View Full Version : Critique on short prologue

08-29-2006, 01:42 PM
Hello all,
I'm new to the forums and offer up a 4 page prologue to a series I worked up a while back. Any feedback on the pacing, dialogue or other story content would be appreciated. Thanks.

PAGE ONE (one panel)

PANEL 1. An overhead shot of a helicopter with a cameraman leaning out and filming suburban housing developments beneath. It is late fall and an explosion centered on one of the houses below has destroyed the house and the houses on several surrounding streets. Numerous police and fire trucks are on the scene. The affected area ranges around a half-mile diameter.

CAPTION: Prologue

BROADCASTER (over radio): … occurred at approximately 4:45 pm this afternoon. The damage is extensive with 11 fatalities already reported. The cause remains unknown at this …

TOMMY THAYER (OP): My name is Tommy Thayer and that was my house a week ago. The day I turned fifteen and eight months. I was going to get my driver’s permit that afternoon. But, my parents were mad about my grades and they wouldn’t take me.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): We yelled at each other. My little brother cried so my mom took him into his room. Dad was pissed and my head hurt - like a needle deep inside my brain.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): I tried to get away, but my dad followed me. We were yelling and the pain in my head… ate… ate its way down my neck into my body, growing worse. Consuming me. I screamed something. I screamed that I hated him… then the pain came out.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): A sudden gush.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): That was the day I died. One week ago.

PAGE TWO (two panels)

PANEL 1. A closer shot of the destruction. Centering on the blackened space where the Thayer house has become rubble. Firefighters and police sift though the wreckage.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): I killed 23 people and injured over fifty more.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): I killed my mother and my father. I killed my little brother, David, who had stopped crying in his room. Mom patted him on the back and he played that stupid monkey game on the Gameboy.

PANEL 2. Close in on the rubble showing splintered furniture, bicycles, car parts, and house remains. Among the piles, specifically, are parts of a bed and pillows, Barbie dolls and dresses, a mangled computer keyboard.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Across the street, Mrs. Manning was making the bed where she and her husband’s co-worker had just had sex.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Next door, my brother’s friend, Sara, chose a blue sequined dress for Barbie to wear dancing with ken. Vera Wang, she thought.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Two streets over, the uber-geek Neil Carrino was trying to hack into a porn site on the web before his mother got home.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): I killed all of them too.

PAGE THREE (five panels)

PANEL 1. Overhead shot of part of the damaged development as well as undamaged parts of the community around it. Clean up and repair has obviously started in the damaged places. A high school is visible and buses are leaving it.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): I’m not sure what happened to me. Even now, I don’t understand it. But, I’m sure that I killed them. I made it happen. Something about me was different, changed, altered. I can see that now.

PANEL 2. It is still late fall outside of Bradley High School; kids are leaving for the day. It is a diverse group – racially and economically. A sign announces “school resumes” and “crisis counselors are available in the front office”.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): And I can see a change in others too. People still living. Some don’t know it yet. Some lay awake at night afraid of what is becoming of them. Some of them are learning to control it, to manipulate it.

PANEL 3. One-third of a scene in the hallway at the high school. Ashley, a Caucasian, bookish girl with glasses is at her locker. She is not super skinny or overly busty. Cute with straight long dirty blonde hair. Braces. Besides books and papers, also in the locker are a Bible, announcements for book/poetry readings, and a school letter (a “B”) that says “yearbook”.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Like Ashley. God, I love her. Ever since the sixth grade when we were in Spanish class together. She was the smartest girl I ever knew. And beautiful.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): She doesn’t know what has happened to her yet, but she will soon.

PAGE THREE (continued)

PANEL 4. The second-third of the hallway scene shows Brant, a Caucasian, cocky jock, in school letter jacket joking with a skinny busty girl. Another cocky boy in the background is watching.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Brant, her jock brother. He’s been changed too. But he’s too busy playing top dog to notice. Everyone thinks he’s so great.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Nobody knows that sometimes at night he comes to the school stadium and cries in the bleachers. I think he wants to jump off the top.

PANEL 5. Last part of the scene is a Caucasian Goth-looking younger boy, slightly effeminate, in a black trench coat walking away from the others. He has black hair done up like Edward Scissorhands. He is wearing a black backpack. This is Nathan.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): And Nathan has changed too. In middle school when we were still friends, we played magicians at the year-end talent show. He still practices sleight of hand tricks when he is hiding in the woods smoking his stepfather’s cigarettes.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Anyone could’ve been touched by whatever changed me.

PAGE FOUR (thirteen panels)

PANEL 1. Continue the school hallway split, but now into fourths. The first-fourth has an average looking Caucasian high school boy. Slender, curly haired, dressed snappy, but not flashy. The writing on his notebook cover says “John 3:15” and a band name “Jesus Freaks”.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Even a Christian like James.

PANEL 2. The second-fourth of the hallway shows a beautiful Caucasian busty and skinny girl that exudes the trendy hip fashions. Talking on a cell phone. Part of a trophy case can be seen with team pictures, plaques and trophies.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): Or a princess like Cynthia.

PANEL 3. The third-fourth of the hallway. A young African-American student, a little plump, is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He has a math book and the latest issue of “Programmer’s Digest”. The trophy case is prominent in the background.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): A geek like Michael.

PANEL 4. The last fourth of the hallway. A Caucasian chubby girl with greasy blonde hair. She’s in jeans and a denim jacket. She is not cute and has scrunched eyes and chipmunk cheeks to match her pear body shape. This is the stoner girl Michelle. The trophy case is still prominent in the background. A school club photo is hanging up and plainly seen. It is the photo zoomed in on in the next panel.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): A pothead like Michelle.

PANEL 5. A school club photo hanging in a trophy case. The photo shows students standing on risers. In the picture, Ashley and Brant are standing next to each other.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): The cheerleaders.

PANEL 6. Zoom in and show about half of the group. Ashley and Brant are still in view.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): The volleyball team.

PANEL 7. About one quarter of the students and still showing Ashley and Brant.

TOMMY THAYER (OP): The debate team.

PAGE FOUR (continued)

PANEL 8. Two students (Ashley and Brant).

TOMMY THAYER (OP): The math club.

PANEL 9. Half of Ashley and half of Brant’s face.


PANEL 10. Brant’s eye.


PANEL 11. Brant’s iris and pupil.


PANEL 12. Brant’s pupil.


PANEL 13. Completely black.


08-29-2006, 03:00 PM
Hi Scribbler!

Just read through it. Very nice piece and some great visuals. An interesting story. Had me wanting more. What happened?! Why the explosion?! How do all the school kids link into this?!
Works very well as a prologue.
Panels are great, easy to read and distinguish what is going on.
And I have to say, it is pretty emotionally charged!

08-30-2006, 07:48 AM
Thanks SethNI, I appreciate the comments.

08-31-2006, 04:07 PM
Interesting enough. Yeah, pacing and all is fine. But I'd definitely want to see it get beyond high school "types" by the end of the first 10 pages or so in order to stay interested. I'm not sure the second page needs to be only two panels. You might be able to spread that out a bit...maybe there is something specific you had in mind.

09-01-2006, 10:24 AM
Buckyrig, thanks for the comments. Yes, the next page (page 5) cuts to a non-school, adult environment. I see your point about the page 2 panel count. Thanks.

09-03-2006, 04:19 PM
Hi this is my first post here, so take what I say here with a grain of salt. I like what you’ve done here, it’s really interesting. Hey, it kept me reading instead of making me want to click the back button. You kept me interested and left me wanting more.

The first page is really important; you got to grab the reader with something exciting or fascinating to get him/her to turn the page. I think you did that with your opening page, with the news helicopter, fire trucks and policemen, and with the mass destruction of several streets.

Keep it up, good work. I look forward to see what else you got.

09-05-2006, 08:09 PM
Thanks Double Down, I appreciate the comments.

09-09-2006, 08:55 PM
Enjoyed it, you described enough for us to 'see' whats going on, while also leaving it open enough for an artist to add some touches as well. Does make me want to know whats going to happen later on in the story to see how each of the people spotlighted are drawn together and what their personal threads are going to be.

Only thing, that last page..13 panels.

Wow thats a heck of a lot of panels, may be a bit cluttered for a single page, perhaps a double page spread? Or double up on the captions while showing the most important images (say half of them) to get the point across?

Mearly suggestions.

09-13-2006, 12:21 PM
"That was the day I died. One week ago."

... that line did it for me, made me want to know everything! Very good stuff, but like a comment before, I was hoping for it to get past the high-school "types", I think that went on a little long.

Would want to read more :thumbs:

09-19-2006, 08:41 PM
I was hooked throughout and if this ever got published (just going by the prologue) I'd probably pick it up and read it. I'm really interested in what happens next. My only complaint is the last page has so many panels. I think the suggestion of doubling up captions and cutting the amount of panels in half. Nice job.