TPG Week 42: Content, Content, Content!

| October 14, 2011 | 16 Comments



Hello, one and all! Today we have another new Brave One in the form of Talisha Harrison. Let’s see what she has to bring us in

Tzedek Time to Save a Life

Page 1

Panel 1 It’s a rainy windy late Friday evening in Chicago. Watching the EL trains pass by the Chicago Sun’s building from the eight story ledge is our heroine Tzedek. She wears a blue and white spandex costume with blue boots and a blue and white gloves. A blue domino mask covers her black eyes and face. Her black curly hair with white-bluish streaks running throughout runs down her back. (Already, I’m unhappy. I’m looking at the page, and everything is bunched up, right under one another. There aren’t any spaces between the elements. That makes for an unappealing read. Second, we have a panel description that doesn’t do much while saying a lot. Why does it say a lot? Because most of it is describing the heroine, which is going to be done before the artist puts pencil to page. So it is extremely unnecessary here. Third, we have a When, we have a Where, we have a What, and we have a Who. Technically, this is everything that is needed for a panel description. However, we don’t have a camera angle. Are we behind her, looking down? Is the train directly across from her? What? I don’t know, and neither does your artist. Throw them a bone. At least tell them how she’s posed. Is she standing or crouched, or does she have one foot up on the ledge? So many possibilities. You could have done more with what you have here.)

SFX(WIND): Whoosh (Is this wind from the train, or just a gust? The thing about sfx is that once you start doing them, then you almost have to do it all the time. I suggest saving it until it is needed.)

Caption: To save a life. You can break Shabbat in order to save a life…

Panel 2 Tzedek jumps down from the building to a bridge below. (I’m in a white void. What does the bridge span? Are there cars on it? People? Is she at the beginning, middle, or end of her jump? Is the camera near or pulled out? Hopefully, Talisha, you provide the artist with good reference, or else they’re going to be asking you a LOT of questions.)

Caption: That’s what I intend to do.

Panel 3 Tzedek jumps up from the bridge to a moving EL train. (I’m not going to call this a moving panel. I take it that she has some form of super strength in order to survive the first jump and to make the second. I’m not even going to call the bridge magically delicious, although I probably should. A lot of that depends on the angle the artist goes for in panel 1. No, I’m going to call it magically delicious, because right now, the bridge is important, and you want to set up all the important things as soon as possible.)

Caption: But first, I need some information.

Panel 4 Now on top of the moving train, Tzedek begins to walk towards the car door. (Yup. That makes sense. Because train doors are always on the top of the train. No, Talisha. Write exactly what you mean. Don’t leave it to the artist to try to infer what you mean.)

Caption: And I know just where to get it. (What I’ve never liked about internal monologues is one simple question: who is the character talking to? I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer to that question. It is a convention of noir detectives, so it is expected there. Here? Who’s she talking to?)

Panel 5 Tzedek arrives at the car entrance and prepares to jump down to the small platform at the back of the train car where the car door is. (See that? THAT is saying what you mean. However, this is a wasted panel. Why have her stop? She could have just jumped down in this panel.)

Caption: My contact rides this line on a daily basis. It’s also where he does a lot of his business.

Panel 6 Tzedek now by the car door prepares to go inside the train car. (So, she prepares last panel, and in this panel, she’s opening the door. Something is missing in the middle. This is a very large cut in Border Time. You wouldn’t have this problem if you had her jump down last panel.)

Caption: Funny thing, my contact isn’t expecting me. He doesn’t even know he’s my contact. (Hm.)

Caption: Hell, most of my contacts don’t even know they’re my contacts. (I’d remove the word even here.)

Now, do you see how that looks? All bunched up and ugly? Didn’t want to read it, did you? Remember, put a line between all of your elements. I’ll space it out from here, though. No one else will have to suffer.

Page 2 (Page break)

Panel 1 Now inside the train car, Tzedek is looking right at two guys who are seated across from each other by the exit doors. On Tzedek’s left is guy #1. He’s White, dressed in a business suit. There’s a black briefcase on his lap. On Tzedek’s right is guy #2. He’s black has conrolls and wears a Chicago Bears jersey with black baggy jeans and white sneakers. He has a cell phone in his right hand. Both are looking back at Tzedek with surprised, nervous epxressions. No one else is in this train car. (Either surprised or nervous, but not both. The artist won’t be able to show both. Pick one and roll with it.)

