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Old 05-30-2015, 10:44 PM   #1
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TPG Week 231: My Blood Pressure, Or A Period?


Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in David Rines! I'm all by my lonesome this week, so it's all red, all the time.

This is David's entry to a writing challenge I did over at Digital Webbing. Here were the rules:

Cannot be longer than 5 pages

Must have an alien (take that as you wish)

One page must have 2 panels or less on it

There must be at least 200 words of spoken dialogue

Bacon must be an object

Chainsaw must be in the spoken dialogue

Let's see how he did as David brings us his writing challenge!

Characters:

Petrovsky - The narrator of the story, the human ambassador who negotiated the peace between the human race and the aliens

Agnes - The hero of the story, the pig that became the bacon meal that settled peace between Earth and the alien race

Lucky - The hero's best friend

Farmer Bob - One of two main antagonists, owner of the farm

Jeffrey - Secondary antagonist, cruel farmhand

Lexi - Bob's daughter, innocent child who tries in vain to protect the pigs

Lupinians The aliens, resemble wolf-like creatures

Page 1:

Panel 1: Petrovsky sitting at a circular table across from alien ambassadors. On the table between them are plates full of bacon. More humans and aliens can be seen in the background smiling and shaking hands. (I'm not happy about the bolding and italics of the panel description. It seems very unnecessary to me. However, I'm not going to ding him for it. It's how he wants it. As long as he's consistent, I don't care overmuch. What I do care about is the setting. This is happening in a white void. I'm only going to assume that Petrovsky is wearing a suit, and I don't care overmuch how the aliens look. That should be worked out in the character designs before the penciler ever starts to lay this story out.)

Click here to read more.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:50 AM   #2
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David, if you're feeling short changed, or that your treatment was a little harsh, you should probably know that this is fairly typical of what you'd expect from the industry at large. Most editors' slush piles have so many entries (let's say over 500) for so few spots (let's say, two winners, and two runnners up, with an extra runner up added because the COO, "couldn't make up his mind") that even after whittling the entries down to the cream of the crop (let's say 40 entries, whose writers were "working at a professional standard") you're left with too many. What happens then, is that instead of looking at the positives of each story, you look for the flaws - anything you can use to say X script is better than Y, so Y can be rejected. Punctuation is one of those flaws. As is format, and spelling.

Which is a shame, as your story was fairly decent.

(Was this reply strangely specific, or am i just bitter?)

PS - Mr. Forbes, please fix the hyperlink at the bottom of each TPG entry - the "Check the calendar to see who's next" link does not take me to the calendar.

Last edited by Kiyoko, Rin; 05-31-2015 at 06:54 AM. Reason: Added a postscript that was long overdue.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:12 AM   #3
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The periods in the panel description go on and off, which is weird to me. I imagine that the sentences without the period were the panel descriptions written in the last moments and simply forgotten in the haste, but even then it is not a good reason to forget them.

For the story itself, I feel like the requirements really made the story suffer. The story of how a pig was used to settle an intergalactic war was interesting and I wanted to see more of it, so it was disappointing that the story didn't follow it. The chainsaw felt out of place, since there is no way a farmer is catching a pig with a chainsaw. Pigs are too fast. Plus, he is way more likely to fall on his own chainsaw than not notice a truck heading straight towards him. Which leads me to ask...

How can a pig possible plan something like that? I'm not sure a pig could possibly know anything about the traffic and when a car would come hit the farmer. In fact, why did the farmers leave the hole alone? It wasn't a mystery how the first pig escaped. And why did they use that particular pig to become the bacon at a peace summit?

David, if you decide to keep working on this piece then I recommend you either make this a story about bacon being served at a peace summit or a story about a pig escaping its abusive farm, but not both.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:47 AM   #4
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I need to relearn punctuation myself, don't write enough to retain that simple information.

http://www.learnenglish.de/punctuati...ationtext.html <----reacquainting myself with stuff.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:05 AM   #5
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Well, at least this justifies my emotional breakdown in last weeks TPG.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiyoko, Rin View Post
PS - Mr. Forbes, please fix the hyperlink at the bottom of each TPG entry - the "Check the calendar to see who's next" link does not take me to the calendar.
Thanks, Rin. After a while, the link seems to break. Don't know why that happens, but it's on my end.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:49 PM   #7
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They're called 'full stops', I tell you!

Thanks for the attempted editing, Steven. Sorry that the missing punctuation drove you over the edge, editorially speaking!
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:52 PM   #8
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This story could have worked as comparison of different kinds of cruelty: the personal - physical abuse - and the impersonal - the capricious demands of a distant political system (so distant it is functionally alien.)

However, the plot does not sufficiently engage with or support this theme. The abuse is random, as is the ultimate selection of Agnes. The story lacks emotional weight and tension because none of the characters' decisions flow logically from their revealed personalities and the conclusion of the story does not flow logically from the preceding events.

The story requirements could have been employed more effectively with slight changes. For example, rather than have a hole without explanation, have Lexi use the chainsaw to cut the hole.

The tone was also unclear. Was this intended to be comedic or dramatic?
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