Jul 22 2009

CarsonArtist’s Review Forum

Published by at 5:59 pm under Review Forums

Hello.  Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “CarsonArtist’s Review Forum”

  1. CarsonArtiston 29 Jul 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Hello,

    As you may have guessed, I am an artist. I am attempting to create a graphic novel but I have no real writing experience. I hope my work makes sense and isnt too riddled with mistakes.

    Ill try an set you up so you know what is going on.

    Title: Nicodemus Faust

    Publisher: I used to be in publishing and have my own ISBN#s etc.

    Target age: 18+ (most likely 25-35?)

    Characters: 4

    Synopsis: Nicodemus is a semi-supernatural being/person who once was powerful but has been in retreat ever since he struck a deal with those who were trying to kill him off. Now, after over 1000+ years,he is coming back to this world. He will assemble his “Heroes” even though non of them are particularly heroic. He knows certain details which make them special to the timeline of events. His reasons are somewhat unknown at first but will be revealed by the books end. I have to stress that Nicodemus is more of an Anti-hero. His methods and reasoning doesnt stop at murder, lies and deceit if ultimately it is for the greater good of mankind.

    Character bio’s:

    1. Ruthie (aka pitchfork)- young confused emotionally and mentally scarred sorceress specializing in invokation. She was set up by Nicodemus to aquire a magical artifact which backfires because she is already possessed by a demon. Nico accidentally creates something he never meant to in her …..oops!

    2. August (aka Blood or BloodHammer, not sure yet)- mid twenties machinist and boxer who Nicodemus tricks into accepting superpowers by killing off his girlfriend and a bunch of deception. August becomes the warrior class of the group.

    3. The Savant (aka nobody knows his identity)- cybernetic mathematical supergenius who can scry into the futures of many possible timelines. He calculates the probability of which actions will have what consequences. The farther out he looks the more difficult and erratic his visions. In the short term he can perform combat several “moves” ahead of his enemies like a chess grand master. He usually is nicodemus’s tactical adviser. (without his cybernetics, he is a disfigured blob of torso)

    4. Nicodemus – Nicodemus is a Nephilim who escaped the destruction of his kind and has been living in truce for over a thousand years…as long as he stays out of the affairs of mortals. He could easily be hunted down and killed if he is discovered, so he must work through others.

    story architecture: chapters 1,2,3 are how Nicodemus recruits each hero, chapter 4 is the conclusion which ends with a team of characters formed after a climactic battle which divulges a larger plot the heroes are needed for…..

    OK- Ill be right back with chapter 1, Ruthies Story…

  2. CarsonArtiston 29 Jul 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Chapter 1 – Ruthie ( Warning:contains sexuality)

    Grandfather was the last of his bloodline – taking his bloodline to an end has always troubled his soul and fueled his drinking. By the age of 70, he was a shriveled up man, twisted up with his self pity and fetid anger. His anger was for the world, which he tried to make a name for himself in, he tried to work hard and raise a family. This world gave him daughters. This world gave him but a trailer to live in and simple life devoid of luxury. He never found the beauty of his children residing in his heart. He never found the gratitude for the loving wife or the home she kept for him. As she cooked and cleaned and did her best to be a good mother, he drank away his senses trying to remove himself in some way from the life he fostered.

    Its a little after 9PM as the wind groans and rushes over the sheet metal roof. The black silhouette of the tree outside scratched its spindly fingers against the glass as “Bobby McGee”wafts from the radio behind Ruthie.

    Tonight, as he looks through inebriated eyes at his eldest grand-daughter cowering before him, he feels momentarily vindicated. Damn her for not being the heir he hoped for. Damn her for not saving her mother that night. Damn her for for being a whore and disgracing the family name. Damn her. Damn you Ruthie….
    Ruthie doesn’t understand why grandfather is angry, she doesn’t understand what she did to deserve this. As grandfather takes off his worn leather belt, it makes a hiss hinting to the viper strike it is about to deliver. Ruthie shivers at his feet with her back against the twin bed shoved in the corner of her little room. As the first lash comes down against her arms, Ruthie is grateful she was able to cover her face in time. She turns instinctively and tries to pull herself onto her bed from the floor but this just gives him access to her exposed back. Ruthie looks at the slivers of the ballerina figurine she was given by her mother when she was younger. Grandfather has broken it just as he has broken so many things….

    ~Innocence scattered in broken shards, a life spelled out in gypsy cards~

    Running through the night, Ruthie seems to be running away from her pain and her past. How can a 17 year old girl have a past? A senior in high school should be getting prepared for a life in the world, not running from the life the world has given her. Ruthie cant run fast enough to escape the happenings that time has dealt. Just like the moon seen through the window of a car, no matter where she goes, it will follow her. She longs for an escape. She longs to be held in loving arms and cradled in soft words. She yearns for the gentle touch of her lover. She runs to him in the night air like an arrow to its mark, unwavering and determined in its purpose.

    The house on Ingomar street is almost invisible in contrast to its dilapidated, three story brick exterior. Tall and narrow, it is monumental in this urban graveyard. Across the street is the backside of a factory and to either side, an empty lot. Somehow, as the mortar crumbles and the bricks slide and bulge in need of desperate repair, the house stands erect. Even more astonishing is that this house garners almost no attention, if you didn’t already have it as your destination, it would be almost camouflaged to your notice.

    Ruthie arrives and bangs the door knocker against the heavy wooden door. She stamps her feet on the concrete step trying to shake off the cold night while she listens for the rustling of motion inside. This neighborhood is awful and she doesn’t know why anyone would want to live near all these factories and warehouses but she welcomes the safety and warmth she knows will be found inside. He opens the door. Arms outstretched, he envelops her in his embrace. His blue eyes shimmer and his gaze melts the cold away from her body as fire grows in her belly. The warm tickle in her stomach makes her want to giggle and immediately makes her feel like a silly girl. Her legs feel weak as he leads her inside to where the fire rages and crackles in the hearth. She finally feels safe, she finally feels loved and wanted. How good it feels to be wanted. He has a way of healing her otherwise unwanted heart. She is in love with him, her first real love, her first honest and genuine sexual attraction, she melts beneath his touch, her darling Nico. Only two weeks earlier she was dreaming of his kiss when grandfather came into her room drunken and angry. The bruises have almost healed and she doesn’t even notice the pain as Nico’s caress trails across her naked back. She wraps herself in his arms in front of the fireplace hoping that this contentment will never end.
    The next morning Ruthie returns home to her grandparents and tells grandmother that her sleepover at “April’s” house was fun and that they watched movies and gossiped all night. She tells her that she is going to take a short nap as she notices how sad her grandmothers eyes seem to be. It darkens Ruthie’s mood to see that. She doesn’t say anything as she slips into her room to finally sleep. As she drifts off into slumber, she thinks about going to “The Root” , the cafe’ where she met Nico.

    As she sleeps and dreams of her 18th birthday in a few months when she can leave this place. She is unaware that Grandfather called April’s house the previous night to tell Ruthie to be home before noon.

    Ruthie’s tears leave clean streaks down her dirty face as she bursts out of the trailer vowing never to return. By the time anyone finds her, she will already be 18. She just has to lay low for another five weeks. Grandfathers words haunt her thoughts… He called her a whore, he demanded to know where she was the night before, he told her how much he hated her and how its all her fault that her mother is in a mental health facility and that her younger brother and sister are wards of the state. Its all her fault because she is a lusty little bitch and he hated her for it. His words trail off in her mind only to give berth to that all too familiar hiss she has grown to fear. The hiss and resounding crack that has driven her out, running down the street. She thinks of how as she passed through the door, she glimpsed her grandmother, her ever silent grandmother with the sad eyes.
    When Ruthie gets to “The Root”, Nico isn’t there. She asks Michael who probably knows Nico best, if he has seen Nico today. Michael is Nico’s Mentor. His Mentor in the occult arts. They were both very closemouthed about their studies together as such things are private. He tells her that Nico hasn’t been in today. Michael gives her some money for the bus and some baked goods from the cafe’. She hurredly thanks him and scampers off to the bus stop that will take her to Ingomar street.

    As she steps off the bus, she has a sense of foreboding and as she rounds the corner onto Ingomar street, she sees why. The house has finally collapsed, the bulge in the bricks of the back wall had been precarious at best for several years. Nico never had the money to get it repaired. The front half of the first floor still stood but the two floors above tumbled into the back half and spilled over into a pile in the back yard. A heap of red chunks just like the pieces of her heart lie strewn across the property. On the side of the house is the cellar door which leads to the basement and she is compelled to get inside. Something is pulling her inside, consuming her will completely. She tugs on the knob pulling the crusty wooden door free with a scratching rasp against the concrete floor. Once inside she climbs up the stairs into the house where the living room and foyer remain unscathed. She thinks of how Nico always called the living room, the parlor. Oh Nico, what happened, where are you? She wonders as she gingerly steps toward the fireplace which still smokes. It looks like a wind blew everything out of place and scattered the rooms contents. The familiar, pyramid shaped box which Nico treasured, now resides in its new home of oddments that were once his sanctuary. She pulls the box onto her lap and wonders whats inside. The top point is a crystalline form that is too prismatic to see inside the box. It is latched but not locked and she decides not to open it yet, but rather to wait on Nico to return. She will wait here with his treasure as surely he must be coming home soon.

    That girl has been gone for days, grandfather muses to himself, good riddance, but where is she. The question fuels his anger as he sways a little, spilling his beer onto his foot. Grandmother sees his spill and gets up to get a towel from the kitchen when there is a loud noise outside. ~ Bang ang ang ang ~ like a coffee can full of gravel being tossed across the roof as if someone was up there playing Yatzee. Grandfather in a haze of drunken bravado steps onto the porch with his Louisville slugger like he was king of his castle. His eyes sweep across the darkened yard seeing nothing. When he hears someone walking behind the trailer running a stick along the corrugated metal, ~ klackung klackung klackung klackung ~ he happily rushes around to the back yard where he is sure he will get to put some fear into some children. Grandmother looks out the kitchen window behind him, her bruised cheek barely noticeable in the dim light as the television drifts from the background. Grandfather sees the black shape of someone half hidden behind the trunk of the tree. He thinks of how gratifying it will be to chase this little bastard out of his yard as he yells out and approaches the figure. It stands, unyielding and silent as grandfather approaches. This makes him both angry and glad at the same time about the impending confrontation. Just a few more steps and he can reach out and get his mitts on this prankster. Grandfathers eyes go wide as a black skinned arm snatches him by the face. Black skin like a ravens black plumage cover the clawed hand. His face completely palmed, as the figure slides out from behind its lurking place. Grandmothers scream goes unheard as she watches him being lifted off the ground as the his assailant aptly climbs into the branches of the tree. Grandfathers whimpers and gasps from beneath the hands grip are all but inaudible while he kicks at the air surrounding him. Grandfather can feel the warm trickle of blood that trails down his face from where the nails pierce his scalp. His thoughts turn inward as he curses the earth for never giving him an heir to his name. He curses god for his life sentence of mediocrity and avarice. He hears a strained, quivering voice in his thoughts as a light rain begins to fall from the sky.
    ~ Your god can’t hear your curses old man, your god is deaf to your polluted cries~
    After that Grandfather only hears the hiss of his belt being drawn through its loops as blood chokes his throat and drips from the tip of his bare, twitching foot.
    In the light of the new dawn, grandfathers corpse sways peacefully light. Hung from outreached arms belonging to the tree which once scraped its fingers across a little girls window.
    ~ ~

    Part 2

    As Ruthie sits in front of the smoldering hearth, she clings to the box like a child wrapped around her daddy’s leg. It feels warm in her arms like a sleeping pet. Even as she begins to nod off to sleep, her heart and her hope yearns for Nico. As the black drapery of sleep covers her mind comfort drifts in. This is Nico’s comfort….The peace she feels whenever he is near. Its almost like an emotional equivalent of clean clear water streaming off of his body in waves. Her thoughts drift to his touch as she turns into her dreams. The stroke of his hand down her hair, the heat of his breath on her neck and the bass of his voice speaking softly inches from her face. Ruthie is awake somehow in her dream of him, like a voice in the dark while watching a movie. In the swirling meta-reality of her mind, Nico’s face swims into focus and his features become clearer. A soft orange flickering light dances across his face. His voice echoes within her dream as if being spoken by the darkness……..

