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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Mirage

   
Author Topic: Mirage
M.D. Nelson
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This is an unusual item. The story is going to be made into a webcomic, but I wrote it in prose form. Why? Because I needed to get it out, and script form scared me.

I also have a short summary, but I wasn't sure weather or not to post it here for fear of breaking rules...

I'd be very willing to give critique in return for any thoughts on this little project. The first "part" of the story is finished at about 25,000 words. Another part is forthcoming. I'd appreciate feedback on the first thirteen lines, a partial, or just a summary of the story for this part. Thank you so much in advance for any thoughts!

Here are my 13 lines:

Aydin scratches absently at a shoulder, fingers shifting sand out of his fur-skin, and tries not to think about the unwashed musk of the bodies pressed around him. Everyone’s looking at the two of them, Aydin and the Elder. The soldiers are quiet and a little tense, some refusing to take a seat.

The elder makes an offering gesture. Aydin hesitates.

The bowl sitting on a stone table between them contains a soupy substance, thin and brown, with a mildly congealed film on top. Aydin sees tiny black dots that he suspects are eyes. He knows that the brown is blood. Jerri whispered that to him just before they entered the tent. Then the bastard had grinned and walked as far away from Aydin as he could get.

[ June 17, 2016, 07:02 AM: Message edited by: M.D. Nelson ]

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walexander
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The problem MD is you have written in panel discription so that makes it difficult to critique. You are actively discribing what the artist should draw. From a prose point of view there is nothing to critique. There's no dialog. From a comic point of view. There are no breaks per panel/per page and no script format.

Having said that: A super fast breakdown. (Comic)

PAGE 1:
Setting: ?
Pan 1: Aydin (See discript. or add modif discript.) scratches...
Pan 2: Bodies pressed around him... (Dscript.)
Pan 3: Everyone's looking (Why?)
Pan 4: (Full body? Mid body? Close up?) Ayden and Elder (See discript)
Pan 5: Tense Soldiers. (Why?)

Page 2: ETC.

comic are just like novels. First page is your hook. This scene has to draw the viewer in. It pretty bland.

Prose:

Ayden "scratched"...(period) His fingers "shifted"...(period) He "tried"...(Period) ...two of them ":" Ayden and the Elder. Etc.

Don't cheat your sentences. Find there breaks. It will show you if they are as truly strong as you want them to be. Break them down to build them up or change them completely. You're stuck between comic and prose. Choose one or the other.

My2cents

W.

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extrinsic
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Yeah, the fragment is narrative descriptions mostly of visual sensations, partly tactile, partly olfactory, partly aural -- that of silence -- and a cue of olfactory from the blood and eyeball soup: that would be otherwise depicted visually in illustrated narratives.

Illustration panels contain thought and speech balloons; narration panels contain -- well, narrator "beats," oratory summary and explanation in the script vernacular, summary and explanation tells for scene setting, event situation, action, and is non-actor oratory speech. Dialogue is the core component of scripts; actors actions fill in the remainder. Dramatic monologue-like soliloquy is for thought expression in scripts, or a different balloon type from speech type for thoughts in illustrated narratives.

Illustrated narrative's narration panels, top, bottom, or left or right side of illustration panels, maybe diagonal, maybe horizontal or vertical splits of panels or between panels contain narrator tells. The illustration panels contain shown visuals, and balloons contain thought and speech discourse.

For example, this, best practice, is an illustration: "Aydin scratches absently at a shoulder, fingers shifting sand out of his fur-skin, and tries not to think about the unwashed musk of the bodies pressed around him."

Aydin has a bewildered expression on his face, and the elder's stoic face, that are in foreshortened perspective, along with the soupy offering with dead, glaring eyeballs, from the elder; Aydin's fingers and shifted sand grains have motion lines emanating in the middle foreground; the bodies around him have stink-line emanations in the far foreground; the tent setting itself is mostly in the background with perhaps a small object at the panel's front left, say a charcoal brazier and soup kettle with smoke and steam lines emanating.

A cell within the panel has a human face of an orator, maybe, bottom left from an oval border, who has an open mouth and speech lines emanating therefrom and a call-out arrow points to the narration panel below with this part: "He knows that the brown is blood. Jerri whispered that to him just before they entered the tent. Then the bastard had grinned and walked as far away from Aydin as he could get."

