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Kevinlearn
08-20-2014, 10:02 AM
Hello,

I've been working on a story and I wanted some feedback on what you great people at DW think is working and what is not.

My story is called Sacco. It follows Sim and Victor, two high school students, trapped in a classroom during a school shooting. Sim acts as the narrator and retraces the steps of how the shooting began which largely centers around his friend Victor meeting a girl.

Thanks again for your time.

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Steven Forbes
08-20-2014, 10:05 AM
I can't see the pics.

Kevinlearn
08-20-2014, 10:46 AM
Updated- Sorry Steven. Had issues with the links.

crognus
08-20-2014, 12:52 PM
PAGE ONE

(I finished reading it all, but I'm at work so I only type a bit at a time, so I'll comment at a page at a time. If I come off harsh too, don't read into it too much. I'm far less articulate at praise than criticism.)

I think the pacing is off for a couple of reasons. First, I find it strange that you put three of the captions on the second panel, but none on the third and fourth. The third and forth panels aren't particularly interesting, so moving some of the captions there would make sense to me. Generally you want the last panel on the first page to be a page turner, either visually or through the dialogue/caption. Right now it's neither.

Speaking of panels three and four... I know Steven, on TPG, likes to talk about the economics of panels in comics. Generally, panels should not be wasted and each panel should move the story forward. Personally, I think I'm far more lenient with atmospheric panels, probably because I grew up with manga, where they will use a couple panels just to show scenery.

That being said, atmospheric panels DO need to contribute to the mood of the scene. In this case it should feel ominous and that something is impending. These shots of him walking though the hall don't do that. They COULD do it with closer, claustrophobic shots, or by interspersing them with shots of the the hooded man (who is later identified as the shooter) walking through the hall. Wide shots that build heavy tension in movies only work because of sound editing. In comics you can only build tension visually or with words.

crognus
08-20-2014, 01:17 PM
PAGE TWO

Cool. I like this page. The pacing is much better. These were the claustrophobic atmospheric shots that I was talking about. Showing the whole opening the locker thing actually serves multiple purposes: it emphasizes the mundane routine before the inciting event, it throws us back to our memories of high school, and because we are zoomed in we also start to feel nervous. As a reader, the earlier captions let us know something is going to happen, and we are afraid whatever "it" is could come up from behind us.


You did use an "em" dash after "I mean" which you don't use in comic grammar though. You use a double dash to show interuption, but in this case I think it should be a comma. (Unless it's already comma. I like the font you use, but the width of the periods throws me off. I can't tell sometimes if it's a dash or a period.)

Kevinlearn
08-21-2014, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the feedback Crognus. You made great points about the final 2 panels on page one for me to keep in mind.

crognus
08-21-2014, 10:36 AM
You're welcome! I'll try to get around to telling you my thoughts on the next few pages later today. I do like where the story is going.

Kevinlearn
08-22-2014, 10:32 AM
Here are the next nine pages of the story.

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crognus
08-22-2014, 11:32 AM
Ooh. Like the new pages. Finished reading it but let me get back to page 3.

Page Three

I feel like the bag teleports to the hook in the inset panel. He is taking his bag off and all the sudden we see it as a background object in the locker (strengthened by the colorhold). I feel like an action was skipped.

Insets generally show an action that takes place nearly simultaneously with the larger panel. In the large panel he should be reaching into the locker instead of taking off his bag. That way the mind isn't spending time logically connecting the dots between the panels and the focus is purely on the symbolic pidgeon.

I really, really, like the rest of the page.

crognus
08-22-2014, 11:45 AM
PAGE FOUR

Perfect, in my opinion. Except for a minor, minor problem. I think the black word bubbles should butt against the black line on the left instead of the white line.

Kevinlearn
08-22-2014, 12:19 PM
Page Three

I feel like an action was skipped.

Insets generally show an action that takes place nearly simultaneously with the larger panel. In the large panel he should be reaching into the locker instead of taking off his bag.

.


Good Point. I didn't notice that. Thanks for taking the time to read and the notes! I've been staring at these pages for a while so these hiccups in execution are invisible to me.

Kevinlearn
08-26-2014, 01:26 PM
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Kevinlearn
08-26-2014, 01:27 PM
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crognus
08-26-2014, 01:29 PM
I'm liking this more and more! Don't have the time to critique in detail recently, but overall, thumbs up!

crognus
08-26-2014, 01:30 PM
You're certainly nailing that theme of irrationality and unpredictability, both in narration and by the behavior of your characters.

