TPG Week 55: Getting It Mostly Right

| January 13, 2012 | 13 Comments

Hello, and welcome once more to The Proving Grounds! Once again, we have our very own Tyler stepping into the ring, and he brings us a story of Harriet Tubman.

This should be extremely interesting.


Page 1 – 4 Panels


Panel 1 – We’re pulled in close on the face of Harriet Tubman, age 31. (I’ve got reference for you here, here and here.) She’s not a pretty woman, but she should look strong here, chin up, all business, a rag around her head. (I’m in a white void. This could be good or bad, depending on the effect you want, Tyler.)


CAP – She was an ugly woman by any man’s reckon. ( Reckoning is the word you want.)


HARRIET – I ain’t lost a passenger yet. So, listen up if’n you don’t wanna be my first.


Panel 2 – We pull back to establish the scene. The last of the sun is setting over the hills of a rural country landscape. We’re outside the back entrance of a church. Harriet Tubman, rifle in hand, addresses a small group of slaves. She’s leading a group of five slaves. There’s a younger boy Samuel (12) and an older teen, John (17). A very old many with a walking stick, and a young mother of twenty with a baby. John has a pack slung over his shoulder. All of them are paying close attention to Harriet. Also standing there, is a white Reverend, whose church they were hiding out in. (Okay, what are they doing? Are they taking a knee? Are they around her in a circle? Is she addressing them like a coach addresses a team? What are they doing? And what’s the time of year? This will affect the clothes that they’re wearing.)


CAP – Caroline County, Maryland. 1851.


HARRIET – We headin’ north along the Choptank, through Delaware, then on through Pennsylvania. If you get lost, don’t panic. Just follow the North Star to freedom.


REVEREND – May the Lord’s light shine down on you all.


Panel 3 – In the foreground we, have John on one knee, rifling through his old knapsack, getting it organized. He’s doing it surreptitiously, not interested in giving anyone a look inside. The boy, Samuel, is peering over his shoulder. In the background, we see Harriet and the others start to walk off toward the woods.


BOY – Isn’t she somethin’? It’s happnin’, John. We gon be free! (You forgot the apostrophe.)


JOHN – Hmm…


BOY – What’chall got in that sac? I could use a nibble o’ somethin’. (Okay. So, here’s the problem: sac is both correct and incorrect. Add the ‘k.’ This won’t throw readers out of the story, which is something you don’t want.)


Panel 4 – In close, we see inside the bag, and there’s some clothing, a few letters, and a torn flyer of a wanted poster. We can only make out the top of the poster, but see it says: WANTED and then a pic of Harriet Tubman. We can’t see the bottom of the poster as it’s packed in the sac. (We’ll see it later.) (We’re not going to be able to see all of that. Pick which is the most important thing you want.)


JOHN – My valuables.


BOY – Valuables? What you got worth a cotton pickin-


JOHN – Mind yer own, Samuel. (All of this is OP.)


So, this is P1, and I’m not seeing any fat. Just a vague couple of panel descriptions, and that’s about it. The main character has been established, even if you don’t know anything about history, and trouble has been foreshadowed. The dialogue tells us something of the status quo. In all, I’d say that this first page does most of its job. What doesn’t it do? It doesn’t name all the characters. Let’s see if that is going to be a hindrance later on.

Page 2 – 5 panels


Panel 1- Wide shot, full width. I’m seeing a cool, all in silhouette shot of the party walking through the woods. Harriet and her rifle leads the way, followed by John, Samuel, the Mother and baby, and the old man pulling up the rear.


SAMUEL – ‘Scuse me, M-Moses?


SAMUEL – What’s it like to be free?


HARRIET – It’s like there’s glory in everything.


Panel 2 – Shot of Harriet in the foreground , we see Samuel and John behind her. Samuel wears a wide, optimistic look, John is all suspicion. (I take it that she’s facing the camera, walking toward us.)


SAMUEL – Sure hope I like Pennsylvania.


HARRIET – We just stoppin’ there. New law says runaways found even in free states are to be returned to their owners. We gotta go further north, cross the border to Canada.


Panel 3- Close on boys, but mostly John, who’s eyes narrow.


JOHN – Ain’t that a long way to go, Ms. Tubman?


