TPG Week 188: Nothing Good To Say

| August 1, 2014



Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds. This week brings us a new Brave One in Andrew Brinkley and co-writer Eric Parfait. Andrew is also an editor, which is something we don’t get too often here at TPG. Anyway, we have Steve Colle in blue, I’m in red, and we’ll see what Andrew brings us in


Luchadores VS


Before we begin, there are two things I vanna say. (Yes, vanna.) First, this isn’t going to go well. Not at all. You have been warned. Second, the font size on this was at 10. Was I expecting better from an editor? Yes, I was. I’m not going to be any different than usual, but I expected better. So, let’s get on with the show.


To begin, the formatting is frustrating in that you’ve used the space bar to indent everything save the page number. On top of that, you’re breaking up sentences in the panel descriptions and dialogue and placing it on different lines instead of letting it go across the written page and allowing the margins to do their jobs. Part of me is hoping it fixes itself when Steven posts it to the site, but the other half is hoping it doesn’t so others can see my frustration. Either way, this is NOT the way to set up your format, consistent or not.


Page 1


Panel 1 – Shot of a building, people filing in. (Talk about vague. What kind of building are we looking at here? Is it an office building? A museum? An outhouse? You’re creating an awfully big assumption that your artist is going to know EXACTLY what kind of building you’re looking for. Here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada [which is a BIG wrestling mecca thanks to the Hart Family and the popularity of Bret Hart and his siblings/in-laws], they have larger promotions such as the WWE presenting at major venues like the Saddledome and smaller [and much smaller] promotions having shows in community centers, school gyms, and anywhere else they can afford to rent [which isn’t saying much as the entry fee itself pays solely for the venue, not to pay the wrestlers]. You get the idea. That said, you need to be a helluva lot more specific. Something else you forgot to mention was the interior/exterior aspect of the shot, so we’re left wondering if people are going into the doors from outside or coming into the venue and we get a shot of the inside entrance. How far away is the shot? That’s something else to consider. Now, when you’re saying that people are filing in, just how many people are we talking about? A long lineup will show popularity of the event, while a few people gives a completely different message. What kinds of people? How are they dressed? Are they casual, in business attire, or are they in military garb? Give us more to work from. And just as an aside, did you notice how much I’ve written and the questions I’ve asked based solely on your seven-word opening sentence? Speaks volumes unto itself, doesn’t it?) On the wall

is plastered a sign for “Lucha Libre.” (First of all, the word plastered denotes to me that there is more than just one poster or sign, that the wall is completely covered in them. Watch your words. And though I know what Lucha Libre is, is your artist going to know? Are there images on the sign or just the words Lucha Libre ? See the problems vagueness causes?) It is a classic

wrestling poster. (When you say it’s a classic wrestling poster, what are you implying? Are you saying the time period of the setting is classic, that the story is taking place in the 70’s, for example? And what does a classic poster look like? Could you have provided the artist with a link to an example or included a reference photo? Damned right! So you’ve given the artist absolutely nothing to draw from. I feel sorry for whoever attempts to draw this because not only are they going to be confused, but more than likely, they’ll end up having to redraw the image [and subsequent pages, if this is what they have to look forward to] because they aren’t getting it quite right . And the fault is all yours, my friend.) Everything looks exciting and lively. (How do you expect the artist to convey this? I can’t even visualize it in my OWN head. Think about it: When you go to a wrestling event, or even watch one on TV, is the crowd going wild as they enter the building? No. Are they going wild when the matches haven’t even started? No. The only time they look excited is when a major, fleeting action has taken place, something that causes a sudden shock or surprise. Exciting and lively ? Uh no.)


Because I’ve written so much up top, I’m going to post what you had written in one complete, uninterrupted version to make it easier for those reading these edits to digest: Shot of a building, people filing in. On the wall is plastered a sign for “Lucha Libre.” It is a classic wrestling poster. Everything looks exciting and lively. Are you seeing any issues, folks?


Panel 2 – A locker room. Two luchadores are looking

everywhere. (First issue: What does the locker room look like? Remember that the venue, which you have yet to establish, will dictate what the locker room will look like. And consider that if it’s in a community center, that the wrestlers will either be changing in a rented room without lockers or will be changing in the washrooms, which will also have no lockers to speak of. Next issue: How do we know they are luchadores without their masks on? Is a mask-less wrestler a luchadore? You tell me. Final issue [on my part]: When you say they are looking everywhere , we are only seeing them looking in one location each in this image. It’s a still shot without the movement required for looking everywhere . Don’t create a moving panel.)



