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The Pulp Faction • View topic - New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Talk about writing for comics and other outlets.

New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Paul Bedford on Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:52 am

Hey guys,

Here's a new intro for The List TPB. I have received feedback so far, but I'm not going to say which way it swayed - I'll let you know after (if) I get some feedback here.

What I am attempting to do here is give a little back story and a lead in to reduce the 'what the fuckness?' I tend to receive.

I have other ideas if this one doesnt work, but I thought I'd throw up the one I'd written.

All help greatly appreicated.

Cheers,

Paul.

The List. Paul Bedford.

PAGE ONE ( panels)

Panel 1.
A framed photo of the family taken quite a few years before. The Father and Mother look over the heads of their sweetly smiling boys. An attractive family.

CAP
CHOSEN BY GOD.

CAP
I WOULD WASTE MY WORDS TRYING TO EXPLAIN HOW THAT FEELS.

Panel. Re-use of the Panel from Volume 1 of the family at the beach.

CAP
INSTEAD I WILL REVEAL THE REASON WHY OUR FAMILY WAS CHOSEN…

CAP
TO BE PRESENTED WITH OUR BIRTHRIGHT.

Panel. Night. Top view of the Son’s family home.

CAP
WHY A FAMILY SO TYPICAL AND HUMBLE SHOULD BE WORTHY OF SUCH A BIRTHRIGHT I WILL KNOW ONLY WHEN I STAND BEFORE GOD AND ASK HIM.

CAP
HIS REASONS FOR CHOOSING US, HOWEVER, PALED WHEN COMPARED TO THE LOFTY PURPOSE BEHIND THE BIRTHRIGHT…


The List. Paul Bedford.

PAGE TWO ( panels)

Panel .
Standing atop the Parent’s bed is the Angel. His wings are spread full and he looks down upon the family with a solemn expression. Atop his upturned hands reverently rests a scroll (he is holding it in the same fashion the Son carries the knives in Volume 1). We have a rear shot of the family in this pic. They kneel side by side on the floor at the base of the bed with their hands reaching for the Angel.

CAP
FOR GOD HAD SENT BEFORE US ONE OF HIS MOST HIGH, AN ARCH ANGEL NO LESS, TO DELIVER TO US THE NEW COMMANDMENTS.

CAP
AS OF THAT DAY OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE WAS NEW AND SINGULAR, FOR WE HAD BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD HIMSELF TO HONOUR THESE COMMANDMENTS.


The List. Paul Bedford.

PAGE THREE ( panels)

Panel .
Smaller pic: Side view across the three family members. Their faces are alive with awe and, as per the previous pic, their arms float out before as if reaching for the Angel.

CAP
THOUGH OURS BY BIRTHRIGHT, THE GREAT BEING REVEALED TO US THAT PRIOR TO BEQUEATHING THE COMMANDMENTS, TWO THINGS MUST OCCUR…

Close: The Angel’s hands bearing the scroll.

CAP
THE FIRST WAS ENSURING WE UNDERSTOOD THE PARAMETERS, SET BY GOD HIMSELF, BY WHICH THE COMMANDMENTS WERE TO BE HONOURED.

Panel. Main Pic: Close: The grave Angel looking down upon the family (OP).

Note to Henry: About the Angel are the parameters in caption boxes, so be sure to make this pic large and with plenty of space about the Angel.

