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Old 05-17-2014, 05:13 AM   #1
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TPG Week 177: Laziness Is Not Becoming


Well, it's another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week we have Chad Handley, who's no stranger around here. This week, though, I'm by myself. So, let's dive right on in!

PAGE ONE

1 - 3/4 shot of CANTOR firing on an indoor shooting range.

She looks more like a librarian than anyone who should be shooting a gun.

She wears COKE BOTTLE GLASSES so thick they make her eyes appear comically large on her face. (These two paragraphs are unnecessary, as they should be part of a character description document. Chad should know better than this. The artist is going to work out all the character descriptions before they put pencil to paper.)

A gaudy red BRA STRAP clearly visible on her shoulder; a mismatching, brown SLIP protruding under her wrinkled dress. (This is necessary, although why it's important hasn't been made relevant yet. So far, this panel description is very light on necessary information.)

A FIELD TRAINER looms behind her, arms folded, watching her take her shot. (Ah! So we now have a camera angle, even though it's inferred. Good.)

Caption

THEN.

Field trainer

Impressive grouping, Cantor. What accounts for this sudden improvement?

Cantor

Well, sir, you accused me of being too cerebral on the range. I turned that so-called weakness into a strength. (I have no idea how it's possible to be too cerebral, but this is a bad opening salvo when it comes to dialogue.)

Click here to read more!
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:22 PM   #2
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Well, that was humbling. But I come to you for the tough love.

You helped me clarify some of the (many) things I wasn't communicating clearly. I'll clean those things up and maybe resubmit.
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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For the edification of others, and in the hopes of starting a trend, I'm going to post my entire script so it an be read without the interruptions. (This is a link to the whole script, FYI.)

Here's the link: 400 script
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:38 PM   #4
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I'm still waiting for Yannick to chime in about the shot over the guy's head.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:11 PM   #5
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I'll get to it eventually!

Right now, I'm busy with next Friday's TPG. I'm still a bit under 6,000 words so I gotta pick up the pace. Aren't you glad your script didn't get sent my way, Chad?
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:30 PM   #6
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6k words is a column into itself! You're a crazy man!
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:35 PM   #7
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Don't worry: I'm almost done. Only got the last page to do now...

...page 5, that is.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:23 AM   #8
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You crack me up, Yannick. I thought I was Top of the Prattlers. Methinks I need to hand you my crown.

Chad, there's a book I think you'll find immensely helpful. I'm pretty sure I've talked about it before somewhere around here, but here it is again:

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Solution.../dp/B00ATOUXA4

Yes, it's about writing a screenplay, but the advice still shines. Edson has a whole section on how to make your audience sympathetic towards your character. And this applies to even "bad guy" characters like Tony Montana of Scarface (from memory, I think he scored something like 8 out of 9 qualities that are necessary in successful story leads). Even if your character is a loser, you gotta give your audience a reason (preferably multiple reasons) to like your character as soon as possible. [Edit: "Like" is a strong word, because even unlikeable characters follow the paradigm....I'm shite at explaining myself, but I'm too freakin lazy to go grab the book for some direct quotes]

Like Steven pointed out, your main character doesn't grab the audience at all. We're given no reason to want to follow her story. I'm not a professional like Steven, just a comic book reader, and that still stood out to me.

I think Eric Edson's book will be a big help for you. I've bought both the Kindle edition and the paperback. I've read it a few times now, but I'm a long way away from being able to apply all the great advice he's got in there. The book is really good.

Best of luck with the revision! And kudos for having a thick skin.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
Chad, there's a book I think you'll find immensely helpful. I'm pretty sure I've talked about it before somewhere around here, but here it is again:

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Solution.../dp/B00ATOUXA4

Yes, it's about writing a screenplay, but the advice still shines. Edson has a whole section on how to make your audience sympathetic towards your character. And this applies to even "bad guy" characters like Tony Montana of Scarface (from memory, I think he scored something like 8 out of 9 qualities that are necessary in successful story leads). Even if your character is a loser, you gotta give your audience a reason (preferably multiple reasons) to like your character as soon as possible. [Edit: "Like" is a strong word, because even unlikeable characters follow the paradigm....I'm shite at explaining myself, but I'm too freakin lazy to go grab the book for some direct quotes]
Another good book is Story by Robert McKee. I have it as an audiobook, and it's great. It's another book about screenwriting, but it helps to tell about both Story and Character.

Another book that will help you to decide which panels are best used to tell the story you want to tell is On Directing Film by David Mamet. It's a thin volume, but there's a lot of info in there that is directly applicable to writing comics.

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Best of luck with the revision! And kudos for having a thick skin.
Thick skin?! You sound like I skewered him! I did no such thing!
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:26 AM   #10
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PFFFFTT you know very well that folk replying to their TPG entries is rare, let alone thanking ya for your time. That's thicker skin than most folk.

Don't twist mah words, ya bugger!
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:49 PM   #11
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Like Steven pointed out, your main character doesn't grab the audience at all. We're given no reason to want to follow her story. I'm not a professional like Steven, just a comic book reader, and that still stood out to me.
There's a bigger problem in that she's not the main character. The reason I started with her flashback is a boring, involved story that would only interest me, but this clarifies for me that I can't get away with starting off with a secondary character's back story.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:59 PM   #12
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Incorrect.

You can get away with anything as long as it is done well. Unfortunately, this wasn't.

Now I'm interested in why you chose to start the book this way, with a secondary character and their backstory instead of the primary protagonist/antagonist. It's a unique decision, and I'm interested to know how you arrived at it.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:11 PM   #13
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I'd like to take a shot at the moving panel question.

Of course there is the fact she is aiming and shooting at the same time, which should be two separate actions. However, I would assume the artist would show her shooting after she has already taken aim. So the image itself wouldn't likely be a moving panel.

Until you read the dialog. She is telling the hostage not to move. This is an action that would be required before she shoots. So it's almost as if the panel is moving in time backwards.

Also, there is never any sound effects for the gun shot(s).

I hope to see you revisit this script in a future TPG! I'd live to see how it grows.

Ryan
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
Incorrect.

You can get away with anything as long as it is done well. Unfortunately, this wasn't.

Now I'm interested in why you chose to start the book this way, with a secondary character and their backstory instead of the primary protagonist/antagonist. It's a unique decision, and I'm interested to know how you arrived at it.
If people will immediately assume that the first character they see is the main character, and then decide whether or not they want to continue to read the book based on how much they identify with her, then I don't see how I can get away with it.

As for why I decided to go with this backstory first, it was a tonal decision. This is a 5 issue series about an elite team of military assassins, and I start each issue with a flashback to how they came to be members of the team. But the backstory of the main character is tonally pretty dark, and doesn't clearly establish that the book is intended as sort of a farcical black comedy. (Steven may remember this, but to remind him just in case, and for those of you who don't know, the book is sort of The Losers meets God Bless America, where a team of elite assassins goes around killing the 400 richest men in America.)

So long story short, I decided to start with Cantor's backstory as she plays a big role in the first issue and as her story is more comedic, and thus more firmly establishes the book as a comedy.

This didn't work as well as I hoped because you seemed to immediately assume that it was a serious military piece because I didn't start with the jokes until around page three. You said those pages were tonally off but it's actually the other way around. Those pages and jokes are a better representation of the tone of the series than the first two pages.
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:41 PM   #15
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If she plays a big role in this issue, then she is the main character of the issue.

Sounds pretty simple to me.
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