Kevinlearn
08-26-2014, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the feedback Crognus!

crognus
08-26-2014, 04:24 PM
When is this going to be done? I would love to get this in print.

Kevinlearn
08-26-2014, 04:54 PM
I have about 100 more pages done with some editing to do. Another 50 pages drawn/inked and scanned. I had 3 chapters to go in January and since then have been editing pages, getting a website up, sending samples to publishers, and doing small comics for anthologies. (Working with Chas! on one right now).

These first 30 pages I feel are cohesive but it loses it as the story progresses. I feel I need to edit it down. I'm printing off several copies of the above pages to bring to NYCC and will attempt to network with them. If I have a spare copy I'd be happy to mail it to you.

crognus
08-26-2014, 07:11 PM
I have about 100 more pages done with some editing to do. Another 50 pages drawn/inked and scanned. I had 3 chapters to go in January and since then have been editing pages, getting a website up, sending samples to publishers, and doing small comics for anthologies. (Working with Chas! on one right now).

These first 30 pages I feel are cohesive but it loses it as the story progresses. I feel I need to edit it down. I'm printing off several copies of the above pages to bring to NYCC and will attempt to network with them. If I have a spare copy I'd be happy to mail it to you.

Wait, you're illustrating them before editing?

crognus
08-26-2014, 07:24 PM
So question, somewhere along this graphic novel, is there a conversation about the how people try to find significance in the similarities between the shooting of Abraham Lincoln and Kennedy? Based upon the character conversations so far, and the stuff they talk about...I feel like someone is going to bring it up.

KenneyBway
08-26-2014, 07:56 PM
I really admire this concept. And your storytelling is strong.

I'm very new to the world of comic writing, so I can't offer the kind of brilliant insights you're getting from crognus. My editorial background is in self-publishing, god help me. And having glanced over your first pages, I only have one minor nitpick. I take issue with some of the language. It seems a little ornate for a high school story. Take Page Three for example. Word choices like "tragedy that would befall us" and "flow of destiny" seem a little out of place to me. Maybe these almost Shakespearean flourishes will make more sense when I get to know your protagonist better. But I think I might prefer more everyday speech in the narration. Otherwise, I really enjoyed what I read, and I'm very interested to read more.

Kevinlearn
08-27-2014, 08:32 AM
Crognus- I did severe editing prior to illustrating the pages and arrived at a place I thought would tell the story to my pleasing. But after reading several others' works and stepping back from the project I realized that I kept parts strictly because I like the idea- though it doesn't push the story forward. Like you mentioned with the panels on page 1.

Honestly I didn't stray too far from school shootings during my research for ideas. But you are right, the parallels between Lincoln and Kennedy would fit in with my theme.

KenneyBway- I hear you on the word choices. I've rewritten those pages several times in an attempt to create a smoother flow. But it's funny that you mention Shakespeare - Hamlet plays a role in the next scene as a sounding board. I will post those pages shortly.

crognus
08-27-2014, 10:33 AM
Phones slowed down at work, so I'll try to make a few more notes.

PAGE FIVE

This page has very confusing camera angles to me. So Sim is swinging his head to the left to look back inside the locker on the first panel, right? Why is the pidgeon on his locker door on the right? Unless we are looking through his locker door that doesn't make sense to me. Your work is good, so some of my comments are nitpicky. This one isn’t. I was actually so disoriented by the first panel, the first couple times I looked through the page I thought Sim had walked over to the archway on page four.

On panels three and four I think the artwork on the hall monitor’s (or whoever that guy directing traffic is) the artwork seems a little inconsistent on his face. On panel four, the asymmetry makes his right cheek seem swollen. His ears also look like they are missing to me.

The last caption seems out of place. If it’s still that other character speaking, I think it should be an off panel balloon. So far all the captions have been Sim, unless there is a change of setting or there is a color change in the caption, my first instinct is to assume all captions are Sim. However, if it is Sim repeating that information in his brain, quotations show Sim is narrating to someone now instead of an omniscient voice to the reader, but I have no idea to whom.

Aaaandd phones picked up again. I’ll try to do more notes later, haha.

Kevinlearn
08-27-2014, 11:11 AM
AH! Another great point. I should reverse the view on the first panel.

As for the dialogue box in the last panel, I was hoping this would help transition from the hall monitor to Sim. But I can see the confusion this could cause. Thanks for the notes.

crognus
08-27-2014, 11:46 AM
SIDENOTE: Unless that hall monitor is also the shooter, I think he looks to calm. Even the voice of reason, would look a little panicked. It's not like he's a war vet that has seen combat.