“It’s not here either! I thought

you said you had this! Where’s the

bag? We can’t go out there without

our masks on!” (A lot of things going on here. First of all, either in the first sentence gives us the impression they have looked elsewhere, but there has been no previous indication of this. If you had gone with It’s not here! , then it would have set things up better. And just as an aside, I would have put the It’s not here! in all caps and would have placed it in a caption with quotation marks [as a voice over] in your first panel on this page. That way, it would have set up a dual purpose to the comment: Is it an attendee saying they went to the wrong venue, or is it leading into a follow up comment in the next frame? It would have also brought the reader in right off the bat with a panic statement, an emotion grabber. Next, you say this in the second sentence, but what is he referring to? If he’s referring to this , does he therefore have it in his hand already and is pointing to it? It would be a more appropriate word. Finally, this is wordy for nothing. Get to the point with IT’S NOT HERE! Where’s the bag?! You said you had it! WE NEED OUR MASKS, MAN!! It shows panic, gets to the point, and shows what it is they’re looking for so desperately. Comic scripting is about deliberateness. Plan out the reasoning for doing what you’re doing and you’ll get a better reaction from your reader in the end. AND I forgot to mention that you don’t put quotation marks around dialogue in a balloon unless it’s verbatim speech recited from a previous source.)(If you didn’t mention the last part, I would have. Don’t think you’ve escaped just yet, Andrew.)


Panel 3 – Establishing shot of El Pollo Diablo and Vertigo. (This isn’t an establishing shot. First of all, you already introduced these two guys in the previous panel, so you aren’t introducing them here. Second, an establishing shot establishes the location of the scene, while an introduction presents the first appearance of the character(s) in the story. A big difference exists in the terminology. Next, I really hope you’re giving the artist something to work with as a separate document describing these two wrestlers. Finally, what are they doing in this shot? Give us an action to draw from.)

This is the last time we’ll see them without the masks on. (This sentence is completely unnecessary. Who cares? Spend more time writing details that will actually get the job done.)



“Look, I know it was here. One of

the guys must have hidden it as a

goof. It’s around here somewhere.”


Panel 4 – Vertigo, standing on a bench, spies an old duffel

bag crammed up at the top of one of the tall lockers. It’s

dusty and obviously undisturbed for a long time.(How is the artist supposed to portray this in a manner that the reader will understand? More than likely by adding some spiderwebs. The dust? That’s going to be on the colorist.)



“Is that it? I think I see it!” (So, what you’re telling us is that he sees a bag that looks like it’s been there for a while, having dust on it, and may just look like the exact same bag they came in with? And how far away from the bag is he when he sees it? If he’s far away and can’t identify it as theirs, then how can he see the dust on it?)


Panel 5 – Vertigo jumps up and grabs the bag. (Is he jumping up from the bench or from the floor? If it’s from the floor, when did he get down from the bench? If from the bench, would he need to jump? And where is your camera in this shot? What is more important in this shot, the fact he has jumped to reach it [a long shot] or a shot of the bag [close-up]? And finally, why is there no dialogue in this panel?)(Moving panel.)


Panel 6 – Shot of them opening up the musty old bag. Inside

is are two lucha masks and a bunch of nasty old clothes. (Two actions here: Opening the bag and looking in. You can’t have it both ways unless the bag is already opened in this shot or you divide this into two panels. Two panels would lengthen the pace of the scene, which seriously wouldn’t be warranted, so get straight to the goods.)



“This is definitely not ours.” (I have to say this: NO DUH!! It’s an undisturbed bag, so how would the guys have gotten these guys’ property into the bag without disturbing the dust? This is a no brainer.)



“And their opponents…” (In this dialogue, which should be coming from off panel and not in a voice over, by the way, are you insinuating that these guys are up next? First off, when did the show start? Didn’t we just have people coming into the building? Next, there is no lead in. We didn’t hear the announcer prior to this [which is funny as we can hear him now, for some strange reason ] stating the event had started or that a match was about to happen.)



