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Cmsmith4252
06-06-2014, 09:21 PM
Hi,

I'm a journalist trying to break into comic book writing and was wondering if I could get feedback on a script. I've posted the first 10 pages on tumblr:

http://whereigowhenimnothere.tumblr.com/post/88031847981/koshka-more-koshka-page-one-six-panels

Steven Forbes
06-06-2014, 09:40 PM
It would be better if you were to paste a few pages here. This way, people won't have to go back and forth to read what you wrote and then talk about what was written.

I suggest a single scene, but no more than 11 pages. The shorter the piece, the more likely you'll get someone to comment on it.

And beware of that damned Steve Forbes guy. He's a jerk of the first order.

Cmsmith4252
06-06-2014, 10:47 PM
Lol, thanks, I'll be sure to!

Cmsmith4252
06-06-2014, 10:47 PM
KOSHKA

PAGE ONE (six panels)
Panel one: Daytime. A three legged cat sits in the glass fronted box that is an animalís enclosure in a shelter. To her back, there are bars. To her front, clear glass showing visitors uninterested in her. In her enclosure, the cat has the standard fare. A blanket, a food bowl, a water bowl, and a litter box. Nothing special. Out of shot, a pair of women talk.
TALBOT (OP): You say sheís friendly?
VOLUNTEER (OP): Oh yes, sheís just the sweetest thing. Itís a real shame about her leg.
Panel two: More people walk by, their faces visibly reflected on the glass. They donít see her. The cat places one paw on the window.
TALBOT (OP): Did she get in a fight?
VOLUNTEER (OP): No. Hit by a car. She can move just fine and all, but nobody wants the tripod.
Panel three: The cat continues to stare through the glass. Behind her, visible through the bars in the back of her enclosure, a stiff-backed black woman named DR. TALBOT, dressed in casual but nice clothes (perhaps a bit too nice to wear to an animal shelter) speaks with one of the shelter volunteers, but the cat doesnít notice.
TALBOT: Sheís tolerant?
VOLUNTEER: Sure. Poor thingís starved for attention. Would you like to hold her?
TALBOT: Thatís all right. Iím already sure sheís exactly what Iím looking for.
Panel four: The cat is plucked unceremoniously from her cage, her eyes wide with surprise, her fur bunching around her neck to make her look briefly like a neckless, fuzzy turtle.
Panel five: The volunteer sets the cat in a carrier.
VOLUNTEER: Sheís up to date on her vaccinations, sheís been fixed. Just be sure to sign the paperwork and pay the $50 adoption fee. Do you need any supplies?
Panel six: The cat stares out from the carrier, curious, huddled and uncertain.
TALBOT (OP): No. This is perfect.

PAGE TWO (seven panels)
Panel one: Wide shot. Talbot and the cat now sit in a comfortable office, all warm tones and gentle light. The walls are lined with books. It is a therapistís office, designed for comfort. Talbot herself sits in a tall, cozy armchair, a clipboard in her lap, still dressed in her nice business casual clothes. The cat sits in the carrier on the floor next to her, bored but content for the moment.
Panel two: A door opens into the room and in walks a man with brown hair and a blank expression. He wears plain black clothes. His shoulders are stiff. His neck is tense. He is ready for a fight.
Panel three: Small panel. At the sight of him, the cat sits up, her curiosity piqued.
Panel four: 017 takes a seat on a long couch opposite Talbot, machinelike as he folds his hands in his lap.
Panel five: Talbot smiles at him.
TALBOT: Itís good to see you, Mr. Gray. I hope youíre doing well.
Panel six: 017 doesnít respond.
Panel seven: Talbot sighs and marks something on her clipboard. In the corner of the panel, the cat glances up at her, curious.
TALBOT: All right. Operative 017, youíre doing well?

PAGE THREE (seven panels)
Panel one: 017 does respond to this, still stiff-backed and stoic.
017: Yes.
TALBOT: Have you been smuggling anything into your room? Razors, knives, sharp objects?
017: No.
TALBOT: Do you understand why youíve been suspended from active duty?
Panel two: 017 stares forward blankly, not answering.
Panel three: Unfazed, Talbot reaches down to open the latch on the catís door.
TALBOT: Iíd like to try something different, 017.
Panel four: Talbot pulls the cat out of the carrier, holding her in her lap.
TALBOT: This cat came from the shelter. She was injured, like you, and will need you to take care of her. She can be your friend, if you let her. And you can talk to her.
Panel five: Talbot sets the cat on the couch next to 017.
Panel six: 017ís eyes flick down to this bizarre thing the therapist is trying to dump on him, while the cat stares with open interest, even excitement.
TALBOT (OP): You need to name her. Sheís yours now.
Panel seven: 017 stares down, his eyes half lidded with memory.

PAGE FOUR (six panels)
Panel one: 017 speaks.
017: Koshka.
Panel two: Talbot is momentarily surprised and, to an extent, baffled. It isnít exactly the most creative choice of name, and certainly not what she expected.
Panel three: Talbot regains her composure and marks something down on her clipboard, torn between amusement and concern.
TALBOT: Koshka means Ďcatí in Russian.
Panel four: The cat, now Koshka, starts sniffing at 017ís knuckles. They are red, scabbed, and somewhat bruised.
TALBOT (OP): Why Russian? Have you been thinking about what happened in Samara?
Panel five: Koshka leans forward and tries to lick one of his knuckles, all her shyness gone.
Panel six: Alarmed, 017 pulls his hand away, out of Koshkaís reach.

PAGE FIVE (five panels)
Panel one: Undeterred, Koshka begins trying to nuzzle into 017ís side, happily convinced that this human is going to love her. 017 grows uncomfortable, gripping the cushions on the plush couch tightly.
Panel two: 017 has enough. He stands and moves to the other side of the couch, leaving Koshka in his spot, surprised and more than a little upset.
Panel three: 017 sits on the other side of the couch, an armís length from the cat. Koshka settles down in his former spot, her expression glum, saying quite clearly ďFine. I just wanted your spot, anyway.Ē 017ís expressionless mask returns.
Panel four: Talbot taps her pen against the clipboard, surveying the two of them.
Panel five: Koshka and 017 sit on the couch, resolutely ignoring each other while Talbot speaks.
TALBOT (OP): Iíve already had everything youíll need for her moved to your room.

Steven Forbes
06-06-2014, 11:02 PM
Alright! Who's gonna tackle this before I get my hooks into it?

Someone? Anyone?

Alyssa? You watching?

Cmsmith4252
06-06-2014, 11:16 PM
*makes jazz hands*
Come on, folks! It's like Bourne Identity from the POV of a cat! Don't you wanna shred it before I make an ass of myself sending it to Dark Horse? Come on, you know you wanna!

Alyssa
06-07-2014, 12:41 AM
Alright! Who's gonna tackle this before I get my hooks into it?

Someone? Anyone?

Alyssa? You watching?

*makes jazz hands*
Come on, folks! It's like Bourne Identity from the POV of a cat! Don't you wanna shred it before I make an ass of myself sending it to Dark Horse? Come on, you know you wanna!

LOL Gimme a bit, I'll have a look. :har: Dunno if I'll be able to help any :whistlin:

Steven Forbes
06-07-2014, 12:53 AM
The more you comment on other's scripts, the better yours will be. :)

Alyssa
06-07-2014, 01:38 AM
KOSHKA

PAGE ONE (six panels)

Panel one:
Daytime. A three legged cat sits in the glass fronted box that is an animalís enclosure in a shelter.

This sentence strikes me as kinda backwards. Personally I would start with the setting, specific location within that setting, then focus on the cat. Maybe it's just me, but I read a lot, and that sentence there makes my brain work too hard (oh noes!). :p

To her back, there are bars.

I've volunteered at numerous animal shelters, and I've never seen one that uses bars. Particularly for small cat enclosures, it's usually glass/perspex on 1-3 sides, with solid plastic the rest (yeah, there's an air-con feed and/or vents or whatever). Or if it's a display mounted to a wall, then the wall closes the fourth side. One of the sides will have a hatch of some sort (either in the perspex or the plastic side) to get the animals in and out.
It looks like you got bars at the back so you can see through the back while still establishing a visible barrier. But PERSONALLY, bars rings as false to me. I mean, not even pet shops use bars. Looks too much like animal jail, and customers don't like that. Even the worst animal control center I've been to used metal gates like this: http://www.nawt.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/9-col-boxcard/public/centres/somerset1.jpg
Not exactly bars.

Maybe rather than just telling the artist there's "bars", which will almost certainly result in the artist drawing a kitty jail, give a specific reference. Maybe something like what vets have for short-term holdings is more believable: http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/77/6a/1359991243_2113_628x471.jpg

Sorry to bang on about the bars. They just leap out at me as being false. But then again, I'm in Australia, so maybe we just do stuff differently here. :slap:

To her front, clear glass showing visitors uninterested in her. In her enclosure, the cat has the standard fare. A blanket, a food bowl, a water bowl, and a litter box. Nothing special. Out of shot, a pair of women talk.

You gotta throw at least one daggy little toy in there.

I'm not sure I know where you want the "camera" from your panel description. You want to show both the front and the back of the cat's enclosure. I'm guessing you'll probably have to pull the camera reasonably far into the foreground, with some people (maybe over the shoulder) first, then the enclosure with the cat in it, then the bars, then whatever shows behind the bars.

Wait, we have to show the people aren't interested in the cat, so we should pull back further. Show the people are just wandering past, absorbed in their own conversations, while the cat looks on longingly. Actually, that could work, because you could use signage to establish that this is an animal rescue.
Oh wait, that's me presuming that the enclosure forms part of a window display. But shelters don't usually have window displays (unless they've got a small retail branch in a shopping center or something). Soooo...... are the people looking at other animals next to our Hero Cat's enclosure? I dunno.

At this point, I'm attempting to see this how an artist would, and I'm asking too many questions. Maybe that's because I'm just not a good artist, but I suspect you should be a lot more clear with this description. Especially given that it's establishing a new location.


TALBOT (OP): You say sheís friendly?

VOLUNTEER (OP): Oh yes, sheís just the sweetest thing. Itís a real shame about her leg.

And because I have no idea where the camera is positioned, I have no idea where these word bubbles are supposed to be coming from.
Actually, even if we DID know for certain where the camera was sitting, I'd think you'd still need to show where the word bubbles are coming from, given we haven't established where these characters are in relation to the cat, yet.
And if you want this dialogue completely disembodied, they should be captions.

Panel two: More people walk by, their faces visibly reflected on the glass. They donít see her. The cat places one paw on the window.

TALBOT (OP): Did she get in a fight?

See my above yammering.

VOLUNTEER (OP): No. Hit by a car. She can move just fine and all, but nobody wants the tripod.

Mmmm, again, this seems kinda false. Again, this might just be me, because I've spent so much time involved with animal rescues. Tripods are usually snapped up pretty quick, because there's always bleeding hearts out there that want to rescue the special cases. If the cat was a tripod AND butt-ugly and/or temperamental, then you might have something. Really old cats are pretty hard to place too. People rarely want to inherit immediate vet bills. But having a quick squizz over page two, I reckon tripod + butt-ugly could work.


Panel three:

The cat continues to stare through the glass. Behind her, visible through the bars in the back of her enclosure, a stiff-backed black woman named DR. TALBOT, dressed in casual but nice clothes (perhaps a bit too nice to wear to an animal shelter) speaks with one of the shelter volunteers, but the cat doesnít notice.

TALBOT: Sheís tolerant?

VOLUNTEER: Sure. Poor thingís starved for attention. Would you like to hold her?


TALBOT: Thatís all right. Iím already sure sheís exactly what Iím looking for.

Creepy much?

Panel four:

The cat is plucked unceremoniously from her cage, her eyes wide with surprise, her fur bunching around her neck to make her look briefly like a neckless, fuzzy turtle.

I'm not sure what a neckless-fuzzy-turtle-cat is supposed to look like, but it sounds cute. You should probably explain more in the description. Are we close up on the cat, so we can only see a hand/arm of the person doing the plucking (plus, I suppose, their torso viewed through the bars). Is the plucker the volunteer?

Panel five: The volunteer sets the cat in a carrier.

Mmm, I'm pretty sure Yannick and/or Steven would say this isn't a panel description, it's an action. Not bad in itself, but you haven't given us any other info to go on. What's the cat doing? Is it struggling, legs splayed out in the air? What can we see in this panel? Just the volunteer's legs and arm? Is the carrier on the floor, on a counter, or in someone's arms? What kind of carrier is it (no biggie if it doesn't matter to future panels, but I don't know that)?

VOLUNTEER: Sheís up to date on her vaccinations, sheís been fixed. Just be sure to sign the paperwork and pay the $50 adoption fee. Do you need any supplies?

Panel six: The cat stares out from the carrier, curious, huddled and uncertain.
TALBOT (OP): No. This is perfect.

This volunteer sounds more like a teen pet shop worker, not a volunteer for a rescue. Again, maybe it's just my experience, but shelters around here put prospective owners through the third degree before they'll let them leave with an animal.

I understand you don't want to show that kind of interrogation on page one, but it's probably better (in my mind, I could be totally wrong) to allude to it before the scene closes, rather than making it look like they just sold the cat with no care. ESPECIALLY when the customer doesn't even ask to interact with the cat, and says, "This is perfect".

Also, I have no idea what you want to show in panel six besides the cat staring out from the carrier. If you want things tight on the cat where you DON'T see anything else, ya gotta tell the artist. Otherwise you risk them doing a long shot when that's not what you wanted.


As far as a first page goes, this is kinda boring to me. You do get the cat's uncertainty on the last panel though, which is good. I'd be trying to figure out ways to make this page pack more punch. Figure out what emotions you want readers to feel, and make sure the panels really ensure that happens. Having more clarity in your panel descriptions will help.

I gotta go eat something before I plop, :har: so just page one for now.

BTW, I take no offense if folk (Steven?) tell me I'm totally wrong. :har: This is just how I'm seeing it. I hope it helps!

Alyssa
06-07-2014, 01:42 AM
The more you comment on other's scripts, the better yours will be. :)

Good point. :cool:

ryan_ellsworth
06-07-2014, 03:08 AM
I read through it, so I'll tell you what I would want to hear if I wrote it. This is mostly about the story, I didn't look at format too much.

It's a bit uninteresting. You have 017 as this spy type operative guy, but nothing he does makes me care about him. All I see is he's traumatized and doesn't like cats. And he punches a wall.

You have a lot of focus on the cat, which just kind of wanders around and reacts to things. There's nothing there. If the cat is your main character, I would say it needs to have a lot more personality. It needs to contribute to the story somehow.

In my opinion, everything you write should either develop character or move the story forward. A lot of your panels don't do either. Page 11 - you're about halfway through your story and not much has happened. You need to establish the stakes, or at least make me feel like I'm getting there.

It seems after page 5 you gave up and started writing it like a novel. You have a lot of silent panels where nothing really happens. You're eating up a lot of room with filler.

If you want an exciting story, think conflict. You don't have to start with a bang, but if you're going to start slow with dialogue, it needs to reveal the characters and their motivations. Here's a quote...every character needs to want something, even if it's a glass of water. Make people want opposite things.

So yeah, theres my thoughts on it...hope it's of some use to you. I'd create an outline page by page, and map out what happens on each page, making sure each page is adding to your story and moves the plot forward.

And here's my one format thing:
Sweat beads on his forehead as nightmares torment him. - This doesn't seem possible to draw.

Cmsmith4252
06-07-2014, 11:50 AM
Ryan: Just a question on the issue of 017. What I'm going for with him is that he is near-inhuman in how cold and distant he is until the climax, when he finally breaks down and accepts Koshka's attempts at affection. I'm a little worried that making him too sympathetic or delving too deeply into Samara early on might take from that.

How do you like to handle a big reveal like that?

Cmsmith4252
06-07-2014, 12:14 PM
Alyssa: Thanks! Actually, I've only seen a couple of animal shelters here in the states and every one is different. I'll definitely change the descriptions there and make the volunteer more cautious. Though I didn't know tripods got adopted more regularly. That's...actually really heartwarming to know :)

ryan_ellsworth
06-07-2014, 01:24 PM
I'm not an experienced writer, so take this with whatever amount of salt. And this is just off the top of my head, but...

I'd think you'd want to do the opposite. If it's a character you want people to care about, they should be sympathetic to a point, where what they do makes sense in the context of their lives.

Make 017 sympathetic. You don't have to make him smart, dumb, good, bad, but I have to understand his plight if I'm going to care about him. Otherwise why do I care about his big turning point?

You need context. Why is he so broken? If he's inhuman, you really need to show that and why. The reasons might make sense in your head but all we see is what's on the page.

If you want the transformation to have impact, the longer you wait, the greater it'll be. The more you build 017 up, why he is that way, the more he resists, the bigger the effect when we see the change.

Same with the cat. Incorporating Alyssa's ideas, one thing you could do is instead start off with the volunteer telling people about this cat, he's had such a horrible life, neglected, missing an eye, etc. People are falling all over themselves to get the cat. Everyone wants it.

Now I'm more sympathetic to the cat, and it builds tension toward Talbot getting the cat over everyone else.

Doing all this stuff I think will make it more interesting and create more conflict all around.

Tablot - I worked hard to get this cat. You damn well better like it.
017 - I'm a monster, unable to feel. Here's what happened to me.
Cat - I'm a real friendly cat and I deserve to be loved, please love me.

paul brian deberry
06-07-2014, 04:58 PM
Looking at it from a letter/artist point of view you did a good job. Page one the word count is about right and your balloons should fit nicely.

I like to put a little note at the top of each page. Something to set the mood or who will be the focus of the page.

Example: Page One: The focus of the page will be Talbot and his purchase of a three legged cat from a shelter. Something like that.

Good job, keep posting.

Cmsmith4252
06-07-2014, 05:19 PM
Paul: Wow...you know, I never thought of it that way, but that's a fantastic way to give the artist a clear sense of focus without forcing it down their throat. Thanks!

Alyssa
06-07-2014, 11:11 PM
Alyssa: Thanks! Actually, I've only seen a couple of animal shelters here in the states and every one is different. I'll definitely change the descriptions there and make the volunteer more cautious. Though I didn't know tripods got adopted more regularly. That's...actually really heartwarming to know :)

Like I said, my location could be colouring things heavily. I dunno what things are like in the US (and given that's where the majority of comic readers are likely to be, that's fairly important). I was just calling it like I see it. :har:

Please do share edits! It'd be great to get more life into the Writer Showcase section for us word nuts. :banana: