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Author Topic: please read!  (Read 1337 times)

mrstu

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please read!
« on: 27 November, 2011, 09:26:46 PM »
heres the first page of a 5 pager story im working on at the mo. its still only very rough but id love to hear your opinions on it.

PAGE 1.

The first three panels of this page are evenly spaced and take up the top half of the page, while the forth panel takes up the bottom half of the page.

1. Close up of a small simian/alien type creature sat behind the controls of a ‘space ship’. At first glance he as a very strong ‘awwww’ factor, but the mischievous glint in his eye give away that this ‘animal’ is more than a cuddly wuddly gremlin. He is wearing a hideously patterned and coloured Hawaiian shirt, and a ‘biggles’ styled flying helmet. He also has cigarette holder gripped between his teeth.

CAPTION: ‘HEY, MY NAMES ERIK BOLTHOLD THE THIRD. I LIKE BLOWING UP BUILDINGS, STEAK AND KIDNEY PIE AND GETTING INTO FIGHTS I CAN NEVER WIN. MY MOTHER SAYS IM A CHEMICALLY INBALANCED LOONEY, BUT THEN SHE WOULD….’

CAPTION;’... …..I’M THE ONE WHO PULLED HER LUNGS OUT OF HER CHEST.’

2. Slightly wider shot than the previous panel. Sat next to Erik is a young man who looks like the bastard offspring of Jarvis Cocker and Tank girl, he has massive horn rimmed glasses covering the top half of his face and a excitable twisted grin on his lips.

CAPTION: ‘THE SCRUFFY CYBER PUNK SAT NNEXT TO ME IS MY BEST FRIEND, OWNER AND ALL ROUND BAD EGG CLAYTON FORTUNA. HE DOESN’T SAY MUCH……..HE HAD HIS TONGUE RIPPED OUT IN A BAR ROOM BRAWL DURING THE SUMMER OF 5634.’

3. External shot of the space ship Erik and Clayton are behind the controls of. We can see ray guns and other weapons on the sides of the ship.

CAPTION; ‘IT WAS JUST AFTER THAT BRAWL THAT CLAYTON GOT SUSPENDED FROM NEW WEST BROMWICH UNIVERSITY. IT TURNS OUT THAT THE HEAD GUY, A SLIME BALL BY THE NAME OF REVEREND JAVIER VETRANO TOOK OFFENCE TO CLAYTON HAVING……HOW CAN I PUT THIS? CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WIFE AND 18 DAUGHTERS. SO VETRANO FRAMED CLAYTON BY DUMPING A TON OF ROCKET LAUNCHERS, SQUIRREL PELTS AND DEAD BODIES IN HIS LOCKER.

4. Shot (taking up the bottom half of the page) revealing that the ship that Eric and Clayton are flying is firing the ray guns and its other weapons at the New West Bromwich University. The Building is mid explosion.

CAPTION: ‘WHICH IS WHY WE FELT AN OVERWHELMING DESIRE TO GO SEEK DIRTY BLOODY REVENGE…’

CAPTION: ‘….AND MAYBE HAVE A LITTLE FUN’


TordelBack

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Re: please read!
« Reply #1 on: 27 November, 2011, 10:23:13 PM »
It's the return of OC and Stiggs!   ;)

Alski

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Re: please read!
« Reply #2 on: 27 November, 2011, 11:52:58 PM »
BIG captions for smallish panels, might want to look at that.

Also, don't give us one page, because we can't comment on 1/5 of a story! Finish it and post that.

It mat be genius, it may be shit, it may be somewhere in between - will let you know when you finish it.
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The Enigmatic Dr X

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Re: please read!
« Reply #3 on: 28 November, 2011, 09:09:48 AM »
As an aspiring writer myself and coming from no position of authority whatsoever, I'll throw you my tuppence.

There's way too much text there.

The fewer words on the page, the better.

Comics are all about the pictures, not about the text. Being a comic writer is to be criminally under apprecaited. The cool confrontations, the evil bad guy, the sexy babes that bubble away in your mind - you will never get any credit for them. That is all down to the design of the artist. No one wants to read our words. If they wanted lots of words then they'd be reading a book. What comics are about is showing things in the art. That, I'm afraid, is what the artists do. All a writer can do is point them in the right direction and let them rip, and hope to be dragged along in the wake.