1. “HEAVEN DOES NOT SUFFER THE UNENLIGHTENED.”
2. “SO LOFTY A QUEST CALLS FOR A HIGHER TONGUE.”
3. “THE LIST MUST BE FOLLOWED IN THE ORDER IT WAS BEQUEATHED.”
4. “ENLIGHTENMENT COMES NOT WITHOUT SUFFERING.”
5. “PAIN WILL BE FELT. IT MUST NEVER BE SHOWN.”
6. “THE WORDS OF THE UNENLIGHTENED SHALL NOT BE HEEDED.”
7. “A COMMANDMENT, ONCE OBSERVED, MUST BE REMOVED.”
8. “GO FORTH AND SPREAD THY LOVE.”
9. “THOU MUST BECOME ONE WITH THE LIST, FOR THROUGH ITS REMOVAL THOU WILL KNOW THE PAIN AND LEGACY OF THE SACRIFICE.”
10. “THE LIST IS THY BIRTHRIGHT… AND A PATH UNTO GOD’S SIDE.”
11. “THOU ART THE MESSENGERS. THOSE CHOSEN BY GOD TO DELIVER HIS NEW COMMANDMENTS.”
12. “EACH COMMANDMENT IS TO BE STRUCK FROM THY SHELL BY A TOOL VARYING IN DESIGN.”
13. “THOU MUST LEAD OTHERS UNTO THEIR ENLIGHTENMENT. THEY WILL RESIST, BUT THEY MUST BE SHOWN.”

Panel. Smaller pic: Close on the enthralled Mother staring up at the Angel (OP).

CAP
THE SECOND WAS WHAT WE HAD TO EXCHANGE FOR THEM.




The List. Paul Bedford.

PAGE FOUR ( panels)

Panel .
The Angel offering the furled scroll to the Father, whose face is now peppered with blood.

CAP
AS WAS FITTING, FATHER WOULD BE FIRST TO EMBARK ON HIS QUEST; HONOUR THE COMMANDMENTS IN THE WAY HE SAW FIT, SO LONG AS HE OBEYED THE PARAMETERS.

Panel. Straight On: The intense Father stepping out of the house into the night.

CAP
AS I WAS NOT PRESENT FOR FATHER’S QUEST, I CANNOT RECOUNT IT.

CAP
INSTEAD I WILL RECOUNT TO YOU MY QUEST FOR ENLIGHTENMENT…
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:43 am

Ok I’ll bite...

Even though, given the history, there’s still a little voice telling me “don’t go there” what else can I do? It’s in my nature...

Note: I have only read a very early edition of issue 1 in any depth and have skim read vol 2 off the shelf at Minotaur (sorry). So I’m claiming ignorance of how the story pans out before I start. As always, it’s my opinion so take or leave it

Using exposition from an unreliable narrator is really replicating the main structural issue with the existing narrative. It doesn’t provide the structure from which to guide the reader through the material (metanarrative) in order to make sense out of it (without being didactic). In other words, it doesn’t help frame the narrative.
I read and reread the section provided and it made less sense to me than the material already published.

If it were me, I would be looking at the Epistolary form of narration as a way of constructing the framing that will give the reader a solid standpoint from which to jump off from.

Epistolary novel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistolary_novel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... ary_novels

Epistolary novel and Stephen King’s Carrie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_(novel)

I could explain more but I’m sure you’d ask me if you wanted my help... :)
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Paul Bedford on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:17 pm

Hey Anomic,

Thanks for taking the time to answer so thoroughly. Neither Tom nor Henry were keen on my offering either; likewise Fleur (me woman ;) ) so I have sought help here, so I appreciate you stepping up.

I'll be straight up and confess that I have never heard of the Epistolary novel, and I am having a little trouble wrapping my head around it - not just as its possible application to The List, but as a style of its own. From what I can glean, I am interested, but if you would take the time to explain it a little plainer than Wiki does, it'd be appreciated.

What I'm looking to achieve here is the intro that The List never had and, quite simply, needs - and after a few ideas I simply can't nail it. I don’t want the intro to be overly long or complex. Just a simple set up where the Angel appears in the house, offers the List in lieu of the Mother's life and then we kick off.

I had the idea of doing the whole thing wordlessly, but that just added to the confusion, and I'm also toying with the ideas of peppering some form of the above throughout the (heavily edited) Volume 1.

I don’t know. Maybe I should drink more and more every night and work longer hours every day (10-11 doesn’t seem to be enough) until I just drop dead.

Cheers,

Paul.
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Baden on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:52 am

Paul i understood it when you said it here:

Angel appears in the house, offers the List in lieu of the Mother's life and then we kick off.

All done in two panels, like the Superman back story in All Star Superman.

Could be worse.
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:09 am

Epistolary is just a fancy way of saying letters but the form has evolved to include most sources of communication e.g. letters, texts, emails, newspaper articles, reports, diaries and a range of marginalia and paraphernalia ... the list could go on (pun intended).

What this form gives is multiple points of view that add weight to realism (because the POV’s are usually from secondary sources “in the real world” and not the characters POV) therefore this form is very good to explain the world a character is living in and give back-story very quickly. For a comic book writer you need only to go to Alan Moore to see the use (overuse sometimes) of this - Watchmen is a classic for using newspaper clippings, old reports, photos etc. to give back-story and cement the alternate world these characters are living in.

My contention with the List is well known and posted elsewhere but to recap (note: there’s a point I want to get to here, not me having go and rehashing history): the narrative has as its main narrator a possible madman therefore the POV is that of an unreliable narrator/character (even the limited omniscient POV in the book is skewed his way). For the reader this creates issues of reality (they are constantly debating in their head is this real or is it his delusions?) which leads to some confusion. As previously said, this can work and has been done but is also very difficult to do, usually in the bulk of stories the narrator isn’t shown as unreliable (or mad) until the twist midway or towards the end (Fight Club for example).

The more a reader has to think about the narrative the less they are involved/enmeshed in the story (the technical word is sutured which literally means stitched into the narrative). Every time a writer pulls a reader out of the narrative (from poor choice of word, bad panelling, unexplained or poorly forecasted jumps in time, etc.) there is a distancing effect. Too many times and you have lost them.

Remember a bad book or film and go back to it, see what made it bad and usually you can find points where you found holes in it. When a reader or viewer is finding holes, not believing or asking what happened here? They have disengaged with the narrative. As readers/viewers we can accept all kinds of things (like the blue people in Avatar) we know they are not real but we can suspend disbelief if the world of the characters and its “laws” are set out at the start. But this suspension of disbelief is fragile and a reader can be unstitched from the narrative if they have to consciously ask questions like: is this real or a delusion? ( this is not to say reader/viewers are dumb there is a whole academic discipline on Audience it’s just not relevant here)

I put a link to Stephen Kings first book Carrie because he used this style throughout; he did so because of the subject matter. Carrie is a strange girl with a crazy mother (there goes two possible POV’s), The kids at school hate Carrie (there goes those POV’s as they are now unreliable) and the people of the town witness unbelievable , unexplainable and totally different things (could locate POV with one of them but they would not have access to the whole story) King has omniscient POV left (which he does use in patches of the book) but to use omniscient POV throughout the book would reduce the tension. Instead he tells the story through reports, court/police documents, sections of books that were published after the event, etc. all building on each other through multiple POV’s giving the reader the full story.

What epistolary can give you is a way of framing the unreliable narrator in such a way as to guide the reader as to what they are about to read/are reading/have read.
I do not mean spoon feed them or tell them what to think about your character- that would be a disaster.

The way you could use this information is almost limitless and what I’ve written below are only examples to get you thinking...

You could have court/police documents, newspaper articles, forensic/autopsy reports, Characters medical/psychiatric/paediatric reports, Letters, SMS, Email, Photos (both personal and stills from street cameras, etc.) bagged evidence, bus/movie tickets (or in fact anything that can give date/place/time clues), sections of books that have written about the event/family, family album/family tree/genogram, online radio transcripts with researchers/authors/police, etc.
The information could be presented part of a current/past police investigation, a book being written, kids finding stuff in the derelict house, pages/items being flipped by the wind in a rubbish tip... etc. etc.
The information could be presented at the start or peppered throughout or at the end of the chapters or of the book.

There are many permeations and it’s up to you what you want to show (explain) and when you need to show it (at what points in the story do the readers need an anchor/sign post?) – use them as clues, not as explanations the reader still has to do some work. You can make the documents as legible as you need, they can be smudged, ripped or partially covered to give just enough information but not everything.
For your specific question “Just a simple set up where the Angel appears in the house, offers the List in lieu of the Mother's life and then we kick off” hopefully you can see an application of the above.
A psych report (if you want to frame madness)
A police report (again madness but also the possibility of the event being real depending on the police officer making the report)
A newspaper/magazine article (can frame madness, paranormal activity, religious awe, depends on the paper, people being interviewed, etc. )
Photo’s - I’d go fragments of a collection showing an “angel like presence” either from personal (the family) or a mixture of personal and newspaper (unexplained sighting for a few days prior to the visitation). I would save the main appearance of the angel for later in the book don’t give away the goods too soon.
A mixture of all of the above and whatever else you can think of, it all depends on how you wish to guide the reader. At most 1-2 pages for this set up.

As for working longer... I’ve said elsewhere Malcolm Gladwell believes that anyone who is willing to put in 10,000 hours will get to the top of their field, be it art, writing or computer programming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book) - it seems a compelling argument and a hell of a lot of time... (I’m not sure if I’m encouraged or discouraged by it...because I’m way off)
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Paul Bedford on Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:41 am

Baden: You know, you might be onto something there. Maybe I should just apply the K.I.S.S principle. Henry wpuld be happy with two panels instead of 4 pages!

Anomic: Jesus, I hope you didn't have to pull a sickie to write that mate! I'm currently hiding in an aisle on a forklift at work so I can't reply just yet, but I do have time to pass on a huge thanks for that information!
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:27 am

No sickie – people say I’m just naturally full of information... or is that shit? I’m never quite sure. ;)

I have editing trouble on this site after pasting, so there’s a bit of clumping together of paragraphs towards the end and I couldn’t bold things...

Main thing is: How do you want to frame it?

If you want it so it’s a real event (angels do exist and this guy is not mad) then use the documentation to provide a secondary (independent and authoritative, be police, priest, or expert) POV.

If its delusion then use the documentation to hint at it (be it psychiatrist, chemist script, inmate records, etc.)

If it’s both... well you get the idea.

All give clues for the reader where they should be sitting in relation to what’s going on even if you pull the rug out from them later.

Again, if what I’m saying is leading up a path where you don’t wish to go, then by all means ignore it.

Also if anyone want to see a great Australian book using Epistolary Narrative and using unreliable narration then get a hold of Strange Objects by Gary Crew. It is an absolute cracker and despite being labeled a kids book is an intriguing and complex read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Objects
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Paul Bedford on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:38 am

Anomic: wouldn't the narrator of A Clockwork Orange be considered unreliable? In that story there is no midway revelation, only a forced arc/reversal at the climax (then again it's been years since I saw it, so I may be an unreliable narrator of this reply. ;)
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:34 pm

Ahhh... yes and no.

If you wanted to drill down all characters are unreliable narrators (and this fact is put into even shaper relief in 20th century literature and to a point of absurdity in postmodern literature since the 1960’s). Just as all people in real life, they bring their own bias, needs and perspective to the events they are witnessing so do the characters.

I’m currently rereading Less Than Zero and Clay’s lack of emotional connection to his friends and what is happening around him is colouring the world he is relaying to me, so in that sense yes he is unreliable. Alex in a clockwork orange is the same. Even Patrick from American Psycho is unreliable to a point (he’s a psycho) but you will find he and the other characters mentioned are still consistent within the logic of a “real” world albeit one created by the author.

All of these characters are unreliable in that they are telling their side of the story but they are not necessarily lying or trying to deceive the reader they are just following the logic of character. Patrick knows who and what he is and is happy to tell us. If Patrick, were to start seeing and getting commandments from angels we would immediately as readers ask maybe all of the killings are his fantasy and as such he becomes unreliable in the sense we have lost his motives and his logic.

Madness is a separate category because it is by definition defying logic (logic in this sense can be of the real world or have blue people in it, but it is unique to the story and often to the genre) and one at issue with the List...

A “lifeworld” can have angels and demons in it without the issue of madness, but the narrative needs to spell that out for the reader at the very beginning and then remain consistent (e.g. Hellblazer with the main character of Constantine). The problem arises when the POV is from a (single) person who the author has situated in “the real world” and is then visited upon by angels, demons or even aliens. At that point unless another (external) POV can situate and explain this phenomena the reader is left with ambiguity as to what is “the real” and therefore the logic of the world is put into question. What am I reading? Is he dreaming? Is this real? Is this what he would like to do is this what he’s done? Are these conscious or unconscious desires? Etc. etc. all leads me (the reader) to doubt, making the character unreliable (in the sense that I’m using).
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Paul Bedford on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:11 pm

Well, it's certainly going to take a couple of days for all the info you provided to sink in, Anomic, but I'm sure that my path will be more certain by then as I certainly like much of what I read.

(Nb: To those reading this thread and wondering why I'm not baiting Anomic or being a facetious mongrel, it's because I manned-up, bit the bullet and apologised to him via a direct email. Why? Well, for basically being the aforementioned things (and more) because he had the gall to (constructively) criticise my work... and I couldn't handle it. So, now we have cleared the (virtual) air and now I am doing what I always should have done: come to him for advice regarding structure, because, by golly, by gosh, he certainly knows his stuff.)

Cheers,

Paul.
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Laocorn on Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:22 am

"The Best Way to be Remembered is to Have a Life Worth Remembering" - Bruce Lee.

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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:49 am

No worries Paul, if it helps great... if it hinders just ditch it and for every rule there is an exception.

For others reading, I’m happy to explain more or field questions about anything I’ve written but I find this format limiting in that writing it down makes it look like I have a fixed/inflexible position on what I’ve said but this is essentially theory and therefore by definition up for discussion.

If anyone is interested in looking at a classic example of the truly mad unreliable narrator get yourself a copy of Hubert Selby Jr's book The Room published in 1971 (link below is a review)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksbl ... ningameric
The room shows it can work, although it was critically panned when it came out. Personally I only made it ½ way through the book before the repetition made me lose interest... great idea but there is only so much you can do with a character locked in a room going over the same event in his head.

Hayden, yes I’ve become a word of the day calendar ... and today’s word is anachrony :)
http://www.answers.com/topic/anachrony
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby agent_x on Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:51 pm

This thread is making my brain hurt.
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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Laocorn on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:18 pm

"The Best Way to be Remembered is to Have a Life Worth Remembering" - Bruce Lee.

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Re: New intro for The List - crits encouraged.

Postby Anomic on Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:11 am

Paul this is gratuitous so treat accordingly...

I’ve been mulling over your original post and your desire to “reduce the 'what the fuckness?'” response from some readers.

I’ve recommended Stephen King’s book On Writing in this forum some time ago (I was howled down for putting a link to an online copy – mea culpa).

While a lot of what is in the book is not worth reading there is one thing King recommends that may be assistance...
When he has finished his manuscript but before he gives it to his editor he gives copies to 3 of his most trusted and brutally honest friends for them to read. He provides them with a sheet of paper set out so they can record their impressions of the story, but more importantly to mark
• where they became lost (with what, where or how, kind of questions)
• when (page/paragraph) they got up from the book or stopped reading (to get a drink, go to bed etc.)

What King is doing is looking for points where the reader disengages with the narrative (already talked about in this thread) he collates the reports to see if it was just one person or more that were having these difficulties and then fixes accordingly.

E.g. If all 3 people stopped reading at page 45 for whatever reason or if 2 of the 3 went WTF at page 91 then there is an issue that required fixing.

Just thought it might help
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