Caption: I love surprises.


BOTH MEN (SIMONTANEOUSLY AND NERVOUSLY): NOTHING. (This isn’t how you show nervousness. Not with a single word. You show nervousness with a stammer. And it is unrealistic for both men to stammer the same word at the same time, so having them speak simultaneously isn’t going to work, either.)

Panel 2 Still standing with arms crossed and a grin on her face, Tzedek continues to stare the men down. The men are fidgeting nervously as they eye her back. Guy #1 starts to get up from his seat as he looks towards the train door. Tzedek touches him on his right shoulder. (Yannick. I know you’re foaming at the mouth for this one. Go for it.)





SFX (CELL PHONE RINGING): ‘LMAFO PARTY rOCK’ (This isn’t much of a sound effect. Yannick will go over why this might not even show up in this panel, if he does what I think he’s going to do up top.)

Panel 3 Now fully standing and towering over Tzedek, Uri has his briefcas in his right hand. Tzedek has her left hand on the briefcase.


URI (NERVOUSLY): NOTHING. NOW I HAVE TO GO! (How is this going to be show to be nervous?)


Panel 4 Tzedek and Uri are now playing tug of war with the case as Guy #2 looks while on his cell. (Tug of war? Really? This is a woman who jumped down from a ledge, onto a bridge, and then jumped up to land on top of a moving train. Unless Uri also has superhuman strength, and unless the briefcase is made of superior materials, I’m not seeing how she’s even struggling to take it from him.)

URI: LET GO OF IT WITCH!!!! (Comma-fail.)



Panel 5 Tzedek and Uri continue to play tug o war with the case as guy #2 gets up to leave. Tzedek’s head is turned towards him. (This makes no sense. So, Spider-Man has the proportionate strength of a spider, right? Sometimes he can lift a ton, maybe a ton and a half, and others, he has trouble lifting a VW Bug. At least that is an inconsistency from writer to writer. You’re having an inconsistency from one page to the next, on something that should have been worked out already. Not good, Talisha. Not good at all.)

SFX(GUY#2 Laughing on the phone): HAH HAH HAH, I KNOW RIGHT! (This is not a sound effect. This is dialogue. That’s first. Second, this is EXTREMELY unrealistic. He just gets up and walks away, talking on his phone? No. This is bad storytelling.)

Caption: Dude’s a user-small fish. No worries, I’ll get him later. (This works better as four sentences. Every place you have a punctuation mark should be a period. Oh, and the dash? That should be an em-dash. It needs to be longer to denote the longer pause. The single dash is telling us that the fish is user-small. See the difference?)

SFX (RIPPING OF THE CASE): RIPPPP (This? This is a true sound effect. The bad part, though, is that you emphasized the PPPP instead of the RRRR.)

Panel 6 The train doors have just shut behind guy #2 . Tzedek and Uri have stopped playing tug O war as the now lies on the floor with one side (Tzedek’s) ripped opened. There are different color plastic patches spread all over the floor. Both Tzedek and Uri are looking down. (I’m assuming the camera is behind the hero and bad guy? That’s the only way to see the car door close. Why it’s important, though, is beyond me. There are bigger fishes to fry.)

SFX: TRAIN CAR DOORS SHUTTING (This isn’t a sound effect. Well, it is, if you’re looking for comedy. Skullkickers is doing an excellent job with humorous sound effects. It helps set the book apart. You’re not going for comedy here. Put in a real sound effect.)

Caption: Drug patches-cocaine, marijuana, and meth ones. (Oh, this just got un-good, with one word. Ones. Take that out, and this isn’t half bad. Just fix the dash.)

URI: @%?!

TZEDEK (MICKING RICKY RICARDO) URI! YOU’VE GOT SOME EXPLAINING TO DO! (If she’s going to have him imitate Ricky, what do you think she really should have done, Kyle? And why?)

Page 3 (Page break.)

Panel 1 Moments later…outside the train car: Tzedek has Uri’s head bent down close by the tracks as the train speeds down the tracks. (I can get behind this rather large jump in Border Time. I think she wasted time, though, in the tug-of-war thing. If she’s looking for info, what is she doing playing footsies with him?)


