clearer.)

If you need to put a feeling or a sound to it, this would be a female equivalent of the Axe Advert “Bow Chika Wow Wowww”. (What is this? More needless description? Yes! If you need to put a feeling or sound to it, this would be *Sigh*.)


5 Caption: I know men want me, (Hard stop.) I can just feel their stares. (Where’s this come from? The thing about internal monologues is, you need to keep them consistent. This means having them on every panel. This means you need to put one panel one.)



Panel Three


As a camera angle, the reader will be looking up slightly at Anita looking at the room number. (Her expression?) On this particular door is the number 32. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but if we’re looking up at Anita, and she’s looking at the door, how can we also see the door?) Just slightly off to the side, and partially obscured by Anita, is a barely worn sign: “B4” (the corridor indicator mentioned earlier. (Who cares about corridor numbers and room numbers. Sure, you can get away with the room number, but the corridor number? And it’s barely worn? Why does this matter? You’re focusing on a lot of needless details. Get to the story.)


6 Caption: However, I only want one thing. (Personal choice, I’d swap that comma for an ellipsis. Gives a nice dramatic pause.)



End Page One


(Meh. This isn’t the best opening you could’ve gone with, by far. The last line of dialogue acts as a little hook, but there’s far too many other problems on this page. As beginnings go, this is pretty boring. Just like you’ve started your story in reception, I feel like we’ve started in the reception of your story and are waiting to get to the actual meat.)


(Also, why only three panels? You’ve a lot more room here to get us into the story.)




I’m not sold on it at all. It doesn’t do anything at all to move the story. What incentive is there to turn the page? What’s been set up to garner interest? Nothing.


Dialogue is supposed to do two things, and it’s better if done simultaneously: reveal character and move the plot. This dialogue does that, but it’s sloppy. It’s revealing some character, it’s moving the plot along somewhat, but it could be much tighter and a lot more interesting.


I’m bored.


I’m with Liam in wondering why this is only 3 panels long. A lot more information could have been gotten from this. Instead, we get three panels that try to establish a location, but really ends up being generic. Generic isn’t fun.



Page Two of Six

Six Panels


Panel One


We have now switched location entirely and now inside the LABORATORY (Annex B for reference). The angle should be slightly tilted in order to subconsciously indicate that something is not entirely all there with DR XAVIER SOCHS. (Wait until you have a close up of the good doctor before bringing out the angle tilt. Just titling the scene is going to look uncomfortable and not necessarily apply it to the character.)


Dr Xavier Sochs is slightly bent over one of the workbenches and, with his back turned, he can be seen to be holding a beaker in a gloved hand. This beaker is filled with a slightly clear liquid (Slightly clear? Cloudy?). He doesn’t react to the knocking, except just to answer. Directions wise, he is facing to the right of the panel.


His laboratory is actually a little smaller than what would be expected, but as will become clear a little bit later, there is a reason why. (I, personally, wasn’t expecting the laboratory to be any size. I’m not up-to-date on my average lab sizes, and neither is the artist I imagine. Just describe the size of the lab without describing its size compare to what size it isn’t. Confusing, huh?)


His laboratory is crammed with stuff. On one of the workbenches to the left, there definitely needs to be:


a) A mug with hot liquid (so some kind of steam effect here) and

b) A small bottle (shaped somewhat like a miniature coke bottle). (Are we able to see the liquid in the bottle?)


These are plot points a little bit later. (More redundancy. Just tell the artist what’s in the scene. You needn’t go into why.)


Located behind him (but unseen) (Why unseen? It’s important for the reader to get a sense of place.) is the door to laboratory.


1 SFX: toktoktok


2 ANITA: Dr(Full stop.)(Like you, Liam, Luke is from the UK. The full stop isn’t necessary for the title.) Sochs? (Letterer note: Anita is unseen here) (“OFF-PANEL – NO TAIL” is the terminology you’re looking for here.)(Having the balloon be tailless means that the balloon itself is floating. Having a floating balloon could mean a variety of things. Add the tail, and have it be off panel, or OP. The SFX are also OP.)


3 SOCHS: Enter.



Panel Two


We are looking over the shoulder of a serious-looking Dr Sochs, his eyes are focussed down as he carries on barely acknowledging Anita.


