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Old 12-25-2015, 07:18 AM   #1
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TPG Week 261: Christmas Rewrite


Welcome back, one and all, to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have Troy Bowen as our Brave One. We also have Liam Hayes in blue, Ryan Kroboth with the pencils, and I'm the idiot in red, doing this on Christmas Eve.

If you're reading this on Christmas Day...go do something else. Really. Spend time with your families. Do something special. But if you must, read on as Troy tells us about

The Nine Unknown

Troy Bowen

Chapter 1: New Beginnings

Page 1 (2 Panels)

Panel One

Framing shot above a beautiful city which is rectangular in shape with very futuristic buildings and roadways (What does a futuristic roadway look like?). Three rectangular rings divide the city. Two and three story buildings can be seen in the outer rings and a much larger building can be seen in the very center. (This needs more specificity. I get the idea of what you're going for but I have questions. How big is the middle building, for instance? It also took me a while to realize you wanted the rings to extend out in size, rather than separate chunks of the city into zones, but maybe I am being too literal and/or stupid.)(Vague. Sometimes vague is good, sometimes vague is bad. Here, vague is bad. If this is supposed to be an establishing shot, what are we missing, Schuyler?)

CAPTION:

20,000 years ago (I would put a comma here.) the Rama and the Vril Empires possessed knowledge and science far beyond anything available today. (This starts out verra, verra bad. I feel like we're getting backstory already instead of just letting the story unfold and letting us catch up later. Let's see if I'm right.)

CAPTION:

Rama, Northern India (18,000 B.C.) (Why make the date parenthetical? What purpose does that serve?)

Panel Two

Framing shot at an angle above what appears to be almost a mirror of the above city (That's an obtuse way of saying “a similar city”.) only with rounded rings set into an island bay. The island surrounding the city is mountainous and tropical looking. (Tir-na Nog'th. Anyone get the reference without looking it up?)

CAPTION:

This knowledge was nearly lost in the wars between the two civilizations.

CAPTION:

Vril (Atlantis), Indian Ocean (18,000 B.C.)

Speaking of cities, we're in exposition city. Not a great way of starting your story. I am already put off.

Click here to read more.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Framing shot above a beautiful city which is rectangular in shape with very futuristic buildings and roadways (What does a futuristic roadway look like?). Three rectangular rings divide the city. Two and three story buildings can be seen in the outer rings and a much larger building can be seen in the very center. (Vague. Sometimes vague is good, sometimes vague is bad. Here, vague is bad. If this is supposed to be an establishing shot, what are we missing, Schuyler?)
A good establishing shot should include, where, and when. This description does not give us a when. We don't need a historical when but a time of day.

I like your idea, Troy. Telling a story is a hard thing to do. Your TPG submission reminds me of my own submissions. Steven tells me the same stuff he is telling you, and I am still trying to learn it. Don't give up though. Attack one problem at a time. Good luck!

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Old 12-27-2015, 09:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Panel Two

Similar explosions in the ocean around Atlantis have created massive waves that loom over the city. Twelve small objects dot the sky, escaping the destruction. (Mr. Kroboth? I feel like this is your cue.)
I was, and still am, terribly confused as to what this panel should look like. This is my best guess.



I did an image search for Atlantis, and a few things came back of circular cities around the island. So, I'm guessing that is what Troy had in mind in regards to the rings.

The explosions are a whole other challenge. I looked up a lot of nuclear bomb testing images in the ocean, and even read some websites on the matter. It seems the ripple effects from the blast can create waves that are almost 2000 feet in height. But when we view these explosion ripples from above, they appear to be white rings that move outward. It's nearly impossible to show them as tidal waves.

So I did kinda force the image a bit, because I don't think the idea of tidal waves would show otherwise.

If you wanted to have a more striking image, why not have the view from one of the escape ships as they are looking out the back window, the tidal wave close behind as they are still low to the ground in takeoff? From this distance we are so far removed from what's happening that we don't feel attached to what's happening to those involved.

Now, I have to ask, how do these twelve ships know that a bomb is going off? Isn't the whole idea of an atomic bomb that those being bombed have no time to react? It's like they were sitting in the ships waiting...

This opening is really part of your backstory, and therefor belongs in your story bible, and not in the story itself (at least directly). Get us invested in the characters first. This stuff comes later!

I hope you resubmit, Troy, and tighten up the beginning and get us hooked right away. I'll be looking forward to it if you do. Good luck!

And I hope everyone out there had a great holiday!
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:52 AM   #4
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The man is ominous, the woman is beautiful.

a.) What kind of a description of a person is ominous?
b.) The woman is beautiful. Of course she is. She can't be ominous, don't be silly. What a dull, obvious, gendered adjective. One day writers will describe women with another word.

Why wasn't the woman ominous and the man handsome?
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:58 AM   #5
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Steven: I thought you were against killing babies!?

I love that set-up. Would love to see it as an opening.

I see some similarities between this and the critique on my early draft of Polis. Backstory. I can maybe see this backstory setup working in a movie, but yeah, here it doesn't really grab the reader. It's not necessarily that it's boring, but it's that it's hard to understand what we're seeing. In any event, always better to start with an individual doing something, needing something.

Not knowing the rest of the story, I agree, starting with Number Six running away from something is the way to start things.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:04 AM   #6
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(As for getting into a warehouse…Rin, what would you have done before we got here? Just this page, my friend. Just this page.)
How I’d alter page 3:

1) In panel 1, I’d change the camera angle. Even if Dallas does have a world famous skyline we’d never be able to recognise it from an aerial view.

2) In panel 1, my first thought was that the copy and picture don’t match, so there should be some visual element of what’s mentioned in the last caption (the 9, the deaths, the books of knowledge – something) drawn, probably in a separate panel (as the shot of Dallas would be the establishing shot we need). I then realised that would be a needless diversion that would take us from Dallas, to the tie-in picture, then back to Dallas. However, rather than ditch the last caption, I’d keep it and wait for the next panel for it to be tied in. This would mean adding some copy; my revised page would read something like, “The Vril kill people for …” (panel 1). “That’s if they catch them.” (Panel 2.) Doing it this way would enable Troy to do the info dump he wants, tie it to the panels, and give us context re: who the antagonists are and what Number 6’s motivation is.

3) As panel 1 and 2 seemed to bear no relation (panel 2, imo, felt like a second establishing shot in a separate location) I’d overlay either the SFX of 6’s running feet or a tailless, ragged balloon of his heavy breathing over one part of the city to clue the reader in that there’s some human element about to turn up.

4) In panel 2, as we can see 6’s straining face, the camera seems to give us a front-on view, meaning the background is where he's run FROM. I’d reverse this – have the camera at the rear so that the b/g shows us where he’s running TO (meaning we can foreshadow the warehouse door), and I’d have his face glancing back over his shoulder, facing us, to reinforce the feeling that he’s being chased. (Ooh, the tension.)

Last edited by Kiyoko, Rin; 01-05-2016 at 01:16 PM.
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