There's way too much text there.

The fewer words on the page, the better.

That's a crushing lesson that I have struggled to learn over the last year or so, but I think I have improved my comic writing by taking it on board.

Of course, some words are needed. But not to create atmosphere and not to create character (although anything that is said has to be in keeping with character, creating it is down to the first impression - and that is what the artist does). That's down to the look of the page and the artist. The words are there to convey background, and to move the story on.

So, with that in mind, what are my specific thoughts?

There's way too much text there.

The fewer words on the page, the better.

Look at this caption:

‘IT WAS JUST AFTER THAT BRAWL THAT CLAYTON GOT SUSPENDED FROM NEW WEST BROMWICH UNIVERSITY. IT TURNS OUT THAT THE HEAD GUY, A SLIME BALL BY THE NAME OF REVEREND JAVIER VETRANO TOOK OFFENCE TO CLAYTON HAVING……HOW CAN I PUT THIS? CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WIFE AND 18 DAUGHTERS. SO VETRANO FRAMED CLAYTON BY DUMPING A TON OF ROCKET LAUNCHERS, SQUIRREL PELTS AND DEAD BODIES IN HIS LOCKER.

That's 68 words. As a general rule, I try to stick to no more than 30 words (and ideally 20) per caption or speech bubble and around 40 per panel. I can't remember where I saw that guide, but it works. The fewer words the better. I know how hard that is, I really do.

You could edit that caption to:

CLAYTON'S SUSPENDED FROM UNI. REV VETRANO, HEAD SLIME BALL, TOOK OFFENCE TO CLAYTON BANGING HIS WIFE AND KIDS. HE FRAMED CLAYTON BY DUMPING A TON OF BAD STUFF IN HIS LOCKER.

That's 31 words and covers the same ground.

Yes, some of the funky detail in your head is lost. It's funny that the Rev has 18 daughters. Squirrel pelts - great little detail. But, ultimately, that's the problem. This is a comic, not prose. Why not show the locker, with all the stuff hanging out of it? Shouldn't it be a panel on its own, with Clayton being led away by a guard with his locker behind him, all sorts of stuff hanging out of it?

Which, as an aside, leads to a second point: don't go into the details. Let the artist draw what he wants. He will anyway. Just say "there's all kinds of wierd stuff coming out the locker, like missiles and squirrel pelts."

There are a lot of things in your writing that, while good to know, don't really add anything and just throw words on the page for the sake of it.

"New West Bromwich University" - why? That's a lot of long words. The panel will show it's the future. Is it essential to your story that the Uni is (a) new and (b) West Brom? If not, then drop it.

Remember, the fewer words on the page, the better. Your text will cover up the art. No one likes that. Not even you - it looks rubbish. Extrapolating that, look out for long words. "Carnal knowledge" abd "daughters" have a lot of letters. While the rule I work to may be 30 / 45 words, that must be reduced if I am using long words. Also, look out for unnecessary adjectives that eat into your word count: "dead bodies" is twice as long as "bodies".

Applying the above approach to your other panels, I'd go for:-

PANEL 1
FROM 49 WORDS:


CAPTION: ‘HEY, MY NAMES ERIK BOLTHOLD THE THIRD. I LIKE BLOWING UP BUILDINGS, STEAK AND KIDNEY PIE AND GETTING INTO FIGHTS I CAN NEVER WIN. MY MOTHER SAYS IM A CHEMICALLY INBALANCED LOONEY, BUT THEN SHE WOULD….’

CAPTION;’... …..I’M THE ONE WHO PULLED HER LUNGS OUT OF HER CHEST.’

TO 33 WORDS

CAPTION: ‘I'M ERIK BOLTHOLD. I LIKE BLOWING UP STUFF, PIES AND FIGHTS I CAN'T WIN. MY MOM SAYS I'M AN INBALANCED LOON, BUT THEN...

CAPTION;’... …..I DID PULLED THE LUNGS FROM HER CHEST.’



PANEL 2
FROM 39 WORDS


‘THE SCRUFFY CYBER PUNK SAT NNEXT TO ME IS MY BEST FRIEND, OWNER AND ALL ROUND BAD EGG CLAYTON FORTUNA. HE DOESN’T SAY MUCH……..HE HAD HIS TONGUE RIPPED OUT IN A BAR ROOM BRAWL DURING THE SUMMER OF 5634.’

TO 23 WORDS

‘THIS SCRUFFY PUNK IS MY FRIEND, CLAYTON FORTUNA. HE DOESN’T SAY MUCH. NOT SINCE HIS TONGUE WAS RIPPED OUT IN A BAR BRAWL



That's just from the top of my head. As Alski says, without knowing where the story is going it is hard to be more constructive. I'm not saying the above is how I would write it, just that you need to cut down on the number of words.

There's way too much text there.

The fewer words on the page, the better.

And remember, no matter how cool your story it will be the artist who gets the credit.
Lock up your spoons!

Jimmy Baker's Assistant

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Re: please read!
« Reply #4 on: 28 November, 2011, 10:47:47 AM »
I quite like this opening to a story, but it's too reminiscent of DR & Quinch. Whilst I'm all for learning from the best, copying Alan Moore will only invite comparisons that are impossible to win.

Alternatively, have you considered reworking it as an actual DR & Quinch story and submitting it to Zarjaz?

Oh and whilst I totally agree with Dr X that a 68-word caption is too long, but you have to be careful what you cut. His suggested version turns your hero's sidekick into a child molester, you probably want to avoid that!

mrstu

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Re: please read!
« Reply #5 on: 28 November, 2011, 11:13:05 AM »
thanks for everyones comments, i do apprecaite it but it was just some stream of conscious thing that i doodled with when on a break at week a couple of days ago. my main thing (comics wise) is a four pater called 'mercury' that i'm just finishing up on at the moment (just working on the last issue at the mo)i have no idea what to do with the above or even if its worth going with to be honest, but thanks again for your input.

also chris? thats not a bad idea about the zarjaz thing its something i might have a think about.


locustsofdeath!

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Re: please read!
« Reply #6 on: 28 November, 2011, 08:31:06 PM »
Always interesting to see the script formats of others...

(I swear artists must cringe when they get mine for the simple fact that an average panel description is a quarter of a page...)

mrstu, Doc X and the others that have mentioned keeping your captioning pared down a bit are right. Tharg mentions this in his submission guidelines on this very site. Most other comics companies have similar guidelines. It may be worth a look at these, as all of them state pretty much the same thing: 25 words per caption/ballon.

Yet you also have to stay true to your characters and story. Right, there's always the show, don't tell rule which, although the basis of all writing, is particularly true to comics. When writing comics, you're blessed with pictures, wonderful pictures, to convey much of what's in your mind. Those 18 daughters? Yeah, maybe he has a photo of them...you can get all that info in the script if you think on it.

The most sagely (if you want to call Richmond Clements a sage  ;)) advice on comics I ever received was this: "Remember, locust," Richmond squeaked excitedly to me, "you can tell three stories when writing a comic - with pictures, captions and dialogue". Don't narrate what the reader will already see in pictures, ADD to it...so I think cutting out the redundancy in your captions will suffice to get the word counts down.

Anyway, I hope your script turns out more genius than shite  :D :D.

mrstu

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Re: please read!
« Reply #7 on: 28 November, 2011, 10:17:32 PM »
thanks everyone! appreciate it!!

Jon

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Re: please read!
« Reply #8 on: 28 November, 2011, 11:14:29 PM »
Which, as an aside, leads to a second point: don't go into the details. Let the artist draw what he wants. He will anyway. Just say "there's all kinds of wierd stuff coming out the locker, like missiles and squirrel pelts."

And remember, no matter how cool your story it will be the artist who gets the credit.

Hey now, Doc, I'm feeling kind of bad here. I've tried to draw what you asked for! Any discrepancies I'm afraid you'll just have to put down to my limitations. ;)

Anyway, it's a two-way street - there's no comic without the script, huh? Artists left to their own devices would just fill the page with nonsensical doodles. We all just have to try to get along  :D (you should try computer games - artists, writers, coders, audio, designers, producers and God only knows what else all rubbing egos. At least the fights are cleaner and the meetings shorter with comics.)