    “The book is for you…….. the book is for you……”

    “ Nico? Where are you Nico?? I cant find you…..Nico…..”

    As emotion grips her voice Nico’s voice gets softer….

    “ the book will teach you…..and you will choose a stone….”

    Her voice in her mind no longer audible as her sobs drown out the words in the dark. Her mind brings her to uncomfortable passion for him, her lust and need for him is choking her as she feels his fingers touch her body. Her flesh feels as if it swirls like water under his caress, her vision flashes of his body, his lean muscle and his piercing eyes but her ears can hear nothing but her own sobs clamping down on her throat. She feels her body start to convulse and twitch in ecstasy as the flood inside of her builds. Building and choking, moving and destroying her will. She clutches at her throat trying to find air, its as if a belt is constricted around her neck. As she reaches her death, she also reaches climax, an explosion of life being thrust into the arms of the reaper. Her soul feels doubled. Her body feels lifeless and cold under her fingers clawing at her own throat before she falls limp. Her insides clenching and her muscles entertaining the final spasms. Its over …

    Ruthie awakens in Nico’s house just where she was but the box has been knocked over in her slumber. She feels both horrid and wonderful at the same time. She pulls herself upright into a sitting position and notices how wet she is. Drenched actually….”was I sweating?” She wondered aloud. She ran her fingers through her hair to find it damp as well.

    “I must have caught a little of a fever bug or somethin”

    Ruthie’s clothing is damp too, except it doesn’t all look like sweat….she has some blood on them too.

    Ruthie takes her shirt off as she stands up to look in the mirror above the fireplace. Her youthful skin glistens in the filtered light of the street lamps through the parted drapes. When Ruthie looks in the mirror she sees the dried trail of blood which seems to have come from her scalp and then dribbled off of her face from the tip of her chin. She stands on her tiptoes to see more of herself in the mirror. Dragging an armchair up off of its side and standing on it, she sees the claw marks at her throat. Or, actually the traces of smeared blood from frantic fingers. Reacting to the sight of it, she tries to rub some of it away to see her skin….which is perfect beneath the brown smearings. Pieces of her dream mixed with the confusion of awakening begin to cloud her thoughts.

    “ What happened to me? ‘ she whispered aloud.
    “ I gave him to you” hissed a brief thought….Ruthie heard it but didn’t simultaneously.

    Denial deafens the ears of the fearful.

    As Ruthie looks about the room behind her in the mirror, she sees all of her clothing where she laid it by the fire, save the shirt she slept in. Her shoes lay where they landed when she kicked them off.

    “ This cant be blood….” she concluded. “ Now where is my book?”

    All of a sudden she realized she didn’t know what she was talking to herself about…

    “ Book? “
    Somehow she knew where to look…. in the box on the floor. Like memory from long ago , the knowledge came to her.

    “The book….will…teach me… Teach me so I can choose a stone..” Nausea suddenly rips Ruthies gut in half like nothing she had ever felt before and then came the pain….

    The pain and then came the pain

    “ Wont you hold me again….” the vomit rises as she can think of nothing but Nico. Her vision begins to pulse and throb as the blackness tries to consume her mind. Her legs turn to rubber as she falls to the floor with a staggered thud. She fights the fire in her belly and attempts to shake off the chaos in her mind. The muscles in her stomach are cramping so badly that she almost expects to be twisted in half. Ruthie cant think of anything but getting away from this house. Suddenly she knew Nico was not coming back to this place and she has been here too long even if only for a few hours.

    “ Too long for what?” She asked herself in her thoughts.

    Weigh your heart and find the hollow, kill the serpent you have swallowed

    As the waves of pain roll off of her body, the wood floor beneath her burns black where ever her skin touches it. Like a bloody trail left by the final crawlings of of a wounded soldier trying to reach anywhere but death, she drags herself across the floor towards the overturned box. Ruthie’s panties have since singed black at the edges and the floor behind her still smokes like a pan of grease about to ignite.

    Vison greyed and her body heavy she pulls herself to the box and and pulls the book to her bare chest. It actually feels cool against her skin….and its not burning up or smoking like everything else she touches. With what remains of her strength she lifts herself to her knees still holding the book to her body like a pillow during a scary movie. The smokey smell of eggs burns her nostrils…. not really eggs but thats as close as she can think of. Ruthie’s eyes pan across the floor to land on a roughly cut gem like green stone. Without even thinking, she weakly bends down to all fours so to grasp the stone in her outstretched arm. The smoke coming off the floor where her hands and knees touch curl around her near naked body. Tendrils of hot vapors roll up her legs and in between like a searching lover. Ruthie’s panties are more of an ashen film than a cloth barrier. She retracts her arm, clenching the stone within her closed fist.

    Then came the pain again. She had to go. She had to run. She had to escape ….. herself, yes escape herself somehow. Almost blind with searing pain in her stomach she musters her strength enough to pull her jeans back on and grab her hoodie before she collapsed again onto the floor only 10 feet from the door out of this place. Ruthie suddenly felt hate rising inside of her, she hated herself for whatever she did to get herself here even though she doesn’t even know what is happening with her. Her grandfathers voice echoes in her mind. Damn you Ruthie.

    Damn you Ruthie…Damn you Ruthie ..damnyouruthie…damnyouruthiedamnyouruthiedamnyouruthie…

    Like a monks chant, all she can hear now is the loathing voice repeating the sounds. DAM-YOO-ROOTHIE-DAM-YOO-RUTHIE

    Her gut feels like it is about to give birth to a molten cannonball. She can feel it snaking up her throat and she knows she cant hold it back this time…no not this time. With the stone in her pocket and the book in her hand with her hoodie, The floor under her bare feet bursts into flame beginning to ignite the cuffs of her jeans. As she wretches forward to expel whatever nastiness that is inside of her, she can now feel the flames consuming her legs. Ruthie can feel the licking fire against her bare breasts and stomach as she convulses and vomits. Almost in a dream state she muses that this vomit looks like every picture she has ever seen of molten steel. It barely took a second for it to go right through the floor in front of her. Laughter superimposed against the damnation of grandfathers strange mantra in her mind, spills from her in between the thrusting and spewing forth of liquid fire.

    The flames spread across the floor to the broken furniture and Nico’s former home. Her entire body now consumed in the blazing light of destruction. Her napalm now projected about the room and hair alight, she straightens up standing. Ruthie almost dancing in the exstacy of release and maniacal laughter, whips her head back as if it was pulled back by another force, her arched back, and trust forward breasts create a cruciform silhouette behind the flames. As she looks up into the exposed heavens revealed by the fire collapsed roof, she could feel molten steel penetrating her over and over like her sweet hot lover. Destruction was her lover. She felt strong and clear of mind as her laughter boomed forth with the roar of a jet engine. Ruthie didn’t care anymore, she mocked the curses in her mind in sing song voice. She touched herself without reservation inside the inferno while this house shook and collapsed. Ruthie laughter echoes and is only followed by one thought…before she is lost in herself, inside of her hatred.

    Thank you , Nico

    PART 3

    Blinding atomic light beams into her mind as if through a slightly cracked door. Aching muscles and euphoric morning restlessness toy with her thoughts. Someones coming….the soft echo of distand footsteps drawing nearer. Shikt-creeaaak Shikt-creeaaak Shikt-creeaaak Shikt-creeaaak Left, right,left right…she counts off in her head. Kinda slow she thinks to herself. Grandma is getting so old…grandma with the sad eyes floats through her sleepy brain. Squeezing her eyes closed tight she attempts to ignore the light of the terrible dawn, she wants to fall back asleep but she knows that she doesn’t have long before she is yelled awake so rudely as usual. “But first they have to get up the stairs, so I have another minute, one eternal minute of not getting out of bed bliss.” she thinks to herself as she scrunches the cover up closer to her.

    “ Ruthie!!! Ruthie….can you hear me? Wake up Ruthie…”

    “ I DONT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!” Ruthie practically yells in a sleepy haze.

    “Ruthie, wake up Ruthie….C’mon Ruthie”

    “ Grandmaaaaaaaa……..nguuhh..nnn…” Ruthie mubles and trails off in her exhaustion. If only there would have been more stairs..stairs..stairs..stairs..

    “Stairs?!” Ruthie realizes with alarm, thoughts paddleing to the surface of her sleepy brain. I live in a trailer, Grandma and Grandpa and I live in a trailer. This isn’t a trailer, this isn’t my bed….

    Ruthie shoots upright like a rigged “corpse in coffin” from a bad vampire movie. Eyes wide she pans across the room without focus in the bright light. Ruthie instinctively pulls the covers up to hide her naked body when she realizes she isn’t naked. Her eyes adjust to the harsh light and her thoughts become clearer.

    “ Ruthie, its Michael, wake up Ruthie, its Michael”

    Ruthie rubs her eyes and pushes her hair out of her face so she can look at him perched on the edge of the bed. His tall middle aged frame casts a long shadow across the floor behind him as he speaks and simultaneously brushes at the top of his head to assure that his 23 hairs up there are laying flat across his baldness.

    “Michael, its you, where am I?” asked Ruthie hazily.

    “ this room is the attic of my house, my library…I laid you down up here in case…”

    Michael stopped talking. His kind eyes looked at her with concern.

    ” Ruthie? “His voice lilted “ Do you know what happened?”

    Ruthie thought for a minute and looked around at the walls made up of books and tried to focus. Michael was always there to save all of us misguided children at The Root. He had managed that place before Ruthie ever started going there. Before her thoughts drifted further, she replies.

    Yeah kinda, but it was already fallen down when I got there, I didn’t do it…”

    “Ruthie….thats not what I meant, but we will get back to that….when was the last time you were home? I mean after I sent you to Nico’s? “

    “ I haven’t been…Why? “ Ruthie began to feel afraid and she didnt like this at all…she felt a little sick.

    “ Ruthie, something bad happened”

    “ Oh no Grandma, not Grandma is it?’

    Ruthie thought of all the horrible things Grandpa ever did to her and wondered what he did to Grandma. Tears started to fall down her cheeks just trying to think of which of his many cruelties grandma suffered…because she wasn’t there to be his dog to kick.

