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Old 03-21-2015, 09:03 AM   #1
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TPG Week 221: Writing Challenge Entry 6


Hello, one and all, and welcome back to The Proving Grounds! This week, I'm the one up on the chopping block, because of a deal I made at Digital Webbing. The deal was simple: if I had enough takers participating in the Writing Challenge, I'd participate myself. Also, if I had enough people submit their entry here, I'd also undergo the knife.

So, here I am!

The plan was to have both Sam and Liam do the edits and run it down at the end, but unfortunately Liam had a prior engagement. So there's no Liam this week, and there's no rundown at the end. (I'm not going to run myself down. It's self-serving at best, and totally unfair at worst. I liked my story, and it did what I wanted it to do, so no rundown from me.)

So, no notes from me this week. It's all Samantha LeBas in purple.

Let's see how I did with

String Cheese Theory

PAGE 1

PANEL 1

It's dusk, and we're looking out over a carnival. Pull back to show the carnival in a field, with a ferris wheel to draw the eye, but there should be a town around it, too. Not a large town, and this isn't a large carnival. We can see people milling about, and more people streaming in toward the entrance.(How far out? About how many people? A big field in the middle of a small town? Seems it should either be more of a street fair, or set on the outskirts with a town in the distance. What era?)

Cap (Barker)

(elec)

"Hur-ray, hur-ray, hur-ray! Step right up to see a me-ray-cull of modern science. You've got to see it to believe it. Hur-ray, hur-ray.(Suggest exclamation marks throughout)

Click here to read more.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:51 PM   #2
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This is the first time I've read a comic story by Steven.
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:22 PM   #3
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This is the first time I've read a comic story by Steven.
Not me. I recall something about mannequins that came to life at night.

Thanks for posting, Steven. Thanks for editing, Sam.

Sam, is your last name pronounced 'Le Boss'? If not, can I still call you 'Le Boss'?
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:45 AM   #4
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No rundown?! Nuts to that!

Format: Flawless victory. Anything less and my head might have exploded.

Panel Descriptions: I liked them, not just because they had all the information they needed (they did), but because of how casual they were. Most scripts read like an instruction manual. This one reads like a conversation. I like that.

Pacing: Okay, overall. Your layout for page three was a little strange. I'm not an expert, but wouldn't the string cheese come out one at a time? In other words, wouldn't Melinda need to remove her cheese before Harry could punch his card, and so on?

Dialogue: A little blunt at times, particularly the line about the cute turn of phrase. That one almost gave me a concussion.

There were a few instances of missing words (I want help others). There were also a few instances of words that didn't need to be there (It is now clears a billion dollars).

At first, I thought the barker's speech pattern was due to his electronic voice, rather than trying to impersonate an actually barker. Also, at first, I thought he was cheering.

Content: I agree with 'Le Boss' (here's hoping it sticks). There's no conflict. As a reader, I'd be trying to figure out what the point was.

How'd I do?
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:22 PM   #5
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Great stuff Sam, thanks for editing this!

I think the idea for the story is good, but there's very little conflict. I summon the patron saint of antagonists, AlyCro!

The dialogue could do with some more work, in my opinion.

Sometimes the peeps are totally on the nose: "You’re always suspicious, Craig."

Sometimes there's telling, not showing: "Melinda also married Craig after a brief courtship. He saw her as the truly loving, wonderful person she was." This is a comic. We can tell all this sentence just by looking at the characters drawn in the panel, assuming the artist draws them like a married couple who are still in love.

And also some strong butlermaiding: "I just like knowing the rules before I play, Harry. You know that."

"This won him his third Nobel Prize in science, the first two being perfecting faster-than-light travel, and the second for creating the first tractor beam."
The subject changes between the second and third clauses.

"Harry’s understanding of and ability to help people put him the conversation with Frued(Freud) and Jung."
This is just missing some words or something.

Overall, pretty good! It just needs the attention of an editor. Fascinating to see that a seasoned editor like Steven doesn't catch all his writing snaggettes. I appear to be just the same myself.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:54 PM   #6
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I took a crack at putting on my editors hate. (Man do I hate editors. They always come off as assholes and vindictive.)

Overall I didn't like the script as much as I did the first time I read it. After going through it, I found that it left very little room for your artist to be as detailed as you liked. Made it very problematic for the letterer to place balloons and do his job.

One big thing, after thinking about it and I briefly touched on it, was character order in each panels. There were at least one occasion if the artist was to draw a panel, he could easily misunderstand and order the characters the wrong way. In a piece like this that is 90% talking heads, that is a huge problem.

Check out the link, and I'll check back in a few days to see what sorta trouble I've gotten myself into.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:14 PM   #7
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Trouble? No trouble.

And everyone needs an editor.

No excuses, but an explanation. Like everyone else, I wrote it, didn't polish it at all, and then threw it up. I wanted to make sure I made my own deadline.

But I like the general thrust of this story, and may do something with it down the line.

Thanks for commenting! Anyone else?
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:03 PM   #8
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Just passing through, but wanted to emphasize a point that Steven made so honestly:

Everyone needs an editor.