Maybe a thought balloon is above Aydin -- who is on the right-hand side third of the panel -- some emotional reaction to the soup, \\Yuck!\\ maybe? Maybe a speech balloon is above the elder, \\Take.\\ maybe? Aydin himself is the larger by proportion emphasis, his face mostly.

Natural eye movement for readers of any A-B-C-D-erian language is left to right, top to bottom. The elder presents Aydin the soup bowl happens first, is on left third, first and somewhat smaller than Aydin. Aydin's reaction is second and on the right -- viewer-reader eye movement follows the action left to right and top to bottom. The rest of the illustration panel contains context and texture in background positions; the narration panel below explains context and texture that is not in the illustration panel nor in balloons.

The speech and thought portions are about all that an illustrated narrative's prose portion can portray within an illustration. Narration panels take up the context and texture shortfalls' slack.

Maybe, rather than that above fragment's method, perhaps a script adaption of a story board format in written word is indicated? Maybe a fusion of the three: part prose, part script, and part story board, though all written word descriptions? A fused drama, anecdote, vignette, and sketch narrative, so to speak?

I get the gist of the scene fragment, Aydin is in some kind of ritual, perhaps an initiation, that he is conflicted by. He wants something, others want something else, he's reluctant. The fragment contains promise, though the limitations of written word's capacity to express in thirteen lines an illustrated narrative's start are a challenge, greater challenge than a pure prose start's thirteen lines.

Or as the proverbial they say, A picture is worth a thousand words. Thirteen lines is at best maybe one hundred thirty or so words, maybe a tenth of a picture's worth. Therein maybe lays a strategy to meet the challenge, slower going that thirteen lines can accomplish.

[ June 17, 2016, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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In this instance perhaps it would have been better if you had not told us the back-story to this narrative. As it is, it colours the perceptions and I agree with walexander and extrinsic: This is essentially a description of a visual idea inside the head of the writer--you. The give-away is that despite the attempt at a close narrative distance the fragment is essentially writer's tell, not even narrator tell. There is no viewpoint character through whose eyes we can see, smell, and feel what's going on, just the writer describing setting.

Phil.

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M.D. Nelson
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Thanks so much for the thoughts everyone! I appreciate it.

I'm wondering how best to present this project. Mostly I want to know if the overall story is interesting. Perhaps 13 lines wasn't the best way to go about it!

Still forever learning! [Smile]

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Grumpy old guy
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If you want to send me a synopsis I'm happy to take a look at it.

Phil.

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Disgruntled Peony
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25,000 words will probably take me a bit to read through, but I can always read through it in segments and give you notes as I get the time. Feel free to send it my way.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to address this from an artist's perspective rather than a writer's perspective in this particular instance, simply because it might provide a different kind of understanding for what you're trying to do. [Smile]

Showing and telling need to be approached differently for comics than for prose, simply because the medium is very visual. It's more akin to writing for film than writing a novel, but instead of moving pictures you're dealing with still images. While visual formats lack the depth of character immersion that prose affords, there is still a significant amount of showing that can be done. What characters do and don't say to each other and how they interact with others and their environment are important elements of how to show rather than tell in a visual format.

This fragment, as it is currently formatted, would be difficult to draw from. The narrative jumps back and forth in the timeline, which is far more difficult to convey visually than it is through prose. There's also no clear panel or page differentiation. A best practice for comic book writing is to clearly differentiate snapshots in your mind that are visually interesting and tell the gist of the story. If you stick to a prose format, I'd recommend making a new paragraph for each panel and finding a way to indicate to the artist when you want to skip over to a new page (maybe double paragraph breaks?).

There are a wealth of interesting visuals here, which is important in a comic book script (you want to keep your reader interested in what they're seeing and the artist interested in what they're drawing). However, comic books are a collaborative effort between the writer and the artist. I, as the artist, can't tell what Aydin actually looks like. That means I don't know how to draw him. I would honestly need a great deal more detail to accurately illustrate the opening panel, let alone everything that comes after it. Essentially, it's the artist's job to do the showing in a comic book; it's your job as the writer to make sure they know how to do it. (It's also your job to keep the artist interested, as I mentioned before. Give them awesome visuals to draw from! You don't necessarily want to go into super-detailed description for every panel, as that might cramp the artist's creativity, but it's important to keep in mind that anything you don't mention won't end up on the page.)

I highly recommend that you read "Write or Wrong" by Dirk Manning. ( http://www.dirkmanning.com/write-or-wrong/ ) I actually own this book and have read it from cover to cover. It gave me a great deal of insight into how to write solid comic book scripts (and is, in fact, the first book I ever found that was specifically geared toward that purpose).

quote:
Illustration panels contain thought and speech balloons; narration panels contain -- well, narrator "beats," oratory summary and explanation in the script vernacular, summary and explanation tells for scene setting, event situation, action, and is non-actor oratory speech. Dialogue is the core component of scripts; actors actions fill in the remainder. Dramatic monologue-like soliloquy is for thought expression in scripts, or a different balloon type from speech type for thoughts in illustrated narratives.
Thought expression in comics is actually on the outs, these days--it's essentially considered telling instead of showing in a comic book medium. (For examples of why, all you have to do is look at old Marvel comics from the 70's and early 80's. SO MUCH TELL. It's painful.)

[ June 18, 2016, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Disgruntled Peony ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
If you want to send me a synopsis I'm happy to take a look at it.

Phil.

M.D. Nelson, you can post your synopsis. Synopses are not restricted by the 13-line rule because they are not actual story text.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Disgruntled Peony:
quote:
Illustration panels contain thought and speech balloons; narration panels contain -- well, narrator "beats," oratory summary and explanation in the script vernacular, summary and explanation tells for scene setting, event situation, action, and is non-actor oratory speech. Dialogue is the core component of scripts; actors actions fill in the remainder. Dramatic monologue-like soliloquy is for thought expression in scripts, or a different balloon type from speech type for thoughts in illustrated narratives.
Thought expression in comics is actually on the outs, these days--it's essentially considered telling instead of showing in a comic book medium. (For examples of why, all you have to do is look at old Marvel comics from the 70's and early 80's. SO MUCH TELL. It's painful.)
Thought balloons are out of vogue for comic strips and books, because of far too much artless tell. Illustrated narratives, though, continue to use them, perhaps more artfully, judiciously, and timely than as tell applications. The longer-form illustrated narrative benefits from the several varieties of content methods: visual, speech, thought, and narration (when indicated and practical) content.

Stage and film's de-emphasis of any thought discourse at all and the ready adaptation of graphic novels to film is part behind the de-emphasis of thought balloons. When no other expression method is practical for the longer illustrated narrative form, though, and a thought is emotionally charged, say, interjection, and timely and judicious, they are near invisible and artful and appeal. Nonetheless, another tool in masterful hands, that clumsy hands too often misuse.

For general consumption -- truncated year dates take the contraction apostrophe mark where the contraction is: 1970s, '70s; 1980s, '80s; June 6th, 2009, June 6th, '09, or, if verbatim speech, June 6th of '9.

[ June 18, 2016, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Disgruntled Peony
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I always forget the proper format for year date contractions, darn it all! [Roll Eyes] I think if I focus on the fact that the apostrophe represents the numbers I'm cutting out, I'll be able to better remember it in future.
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M.D. Nelson
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@ Disgruntled Peony - Wow; thank you so much for offering to read this monstrosity!! And I'd very much appreciate the artistic point of view too, however I would like to use the written part of the story as a more "detailed" version of the telling, perhaps for eventual perks for readers if this at all seems interesting to them. So I'd like the writing to at least be decent and understandable, haha.

I wrote it pretty vaguely because I will be doing the artwork myself, and I've already done a bit of groundwork on the characters. The story is really a practice project, one I intend to use to strengthen multiple things: my drawing ability, sequential visual storytelling, and also prose storytelling (also, possibly animation, as I might animate certain scenes in the pages similarly to this comic: http://www.saintforrent.com/comic/inn-note-01 ). I'm hoping by the end of it I'll have learned a lot!

Thanks so much for the book recommendation! I'll have to grab a copy of that!!