    “Its my fault Michael, “through the tears she looks into his eyes with the quiet desperation of a little girl half her age. “ If I wouldn’t have ran away , if I would have been there he would have…”

    “Ruthie” Michael interrupted “ Its not your grandma…its your grandpa, hes …. “ Michael paused not knowing exactly what to say to her. Such a child is so foreign to him. “ His life was taken from him last night, Ruthie”

    Ruthie let the words roll around in her ears for a bit while a twitchy smile crawled up onto her lips.
    Taken, taken from him, his life was taken from him, She never felt such a conflicting joy. It was a subtle glimpse of revenge and relief coupled with something else…something she had never thought of in regards to Grandpa before. Was it pity? Or maybe sadness ? Remorse? Ruthie thinks maybe a little of all of that.

    A life lived by the lash, a life ended in ash

    “ I hope he burns in hell, then” says Ruthie finally.

    “ No, Ruthie, you don’t mean that. I’m sure he loved you “

    Ruthie explodes into laughter which makes Michael very uncomfortable, noticing this, she quiets herself abruptly. Ruthie thinks of all the times she fantasized about killing him while sobbing in her room after a good whipping. How she wanted to lay him down and curse him while striking blow after blow with that **** belt. To make him strip till HE was nude and humiliate him, to kick him like a cowering dog. **** asshole. It will always hurt you piece of sh*t, always.

    Before too long of a silence went by, Ruthie asked, “ Did Nico ever tell you about what he did to me?”

    Michael lied “Yes, Nico tells me everything. I’m sorry he hurt you so much. Maybe your friends never noticed you wince at a random touch, but I did. I had hoped that your trials would end, but not this way.”

    Trials? She thought, what a strange man Michael is, what is he like a thousand years old or what?… ” Then why wouldn’t he deserve to burn? Hes a …”

    “ He’s dead now and he has gone to the afterlife, no need to curse the dead, Ruthie. Maybe someday you will forgive him”

    “Why the **** would I forgive him? He beat me Michael, He touched me with his dirty fingers, his disgusting stink of sweaty beer, the words he said, Michael…Ill never forget his words .”

    Michael could tell that she just didn’t have it in her to forgive right now, its a strange wisdom, forgiveness, he thought. Could he ever really understand her heart? Nico said she could show us all. Prove to us all, like Job in the bible did. She truly has no idea. Thats why I need Nicodemus around. I am not too good at relating to …her.

    “Ruthie, one day you may find a way to forgive him, but not today I guess” Michael tries to force a smile as he pushes his hair over again nervously.” one truth I want you to think on is this – Every man and woman has a choice, they have free will, at any time he could have changed, Ruthie, He could have stopped drinking and realized that he had a loving wife that prayed for him every night. He could have one day said he was sorry and tried to love you. He could have woke up and changed his life one day.”

    Ruthie tries to listen without interrupting mostly because she liked Michael so much, but finally ..

    “ Yeah well he never did….” blurted Ruthie

    “Exactly, and now he will never get that opportunity. That chance was stolen from him last night. Your Grandfather had a wound in his spirit that was festering, Years of living with that spot on his soul changed him to what you knew, to the man who tried to drown it out. No one is beyond redemption, Ruthie. However slim you feel that chance would have been, it was still within his ability. He just had to choose it. For that I forgive the souls of men taken prematurely…we will never know his heart now.”

    Ruthie heard the words but lessons on freewill and forgiveness fall on deaf ears today. Michael knows this but also knows that his words now live inside her memory and thats all he wanted for today.

    “I see your point but I don’t think that was ever going to happen.”

    Ruthie placated him with that, hoping he would drop the subject since she was having a hard time feeling anything but kinda giddy over the whole thing.

    “Michael? How did I get here? Ruthie realized she still didn’t know how she got here. Last thing she remembered was waiting for Nico at what was left of his house.

    Michael sat and looked at her for a bit. “ I brought you here in the middle of the night last night after the cops showed up at The Root yesterday morning. I went to look for you out at Nico’s place and ….found you”

    “Why didn’t you tell me the cops were looking for me when I went to The Root to look for Nico?” asked Ruthie.

    “Ruthie, That was four days ago” Michael realized there were more questions now than he previously thought. “ What do you remember?”

    “ Four Days? Thats crazy, I was only at Nico’s one night. He never showed up and I fell asleep. “ Ruthie felt kind of like she was in a parking lot looking for her car, scanning the rows for some sign of recognition to give her a direction. “Four days? Are you for real?”

    “ Ruthie tell me what you can and I will fill in what I know where you leave off.” Michael falls silent as if to prompt Ruthie’s recollection of the last four days.

    “ Well, I spent Saturday night with Nico, so… I kinda lied to my Grandma so I could go out and see him. So… When I got home the next day I sorta went to bed because I was so tired, I mean we were ..um .. up really late.” Ruthie suddenly felt shy talking to him but blushed a little and tried to continue “ So anyway, later Grandpa had found out I wasnt at Aprils house and we , well he …, so I ran out and , because he … “ Ruthie started to well up a little in her eyes.

    Michael sensing the awkwardness in her voice and the tears in her eyes And tried to keep her on track. “So you ran to The Root where you talked to me, right? said Michael.

    Ruthie covering her face with her hands let out a little sob…or was it a choked chuckle? Michael wasnt sure. At least she wasnt freaking out like when he found her last night.

    Ruthie shook her head and flung her hair a little before collecting her thoughts to continue. The smell of old books wafted through the air filing her senses with a comfortable feeling. She drew in a deep breath and went on with her story.

    “ Yeah I talked to you and then took the bus to Nico’s house. When I got there it was all fallen down in the back half so I managed to get inside through the cellar door. It looked like an Earthquake hit that place! There was sh*t all over the floor, well not sh*t really but”

    “ OK , so you were inside of there?” he asked

    Ruthie, curious but determined to put this all together, soldiered on.

    “ Yeah I was in there. I mean it looked like rain so …. no it was more than that, I really wanted to go in there….What if he was in there?

    Ruthie forgot for a moment who she was talking to. Michael…. He was her “food-giver”, an affectionate nickname she gave him in her thoughts. She had to go home to get any dinner so a lot of the time she would rather go hungry than go home. Like an ancient savage praising the almighty “Food-Giver” ,Her influence was bought with pastries. She was really touched by Michaels compassion and empathy for her. He understood and much can be bought with free food!
    Ruthie smiled widely.
    Nico completely trusted this man. She could tell by the respect in his voice when Nico would speak of him.

    Ruthie let herself loosen and spoke

    “ That place pulled me inside like it had its own will. I cant figure it out, I mean, I couldn’t get in there fast enough. When I got in there i was sure Nico wanted me to wait in there. So I did. I sat on the floor holding Nico’s box. All I could think of was to hold that box and wait…I thought I was waiting for Nico but I don’t know….”
    She stopped to think and Michael urged her on.

    ‘You don’t know what? What box are you talking about? What was “

    “Wait! waitwaitwait”… she machine gunned him so she could think.

    It was like a disconnect in her brain. As soon as she focused on what came next she began to drift off in thought, resisting laughter. The more she got upset about it the more she wanted to laugh.

    Ruthie looked over at Michael with tears in her eyes and a wry smile on her face. Her hair hung like prison bars as her twitching mouth slowly parted.

    Michaels nostrils retreated within his senses, overcome by the stench of sulfur on her raspy quickened breath. Tears streaming down her face and murky black water dribbled from her bottom lip. Michael knew the black stuff was just more of the soot she has been vomiting in her sleep. Her mind was falling down a well looking up at Michael in the circle of light above her.

    He grabs her shoulders and begins to shake her while she is clutching at his shirt like a drowning victim. Michael squints his eyes and turns his head as a resounding “ SMACK!” as he winces from having to slap this girl. Ruthie’s eyes stop flitting around like shes been at the rave too long and she just sobs.

    Arms hanging around his neck, Ruthie continues to let out the tears. The laughing just resounding inside her skull for a bit longer.

    Michael looks down at her resting on his chest as they clung to each other on the edge of the bed in the morning suns rays. His shirt looks like she cried her mascara off where she got that black spittle on him but it was far from his thoughts. Michael thought of how he found her laughing like that in the yard of Nico’s house. Well, only laughing in between the screaming.

    Michael got up to draw her a bath after laying her down on the pillows like a gentle soul on heavens clouds. He thought the steam would do her good, she must be sore after all of the cramping and contorting hes seen her twist up into. He goes back into the adjoining room and whispers to Ruthie.

    “Ruthie? You ok Ruthie? “

    His words fell on her like cotton balls.

    “Yeah”She looked at her hands averting Michaels eyes, “I cant remember much else Michael, I don’t wanna”

    “It’s OK Ruthie” He assured her before she could explain much further. Ruthie was relieved to be able to rest, she still felt like she might throw up a little.

    “Take a soak and come downstairs, Ill make some coffee and bring it up to you… and don’t worry, when you come downstairs we can talk some more.”

    Michael turned and left, shuffling off in his usual manner, pushing his hair over across his head.

    Ruthie knew she was safe and smiled a little as he went downstairs. Her thoughts now swishing over towards her waiting bath, she felt the edge of fear brush past her like a cold breeze. Ruthie pushed her hair from her face.

    “ Suck it up Ruthie….C’mon, hold it together” she mumbled as she peeled the covers back slowly like a tender bandaid from raw skin. One foot then the other onto the floor. The smell of books and brewing coffee always made her feel good so she took a long draw of breath in and stood up.

    She figured this was Michaels shirt she was wearing but her thoughts were else where as she stood stretching in the morning sunbeams. The simple white button down dress shirt hung large on her tiny frame making big billows of fabric around her arms. Backlit by the sun, Ruthie began unbuttoning from the top down, mindlessly rubbing her feet on the shaggy white rug on the bathroom floor. She let the thin shirt fall open exposing the curves of her breasts and she slipped it off of her shoulders.
    The steam filled the room and she gingerly lowered her bare body into the soothing bath. The smell of burning copal incense filled her senses and she finally felt like she could unwind and collect herself again after her ordeal.

    “ Four days” she pondered, and awaited Michaels perfectly brewed french roast.

    Pain and pleasure by and by, one to make you laugh and one to make you cry

    Part :4 The Crucible

    Nico laid the finalized preparations inside the Crucible and set it for Ruthie to find in his home before he leaves for his sanctuary in the ocean. Nico knew in his heart this was the way it must be done. The crucibles power is the only true step that can unify the heavens and earth. All things can be formed in the crucible and although primal in nature it can be coaxed in its transformations. Many have sought the power of the crucible before but none survive its glory. The Holy Grail of the crusades was actually a quest for the crucible, The foolish scholars of the time believed it most likely a chalice because of a slight misinterpretation of the text they translated. A container yes, but a cup…no. They didn’t even know that they needed an Antikythera device just to tune the crucible for use. So much death came from that search, no wonder the Michaels have never let its existence be known or used its full capabilities. Nico paced and pondered, stroking his chin gazing blankly at the floor in front of his rhythmic footsteps. His stare now punctuated with a cocked eyebrow as he shuffles to a stop.

    “ The Priests of Michael know I have the Crucible “ Nico says as awareness finds him like newtons apple.
    “ ****! “ he whispers in rasping disgust.

    He would surely be hunted from the day his plan is revealed until the end of times, or heaven fell from the sky whichever happens first. He would prefer the latter but he knows all tries at accomplishing that have failed in the past by powers much greater than himself.