One of the things that makes this interesting is the contrast between how Sim is reacting to this shooting compared to the people around him. He is irrationally calm compared to everyone else. You should keep this theme consistent.

crognus
08-27-2014, 12:08 PM
PAGE SIX

The layout seems solid to me. The thing that bothers me is that it's too silent. People just run off silently without screaming or anything? Doesn't seem realistic to me. I would expect more noise, people, an alarm going off, something...

Kevinlearn
08-27-2014, 01:05 PM
Spot on- he has seen combat. He's a lesser character that comes in to play again later. But he is not the shooter.

I understand what you are saying in regards to the silence. I originally had lots of noise but I felt it was added distraction. The silence gives a level of acceptance Sim feels towards the situation. Though he doesn't believe there were clear signs the shooting was coming, his own reflection on the event is tainted by his knowledge of what happen and their connection to future events. -Still your point is well received and I should revisit adding noise to an appropriate level.

crognus
08-27-2014, 01:13 PM
Spot on- he has seen combat. He's a lesser character that comes in to play again later. But he is not the shooter.

Cool. Critique withdrawn.

I understand what you are saying in regards to the silence. I originally had lots of noise but I felt it was added distraction. The silence gives a level of acceptance Sim feels towards the situation. Though he doesn't believe there were clear signs the shooting was coming, his own reflection on the event is tainted by his knowledge of what happen and their connection to future events. -Still your point is well received and I should revisit adding noise to an appropriate level.

If you want to make it silent then there shouldn't be SFX? The fact that you combine SFX makes me expect noise.

Also thanks for backing Super! I appreciate it alot! :har:

crognus
08-27-2014, 01:22 PM
PAGE SEVEN

We have a confusing layout again. At first glance, it appears panel 3 shows Sim slamming into something. He and the guy that are shot have a similar physique and are wearing similar clothes. It might work better if panel 2 was a wide panel, you see the SFX:SLAM coming from behind Sim, and panel 3 is inset in panel 2.

Kevinlearn
08-27-2014, 01:26 PM
If you want to make it silent then there shouldn't be SFX? The fact that you combine SFX makes me expect noise. :har:


Ouch! Good counterpoint. I will have to really think about either losing the SFX altogether or adding more.



Also thanks for backing Super! I appreciate it alot! :har:

No problem! Looking forward to reading it!

crognus
08-27-2014, 01:37 PM
PAGE EIGHT - THIRTEEN

No complaints, other than there are no em/en dashes in comics. There are only double dashes.

THIRTEEN

On panel two the bird appears to have teleported to the right handrail because we can't see the other handrail behind it. Also the proximity to the fence really makes it appear to be the right handrail to me.

PAGE FOURTEEN

Spelling: Goddamn

PAGE SIXTEEN

The last panel has no hint of the bunny ears. I don't think the burst around her head is a legitimate way to hide them either.

PAGE EIGHTEEN

I'm not a fan of the invisible panel border around the house. Part of the bottom and top are cut off (as I'm sure you're aware). It doesn't make sense to me.

Kevinlearn
08-27-2014, 02:11 PM
The confusion on page 7 I agree with.




THIRTEEN

On panel two the bird appears to have teleported to the right handrail because we can't see the other handrail behind it. Also the proximity to the fence really makes it appear to be the right handrail to me.

PAGE FOURTEEN

Spelling: Goddamn

Yep. You're right on both. That whole panel irks me. I will probably redo anyways.



PAGE EIGHTEEN

I'm not a fan of the invisible panel border around the house. Part of the bottom and top are cut off (as I'm sure you're aware). It doesn't make sense to me.

Completely aware. I've wanted to add the complete backyard to that scene for a while.

RskimB
08-27-2014, 09:56 PM
i'm really enjoying what i've read so far. especially your tone, the writing style and the story have me totally engaged. i'm looking forward to seeing more!

Kevinlearn
08-28-2014, 09:29 AM
Thanks for the kind words RskimB! Here is the next part of the story. I cringe to put it up as this is the first scene I drew and I feel it is riddled with areas that need touching up as I haven't revisited it since I originally drew it in 2010.


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Kevinlearn
08-28-2014, 09:30 AM
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crognus
08-28-2014, 03:46 PM
Wow, 2010. That's quite some time to have been working on this! I applaud your dedication!

Kevinlearn
09-04-2014, 10:59 AM
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