Apr 04 2010

Alex’s Review Forum

Published by at 5:50 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “Alex’s Review Forum”

  1. alxrgrson 12 Apr 2010 at 8:03 am

    Hi guys, I’m Alex. 21.
    Relatively new to the writing side of things, but been reading since before I can remember. Fascinated with darker, grittier stories based in reality with psychological elements. I would like to make characterisation as the main writing focus. Looking for general aid with writing and constructive criticism. Please excuse any grammatical errors =]

    General overview of the project I’m currently working on as yet untitled. Don’t quite know what to turn into yet, but I’m writing it as a book with 3 Acts:

    Synopsis: Set in an undefined future period (I say undefined because I would like to blend elements of different periods of time into one – for example, bringing elements of 40’s culture into the 80’s in the Superman movies), where the governments of the world have colluded into a one-world government, under the guise of “wanting to end war”. Poverty and street crime is at an all-time high and heavy oppression is firmly in place with established cities around the world being heavily policed by soldiers. The core (“all-seeing eye” so to speak) of this government is the United States. Soldiers that police the streets are drones, the real oppressers are the mob bosses of the world who work as a kind of security measure for government officials, but this is kept quiet obviously.
    The story follows the life of Ryan Grant’s from birth to (possible) death. As he is raised in underpriviledged, violent surroundings and eventually creates an persona (costumed fighter) to be a symbol of fear and revolution for the mob. As a teenager, while travelling the world under many aliases, he discovers and hones some quite profound telekinetic abilities and learns fighting techniques from a guerrilla freedom-fighter with an anti-social disorder, Isaiah Stane, who shows Ryan desperate poverty and injustice around the world. Ryan returns to the U.S. with the intention of forcing a revolution from the core of the entire regime. He eventually stumbles into an underground guerrilla group who he uses in his plot. He creates an alter-ego designed to strike fear into the mob, and works with face of the peceful movement Leya Caslin. His actions will catch the attentions of the government who manage to capture in an attempt to duplicate his telekinetic capabilities with some success. Not only are the government involved, but so are the mob, who clearly see Ryan as a threat and will try everything to bring him down.

    Genre: Dark, griity, political action with a hint of horror.

    Target Audience: mid-late teens to early twenties; contains swearing and adult themes like violence and sex.

    Characters:
    (Primary Protagonist)
    Ryan Grant/Unnamed Costumed Guerrilla Leader (potential name: Adeyu after the last revoltuoinary of their time):
    A charismatic and reckless, but obsessed and sometimes aggressive lead. Introduced as a rebellious, bar-fighting teenger who matures into a strong, efficient figure. He possesses strong telekinetic powers (which don’t have an origin just yet – could use some help with that). He’s a good fast fighter and leader, but his anger does sometimes hinder him. Flashbacks will portray a troubled childhood within Act 1. Lives low in a crummy apartment and has money issues. He is asthmatic and suffers a deep-rooted, heavy fear of water, based on a childhood experience. Inspired quite heavily by Che Guevara.
    As the costumed Adeyu, he invents a Batman-like character designed to fight and take down the mob, soldiers and eventually the government itself. He uses fear tactics, combining stealth and violence, to take down mob bosses in order to get to the government. He’s not concerned with “crime”, but fighting injustice. The idea is that he’s not a hero, just a fighter with a few antihero traits.

    (Secondary Protagonists)
    Leya Caslin: An intelligent strong former doctor who meets Ryan as a teenager. She is the face of a peaceful movement for the people and secretly works alongside Ryan as polar opposites, often clashing with Ryan and his methods. Her personality is strong but also a little cooky, disorganised and little superstitious, verging on OCD. She is also a love interest for Ryan, but a troubled relationship, not a Peter Parker/Mary Jane relationship.

    Sienna McKinnon: A young guerrilla fighter who becomes Ryan’s assistant. Very intelligent and possesses a fiery punk element. Comparable to Oracle.

    Isaiah Stane: A vastly charismatic, nihilistic and philosophical anarchist hitman-turned-gurrilla. Meets Ryan in France and takes on the mentor character within Act 1. He is rarely seen beyond Ryan’s return to the U.S. only as a guerrilla fighter within another group. He later becomes a primary antagonist.

    Other secondary protags will include team members and old friends of Ryan.

    (Primary Antagonists)
    The “Ruin Brothers”: A pair of masked, unidentified hitmen hired by the mob to take down Adeyu, Leya and others. Both are seething, anarchic, neo-Nazi, psychopathic murderers who enjoy “scorched-earth” methods. Under the aliases of Jeff and Newton, they will eventually part ways with Newton (the more psychotic and demeted of the two) later enforcing his own chaotic “order”.

    (Secondary Antagonists)
    Mostly Government Soldiers/Police, mob bosses and government officials.

    Excerpts to come after I piece a couple of scenes together.
    Thanks for reading =]

  2. alxrgrson 14 Apr 2010 at 6:58 pm

    This is the first draft of a scene I’ve been excited to write. By this point of the story, Ryan has returned and used his dual identity to kidnap a big-time mobster called Hardy. Rumours of Ryan’s stealthy actions have already spread through the underworld. Torelli is another big-shot mobster and he has called his mobster comrades and government connections together to try and figure out what to do about the situation. In this scene, Torelli and his men are confronted by the Ruin Brothers, a pair of hitmen who want Ryan dead also, in order to establish an deal to kill Ryan and other freedom-fighters.
    Feedback would be much appreciated but give me the benefit of the doubt as it really is just skin-and-bones at the moment =]

    PAGE 1
    1. Torelli guides three of his comrades into his massive office. They spread out, taking seats.
    MOBSTER 1: When are Matthews and Willis getting here?

    2. In the lobby floor of the building, two long-coated men holding duffel bags walk in with rapid pace. They speed toward a suspicious security. The Guard, eyeing them up, approaches them:
    GUARD: I’m gonna need to check those bags, guys.

    4. He barely finishes his sentence before one of them unveils a semi-automatic and shoots him dead on the spot. They are the Ruin Brothers. Their hoods pulled up, their faces not yet seen.

    5. Torelli sits at his desk.
    TORELLI: You all know about Hardy. He’s gone. Captured.
    MOBSER 1: Never thought it would happen. Who would be so stupid to take him?
    MOBSTER 2: Guerrillas.

    6.
    TORELLI: No… Something else.

    PAGE 2:
    1. Torelli’s assistant, Buckley guides in two suits, Willis and Matthews, a confident pair who own the room the second they enter it. Matthews, tall tubby and moustached, challenges Torelli. Torelli rises from his chair to maintain presence.
    MATTHEWS: Torelli. Our superiors need reminding how exactly you’re ‘containing’ the Guerrillas. So, go ahead, infrom me.
    TORELLI: He took him straight out of Marseille. That ain’t my jurisdiction.

    2.
    MATTHEWS: (unimpressed) He?

    3. In an elevator heading up, the Brothers have dropped their bags. One of them, Newton, pulls his long coat off and throws it aside, revealing a torso and forearms sheilded by military armour and a pair of military trousers tucked into ragged boots holding knives. The other, Jeff, leaves his jacket on.

    4. They raid their bags, revealed to be filled with pistols, semi-automatics, batons, daggers and bombs. Each pulls out a mask. Both masks are made from a weathered facehugging material resembling leather with holes cut for eyes and a mouth. Newton’s is white with jet black smudges around the eyes and mouth holes: quite weathered with blood stains and crudely cut holes and sewn-up rips and tears.

    5. In Torelli’s office, one of the mobsters chomps on a cigar:
    MOBSTER 2: One guy? I’ve seen guys try and get close to Hardy before. Didn’t end well.
    TORELLI: Hardy’s men don’t know what happened. Three of them say it was one guy. The other two… well, they think it was a bunch of guys. No guns though. No nothing.

    6. Jeff’s is a dark grey with a shape resembling a face: the eye holes are circular, one of which has thin black circle daubed round it, and the mouth is cut neatly. Both masks are strapped round the back of the head.
    MOBSTER 2: No Hardy either.

    PAGE 3
    1. Jeff ruffles his short hair. Newton has simply slicked back his lengthy mohawk (worn down). He slaps a pair of old-style military goggles across his forehead.

    2. In the hallway down the hall from Torelli’s office, five security guards are hanging around. One of them gestures to the elevator doors as the sound of an elevator approaches.
    GUARD 1: Did you authorize that?

    3. The guards approach the doors with confusion, but mostly caution as they unsheath their batons as the elevator pings but the doors to not open.

    4. The guards look at each other, bemuzed.

    5. There is a knocking from inside the elevator.

    PAGE 4
    1. In the office, Willis turns to Matthews.
    WILLIS: You think this is Caslin’s group?
    MATTHEWS: Hell no. Caslin’s a fuckin’ socialist pussy. He wants peace but he ain’t gonna fight for it.

    2. In the hallway, the guards fall silent as there is a knocking again.

    3. One of the guards approaches:
    GUARD 1: Are you stuck in there?

    4.
    TORELLI: Caslin’s a minor threat that we can deal with in the future. And we can still keep the Guerrillas contained. Its just this new guy… We can’t have some vigilante Guevara-wannabe running around taking out our men. He needs to be eradicated.

    5. Meanwhile, the guard edges closer to the elevator doors.
    GUARD 1: Hey, are you okay in there?

    PAGE 5
    1. There is a muffled giggle, a disturbing, unhinged giggle as a puff of smoke seeps out between the doors and creeps through the room. The guards step back and pull out their guns.

    2. Tthe elevator doors are forced open, revealing just a plume of smoke. Within the haze, two bodies are barely visible.

    3. Newton smiles to himself in the smoke, head bowed.
    NEWTON: “…And then the lover…”

    4. The Brothers bound out from the smoke, firing their pistols at the guards, quickly taking down two of them.

    5. Jeff powers across the room toward a computer desk, his armour deflects bullets shot at him by the guard in his path. Jeff slams a knife into his neck.

    6. Torelli and his men are oblivious to the action in the hall. Matthews bellows at Torell.
    MATTHEWS: And how exactly do you propose we eradicate a guy without a face, who may even be a pigment of some whacko’s imagination?!

    PAGE 6
    1. Newton leaps and bounds about the room, whilst being shot at by the two remaining guards. He yells, grinning. NEWTON: Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

    2. He disarms one of the guards. he snaps the guard’s forearm in half.
    NEWTON: …Then a soldier…

    3. He backflips upward behind the last remaining guard.

    4. The guard frantically reloads his gun.
    NEWTON: (unseen) …Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard…

    6. Newton is swings up-side from the chandeleer beside the guard, a fat smile across his face, knife-in-hand.

    PAGE 7
    1. Torelli and his men go silent. Torelli’s guard rises from a small bar, takes out his pistol and carefully opens them. Thin disappating smoke oozes in from the corridor.

    2. From the office, the sound of Torelli’s guard’s choked screams echo until silence again. Torelli, the mobsters and the suits all keep a keen eye on the doors.

    3. Newton’s unhinged giggle echoes again. He whispers unseen:
    NEWTON: …Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel… seeking the bubble reputation…

    4. Torelli’s guard flies into the room, lifeless and bloody, followed in the same instant as the armed and dangerous Ruin Brothers.

    PAGE 8
    1. Newton, chuckling to himself, races into the room and leaps up onto bar, crouching next to Matthews and Willis. Jeff meanwhile, walks from the doors towards Torelli’s desk. Newton grins an evil grin through his disturbing mask. Matthews just stares at him, freaked out.
    NEWTON: …Even in the cannon’s mouth!
    MATTHEWS: You can’t be serious…
    NEWTON: Do I look like a serious kind of guy to you, brother?!

    2. Newton continues to whipser to himself:
    NEWTON: …And then the justice, in fair round belly with good capon lined…
    MOBSTER 2: Who the fuck are these pricks?
    NEWTON: …With eyes severe and beard of formal cut…

    3. Torelli answers the mobster, never taking his eyes off of a slowly approaching Jeff:
    TORELLI: Masked, neo-Nazi, anarchist, sadistic psychopath hitmen. They call themselves the Ruin Brothers. Like something out of an Anthony Burgess novel.
    JEFF: We’ll take that as a compliment.

    4.
    MATTHEWS: Damn wacko’s if you ask me.

    Newton winks at him.

    5.
    TORELLI: What do you want Jeff?
    JEFF: Here to make you an offer…
    TORELLI: You gonna break in here and kill all my men to make me an offer?
    JEFF: That was just for effect.

    PAGE 9
    1. Jeff leans his hands on Torelli’s desk and gets in Torelli’s face.
    JEFF: You see, me and my little brother Newton here, we’re a little strapped for cash nowadays. So, we’re gonna make you an offer that you probably will want to refuse but won’t nevertheless.
    MATTHEWS: There’s no way–
    JEFF: I remember a time when the Guerrilla’s were just a bunch of punk kids looking to exhaust their teen agnst somehow. Now, they’re running wild as adults, guns-in-hands. Taking down your men. And kidnapping your friends. What’s this rumour I hear? One man took Hardy. At least they think it was a man.

    2.
    NEWTON: I heard he can fly.
    JEFF: I heard he can too.

    3. Jeff moves away from the desk.
    JEFF: Here’s our offer: We do our bit, make a mess and maybe… just maybe… a few freedom-fighters, like your friends Caslin and his daughter disappear. Then maybe this flying, superdude will be next.
    TORELLI: How much do you want?
    JEFF: We’ll have to get back to you on that one… All we know right now is, you don’t have much of a choice.

  3. Roon 07 Jun 2010 at 6:55 am

    I think you have awesome idea. I really like the main character he has a good feel to me. I encourage you to make sure he stays fresh so that he doenst become a batman carbon copy. But i like the premise a lot. Keep writing.

  4. Roon 07 Jun 2010 at 7:05 am

    I like that scene. I really like the ruin brothers. What poem was he reciting?

  5. Steton 07 Jun 2010 at 8:33 am

    Isn’t Isaiah Stane the name of some guy in Iron Man?

    I’d give some thought to exactly what sort of authoritarian gov’t I was using, and how it developed, because those can be quite interesting or hopelessly cliched. Maybe you’ve already done so, but especially with a ‘one world’ government, I think it’s v. important. (And why ‘one world?’ Why not just the US?)

    You’ve got some great stuff here, but I worry that we’ve seen too much before. Shades of ‘V,’ perhaps? Maybe the reversal is too obvious, but what if you played against type a bit, and tough-guy vigilante Grant was kooky and superstitious, and peaceful Dr. Caslin was aggressive and reckless?

    I don’t really know the world of comics, but in terms of novels, at least, you’re more likely to make a sale with a story like, ‘He’s a dark violent vigilante like Batman, except he’s got Tourette’s like the guy in Motherless Brooklyn’ than ‘He’s a dark violent vigilante like Batman, with even more powers!’

  6. alxrgrson 17 Jun 2010 at 10:50 am

    Thank you Ro. The poem he recites is the Seven Ages of Man by Shakespeare. The idea is that Newton is detached from reality, I thought that if his mind was somewhere else while he was fighting, it would 1, add to the social disconnection and 2, make him a more formidable foe. The Ruins are definitely my favourites to write at the moment… Newton in particular.

    Thank you Stet, as it turns out Obidiah Stane is a character in Iron Man… there’s some serious subconscious influence going on there haha. Stane can change but I like the name Isaiah

    I’ve come up with quite an extensive background to the authoritarian government idea, playing on some real-life history. I originally wanted to avoid the idea of a 3-world war as I feel like it’s been done, but in writing the story it felt necessary, so I included it, but it is only hinted at and the backstory focuses more on people and personalities. The One World idea is in place because I feel it embodies a true totalitarianism. The US is more the core of the regime.

    I’ve had comparisons to V before and have been working to try and keep the main character fresh, mostly by focussing on an interesting background and characterisation. He is a deep and troubled character, but has a public façade also which adds an interesting dimension I think.

    One thing I have focussed on is to emphasise his actions as a revolutionary rather than a crime-fighter in order to differentiate him from Batman, but it’s hard to write a dark character without slipping into that kind of territory or even as far as say Punisher territory. So hopefully ‘Batman with powers’ won’t be the selling point.

  7. Ragged Boyon 17 Jun 2010 at 12:49 pm

    All-seeing Eye, Totalitarian Government, Cities ruled by Marshall Law, hmmm. Someone is taking a page out of history indeed and quite a bit of modern society, too. But something else entirely…

    Excuse my rambling, I’m Ragged Boy.

    I like your premise, it sounds as though you’ve put a great deal of thought into your plot. Also, your dialogue is very clean. I have only a few minor concerns:

    – Some of your panels, particularly your action scene, portray more than one action going on at the same time. For example, Page 5, Panel 5 reads ” (1st action) Jeff powers across the room toward a computer desk, his armour deflects bullets shot at him by the guard in his path.(2nd Action) Jeff slams a knife into his neck.” I suspect it would be difficult for an artist to interpret what you are trying to convey here. I’d recommend looking over those sentence and, either, condensing the action or making a separate panel That said, the conversation scene was very fluid and the action was good as well.

    Additionally, with the style the The Ruin Brothers use I could see alot of dual action panel which could be pretty neat if you used some angling. For example:

    5. Ground up angle. In the foreground, Jeff slams his knife into the guard’s neck. Above Jeff, Newton bounds across front-flipping and deflecting bullets.

    6. Still aerial Newton sever the wrist (or neck) of a shooting guard with a blade extending from his boot.

    – I noticed that you didn’t put that much into the technical descriptions of the panels. Are you intending to give the artist more leeway in terms of constructing the visuals?

    Other than that I like it. Your writing and style are both very clean.

  8. alxrgrson 17 Jun 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Ragged Boy, thanks for the comments. Haha, yeah I want the totalitarian government thing to appear as realistic as possible, and I’m pretty left-wing as it is.

    I will apologize for my lacklustre writing on some of the panels of that scene and thank you for the tips also. This scene is still just a rough draft at the moment, but the dual action panel idea is a good one. In terms of technical description, again, these are roughs, but I do intend to give a lot of creative flexibility for the artist who will work on it. I find, being an artist myself, that it generally produces better results. As inspired by Alan Moore as I am, I’m not half as meticulous as he is haha

  9. Ragged Boyon 17 Jun 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I love Alan Moore! His work on Batman and Doom Patrol was amazing.

    I, too, am playing with how much flexibility I should give the artist. Seeing as I’m rather young and inexperienced I’ll definitely be open to my artists creative suggestions, but I would like to see what I’m capable of on my own. I draw too and I can’t stand when I have to do too many objectives in one work so I’ll be aware not to pile on the details.

  10. alxrgrson 18 Jun 2010 at 3:48 am

    One question I’d like to ask you guys: seeing as you seem at least in some way enthusiastic about it, what sort of things would you personally be excited about or would like to read about in this particular story? Or what would you like to come away with? Anything from personal struggles to tactical decisions as a revolutionary? Just to help me get into the heads of the target audience 🙂

  11. Ragged Boyon 18 Jun 2010 at 9:00 am

    [DISCLAIMER] I am an unpublished, inexperienced, first-time writer so my perception may not mirror that of industry or a general audience. 😉

    Well, everyone knows the story is the key factor to gaining and keeping an audience. I think if you have a relatively fresh concept and a style that’s clean and differentiated from what’s already been seen I’d say you’re about half way there as far as attraction factor. Once you have that I think the finer details become important: Is the main character compelling? Is the plot concise and interesting? Are the character interactions believable and interesting? Does the plot evolve stylishly? etc. These are the thing I think a lot of first-time writers get gummed up on.

    Personally, I’m fond of a story that has a bit of an overall moral ideal behind or one that profound in some way. Probably because I’m not proficient at those types of things yet, people are usually attracted to thing they don’t have or can’t do. I can still remember the series The Sandman (one of my faves) and it’s evolve-or-die theme. Ultimately, The Sandman’s arrogance cause him to die and be replaced with the newer model.

    I’m also a fan of good action, but I don’t think action alone can lead a story. I think that’s the problem with a lot of movies coming out now focusing on the action but not too much into the story except for Avatar*. But as for action, it’s a definite that people love style and new things. I’m always building scenes in my head where my hero, Showtime, can be a show-off and play his traits into the action. Alternatively, Adeyu is supposed to be a tactful revolutionary so I’ recommend focusing on his powerul actions against the oppressive government and the level of tactic he used against them**. That’s how V got an entire city wearing his mask and dying for what they believed in. And that’s also what readers/watchers remembered.

    *The story was very generic and quite cliche when you think about it (Hello Pocahontas). However, stunning visuals, immersive action, and a fair amount of storytelling ability made the movie a hit. I’ll admit I like the movie, but I do prefer to watch it after he’s in the Na’vi body.

    What do you think?

    **Personally, the idea of incorporating tactic duants me. I can come up with little clever tricks for Showtime to use, but well-planned courses of action feel like they’d take more of a “certain know-how” that I can’t quite put my finger on just yet.

  12. alxrgrson 18 Jun 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I like the idea of having a message. There is a underlying moral message concerning social injustice. It will (subtly) criticize and deconstruct a lot of society’s customs, particularly political authority. Ryan, obviously, is a revolutionary; he will take a long introspective journey that will fundamentally change the way he views himself and the economic situations around the around (just in the future). He will be struck and transformed by poverty and injustices and then begin to focus on helping people with a world revolution. The motivating element here is love for his fellow man, and disgust of injustice. This has been the main selling point for anyone else to whom I’ve pitched this idea thus far. The ‘evolve-or-die’ ideology is an area I want to touch on.

    I know how you feel about action. There are some genuinely amazing comics or books that have had virtually NO action. Watchmen, for example, isn’t big on action. Plus, I think action is good if it’s different, which is an area I want to go into with Newton. Avatar I thought was a little uninteresting in terms of story, but it was visually stunning. For this book, action will be a major part in, say, armed struggle with political soldiers, but I will try to make it different.

    Tell me more about you Showtime story. Do you have a forum?

  13. B. Macon 18 Jun 2010 at 7:32 pm

    RB’s review forum is here.

  14. Ragged Boyon 18 Jun 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Ah, Showtime, my baby.

    Showtime is the the story of Adrian Gaines, an offbeat, aspiring actor living in an impoverished section of (my version of Hollywood) Santa Libre. He’s a bit of an outcast because of not only his eccentric personality and flashy style, but because he “acts white” and his area is what could be “the ghetto.” His life is flipped all topsy-turvy when he meets batty alien chemist Jimelly and is introduces to revolutionary experiment in evolution. This experiment was founded by The Conclave, a high society of aliens from all over the universe who seek to advance society on a universal scale. The Conclave’s experiment is thrown for a loop when Afflictus and his Body interfere and try to initiate their plan for universal enslavement. Adrain dons the identity of Showtime and with some help tries to stop them.

    Okay, you’ll have to take my word that it will be a lot better than that description sounds. The story isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but I’m focusing on characterization and trying to make the story a really fun read. I wanted to wait until I had a bit more experienced before I unleash some of my wilder story ideas. And later maybe revive Adrian and give him a grand ole’ story.

    My favorite part of the series is definitely writing Adrian and, by extension, Showtime. I like to think I did a good job coming up with a character that is very fresh in the industry. As for his development, I want him to grow out of his passive idealism and start to realize that he needs to be proactive if he wants to make things happen i.e. becoming an actor.

    As for production I did have a finished script for issue #1, but I’ve since cut off a chunk to rewrite because I couldn’t fit Showtime’s first battle into it. Action is something I’ve rarely ever written and something I’ve never scripted so I’m a bit apprehensive. I want the first fight to be quirky, but somehow stylish. If you ever want to read any and offer advice or give me an impression feel free to ask.

  15. alxrgrson 10 Oct 2010 at 7:29 am

    hey guys… here’s another scene i wanted to share that i really like… it’s basically the opening scene to the entire story. It’s Ryan’s return to his hometown after travelling. I wanted to be realistic and gritty (over time his powers will grow and by the end of Act 3, he will be virtually Godly, to the point where his body won’t be able to handle it)

    so this is just a quick thing i wanted to post to see how it would go down as the first few pages because it was something i debated for a while.

    please excuse any temporary grammatical errors, i am british btw lol 🙂

    Page 1: FULL PAGE. Black page. Above view. Midway on the page, a spotlight shines on young Ryan, kneeling, solemn, head bowed, depressed, his hands drooped down between his knees. Within the spotlight, on the floor about Ryan are splatters of blood. At the bottom of the page is a quote written in white letters as if freshly typed from a typewriter: “Man still needs to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in his attitude towards his work, freed from the direct pressure of his social environment, though linked to it by his new habits…”

    Page 2: (4 panels) We begin with four equally sized full-width panels, the first a quote and the others of the ocean as a very small, old weather-beaten fisherman’s boat comes towards us and the sun rises behind it.

    1. A thin black panel continuing the quote from the previous page, the letters are the same style and overlap above and below the panel, but only slightly: “The change in consciousness will not take place automatically… The alterations are slow and are not harmonious; there are periods of acceleration, pauses and even retrogressions.” -Che Guevara

    2. Early morning horizon of the ocean. The skies are still grey as morning sets in and Gentle swaying waves shimmer in the gleam of the morning sun creeping over the horizon. The small industrial boat sits on atop the water in the distance, we can barely see it.

    3. As the sun rises, the water becomes an orange-tint and the clouds in the sky begin to dissipate. We hang high above the boat as it approaches us.

    Caption: Four hours.

    4. The sun now sits in full just above the horizon and fills the cloudless sky and the sea with golden elegance. The boat now floats just ahead of us, taking up a quarter of the page.

    Caption: My excited glee disappeared long ago.

    Page 3: (5 panels) Here the panels become loose and (as in the rest of the book) begin to overlap each other. Captions flow and also overlap panels. This page will be taken up mostly by Panel 1 with 3 smaller panels following below it.

    1. This BIG page-width panel will take up the top half of the page. We are now on the deck and, from ground level, view a full body shot of RYAN GRANT (twenty-four), who is leaning his elbows against a rail looking out across the water. He is tall (6′ 2″), athletic-looking and has near-shoulder length unkempt wavy hair parted just off-centre that starts from a high hairline and falls either side of his face in dark brown twists. His engaged small deep-set eyes are close to completely black beneath his stern eyebrows. However, a boyish jawline is nigh-obscured by grubby frayed facial hair. He hasn’t shaved in probably a week. He is dressed scruffily in shabby combat pants tucked into untied military boots and a cloudy white shirt with a timeworn grey cardigan. He watches the ocean pensively, hands clasped.

    Caption: Four hours and my stomach feels like it’s eating itself, and do I even need to mention the powerful heat and intolerable stink?

    Caption: I managed to stowaway in the only cubical on this unsteady piece of junk with a blocked toilet.

    2. In a smaller panel on the left of the page, we view, from above, a medium/close of Ryan as he is caged within a dirty mustard yellow toilet cubical that he can barely fit himself in: his legs are up against one wall and his back up against the opposing wall as he buries himself in a book.

    Caption: I felt almost blessed when my plan was foiled by the ship’s large oily Chef after four hours of meekly claiming “occupied,” the thirteen times someone knocked.

    Caption: The fat chef dragged me to this Bhutanese captain of the tiny tiny boat, whom I hounded humbly with my sad face, ragtag clothes and weathered unruly facial hair. He was a surprisingly amiable character whose stern expression betrayed a forgiving nature.

    Caption: Lucky me.

    3. On the right of Panel 2, a medium close view of Ryan’s introspective face as he sits up against a wall on the deck, apparently unaware that two CREW MEMBERS are moving towards him in the background. His face is reflective; his eyes demonstrate a tortured character deep down.

    Caption: We docked at noon in Oxnard and I disappeared stealthily. From there, I hitchhiked to Van Nuys.

    Caption: California is exactly how I remember it. Affluent.

    4. A large panel, full body shot from a ground-level view of Ryan, facing away from us, a backpack swung over his left shoulder, hitchhiking roadside surrounded by trees. A few futuristic-looking cars (one blue) drive toward him.

    Caption: I wanted to enter the US without even the possibility of being noticed, so I laid low for a few days.

    Caption: No energy expenditure. Just recharging.

    Page 4: (6 panels) The top of half of the page is divided into two large panels, one large on top and a larger underneath. The bottom half will be four thin page width panels, with a few close-ups to involve us in the action.

    1. The first panel is that of a street-level view, a medium/close of a dark, peaceful but unsympathetic-looking street corner at midnight where Ryan sleeps awkwardly beneath his cardigan in a shop doorway on the left of the panel. On the right, two tall (soldiers’) shadows approach him.

    SOLDIER (off-panel): Citizen!

    2. In a larger panel viewing from the ground up, Ryan, now awake, having been stirred fiercely by two heavily armed SOLDIERS. He has sat up and now leans against the shop doors and is pulling his hood up to cover his head. The soldiers are dressed in futuristic-looking army gear, close-fitting and orderly, with massive semi-automatics hung over their shoulders and headgear resembling motorcycle helmets. The SHORT SOLDIER on the right of the panel holds a small portable scanner in his left hand and a red beam from it glimmers down onto Ryan’s face beneath his hood. The other, TALL SOLDIER between them, stands firm looking patronizingly upon Ryan as he speaks.

    TALL SOLDIER: Citizen, you are being scanned for identification and you will be moved immediately.

    Caption: I hoped this wouldn’t happen.

    3. Thin panel, close on the SHORT SOLDIER’s face. He looks at the scanner’s results and smiles with malice as he recognizes the information that has popped up on the screen.