    Nico turns over the probabilities in his mind, he weighs the risks. Somehow he will figure out his indecision but for now he has to trust his friend the Savant. The Savant may only be a boy but he is never wrong. The book the Savant wrote for Nico explains who the operator has to be in the bloodline. He lists the circumstances that have to come to pass for the next set to cue up properly. Everything has to be precise and failure means forever. Nico flips through the pages carelessly knowing he will only need this book for a short time. Beyond its purpose the book would have to be destroyed to prevent his undoing. So now it comes together, Ruthie is the operator of the ritual and she will never even know it. Nico is too old for pity or remorse but still his heart feels the needling of emotions long lost. Ruthie was chosen as a candidate long before she was born but quickly her name was removed from the holy list. Nico left the priesthood for good because of that. Nico thinks back to those days over a quarter century ago.

    “Father Michael! Come quickly… I have found the bloodline !” Shouted Nico in the great hall.

    The rolling echo is quickly absorbed by the vastness of this place.

    “ The Hall of Gates is a quiet place, Nicodemus” Michael hushed while putting a finger to his tight lipped grimace.

    Nico is beginning to get annoyed by this order of priests but he needs them for now. As long as they tolerate him masquerading as a initiate to the order, he will stay. All of the priests here have the same name – Michael. Father Michael, Brother Michael or Master Michael. He heard there was an Arch-Michael but that was just a rumor amongst the initiates so far. Their order was founded shortly after the discovery of the Crucible. A unique artifact which can transform the mind and soul of mortals. Many great things can be accomplished in its use , but also and much more frequently it spawns hideous abominations of the flesh and soul. Creatures not meant to exist in the natural order of things. It was relatively easy to use it for minor workings but the Great Work has never been accomplished with purity. Nico fit the description of “unnatural creature” to some of his persecutors but not in the same way. This was a machine made by mortal hands. Where the knowledge for such a device came from , is another mystery to unravel on its own. It was found during the first crusade into the land of the desert, the same desert the Christ was born. It was very cleverly hidden inside a priceless masterpiece of Babylonian sculpture, undiscovered until recently when the sculpture was destroyed in a foiled art theft. The restorative experts noticed the crystalline point of its top and immediately sent it out to be x-rayed and ultrasound imaged. What they discovered was a geared machine fitted with various lenses and adjustment dials. It appeared to serve some kind of light focusing purpose. There were adjustable clips and swing arms within the movements of the gears all concealed within the walls of this pyramid shaped box. The interior was lined with highly polished silver and it contained three scrolls. Most of them had decayed and crumbled to dust but a few fragments were able to be read even in their destruction. Most of it details how this was to be guarded by “The Priest of Michael” and what his duties were and how to pass on the tradition, blah blah blah. Nico tires of the boring histories which he already knows is milk toast propaganda masking the orders higher doctrines. The order was for a singular priest who would be given the power of the Arch-angel Michael to defend this thing called the “Crucible” from what was described only as “Profane Use”. This tradition of a singular priest was to prevent discovery from outsiders and corruption from within. The Vatican created the order unlike any other, as a collective mind. All priests were treated as one priest and addressed as such so described in the orders bylaws. This was the only way they could still feel they were upholding the original doctrine while adjusting for the complexities of the modern world. It seemed a little extreme to Nico to go through all the trouble but extreme is the norm it seems with these people. The high level priests of the order do have a peculiar way about them. They actually behave as if they really were part of a hive mind. Who knows, maybe they are, Nico muses briefly to himself trying to play off such a grim thought.

    “The next operator is in the Tallen bloodline” urges Nico again in hushed tones.

    Father Michael of the Gates is a tall man about six and a half feet tall and average build. He fits the standard grooming restraints of the brotherhood, having a completely bald head. All priests must have their head uncovered at all times unless under hood if outside. This Michael has no soul Nico thinks, he has no inflection in his voice whatsoever and hes eyes almost appear milky while fixed in his head. Its from spending his life peering through the Gates. Some priests are naturals at it, able to see the happenings and events of any time anywhere. Some have much less control, even random viewings when they look through the Gates. The viewing area is usually about 200 square feet in focus and more for the gifted. Nico was average and was getting better at gazing but he mostly relied on theory and a heavy dose of luck.

    “That bloodline will be cut” retorted Michael.

    “ Why?, it has the highest probability in centuries, easily, if not millennium.” Nico sprang forward with his words.

    Michael turned his head to look upon Nico. His face although unchanged appeared sterner now. Nico was trying not to be distracted thinking about how he could possibly look sterner while unchanging but he quieted that thought for another day.

    Michael stood silent for a minute before he responded. “ We do not question the filter.”

    This was the first Nico had heard of the filter. “ Filter?What filter are you talking about? “

    “The filter judges all viewings for the possibility of of profane use. If it is judged to incur the profane use of powers unclean, it is ended.”

    Nico couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “ You mean the bloodline is ended?”

    “Yes” popped his response.

    “ You kill people….if there is a possibility of profane use corrupting a bloodline, you kill them? Thats murder…”

    Nico felt his heart sink with the knowledge. Now he understood why the order has not found a suitable operator for the Crucible since their search started. Its been centuries of this … world. This disgusting perversion of paradise these people live in. Nico felt his anger rise. His perception of this orders purpose has changed dramatically in the last 15 seconds.

    Michaels monotone reply came out, startling Nico to attention.” We do not murder, we pronounce them of unclean blood and they are killed by the abominations once our protections are removed. It is beyond our control”

    Nico is still trying to wrap his brain around all of this. Abominations? Protection? Nico knew he needed better information than this cryptic interrogation. He knew exactly where to find it too.

    Nico was unsure how to end this uncomfortable dialog as he stood there with Michaels gaze still on his face. Nico uneasily uttered

    ”Okay”

    Amidst the silent liquidity of sound in this place, Michaels head straitened presumably satisfied with Nico’s conclusion to the conversation.

    Nico took himself directly to the Hall of Stones. There he could research and study in peace until he had a better idea of some workings of the upper echelons of the priesthood. The Michaels have brought a world of decision onto their own shoulders. Who has the right to decide this? This is for all people to decide upon. This is a decision they as keepers of the crucible must share with the world.

    Nicodemus thought of this and wondered what would happen if the truth was known. If people really knew that the Crucible could show them salvation by giving us another teacher, another guide to enlightenment. The biblical prophesy of the second coming, some theorize. The mortals don’t deserve to be punished anymore. He realized he couldn’t bear the thought of the mortals living this dual existence any longer. One half flesh and one half spirit only breeds insanity and pain. He also knew the grim repercussions that would most likely happen. He didn’t need to look into the gates to know it would mean war.

    So shortsighted the human mind of conquest, to only see the most singular of purposes for this device. “No wonder it was to be guarded, They are probably scared to death of it.” thought Nico. Among the possibilities, the most prevalent was that of war, suffering and the rise and fall of entire civilizations just in the search of such a thing. When it was finally acquired , the wars that followed would be short and final.

    The crucibles workings may be somewhat elusive to the minds of men but Nico was no man. Nico knew at that moment he would betray them. Nico would steal the crucible.

    It would take a long time to orchestrate this illusion but he will deceive them. Nico begins to prepare his machinations of manipulation. The Tallen bloodline would survive. Even if he had to break heavens truce, he would save this girl and finally give mankind a choice in their existence.

    Now he had to keep his mind clean of this plot whenever he spoke to the Michaels, looked into the gates or anything else he used in this place. He must make it the smallest of sounds in a din of larger thoughts. Otherwise he would never leave this place…whole.

    Nico swears his dedication and devotion above all to the human race, even if they do not know whats best for them. The god of Abraham has since abandoned direct influence over these people. Nico wonders if he is right in what he plans to do but unless something overlooked comes to his attention, he is the best hope for his people. Nico quietly attended his studies and histories as a docile initiate should until his plans can come to fruition.

    Plans within Plans, the Fate of all in Guarded Hands

    Nico focuses on the little girl caught in the middle of all of this. The heir to the Tallens’ line must be saved before the abominations come. If the Michaels find out Ruthie has survived the crucible, she wont last long. She will be considered “Profane Use” by the council of stars and sentenced to destruction. Not death, destruction, as in body and soul. No one deserves to face the torments of the destruction ritual. Nico believed he was watching the Michaels and all this time those damned priests were watching him. He had to get back to Ruthie.

  3. trekfanon 30 Jul 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Just wanted you to know, I’m reading up on your Chapter One. It’s really LONG (I thought mine were long) but I like that. :) Once I’m done, I’ll give you a review.

  4. CarsonArtiston 31 Jul 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Oh wow- Thanks- I know its long, sorry. Thats why I havent posted chapter two…. :-)

    Basically , since its going to be illustrated as a graphic novel, I need to work out the flow of the story and also get it in front of eyes that are familiar with writing and comics.

    Once I get all four chapters nailed down story wise, I can start to do the artwork. What I would like is plot development and story-flow to be compelling and make the reader keep reading, ending each chapter with lots of answers but also more questions….

    I tried to be as descriptive as possible to what the scenes would look and feel like. I hope you can see the story in your minds eye.

    I cant wait to hear what people think of my stories…. :-)

  5. CarsonArtiston 31 Jul 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I just re-read it agan and I found an outstanding continuity problem…. there was no x-ray or ultrasound machines 250 years ago as I mentioned them in a flashback.

    I would change that line from:

    “The restorative experts noticed the crystalline point of its top and immediately sent it out to be x-rayed and ultrasound imaged.”

    to

    “The restorative experts noticed the crystalline point of its top and immediately sent it out to be examined.

    Also nearly all the formatting was removed when I copy and pasted it. If you come across a line that rhymes, it usually means its the end of a scene. Just FYI

  6. Carson Artiston 05 Aug 2009 at 8:18 pm

  7. B. Macon 05 Aug 2009 at 8:20 pm

    She is, umm, a bit scantily clad. She might look more like a warrior if she were covering more of her vital organs.

  8. CarsonArtiston 05 Aug 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Good thing she is a sorceress! There is a different character that fills the warrior role aka wall’o meat,lol.

    His name is Bloodhammer. You’ll meet him in chapter 2! For right now- this is the hero that Ruthie becomes…”Witchfork”

    I considered other names but I really dig Witchfork so it stays.

    Thanks for posting up her picture, I hope you all like her! :-)

  9. trekfanon 06 Aug 2009 at 2:10 pm

    All right, thoughts on Chapter 1: (after a few days to sit with it; sorry for the long delay)

    Positives:

    1. Character development is everywhere in this chapter. From Ruthie (what a sad backstory) to Michael (the mentor aspect I can appreciate there) and Nico (who is far more then I suspected initially).

    2. The world feels tangible and “there” to me. The trailer Ruthie lives at with her Gparents to the run down house that Nico was at. The situations feel quite life like.

    Negatives

    1. Details; some that really matter are here and then those that really don’t:

    Example: She figured this was Michaels shirt she was wearing but her thoughts were else where as she stood stretching in the morning sunbeams. The simple white button down dress shirt hung large on her tiny frame making big billows of fabric around her arms. Backlit by the sun, Ruthie began unbuttoning from the top down, mindlessly rubbing her feet on the shaggy white rug on the bathroom floor. She let the thin shirt fall open exposing the curves of her breasts and she slipped it off of her shoulders.

    Now, Ruthie is, by all accounts, really attractive (if there was a part where someone comments on how ugly she is, I missed it ;) ) and that’s great; but it seems this attractiveness is almost in the reader’s face constantly. It really doesn’t, in my opinion, need to be emphasized so much on how great looking she is. Sure, it’s a graphic novel, but the situations where her attractiveness is commented on seem so deliberately set up to emphasize that attractiveness it starts to get a little tiresome.

    Also, with the scene (and other scenes in Ruthie’s part) it seems that the novel is based on…vivid imaginary, in some spots. I understand this is a graphic novel, but perhaps a small tone down on these scenes can occur.

    2. Backstory; it’s everywhere here, and personally I like this. But since the aim here is at a graphic novel, how much time do we really need to spend explaining to the reader all the nuances of this world? I think a trim down on some of backstory can be helpful here; particularly Nico’s, whose is confusing. I would recommend the “suspension of disbelief” clause here, where you ask the reader to just go on while giving them enough to care about Nico to read on.

    Also, Nico doesn’t seem that broken up about leaving Ruthie; sure, he wants to preserve the bloodline, but does he have feelings for the girl like she has for him? I’m not so sure.

    I think Nico’s bit would work better subsiding Ruthie’s story; to say, really, he doesn’t need this long scene you’ve developed here. I think it should be condensed at the tale end of her chapter to show there are things brewing in the background. Have the big dogs hand down their ruling that Ruthie must die and then have Nico decide, after a debate with himself, to save her.

    The very long explanation on why things are the way they are is twisted and confusing at the moment. I feel it would be better, for me as the reader, to learn what the hell is going on behind the scenes when Ruthie does. Have Michael or Nico explain it to her plainly what’s going on, and maybe have her pop a few questions about the backstory later on. I think that would make it flow more smoothly.

    Conclusion:

    It seems that I have spent far more time on the negatives then the positives, and I apologize for that. It’s that there are more negatives, it’s just that I have more to say about them.

    Nevertheless, I implore you, take what you want out of this. I certainly don’t apply everything I’m told in my reviews to my work and you shouldn’t either; there are just some things I can’t bring myself to give up in my work and I’m sure it’s the same with you.

    As a sidenote; kick ass picture-sure, she’s scantily clad, but give it a justifiable reason (like, it makes spell casting easier, or the clothes have magical connotations ect) and it’s all good. Nice stuff.

    As always, thanks for your time.

  10. CarsonArtiston 06 Aug 2009 at 3:03 pm

    THANK YOU !!!!! I wrote this out a very long time ago- like 3 years I think. Some of the reason for the overly descriptive areas is actually for my benefit as well since I need to draw the scenes out. I admit I played up her sexuality in this chapter. She has a ton of sexy scenes in this part but besides the outfit, the rest of the story doesnt really have her like that. In fact she goes bitter against men and secretly wants Nico again but she feels betrayed by Nico- who as you mentioned doesnt feel the same way about her that she does for him, he used her for sure. He thinks he has all the justification in the world but ultimately he lied and used her, toyed with her feelings and set her up for her transformation. What a jerk!

    I agree that Nico’s backstory(or this part of it) would be better laid in somewhere else. Im not sure where or how though.

    Im glad you liked the feel of the story in general, Im happy that it all felt real in the locations etc.

    the description of Ruthie is really, if you read the part you quoted, the description is thin. What I described was the way the clothes hung on her body as she was undressing for a bath. Although there will be pictures, I dont think I actually wrote a description per se. I may have mentioned anatomy but you decided she was attractive in your mind which I like!

    I may have to move Nico’s backstory around…. Im so happy to get this in front of other eyes, thanks alot.

    Can you tell that the plot thickens ?

    I would love some more comments if anyone else reads this.
    The next chapter is written in panel scenes…..I hope that doesnt mess up the flow too much but I wanted to try and write out how the panels would be as an experiment.

  11. CarsonArtiston 06 Aug 2009 at 3:06 pm

    P.S. the lack of clothing is due to the fact that she burns up fabric and has opted for a magical set of armor created by the stones she controls , one hovers over her head and one on each arm……..

  12. Lighting Manon 06 Aug 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Why does she generate enough heat to burn clothing?

    It’s obviously not for scientific reasons, your universe is a magical one and she’s got rocks dressing her. It’s not a weakness, or a liability, it doesn’t develop the character. It’s not protective, you’ve characterized her as a caster, if she’s close enough to someone that her skin being hot is going to be noticed, she’s going to get punched, stabbed or beaten all the same.

    Are the stones sentient? Did they choose to protect her modesty instead of her life? Why did they do that? I’m sure she’d be happy to wrap her genitals in aluminium foil if she could get her midriff covered, since that’s where she keeps all her important life-sustaining stuff.

    Does she control the armor? Why did she pick to make it so skanky? Couldn’t she spurge a little bit and make herself a breastplate? It is magic, after all. She could probably rearrange that one arm band and manage to protect at least her pancreas.

    I apologize if this comes off as harsh, or out of line, but you need to ask yourself if she’s naked because that’s how your universe needs her abilities to work, or if it’s because she’s a female. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts, it’s not the first one.

    The fact that she’s planning on standing a few feet farther then her pals away from whatever they’re fighting doesn’t excuse the fact that she’s wearing what amounts to less then a bikini.

    B. Mac’s mentioned several times that he doesn’t feel comfortable writing an article about writing females successfully, but if he had, I’d bet dollars to cobwebs that it’d include a line about only including a female so you can play Barbie in reverse is bad.

    I wish I had something positive to say, but this issue is so apparent and problematic that it needs mentioning regardless.

  13. B. Macon 06 Aug 2009 at 4:44 pm

    A few thoughts and suggestions about chapter 1.

    –There are a few grammar and spelling issues. (For example, acquire has a ‘c’). Ruthie’s Story should have an apostrophe.

    –I’d recommend against capitalizing the H in BloodHammer.

    Umm, Ruthie is the character pictured above, right? Personally, my rule of thumb is that I’d recommend illustrating female characters in a way that I could show them to a lady friend. Right now, I feel like it’s likely to cut out female readers from the mix, which might be unnecessary.

    –The dress issues give me the impression that this is aimed at purely male readers. If so, I would recommend starting with a main character that is male. Also, if possible, I would recommend starting with a character that is in college or older. (Usually, the audience relates best to a main character that is of the same gender and slightly older than the audience). I don’t think 18-35 year-old guys will have much success relating to an abused 17 year-old high schooler. (It might help if she had a more distinct personality).

    –I think the opening sentence could be more gripping.

    –Some of the sentence structures are a bit awkward. For example, “His anger was for the world, which he tried to make a name for himself in…”

    –I feel that calling the character Grandfather in the first sentence is odd. It suggests a perspective that doesn’t appear in the rest of the paragraph. (For one thing, the rest of the first paragraph is very detached and distant). Also, isn’t the grandfather the point of view here? Why would he refer to himself as a grandfather?

    –This probably won’t matter for 18-25 year-olds, but I think older readers might know that the name of the song is Me and Bobby McGee.

    –The first paragraph is in past tense. The second paragraph is (mostly) in present tense. (“it’s a little… the wind groans and rushes… *scratched* its spindly fingers… Bobby McGee wafts…”). I’d recommend being consistent, ideally in the past tense.

    –The point-of-view switches awkwardly from the grandfather (“he feels momentarily vindicated”) to Ruthie (“Ruthie doesn’t understand why…”). I strongly, strongly recommend against switching perspectives mid-chapter. It would probably be smoother to stick with Ruthie’s point of view throughout this chapter.

    –I think there’s a lot of telling (vs. showing) going on here. “he looks through inebriated eyes…” You can probably show us that he’s drunk, particularly since this paragraph is from his perspective. The narrator tells us that Ruthie doesn’t understand why he’s angry, and you can probably show that through dialogue or action.

    –I feel like the paragraph where the narrator explains why the grandfather hates his granddaughter is a bit of an infodump.

    –”Damn her for for…” –> I think the word “for” is repeated here. “Damn her for not saving her mother… Damn her. Damn you Ruthie.” There’s a switch here from “damn her” to “damn you.” It feels a bit awkward to me. I’d recommend sticking with either “damn her” or “damn you.”

    “~Innocence scattered in broken shards, a life spelled out in gypsy cards~” I don’t understand what this line is.

    “Ruthie seems to be running away…” I’d recommend making this a definitive statement.

    can’t should have an apostrophe.

    “longs for an escape” could maybe be “longs to escape.”

    I’d recommend leading with the crumbling mortar and sliding bricks rather than calling it dilapidated.

    “Even more astonishing”– I’d recommend having the character show this with her actions rather than having the narrator tell us that it’s astonishing.

    “Even more astonishing is that this house garners almost no attention, if you didn’t already have it as your destination, it would be almost camouflaged to your notice.” I suspect that this sentence could be smoother.

    Comma after concrete step.

    “This neighborhood is awful”– I’d recommend showing this detail. What people does she see on her way here? What other buildings are there? Etc.

    When the boyfriend makes his appearance, I’d recommend shortening the paragraphs because the scene is supposed to be more intense, right?

    apostrophe in “grandmother’s…”

    “It darkens Ruthie’s mood to see that.” This could be shown in body language or dialogue. Preferably dialogue; there hasn’t been any thus far.

    “The Root” , the cafe’ where she met Nico… I think the apostrophe after cafe could be removed.

    “She is unaware that” –> I would recommend changing this to a more active phrase like “She doesn’t know that…”

    “He called her a whore, he demanded to know where she was the night before, he told her how much he hated her and how its all her fault that her mother is in a mental health facility and that her younger brother and sister are wards of the state.” This is a long sentence and, I think, an info-dump.

    She doesn’t seem to have much of a personality yet. Also, given that she hasn’t spoken at all, she doesn’t have much of a voice.

    “Its all her fault…” Apostrophe in it’s.

    “hurredly” is spelled “hurriedly,” I think.

    “scampers off to the bus-stop.” I’m not sure if scampers has the best connotation. I’d recommend looking at some words that connote speed, urgency or desperation here. Maybe “rushes off” or something like that.

    “The house has finally collapsed, the bulge in the bricks of the back wall had been precarious at best for several years.” I’d recommend replacing the comma with a period.

    “Something is pulling her inside…” I’d really appreciate if you could show this rather than tell it.

    I think Yahtzee is spelled with an H.

    I think “black skin like a raven’s black plumage” is a bit cliche. I’d recommend making a comparison with a clearer emotional connotation. (If we’re supposed to get the impression that the attacker has a feral strength about him, you could try black like a puma, I think).

    I don’t feel like the death of the grandfather makes for a great cliffhanger.

  14. CarsonArtiston 06 Aug 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Before I introduce the pathetic attempt to write panel scenes, I thought I would give you all some additional character background and info. Some of it is biblical from the Apocrypha or ” lost books of the bible” I know that a lot of anime get into the same type of thing, especially “Evangelion” so Im hoping that my references are not offensive. Im guessing that religious people wouldnt be reading this anyway. Im not even going into a whole bunch of Jesus stuff, but more making him into an enlightened prophet of sorts…anyhow here are some of the backstory that isnt really revealed in the story but I draw from as the author.As I said, I have an extensive knowledge of the occult. Thats why I have so much of its lesser known areas in my work.

    First let me explain more about Nicodemus that wont directly be in the book, but more referenced here and there.

    Then let me explain how the boy, The Savant, get his powers and his connection to Nicodemus. The story of the Savant will be chapter 3

    Meanwhile – here is how August, aka Bloodhammer, is recruited…its abit sappy but I wanted to reflect the urgency and angst of young love and how it can consume lovers.
    ———————————————————————————————————-
    Nicodemus Faust is his chosen name, at least Faust is. He is loosely based from the biblical Nicodemus who was an elder in the judaic temple when Jesus was a child. Nicodemus was one of Jesus’s teachers, he had many many discussions relating to being the son of god. Being The Christ. Later in the life of Jesus he pleads with Pontious pilate to spare the life of this man. He tried to reason with the the mortals involved in calling for the death of the Christ. He honestly believed that Jesus was the physical manifestation of the force refered to as “shem hammephorash” by the ancient jews. Despite all of his pleadings, favors, debates and quasi-political power, Nicodemus failed to keep Jesus from the cross.

    Nicodemus walked beside Jesus, even carrying his weight at times, along the road to the hill to his crucifixion. Nicodemus was the man who wrapped the burial robes and laid the death shroud over his remains. Nicodemus witnessed the resurrection. Nicodemus knew man had failed. His love and adoration for the race of man was shattered in disappointment. He could have changed things, he could have interfered and saved the life of Christ. He could have done many things but he was constrained by the law of his kind NOT to directly interfere. He faced a sentence of destuction if his involvement was discovered. So he let man poison the future and destroy life and beauty.

    Shortly after this event, Nicodemus left, unable to look at the faces of men who now realize what they have done. Nicodemus,still in love with mankind, decided then that he would have sacrificed his own life to save that of one like the Christ. He wishes he could go back and change what happened. He is angered by the mandate of god not to interfere. Nicodemus VOWED that during his time on earth he would do what he could to ensure the peace and survival of man. Even if he has to save mankind from itself. This is why Nicodemus seeks out people who are born with potential to make a difference. He trains these people to enhance their abilities and has spent aeon’s developing the potential of earths heroes. He is a teacher at the core of his existence, he gets that trait from his father.

    In the beginning of man, the angels, “the sons of god” had an intense fascination with mortals. They loved to watch them play and frolic in the gardens of earth. The sons of god were without sex, they were intrigued by the sexes and obsessed with women. The sons of god now have been watching for so long, their relationship has become one of keeper and pet. We all know how much we can love a pet. And just like any other pet, man was being taught tricks. Tricks of magic and heavenly fire. One of the angels procreated with the mortal mother of Nicodemus, making him one of the first of the abominations. One of the first Nephilim. At first, god did not intervene until the secrets of creation and uncreation were being taught to man. Upon close examination god decided it was best to destroy all of the nephilim before the fabric of his universe was tampered with. All the Nephilim who had warning, fled and went into hiding. After time, the Nephilim that remained ( in small #’s ) were pardoned and told as long as they did not directly interfere, they would not be hunted.

    The story of Nicodemus Faust is complicated also……….sorry, lol. Now you see some of the threads which will tie this together, some of the motivations and secrets of key people.
    ———————————————————————————————————-
    Savant info-

    My third comic story has no title. It is the story of a mathematical prodigy/savant, age 13. He has the ability to compute quantum physics faster than a computer can. He knows answers for mathematical equations that are “unsolvable” but cant explain how he figured out the answer. He is not able to teach anyone how he does it, he just does it automatically. Scientists have been using him in a government lab until he “accidentally” folds space with his mind while working on a special project in the field of quantum theory. He opens a window into another world it seems and when he manages to find his way back to his own universe, he is a bit twisted. His body is disfigured and mutated by unknown energies from an unknown world. He floats around in the unknown for an amount of time he cant define , it was eternity wrapped up in the span of 8 days. He was losing all of his memories slowly and his body was losing form in this limbo. Before what he felt was close to the end of his conciousness, Nicodemus Faust found him in his prison and set him free back into his own world, like a savior that came into hell to set the unjustly imprisoned free to take the journey to find their paradise. Except that the earth world is not paradise… He doesnt recognize where he is when he returns to this reality, but he is soon discovered by surveiliance setup by the military and he is hunted into hiding. The government thought he went awol when he didnt respond to his cellular phone and his tracking chip seemed to be disabled while he was gone, completely vanished. The Lab assumed he was kidnapped or he escaped and either way he was a threat to national security. He is scared and lost in the wilderness, crippled by his journey into the netherworld when he begins to learn he is changed in other ways. He has sight into worlds beyond our world, he can see the future but its fragmented into all of the possibilities instead of one definitive vision. His particular mind can compute all of the probability of events happening within a given time to such a degree that he can dodge bullets knowing where they will be before they finish leaving the barrel. He can see any distance and in complete 3d virtual reality by using this sight. Hiding from him is difficult, surprising him is also difficult. With training and experience he will learn to react to his surroundings with a supernatural grace, precision and be nearly impossible to hit with any projectile or physical attack~ unless it was something like a very fast, area of effect, non-premeditated strike(for example).

    His forte being science, engineering and technological research and design, he has spent his life up to now working on advanced military projects, cryptology and in time,space and propulsion think tanks.

    He will build himself a new body of cybernetics and use technology none on earth could duplicate.

    His powers will develop and grow involving time scrying , energy manipulation and transformations, various minor psychic powers.

    You have to remember that he has been changed by forces that are beyond his understanding and his mind has been bent as a result of his journey. He is a scientist and a seeker of knowledge but also an abomination to the natural world. He will be viewed as a freak and as something malevolent to be destroyed. He builds himself the body of an animal-human hybrid with robotic talons for feet that have micro adhesive hooks for wall crawling and climbing all types of surfaces.He can use manipulation of various fields of light in conjunction with phasing out of sync with this reality to become invisible, become nearly invisible or even decrease his density enough to reduce his physical exposure to anything he would need to, all depending on his level of concentration. Becoming “darkened and stealthed ” is easiest. He bends and shapes electromagnetic fields around his hands to make various effects. Some of his favorites being claws and stabbing weapons, small shields to protect him from various energies /attacks, and short intense bursts for a hard push effect. This is accomplished with technology and his mind in unison. His mind creating the initial electromagnetic stock and technology shaping it and maintaining the field. His bodys speed and reflexes and strength have been augmented by a suit that cybernetically is grafted as part of his body… He wears a helmet which houses a few electronics but is mostly cosmetic/protective in purpose since he isnt very “cute” anymore. He will have different gadgets and machines he is working on, suit upgrades and vehicles if one is needed.

    His role is to champion the human race against aliens, time-travellers, renagade super villians that use robots and computers in attempts at taking over the world. He will go to far away worlds and deep inside secret government/corporate lairs.
    Underneath it all a disturbed young man deals with life and tries to find contentment and purpose in the universe around him.
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    Bloodhammer files-
    ~The Lambs of Silver City~
    Page 1
    Panel 1
    Extreme long shot – low angle – underwater
    ¼ page

    Looking at a transparent sphere which encompasses an island rimmed with burnt red jagged mountains, beyond which you can see a cloudy night sky and ¾ moon on the interior of the globe just as if everything was normal and this island was not underwater. Surrounding the globe is black water, as if miles below the surface. The only light coming from seven orbiting globes of light about a meter in diameter. One is white, four are blue and two are yellow, which creates ribbons of blue and green luminescence as they orbit like electrons.

    Panel 2
    Long shot – high angle – outdoors
    ¾ page
    At the foot of the mountains inside of the globe. Looking across many an intricate gardens toward a centralized ziggurat. It is an exact replica of the sumerian ziggurat at Ur in structure but built from exotic stones and minerals. Its exterior levels were arranged like those found in the hanging gardens of Babylon.The stepped pyramid was about 210 by 150 feet in size, consisting of successively smaller platforms which looked down from its highest at about 70 ft.The smallest platform holds a rooftop temple glowing with blue light. Each of the ziggurats corners are at a compass point. The grounds immediately surrounding the ziggurat include a ring of cherry trees in bloom, their white petals riding gently in a mysterious breeze. In the far background, you see the ring of jagged dark red mountains that complete the interior of this bubble.

    page 2
    Characters: Nicodemus, August and Ivy

    Nicodemus~ a tan complexioned man with long tangled black hair, resembleing untidy dreadlocks, a thin rectangular beard growing from his chin, piercing blue eyes and appearing to be in his early 30′s. He has high cheekbones and tall thin build. Nicodemus is dressed in layered robes of dark reds which cross his chest, around his neck is a silver silken scarf lined with arcane writings. Writhing around his neck with the scarf is a thin white snake. The robes drag the floor only revealing his bare feet when he walks.

    August~ 6 ft tall with fair skinned with sandy blond hair and green eyes, he looks to be in his late twenties. The athletic build of an accomplished amateur boxer with a handsome face and a strong jawline. He is wearing a white T-shirt and a grimy pair of jeans. He has a red shop rag hanging from his hip pocket. He is wearing a black double row belt and a pair of military boots from the army surplus store. He is seated next to his black motorcycle helmet and a worn 50′s style biker jacket painted with medieval warriors in a grand melee on the left sleeve.

    Ivy~ about 5ft2in tall and and an elven build, about a 30c. Ivy has freckled, milky skin and medium length hair. Locks that look almost like strands of spun gold in the sunlight, styled in braided pigtails that are shoulder length making her look like the swiss miss girl.She has green colored eyes. Her slight build makes her look very young even though she is 22. She is wearing a wife beater, a tattered army cap and pair of baggy carpenter bluejeans that are tattered at the bottom.Her feet are covered by a laceless pair of addidas lowtops, white with blue stripes, held together by safety pins. Her wrists are covered by lots of thin gummy bracelets.

    Panel 1
    Medium shot-low angle-just past the pillars of the rooftop temple

    The night breeze is gently wafting through the linen curtains in the temple resting at the apex of the ziggurat. In the center of the pillared gazebo-like structure beneath the opening in the roof is a pool of swirling meta-liquids. Its shimmering blues and purples being picked up by the intermittant moonlight on this cloudy May eve. Nicodemus stirs a slender finger in the air above the pool, the lighting making it look as if he is telling stories around a campfire. The rim of the enormous vessel, made entirely of moonstone, glows with an inner light backlighting strange inscriptions… The mountains can be seen in the very far distance behind Nicodemus.

    Panel 2
    medium shot- eye level- interior of temple

    Nicodemus stands across the scrying pool with hands resting behind his back, slightly bent forward. In the center of the pool you can see August and Ivy in profile, they are face to face across a small table as they often do before her friday night gig.

    Disembodied voices floating eerily in the air (Ghostly font)

    A: (laughing) Baby, stop it ! (laughing more) Ok … be serious now….

    I: (laughing also) Oh! How can I be? Stinky boy! (making a cute scrunched up face) You smell like that dirty ol’ factory….(laughing)

    N:(deep in thought and mumbling) …Ah there they are, everything is in place for this moment, August, make it count….

    Panel 3
    Medium shot- eye level – interior of temple

    Nicodemus’ focus tightens as the conversation is ripped through astral space as if they were right there in the room with him. Now, the images hover above the pool superimposing themselves as a ghostly apparition over the rooms center. It appears as if they were seated at a table for two in the middle of the chamber. Nicodemus circles the pool very slowly, watching the couple with a single raised brow as he often did when he was so interested in conversation.

    A: (rolled eyes upward in jest) Aw, c’mon, I do not! I dont smell anything at all!

    I: (Laughing and leaning in for a playful kiss)C’mere stinky boy!

    N: (mumbles) ….a love that only comes along every few centuries…. a bond stronger than life and….

    Panel 4
    Medium shot -low angle about knee level- interior of temple

    August and Ivy leaning awkwardly forward across the table to kiss. Ivy’s knees cocked inward making her look off balance on tip toe. August is cradling her face in his hands slightly smooshing her cheeks together while they kiss. Nicodemus being barely lit in the recesses of the background, watching next to a pillar and blowing curtain as if to give them some privacy.

    Page 3
    Panel 1 (circular)

    Close up shot of Ivy’s face- eye level, over the shoulder of August

    Augusts hand strokes Ivy’s face as August sits and whispers softly

    A: ( barely audible) ….God you’re beautiful…

    Ivy head tilted into August s hand, blushing and fluttering her eyes in delight.

    Panel 2
    medium shot – low angle waist high- from beside Nicodemus

    August and Ivy are sitting at the table holding hands across the top of the table as August can be seen reaching into his jacket, pulling a cardboard tube from inside, hidden from Ivy’s sight.

    A: (serious but kindly anxious) I cant wait until after your show tonight! I have a surprise for you …BUT you cant see it until after the show….

    Panel 3
    medium shot – low angle waist high- Looking toward Nicodemus

    August and Ivy are sitting at the table holding hands across the top of the table. August has the tube in his hand at the tables edge and looks rather confused. Ivy is rubbing her belly and licking her lips with her eyes closed.

    I: (excited) Is it Ice Cream?! Mmmmmmmmmm I love Ice Cream !!!!

    A: (confused) What kind of gift is Ice Cream?? I mean it is, after all….

    Panel 4 (small Highlight panel)
    Close up of Ivy

    I: (Interupting and playing stupid) Gift?! Is it my bithday or something??

    Panel 5
    Medium shot – eye level, over the shoulder of Ivy

    August is looking down at the Document tube in his hand, resting on his lap with a look of dissapointment

    A: (Softly) No its our…..(font trails off)

    Page 4

    Panel 1
    Long shot – Low angle – interior of temple

    Scene of the pool with the small table hovering above it with August seated, looking up at Ivy with a surprised look on his face. Ivy is mid air in a jump with her arms thrown up in the air. The moonlit night, Nicodemus and the mountains in the background and the tip of a blowing curtain in the foreground.

    I: (yelling in Jubilation): HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

    Panel 2
    medium shot – Eye level – interior of temple

    August is seen standing up with a happy look on his face. His arms are just leaving the arms of the chair, still clutching the document tube.

    A:(lauging ) jeesh you are terrible .. I got this for you…..and thats how you treat me (chuckling at her antics)

    Panel 3
    shot – low angle – interior of temple

    August and Ivy angled inward, standing side by side as August places the tube in her hand. Both of them are looking down as August speaks.

    A: Its been one year since our first date…. and I cant tell you what this time has meant to me…

    N: (sounding sad) Its almost time children…..

    Panel 4
    Close up shot -High angle looking down at an angle above Ivy

    Ivy holding open the document so the document can be read. August continues to speak. Mostly you can see the document and Ivy’s hands holding it open.

    A: I was so excited after our first date, I knew , somehow I knew you were the one. Once I heard your song, I knew I had to meet you. I had never felt such a strong feeling toward anyone ever…..so when I got home that night after our date I went online to check my email and I had one in there that if you sent away you could name a star.

    Panel 5
    Close up – low angle – From augusts waist upward to the sky

    August standing with his arm pointing to the stars and looking up. Beyond his fingertip you can see the night sky above the temple filled with dim stars and one bright star.

    I: A star?

    A: I picked a star that was unnamed right above this spot and named it for us… ” IvyAugust524″…its right here above us today but you cant see it until tonight.

    I: Thats why I cant see it until after my show…..

    A: This marks the time and spot where we began….. I love you Ivy….

    Page 5

    Panel 1
    Long shot ( full page/ cover shot ) – low angle – Interior of temple

    Full shot of August standing with Ivy held pressed to his chest both of them looking up toward the sky where August is pointing as if the ghostly images of the couple could see the stars through the open roof of the temple.Ivy has one knee bent lifting her shoe to its tiptoe the other flat footed. Ivy’s sexy shape pronounced by her stretched tight top. Augusts’ muscles shadowed under his t-shirt. Nicodemus looming in the background looking serious. Everyone lit by the dim glow of the scrying pool.

    Page 6

    Panel 1
    Close up – eye level – Ivy and august framed

    Ivy and August enganged in a passionate kiss. A small tear coming down Ivys cheek….

    Panel 2
    Close up – eye level – Ivy and august framed

    August and Ivy looking at each other, still in one anothers arms, cheeks a little flushed

    I: I’ll never leave you….ever….I love you so much baby

    A….I dont know what to say……

    I( whispering as if feeding him a line) : say you’ll never leave me…..

    A( voice soft ) I’ll always be here for you, always…

    Panel 3
    Medium shot – eye level – interior of temple

    Ivy and august standing about 2 feet apart holding hands next to the small table looking toward one another. Nicodemus to one side of them looking beyond them toward something behind them beyond the vision of the scrying circle.

    I: (quietly as not to disturb the peace and contentment of the moment) .. lets go put this in my car and you can carry my guitar back for me…..ok?

    A: (lost in the moment) yeah, ..um . Ok, and we can have a cup of coffee before you have to go on….

    N: Such a beautiful soul, its such a shame…

    Panel 4
    Close up – eye level – Ivy and August framed from the shoulders up. Somewhere out of sight you can hear Rumbling,, honking of car horns and the screeching of tires( sounds drifting around the panel )

    Ivy quickly turning her head, swinging her pigtails, August has a look of horror on his face.

    I: What the….

    A: (screaming) IVY ! ! ! !

    Panel 5
    Close up of Ivy’s arm on the pavement from the elbow down with the rolled up starchart rolling away from her still and empty hand.

    N: (almost inaudibly ) I’m sorry my champion…..

  15. CarsonArtiston 06 Aug 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I feel like I need to answer this post, not that I dont want the critique but now I feel like I need to defend myself a bit……so from this quote Ill answer.
    # Lighting Manon 06 Aug 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Why does she generate enough heat to burn clothing?

    She only burns clothing and things she touches while she is in combat using certain abilities. The rest of the time, she wears normal clothing.

    It’s obviously not for scientific reasons, your universe is a magical one and she’s got rocks dressing her. It’s not a weakness, or a liability, it doesn’t develop the character. It’s not protective, you’ve characterized her as a caster, if she’s close enough to someone that her skin being hot is going to be noticed, she’s going to get punched, stabbed or beaten all the same.

    A scene in chapter one describes an incident where she becomes possessed and, as a result of the demon’s innate abilities, she becomes hot and regurgitates molten lava. These powers are controlled through the stones.

    Are the stones sentient? Did they choose to protect her modesty instead of her life? Why did they do that? I’m sure she’d be happy to wrap her genitals in aluminium foil if she could get her midriff covered, since that’s where she keeps all her important life-sustaining stuff.

    No, the stones are not sentient. Her skin is resistant to physical damage, a magical armor of sorts while she is hot. This being magic, no heat comes off of her. (Just don’t touch her!) As I said, she can turn this off.

    Does she control the armor? Why did she pick to make it so skanky? Couldn’t she spurge a little bit and make herself a breastplate? It is magic, after all. She could probably rearrange that one arm band and manage to protect at least her pancreas.

    You seem to be a bit fixated on physical protection. I seem to be able to think of many, many superhero gals in skimpy outfits purely for eye candy that were perfectly successful heroines. Also, this isn’t the only outfit she will have. This one is just the skimpiest.

    I apologize if this comes off as harsh, or out of line, but you need to ask yourself if she’s naked because that’s how your universe needs her abilities to work, or if it’s because she’s a female. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts, it’s not the first one.

    You are right. No excuses at all. I’m shamelessly using her depiction for eye candy.

    The fact that she’s planning on standing a few feet farther then her pals away from whatever they’re fighting doesn’t excuse the fact that she’s wearing what amounts to less then a bikini.

    She can fight in close proximity if she wants to. Again, you seem not to appreciate a sexy character. Sorry to offend your eyes.

    B. Mac’s mentioned several times that he doesn’t feel comfortable writing an article about writing females successfully, but if he had, I’d bet dollars to cobwebs that it’d include a line about only including a female so you can play Barbie in reverse is bad.

    This isn’t the only reason she is in the story by a long shot and, again, she will only be in some sort of armored outfit in combat.

    I wish I had something positive to say, but this issue is so apparent and problematic that it needs mentioning regardless.

  16. B. Macon 06 Aug 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t echo LM’s concerns about the heroine’s attire. I understand that superheroine costumes are generally pretty skimpy. However, my impression is that this goes pretty far beyond the norm (please see Wonder Woman, the Invisible Woman, Storm, She-Hulk, Supergirl, Spiderwoman, etc). Umm, I appreciate beauty as much as anyone, but it might help readers take her seriously if she bared a bit less skin. I’m sure you have her for other reasons than just eye-candy, but I think that her attire is likely to distract readers from them.

  17. CarsonArtiston 07 Aug 2009 at 11:50 am

    I think LM was a little brash. I don’t know him– was that sarcasm? or an attempt at humor? So he didn’t like her outfit in that concept drawing…

    B.Mac, at least you gave me a few reasons why this couldn’t/shouldn’t be her main costume, which it probably won’t be. LM thought it was ok to ridicule things, which of course put me on the defensive. I don’t think that is quite the attitude you intended to have going for a forum.

    Anyhow-I do agree, this shouldn’t be her main costume. It was a concept I was planning out how to arrange the important aspects of her costume which are the arm bands and the pitchfork and her body, size, proportion, looks, etc.

    In fact, in the course of this conversation, I was thinking that maybe some cloth sections of whatever costume would be cool because they would singe and burn in combat making the scenes have a lot more life.

    In the future, in general, you should be as positive as possible while you critique, don’t placate with Pollyanna crap just to be nice but don’t go out of your way to make fun of anyones artwork. It’s a surefire way to cause friction. Maybe LM had his reasons but he seemed really offended. I think the key word in the description was “CONCEPT” not look at my cover art.

    Okay, I’m done talking about the picture situation. I hope it’s not a problem in the future if I post concepts. I’ll be sure that they are wearing clothing.

    I need to rework the writing of chapter one. Trekfan thinks Nico’s backstory is a little thick and could use some trimming. I agree. it got clunky for me there too.

    Thats the main reason Im here is to get my plotlines laid out nicely before I try to illustrate things. I need to go get a wisdom tooth pulled but when I get home, I’ll respond to B. Macs questions/comments on chapter one.

    Also if you do a rewrite on a chapter,do you repost the whole thing or is there an edit function somewhere?

  18. CarsonArtiston 07 Aug 2009 at 11:55 am

    ok I was re-looking and I guess I never specified this was concept art for the character in my post here. My bad. But still, I would be happy to discuss any art or writing I post, but be cool, thats all.