Editors are not exempt from this fact. Just because we know how to stand back and look at someone else's work with an educated and critical eye, doesn't mean we have that same talent on our own work. It's a degree of separation that is hard to establish, and that's why we encourage creators to seek that second hard look from a professional editor.

'Nuff said.

BTW, keep up the great comments, everyone.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:30 AM   #9
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I posted an article on my blog before signing up here at this forum last year, about why people need editors. Most of it was from the perspective of Technical Writing, but the principles and conclusion were the same.

Yes, an editor might be an ass... I would argue that an editor shouldn't be an ass, but that's a different discussion... whether he is one or not, his job is to help you be the best you that you can be, period.

At a minimum, the editor is your first reader... if the editor has trouble following the story, you can be sure there will be some readers out there who will have the same trouble. Even if something isn't wrong, it might not be right.

And even Steven can't be his own editor. It's just not possible. Even the best writer will make mistakes... and since he knows his story, he might not see all the mistakes he makes. That's another function of the editor. The editor comes in with a cleansed palette and not only reads as an editor, but as your first customer.

Also... your editor can be wrong too. But if your editor comes to a wrong conclusion, you might not want to ignore it... instead, take another look at what you wrote and see if the editor truly made a mistake OR if perhaps your story takes an unintended turn and perhaps you need to rewrite it to better reflect the idea in your head.
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I posted an article on my blog before signing up here at this forum last year, about why people need editors. Most of it was from the perspective of Technical Writing, but the principles and conclusion were the same.

Yes, an editor might be an ass... I would argue that an editor shouldn't be an ass, but that's a different discussion... whether he is one or not, his job is to help you be the best you that you can be, period.

At a minimum, the editor is your first reader... if the editor has trouble following the story, you can be sure there will be some readers out there who will have the same trouble. Even if something isn't wrong, it might not be right.

And even Steven can't be his own editor. It's just not possible. Even the best writer will make mistakes... and since he knows his story, he might not see all the mistakes he makes. That's another function of the editor. The editor comes in with a cleansed palette and not only reads as an editor, but as your first customer.

Also... your editor can be wrong too. But if your editor comes to a wrong conclusion, you might not want to ignore it... instead, take another look at what you wrote and see if the editor truly made a mistake OR if perhaps your story takes an unintended turn and perhaps you need to rewrite it to better reflect the idea in your head.
Well said.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:34 PM   #11
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And even Steven can't be his own editor.
"Even Steven"?

I'm nowhere near the best there is at what I do. I'm always trying to learn something new. A different way to look at something, a different way to handle a project, a different way to deal with people.

Really, I'm extremely small time. I'd love to move up in the world, though. I'd love to even be an associate editor someplace. A whole new ball game, a whole new set of skills to learn and hone.

But, no, I wouldn't want to edit myself. It's no walk in the park. It sometimes takes me a while to get onboard with changes--especially if those changes are detrimental to the story I'm trying to tell. I'm not an editor's worst nightmare, but it's not easy to edit me, because I generally know what I want and how I want it.

Anyway, as I said before, everyone needs an editor. Especially those who are hardheaded, like me.
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:40 PM   #12
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The lack of conflict didn't bother me, I enjoyed the story without it, but what did bother me were the "I don't care(s)" throughout. I would have preferred a more positive spin, something like, "Feel free to use your own design." That way, the artist feels their creativity is being valued, rather than (conceivably) feeling that the writer doesn't care about the end product. Enthusiasm is infectious; so is apathy.

And, while I liked the liked the distinctiveness of the Barker's voice, I would have preferred it to be con-sis-tent through-out, rather than get dropped around page 3. It feels disingenuous, and that the Barker's not honest (and therefore can't be trusted). Would you trust a second hand car dealer who altered their dialect, midway through the sales pitch?

I loved the ending, btw.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
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"Even Steven"?
I didn't mean that as a swipe.. hopefully you didn't take it that way. Although, looking back I wish I had made an "even Stevens" joke

What I meant was... even someone who has been able to edit and provide feedback to lots of other people might himself make his own mistakes.

Heck, at jobs where we did peer reviews I would sometimes catch errors in other people's writing that I would miss in my own. Also our department editor sometimes wrote boilerplate text that we all would use and she would get her writing reviewed by someone else.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:05 AM   #14
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I didn't mean that as a swipe.. hopefully you didn't take it that way. Although, looking back I wish I had made an "even Stevens" joke
No, I didn't take it as a swipe. I took it as though I was being put on a pedestal (no matter how small). I don't like pedestals. (It's just me. I'm weird. I'm gonna stop now before it goes further than I want it to. I'm only a small egomaniac, I promise!)
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:40 AM   #15
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I thought about it some more (cuz I spend my time wisely) and realized that I don't like the ending. They all finally eat the string cheese, and then it's over. The last page is basically a long way of saying that they lived happily ever after. Also, I felt a bit of a disconnect between the events of the last two pages. I understand that eating the cheese leads them to where they want to go (at least I think I understand), but the way the last page is written makes it seem like it has very little to do with everything else that happened. If it were me, I'd have the barker's speech about moving the string on the last page instead of the narration. As Felix already mentioned, most of what is being said can be seen in the panel.
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