TZEDEK: YOU’RE NOT A GOOD LIAR URI. I COULD DO THIS ALL DAY. WHAT ABOUT YOU, YOU’VE GOT ALL DAY? (Comma-fail, first sentence. The last sentence doesn’t need a comma, it needs another question mark.)

Panel 2 Tzedek slams Uri’s head on the tracks. (Unless he’s superhuman, this could potentially kill him. At the very least, some skull may be showing through his forehead. Remember, this is a moving train. Are you sure this is an action you want her to perform?)

SFX (URI): AAAAH! (While this could be a sound effect, I’d rather it not be. It works better in a word balloon.)

Caption: The clock’s ticking and I need answers. (No, it isn’t. If the clock were ticking, she would have come right out and asked him her questions, instead of playing footsies with his briefcase. She wasted her own time. Why does poor Uri have to pay for it? Also notice, she has yet to ask him a question. I’m hoping that is deliberate. I’m thinking it isn’t, though.)

Panel 3 Tzedek has brought Uri’s head back up from the tracks. Blood is dripping down his face. He has a terrified expression. (I’m thinking it will be more than a little bit of blood dripping down his face.)



URI: THE BEAKER’S GANG’S HOLD UP IN A HOUSE NOT FAR FROM THE UNIVERSITY. (And here is where writers are separated from those just trying to tell a story. Spellcheck is your friend, but it is not infallible. And for some programs, spellcheck ignores words in all caps unless you tell it to look at those, too. You meant holed up , as in to hide, and not hold up which means to lift up or to rob.)

Panel 4 Tzedek now holds Uri by his collar as the blood drips onto his suit. His terrified face is very close to hers. (Of what importance is the blood dripping onto his suit? None whatsoever.)


Caption: Bingo. (Rich. What’s wrong with this? Please explain it. Thanks.)

Panel 5 After getting the address, Tzedek holds Uri by the collar, as he passes out while she threatens him. (This is another instance of what Yannick will be going over.)

TZEDEK (DOUBLE BUBBLE): I’M GONNA GO EASY ON YOU TODAY URI. BUT THE NEXT TIME I SEE YOU WITH THOSE PATCHES, YOU’RE GOING TO BE WISHING I PUT YOUR HEAD ON THE TRACKS. (Umm… Not to be nitpicky, but didn’t she just do that? Put his head on the tracks, I mean. That could be fixed with a single word, though. Again works. But besides that, do you know what you did here? You were just lazy. Unless you’re going to letter this yourself, you told your letterer to take your words and break them up any way you wanted them to. That’s lazy. That’s not the job of the letterer. Breaking up the balloon is your job. Third, you don’t need two balloons for this. One balloon works just fine. Fourth, comma-fail in the first sentence.)

SFX (URI MOANS AS HE PASSES OUT): OOOH. (This won’t be seen as him passing out. This will seem like him moaning in a semi-stupor. I’d be moaning, too, if part of my skull were showing because some crazy lady put my head on the track from a moving train.)

Panel 6 Rowry jumps from the train, down to the street below leaving a passed out Uri behind safely handcuffed to the train platform outside the car. (Who’s Rowry? And Evan, what’s really going to be seen in this panel?)



Page 4 (Page break. And suddenly, all of the elements have spaces separating them. Consistency, Talisha.)

Panel 1 Saturday Morning. Two blocks aways from the University is the Mckoy Book Store. Tzedek’s tailing a young man while pretending to pursue the books in the sci-fi section. The guy is in his late teens dressed in black skinny jeans with a black t-shirt that says ‘SID’ in orange lettering. He has red hair and freckles. He wears black converse sneakers.   He’s purchasing a lot of coffee and food from the cafe that’s to the left of Tzedek. Tzedek wears a ladies’ brown trench coat over her costume.Her hair is now up in a bun. (I have great control over my suspension of disbelief. This, though, defies that suspension. Kyle needs a good distraction. Why am I losing my mind right here, Kyle?)

Caption: Uri was right. The gang’s definitely in the area.