  19. CarsonArtiston 08 Aug 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Here’s my response to B. Mac’s suggestions.

    A few thoughts and suggestions about chapter 1.
    –There are a few grammar and spelling issues. (For example, acquire has a ‘c’). Ruthie’s Story should have an apostrophe.
    –I’d recommend against capitalizing the H in BloodHammer.

    Thanks for the corrections- I notoriously capitalize the second half of words that are also a word alone.

    Umm, Ruthie is the character pictured above, right? Personally, my rule of thumb is that I’d recommend illustrating female characters in a way that I could show them to a lady friend. Right now, I feel like it’s likely to cut out female readers from the mix, which might be unnecessary.

    –The dress issues give me the impression that this is aimed at purely male readers. If so, I would recommend starting with a main character that is male. Also, if possible, I would recommend starting with a character that is in college or older. (Usually, the audience relates best to a main character that is of the same gender and slightly older than the audience). I don’t think 18-35 year-old guys will have much success relating to an abused 17 year-old high schooler. (It might help if she had a more distinct personality).

    Good points, B. Mac, I’m reworking the costume in a few different ways. I wanted to create an atmosphere which you feel pity for Ruthie. Unfortunately, some of Ruthie’s story was based from real life. I’m trying to make her someone people will want to see get her revenge, peace and ultimately be triumphant. I don’t necessarily want to exclude female readers, in fact, it was a few females who encouraged the sexiness of Ruthie’s character. I actually toned it down from the first draft because I’m not trying to write porno here.

    I do, however, want her to get lost in all things animalistic at times where she loses control of herself. For example, each stone helps her control the soul it is linked to. Nico wanted her to have two, but that was sabotaged by the forces of darkness and there is a third soul which messes everything up. That third soul is really, really nasty and makes her very primal when she uses its power.

    This is the pollution in her which the Michaels refer to in discussion with Nico. Nico doesn’t understand and Nico’s plan gets fouled. So not only did he use Ruthie, he also made a horrid mistake in the process.

    Her personality gets much more distinct now that she has undergone the crucible. I may switch the chapters around since the first 3 chapters are pretty much just character intro’s…I’m here to nail down the flow of this story. I’m not deadset on Ruthie’s story first.

    –I think the opening sentence could be more gripping.
    –Some of the sentence structures are a bit awkward. For example, “His anger was for the world, which he tried to make a name for himself in…”

    Agreed – this is awkward

    –I feel that calling the character Grandfather in the first sentence is odd. It suggests a perspective that doesn’t appear in the rest of the paragraph. (For one thing, the rest of the first paragraph is very detached and distant). Also, isn’t the grandfather the point of view here? Why would he refer to himself as a grandfather?

    Yeah- I need to straighten this out, I’ve never really written anything beyond papers for school over a decade ago, haha. I don’t really know how to write this so the info I want to convey comes out. I’m trying really hard to be consistent. What I imagine is a set of expository boxes in the art panels which is sort of like a narrated POV aside from the dialogue. Is this bad, I seem to remember seeing this often in comic books…

    –This probably won’t matter for 18-25 year-olds, but I think older readers might know that the name of the song is Me and Bobby McGee.

    Very true, I planned on illustrating the words “bobby mcgee” coming from a radio. I figured that using the whole title would be bad form as far as usage rights go. I thought I could get away with those two words coming from the radio without getting sued.

    –The first paragraph is in past tense. The second paragraph is (mostly) in present tense. (”it’s a little… the wind groans and rushes… *scratched* its spindly fingers… Bobby McGee wafts…”). I’d recommend being consistent, ideally in the past tense.
    –The point-of-view switches awkwardly from the grandfather (”he feels momentarily vindicated”) to Ruthie (”Ruthie doesn’t understand why…”). I strongly, strongly recommend against switching perspectives mid-chapter. It would probably be smoother to stick with Ruthie’s point of view throughout this chapter.

    I will be more careful and try and do this correct in the rewrite. Both parts about tenses and perspectives is accurate and it really needs to be more consistent.

    –I think there’s a lot of telling (vs. showing) going on here. “he looks through inebriated eyes…” You can probably show us that he’s drunk, particularly since this paragraph is from his perspective. The narrator tells us that Ruthie doesn’t understand why he’s angry, and you can probably show that through dialogue or action.

    Cool– I’ll give that a shot.

    –I feel like the paragraph where the narrator explains why the grandfather hates his granddaughter is a bit of an infodump.
    Does it matter why he hates her? I wasn’t sure but tried to explain his motivations even if they were his own reasons. So this is unnecessary?

    –”Damn her for for…” –> I think the word “for” is repeated here. “Damn her for not saving her mother… Damn her. Damn you Ruthie.” There’s a switch here from “damn her” to “damn you.” It feels a bit awkward to me. I’d recommend sticking with either “damn her” or “damn you.”

    I was attempting to give internal dialogue of grandfather in his anger , which then became personified and aimed directly at Ruthie since she’s right there,so he switched from her to you in his own thoughts and then words. This is probably very confusing to readers, huh? Is there a way to do this smoothly? Should I start the POV from Grandfather in first person, then go to Ruthie first person once she leaves? I guess I could keep it all in Ruthie’s First person….not sure how this works.

    “~Innocence scattered in broken shards, a life spelled out in gypsy cards~” I don’t understand what this line is.

    Throughout the story I have written lines that rhyme which would be in a unique font floating across some panels. These rhymes give hints, plot insights, foreshadowing…but not directly, it’s more like a puzzle that I think the readers will pick up on as the story goes. I think there are 3 in chapter 1.

    This one, to give it away, occurs after the description of the ballerina figurine from Ruthie’s mom which gets broken by the grandfather in that scene. It’s the last thing she had from her mother and now it’s broken – like her innocence, the last remaining bit of her childhood and the life she knew. After that rhyme line, it all changes for Ruthie. Also “a life spelled out in gypsy cards” just means this was all destined to happen.

    The next line is “Weigh your heart and find the hollow, kill the serpent you have swallowed” Which hints about the demon inside of her and if she wants to save herself she needs to kill the serpent so to speak. She swallowed the demon (or became inviting to the demon) by holding such hatred for her grandfather.
    The third is “Pain and pleasure by and by, one to make you laugh and one to make you cry” which only denotes her growing insanity issues.

    The fourth one is “Plans within Plans, the Fate of all in Guarded Hands,” which is just about Nico’s plotting and the gravity of his decisions. Guarded hands refers to the Michaels.”

    “Ruthie seems to be running away…” I’d recommend making this a definitive statement.
    can’t should have an apostrophe.
    “longs for an escape” could maybe be “longs to escape.”
    I’d recommend leading with the crumbling mortar and sliding bricks rather than calling it dilapidated.
    “Even more astonishing”– I’d recommend having the character show this with her actions rather than having the narrator tell us that it’s astonishing.
    “Even more astonishing is that this house garners almost no attention, if you didn’t already have it as your destination, it would be almost camouflaged to your notice.” I suspect that this sentence could be smoother.

    More flow and typo issues…thank you. I’m not sure how to write a character being astonished but I’ll work on it.

    Comma after concrete step.
    “This neighborhood is awful”– I’d recommend showing this detail. What people does she see on her way here? What other buildings are there? Etc. I described some buildings near it but I sure can make the reader come to the conclusion that the neighborhood is bad through environment description.
    When the boyfriend makes his appearance, I’d recommend shortening the paragraphs because the scene is supposed to be more intense, right?

    Yes and no- the primary function of this scene is to reveal Ruthies’ feelings and the relationship between them. I can totally quicken the scene- it’s only one paragraph before the scene is over and Nico is out of the scenes again. I’m not really trying to hide him but I dont want the reader to cling to a solid impression yet since the Nico boyfriend role is a ruse to trick Ruthie and Nico’s true self is revealed soon after.

    apostrophe in “grandmother’s…”
    “It darkens Ruthie’s mood to see that.” This could be shown in body language or dialogue. Preferably dialogue; there hasn’t been any thus far.
    “The Root” , the cafe’ where she met Nico… I think the apostrophe after cafe could be removed.
    “She is unaware that” –> I would recommend changing this to a more active phrase like “She doesn’t know that…”
    “He called her a whore, he demanded to know where she was the night before, he told her how much he hated her and how its all her fault that her mother is in a mental health facility and that her younger brother and sister are wards of the state.” This is a long sentence and, I think, an info-dump.

    I should turn this into dialogue, along with a few other places….
    She doesn’t seem to have much of a personality yet. Also, given that she hasn’t spoken at all, she doesn’t have much of a voice.
    I need more Ruthie dialogue since all we get thus far is feelings and thoughts. Its hard to tell a story that way when you are illustrating- definitely needs more dialogue.

    “Its all her fault…” Apostrophe in it’s.
    “hurredly” is spelled “hurriedly,” I think.
    “scampers off to the bus-stop.” I’m not sure if scampers has the best connotation. I’d recommend looking at some words that connote speed, urgency or desperation here. Maybe “rushes off” or something like that.
    “The house has finally collapsed, the bulge in the bricks of the back wall had been precarious at best for several years.” I’d recommend replacing the comma with a period.
    “Something is pulling her inside…” I’d really appreciate if you could show this rather than tell it.

    I’m not sure how to show an irrational urge created by a magical force. I’ll have to think about this one.

    I think Yahtzee is spelled with an H.
    I think “black skin like a raven’s black plumage” is a bit cliche. I’d recommend making a comparison with a clearer emotional connotation. (If we’re supposed to get the impression that the attacker has a feral strength about him, you could try black like a puma, I think).

    I was mostly referring to a black irridescent color like raven feathers. I also wanted to make sure the reader didn’t think it’s a black guy instead of a scary monster. I can think of a different metaphor.

    I don’t feel like the death of the grandfather makes for a great cliffhanger.

    Here is where some flow issues happen…… I want the incident where Ruthie goes through her transformation to happen at the same time as her grandfather’s death, she experiences his death as it happens. This is why I was saying she felt like she had a belt around her neck and the taste of blood in her throat just as her grandfather did and also how the next day I described the blood on her as “…she sees the claw marks at her throat. Or, actually the traces of smeared blood from frantic fingers. Reacting to the sight of it, she tries to rub some of it away to see her skin….which is perfect beneath the brown smearings.” I was attempting to show physical manifestations of this event she magically experienced vicariously.

    I’m guessing you stopped before the section with Nico, Michael and Ruthie and the Michaels of Nico’s flashback. The chapter ends with Nico realizing that something is all wrong and he needs to get back to Ruthie before the Michaels get her. Nico doesnt know that the Michaels allowed an Abomination to find her. Instead of killing her, it possessed her. Grandpa’s death wasnt a cliffhanger, just part of the story. I meant for the cliffhanger to be “What will happen to Ruthie now that the Michaels have been revealed to know about her and want her dead?” I left chapter 1 there to move on to a different character bio- Bloodhammer. I still need to write part 2 of Bloodhammer’s story which is only outlined right now. Part 1 stops at the catalyst to Bloodhammer’s power. Part 2 is where Nicodemus comes in and turns August into Bloodhammer.

  20. Eren Ramzion 16 Aug 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Hey CarsonArtist, I found an artist to draw my comic for me on Conceptart. If it wasn’t for you – I’d have never have found that website and the artist so thanks. You the man ;)

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply