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View Full Version : Writing Challenge 5: Ends on 6/27


Steven Forbes
06-06-2015, 07:31 AM
It’s time for another writing contest!

This time, though I’ve decided to do this a little differently. There are going to be five of them.

These will all be no longer than five pages. Check the individual threads for what the particulars of those challenges will be.

Here’s the twist: if I can get five scripts in all five challenges, then I’ll write a script per challenge myself.

Why are you still here? Get to the others!


Challenge 2: Horror

No rain—as a matter of fact, no precipitation of any kind
Any and all deaths have to take place off-camera
No usual suspects: zombies, vampires, werewolves are out
The words “pixie”, “brass”, and “army” must be in the dialogue
A cardboard box must be an object

Morganza
06-06-2015, 09:45 AM
I'm giving this a shot.

crognus
06-10-2015, 07:35 PM
Me too

Alyssa
06-11-2015, 10:09 PM
Taking a crack at this one.

crognus
06-12-2015, 01:00 AM
PAGE 1 - 4 Panels

1. We are inside CONNER's bedroom late at night. The lights are off, but there is faint moonlight streaming in from the window. Conner is hunched behind his bed, to avoid the glance of anyone who might peek into the room from the bedroom door, which is half-ajar. He looks extremely frightened. Through the door we see a sinister silhoutte of the MONSTER cast against the hallway wall. Make sure to include a small cathode-ray TV set on the dresser, it will come up letter.

CONNER-CAP: The monster came most nights.
CONNER-CAP: Not every night, but most nights.

2. Close up of Conner. He's hunched over with his eyes closed and his hands around his ears.

CONNER-CAP: And when it did, I usually just hid in my room, and shut off the lights.
CONNER-CAP: Hoping it might not notice me.

3. Same or similar angle. Conner's eyes are now wide open, looking more fearful than ever.

CONNER-CAP: Sometimes it worked.

SFX(OP): CRRREEAAAK

4. Still from inside Conner's room, a more zoomed out panel. Conner now has his head turned away from the reader. He is timidly glancing over his bed at the door. We can see the monster's hand grasping the side of the door, pushing it open.

CONNER-CAP: Sometimes not.

CONNER'S MOTHER(OP, from outside the door): Please! Please. Not tonight, just let him sleep.

PAGE 2 - 5 Panels

1. It is day time in the suburbs, but the sky is grey like most horror films. We are inside the married couple's house. The married couple is looking out the window at Conner and his mother across the street. They are loading boxes into a U-haul truck in front of a one-story house with a for-sale sign.

CONNER-CAP: A few months ago my mother said we should move.

NEIGHBOR: Thank, God.
NEIGHBOR: They were so loud! Did you hear them at night?
NEIGHBOR: Might as well have an entire brass ensemble living next door.

CONNER-CAP: That maybe a change of environment would make things better. That it might go away.

2. Inside of Conner's new house in the kitchen, it's daytime. I don't care too much about how the room is laid out, but it should be apparent that they are lower-middle class, and the kitchen is a little messy. Conner's mother is cooking something on the stove, but she looks a little beaten up.

CONNER-CAP: Mom, wasn't always right.

3. Outside of Conner's new house. It's still daytime. Conner's mother is taking out the trash and her NEW NEIGHBOR happens to be taking out the trash at the same time, he or she happens to look concerned and inquisitive. Conner's mother is wearing big sunglasses to cover her eyes. She is laughing.

CONNER-CAP: Sometimes I hated her for keeping it a secret.
CONNER-CAP: I wished she would tell someone.

NEW NEIGHBOR: Is everything alright? I thought I heard some noises coming from your house last night.

MOTHER: Oh, that? There was a leak and we were just doing some house work.
MOTHER: I guess we should have waited until morning, haha.

4. Back inside Conner's bedroom. Conner and his mother are sitting on his bed watching the small cathode-ray tv that is set on Conner's dresser. The TV is facing away from us so we can't see what is on the screen.

CONNER-CAP: But I guess that's the thing about horror stories.
CONNER-CAP: Monsters are scary.

TV(elec): I'm telling you, there's a man out there! On the wing of the plane. I--I don't mean a man, I mean...I don't know what I mean. Please, just look!

5. Same angle, but Conner is now cuddling with his mother, looking a little scared.

CONNER: But the fear that people wouldn't believe you...
CONNER: That's worse.

TV(elec): Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to sit down. You're frightening the other passengers.

PAGE 3 - 4 PANELS

1. We are inside Conner's school during the day. It's a generic American suburban public school and we are looking at the door to the school nurses office. I really don't care too much about the design of the school. Just keep in mind they don't live in a rich neighborhood.

CONNER-CAP: I think we knew.
CONNER-CAP: We knew that people don't like to believe in monsters.

2. We are inside the nurses office. The school nurse is sitting on a chair across from Conner, who is sitting on the cot. The nurse looks worried and concerned and Conner is looking down at the ground, avoiding her gaze with a sullen expression.

CONNER-CAP: That if they could, they would look for any other explanation first.

NURSE: Conner, I'd like to talk to you about your cuts and bruises.
NURSE: Do you ever...feel like hurting yourself?
CONNER: I...

3. Close up on Conner. Looking directly at the reader. He looks serious.

CONNER-CAP: So we lied.

CONNER: Yes.

4. Still inside the nurses office facing the door. Conner is still sitting on the cot, once again looking at the ground. The door is just ever so slightly open.

NURSE(OP, from door): We should call his mother. See if we can get him some counseling and maybe get him on some medication.

PAGE 4 - SPLASH

1. Inside Conner's house in the living room. It's fairly early in the morning. In the foreground we see CONNER'S FATHER, passed out on the couch with a crap ton of empty beer cans, and an empty bottle of whiskey on the coffee table. Empty cardboard boxes of beer litter the room. Conner is standing in an archway timidly in the background looking at the couch.

CONNER-CAP: Yet, they are real.
CONNER-CAP: But in the morning, for a moment. Just for a moment. I'd let myself believe it wasn't.
CONNER-CAP: That all those memories. They were just a dream. A fantasy. Like pixies or unicorns.
CONNER-CAP: But then the fear would set back in. That tingling dread, like an army of ants crawling across your skin.
CONNER-CAP: And I would back up to nightmare.

-----

Ya, ya. I know you're going to say that in the panel descriptions on the first page I should say that it's CONNER'S FATHER. Not "MONSTER" so I don't confuse the artist. But in the character descriptions I do want them designed as two seperate characters. The MONSTER should actually appear monstrous when working out the design. The sillhoutte's and arm should actually not appear to be human since it's an embodiment of how Conner see's his father in his mind.

crognus
06-12-2015, 01:40 AM
By the way, Steven, advance apologies. I know my panel descriptions and stuff aren't the greatest in these writing challenges, compared to the work we usually do together. But I kind of have to write these within 2 hours or less, because I'm currently busy getting everything together for the relaunch of the Super: Issue 3 KS.

I kind of brainstorm in the car and gym for these story ideas, but don't have too much time to write them out perfectly right now. Still wanted to finally participate though, since I've been inactive on this site for a bit.

Steven Forbes
06-18-2015, 01:28 AM
No worries, Josh.

These aren't meant to be perfect. They're meant to challenge.

Thanks for participating. :)

Schuyler
06-18-2015, 08:13 PM
I liked your story, Josh.

I know you were apologizing about your script, but that never matters as long as the details get worked out in the end.

-Sky

Alyssa
06-27-2015, 09:42 PM
In dire need of an edit, and cheesy as hell, but I wanted to make sure I got this submitted before Steven closed the gates. :slap:

PAGE ONE (8 Panels)

PANEL #1
Low angle. COLE sitting on his bed in his bedroom. He’s drawing.

NO COPY

PANEL #2
Closer in on Cole. He’s concerned as he draws.

NO COPY

PANEL #3
Closer in on Cole. He’s looked up towards the bedroom door, startled.

MOTHER (O.P.)
Where is it?!

PANEL #4
Zoomed out so we can see Cole’s MOTHER standing in the bedroom doorway. She has one hand still clenched around the door handle, holding the door open. Her other hand is on her hip. She’s cross. We can see Cole on the right, still sitting on his bed, looking towards Mother with a frown.

COLE
Where’s what?

MOTHER
My necklace, Cole! I know you’ve taken it.

MOTHER
Too many things have gone missing. You’re doing something with them!

PANEL #5
Mother is walking towards Cole with her hands out, imploringly. Cole’s frown has deepened, clearly upset, still holding his drawing pad in his lap.

MOTHER
Please, it’s not some cheap brass trinket, honey. It was my mother’s. You know that.

PANEL #6
Cole has lurched off his bed, throwing his drawing pad and pencils to the side (they’re falling towards the floor, not the bed). He’s upset and angry, his face contorted. Mother is in the foreground on the left, hands held up in front of her in a placating gesture.

MOTHER
Dr Evans said that since Dad left for the army, you might be looking for more attention--

COLE (shouting)
This has nothing to do with Dad!

PANEL #7
Zoomed out a bit, slightly lower angle. Mother and Cole have turned their attention towards the bedroom door.

SFX (sickly weaving through door and into the room)
Mmmrrroooooooooowwwwwwwwww

MOTHER
… Is that Mitsy?

PANEL #8
Repeated shot as above, but much lower angle and more zoomed out. Mother has almost completely left the room, and Cole is anxiously following, reaching out to stop her. In the foreground, we can see Cole’s drawing pad on the floor with the strewn pencils. It’s slightly propped up on its folded-over pages, so we can finally see a bit of what he’s drawn. It’s a scribbled humanoid-like figure with red eyes. The shape is fairly obscured by ample black pencil smudging, either a crude imitation of smoke, or Cole tried to scribble the figure out.

COLE
Mum, wait!


PAGE TWO (7 Panels)

PANEL #1
Mother is marching down the hallway, Cole is scrambling after her.

MOTHER
Mitsy? Where are you, darlin’?

SFX (sickly)
Mmmrrraaaaooooowwww

PANEL #2
Cole and Mother in the hallway, Mother is turned (irritated) towards Cole.

COLE
She’s probably just stalking a bug or something, Mum.

MOTHER
Have you ever heard her make that noise, before? She’s not playing.

MOTHER
There’s something wrong.

PANEL #3
Mother turns towards door at the end of the hallway (right before the hallway opens up to a living room). The door is open, and the room is obviously a basement, judging by how dark it is, and the handrail leading down. Cole is standing behind Mother, horribly anxious.

SFX (sickly, coming from basement, very quiet)
Mmmrrrrrrrr

MOTHER
Does that sound like it’s coming from the basement?

MOTHER (mumbling)
She never goes in the basement…

PANEL #4
Close-up of the basement light switch, on the wall just inside the doorway. There isn’t much light. Mother’s hand is reaching to flick the switch on.

NO COPY

PANEL #5
Repeat of panel #5, but Mother’s hand has flicked the switch to the “on” position, and the panel is now lit with a dull orange glow.

COLE (O.P.)
Ma-Mum—

PANEL #6
Cole has grabbed Mother by her arm, stopping her from going down into the basement. Mother is confused and irritated. Cole is distressed.

COLE
Mum, look, I’m sorry about the necklace, and your ring, and the wine glasses, and your sculpture- I had to do something. I was just looking after you. They told me—

MOTHER
What are you talking about, Cole? You hid my things in the basement? Let go!

PANEL #7
Shot from inside the basement, looking up at Cole and his Mother. Mother is looking down into the basement, eyes wide. Cole is distressed, following her gaze.

NO COPY


PAGE THREE (6 Panels)

PANEL #1
Repeat of previous shot, except this time we’ve pulled much further back into the basement, on a lower angle. In the foreground is a slightly crumpled cardboard box sitting on the concrete floor, with an obvious blood stain leaching through the bottom of the cardboard.

MOTHER
Cole… what did you do?

PANEL #2
We’re behind Mother and Cole (who are moving down the stairs), looking over them down into the basement. The slightly bloody cardboard box is the center of attention in the dim orange light of the basement.

MOTHER
Cole…

PANEL #3
Low angle, from the far side of the basement, looking towards Mother and Cole as they approach the box. But Cole isn’t looking at the box or his Mother, he’s looking sideways towards the camera, upset and distressed. Mother is peering into the box.

COLE
Mum, I’m sorry…

PANEL #4
Looking down into the box, as from the Mother’s perspective. The box is bloody inside, with some cat hair stuck in the blood, but it’s otherwise empty.

COLE (O.P.)
I didn’t want to, but I had no choice.

PANEL #5
We’re facing Cole and Mother again. Cole is pointing towards the far side of the basement (towards us). Mother is looking over her shoulder at Cole, now obviously fearful.

COLE
I had to break her legs…

PANEL #6
Repeat of panel #5, but this time Mother is looking in the direction of Cole’s pointing. She’s horrified.

COLE
… or she would’ve run away…


PAGE FOUR (4 Panels)

PANEL #1
We’re now looking over Mother and Cole, towards the far side of the basement. Amongst the stacked boxes, dusty old sofa bed, and water heater, creatures are coming out of hiding. They’re pixies, but not the nice kind. They have inky smoke pooling off them. They’re sickly thin, with deformed skin that looks like it’s charred and melting. Their eyes are beady and red. They’re about the height of a 6-year-old, but with the proportions of an elderly adult. Their wings hang limply, shaped like cockroach wings. The one in the middle of the panel, climbing up over a box, has the furry, bloody shape of Mitsy the cat under its arm.

NO COPY

PANEL #2
Closer on the pixies, who have climbed out from hiding. There’s a dozen of them (perhaps some cropped off-panel). We’re focusing on the middle pixie, who is holding Mitsy up to his open mouth (we can see double rows of tiny razor sharp teeth). Mitsy’s legs are twisted and broken at odd angles. Much of her face is missing, a bloody mess.

SFX (Mitsy, sickly and very soft)
Mmmrrrgg

COLE (O.P.)
Each pixie wants something different.

PANEL #3
Close up of pixie, who has chomped down on Mitsy’s face and is tearing flesh away.

SFX
Schluurrp

COLE (O.P)
They promised me they wouldn’t hurt you if I got them what they wanted.

PANEL #4
Close up of pixie’s face, just its evil red eyes.

COLE (O.P.)
They promised.

SDS
06-28-2015, 01:14 AM
Nightlight
Log Line: Parents hire a monster to guard their child.

Characters
Miles A rambunctious six-year-old, his face is dusted with freckles and his fro is kept short. He is wearing feetie pyjamas with robots on them.

Tiger An orange Siberian cat whose fur is crossed with this black streaks. Their true name is unspeakable in English, and so will be represented by an * in the script; it may be written in unintelligible calligraphy in the art.

Miles's Mother Of diminutive stature, were it not for the recent pregnancy, she would otherwise be a bit top-heavy, what with her broad shoulders. She wears her hair in Marley twists.

Miles's Mommy Her forehead crossed with premature worry lines, in combination with her hunched posture, suggests that she only made it to early middle age in spite of constant danger and stress.

1.0

1.1 Miles's bedroom: the room is spacious for a child and is neatly kept. The toys are all either display on the bookshelf, the dresser, or put away, out of view; a half-painted robot costume made out of cardboard boxes sits drying on a play table. There is a window by the head of the bed, but the shade is not drawn. The boy's Mommy sits on the foot of the bed. She is lifting up the covers to tuck child in. Miles is climbing into bed. The room is still lit by the light on the ceiling.
Miles's Mommy That's right! And big boys –


1.2 Outside the bedroom door, Miles's Mother is in her bathrobe, cradling her newborn in her arms, and speaking down to the family cat. The hallway is primarily lit by the light coming from Miles's bedroom.
Miles (off panel) Always hold on tight, Tight, TIGHT!
Miles's Mommy (off panel) Until?
Miles (off panel) We see the light, Light, LIGHT!

1.3 The cat has now entered the bedroom and is getting ready to pounce up onto the bed. Miles's Mommy is already rising to leave.
Miles's Mommy That's right, Right, RIGHT! No matter what you hear! Mother, your brother, and I will see you in the morning. Love you, baby.
Miles I love you, toooo.

1.4 Miles's parents are closing the door. The light is off. The cat has landed heavy on the bed next to Miles on the side facing the door. Miles has pulled the covers over his head and is holding them tight: you can see the tension in the fabric.
SFX clk

1.5 Under the covers: Miles has shut his eyes and is screwing up his face keep them as closed as possible as he hears the door lock.
SFX KA-SHK

2.0

2.1 Tiger is curled up next to Miles, or rather the lump in the covers where Miles is hiding, eyes wide open. There is only a sliver of moonlight on the floor.
NO COPY

2.2 Nothing has changed, but for the fact that as time has passed, there is a bit more moonlight on the floor. The floorboards creak as the house settles.
SFX crrrrk

2.3 Under the covers: Miles has opened his eyes and only looks a little nervous, but otherwise is still curled up very tight.
SFX thp
SFX thp thp thp thp

2.4 Under the covers: Miles eyes have flown open wide and he has practically imploded with how tightly curled up he is.
Cardboard Robot (off panel) Miles?

2.5 The cardboard robot is standing beside Miles's bed, nudging him with its hand. Tiger has uncurled, but is still lying flat on the bed facing away from the robot, tail flat, with only the tip raised up.
Cardboard Robot Miles, come play with meee. Robots need play to live. Miles, don't let my batteries run out.



3.0

3.1 Tiger's head is raised slightly, but the cat is not facing the robot.
Tiger Really now? We can drop this pretext.

3.2 A noticeable wet spot has appeared on the covers were Miles is hiding. Tiger wears a revolted expression and has pulled away from the urine.
Tiger Ech.

3.3 Tiger is now sitting up, having relocated to the foot of the bed and regained composure.
Tiger I am the one who serves house. You need only address me.

3.4 The cardboard robot has fallen to the floor. A presence, a disembodied voice, addresses Tiger. The spot on the bed has grown larger.
Presence When addressing a member of the House of Greater Lords, it is proper to introduce oneself.
SFX THP

3.5 Tigers sneers contemptuously at this pretentiousness.
TigerNo matter how great your title, your little pixie court is toothless here. But, there is no need for me to be impolite. You may address me as *.

3.6 The floorboards have bent to the point where they should have broken, as if they are accommodating an extremely large presence and have been granted supernatural elasticity. The presence speaks in a booming voice.
SFX CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRK
Presence *

4.0


4.1 Tiger has risen to all four feet, tail raised in the air, and is standing over Miles.
Presence These are my hunting grounds, by ancestral right. You shall not interfere.

4.2 Under the covers: Miles is shaking, covered in sweat, ears covered with both hands.
Tiger My contract to this house is signed in my blood.

4.3 The cat's chest has grown significantly. It's eyes shine in the night.
Tiger Eyes of Light,

4.4 The cat has grown to a tremendous size. It's hind quarters, still normal, rest at the end of the bed, but it's upper body has grown to the point where it's shoulder blades nearly touch the ceiling. It's paws rest on either side of Miles. [The speech bubbles are connected.]
Tiger Bones of Brass,
Tiger No Army, My Sight,
Tiger Shall E'er Pass.



5.0

5.1 The cat remains unmoved on the bed, seething.
Tiger H-

5.2 Tiger has begun to shrink.
Presence Perhaps, then, our interests coincide.

5.3 Tiger continues to shrink, head tilted in interest.
Presence Breaking an oath of men to show fealty to the House of Greater Lords - such an act would not be unrewarded.

5.4 Tiger has shrunk back to original size and is now sitting in front of Miles, tail lying on beside the boy's head.
Presence You may even be able to return to our home.

5.5 Under the covers: Miles has relaxed somewhat, though he is still nervous.
NO COPY

5.6 Under the covers: Miles has turned his head toward the sound of the voice.
Tiger (off-panel) Miles? He's gone now. You can come out.


5.7 Under the covers: Tiger's claws pierce through, scratching the boy's leg.
Tiger (off-panel) Come ooout, Miles.

(It seems I missed the deadline, but I figured I may as well post for crits.)

Schuyler
06-29-2015, 03:24 PM
I like your story, Alyssa. Good job on writing for the genre.

SDS, I am confused by your story. I might just be dumb, and that's okay with me.

I think the Tiger is protecting the boy, but the boy seems afraid of the Tiger. The cardboard robot works for the disembodied voice, I think. The disembodied voice wants the kid, and offers to make a deal with the Tiger. I think the Tiger accepts, but I am unsure.

Is there a difference between Mile's Mommy, and Mile's Mother? The reason I ask is because there is two separate character descriptions, but in the script I couldn't tell a difference.

Did Miles pee twice in the span of a couple minutes?


At the end of your script I found myself wondering what happened. Again, that could mean any number of things. I was just wondering if you would explain it a little.

-Sky

SDS
06-30-2015, 12:36 AM
Schuyler First, thank you very much for the crit.

You have pretty much everything right.

Miles is scared by (1) the fact that there is a monster in his room pretending to be a robot and (2) the volume and the tone of the argument between Tiger and the presence.

Miles has 2 mummies, that's why they have separate character descriptions, and are described as being in different places. Should I have done something more to clarify that?

Miles wets the bed once, but it takes some time for it to soak through the covers.

SDS
06-30-2015, 12:53 AM
crognus You have some very strong visuals, particularly with the glasses and the nurse's office, but I think this would have been stronger if you closed the narrative distance (link) (https://www.awpwriter.org/magazine_media/writers_chronicle_view/1731/from_long_shots_to_x-rays_distance_point_of_view_in_fiction_writing)and dispensed with the 'twist' conceit.

The captions you have reduced tension by placing the events of the story in the past: understanding is power and giving protagonists power undercuts the horror. Setting the story in the present leaves the future more uncertain and that is more disturbing.

SDS
06-30-2015, 06:02 AM
Alyssa This story was very clear and flowed logically, but it was a little too straightforward, the dialogue a little too direct, and ultimately, we needed to see more of the characters – particularly Cole's mother – for the story to work as horror.

Cole is completely ineffective in keeping this secret from his mother and there is no other obstacle between her and this discovery.

There isn't enough time between the discovery of the box and the reveal the pixies to introduce any ambiguity, which aside from being a wasted opportunity, blunts the impact of that reveal. There is not enough time to build the tension between the 1st revealed – the cat – and the 2nd reveal – the pixies, so all your story momentum is consumed by the 1st reveal.

Schuyler
06-30-2015, 11:57 AM
Schuyler First, thank you very much for the crit.

You have pretty much everything right.

Miles is scared by (1) the fact that there is a monster in his room pretending to be a robot and (2) the volume and the tone of the argument between Tiger and the presence.

Miles has 2 mummies, that's why they have separate character descriptions, and are described as being in different places. Should I have done something more to clarify that?

Miles wets the bed once, but it takes some time for it to soak through the covers.

Okay, I read it again.

I think you should clarify in the character descriptions that Miles has two mothers. I was confused, maybe others will be as well.

I feel like your story lacks a direction. There is a conflict between two characters, but I'm still not sure what the resolution is. It is essentially a conversation that I don't understand because I have no context.

Your log line says that the parents hired a monster to watch their kid, but that's not in the story. The monster and the parents are unaware of each other from where I stand.

Please, don't think that I am trying to knock your story. It might not be right for the short story medium though. There are many questions left unanswered.

-Sky

SDS
06-30-2015, 12:53 PM
Please, don't think that I am trying to knock your story.

Of course not. I very much appreciate you taking the time to explain what did and did not work for you. It is very helpful to help figure out where I have not provided enough context for the audience to infer what they need to in order for the story to function.

I believe horror works best when there's still some mystery at the end. If things are too clear, that can make the audience too comfortable, make them confident they could deal with the situation. It's a difficult balance: they need enough context to understand what's going on, but not enough so that they could develop a simple counterstrategy that deflates the threat.

Kiyoko, Rin
07-04-2015, 06:27 AM
In dire need of an edit, and cheesy as hell, but I wanted to make sure I got this submitted before Steven closed the gates. :slap:

PAGE ONE (8 Panels)

PANEL #1
Low angle. (Interesting choice. Did you choose it to represent a pixie’s-eye-pov?) COLE sitting on his bed in his bedroom. (Normally, in an establishing shot, I’d like a little more description of the environment, and for that description to reflect an aspect of the story – its theme, central conflict, etc. For this horror tale you could, for example, turn Cole’s bedroom into a defensive refuge / give it Edward Hooper-esque skewed geometry / have all Cole’s possessions stacked in a pile for instant offering / have the odd bloodstain or missing item etc. But on the other hand, you have an 8 panel page. Space may not permit.) He’s drawing. (Daylight? Night time? Also, bear in mind panel 4 – you need to place the doorway in this panel.)

NO COPY

PANEL #4

COLE
Where’s what?

MOTHER
My necklace, Cole! I know you’ve taken it.

MOTHER
Too many things have gone missing. You’re doing something with them! (I’m unhappy with the rhythm here. Four short sentences in a row, to me, seems too staccato, and the exclamations fore and aft means the energy goes from high to low to low to high. As her 3rd sentence is the one that jars me, I’d recommend trying to convey its message in sentence 2 and 4.)

PANEL #5
Mother is walking towards Cole with her hands out, imploringly. Cole’s frown has deepened, clearly upset, still holding his drawing pad in his lap.

MOTHER
Please, it’s not some cheap brass trinket, honey. It was my mother’s. You know that. (For a horror story, I like the mother’s shift of mood. She goes from anger to pleading, and it works because it makes me think she’s unstable. I can totally see a David Lynch-or-Dennis-Potter-type director getting a rollercoaster, really unnerving performance here.)

PANEL #6
Cole has lurched off his bed, throwing his drawing pad and pencils to the side (they’re falling towards the floor, not the bed). He’s upset and angry, his face contorted. (How old is Cole? Different ages / maturity levels would make me respond differently.) Mother is in the foreground on the left, hands held up in front of her in a placating gesture. (An understandable reaction, considering she’s a mother, but you’ll have to balance character authenticity against the needs of the story – on one hand, you want your character to act as they would in real life; on the other, you don’t want the reader to be placated, not in a horror. You want the tension to keep building.)

MOTHER
Dr Evans said that since Dad left for the army, you might be looking for more attention-- (This sentence feels a little clunky.)

PANEL #7
Zoomed out a bit, slightly lower angle. Mother and Cole have turned their attention towards the bedroom door.

SFX (sickly weaving through door and into the room)
Mmmrrroooooooooowwwwwwwwww

MOTHER
… Is that Mitsy? (Moving her dialogue to the next panel will heighten the mystery and impact of the SFX.)


PAGE TWO (7 Panels)

PANEL #1
Mother is marching (wrong verb, methinks. Or possibly the right verb, but needing some mention of how worried she is.) down the hallway, Cole is scrambling after her.

MOTHER
Mitsy? Where are you, darlin’?

SFX (sickly)
Mmmrrraaaaooooowwww (Consider having Cole repeat / continue his “Mum, don’t go,” type warnings.)

PANEL #2

COLE
She’s probably just stalking a bug or something, Mum.

MOTHER
Have you ever heard her make that noise, before? She’s not playing.

MOTHER
There’s something wrong. (A little too on-the-nose. I’d do more with the her second sentence so that it implies her 3rd.)

PANEL #3
Mother is turnsed towards door at the end of the hallway (right before the hallway opens up to a living room). The door is open, and the room is obviously a basement, judging by how dark it is, and the handrail leading down. Cole is standing behind Mother, horribly anxious.

SFX (sickly, coming from basement, very quiet)
Mmmrrrrrrrr

MOTHER
Does that sound like it’s coming from the basement? (Judging by the SFX tag, I’d say, “Yes”.)

MOTHER (mumbling) (Hmm. Would enclosing her next line in parenthesis mean you could lose the “mumbling” tag?)
She never goes in the basement…

PANEL #4
Close-up of the basement light switch, on the wall just inside the doorway. There isn’t much light. Mother’s hand is reaching to flick the switch on. (I'm not sure that turning on the light needs its own panel when the we can infer her action just by panel 5. If you do need a mini-beat here, consider splitting panel 3 in two: a) Mother isn’t looking at the basement and queries if that’s where the SFX’s coming from; b) she says the cat never goes down to the basement, and give us an angle so we can see down into the darkness and makes us think there’s something dangerous down there.)

NO COPY


PANEL #5

COLE (O.P.)
Ma-Mum— (Punctuation. You want to turn your hyphen into either a double dash, or an exclamation.)

PAGE THREE (6 Panels)

PANEL #1
Repeat of previous shot, except this time we’ve pulled much further back into the basement, on a lower angle. In the foreground is a slightly crumpled cardboard box sitting on the concrete floor, with an obvious blood stain leaching through the bottom of the cardboard.

MOTHER
Cole… what did you do? (Effective panel.)

PANEL #5
We’re facing Cole and Mother again. Cole is pointing towards the far side of the basement (towards us). Mother is looking over her shoulder at Cole, now obviously fearful.

COLE
I had to break her legs…

PANEL #6
Repeat of panel #5, but this time Mother is looking in the direction of Cole’s pointing. She’s horrified. (I’d reverse her reactions here. Have her horrified in the last panel, and fearful in this.)

COLE
… or she would’ve run away… (To build your hook and set up your reveal on the next page turn, I’d have Cole add the line, “…from them.”)

PAGE FOUR (4 Panels)

PANEL #1
We’re now looking over Mother and Cole, towards the far side of the basement. Amongst the stacked boxes, dusty old sofa bed, and water heater, creatures are coming out of hiding. They’re pixies, but not the nice kind. They have inky smoke pooling off them. They’re sickly thin, with deformed skin that looks like it’s charred and melting. Their eyes are beady and red. They’re about the height of a 6-year-old, but with the proportions of an elderly adult. Their wings hang limply, shaped like cockroach wings. (Nice description.) The one in the middle of the panel, climbing up over a box, has the furry, bloody shape of Mitsy the cat under its arm. (Reveal on an even page turn, like a pro!)

NO COPY


PANEL #4
Close up of pixie’s face, just its evil red eyes.

COLE (O.P.)
They promised. (I’d like a little irony here to make me worried for the future. Either have the copy, “I saved you” (or some such) with a panel that makes it clear that their safety is only temporary, or include a mix of pixies, some of whom are bloated and full while others look like they haven’t got what they wanted and will still continue to menace, in the panel so that the promise doesn’t apply to them all. As is, the story feels kinda resolved.)

Normally, I wouldn't critique a writing challenge entry, especially one that admits it needs an edit and is unfinished, but hey. My 2 cents…