Caption: I’m tailing their ‘gopher’. He’s the new guy who runs errands for the gang for a month before moving on to illegal activities. (See, this is not good dialogue at all. Why not have her say that she’s perusing books, too? What would be a better way to get this information across, Rich?)

Caption: The kid could be doing this type of thing as an intern in an office…instead he’s in a  gang. (This is the third time you’ve said gang in as many captions. Come at it sideways, Talisha, not head on.)

Panel 2 The guy leaves the bookstore carrying two bags of food in his left hand and in his right two carts holding four cups of coffee each. Tzedek’s right behind him. (And no, she’s not conspicuous at all.)

Caption: This dude may be a gopher, but the rest of the Beaker gang’s no joke. They’re the most powerful gang on the north side of Chicago.

Caption: Kidnapping, drugs, murder, armed robberies, human trafficing-you name it and they’re in it. (Em-dash, not a regular one. And if they’re that powerful, then she is absolutely terrible at her job. Gangs have territories. They aren’t that hard to find. And if there’s a gang that’s into all of this, they are no longer really a gang. They’ve moved up into something bigger than just a gang. So, again, a lack of research has given rise to the lack of a reader’s suspension of disbelief.)

Panel 3 One block away from the bookstore the gopher is walks towards a big white hous in a rich residential area where expensive homes line both sides of the street. Still trailing the gopher, Tzedek is now up in a tree not to far from the home. (This doesn’t give much in the way of describing what we’re seeing. Part of that is good, and part of it is bad. The good part is that this gives the artist a LOT of leeway as to how they want to pursue this. The bad part is that if you don’t have a strong artist, this isn’t enough info to go on. And really, if this is a college town, you’re not going to see houses/neighborhoods like this so close. Google earth is your friend. You can use it to actually see the locations you’re writing about.)

Panel 4 Tzedek now jumps from the tree to the roof of home that’s two doors down   from the house the gopher entered. (Padding.)

Time for a little surveillance. (What was she doing before? I’d call that surveillance as well.)

Panel 5 Now on the roof, Tzedek continues her surveillance.   There are two guys in the backyard-guy #1 is in the pool while guy #2 is at the grill. M.I.A.’s Paper Planes   is blasting from the stereo that’s near the grill.

Caption: I’m deep in Beaker gang territory, security is very relaxed. (Kinder. Gentler. This is really, really not good. Really. Connor, why am I saying this is not good?)

SFX (FROM STEREO): ALL I WANNA DO IS ‘BANG, BANG, BANG’ AND A ‘KACHING’ TAKE YOUR MONEY… (And this? This right here? This is a no-go. This is copyright infringement. This will get you sued, unless you have permission. If you don’t have permission, I hope you have deep pockets.)

Panel 6 Tzedek jumps from the roof to another roof heading towards the gang’s house. (So far, this is a an extremely boring superhero. She’s strong enough to jump from one residential roof to another, jump from a bridge up to a train, but she isn’t strong enough to take a suitcase away from a guy. Why not just call her Jump Girl and get it over with? Besides being super-dumb (from an intelligence standpoint), her only other superpower seems to be able to jump long distances. But hey, even Superman started out this way…)

Caption: Time to save a life. (She goes from surveillance to talking about saving a life, with nothing in-between. Not good. That’s a leap of logic I’m unable to make.)

Page 5 (Page break.)

Panel 1 The wind begins to pick up as Tzedek stealthy lands in the backyard, ten feet away from the pool. The guy at the grill faces the sliding doors as he’s about to enter the house. The music’s still blasting as the guy in the pool leans against the pool wall at the deep end. His back is facing Tzedek. (Okay, first, how is the artist supposed to show the wind beginning to pick up? I’m not seeing how this will be important later. Next, what is here to make her think that there’s anything amiss? You haven’t said anything about how either of the guys are dressed. If it’s a party, then it is pretty dead, because there are only two people here. I’m assuming the guy in the pool is wearing swim trunks, but what about the other guy? You described what the people were wearing on the train, but not here. That’s sloppy.)


Panel 2 Tzedek quickly moves quietly towards guy #1. (How is this being shown? She’s only 10 feet away. Let’s say she’s short: 5′ tall. That’s only twice her body length. She has to go a little more than two yards to be at her target. What does she need to be stealthy about? He’s in the water, which means he’s VERY vulnerable. Unless he’s Jump-Boy, that is.)

