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Old 08-13-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
Artloader
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Captain Mothstorm Page 1

Hello all you good writer folks .

OK so this script has been through TPG twice and I have just gotten round to re-working page 1 after the last round of critiques.

My main concern is the dialogue now. The setting is on another world so I originally tried medieval type speech but I think I over did it so I have toned that down.

I have also tried to ease up on the info dumping .

After some good ideas from Ryan on the panel layouts, I've altered that as well.

I've kept the character descriptions in a separate document:

http://artloader.net/index.php/2016/...file-sheet-v3/

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.


Captain Mothstorm


Page 1 (7 panels in 3 rows)


Panel 1 (full width of top row):

Establishing shot. It is dusk. The planetary rings are visible in the purple cloud-streaked sky. We are looking out at a misty mountain scene with the Dark Temple of Mymosule visible in the distance on the right of the panel. In the foreground on the left of the panel we see a full length side view of Captain Sylen Benevolen gazing at the temple with his helmet in his right arm. He is actually stood inside a wide rectangular hangar type space. He is in a derelict skyscraper that is leaning to the right of the panel so the walls, floor and ceiling are angled accordingly. At the edges of the panel we can see vines growing on the walls and ceiling. The walls and ceiling are covered with green moths. At the top left of the panel, there is a green moth in extreme close up on a vine.

Benevolen: We used to race sky-panthers together as children.

Benevolen: Have you found her?

Green moth (telepathically): Not yet, but we have counted 107 individual acolytes so far inside the temple, Sylen. They have guns and blades.


Panel 2 (middle row left):

Half body shot of Benevolen from the waist up. He has just put on his helmet (his hands are still on his head). Some of the moths have taken wing.

Green moth (telepathically): Lady Umia is in a metal cage. They are carrying her to the sacrificial chamber! We need to help her quickly!

Benevolen: Their rituals are horrific. I thought the Acolytes Of Mymosule had ceased to exist long ago, during the Breaking Of The World.


Panel 3 (middle row centre):

Rear, full length shot of Benevolen who is throwing himself out of the hangar. The moths are streaming after him.

Benevolen: Once Umia is safe, I will return with a battalion of the Suborean Guard and eradicate them.


Panel 4 (middle row right):

Reverse the camera and move it back so we are now facing the derelict skyscraper. Front full shot of Benevolen who is hurtling down the side of the derelict skyscraper towards the swirling mist below. The moths are swarming down after him. We can see the mist at the bottom of the panel.

NO COPY


Panel 5 (bottom row left):

Benevolen has plummeted into the mist sending it billowing up. The moths are swarming into the mist after him.

NO COPY


Panel 6 (bottom row centre):

Shot of the dark temple in the background with the moths swarming down into the mist in the foreground. No sign of Benevolen.

NO COPY


Panel 7 (bottom row right):

Shot of the dark temple in the background with the moths swarming up out of the mist in a batwing formation in the foreground. Benevolen is suspended beneath them. The mist is swirling in their wake.

NO COPY
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:56 AM   #2
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Hey, Ahn!

Glad to see you're continuing to peruse this. I'm pretty pumped!

Overall, I think this is a much more successful opening. Giving it the space to breathe helps. In my opinion, I think cutting the page at panel 5 would work for an opening. Jumping into the mist could act as the page turner. We want to see where he is going and what he is doing. Makes the scene transition on the next page a little stronger, I think. That would also open up a little room for art.

I like most of the dialog. It seems more natural. However, I think the panel 3 dialog may be too on the nose.

Posting up any more?
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:28 PM   #3
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Hey Ryan .

Yeah I'm still lurking here - I've learned a lot on here and ComixTribe. I bet you are pumped - you and Liam have got some pretty cool stuff going on right now .

Really appreciate the feedback dude - I like your idea about cutting the page at panel 5 - I will give that a shot.

With the panel 3 dialogue I was trying to naturally drop in some background info:

1. The name of the city nation (Suborea).
2. That Benevolen is some kind of leader in the military (a captain).

How about this:

Benevolen: Once Umia is safe, I will return with a battalion of the Suborean Guard and wipe them out.

Yep, I plan to post some more pages soon and maybe a few thumbnails as well.

How about you?
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:06 PM   #4
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Your dialogue doesn't work for me. Benevolen keeps saying exposition.

"Benevolen: Once Umia is safe, I will return with a battalion of the Suborean Guard and eradicate them."

Who is he saying this to? Why do the moths need to know? Is he talking to himself?

It feels amazingly like you as writer want us as reader to know this information, so you have Benevolen say it.

But, in my view, you may be having such dialogue because the scene is a problem. What is the conflict here? What is preventing anyone from doing the thing they are doing? Why can't this all be done in 2 panels? Or 1? Or 0?

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:18 AM   #5
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I agree with Sam. (He does have a tendency of being right.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artloader View Post
Benevolen: We used to race sky-panthers together as children.
Who's "we"? What does this have to do with anything that is going on?

Think about how just about every Marvel movie starts. (Or any superhero movie. Or any action movie.) Do they start with the hero preparing to save the day, all the while giving him/herself a pep-talk?

Typically, these kinds of stories start with the bad guys in the middle of doing bad things before having the good guy(s) bust in and save the day, with context being given later. Using that as a reference, your story might be better served by opening with the cult preparing to sacrifice Umia before having Benevolen coming in to rescue her.

If I remember correctly (unlikely, I know), this event is to serve as a catalyst for Benevolen leaving everything behind and going off on a journey. If that's the case, then is this scene even worth it? Would the story be better served starting with Benevolen already on his journey while sprinkling in his reason for leaving throughout? Now, I have no idea where this story is going or what you intend to do with it, but this might be something you want to think about as you work on this scene.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamRoads
Your dialogue doesn't work for me. Benevolen keeps saying exposition.

"Benevolen: Once Umia is safe, I will return with a battalion of the Suborean Guard and eradicate them."

Who is he saying this to? Why do the moths need to know? Is he talking to himself?

It feels amazingly like you as writer want us as reader to know this information, so you have Benevolen say it.
Thanks for the feedback Sam, appreciated.

Great pickup on the exposition - Benevolen does seem to be talking to no-one in particular - thanks . Maybe I can feed in some of this info in the form a conversation between the moths and Benevolen? I shall re-work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SamRoads
But, in my view, you may be having such dialogue because the scene is a problem. What is the conflict here? What is preventing anyone from doing the thing they are doing? Why can't this all be done in 2 panels? Or 1? Or 0?

Hope this helps.
Not sure I follow you here - the conflict is this: The acolytes want to kill Umia, Benevolen does not want this to happen - or am I missing your point?

That's a great help Sam - thanks again.
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Old 08-16-2016, 11:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback Gmartyt .

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt
Who's "we"? What does this have to do with anything that is going on?
Benevolen is talking about he and Umia when they were kids - I was trying to add a bit of context - I guess this bit must still be confusing if you had to ask the question. I will re-work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt
Think about how just about every Marvel movie starts. (Or any superhero movie. Or any action movie.) Do they start with the hero preparing to save the day, all the while giving him/herself a pep-talk?

Typically, these kinds of stories start with the bad guys in the middle of doing bad things before having the good guy(s) bust in and save the day, with context being given later. Using that as a reference, your story might be better served by opening with the cult preparing to sacrifice Umia before having Benevolen coming in to rescue her.
Good point - I maybe misguided but I've always felt that the audience builds a stronger connection with a protagonist if he is the first person they see? I will have a play around anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt
If I remember correctly (unlikely, I know), this event is to serve as a catalyst for Benevolen leaving everything behind and going off on a journey. If that's the case, then is this scene even worth it? Would the story be better served starting with Benevolen already on his journey while sprinkling in his reason for leaving throughout? Now, I have no idea where this story is going or what you intend to do with it, but this might be something you want to think about as you work on this scene.
You have remembered correctly!

However - the catalyst is that Benevolen is spurned by Umia (for valid reasons) and that is why he leaves town feeling sorry for himself.

I felt that the audience would better appreciate Benevolen's angst if they witnessed first hand the interaction between Umia and Benevolen when she spurns him?

Very helpful again - thanks mate .
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:59 AM   #8
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About the dialog: Imagine you're watching the new Batman movie. The movie starts with Bruce Wayne in the Batcave putting on his costume, and the first words out of his mouth are "We used to go skiing, he and I."

Confused?

This is exactly what your first line is like. At this point in the story, the reader has no idea who this "we" could possibly be or what racing panthers has to do with is currently happening. If it were written as voice over caption it might work better, but right now it feels very out of place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artloader View Post
Good point - I maybe misguided but I've always felt that the audience builds a stronger connection with a protagonist if he is the first person they see? I will have a play around anyway.
The protagonist should show up relatively early on, but they don't have to be the first person the audience sees. For example, let's say I start a story with a group of masked thugs robbing a bank. Page 1 consists of the thugs threatening the hostages, ending with a loud crashing sound, and page 2 starts with a caped figure in a three-point stance. Would do you think the audience will latch onto?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artloader View Post
However - the catalyst is that Benevolen is spurned by Umia (for valid reasons) and that is why he leaves town feeling sorry for himself.

I felt that the audience would better appreciate Benevolen's angst if they witnessed first hand the interaction between Umia and Benevolen when she spurns him?
True, the audience should see the reason for Benevolen's angst. However, is this scene the best way to show it? It seems like the focus is more on the rescue than the spurning, in which case you risk having the audience miss the message. I'm not saying that any of this is a bad idea, just trying to give you something to think about.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-20-2016, 06:52 AM   #9
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Hey, Ahn.

I've always felt you and I have come from a similar place. Both artists who realized that stepping up their writing game would make for a much better comic than having "cool" art. Even our stories, I feel, have a similar ring to it. Strange world, a deep backstory...the usual, right?! (if you want to know which TPG I'm referring to, it's this one)

Our biggest difference is that I'm too sparse on the exposition, and you go a bit heavy-handed. I've said it many times before, dialog is hard. For some, sure, it may come easy. But me? Nah. I struggle with it. I've always thought about characters through body language, gesture, expression and the like. Having things that come out of their mouth which sound organic...it's tough! Exposition is a fine line to walk. Too much and it's like having a heavy object dropped on your head. Too little and there is nothing for the audience to grab onto, presumably floating off into outer space until the gravity of another story pulls them in. No! Come back!

So coming back around, that is one of the biggest crits you get with the story. Right now, you're doing the right thing. Reaching out and getting feedback is critical. Hearing how others feel about the story and taking the opportunity to adjust will make it stronger in the end. Some other things to keep in mind are:

People don't say what they want. This is a piece of writing advice given to me by Liam. And when you think about it, it's true.

Show, don't tell. If you have a chance to show something happening, opt for that rather than exposition. Does a dude have lightning eyes? Show some bolts blasting from his eyeballs!

Read your dialog aloud. Sometimes when you hear it, you find yourself cringing. But it could be the voice you're going for, who knows!

Seems like the general consensus is the first scene might be unnecessary. If you cut the first page what happens? Not much. There isn't a plot gap left in it's wake. I'm finding myself in agreement, also. If it starts off with Umia in the cage and her reacting to the moths (when it gets to that part in the story) the back and forth between them would seem natural, and you could get some more organic story exposition in there. Then Captain Mothstorm busts in a...well.... a mothstorm. Make it a holy crap moment!

Anyway, those are just my thoughts expanding a bit on what Sam and Greg have already said. Keep at it, I'm hoping to see the first scene up here soon!
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Old 08-20-2016, 06:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt View Post
About the dialog: Imagine you're watching the new Batman movie. The movie starts with Bruce Wayne in the Batcave putting on his costume, and the first words out of his mouth are "We used to go skiing, he and I."
Well, Greg, now if you ever write a Batman story you HAVE to start with this line. When the editor asks why just tell them it's a throwback to an old DW forum post.

Don't worry. It will go over fine!
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Old 08-20-2016, 07:00 AM   #11
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Going back to what Sam said about having conflict and Greg about focusing on the rescue rather than the spurning, I'm still throwing out the suggestion that since Mr. Moths-that-don't-yet-eat-people is supposed to be fighting a war but instead leaves to save Umia (and hope to win her over, by what I understand) he risks losing the war, the lives of his people, his position, or whatever else. That could be the conflict, I believe. He follows his heart instead of his head, and then we see where that leads him.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:56 PM   #12
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Fighting the bad guys is a conflict, but it's not a good one. There's no dilemma, especially as our hero has the nuclear weaponry of moth power.

Regarding heroes on page one, consider Luke Sykwalker.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamRoads View Post
Fighting the bad guys is a conflict, but it's not a good one. There's no dilemma, especially as our hero has the nuclear weaponry of moth power.

Regarding heroes on page one, consider Luke Sykwalker.
Agreed about the fighting. Trying to go off what I remember, Benevolen (or at least some of his men) is/are in the midst of a war somewhere. If I am correct in this remembering, then Benevolen going AWOL to save Umia would be the conflict. His choice of jeopordizing the lives of the men he's responsible for (surely they'll be fine. Who needs nuclear moth power to win a war anyway?!) to gain the favor of a woman he has feelings for is an emotional gamble. We later find out she is already promised to wed, so I assume Benevolen is also well aware of this information. Thus, the large wager for a hopeful payoff.

Now, I don't know anything beyond that point in the story, but I feel that with what I do know seeing him lose both Umia, whom he never had a chance with, and his army, whim he left to get slaughtered/stripped of his rank/something, would be a good starting point to work out some conflict from. I like road to redemption stories!

Anyway, Ahn, I hep you don't mind me throwing these ideas out there. That's how I work story ideas with friends. Put whatever thoughts we have to get your gears turning and maybe make some connections to your end goal plan.

Hell, I'm not even sure my idea is a GOOD one to incite conflict to the story. Still a student in the ways of writing I am. Hmmmm.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:32 AM   #14
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Piggybacking on my last idea for a second. With our influence of media, I think of we would see a soldier leave a war to save a love interest we would route for him. We are trained to see two characters belonging together even if they don't. It's gotta turn out good!

Now, the same scenerio with different words. A father leaves his family in favor of a love interest. All a sudden this has a very negative connotation. Would you route for the father? Likely not. He's a jerk.

But both are a spin on the same underlying theme. Abandoning responsibility in pursuit of personal gain.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:59 AM   #15
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Awesome - lots of food for thought here - thanks guys!

I will respond to each post one by one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt
The protagonist should show up relatively early on, but they don't have to be the first person the audience sees. For example, let's say I start a story with a group of masked thugs robbing a bank. Page 1 consists of the thugs threatening the hostages, ending with a loud crashing sound, and page 2 starts with a caped figure in a three-point stance. Would do you think the audience will latch onto?
Now that sounds really cool when you put it like that Greg - let me see what I can come up with .

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmartyt
True, the audience should see the reason for Benevolen's angst. However, is this scene the best way to show it? It seems like the focus is more on the rescue than the spurning, in which case you risk having the audience miss the message. I'm not saying that any of this is a bad idea, just trying to give you something to think about.
Good point - I think I'll experiment with shortening the rescue scenes and focussing on the spurning interaction - thanks for the ideas Greg - appreciated.
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