“Welp, it IS tonight.” (Were you trying to say Well instead of Welp ? Slight misspelling, don’t you think?)(No. That was intentional. I understood it, and have no problem with it. I’d have a problem if he had said whelp. This usage is correct.)


I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time on a first page before. I can’t even imagine what percentage of the above text is mine compared to the actual script. Not a good start whatsoever.


A big problem at the end is the reveal that they are going to go out to the ring with masks that are not their own. Identity is everything to a luchadore and to the audience who recognize them for that role. Yes, Mil Mascaras was the man of a thousand masks, but he was recognized as such. That was his persona. These guys here? You’ve just told us all that this is a nowhere promotion, where even the wrestlers don’t care about identity. Here, the announcer is going to present them and the crowd is going to ask who the hell these guys are. You’ve destroyed the credibility of your characters.


We finally have P1 on the books!


It’s not looking good for our hero, folks. To be perfectly honest (as though I’m ever anything but), there is a lot of bad writing here.


Let’s deal with the formatting issue: Using the space bar to do the indenting is the mark of a rank amateur. This is a sign of a writer that doesn’t know how to use their tools. As an editor, I find that to be unacceptable. As an editor editing another editor…I really don’t have anything good to say. I’m going to talk a lot about this in the rundown.


Anyway, the panel descriptions need a lot of love and attention. These are bad: vague to the point of uselessness, with one or two moving panels in there to boot. It isn’t good.


The dialogue! I’m not going to go over what was said, because Steve did a very good job of that, but instead I want to talk about how it was done.


Quotation marks are not used in dialogue, unless you’re quoting something or someone, or you’re trying to do something special with it, like I just did. Even then, you’re usually going to use a stressor instead of quotes. (See what I just did? Sly, right?)


So, we’ve got two people talking, and neither one of them uses the name of the other. How is the reader supposed to know who is who? We should have gotten at least one name out of this. Instead, we’ve got two nameless characters in a panic, looking for their masks.


This is not good. This means your characters are totally unprepared. If their masks are their personality and their livelihood, how could they lose them? Or leave them to another to take care of? I mean, it’s a mask—how difficult is it to carry around? It’s not like it’s cumbersome. It just doesn’t make sense.


And since it doesn’t make sense, I’m going to call this forced. This is an action you’re forcing on the characters as the writer, because you need that as the inciting incident in order to get the story moving. The problem is that it rings false. Either that, or they’re terrible at their jobs and they should stop now.



Page 2 (No page break. Even more formatting issues.)(And thus, the flawless victory goes down the tubes.)


Panel 1 – Full page shot of El Pollo Diablo and Vertigo in

full gimmick. (They aren’t El Pollo Diablo and Vertigo anymore, are they? They are the characters from the bag, so stop referring to them by their wrestler names. You may as well call them Joe and Bob at this point. And it isn’t that I’m such a wrestling fan that I actually care about these kinds of details, but as an editor, I sure as hell want to make sure the readers get the real deal.) The crowd is booing. They look like total

assholes. (I honestly don’t get this visual you’re offering. How do you draw them as assholes? More so, you are basing this solely on appearance, as you don’t have them acting. And even if they were acting, what does an asshole look like? Entirely subjective, so you couldn’t tell your artist he’s wrong, could you?) They are wearing the masks from the bag.


What makes this worthy of a full page to itself? If it’s solely because you’ve paced out a page turn, then you’re wrong. You’ve done nothing to follow up their introduction that you (apparently) started on the previous page, you’ve ruined the pacing by having the announcer have to wait to announce the actual wrestlers upon their exit from behind the curtains, you don’t EVEN announce them when they come out, leaving a page full of nothing more than booing, and then you give no details to the artist on what it is he/she is supposed to draw. I’m seriously frustrated with how poorly this is delivered. Forget the fact that the story isn’t any good so far: You aren’t doing your part of the creative process. How can you honestly expect an artist to take you seriously when they have to do an Oliver Twist and say Please sir, I want some more . I’m at a loss, and I’m only on Page Two.


Page twooooooo!


This has officially delved into the crap stage. Just to make sure everyone knows.


So, if the wrestlers are getting booed…where exactly are they? You didn’t say, so I can literally pt them anywhere, and there’s nothing you can say to gainsay me. I could put them on the moon, and what could you do? I could say they’re up the ass of a giant spider. I could say that they’re bent over, being anally served by polar bears in Antarctica. What can you say? Nothing, because you didn’t place them anywhere on this page. There’s a crowd booing…but why? They haven’t even been announced.