Behind him, Anita has opened the door (as we look at it, it has opened into the laboratory, with the door swinging to the left). She’s still holding onto her clipboard. (Is she in the room, outside the room, or in the doorway?)


5 ANITA: Thank you for seeing me.


6 SOCHS: You have something for me (Comma.) Anita? (We get her name, and organically too! You could’ve also delivered it at reception, if you wanted to get it in earlier that is.)



Panel Three


We’re now firmly focussed back on Anita. Her expression is now slightly flustered (Flustered is hard to draw. That’s something more effectively captured in dialogue. Go with surprised or confused.) and her cheeks have slightly reddened. This is our first hint that Dr Sochs is what Anita “wants”. (Pointless information. Focus on the visuals.)


If we need to have an informed thought process here, it’s just like Anita has just imagined wilfully throwing herself naked at a co-operative Dr Sochs. (An informed thought process wouldn’t have written this as it’s needless. The panel description should tell the artist how to tell the story, not to tell them the story. No artist in the world can capture the fictional imaginings of a fictional character without drawing them. So unless you want this to be drawn, leave it out of the panel description.)


7 Anita:(Where have your caps gone? Consistency.) Ah?



Panel Four


Slightly skewed angle again.


Dr Sochs has turned to face Anita and is holding out his hand. He has an impatient look as if he’s got some very serious stuff going on and that this just can’t wait. (You’re focusing on what the characters are feeling rather than what they’re expressing on their actually visible faces. He’s feeling impatient, right? How does one express impatience? Anger and/or annoyance i.e things that can be drawn.)


Anita has taken a step backwards, almost defensively and is holding the clipboard closer to her chest. (Had Anita actually entered the room yet, or is she still stood at the door? If so, she’s just taken a step out of the room. Without my pedantry, you need to place your characters better.)


8 Dr Sochs:(He was just SOCHS a moment ago. Consistency.) Anita.


9 Dr Sochs: The results.



Note: We may need to play with the angles here to see which works best of all, but they should be facing each other and in the same panel even if we don’t actually see both of their faces. Now, if the above doesn’t work, I would think that having the focus on Anita looking a little bit taken aback and with her defensive body language as described above, with Dr Sochs holding out his hand to her instead.


If neither work, we probably need to discuss this at a mutually beneficial time. (I like that you’re talking to your artist, but this nicety is lost in all the questions they’re going to be asking you.)


Panel Five


Now with an embarrassed smile, Anita is handing over the clipboard. (To the Doctor? Is his hand on-panel? Or is she just gesturing it towards him?)


10 Anita: Um, here you go. (Ellipsis instead of that comma.)







Panel Six


The focus has returned to Dr Sochs and this can now be much more tightly focussed (Typo.) on him. His expression remains serious and business-like. (Where’s he looking? Back at his work or still at Anita?)


11 Dr Sochs: Anything else?



End Page Two


(Damn this is tiresome. I’m still waiting for the story to happen. All we have so far is Anita going through reception and then handing over a clipboard and getting confused a bit. That’s not conducive to reader interest. It’s not very clear that Anita is after the doctor’s bones, either. Sure, it is to us. But we’ve got the script. Some more internal monologuing would sort that out. Speaking of which, where did it go? You can’t just start it and then drop it when you please.)


P2, and we have several things going on here.


First, I’m gonna let you all in on a sea-crit. Ready?


P1 is padding.


Shocking, I know, but padding it is. P1 could be cut in its entirety, and not be missed at all.


P2? It’s a case of the dropsies, which is unconscionable.


There’s an internal monologue on P1, and it totally disappears on P2. What happened to it? Dunno. Why is it unconscionable?


People love to talk about themselves. Believe me, they do. Even if they don’t know anything at all, even if they’re the village idiot, they are the unquestioned experts about themselves. Get a person started, and they’ll talk your ear off.


The only time this doesn’t work is when you have the question/direction “tell me about yourself.” What happens then is people lock up, because there’s too much choice. They have no idea where to start. Childhood? From today and work backwards? Hopes and dreams? Fears? A funny-yet-embarrassing story? Religion? Politics? When faced with such a broad spectrum, a person will freeze.


When it comes to the writer, the only time they should have a case of the dropsies is when they don’t know their characters well. (Dropsies will generally only happen with an internal monologue.) When it comes to a short piece, there shouldn’t be any dropsies. It should be just the opposite: the character should be hard to shut up. That is, if you know the character.


I’m working through a story right now, where the character I have is extremely successful, pulling themselves up from nothing. However, they remember where they came from, and they want to remember what it feels like to be small. I’m finding out about the character, and they won’t shut the hell up. I don’t even know if I’m going to have an internal monologue, and the character won’t shut up. I know the story is going to be longer than this piece, but that’s about all I know—except that the character won’t shut up. Hopefully, this will transfer to the page well.


With a piece as short as this, there’s really only two options: you either have the internal monologue, or you don’t. Obviously, here, you don’t, because you don’t know your characters.


And this page is boring, as well. I’m still waiting for the story to start.

Page Three of Six

Four Panels


Panel One


Panoramic shot.


Dr Sochs has already turned back to his work (he’ll be facing the reader) and is looking at the clipboard, however, he isn’t the main focus of this panel. Behind his shoulder, Anita has a warm smile and her head is tilted very slightly to one side.

She has slightly rosy cheeks, but not as apparent as they were previously. (Didn’t you already use this kind of shot in panel two of the previous page? Change it up a bit. Keep it visually interesting.)


1 Anita: Well, there is our lunch later… (An ellipsis signifies a pause in speech, but the Doctor is sharp and straight to the point in his retort. What you want to get that across more effectively is an interruption. Swap that ellipsis out for a double dash.) (An ellipsis signals a pause when it’s in the middle of a sentence. Otherwise, it signifies a trailing off sound. The ellipsis works right where it is, unless she’s being cut off. Is she being cut off here? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t question it here, because the ellipsis works.)


2 Dr Sochs: No.



Panel Two


Full body shot.


Anita has taken a step backwards, making yet another slightly defensive body gesture. This one is more obvious though as Anita’s day has taken an expected turn. (Pointless, that last bit.)(The step backwards? I’m happy that this is a full body shot of her, because it works better, but I’d break the “rule” here and show her in mid-motion as she steps back, with motion lines showing the direction her leg/body is going.)


Anita has a quite shocked expression.


3 Anita: W-What?


4 Anita: Why?


(I’m curious as to why you chose a full body shot. A close up would bring her response more intimacy, since we’re closer to her expression of shock.)



Panel Three


Dr Sochs has turned his head in the direction of Anita, his face looks more serious than ever and he’s quite heavily shadowed (Style wise, it’s like he’s announcing that everyone is going to die). (More pointlessness.)


5 Dr Sochs: I’m about to make a breakthrough, and you want me to stop concentrating?(Comma-fail.)


6 Dr Sochs: Mankind will not thank you.






Panel Four


Anita, now looking upset, has tears beginning to form in her eyes and looks away to her left. (She has tears in her eyes or she doesn’t. Camera angle?)


7 Anita: We arranged this weeks ago. (This is not as effective as it could be. Why can’t Anita make allowances for a breakthrough? However, if it was made clear that Sochs was always on the verge of a “breakthrough”, we’d sympathise with Anita.)


8 Anita: That’s it, is it?



End Page Three


(Finally! Conflict! The heart and soul of story! A shame it’s poorly delivered and you took so long to get there. There isn’t much build up to the lunch. Anita doesn’t seem to place any stock it in. Hell, she doesn’t even mention it until now. If you had her talk about how she’s looking forward to it, expressing how much it means to her, then you’d have more of an emotional impact. As it stands now, it’s just meh.)


P3, and I’m still bored.


Here’s the thing: we’re on P3, and really, it doesn’t seem like we’re any closer to finding out what the story’s about. And that’s okay, as long as it’s interesting—but this isn’t.


Somehow, you’ve managed to drain the interest from this story. At the beginning, you spoke about in-jokes and this being comedic. This, however, hasn’t even yet begun to reach for the funny. Right now, it’s reaching for the annoying. Because that’s exactly what I am: annoyed.


I love rap music. Well, I loved rap music. There was a time when it was actually worth listening to. I’m talking about old-school rap, when the form was being explored. I’m talking about just past the days when you could only hear rap on the radio after dark. You’d hear people playing tapes in their cars or walking down the street with their boom boxes during the day, but if you wanted to hear it on the radio, then you’d have to wait until after 8pm. My teenaged years.


A female rap trio changed their names from Supernature to Salt ‘n Pepa. They had a monster hit on the radio with Push It. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it. They then followed it up with Let’s Talk About Sex, another monster hit that you couldn’t get away from.


The problem with Push It is that it’s basically only two verses long. Two short verses, at that. It’s basically a dance song. Let’s Talk About Sex is a better two-verse song, but it actually has a message and is longer. It’s more worthy to listen to, except for one thing…


It’s damned annoying. Both of them are. DJ’s had such a great time with the request lines for these two songs that I basically can’t listen to them now. On my iPhone, I have a nice mix of old-school rap, and whenever those two songs come on, I try my best to shoot a side-kick to a six-year-old’s throat.


Reading this is giving me that same “side-kick” feeling. It isn’t pleasant.


As a resubmission, this should be punched up, not jacked up. This is not how a resubmission should be done.

Page Four of Six

Six Panels


Panel One


The sole focus of this panel is Dr Sochs, his expression looks quite cold. (Camera angle?)


1 Dr Fochs:(Sochs.) Indeed.



Panel Two


Anita has turned fully away to her left, her eyes already starting to redden at the disappointment of missing her lunch date. (Hang on. She was starting to cry a second ago. Now her eyes are turning red? What’s happening? Also, this is prose. Stop writing prose. You’re writing comics. Tell the artist she’s upset. Tell the artist she has tears in her eyes. Anything but this.)


No copy.



Panel Three


The mug and the miniature cola bottle from earlier? This is what we’ll now be focussing on. We’re looking at this scene entirely from Anita’s point of view. (I have no idea where Anita is in regards to these items. I’d advise against a POV shot, too. Focus on the items exclusively.)


The mug will still have hot liquid inside, so it’ll still have some steam.


No copy.



Panel Four


Focus is back on Anita, her expression has changed. Basically, how kids look when an idea comes into their head and a plan slowly begins to form. (How does that look? You expect the artist to extrapolate a drawable image from an abstract concept in your head? Nope. That’s your job as the writer.)


2 Anita: (Ah, the lonely ellipsis. I used to do this sort of thing all the time. I don’t any more, right Steven?)(Not if you’re sending it to me, you don’t. You already owe me fourteen casks of whiskey.)



Panel Five


Anita’s hand has already picked up the bottle and already has began to pour the contents inside. (Into what? The hot mug? Why didn’t you say?)


No Copy.







Panel Six


Focus back to Anita, her expression is now darkened and looking quite cruel. (A cruel expression? What does that mean? I know what you’re trying to say, but cruel isn’t the right way of saying it.)


Note to letterer: This speech bubble will be for Anita’s private thoughts. (No. You already used captions for her internal monologue. Consistency.)


3 Anita: Well, a woman scorned… (What? She’s upset enough to consider a crime of passion, but reasonable enough to make a jape about it? This soup is dry!)



End Page Four


(There’s a distinct lack of dialogue on this page. Two silent panels and a single ellipsis. That internal monologue would fix this, and give us some insight into Anita’s process of thought. Use it.)


(I’m also not seeing the leap from “I want to jump at you naked” to “I want to poison you.” That’s a symptom from the lack of build up about the lunch I mentioned earlier.)




Remember last time, when Sam said he didn’t see the leap from “I love you” to “I want to poison you”? Liam has just said the same thing. Know what that means, right?


You haven’t learned.


That’s kinda hurtful to say. Not because of the time and effort that we put into this, but because you seem to be a guy who’s capable of learning. I don’t like saying that you haven’t learned, but the proof is in the pudding. It’s right there, for all to see.


You haven’t learned.


Since you haven’t learned, not putting in the effort that you should have, I’m going to continue to let Liam have his say, and then I’ll run it down. It’s only 2 more pages, anyway.

Page Five of Six

Six Panels


Panel One


Anita has now turned back towards Dr Sochs, her expression looking a bit more friendly.

Depending on the amount of space used in this panels, and considering the amount of panels on this page, Anita’s arms should be behind her back, trying to suggest innocence (if Dr Sochs had happened to be looking at her at this time).


1 Anita: Oh, Doctor? Don’t forget your coffee. (That’s a suspicious line if ever I heard one. It’s like when a villain poisons a drink and tells the hero to “drink up” with a sly smirk. It’s just clunky and awful. Find another, subtler way of getting Anita to have the doctor drink. Perhaps have her bring him a drink? Also, you said the stuff in the mug was a hot liquid. You didn’t specify coffee. The artist could’ve gone with anything. I’d have picked Bovril because I’m English and peculiar.)



Panel Two


Dr Sochs is now holding his mug, just short of drinking it. His expression betrays no hint of suspecting anything and remains as business-like as ever. The coffee isn’t as hot as it was earlier, the contents of the miniature bottle having cooled the coffee down. (How the hell are we supposed to tell that, short of having the artist draw in a thermometer. More important, why do we care what the temperature of the coffee is?


2 Dr Sochs: What would I do without you, Anita?



Panel Three


Dr Sochs has tipped his head back as he gulps down his coffee (I do this with Rooibos tea all the time, it’s awesome). (Great. How does that help the artist do their job? It helps them get you a birthday present but it doesn’t help them draw the comic a jot.)


3 SFX: glkglkglk (Urgh! Is he choking on it? A single gulp would suffice.)


(Who gulps down potentially scolding coffee? Between that and suspecting nothing about Anita’s insistence that he drinks, me thinks the doctor’s nay too bright.)


Panel Four


Dr Sochs has doubled over, his right arm holding his stomach and his left arm weakly supporting him on the workbench behind him (the one he was working from originally). His mug is in the midst of falling to the floor, the remainder of his “coffee” falling out of the mug. (Expression?)


4 Dr Sochs: hlllk! (What is this? Hlllk? That doesn’t tell me he’s in pain. Pick something else.)








Panel Five


Anita, looking extremely worried, is slightly bent over the now more huddled form of Dr Sochs. Anita’s hand is resting on his back, in a vain attempt to offer some comfort. (What’s Sochs doing?)


5 Anita: XAVIER!


6 Anita: What have I done to you?!


(She knows what she’s done to him. She did it a few moments ago. I’m not believing the reactions and actions of any of these characters.)



Panel Six


Dr Sochs has raised his body up a little bit. In this scene, there should be some hint of very gentle curves, but nothing to outwardly suggest anything out of the ordinary. (What can we actually see of Sochs? Just a bit of his back?)

Anita still has her hand resting on his back. (Expression?)


7 Dr Sochs: kaff kaff



End Page Five


(This has descended into an array of nonsense. Your characters aren’t acting like real people any more. I’m not believing it. Anita doesn’t have any motivation for crime except a missed lunch, and Doctor Sochs keeps his dangerous chemicals next to his refreshing beverages. Doesn’t the guy have a little bit of sense, being a doctor and all?)


(Even if this did make sense, this page is weak. You have no hook to speak of. There needs to be a suggestion that something is out of the ordinary. A shocked expression and some dialogue from Anita would suffice.)

Page Six of Six

Four Panels


Panel One


Tall panel and a fall body shot of the now obviously female Dr Sochs. She has exactly the same hairstyle, clothing and negative make-up. However, because she is tall and slender, she wouldn’t have “wonderboobs”. She’s built more like a supermodel.

As far as a pose goes, Dr Sochs is looking down in wonder at what has just happened.


1 Dr Sochs: Oh my god…


2 Dr Sochs: I did it. (Exclamation mark.)


3 Dr Sochs: I’m a woman… (Exclamation mark.)



Panel Two


Anita literally has a face that looks like she’s about to crumble. (Pet peeve time! No. She doesn’t “literally” have a face that looks like she’s about to crumble. Not unless she’s made out of biscuit.) (Or plaster.)It’s the saddest look ever seen. (What does that mean? And where’s Anita now? Place her in context to Sochs.)(Another thing Sam said previously.)


4 Anita: X-Xavier?


5 Anita: What does this mean?



Panel Three


This panel should be smaller than Panel Four as, in the context, this isn’t quite as important as the finish.


We’re seeing the back of Anita’s head as Dr Sochs has her arms wrapped around in the most friendly of hugs. Dr Sochs’ head is resting on Anita’s left shoulder and Sochs has her eyes closed with a warm smile. Anita’s arms haven’t returned the hug, but are being held out in a reluctant type of hug.


6 Dr Sochs: Now we can be best friends… (“Whereas beforehand my penis meant we couldn’t.” How does this make any sense?)









Panel Four


This is the 180 degree angle of the previous panel.


Anita is just about to start crying (She is or isn’t.), her arms still haven’t returned the hug from Dr Sochs.


7 Anita: But…


8 Anita: But I didn’t want thiiiiiiiiiis! (No, she wanted to be with him, that’s why she poisoned him. See what I mean? Nonsense. Also, why is she elongating her ‘i’? That just sounds weird.)



End Page Six



I don’t know what to say. Or even where to begin. This story is utter nonsense. I have so many questions to ask. Why did any of this happen? Why does Anita love Sochs? What was Sochs motivation for wanting to be a woman? Why did he keep the potentially dangerous solution next to his drink? Why did Anita not realize that pouring chemicals into someone’s drink would have a potentially undesirable effect? Why did you drag us through reception? There was just no build up to anything that happened. Anita’s motivation wasn’t justified as I mentioned earlier, and there was no clue as to Sochs’ research or experimentation.

Just what’re you trying to say with this story? That men and women can’t be best friends? That a lover scorned is a lover who might alter your gender? That Sochs has a flawed understanding of Health and Safety regulations? I don’t know. But that’s a good place to start with the rewrite. Yes. This’ll need a rewrite. Get us in quicker. Forgo the pointlessness of reception and stick us right into the story. Set up the character’s motivation. Have Anita’s internal monologue run throughout the entire comic, first expressing her anticipation of the lunch and how much it means to her, and then how she feels betrayed. You could get away with contrived stupidity in a cheesy, self-aware piece. But you’re trying to give depth and emotion to the characters in this, so it doesn’t add up.

As for the script itself, you’ve a big issue with needless information and thin descriptions. You’re focusing on trivial details like corridors, reception desks and drink temperatures but forgoing important stuff like drawable expressions and proper character placement. Only write what you want the artist to actually draw in the panel, and only write what can be drawn. A character’s motivation cannot be drawn, for instance, but you called for it a lot in this script.

I’m aware that this is already a rewrite, but that’s how writing goes. You write and you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and…

Keep at it.


And now it’s time for the breakdown…


(Sorry. Salt ‘n Pepa to EnVogue is an extremely short jump. Barely even a hop.)


Format: Flawless Victory!


Panel Descriptions: You didn’t learn. I mean, wow. There honestly wasn’t any learning to be had from first script to this one. The same type of panel descriptions that were more intent than actual things that can be drawn, the same non-placement of characters… It’s just a whole lotta non-learning. It’s sad, really.


Panel descriptions are for describing actions that can be drawn. You forgot that at times. Clean emotions. Remember that this is supposed to be drawn, not imagined in the mind, like a novel.


Pacing: ‘Orrible! Simply ‘orrible.


P1 is new, and is padding. Then there isn’t enough dialogue to slow the reader down and force them to stay on the page any longer than a few glances. That’s terrible. On top of that, none of the actions on the first four pages warrant the reader staying. The real action doesn’t happen until P5, and then P6 is supposed to be the punchline. There isn’t anything here to get us there, though.


There’s no buildup. How do you build something up? A combination of action and dialogue. The actions would have been fine if there was some dialogue to back it up. Since things basically just jump from one thing to another, the pacing is off.


Dialogue: Just like last time, there isn’t enough of it here.


The dropsies I spoke of before? Liam is very correct in stating that this piece would benefit from an internal monologue. A running patter, letting us know what she’s thinking and how she’s feeling. That would go a very long way.


The dialogue doesn’t do its job, simply because there isn’t a lot of it. Due to the lack of dialogue, what is there makes jumps in logic. It’s terrible. If you had more dialogue, you would have a better chance of the dialogue actually matching up and making sense. Instead, it makes leaps that makes one scratch one’s head. (And I’ll tell ya, I hate to itch.)


Content: Since not much really changed from last time to this, and since last time was crap, this has to be crap, too.


Everything that was said last week continues to be the same for this week: contrived and not funny, despite what you’re going for.


This still needs the oversight of an editor.


Okay, folks. How do you think Liam did? I think he did pretty well. I think he’ll be staying around, if he wants.


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


Like what you see? Sam and I are available for your editing needs. You can email Sam 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 for rate inquiries.

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