    SHORT SOLDIER: Mr. Ryan Grant? We have a warrant for your arrest.

    4. SNAP! A close on the action as Ryan skilfully steps into the Short Soldier’s guard and uses his hands to snap the Soldier’s forearm in half, dropping the scanner. The bone snaps like a twig and gruesomely protrudes out of the armour.

    5. CRACK! Another close as Ryan punches the Tall Soldier in the face. His head twists around, his helmet shatters, his mouth is loose and bloody as he is knocked unconscious.

    6. The last thin panel. A long wide from a bird’s-eye view of the quiet empty street. The two soldiers are unconscious bloody contorted messes on the sidewalk. Ryan is nowhere to be seen. A caption in the bottom right of the panel is bold.

    Chapter One
    Justice to Mankind

  16. alxrgrson 23 Oct 2010 at 3:38 am

    the captions are Ryan’s thoughts btw

    enjoy… and feedback please 🙂

  17. B. Macon 23 Oct 2010 at 11:38 am

    I would recommend reworking the punctuation of the quote on the second page so that it’s clearer it’s a continuation of the same quote. On the second page, the sentence should start with an ellipsis.

    I’m not really getting the Che quote. “Man still needs to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in his attitude towards his work, freed from the direct pressure of his social environment, though linked to it by his habits… The change in consciousness will not take place automatically… The alterations are slow and are not harmonious; there are periods of acceleration, pauses and even retrogressions.” Umm, what does that mean? Will readers understand what he’s referring to with “freed from the direct pressure of his social environment?” (Also, some of this could probably be removed or shortened –for example, “The change in consciousness will not take automatically…” is redundant with the last sentence).

    I like the visual on the first page. It seems worthy of its space.

    So, Che is sort of a controversial political figure (I think he ran a prison camp)—unless the identity of the speaker is important to understanding the meaning, it might be safer to remove it.

    Throughout this piece, I think it would help to have the narrator be a bit less exposition-y about his feelings and what he’s thinking. For example, “My excited glee disappeared long ago.” I think this could be shown. For example, the visual in the first page shows us that he’s not gleeful now. You could suggest that glee used to be a part of his life by having him talk about something like a happy childhood (maybe with an image of something fragile, to imply that it’s all gone now), or an event that happened to him, or maybe a memory of something gleeful, or whatever.

    –The space you’ve allotted for the full-body profile on page 3 is significantly wider than tall. (The top half of the page will be a rectangle about 6.5 inches wide and 5 inches tall). It doesn’t seem like the most space-efficient way to show a person standing up? I suspect there’ll be a lot of empty space.

    –If you’re working with an artist on this, I’d recommend giving him/her a bit more leeway on what the character looks like. For example, “near-shoulder length unkempt wavy hair parted just off-center that starts from a high hairline and falls either side of his face in dark brown twists” could probably be shortened to just “unkempt hair” or “long, unkempt hair.” On the emotional stuff, I’d recommend giving the emotion (like “pensive,” in this case) and letting the artist determine how best to depict it.

    –The panel description in page 3 panel 1 feels a bit visually inconsistent to me. The description of the head and the eyes suggests that you’re looking for a level of detail similar to a headshot. I’m not sure that an artist could comfortably do the hair in this level of detail if he only has five inches and needs to show all of the body, down to the boots. One possibility would be cutting off the character from the waist down and showing the boots and pants later.

    –I’d recommend running “a boyish jawline is nigh-obscured by grubby frayed facial hair” past your artist. Is he confident that he can pull that off in this space?

    “Four hours and my stomach feels like it’s eating itself, and do I even need to mention the powerful heat and intolerable stink?” I feel like you might be able to “show” the heat and stink more effectively. For example, if you did a more detailed shot for 3-1, you could show the character sweating profusely. As for the stink, you could just skip to talking about what’s causing the smell and maybe show him with a hand over his mouth, like he’s a bit grossed out by the smell.

    I’m not quite sure what’s going on. I assumed he was hiding in the bathroom because he was a stowaway. But the chef knows that he’s on the ship?

    “…whom I hounded humbly with my sad face, ragtag clothes and weathered unruly facial hair. He was a surprisingly amiable character whose stern expression betrayed a forgiving nature.” I think your artist can show this or, failing that, you could imply their relationship in dialogue. I don’t think the character needs to narrate it to us.

    He says that “California is exactly how I remember it. Affluent” in a panel where he’s on a boat, and presumably not in California. It might help if you moved this musing back to a panel that depicts Californian affluence. (I don’t think that what we see of California right away, an undeveloped forest road with a few cars, comes off all that affluent).

    “I wanted to enter the US without even the possibility of being noticed, so I laid low for a few days.” You might be able to show this by showing him doing (or having him describe) something he does to lay low. Alternately, you could imply that he’s concerned about getting noticed by changing this line to something like “Border guards don’t usually come this far north.”

    It feels to me like there’s an inconsistency between him trying to lay low and falling asleep on a street corner. It might help to move this scene to a backalley, somewhere he might fall asleep and might reasonably expect not to get busted by the cops.

    “I hoped this wouldn’t happen.” You could definitely show this in the way he looks (an expression of alarm/concern, for example) or the way he speaks to the guards. Maybe he starts talking quickly, stuff like “I’m so sorry, officer! It won’t happen again, you don’t need to scan me” or something like that).

    Completely random comment that has nothing to do with your story: Ryan Grant won a fantasy football season for me, by the way. Green Bay running back. Formerly a Notre Dame player. Yahhhhh Notre Dame.

    It might help if Ryan says something to the soldiers either before or after killing them. Depending on his personality, maybe something like “Sorry” or “For [name a felony]? Yeah, I’ve heard.”

  18. Anonymouson 11 Jan 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Hi guys, I have an idea I’ve (kinda) worked out in my mind but struggle to get it into the story. The love story. I want it to be interesting and tie in with his past, so here’s the idea:

    In the present time (the beginning of the execution of his plan to intice a revolution – after the origin story) Ryan begins tracking Jack Caslin (an ex-revolutionary who helped train Ryan) and his daughter Leya. I want to reveal that Ryan has actually known Leya for a long time and the romance to be gradual and only show real signs of “happening” in the second Act. Their romance will be epic really. A John/Yoko of my story. And it will last until the very end of the story.
    Now, in the flashbacks to his childhood and teenhood, Ryan will have a very close friend (whose name I haven’t decided on yet), she will be the opposite of Leya, but retains an unrequited crush on Ryan as he struggles through a painful teenhood. She will stay with him faithfully up until he decides to disappear. They will be best friends and their friendship will be epic really.
    The idea is that maybe at the end of Act 1 or the beginning of Act 2, the flashbacks will reveal a transition of this friend into the future Leya, with whom Ryan will become besotted on his return.

    I would like to include this somehow, but is it too much? Could I make it work with some impact? Or should I stick to just the one character (Leya) with a slow reveal of romance? A transition from friend to lover? I like the idea because it would increase the intensity of their future relationship ten-fold, but whether it would work or not is something that I’m having trouble with.

    If you guys could help, it’d be muchly appreciated 🙂

  19. alxrgrson 11 Jan 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hi guys, I have an idea I’ve (kinda) worked out in my mind but struggle to get it into the story. The love story. I want it to be interesting and tie in with his past, so here’s the idea:

    In the present time (the beginning of the execution of his plan to intice a revolution – after the origin story) Ryan begins tracking Jack Caslin (an ex-revolutionary who helped train Ryan) and his daughter Leya. I want to reveal that Ryan has actually known Leya for a long time and the romance to be gradual and only show real signs of “happening” in the second Act. Their romance will be epic really. A John/Yoko of my story. And it will last until the very end of the story.
    Now, in the flashbacks to his childhood and teenhood, Ryan will have a very close friend (whose name I haven’t decided on yet), she will be the opposite of Leya, but retains an unrequited crush on Ryan as he struggles through a painful teenhood. She will stay with him faithfully up until he decides to disappear. They will be best friends and their friendship will be epic really.
    The idea is that maybe at the end of Act 1 or the beginning of Act 2, the flashbacks will reveal a transition of this friend into the future Leya, with whom Ryan will become besotted on his return.

    I would like to include this somehow, but is it too much? Could I make it work with some impact? Or should I stick to just the one character (Leya) with a slow reveal of romance? A transition from friend to lover? I like the idea because it would increase the intensity of their future relationship ten-fold, but whether it would work or not is something that I’m having trouble with.

    If you guys could help, it’d be muchly appreciated 🙂

  20. alxrgrson 11 Jan 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Hi guys, I have an idea I’ve (kinda) worked out in my mind but struggle to get it into the story. The love story. I want it to be interesting and tie in with his past, so here’s the idea:

    In the present time (the beginning of the execution of his plan to intice a revolution – after the origin story) Ryan begins tracking Jack Caslin (an ex-revolutionary who helped train Ryan) and his daughter Leya. I want to reveal that Ryan has actually known Leya for a long time and the romance to be gradual and only show real signs of “happening” in the second Act. Their romance will be epic really. A John/Yoko of my story. And it will last until the very end of the story.
    Now, in the flashbacks to his childhood and teenhood, Ryan will have a very close friend (whose name I haven’t decided on yet), she will be the opposite of Leya, but retains an unrequited crush on Ryan as he struggles through a painful teenhood. She will stay with him faithfully up until he decides to disappear. They will be best friends and their friendship will be epic really.
    The idea is that maybe at the end of Act 1 or the beginning of Act 2, the flashbacks will reveal a transition of this friend into the future Leya, with whom Ryan will become besotted on his return.

    I would like to include this somehow, but is it too much? Could I make it work with some impact? Or should I stick to just the one character (Leya) with a slow reveal of romance? A transition from friend to lover? I like the idea because it would increase the intensity of their future relationship ten-fold, but whether it would work or not is something that I’m having trouble with.

    If you guys could help, it’d be muchly appreciated

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