The ring announcer? What happened to them?


Here’s what you did: you had the announcer come in with the beginning of an introduction, and then you have this huge page where they don’t say anything. The announcer doesn’t say who they are, the wrestlers aren’t placed anywhere on the page because you didn’t do anything in regards to a setting, and you have a crowd booing (how do we know?) for unknown reasons.


This is terrible. This is not a splash page. This is a the whisper of a suggestion, but no one can hear it because you’re speaking too softly. You’ve got to speak up by actually doing your job. You failed to do anything close to what the writer’s job is on this page.


Congratulations. You killed all interest in this story right on this page.




Page 3 (No page break, though you have gone the extra mile of hitting the RETURN key a few more times )


Panel 1 – Their opponents are giant, musclebound wrestlers

that look extremely pissed. (There are a few things that I have issue with here. To begin with, you say they are giants, but you don’t give an idea of size comparison to your two main characters. Next, do you know what muscle bound means? It’s a term to describe a person who lacks flexibility in their musculature, making them unable to gain a full range of motion. As an example, a long time ago, Lou Ferrigno was in a competition with other notable celebrities of the time and one game was to hit a baseball. Most people thought he was muscle bound and wouldn’t be able to even swing the bat, let alone hit the ball. Well, he ended up hitting a home run, showing he had the dexterity to do the job. Can these guys move fluidly or are they stiff? (I get it, but really, this is a nit that you’re picking. It’s a euphemism.) It doesn’t make sense to have a stiff wrestler, I’ll tell you that. Finally, you’re saying that they look pissed. Excuse me? What does that mean? Again, you’re using terms that are so far from actual visual description that your artist is going to have an aneurism. If you were a director telling an actor to look pissed, how would you determine if they are getting it right? Whose version of pissed is right? And adding to those issues, you aren’t establishing what the setting is like or where your camera is. This is failing to do your due diligence and create a story for your artist to draw.)



“Remember not to get too much…” (Double dash instead of ellipsis marks here. And by the way, where are your two main characters in this image? Are they off panel? If so, then this is an off panel speech and should have the tail to the balloon trailing off frame.)


Panel 2 – Vertigo has one of the brutes in an arm bar

already. (When did they confront one another? When did Vertigo get in the ring or the other guy come out?) The big guy is screaming in legit pain. (I seriously hate the legit pain comment. How can you tell the difference between acting for the benefit of the crowd and the wrestler actually being in pain? Has the referee intervened with their arms crossed in an X formation? It’s ridiculous!) Vertigo

looks confused. (I don’t get this. First of all, how do you show a guy in a mask looking confused? Body language is limited because he has his opponent in an arm bar [to which I’m still wondering when they actually clashed]. It seems like you’re trying to direct a film instead of telling an artist to draw still images. This isn’t comics.)




DOING?” (Because you’ve written this in caps, I’m getting the impression that he’s yelling it out, but you don’t have an exclamation mark after the question mark. You should. Also, I have to repeat your question here: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!!!! THIS IS TERRIBLE! You aren’t setting things up. You’re rushing in to get this part of the story out of the way so you can get to the real story . As for the dialogue, get the offense out of there and stick with the interrupted dialogue from the previous panel and go straight into WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Either way, you haven’t written the dialogue here the proper way. If you were going to keep the offense , you would have it written as offense. And then, in a separate, connected balloon, you’d have WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Definitely a better way to present it.)



“I don’t know!”


Panel 3 – Diablo gets in the ring. (What’s the crowd reaction?)



“We’re not supposed to…” (Double dash instead of ellipsis marks.)


Panel 4 – Other big guy charges Diablo. (What’s the crowd reaction?)


Panel 5 – Diablo responds with a dropkick.


Panel 6 – Diablo, shocked in the ring. Vertigo   can be seen

in the background with the other guy locked in some

different, elaborate submission. (Take a look on YouTube. You’ll see a bunch of different, elaborate submissions to choose from. Saying it’s different is a cop out. Put more effort into your artist direction.)(I’m actually okay with this. It gives the artist some freedom instead of being an artmonkey. There are more things wrong here than to hark on this.) He’s tapping out. (Why did you put the submission in the background instead of having it the focus in the image? Doesn’t it make more sense to show this supposedly impossible finish to the match in the foreground?)



“Where the hell did that come

from?” (What is he talking about? His dropkick or the submission hold his partner has just done? You don’t provide any direction as to which answer this will be visually. Let’s put it this way: A dropkick being a surprise move that warrants a Where the hell did that come from? is pretty freakin’ stupid as it’s a basic move any pro wrestler should be capable of performing. Are the two masked wrestlers so amateurish that anything will seem out of the ordinary? Come on )


Panel 7 – The ref very confusedly raises Diablo and

Vertigo’s hands. The crowd boos like crazy. Diablo and

Vertigo look dumbfounded. One opponent is sprawled out on

the mat. (Feigning unconsciousness?) The other is outside the ring where he landed

from the dropkick. (So here we find out that the dropkick landed the other guy outside onto the floor. Why didn’t you have him being knocked through the ropes in the 5th panel?)


Oh my GOD! There is so much wrong with this page, it isn’t funny. Where’s the dialogue? Why can we hear some speech, but not all of it? Why aren’t the masked wrestlers announced as the winners? Why is the action so damned boring if it’s supposed to be an upset victory? And through all of this, did you realize you STILL haven’t named your characters to the reader?


Page 3.


This is terrible. I know, I know, I’ve already called it crap, but this is terrible on top of being crap.


It’s P3. Know what we have for an excuse that something isn’t right? Dialogue that doesn’t make much sense. How is the reader supposed to know what’s going on, and that something isn’t right? The dialogue is supposed to enlighten, not confuse. And that’s what’s happening here.


Besides the fact that the wrestling doesn’t make sense—no getting into the ring from both parties, no clench, nothing to say either way about how they got to where they are—the dialogue doesn’t illuminate anything that’s on the page. What’s unusual? I don’t know. Know why I don’t know? Because there was no baseline set for this.


The reader knows nothing about their wrestling prowess. So we don’t know what’s strange or out of place at all. They’re just going through the moves, and the reader has no knowledge. That’s not a good place for the reader to start.





Page 4 (Another missing page break, even missing the extra spacing accorded the previous page change. I can’t even say you’re consistent.)


Panel 1 – Long shot of Diablo and Vertigo running out of the

arena. Management, wrestlers, and audience members are

chasing them. They’re headed toward their shitty car. (So, we finally find out that it’s an arena. It’s Page Four and we’re finding this out now. We still don’t know what the outdoor surroundings look like, such as it being a city or small town. We are also introduced to the fact that there is a shitty car somewhere in the shot, but this, too, wasn’t established before to show proximity to the building . And though I can appreciate you having the entire occupancy of the arena being emptied out as they chase after your main characters, we have no idea of just how many you’re talking about. We’ve discovered that it’s a small promotion event, but you also have people, such as other wrestlers who were nowhere to be found in other shots [making it seem like the only match of the event was the short lived one between four competitors], chasing after them. That’s convenient, and not the least bit comedic as you seem to be attempting. That’s a fail.)


Panel 2 – Shot of both of them in the car. Diablo is

driving. (How did they get in the car? Is the car already in motion? Are the people chasing them in the shot, being left in the dust, so to speak? Details, man.)(And they just happened to have left the keys in the ignition? Or was it in their pocket. Do wrestling outfits even have pockets to place the keys as they wrestle? Wouldn’t that hurt during a power slam or something? Jane Austen, this is not. There is no sense or sensibility here.)



“Well (Missing comma) this is just perfect. I

couldn’t think of a better comeback

match…” (A comeback match? Are you shitting me?? You’ve shown both of these guys to be complete idiots and disasters, and yet it’s a comeback match ??? I’ve officially lost brain cells trying to make sense of this nonsense.)(See?)



“Calm down, (Period instead of a comma) We made it out of




“Yeah, without getting paid!”


Panel 3 – Shot of Vertigo. (What kind of shot? You can’t expect the artist to read your mind.)(What’s he doing?)



“I’m sure your dad will get over

it. There was only like, what, a

hundred people there?” (Seriously? A hundred?? Riiiight )(17)


DIABLO (Because it’s a shot of Vertigo, this has to be an off panel speech.)

“That’s not the point! This was

supposed to be my re-entry to the

business. My second shot at proving

to my father that I can carry the

family gimmick.” (Yeah. Epic fail on two counts, it seems )(Anyone else feel like this is terrible, terrible dialogue? Also, 29 words here, added to the other 17 puts this panel at 46 words. Too wordy in this panel.)


Panel 4 – Shot of Diablo. (What kind of shot?)


VERTIGO (Now it’s a shot of Vertigo with Diablo’s dialogue needing to come from off panel.)

“You will, (Period instead of a comma) You’ve just gotta find

something that works for you in the

meantime. This new thing he gave

you is…UGH…This mask smells

like old horse ass!”  (What new thing did his father give him? You cut off something that could have been important to the story and, in the event that it wasn’t important, then why bother mentioning it to begin with? Next, there should have been a break in the dialogue in this balloon. The rewrite should look like this: This new thing he gave you is– and then, in a separate balloon, UGH! This mask smells like old horse ass! In reality, the dialogue is bad, but working with what you have, that’s how it should be laid out.)(29 words in this balloon.)


Panel 5 – Shot of Vertigo trying to take off the mask. (How is he trying to take it off? Casually? Panicked? And you know, we never found out if the masks cover their entire faces or if the eyes, nose and mouth sections are open.)



“I’ve just gotta…what the…Why

won’t this mask come off?” (This is poorly written. Not only is the dialogue bad, but the way it’s laid out is wrong as well. You seem to think that running the dialogue with ellipsis marks will do the job, but you’re wrong. Let’s say we were to keep what you’ve written. It should be laid out as I’ve just gotta– and then move to a connected balloon with What th–? Why won’t this mask come off?! But given that the dialogue needs to change, it should just be one balloon stating something like HEY! WHY WON’T THIS MASK COME OFF?! Show his panic. Now, I do have to ask: Why is he only noticing the smell now instead of when they first put the masks on? This is just another area that makes no sense.)


Panel 6 – Pissed off Diablo. (How do you show pissed off ? How angry is this? Annoyed? Enraged? Choose words that are more descriptive of a degree of an emotion.)



“Who cares? All I care about is… (This tells me he isn’t anything more than simply annoyed. And man, is this ever weak! This also should have a double dash and not an ellipsis at the end.)

Car sputters. (This is damned lazy. You don’t even have this direction on its own double spaced line. It isn’t part of Diablo’s dialogue, so why have it attached, directly underneath? That said, and even more important, is the fact that you haven’t even given the letterer a sound effect to write out. It’s your job to provide them this information, not for them to imagine it. What this results in is another line of multiple attempts to get it just right , just like the artist is obligated to do due to vague panel descriptions. What pisses me off is that it will seem okay on your part for the other creators to do all of this extra work just to satisfy an exact look which you haven’t properly directed them on in the first place. DO YOUR JOB!!!)(Another place where you have a format failure.)


Panel 7 – Flashing E on fuel tank.   (First of all, is this a close-up of the gauge? Second, if it’s a shitty car, will it have this kind of readout or will the gas gauge simply have the needle below the empty line?)(Third, this is a moving panel. It is impossible to show a flashing anything in a single panel.)


DIABLO (I’m assuming that Diablo isn’t in the shot, so this becomes off panel dialogue.)



Perfect? Not on your life. A perfect place to stop before I start swearing profusely, out loud and on this document? Yeah. I’m so done. I can’t go any further. It’s 2 AM and I’ve been at this far longer than I should have, getting not only annoyed not only frustrated not only angry but ENRAGED at how little you seem to care about the others in the creative process. The story itself is absolutely terrible, going nowhere fast and creating an unrealistic look at the world of pro wrestling, especially on the world and plight of small promotions to provide an entertaining show to any who are willing to give them a chance. You don’t seem to understand what you’re writing about and it shows. You don’t understand the importance of identity to a luchadore. You race through the opening pages like they are filler leading to the real story, which I honestly don’t have the patience at this point to attempt examining. You either need to re-evaluate your whole direction of using luchadores as your characters and wrestling as your situation or get your ass in gear and do proper research. Then, start caring about your creative team by giving them what they need. Structurally, you seem to have the pages end on a proper hook, but just because the hook is there doesn’t mean that you’ve done your job. More dialogue. Name your characters in the actual story and not just as script direction, as otherwise, the reader will never be privy to the information. That’s all for now. Take it away, Mr. Forbes. PL-L-L-L-EEEEEEASE?!


Remember when I said this was crap, as of P2? Let’s just keep that in mind as I run this down.


Format: You tried for a format, but with no page breaks, a leftover tagalong of what could have been another panel are enough to lose the Flawless Victory. However, when you combine that with the literal spacing out of the elements… This is terrible, and you should know how to use your tools. I mean, damn, not even a tab?


Panel Descriptions: These are terrible. You didn’t come anywhere close to doing your job as a writer. Some are so vague as to be useless, like P2. Again, for those that don’t remember, that’s a splash page, but has no useful information for the artist. Then there are moving panels, which only leaves a few panels that can actually be drawn.


Pacing: Because there aren’t many places where there are good panel descriptions, the pacing is damaged. Let’s assume, for instance, that P2 takes place inside the ring. How did they get there? Teleportation? No idea, right? That’s a pacing problem. I don’t mind them rushing out of the arena and into their car. That jump is fine. When did they get the keys? Exactly.


And then that back and forth in the car… That was a clunky information dump. Seven or eight panels, and too wordy. Fun, right?


Dialogue: I have nothing good to say about the dialogue.


To start, it’s terrible. And by terrible, I mean really, really not good. There isn’t enough dialogue to really carry what’s going on in the story, and then it gets clunky near the end of the excerpt. Wait, clunky is the wrong word. Chunky. That’s better. As in blowing chunks. As in, vomit-inducing.


The first question is why is the dialogue all in quotation marks? What’s that all about?


What happened to the punctuation? There are definite punctuation problems with this.


The dialogue doesn’t do its job in telling the reader what’s going on, and when you do, it is in a manner that doesn’t bode well for your dialogue writing prowess. I mean, you pissed off Steve. Do you have any idea of how challenging that is to do?


Oh! I do have one good thing to say: there were no spelling errors that called out to me.


Content: This is crap. I’ve said it before, so this is nothing new. As a reader, I’d be keeping far and away from this after seeing those first few pages. It really makes no sense, not even internally.


Now, if you all thought you were going to get away without getting a story from me, you were almost right.


A few years ago on Digital Webbing, I had my own version of a stalker. This guy would follow me around, call me a shitty writer and an even worse editor…and he had never worked with me. He called me a shyster, a crook, and a thief, saying that I was bilking creators out of their hard-earned money. And the guy was relentless. I


t was sad, really. I’ve worked hard, and everyone I’ve ever worked with got the best help that I could provide. There were lots of examples of me going over scripts in the forum before I ever started doing TPG. I charged a fair price for my services, but didn’t charge more than my experience. It was very—and continue to be—very conscientious.


What does any of that have to do with this script?


Andrew came to me and introduced himself to me as a freelance editor in the comics field.


What do you say to someone who says, Hi, I’m an editor, and I’d like you to look at my stuff, who then hands you what amounts to a pile of crap?


Freelance means you’re getting paid, and I’m sorry to say, but if anyone has paid Andrew for his services, they’ve been bilked. I don’t like to say it, but I have no choice. If the proof is in the pudding, then all that needs to happen is for this to be read by anyone.


If this is what Andrew finds acceptable as an editor, and he wrote this, or co-wrote it, then the only thing that really need to be said are that this is bad and that Andrew doesn’t know how to do his job as an editor or a writer in any way, shape, form, or fashion.


Very often, when I talk of editing, I talk about creators getting a competent editor to work with them. I don’t care if I’m hired or not, just as long as a competent editor is onboard to help. I consider myself a competent editor, but I know that there is still a lot for me to learn. However, as a writer and an editor, I at least know how to use my tools. I know the basics of how to tell a story in the medium. There’s none of that on display here with Andrew.


Editorially, this needs a complete rewrite. A conversation needs to be had between the writer and the editor to see what the writer wants and what effect they want to have on the reader. After that conversation, a plot should be written and given to the editor, which is basically just a breakdown of the issue by scenes. After that has been approved, the script. All of this should happen after the writer(s) study how to tell a story in the medium. Knowledge of how to do so isn’t evident in this script.


As I said in the beginning, I expected better.


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


Like what you see? Steve and Sam are available for your editing needs. You can email Steve here and Sam here. My info is 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 for rate inquiries.

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