JOHN – I reckon there’s a lotta folks lookin’ for ya. I heard there’s a mighty fine reward-


Panel 4 – Close on Harriet, with a I’ve heard it all before look on her face.


HARRIET – Boy, when I was your age, boss used to tell me I wasn’t worth a sixpence.


HARRIET – I didn’t listen to him then, and I sure ain’t listening to no talk of bounties on my head now.


HARRIET – You can’t put a price on people. (I like what Tyler did here. This is a very powerful line, and he separated it out by itself. Personally, I might have put it into its own panel, but it works just fine where it is. This is something that a lot of you fail to recognize. You fail to recognize the power of a line, and you group it with another line that isn’t as powerful, diluting what you have. This can be learned, but it takes time. This is one of the very many uses of an editor: to recognize when something needs to be spun off on its own. Nice, Tyler. Good work.)


Panel 5 – Shot of the group walking. We’re seeing them through the trees. Try to give the impression that we’re watching them. (Okay, the silhouettes in the first panel worked well, but now we’re in watcher-mode. In order to give the impression of the passage of time, something needs to be done. So, what time is it now, Tyler? Are we still near the beginning of the journey, or has some time passed? Any by some time, I’m talking about an hour or less. You have the sun setting at the start. Another reason why the time of year is important: the length of days.)


HARRIET – Besides, it ain’t no slave catcher we need worry ‘bout.


HARRIET – They know better than to walk these here woods.


So, we have some more forward movement, as well as historical references. Harriet was called Moses by a lot of people because she led them to freedom. Union states were mandated to return slaves to slaveowners, so she led people to Canada, where slavery was prohibited. This is called research, folks. This is what editors have to do. We have to fact-check you, when necessary. It’s great when your facts are right. It’s terrible when your facts aren’t. Tyler’s facts are right (so far). It should stay that way, since this is a pretty short story.



Page 3 – 5 Panels (Page break. This is not usually something Tyler struggles with. I think I know why it happened. Tyler was at the end of the page with the last set of panel descriptions and dialogue, and the next page automatically came up. He didn’t force the page break, because it came naturally. Here’s a tip: Don’t fall for it. Even when it seems like the page break is natural, put it in anyway. It won’t add another page below where you’re at, but it will definitely add the break, which is what you want.)


Panel 1 – Shot head on looking at Harriet, with the rest of the group behind her. She holds a hand up signalling them to pause. (Okay, what you have here seems to be her facing the camera, with her back to her group. I’d rather swing this around: turn her around facing the group, and have their backs to us as we look at her. I’d probably raise both of her hands, too. That’s a better image, especially considering the dialogue.)


HARRIET – We’ll rest here a spell. No’moren fifteen minutes, gonna have to do. ‘Nuff time to nurse dat baby, and kick the stones from yer shoes. We’ve still ‘nother dozen miles or so before sunrise. (Okay, so they’ve been traveling for a while. They have to be sneaky, so they can’t have torches. Best thing to do, then, is to have a nice moon out for light. It’s hokey and overused, but it gets VERY dark at night. Walking in the woods, starlight could help, depending on the season, but really, the moon is your best friend.)


Panel 2 – Wide shot. The group has taken a load off. Harriet is slumped against a tree, rifle still at her side, and she’s fast asleep. The old man passes a canteen of water to the young boy, as they sit on a rock. The mother nurses the baby while quietly singing a tune, sitting on a log. And in the background, moving away from the group, is John.




SAMUEL – Ain’t never seen nobody take to sleep so fast.


OLD MAN – Struck on the head with a weight as a child. Nearly died, she did. Been prone to the narc’lepsy ever since.


MOTHER (Singing Quietly) – When the Sun comes back

And the first quail calls

Follow the Drinking Gourd…


Panel 3 – Foreground, John is walking away from the group, pack around one shoulder. The group in the background. He’s nervous.


JOHN – I…I gonna go find a place to do my business…


OLD MAN – Don’t go off too far now. (Comma-fail.)


Panel 4 – Overhead down shot of John running in a full sprint.


JOHN – They ain’t never gone make it anyway.


Panel 5 – Close on John’s foot as it trips over something that we probably can’t fully make out as antlers to a moose head (but we’ll see it in the next page.)


JOHN – Freedom ain’t worth-




P3, and we’ve got more facts that have been checked and verified. We’ve also got trouble on the horizon. Here’s what Tyler has done: he’s taken an historical figure and played with that for a few pages, counting on interest with that figure to keep pages turning. However, that can only be leaned on for so long. Tyler recognized that, and is moving the story along. Things should take an interesting turn now.

Page 4 – 2 Panels


Panel 1 – Top panel ¾ the page. We’re overhead looking down at John, who has tripped over the antlers of the severed head of a moose. He’s sprawled on the ground, hands extended, landed face first, in a bit of pain. His bag has been tossed from around his arm and the contents are sprawled about the ground. Just a few feet away from him, crowded over the large carcass of the dead moose, ravenously chewing on it, are four or five Zombies. They are tearing the Moose apart, blood and guts everywhere. In this panel, they haven’t noticed John…yet.


JOHN – Ugh…


Panel 2 – Shot of all of the zombies, who have suddenly perked their blood soaked faces up from the moose, and look directly at the reader.




See? You weren’t expecting that, were you? You thought it was just going to be the guy selling out Harriet and company. But now, we’ve got zombies. And the best part? We’ve got zombies on a page turn! Nicely done. And the lack of dialogue makes it even more creepy!

Page 5 – 4 panels


Panel 1 – Shot pulled in extremely close on Harriet. She’s still slumped against the tree, eyes closed.


Panel 2 – Same shot, but her eyes are now open, full alert.


SFX (Off Panel) – AHHGHHHH!


Panel 3 – A shot of Harriet, running off in the direction of the scream in the foreground. In the mid-ground, we have the rest of the slaves springing to their feet, alarmed. (Okay, I know it shouldn’t have to be stated, but where’s the rifle? Charging off to the rescue, I sure hope she has it.)


OLD MAN – What in God’s name-


BOY – John!


Baby – Wahh!


HARRIET – Stick together, stay behind me, and hush that precious baby up.


Panel 4 – Shot looking straight on at John, who runs for his life, being chased by a small horde of zombies. (I like this panel. It does everything it’s supposed to: it puts the reader right in the middle of things, by having the character run at us, with the horde chasing him. This makes the reader feel like they’re a part of the story. The camera placement is going to be tight, too. The artist is going to do this naturally, because that’s the best framing for this panel. If the artist doesn’t, I’d be very surprised. Do you always have to put in a camera angle and depth to your panel descriptions? No, not at all. Sometimes they help, sometimes they don’t. Remember, you’re only describing what you’re seeing in your head. The artist is interpreting, and more than likely will have something better in mind once they get to work on it. Being flexible is a good thing.)


Zombies – Grahhh!


JOHN – Help me, Jesus!


See what Tyler did here? The action was ramped up, and he lowered the panel count. The panel count should remain low for the remainder of the action, and when things slow down again, they should start creeping back up.

Page 6 – 4 Panels


Panel 1 – Pull in close on John, and we see one of the zombies has caught up to him, hands clawing into both of his shoulders and his mouth open impossibly wide, about to plunge into his neck for a tasty chomp of flesh. Sheer terror on John’s face.




JOHN – No!


Panel 2 – Shift the angle slightly to the side of John, as we see the zombie’s head explode backwards, blasted by a rifle shot. A surprised look on John’s face, as some zombie juice splashes on his face.




JOHN – Huh?! (Take notice, folks! This doesn’t get said often enough: write the dialogue and sound effects in the order you want them read. Some editors want you to number every single element of dialogue per page, which will force you to think about what you want to come first. This doesn’t need rearranging, because the shot comes before John’s dialogue. If this were transposed, I’d then tell Tyler to rearrange the placement for the reason I just stated.)


Panel 3 – Shot of Harriet, cocking the action lever on the rifle, an all business look on her face.(Hopefully, Tyler does some research on the rifles consistent with his timeline. I’d love it if some reference were provided for the artist. I love it when reference is embedded in a script. It shows the artist you care.)


HARRIET – Don’t just stand their gawk-eyed, boy! Move on out the way, yer blockin’ my shot!


SFX (rifle) – KA-KRCK!


Panel 4 – Shot of the zombie’s, at least four of them, rushing at Harriet and John. John, is panicked, trying to get away, Harriet stands strong, rifle in hand.




See how the panel count has stayed low? Anyway, we’ve got action, and since we went off the rails somewhat historically, there’s no need for me to check a fact. I mean, if Harriet Tubman ever met a zombie during the Underground Railroad days, I’m sure there’d be a story or two about it. I mean, we’ve got stories about a blue ox, and a guy riding a twister, for Pete’s sake.

Page 7 – 5 Panels


Panels 1 – 3 are three equal sized panels, along the top ¼ of the page. Each panel shows a zombie taking a rifle shot, big violent chunks gauged out of them with each blast.








Note- Panels 4- 6 all equal sized panels.


Panel 4 – Harriet cracks a zombie across it’s face with the shoulder rest portion of her gun.


CAP – She was indeed an ugly woman. That was plain as the day is long.




Panel 5 – Harriet jams the barrel of the gun into the mouth of the same zombie, angling it upward towards its brain pan.




CAP – But she was strong…


CAP – …brave…


CAP – …loyal.


Panel 5 – The zombie’s head explodes as she pulls the trigger, and she watches it dies, emotionlessly. (Ah! Numbering problem. If you look at the top of the page, Tyler says there are 5 panels, however, he makes a note saying there are 6. Why does the top say 5? Because he wrote it, and then went back and filled in the number of panels at the top after he looked at the last panel on the page. Since he doubled panel 5, that’s what he wrote at the top. This should be panel 6. No, I’m not going to get onto Tyler about the wrong tense of the word die, because the artist will be able to figure out exactly what he meant with very little trouble. If it were a big thing, then I’d call him on it.)


CAP – And in that moment, she was ‘bout the mos’ beautiful thing I’d ever seen.




So, we upped the panel count here, but it was done for a specific purpose: Tyler wanted to slow down the action a bit. You slow it down by adding panels, and those added panels, especially with the small amount of dialogue (basically just the captions) help to bring across the illusion of moments in time. Let’s say that Tyler slipped into bullet time somewhat. Yes, that is a Matrix reference. If this were still regular time , then the panel count wouldn’t have gone over 5.

Page 8 – 3 Panels


Panel 1 – Aftermath shot. Overhead down, we look on all of the weary escaping slaves, blown apart zombies litter the ground, and Harriet stands strong with the smoking gun.




Panel 2 – Close on Harriet, all business in the foreground. In the mid-ground, the rest follow. The boy Samuel looks to John with a curious look on his face. (The rest follow where? She’s in for foreground, but what’s she doing?)


HARRIET – Come on, now. We got some time to make up.


BOY – John. Where’s yer pack? What about your valuables?


JOHN – I’m alive ain’t I? And soon, I’ll be free… (Hm. Comma-fail.)


Panel 3 – Close up shot, on the ground, of the open pack, with contents spilled out, and we can now see that full wanted poster. We should see that it says WANTED, a headshot of the Harriet Tubman, and $40,000 Reward in big letters on the flyer.


CAP (John) – What’s more valuable than that?


CAP – Harriet Tubman made thirteen trips along the underground railroad, leading more than 70 slaves to freedom. Despite large bounties on her head, she was never betrayed or captured.


CAP – She never lost a single passenger.


One final fact-check tells me that Tyler’s right on the money. Pretty powerful ending, too.


And now, Tyler’s notes!





Notes and Reasearch



  • Born 1820, Maryland
  • 13 missions, more than 70 slaves, never lost a passenger.
  • Head wound as a child, hit with a heavy weight.
  • Prone to seizures, narcoleptic attacks, powerful visions, etc.
  • First escaped o Philly, then returned to Maryland to get her family, kept going back.
  • Large rewards offered for her (40,000)
  • Boss used to say not worth a sixpence couldn’t sell me….now here she was a huge bounty on her head.
  • Underground railroad, free and enslaved blacks, white abolitionists, activist, Quakers
    • Sam Green, free black minister living in East New Market
  • Travel northeast along the Choptank River, through Delaware, then north in Penn. Travel by night, guided by North Star.
  • When I found that I had crossed that line…there was such a glory to everything; the sun came up like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like hell.


  • Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, requires law officials in free states to help return runaway slaves, needed to go farther to Canada.
  • she had to work with supporters on the clandestine Underground Railroad, as well as get messages to the slaves, since she met them away from their plantations to avoid detection. They usually left on a Saturday evening, as the Sabbath might delay anyone noticing their absence for another day, and if anyone did note their flight, the Sabbath would certainly delay anyone from organizing an effective pursuit or publishing a reward


  • Harriet Tubman was only about five feet tall, but she was smart and she was strong —
  • She carried a long rifle. She used the rifle not only to intimidate pro-slavery people they might meet, but also to keep any of the slaves from backing out. She threatened any who seemed like they were about to leave, telling them that “dead Negroes tell no tales.”
  • A slave who returned from one of these trips could betray too many secrets: who had helped, what paths the flight had taken, how messages were passed.
  • Evidence they stopped at Frederick Douglas’ house at one point. Cameo?
  • Fall of 1851 a good time for story to take place.




Nice, right? Let’s run it down:

Format: I’m going to call this a Flawless Victory. The small formatting miss with the page break was a natural mistake that would not have been caught if I hadn’t blabbed all over the script; and the formatting is about the elements of the script and their internal consistency, so I’m overlooking the misnumbering of one of the panels.

Panel Descriptions: The thing I love about going over Tyler’s scripts is that he’s also an artist, and generally knows what can and cannot be drawn. A couple of the panels were a little vague for me, especially the last page, but overall, this is a very drawable script.

Pacing: Perfect. There isn’t any other way to describe it. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Dialogue: Dialogue is subjective. When you’re reading, if you go too heavily on a dialect, you’re liable to lose readers, because all they’re seeing is the butchering of the language, rather than hearing it in their heads. So, I’m not going to say that Tyler didn’t do enough with the dialect. He did enough without it becoming overpowering and unreadable. He also did it without it becoming stereotypical, which is an easy trap to fall into.

There’s just one logic problem within the dialogue, and I’ll come to that in the next section.

Content: Obviously, this never happened. The use of historical figures in fantastic settings is becoming popular, so, there’s something to it. As a reader of TPG, I know you had little to no frame of reference as to what was going on. I happen to know that this story is slated for an anthology for zombies. I think that it served both functions well.

The only problem I had, content wise, was a single caption. Page 7, panel 6. Who’s speaking? As soon as that caption used the word I , then all the others took on another, more personal meaning. However, the narrator is never identified. As a reader, I have a problem with that.

Editorially, there is extremely little for me to do here. Some fact checking, some making sure things can be drawn, but there is actual little red here that is me making corrections.

There’s a bonus! There are story notes that he added that even give the timeframe of the story to be told in. The bad part is that that note didn’t make it into the script anywhere. That will have to be rectified.

What will also need to be rectified is the resolution of who’s speaking in the captions. The problem is that there isn’t any fat, so some will need to be created. Who’s going to flirt with her, and where would it be put? If not outright flirting, then who’s mooning over her? Could a panel be added here and there for the effect? Hmmmaybe. One panel apiece on P1 and P2, and then combine panels 5-6 on P7 into one, and have one last panel showing someone mooning over her in a new panel 6. I think that could fix the logic problem. Who’s doing the mooning? Doesn’t matter. That’d be for Tyler to decide. I’d probably go for the boy Samuel, just because. (And Tyler’s probably slapping himself in the head over this, too.)

And that’s all I have 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 (13)

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  1. Conner MacDonald says:

    Excellently written. I was sitting there thrilled by the idea of historical comic book about the underground railroad. Then I hit this line:
    “HARRIET – They know better than to walk these here woods.”

    And I went, huh… wonder if there is going to be zombies? Turns out, there was zombies lol. Still Very well done. I personally think that tackling a historical subject as writer, is one of the most difficult things to do, because of the research. Some day I hope to have the gull, and the talent, to take on a few historical events myself.
    When I first started writing comics one of the first things I wanted to do was a graphic novel of the Black Donnellys, and since then I’ve added an idea about the War of 1812, featuring Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh as the leads.

  2. Tyler James says:

    Steven, as always, thanks for the critical feedback, and catching things I missed.

    I thought it would be clear that the captions were the voice of John. (Though he isn’t named as such.

    Reasons being:
    – Opening caption is negative about Harriet, while everyone else in the group seems to be super Harriet fans, John’s the skeptical one.
    – Next time the Captions show up, the only people there are Harriet and John, and he’s describing Harriet’s action, so it’s obviously not her voice.
    – The second caption also marks a change in viewpoint (At first, she’s ugly…by the end, she’s beautiful” , and John is really the only character that arcs in this story.

    Too subtle?

    Is that too subtle?

    • As always, you’re welcome.

      Is it too subtle? I’d say so. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not that smart. Even after the explanation, I’m not seeing it. If you want that to come through more forcefully, I suggest adding a panel at the end of P7, showing him watching her do her thing, with that caption in it. I think that will go a long way.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Don Pankievicz says:

    I have to say, for a moment, I wasn’t a fan. I just wasn’t sure if the story was something for me. Ya know? Then the zombies. I thought, ‘What the hell?’, for a moment but kept reading. Is it a historic piece, is it a zombie tale? Doesn’t matter. The ending gave such a clear and powerful message that the whole thing came together for me. I truly felt it. Way to give us a history lesson without us knowing. My only concern is this. Are there moose in Maryland?

  4. Don Pankievicz says:

    No, I didn’t until the end. I never thought about it while reading the script, though, to be honest. I’ve seen captions before in books and never even seen who was telling the story. I like it here, the way Tyler has it written. For me I read the story and envisioned it thru my own eyes. When I walked away from it, knowing then that John was telling the story, I looked back at it with a new perspective.I dig that. It lends to the message at the end. We see clearly at that point who our narrator is. We know this character and what he has been thru and done. For THAT person to reform, and deliver the facts about Harriet, makes it powerful. Plus, if we had known it was John, we would also have known that he survives the zombie attck. My opinion.

  5. DonU says:

    Great story, Tyler.

    I had no idea where it was going at first, but was really entertained when the zombies showed up. It works as a twist to a stand alone story, but I felt like some of the bite was taken out of it when Steven said it was slated for a zombie anthology. If you’re picking up a zombie anthology, you expect zombies. I’d like to read this in a setting where I wasn’t expecting them. Thanks to Steven for leaving that detail out of the introduction. It made for a very pleasant and surprising read.

    • Tyler James says:

      Thanks Donu. It was an interesting exercise, in that, I knew I only had 8 pages to work with. I gave myself three pages of non-zombie conflict, but knew I had to get ’em in there by page 4 or else I was going to lose my readers.

  6. While I was reading this I was thinking:

    “There aren’t any good movies or books that depict the Underground Railroad.”

    “Ooh! Wouldn’t it be kick-ass if Tubman was fighting Zombies!”

    Then a zombie showed up!

    So yeah, kick-ass script. I’d definately buy that book.

  7. Seth Tamarkin says:

    So just wondering, but if you are writing a story using historical figures, should (for the most part) things be accurate? I’m talking about a fantasy story like this one.

    Also, great story. The zombies are definitely going to garner a bigger audience, even if it is only 8 pages. Like everyone else has stated, the zombies was a great twist that I never expected.

    • Hello, Seth! Thanks for taking the time to respond!

      There is no easy answer to your question. Like most things in comics, I’m going to say ‘it depends’.

      The biggest thing it depends on us the story you’re telling. This may or may not be editorially mandated. I don’t know if the person running the anthology said that the story has to be historically accurate.

      Next, you have to consider the effect of historical accuracy will have upon the reader. Is it better to be accurate, or to just tell the story with no regard as to what has happened before? I don’t know.

      Finally, there’s the entertainment value. How entertaining is it to take an historical figure, twist some things about their life, and have a story that others will read and enjoy? For Tyler’s story, nothing had to be twisted. Harriet led people through the woods. Nothing about that had to be twisted, and it gives the perfect setting for the zombies. This story almost told itself. Tyler had very little to do.

      The ultimate, unsatisfying answer is that it depends. Only you know what your story needs. Everything else are just tools to help you tell that story to the best of your ability.

      Does that help any?

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