SFX (MUSIC): M.I.A. THIRD WORLD DEMOCRACY.. (Still getting sued.)

Panel 3 Now right abouve guy #1, Tzedek’s hands inch towards his head as he still doesn’t notice her. (This is padding. Just get on with it.)

SFX (MUSIC): YEAH, I GOT MORE RECORDS THAN THE KGB… (Still getting sued. The more lines you put down, the better the suit against you.)

Panel 4 Tzedek has pushed guy #1’s head underwater   and he’s struggling. (Okay, Yannick. What’s wrong with this picture?)


Panel 5 The struggle now over, the man’s body sinks down to the pool’s floor. (She’s no hero. She just drowned someone with absolutely no evidence against them. Yeah, I feel safe with her patrolling the streets.)

SFX(FROM STEREO): ALL I WANNA DO IS ‘BANG, BANG, BANG’ AND A ‘KACHING’ TAKE YOUR MONEY… (I sound just like this refrain: a broken record.)

Panel 6 Tzedek quietly and stealthy heads towards the grill. (Why? Why is she going towards the grill? The guy who was there went into the house, remember? Unless she’s hungry and is going to check to see if the burgers are ready.)


That’s enough. Let’s run this down.

Format: Not bad at all. The only problems are the lack of page breaks, and the lack of spaces between the elements to start off the script. Formatting is the easiest part of scripting, so this is pretty difficult to mess up. It happens, but thankfully, not here too much. Oh, also, learn the difference between Dialogue and Sound Effects. I wrote a B&N on it. It will only help.

Panel Descriptions: Not good in the least. You have things that are difficult to draw, if not downright impossible. You don’t give enough info to the artist, and it looks like you haven’t thought beyond your own imagination when it comes to research of locations.

Pacing: Terrible. Absolutely. You go from having an informant to following someone, with very little inbetween. You have too big a jump in Border Time in some cases, and that isn’t helping you at all.

Dialogue: I’m sorry, but there are some passages in here that are just truly wretched. You also have some dropsies. If she’s doing an internal monologue, then she should have something to say in almost every panel. She doesn’t. That isn’t good. She shouldn’t be going in and out like that.

Content: This is what I have the biggest problem with.

First, nowhere in this entire script did anyone use your character’s name. As far as your readership is concerned, she’s just some chick that dresses up in blue. Not good.

Second, the name is terrible. How is that even pronounced? Tzedek? A quick Wiki search tells me it is a Hebrew word for righteousness and justice. So, she’s Jewish, which explains the blue and white. If only that were explained in the script.

No, the character’s nationality is NOT important. It is only important if the character makes it important. By choosing that particular name and using those colors, the character is screaming their nationality out loud. However, unless this comic is aimed specifically at the Jewish community, extremely few people are going to know, and wonder at the strangeness of the name (when you eventually get around to giving it to the readers). Maybe a Star of David somewhere? It would help.

From a reader’s perspective, the story is nonsensical. At no time does your character ever state what her goal is. Why was she after the information on the train? Never explained. Who she’s trying to save is somewhat explained further down, but it is never explained WHY she is saving this person. It also is never explained how she got the information that put her on the trail of the missing person, either, or what she’s getting out of it, besides her civic duty of killing people. It is VERY sloppy, especially considering all the time and space you wasted in getting us to this point.

Editorially, this is a mess, and needs to be done from the ground up. The story is not engaging, you go extremely overboard in asking for people to suspend their disbelief, and your storytelling is inconsistent. Let me put it this way: if this is a gang, how are they operating in an upscale neighborhood, with no one the wiser? How is it that there are only two people seen in the gang? I could go on, but no one else would know what I’m talking about. Like I said, this needs to be redone, from the ground up. Preferably with an editor, so you can avoid the many pitfalls in this script.

Anyway, that’s all I have for this week. Check the calendar to see who’s next!

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Category: The Proving Grounds

About the Author ()

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

Comments (16)

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  1. Evan Windsor says:

    Panel 6 Rowry jumps from the train, down to the street below leaving a passed out Uri behind safely handcuffed to the train platform outside the car. (Who’s Rowry? And Evan, what’s really going to be seen in this panel?) Ooh! Teacher called on me! Lets give it a shot!

    The problem is that you have the platform and the street both in this panel, and they are at different heights. There’s three ways to draw this, and while there’s a clear “best”, none of them quite pull off what you want.

    First option is to zoom the camera way out. Unless this is an incredibly narrow panel though, there would be a lot of wasted space on either side of the action, and on top of that, your characters are going to have to be zoomed out as well. Small, and no room for detail. Depending on how big this panel is and how good your artist is, you MAY be able to tell who is who, but not what they are doing. This is a no-go. Pretty much any angle is going to have this problem of the disparate heights.

    So the only way to hide the drop is to do a vertical shot, either worm’s eye or bird’s eye. And with a worm’s eye view, you will get a dramatic shot of Tzedek landing and talking, but you won’t be able to see anything on the platform, unless it is on the very, very, edge. And even then, anything up on the platform will have to be drawn much smaller than anything in the foreground, so you still won’t get the handcuff details you asked for.

    This leaves us with the bird’s eye view, which is probably what your artist would draw. Man on the platform, handcuffed, where you said you wanted him. Tzedek in the background, small, below. And tiny, non-detailed Tzedek is the one talking. You get essentially the shot you asked for, but the character talking is tiny and you only see tops of heads.

    A better solution would be to just show her hopping the railing, not down below. This way, you can do a medium/close shot, and get detail on both your characters. Hopefully, this is what Steve was fishing for!

    On a separate note, when writing panel descriptions and assigning dialogue, be clear with your naming. If someone is wearing their costume, always use their superhero name; if they are wearing street clothes, use their real name. If an artist sees that “Peter Parker” is suppossed to be fighting Dok Ock, the artist’s first instinct is going to be to draw Pete in regular clothes, not the spidey suit. Since your character is in costume the whole time, she should always be refered to as “Tzedek” and never “Rowry”. Also, be nice to your artist, and refer to Uri as “Uri” in the first panel he appears. If you artist sees “Guy #1”, they’ll assume its some random one-off and draw them as such.

    • It’s times like these I wish I had the equivalent to a ‘No Prize.’

      Evan just went above and beyond in catching something I didn’t think he would. Superhero names should be used when in costume, and secret identities when not, in order not to confuse the artist.

      I’ll have to come up with something. Probably a free page edited. I’ll have to see.

      But, back to the matter at hand!

      Evan went through a good process of thinking. I just don’t think he went far enough.

      What do I mean by that?

      He tried to keep everything in the panel description. He thought too literally. Just because she’s jumping down to a platform doesn’t mean we need to see it, does it? Of course not. So, we can show her in mid jump, cutting off mostof her body below the panel border, and still see Uri handcuffed to the railing. (The handcuffs, by the way, are magically delicious. Unless, that is, she pulled them out of a body cavity, but that’s just vulgar.)

      But do you see where I’m going with that, Evan? Can you picture that now?

      Remember, folks: just because it’s said in the panel description doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to show up in the art. I’m interpreting the information of where she’s jumping to as irrelevant to what will actually be show in this particular panel. You can do that, too. Just get a feel for when you do it, as well as why.

      Very nice try, Evan. Very nice.

  2. Talisha Harrison says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    This was my second comic book script, I knew it wouldn’t be good but I didn’t know it would be horrible…I’ll try again. Thank you.

  3. Conner MacDonald says:

    Well, first off it doesn’t seem like security is relaxed, seems like there is none at all. Second, these guys are described as hardcore, human trafficking, drug dealing, killers. Yet they are wadding in the pool and roasting whines? You would think these guys would have some security.
    Even if this is because she’s deep behind their ‘lines’, where did the lines begin? And was there any kind of outer-perimeter security, that wasn’t relaxed?

    Is that what you wanted?

  4. Panel 2 Still standing with arms crossed and a grin on her face, Tzedek continues to stare the men down. The men are fidgeting nervously as they eye her back. Guy #1 starts to get up from his seat as he looks towards the train door. Tzedek touches him on his right shoulder. (Yannick. I know you’re foaming at the mouth for this one. Go for it.)


    Moving panel, you say? This is the very definition of it: a panel description that requires actual visible movement and is thus impossible to draw. Let’s break it up in beats:

    Beat 1: Tzedek is standing with her arms crossed, smiling, while the two guys look at her nervously.

    Beat 2: Guy #1 tries to get up but Tzedek prevents him.

    That’s what we get from your panel description. It gets worse when we factor the dialogue in:

    Beat 1: Tzedek is standing with her arms crossed, smiling, while the two guys look at her nervously. – No dialogue

    Beat 2: Guy #1 tries to get up but Tzedek prevents him. – Don’t leave! – I can’t help you.

    Beat 3: What about our deal? – We’re done. – Phone rings.

    Each one of those beats is a panel, a still image representing a single moment in which it’s plausible for events like dialogue to have time enough to happen.

    You’d need three panels to show what you want, which would bring the panel count for the page to an impressive eight. That’s starting to get crowded. Fortunately, there’s a lot of material that can get cut out without hurting your story in the least.

    Everything from the first beat can go. It contributes absolutely nothing to have her standing there looking down at the two guys and there’s no dialogue associated with it. Everything from the last beat can go as well: it leads to a very unrealistic bit that we’ll fix while we’ve got the tools out.

    Here’s my suggestion:

    Panel 2

    Medium shot of a smiling TZEDEK who has grabbed URI by the lapels and lifted him off his seat. On the right, the OTHER GUY is seen halfway out of his seat. Both men are clearly frightened.




    I’ve condensed your three story beats into a single panel. On one hand, we have a show of strength from Tzedek that is consistent with her prior jumping feats as well providing a precedent for how she’ll manhandle poor Uri later on. On the other hand, we procure a more graceful exit for Guy #2 than walking away talking on his phone.

    And like Steven predicted: it solves the problem of the sound effect. Basically, your problem was that instead of writing what the phone should sound like, you described the sound. It’s the same thing as writing:

    TZEDEK: She threatens Uri with bodily harm if she catches him selling drugs again.

    Sound effects are dialogue too. You need to tell us what the reader hears . Not to mention that your letterer needs to have the text in order to put it in the comic. This isn’t a note for the prop department of your movie production.

    In fact, the more I look at your entry, the more I’m reminded of movie scripting. You’re thinking in action shots, not in still images. In your mind, you’re cutting up a scene in filming sequences instead of arranging pictures on a page. If you’re used to movie writing, I understand it’s not as simple as flicking a switch in your head. The trick is to stop imagining your stories as a series of actions and start conceiving them as an arrangement of visual design elements. You’re basically just aligning pictures one after another on a page.

    Here’s a trick to help you see the difference. Imagine you’re trying to tell your story (minus the rail track facials and the drownings) in front of a kindergarten class. The problem is that they’re a little too fidgety for you to just tell them the story (like reading a book) and they’re a little excitable for you to mime the story (like in the script we have here). So what you do is that you choose the most meaningful moments of your story and draw those on big cards that you show them while doing the voices and sound effects yourself. This is comic scripting: your cards are your panels and the voices are your dialogue. If you want to know if you’re doing right, imagine one of the kids is really obnoxious and that he’ll keep raising his hands saying things like That guy can’t get up; I still see him sitting down on your picture or Why do you keep talking so much if you haven’t shown us a new card?

    In short: describe what the artist should draw, not what the story should say. Hope that helps!

  5. I’m not sure what you’re looking for so I’ll throw a bunch of comments at the page and see what sticks.

    There may be a small gap in border time. In the preceding panel, Tzedek was just about to grab the guy. Now he’s fully immersed. I think there might be a missing beat here showing Tzedek suddenly pushing him down, the guy’s arms shooting up in surprise and some dialogue that goes ULPGLGLB! or something. Then you can show the two of them fighting. After all, drowning someone takes some time (not talking from experience here); you can’t show it in the space of one single panel.

    There might also be an inconsistency in showing Tzedek’s strength again. She can’t wrestle a simple suitcase from a drug dealer but she can drown what we suppose to be a burly thug in one panel?

    Moreover, I’m really not sure about the actual logistics of doing this. Is Tzedek lying flat on her stomach? Because we’ll have to suppose the pool isn’t above ground if it’s in a rich neighborhood. She can’t really push the guy down while crouched; she won’t be able to reach low enough to keep the guy underwater. On the other hand, she can’t exert enough force against his struggling if she’s lying down. And the guy is struggling – how? Is he trying to catch the edge of the pool? Is he clawing at her arms and hands? If he’s in the deep end, he can’t brace his feet against the bottom.

    This all points to very basic problems pertaining to the panel description: there’s not enough. Where’s the camera? What’s the angle? The distance? What are the characters’ positions? Their expressions? The way it stands now, you’re just telling your artist the story and that’s not what he wants to read. He needs to know what to draw!

    Finally, are you sure there’s absolutely no sound effect but the case M.I.A. is building against you? I believe drowning a man in a swimming pool should make a lot more noise than that: muffled cries, coughing and hacking, water splashing around, and so on.

    Oh and the guy in the pool should have bright orange hair and go Meep! Meep! Meep! Beaker gang. Get it?


    One last thing: is Tzedek still wearing her trenchcoat all this time?

    • That last point? I was wondering if someone was going to mention it. I intentionally didn’t mention it, Hoping someone would get it.

      And Yannick didn’t disappoint.

      The points he brought up are all valid. In the efforts of saving space, you don’t have to show much of a struggle on panel. However, there is a gap in Border Time between the creeping and the drowning. That needed another panel.

      All the points hit, plus extra! Nice!

  6. Talisha Harrison says:

    It’s a bad script and I’ll just start over. Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I was kinda upset with myself about it, but if I keep on writing I’ll get better at it. Thanks once again.

    • There are few people that can knock a script out of the park with early efforts. Comic scripting is extremely specialized. The best way to get better is to keep writing and to keep studying. You do that, and you’ll go far.

      Was this a bad script? Yes. But here’s what I suggest you do:

      Write it again. Fix it up, patching all the holes, and then resubmit. Think it through as you incorporate the notes. Then submit it. This way, you can see what you’ve gotten stronger at, and what still needs work.

      If you want to write comics well, you have to put in a lot of work. There’s no shortcuts.

  7. Rich Douek says:

    Hey, been crazy with NYCC and all – just saw this.

    Caption: Bingo. (Rich. What’s wrong with this? Please explain it. Thanks.)

    Unless I’m missing something, he didn’t actually give her the address. Either Uri’s missing some dialogue, or she’s just read his mind. If its supposed to be one of those movie-like moments where Batman shouts GIVE ME THE ADDRESS and we cut before getting the answer, then the question should end the scene, and the page, with the next page starting with her at said address – everything on the page after that moment can go.

    Also, if she’s saying “Bingo.”, even to herself, it needs quotation marks, to make that clear. (See? Third time’s the charm) (unless its a trick question)

    Caption: I’m tailing their ‘gopher’. He’s the new guy who runs errands for the gang for a month before moving on to illegal activities. (See, this is not good dialogue at all. Why not have her say that she’s perusing books, too? What would be a better way to get this information across, Rich?)

    It’s telling us exactly what were looking at, but not in an interesting way. It doesn’t add anything, its just an info dump. Pretty much everyone knows what a gopher is, so it doesn’t need to be explained. What you really are trying to say here is that this guy isn’t a full member of the gang yet, he hasn’t fully crossed the line – but if he stays with them, he will. So I would focus on that, and make it somewhat interesting. If Tzedek has been asking around and researching, maybe she knows his name. Use that to make him feel a little more real. Something like this, maybe:

    TZEDEK: Chucky Green. He’s buying coffee now, but in a month he’ll be sticking places like this up. A month after that, he’ll be a murderer. And a month after that, he’ll probably be dead himself.

    TZEDEK: That’s how it goes with the Beakers.

    And with that, you probably don’t need the next two captions musing about how bad the gang is, which also aren’t really doing it for me.

    • Exactly. He never gives the address. That’s what I was looking for.

      You’re also second guessing yourself, because I burned you twice with the quotation marks. They aren’t needed here. Why? Internal monologue. The quotation marks in a caption act as a voiceover, usually when someone is talking to someone else in a different scene. A lot of times, it acts as a transitional element.

      I know you know this. You just overthought it because of past questions.

      Other than that, everything else is directly on point. Thanks, Rich! And I hope you had fun at the con!

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