@ Grumpy old guy - I'll post the synopsis here, as Kathleen has given permission! [Smile]

@ Kathleen Dalton Woodbury - Ah, I see! I'll post the synopsis in a separate reply! Thank you so much!

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M.D. Nelson
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Okay so, this story is aimed towards audiences of primarily young adult/new adult women.

The main theme I wanted to explore was the nature of forgiveness, and how sometimes failure isn't the worst thing that could happen in a lifetime.

This is the synopsis of part 1, and I also added in a few goals for Part 2 when I get to it. Please let me know if this is too long for Hatrack, or if any of this wasn't needed! Still forever learning [Smile]

Right now the story itself is also too long, and I need to cut at least half of the current manuscript.

If it helps, I've already done some groundwork on the artwork for this comic. It can be seen here, if it might help further visualize the story: http://arapersonica.deviantart.com/gallery/57818207/Mirage

(Oh, and nowhere in these links is any actual story text posted; it's just summary and/or thought blurbs in the descriptions, if any.)

I actually drew out the comic page of the 13-line scene I posted above too. The artwork is ancient though, so I'm hoping I'll be better this time: http://orig10.deviantart.net/9d4d/f/2016/169/6/a/0_by_arapersonica-da6sa6c.jpg

----------------------------------------------

Mirage Part 1 (of 2)

Halifax de Cartier, a rebel recently turned emperor, has brought a small section of his army to show solidarity to a tribe that has avoided the empire for centuries. He’s brought along his dangerously strong magical consort, Aydin, also known as the famous “black rider.”

During the civil war, Aydin fought against the rebel Halifax and killed his father. Not long after doing so, Aydin learned that his own side was actually doing some terrible things to the entire empire as a whole. When he investigates these things, the old emperor kills Aydin’s wife and parents as a warning. Aydin secretly switches sides, and in one of the bloodiest battles of the war, Aydin kills the old emperor and brings Halifax his head, crowning Halifax as the new leader.

Aydin begs to be killed for what he’s done, but Halifax refuses. He locks Aydin in a room and spends two years trying to understand Aydin’s position. He needs Aydin’s magical strength to stay alive, because he was handicapped in the war, but they were also kids together, and he has a soft spot for him. The two end up falling in love again.

But while Halifax trusts Aydin, no one else does, and the vast majority of the empire wants Aydin dead. Halifax thinks that he can persuade everyone that Aydin is really a good person, so he pulls Aydin into joining him at the “Dragon’s Teeth,” an ancient ruin and “border tag” that, at certain times of the year, “wakes up,” filling with magic, and judges a person’s soul. It sometimes kills those with true darkness in their souls. Aydin is not at all happy about this, thinking Halifax is being stupidly idealistic and too reckless. He goes along with it though, because he feels he has no other choice.

On the way to the Dragon’s Teeth, Aydin discovers that an old war comrade has been following him. The man, Devon, asks Aydin to put in a good word for him to Halifax, but Aydin knows that Devon is entirely untrustworthy and mentally unstable, so he refuses. He lets Devon get away as a final favor, but he’s caught by Halifax’s soldiers while doing so. Halifax is faced with one of his worst nightmares; choosing Aydin or his people. He chooses his soldiers, and locks away Aydin’s magic for the night.

Devon, partly in a drug addled fury, hatches a plot to “show off” for Halifax and prove to him that he and his band of mercenaries are worth hiring. He goes too far however, and it turns into a rather harsh fight, as he’s a powerful magician. Aydin, abandoned by Halifax’s soldiers to fight on his own, forces Devon into the Dragon’s Teeth, and then decides to finish him off alone. Aydin’s upset with Halifax leaving him, and he’s slightly reckless because of it.

Aydin and Devon face off while the magic in the Dragon’s Teeth “wakes up.” Aydin converses with the successor, a legendary being, in his head, and it examines Aydin’s decisions during the war, and lets him live. Devon, on the other hand, dies.

Aydin returns to Halifax’s camp a bit worse for wear. However, he now knows a secret that Halifax had kept from him, thanks to the successor’s omniscience; his wife never died in the war. And Halifax knew. Instead of telling Aydin, Halifax kept it from him. After confronting him for the truth, Aydin refuses to speak to Halifax. Halifax decides to go and see the successor himself, and they set off for the city of Eternal.

-------------------------

Basic goals for Part 2:

Aydin and Halifax go to see the successor. It turns out Halifax wanted to meet him because the successor has shared his life with another man also, and he wanted advice on how to treat his relationship with Aydin and his duties as emperor. This “lighthearted reason” from a rather famous rebel-turned-emperor amuses the successor, so he agrees to help.

Aydin confronts his wife, who left him because she disagreed with his choices in the war. She tells him that he’s not the man she married, and urges him to move on. Aydin is heartbroken, but he respects her wishes.

Halifax decides to step down as the emperor, though he promises to always help when he’s needed. He isn’t his father, and he realizes that his decisions haven't been the strongest. Ruling had been his fathers dream, not his.

----------------------------------

Some things I know that need to be reworked:

1) There's a Contrived Misunderstanding between Aydin and Devon, where I could choose a more character driven way to forward the plot. Considering having Halifax's "secret" come out during the point that Halifax chooses his soldiers over Aydin, and Devon's the one who told Aydin about it. They could fight about it in front of everyone, giving them all a legitimate fear that Aydin could turn against them during the fight at the Dragon's Teeth.

2) Deus Ex Machina; Aydin learns important plot details from a magical voice in his head, and this can also be done in a more character-centric way.

---------------------

I hope this is okay; feel free to let me know if this is all just too much story for this site!

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by M.D. Nelson:
I wrote it pretty vaguely because I will be doing the artwork myself, and I've already done a bit of groundwork on the characters.

Okay, I didn't realize you were planning to draw the comic yourself. That does change things a bit (I'd been approaching this as if the script was intented for a separate artist). So long as you can see the visuals and pace the story in your own mind based on what you've written, you should be good. [Smile]
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extrinsic
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The synopsis details a sequence of events that happen to Aydin and to which he reacts. He is problematized by those, a victim of actions from external forces and personas done to and happened to him. What does Aydin personally want? That latter personal want satisfaction pursuit is victimism's inverse: proactivism.

Victimism appeals to feminine and young sensibilities. Feminine, not per se female. Proactivism, on the other hand, appeals more broadly and is generally of a masculine nature. Masculine, not per se male. Eventually, though, roughly no later than a fourth of the way through a victimism narrative, a victim becomes proactive, for best reader-viewer appeal effect.

However, the proactive personal want is nonetheless introduced earlier, ideally, at the start. The want, best practice, is tangible, concrete, say an object of desire, a goal that is a contest to achieve, though as well entails an intangible, abstract goal, so to speak, or outcome objective, often if not expressly of a related moral vice-virtue contest. Maturation is usually that objective, though that is discovered due to the tangible want contest's satisfaction pursuit.

Although the tangible goal may or may not be satisfied by an outcome, some personal maturation transformation due to the tangible goal pursuit transpires as the outcome. Even if that outcome is the battle won with attendant glory and enhanced prestige, or lost with attendant despair and status decline, some maturation promotion or demotion ensues.

Young adult and new adult -- or early adult in relation to middle and late adulthood, for coordination of age phase terms -- both strive for adult privileges. Early adults as well are adjusted more intensely to appreciate and abide adulthood's responsibilities, for which young adults are held less accountable, at least more intensely supervised. Elders are still accountable by a greater degree for young adults' than young adults are, though they want it otherwise. Early adults are accountable for themselves to a greater if not exclusive degree.

Yet both ages strive for adulthood's privileges and short-shrift the attendant responsibilities they overlook. Middle adults -- well, they know and gripe they're on the responsibility treadmill. Late adults lament their youthful indiscretions that now come home to plague them. Thus is the wisdom of the ages learned and relearned by each generation and transmitted across time.

What adulthood privilege does Aydin personally want that is related to a concrete goal's contest? Answer that question, and the privilege's attendant responsibility, the whole materializes, unifies, resonates, and harmonizes into a complete and fully appealing narrative.
quote:
Originally posted by M.D. Nelson:
2) Deus Ex Machina; Aydin learns important plot details from a magical voice in his head, and this can also be done in a more character-centric way.

Actually, that is an oracle, or messenger scene, method. Whether messages are from a homeless town drunk, a bordello's sibyl temptress, a magical voice (apropos of the subconscious's conscience mind), a Delphic temple's pythia oracle, or whatever from whomever and wherever, the message matter of substance is subconscious and conscious social and moral conscience persuasions.
----
In other words, for me, the synopsis' action wanders, seeks an as yet unrealized goal. What does Aydin personally want?

The title Mirage, by the way, artfully suits the above tangible goal contest and intangible moral contest tableau enumerated above. Like, say, the ephemeral though tangible mirage is the illusion of mature adult wisdom for an otherwise hapless early adult!? That would certainly appeal to me; I'd be hopelessly "hooked" if that were artfully set up at the start.

[ June 19, 2016, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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walexander
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MD,

Took a look at your deviant page. You've got talent that's for sure. I've been an artist most of my life and only moved over to writing in the last six years and for me it was a very hard add. I see you're trying also to balance the two, especially for whole comics. It is a form of self torture becuase the time it will demand will seem without end.

Your story arc is interesting. I do believe you still have a lot of fleshing out left to do. The hardest thing I ever have to continuosly ask myself is -- Is this market competivitive. Can I take the work to a next level and then - can I take it even to a level above that and maybe even one above that. In both writing and art reimagining scenes is a constant must -- a constant fine tuning -- especially if you are going to self-publish because it means you are skipping a lot of professional industry critique. Which may seem easier to begin with, but that kind of unabashed critiquing can push you to a level of work you never imagined you could do.

I do believe you are on to something, and I do believe your art is well on its way -- But challenge yourself -- it's a dog eat dog world out there where often the meek get gobbled up. Treat your comic boards as if you were about to show a portfolio to dark horse, marvel, or one of the manga editors. You immediately know you're up against some of the best. You have to bring your "A" game probably even higher than that.

I look forward to seeing how your work developes.

I like your animation pieces.

W.

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M.D. Nelson
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@ Disgruntled Peony - Ah, I'm sorry, I probably should have made that more clear! Thank you so much for considering looking at it either way, you are super awesome for even thinking of looking at this monstrosity! [Big Grin]

@ extrinsic - Thank you so much for your thoughts extrinsic! This is really really great stuff! Excuse me as I work through that you've said here; I just want to be sure I'm understanding everything correctly! [Smile]

quote:
The synopsis details a sequence of events that happen to Aydin and to which he reacts. He is problematized by those, a victim of actions from external forces and personas done to and happened to him. What does Aydin personally want? That latter personal want satisfaction pursuit is victimism's inverse: proactivism.
Aydin is a victim, and events all happen TO him rather than him activily participating in these events. He needs a goal to strive for so that he becomes proactive, and more appealing to a broader audience. Is this what you mean?

quote:
What adulthood privilege does Aydin personally want that is related to a concrete goal's contest? Answer that question, and the privilege's attendant responsibility, the whole materializes, unifies, resonates, and harmonizes into a complete and fully appealing narrative.
!! Ah, I'm so glad it's not as far off the mark as I thought!

The adulthood privilege Aydin could be looking for could perhaps be the freedom to choose his own path? Until now, he's been subject to everyone else's ideas of what he SHOULD be. Aydin chooses Halifax rather than death, but he does so partly because he feels he has no other option (Which is the victimization you mentioned, I feel). He loves Halifax too, and he wants to keep him safe, because he has little else to care for. His choice to go after Devon was to keep Halifax safe, at the cost of his own life if needed. But it was also a chance for him to choose his own way, not influenced by anyone else (because Halifax abandons him at that moment; he chooses to still fight for Halifax despite that, when he could have run away with his magic free).

He's fiercely loyal (to a fault, a fault that his wife can't reconcile) and that is actually part of his weakness. In part 2, he's urged further to choose a path of his own by the successor, as he's too magically powerful to constantly flip-flop. ( which is similar to when you mention "Early adults are accountable for themselves to a greater if not exclusive degree." Or am I misunderstanding?)

I feel like the pursuit of one's path in life is relatable to young/early adults; as they see maturation as someone settled in his or her position, and working steadily in that pursuit. Is this hitting on what you mean, or am I off the mark?

