Well, my name(obviously), is Asaya and I’m looking for constructive criticism on the storyline of a comic book I am creating.
The preferred audience will be 13-18, but it may have some deeper concepts for older readers. It will also utilize Christian concepts/morals, but I will need a little help with how to insert it into the story without seeming preachy or lame.
APPROACH TO CRITICISM:
I want to be published more than anything else, but there are some things I will not change(like some character profiles, theme/concept, or certain events that happen in the story), but on the other hand I will still take any advice you have to offer; just avoid being harsh.
Note: I don’t have a single clue how to do HTML coding, so don’t expect me to be fancy.
(Primary Protagonists)- 5 teenagers gifted with prophetic abilities during the Last Days of planet Earth. Some of the subplots in the story regard the growth and development of these characters.
(Secondary Protagonists)- The Messengers of Fire/ Angels sent to investigate WestHavon(name pending), the fictional city where most of the story takes place. They aid the kids when necessary.
(Primary Antagonists)- Spirits of Darkness/ Demons/ Fallen Angels- They plan to stop the coming of the Dawn that the kids will bring. They manipulate and control humans, though some people knowingly work for them.
(Secondary Antagonists)- Evil humans- some knowingly serve Demons in exchange for power, but others are manipulated by them unknowingly,(for lack of a better word) because of the darkness in their hearts. During the first parts of the story the humans might be believed as the main baddies till some shocking discovery turns everything on it’s head.
I’m not sure how to describe the storyline as well as the characters, but in general, the story is based on the coming of Dawn that the people around the world are chosen to bring.(The Dawn will be a sort of Revolution before the end of the world).
These characters and concepts are largely based on Biblical concepts, but I want people without any knowledge of God or the Bible to be able to pick it up, enjoy it, and maybe learn something from it. I’m not sure if I’m trying to make the story deeper than it actually is.
Any advice, ideas, or suggestions are more than welcome, but I primarily need help with starting off the comic book, I don’t want to lose readers with long explanations of why this is like this, or that like that.
Okay, first off, part of this reminds me of Supernatural. This is in no way a bad thing. I don’t believe for even a second you stole the idea, or that it would land you in any legal troube, all I’m saying is that in the TV show Supernatural there is a character who can dream the future, and the show’s fourth season revolves around the apocalypse. But again, don’t worry about this, just a little observation.
Anyway, I can safely assume you’ve read Revelations, but have you read or at least studied in some way Paradise Lost? Not 100% necessary, but for you I would definitely recommend it. I might even go as far as recommending His Dark Materials, as it presents a totally different viewpoint to the one you’re going to push with this, and would give you lots of ideas. But again, not necessary, just a nice suggestion.
Another piece of advice is don’t push the Christian values too hard. I’d personally like you to not push them at all, but that’s just me personally, not your future audience. I’d especially say this for the touchy stuff like creationism and homosexuality, let’s not have your book start a Satanic Verses level religious debate. But by all means, let your book portray Christian values.
Finally, I think this is a very good idea. I’ve always believed that the book of Revelations would make an awesome movie, so your source material will let you go far!
Thanks! I’ve always wanted to read Paradise Lost but I can never find it. The part about the end of the world/ Last Days won’t be nearly as impending as Supernatural, and not as gloomy either. The ‘Dawn’ is sort of a revolution or awakening around the world. It will in no way begin with a sermon, and I’m not sure it will bring up difficult issues when I’m tryin’ to sell the first issue.
Thanks for the advice, I’m also going to see if I can look up His Dark Materials.
Also despite its Christian nature, it will deviate from certain ocurrences in the Bible.
I’m basically trying to make a good comic book that people will want to read.
If you’re going to read Paradise Lost, you’ll need an interpreter to fully understand it. Someone who can understand the complicated middle-english poetry. Unless you can understand Shakespearian english without help, seek help in reading it, otherwise there’s no point (I intend to study it in a couple of years time myself).
Another thing. Most of the morals or concepts in the story will not be presented by captions of verses, but in how the characters think and interact with each other.
None of the characters are going to be preacher’s kids or Christians anyhoo, so you can see that they’ll have an open-ended choice about whether they want to get involved anyway. With some of their backgrounds, God will be the last thing on there minds. I’m trying to get across certain themes subtly, but I don’t know if that’ll make it deeper than necessary, especially for someone my age designing this.
Depending on how many angels there are in the story, that might be needlessly complicated. Also, uh, how many variations can you get of wings? It might be better to focus on other details.
I just want to go back to something you said earlier:
“During the first parts of the story the humans might be believed as the main baddies till some shocking discovery turns everything on it’s head.”
Generally, this type of surprise isn’t welcomed by the audience. For the people who started reading because they thought these characters were the bad guys, this will probably come across as needlessly coy. Alternatively, if they read the back cover they might say, “I already knew that!”
You seem to have a really interesting story, though. I always thought that some ideas from the Bible would work really well in literature. That said, these are only ideas I’ve heard of because I haven’t actually read it yet.
Ok. I’ve added a password to this page. Now, I’d recommend giving the password to whomever you feel comfortable with on this site. I recommend starting with Holliequ and Tom because they’ve already shown an interest in your writing. Maybe Ragged Boy as well, although he doesn’t sound as enthusiastic about your genre of writing. You can reach them by leaving a comment on their review forums asking for an e-mail address.
Okie-Dokie, but just to note, I’m planning for this to be a series. Hm, well maybe I should work on the antagonist’s then. I already have the protagonists established.
If the shocking discovery is unpleasant, maybe I should try phasing out the human antags’ for the demonic ones. There is an early connection that links them (the antagonists) together so the reader will know something isn’t right, but maybe the demon antags’ gradually become more prominent than the human antags’ and are featured more.
One of these human antagonists is a 16yr-old boy. He is staying at some kinda Rehab Center, ever since he turned up two months ago, after his parents were murdered by an unknown assailant. He suffered a mental breakdown and completely shutdown, so the police(or whoever) sent him to the Rehab Center.
There is little known about him. I’m thinkin’(spoiler) that maybe his parents used to were coerced into working for a man that, unknown to them, was a demonic agent. When they uncovered the truth behind the research he was doing, he killed them, ditched the man he was possessing and hid inside the boy.
I would like this to be rated for Originality and Complexity, just so you guys know.
# Stefan the Exploding Manon 26 Mar 2009 at 8:24 am
This reminds me a bit of the beginning of Lord Loss by Darren Shan, where the protagonist is sent to a sort of rehab centre after his parents and sister are murdered, but the background is quite different from your story.
His Dark Materials didn’t really stick close to the Bible either. In fact there was an email going around when the film came out telling people not to see it or to read the books because they’re “anti-Christian”, but of course all this did was make people want to read the books and see the film even more.
Anyway, I think it’s fine that you deviate from the Bible, because that way you get more creative freedom and like you said, readers unfamiliar with the Bible should be able to pick up your story. Are there any “good” humans in your story? Other than the main protagonists, that is.
Atheist? What are you talking about? Dark Materials wasn’t atheist, there was a God.
They just killed Him… Yeah, pretty blasphemous. They set up God as some kind of tyrannical dictator who rules the Kingdom of Heaven with an iron fist, and the rebel angels as heroes fighting against Him. They set up the Church as an evil organisation bent on hiding the truth from humanity to serve their own agenda, and even wanting to control other dimensions as well.
Yeah, doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with the Bible…
Also, I’d recommend watching Supernatural for ideas about demons. The show is chock full of ‘em!
@ Stefan- Yep. Besides the main characters there are their families and friends, and these relationships are gonna be subplots within the series, as their families ain’t necessarily picture perfect…
And besides, ‘the Dawn’ is a revolution around the world, they’ll meet other characters with their abilities(or I might save those as side arcs)…
@ Holliequ- Heh heh, thanks. I might describe him more as an unintentional antagonist, ’cause, with his mental breakdown and everything, nobody’ll believe him if he said that a demonic entity was tryin’ release the four most powerful demons since the Fall.
They’d just make him take his pills.
@ Tom- I’ve watched quite a few episodes of Supernatural, but it’s kinda hard to watch it when your parents dominate the T.V. from 8-11pm…
One connection between this antagonist and the protagonist’s is-
Boy Protagonist 1 is a highschool freshman. His Mom is a counselor at THE SAME REHAB CENTER that the 16yr-old boy is sent to. When she comes home from work, she sometimes comments on the strangeness of the antag’s behavior, which becomes increasingly weirder as the story goes on, till-
The antag’s personal demon realizes that Boy Protagonist 1 (who at this point becomes a Dawnprophet) is the son of a certain counselor and attacks protag’s mother to get the protag, maybe.
@ Holliequ- Yeah, it does seem a bit contrived, but I originally created all the protagonist’s first, and the idea for the first antagonist came from the job that Protagonist 1′s mother had.
Okay, so the antagonist won’t attack the mom to get to the protagonist. But maybe the protagonist and antagonist might encounter each other at some point, or maybe a vision that Protagonist 1 has encourages him to investigate the doings at his mother’s job more closely.
“Maybe Ragged Boy as well, although he doesn’t sound as enthusiastic about your genre of writing.”
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that I wouldn’t be willing to help or that I didn’t like your story. I love helping and your story is pretty cool. I meant that I personally wouldn’t write religious fiction, not that there is anything wrong with it.
Alright, if there are 5 protagonists in this story, would it be unnecessary to establish that 3 outta these 5 protagonists discover that their current situation has a connection to the antagonists plans?
And to restate, would it be interesting if I had Protagonist 1 and antagonist encounter each other at some point? Or would it be better if a premonition or vision that Protag 1
has encourages him to investigate the situation at the Rehab Center(since his mother already talks about the events at work), and what exactly would that vision be?
I’m not really sure what you’re asking. Would it be better for the protagonist to meet the antagonist or go seek him out after a vision?
I don’t know. I suspect that because of the themes of your story, you could get away with one person doing this. However, I suspect that it would be more dramatic and/or interesting if the MC’s knew the antagonists beforehand. (For example of protagonist 1 knew the possessed boy beforehand, he might have serious issues with fighting him).
1) For groups, it’s usually a good thing to have them link to the antagonist. This give the antagonist to go after the protagonists or vice versa. This will also make it easier to keep your events organized.
2) The vision should probably be something very vague, to keep the suspense. Maybe a flash of a figure messing with something or the figure walking into a building or something. I don’t know the actual event, but the vision should be a vague link to it. It would probably be of something that gave the location of the event.
3) I’m at a loss with this one. Could you tell me about the first two protagonists? Then I could get a feel for the team and see what’s missing.
Okay Ragged Boy. Here’s a general bio of the first 2 characters.
-Protagonist 1(Even though he named Protagonist 1 he won’t be the first person introduced in the comic book)
Pro 1 is a 14yr-old highschool freshman and lives with his mother, who is single.
He can at first seem like a bored and lazy person, but he is actually a bit more relaxed and carefree than most people. He’s a bit like the typical hormonal teenager, and at first has more of physical than genuine attraction to Pro 2. Despite this he can occasionally annoy people(like Pro 2) that have more serious personalities. He still maintains a great respect for his friends and family and watches out for them. His mom is a counselor at the same Rehab Center where the first antagonist is staying.
Pro 2 is also a freshman in highschool and comes from a divorced household. She has a more outspoken personality and can occasionally offend others. Besides this she is a trustworthy person and does not break promises easily. She can occasionally be callous towards people that she views as untrustworthy or with a hidden agenda. (Personally, Pro 2 is my favorite character). She is more spiritually intuitive and frequently has precognitive dreams that are actually instructions from God.
If you didn’t really know yet, this story is partially about character development.
The group might not actually have an official leader, rather, they’ll let the person with the most information or expertise lead that particular ‘mission’. But in general, the two main ‘leaders’ are either Pro 1 or Pro 2.
1) Sensible Adult. Usually the voice of reasion between the generally young team. They would be intelligent, logical, but probably won’t mesh with the socialty of the team being the oldest.
2) Religious Dissenter. Probably a younger character, one that feels that God doesn’t love them because of all the stife they’ve been through in their life. Great opportuniity for character development.
@ Ragged Boy-I’d hate to step on your suggestion, but I think I should replace the sensible adult with the police officer. I wouldn’t want it the team to become a bit too formalized, but maybe that Sensible Adult should be one of their family members…
But about the police officer… Maybe some of the wierd stuff goin’ on in Havon has attracted the attention of the local police department, so they send an officer to investigate. It might be that the kids and the officer are working on 2 different sides of the same problem, at first.
I’m guessing they would need to be demons or people influenced by demons or just generally bad people. Despite that your story is religious, I think it would be a bit more interesting if the antagonists were human. That way they’d be comparable to your protagonists “See what the world has done to these people.”
I guess the anti-power would be good. What are the protagonists powers?
We don’t know major event of your story, so generally I think the cop should come third of the five protags. Maybe while protag. 1 and 2 go to check out some supernatural event, the cop finds, and they persuade him to come with them. After which something major happens that keeps the three from disbanding after they are done investigating. Again, I don’t know events, but this is just an idea.
Actually…dang it! Prophecy is kinda hard to explain over the internet. Prophecy isn’t always seeing into the future. It could be some divine information revealed to a person or a special message that’s supposed to be given to another person.
Remember, in the background this is a war between heaven and hell, usually, most of the action scenes are between the angels and demons.
And also, off topic, can anybody show me how to post a link?
I understand what you mean, the prophetic vision give the person a piece of divine info, but not the whole situation. With that information the character can use it to go about doing something and figuring out the rest themselves. It makes perfect sense.
To post a link, you simply copy the URL address of the page you want to link. Then, paste it here in the comment box. And presto, a link.
In my comic book there will probably be 2 main settings- Havon(the Physical World) and the Spiritual World.
What’s the best way, in comic form, to transition between perspectives that are in the Physical World(the kids) and the Spirit World(angels n’ demons)?
Also in my earlier posts, I stated that Ransems’(the 16yr-old antagonist) parents were murdered by a demon that had them doing research. When the police had come, the demon had left the man it possessed and ‘hopped’ into Ransem.
Since the host was most definitely put in jail, maybe the Police Officer, during his investigation, found a vague connection between the events’ at Havon and the murder of Ransem’s parents and decided to interrogate the ex-host.
How should I reveal to readers that all is not as it seems? In other words, along the course of the story how should I reveal that the human antagonists who appear to be the main bad guys are actually secondary antagonists?
I’d recommend changing the art style in the physical world vs. the spiritual world. For example, you could make the spiritual world brighter and more surreal. Or you could make it more cartoony, or more Hellboy or whatever. In contrast, I’d recommend keeping the physical world more realistic and sober.
He’s sociopathic and working on something mysterious? That’s not a lot to go on. What sort of mysterious project? Is this project the reason the demons spot him, or is he possessed by the demon and then he starts the project? In either case, what are the goals of the project?
Actually, he might not be a sociopath, but a man that ends up attracting demonic attention. The farther he delves into the research, the more unsettling truths he finds, till he uncovers an ungodly secret that was sealed away from mankind for a reason.
What are the goals of the research? People do not just decide to research supernatural things for no good reason. Research is expensive.
That said, if he does supernatural research he might work for the government, but I think more likely he’s going to end up eccentric millionaire/works for some sort of multi-million company headed by an eccentric millionaire.
Thanks, but no thanks. I have waaaaay too many stories and it’d be hard to decide which one I need advice for more … well, I just have lots of stories-finished and unfinished. And I don’t want to dump all like 12 major ones (but unfinished) on people and ask them for advice and give really long explanations about things and plots and people. (I did enough of that when I first came here )
Anyhoo, I’ve been having a bit of writers’ block concerning the inciting incident, so here are some of the events I know will happen in the story…
- This first character to appear in the comic book will be Protagonist 2.
- After the inciting incident of Protagonist 2, the rest of the main characters will be introduced with their own inciting incidents.
- One of the events I have created is planned to develop Protagonist 2 as a character, but I don’t know if this should be the inciting incident of the series, or whether it should happen in the middle or the end.
- In the second (or third) issue I plan to introduce the angels and demons.
A single issue should have about 22 to 32 pages, or so. Issues come as either a few (about three to seven for a miniseries; to about SEVERAL if it’s an ongoing series that has arcs and is creating a mythos).
I think that you should at least in part introduce your MAIN character first off, otherwise readers may get confused as to who the main protagonist is.
Okay, thanks! It is planned to be an ongoing series with different arcs, since I have been drafting plans for at least three different arcs in this overall universe. But I think it will actually have ‘central characters’ rather than one separate MC.
I’m eventually gonna do all this planning on the blog that I created, but I’m still fixing it up a bit.
I think for my comic-book I am going to introduce all the main characters using a perspective change, like Vantage Point. On a side note, TV shows have seasons but what do comic-books call their seasons?
In comic book publishing, arcs are probably the closest analogue to seasons. An arc usually lasts between 3-6 issues, so that’s probably around half a year worth, give or take a few months. If the issues sell well, the publisher will be more receptive to publishing another arc.
If you have an arc planned out and have an issue fully scripted, you can pitch that to most publishers that accept unsolicited proposals. However, it will probably be easier and more publisher-friendly to pitch a standalone comic with the prospect of more stories down the road. Publishers are usually a bit more receptive to projects that risk less money and give them a chance to learn more about you before committing to a long-term project. (Well, “committing” in spirit and credibility, but not really in a legally binding sense).
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