As for a concrete goal... hm. I'd say he'd want to use his magic to do good work. His goal from the beginning of the war was to be a voice for the weak, and to do what he could to protect them. He worked hard to become the strongest in the emperor's army, and he married his wife for her selfless sacrifices to help those less fortunate than herself. He loves Halifax because of his compassion for the weak also. I imagine Aydin's struggle as similar to Javert's from Les Misreables (though not quite so hard core!). However, rather than being unable to reconcile his mistakes and dying (like Javert), he survives and moves on beyond his own failure.

Not mentioned in the summary is that he encounters a girl who is a part of Devon's "gang." She's magically powerful but untrained. I'm considering having Aydin take her under his wing, despite everyone telling him it would be a bad idea... but will that even tie into the theme? Would Aydin realize his goal through helping her; one of his enemies?

quote:
The title Mirage, by the way, artfully suits the above tangible goal contest and intangible moral contest tableau enumerated above. Like, say, the ephemeral though tangible mirage is the illusion of mature adult wisdom for an otherwise hapless early adult!? That would certainly appeal to me; I'd be hopelessly "hooked" if that were artfully set up at the start.
Ah!!! I'm so glad that it's appealing!! The illusion of wisdom fits Halifax very well; he thinks that he's mature, but he realizes that he isn't, and he's called to task for it by his own people. I also felt like Aydin's pursuit of something intangible; loyalty beyond all sense, and his inability to see what he has under his nose (his lost wife, his relationship to Halifax, the corrupt people he fights for, etc.) fit together, and the "mirage" he sees in all of these things ends up falling apart.

This is all incredibly helpful stuff! Thank you extrensic!

@ walexander - Oh gosh, thank you so so much!

quote:
Took a look at your deviant page. You've got talent that's for sure. I've been an artist most of my life and only moved over to writing in the last six years and for me it was a very hard add. I see you're trying also to balance the two, especially for whole comics. It is a form of self torture becuase the time it will demand will seem without end.
I totally understand what you mean! The herculean amount of work it will take to balance both of these things has affected me mentally, but I feel like I'm starting to narrow down what I want, and finding ways to pursue these items without slowly dying, haha. I've decided that I need to focus on one project at a time, which I think will help quell the screaming fear in my head.

quote:
The hardest thing I ever have to continuously ask myself is -- Is this market competivitive. Can I take the work to a next level and then - can I take it even to a level above that and maybe even one above that. In both writing and art reimagining scenes is a constant must -- a constant fine tuning -- especially if you are going to self-publish because it means you are skipping a lot of professional industry critique. Which may seem easier to begin with, but that kind of unabashed critiquing can push you to a level of work you never imagined you could do.
This is such excellent advice; thank you so much!! I'm hoping that by searching for critique in this way (posting to Hatrack, Tapastic, and places like Crimson Daggers) I'm putting this story and my art through the ringer, weeding out everything wrong, and finding ways to justify why I chose to write it the way I did. I plan to begin artwork on this piece Aug. 1st, and I'm intending to submit it to Creators for Creators and also to Iron Circus Comics, hoping I might get even more opinions on it (even if I'm not chosen as a recipient).

quote:
I do believe you are on to something, and I do believe your art is well on its way -- But challenge yourself -- it's a dog eat dog world out there where often the meek get gobbled up. Treat your comic boards as if you were about to show a portfolio to dark horse, marvel, or one of the manga editors. You immediately know you're up against some of the best. You have to bring your "A" game probably even higher than that.
I hope that I can reach those levels, and I fully intend to make this project some of my best work! It's also an experiment in my own ability, and I don't even intend to post it online until I've gotten a decent amount of work finished.

quote:
I look forward to seeing how your work developes. I like your animation pieces.
!!! Thank you so much!! I hope to keep developing from here, and hopefully to keep balancing the things that I love most! [Smile]
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by M.D. Nelson:
Aydin is a victim, and events all happen TO him rather than him activily participating in these events. He needs a goal to strive for so that he becomes proactive, and more appealing to a broader audience. Is this what you mean?

Yes, in part, though a concrete goal is one like, say, Aydin wants a unique warhorse that's not shy of magic combat. That's just a wild blue yonder projection for illustration purposes. The horse, too, for example, symbolizes or emblemizes an intangible goal, like horseback riding is a transport status symbol, one perhaps of pride, a vice worthy of a moral contest -- say, what the narrative is really and truly about.

Edited to add: A goal of doing good to aid the weak is a twofold consideration; one, though personal to Aydin, is a public goal, not a private one in and of itself, thus, more abstract by default; and two, is on the abstract goal side itself. Motivations and stakes may be either private or public, or both; private motivations and stakes appeal more than public ones, in part because they could be more concrete and in part because altruism, though admirable, is too self-idealized for prose, entails too greatly matters of writer surrogacy daydream. In any case, what are the stakes if Aydin fails to aid the weak, the confict of contesting forces in diametric opposition -- success and failure, for example?

Here below is a graphic of a slider template for the concrete-abstract axis, the same slider-type could be used for visualization of most any dramatic duality axis, like, proactivism-victimism, positive-negative attitude, want-problem complication; stakes (conflict), diametric forces in contention, etc., overall and for any given scene segment.

General template X [----------] X
Concrete [----------] Abstract
For, say Aydin's want to aid the weak, public motivation
Concrete [-------|--] Abstract
Want for a magic-tolerant horse, for example, private motivation
Concrete [-|--------] Abstract

End edited to add.

Say Aydin would steal the horse from breeders; they are wary of theft. Aydin must instead earn the horse to the breeders' and the horse's satisfaction.

A symbolism motif uses a concrete object to imply an intangible, abstract, or immaterial force or circumstance and is variable. Emblemism motifs are also concrete objects that imply an intangible, etc., circumstance, though they are fixed and invariant.

A Scriptural example of an emblem is the proverbial burning bush. The fire does not consume the bush, miraculous, and the fire and bush's speech represent the Holy Spirit's oracular wisdom. The burning bush motif recurs without change several occasions in the Book.

A symbolism example from Any Rand's Atlas Shrugged is the iconic oak that is a new, young, vulnerable pole tree in one scene, a mature, robust oak in another, and a rotted and broken tree in another. The same object transforms over time and symbolizes the status of its several time, age, and situation representations.

The burning bush and oak as tangible goals represent through imagery, a kin of symbolism of a visual characteristic, a seeking of wise counsel and pursuit of business strength, respectively.

So what could Aydin privately want that spans the several concrete and abstract criteria of symbolism or emblemism, the matter of the mirage, and that is relevant to and accessible by the target audience age's likewise desires? Young to early adult? Most, they want to participate or predominate forging their own course in life.

A young warrior may want an advanced sword and shield that are costly and the warrior cannot afford them. Weapons the warrior has are hand-me-downs and ill suited to the warrior's demeanor. The desired weapons symbolize a competent, ready, willing, and able warrior. A weapons trove happens to be mythically known to lay hidden in some far away and difficult place.

Perhaps a magic warrior wants a proverbial book of battle magic tactics. The book is held secure by a powerful magician king and guarded by agents who are less vulnerable to magic than Aydin is used to. And so on. Once, say, Aydin acquires an object of desire, he finds that the arduous journey or acquisition process itself was the only true and real wisdom learning and the object is itself a mirage of wisdom, for example.

Thus are tangible goals as well intangible goals ripe for proactivism's transformative story movement.

[ June 24, 2016, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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M.D. Nelson
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@ extrensic - Thank you soso much for expounding on that for me!! This is all excellent and exactly what I needed to know. I'm aware that the opening of the story requires more conflict also, and giving Aydin a want or goal that contrasts with Halifax's wants and goals will serve to move the story along better also.

quote:
General template X [----------] X
Concrete [----------] Abstract
For, say Aydin's want to aid the weak, public motivation
Concrete [-------|--] Abstract
Want for a magic-tolerant horse, for example, private motivation
Concrete [-|--------] Abstract

This was incredibly helpful to me! Visual representations help me ten fold!

quote:
So what could Aydin privately want that spans the several concrete and abstract criteria of symbolism or emblemism, the matter of the mirage, and that is relevant to and accessible by the target audience age's likewise desires? Young to early adult? Most, they want to participate or predominate forging their own course in life.
Now this is something that I have to think on. Thank you so very much for expounding on those items also, this has helped me loads!!

Now on to the think box!

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