Looking for writing critique

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Looking for writing critique

Postby meticulator on Tue May 18, 2010 3:52 pm

Okay, so I've only just joined this community. The idea for this comic only came to me yesterday and I've never even thought about writing a webcomic before. My drawing is utterly terrible, so I'll need to learn to do that or find someone else to do it at some point. But right now I'm looking for some feedback on my dialogue and humour.
I envision is as a four-panel strip, some following the puncline gag format, others like little mini-sketches with several jokes throughout.
It's called Cecrops High. It's a comedy-drama set in a high school in an anachronistic ancient Greece and all the characters are from Greek mythology or history. I've written eleven strips so far. Setting is included, but I've omitted the actual panel composition for brevity's sake.
I'm sorry if I'm breaching some kind of etiquette here. I read the rules, but I'm still a little unsure if I'm supposed to be posting stuff like this. Anyway, the dialogue scripts for the first eleven strips of Cecrops High.

Strip #1
Zoom from the Earth to a minivan-like donkey cart on an Athenian road

Narrator: What is reality?
Narrator: It’s a question that has puzzled man ever since he was advanced enough to look further into the future than his next meal.

Narrator: Are events true fixed, constant as the northern star? A linear progression of time, the past carved in stone and the future lost in chaos?
Narrator: Or do our perceptions shape reality?

Narrator: Does our constant re-evaluation of past events based on presents experiences truly change the nature of these events?
Narrator: If so, then the concept of ‘impossible’ is itself an impossibility. An infinite number of realities exist in potentia, waiting to be actualised by the human imagination.

Narrator: In this kind of universe, in which literally everything can and does exist, to call anything ‘clichéd’ or ‘overused’ is a contradiction of the highest order.
Alcmene: Now I know it’s not easy moving to a new school, but I’m sure you’ll make plenty of friends in no time.
Narrator: And yet...

Strip #2
The same donkey cart, now parked

Heracles: I’ll be fine, Mum. Don’t stress out.
Alcmene: Who’s stressing out? I was reassuring you.
Heracles: I know that tone. You were reassuring yourself.

Alcmene: I just think it would be nice if you could make some new friends...
Heracles: Making friends has never been my problem.
Alcmene: ...friends with single fathers who maybe made some choices they weren’t ready for and feel they might have had kids a little too early...
Heracles: Keeping them, on the other hand...

Alcmene: ...It’s not that they resent the child, he’s been nothing but a blessing, but perhaps they gave up on their youth before they were emotionally ready for it...
Heracles: Do you ever wonder why you were only invited to one PTA meeting?

Alcmene: ...and it isn’t as though it wasn’t worth it, I mean, king of the gods, how do you say no to that? But there might have been things that they still wanted to do, things that they’ll never get a chance to experience...
Heracles: Mum, I don’t think I can afford to be seen around you anymore.

Strip #3
Close up on Heracles’ face

Heracles: (thought bubble) Okay. It’s your first day. The impression you make today will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Heracles: (thought bubble) Act confident, but don’t draw too much attention to yourself.

Heracles: (thought bubble) You’re going to humiliate yourself sooner or later, but the longer you put it off, the less your reputation will suffer.

Visual Gag: *Heracles smashes through a marble wall.*

Heracles: (thought bubble) Okay, you just walked through a wall. No biggie. Walk it off. Probably happens to everyone.

Strip #4
A Cecrops High hallway

Heracles: Uh excuse me, could you point me to the front office?
Electra: Look at that. The jock’s talking to us.
Cassandra: Don’t worry. He’ll stop soon enough.

Heracles: I’m not a jock.
Cassandra: You will be.
Electra: Massive shoulders...
Cassandra: ...chiselled jaw...
Electra: ...bulging biceps...
Cassandra: ...washboard abs...
Heracles: Uh, thanks?

Electra: ...sloping, Neanderthal-like forehead...
Heracles: I don’t have a—
Cassandra: You’ll join the decathlon team...
Electra: ...start playing grab-ass in the showers with your teammates...
Cassandra: ....date one of the princesses...
Heracles: ‘Grab-ass?’

Cassandra: ...and pretty soon you’ll have forgotten our names.
Heracles: I don’t even know your names.
Electra: So it’s started already.

Strip #5
Further down the same hallway

Paris: Come on, we’ll show you where it is.
Heracles: Thanks.
Adonis: You may call me Adonis. This strapping young specimen is Paris.
Heracles: Heracles.

Adonis: Ignore the she-devils back there.
Heracles: Who are—?
Adonis: The weird one’s Electra. The hot one’s Paris’ little sister, Cassandra.
Paris: Dude...

Adonis: I’ll be honest with you, Heraclitus.
Heracles: It’s Heracl—
Adonis: I think you’d make a great addition to our group. You’re rich and handsome, but not so handsome as to threaten my ego.
Heracles: Thanks, I guess, but I’m not rich.

Adonis: See what you can do about that.
Adonis: We’ll talk Tuesday. I’m booked solid ‘til then. Stay fresh, kid. Later.
Heracles: ...
Heracles: What just...?

Strip #6
The Cecrops High front office

Heracles: Uh, hi. It’s my first day, and I think I’m—
Admeta: Fill these out.
Admeta: And these.
Admeta: And these.

Heracles: These forms appear to be written in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Admeta: That’s for archiving purposes.
Admeta: Greek to Egyptian dictionary’s in the cabinet.
Heracles: That will take hours!
Admeta: Hope not. If you’re not in class in ten minutes, I’ll have to give you a truancy slip.

Heracles: Who was it who said ‘misery loves company?’
Admeta: Not me. The less I see of you, the better.
Admeta: Cabinet’s locked by the way. If you want the key, you need to submit a formal request form.

Heracles: Where do I get one of those?
Admeta: They’re stored in the cabinet.
Admeta: For archiving purposes.
Admeta: ...
Admeta: You’re now officially tardy.

Strip #7
Front office

Aristotle: (off-panel) Just let him in, Admeta!
Admeta: *sigh* The principal wishes to see you now.
Heracles: Oh. Cool. See ya.

Admeta: ...
Admeta: So I’ll just put all these meticulously arranged forms away by myself then?

Principal’s office
Aristotle: Ah, Mister Heracles. Good to meet you. I’m Principal Aristotle. I spoke to your mother last week.
Heracles: Oh, you did? I’m really, really sorry for any inappropriately personal comments and/or blatant propositions she may have made.

Aristotle: Don’t worry, son. I’ve met single mothers before. Yours was far from the worst.
Aristotle: A word of advice: if a young lady called Andromeda ever invites you to her home and you meet a tall blonde woman who claims to be her older sister, leave the room at once and don’t make direct eye contact.

Strip #8
Principal’s office

Aristotle: Ignore Admeta’s forms. Nobody but her ever reads them and I’m fairly certain she writes them all herself too.
Aristotle: Just fill in these basic security questions while get you a timetable and a map.

Heracles: I’m not a drug dealer...
Heracles: I’m not a gang member...
Heracles: I’m not a Spartan...
Aristotle: Clearly, since I am not violently murdered right now.

Heracles: I’m not a hollow wooden construction full of enemy soldiers...
Aristotle: You can never be too careful.

Heracles: Hang on—‘Are you planning to sow the sports field with dragon’s teeth in order to grow an unstoppable army of unliving warriors to do your evil bidding?’
Aristotle: It only has to happen once before you start asking every time.

Strip #9
A hallway

Heracles: (thought bubble) Period I: Mathematics with Mr. Pythagoras. Room IX.

Heracles: (thought bubble) According to the map, that’s down this hallway, turn right, up the other hallway, turn right again, up the stairs, down another hallway, jump over the fire pits, dodge the spinning blades, answer the sphinx’s riddle, turn left and I’m there.

Heracles: (thought bubble) Well, someone was way more imaginative than the job demanded.

Heracles: (thought bubble) I really hope it was the cartographer and not the architect.

Strip #10
Maths classroom

Megara: I asked Iolaus. He said he didn’t want to talk about it. That’s the third guy in four months.
Megara: *sigh* What’s wrong with me.
Ariadne: Honestly? You’re a relationship junkie. You latch onto a boy regardless of whether or not he’s right for you and immediately move onto the next when he inevitably dumps you.

Ariadne: You need to take some time for yourself, to learn to like yourself for who you are instead of leapfrogging between crappy relationships.
Heracles: (off-panel) Hi. I’m new. This is maths, right?

Visual Gag: *Heracles is drawn in soft focus surrounded by a halo of golden light with fluffy clouds and cherubs in the background*
Pythagoras: (off-panel) Welcome, young man. Take your seat.

Visual Gag: *Megara’s eyes have doubled in size. She stares off-panel seemingly in a hypnotic trance and drooling slightly*
Ariadne: Uh, Megara?
Ariadne: Meg?
Ariadne: You in there?
Ariadne: Helloooo?

Strip #11
Maths classroom

Theseus: Hey, man. I’m Theseus.
Heracles: Heracles.
Theseus: So, are you related to any gods?
Heracles: Yes, actually. Zeus is my father.

Theseus: That’s a pretty good one. There’s a lot of kids here with Olympians heritage. We keep a database of who’s related to who to avoid awkwardness later on.
Heracles: Good idea. Wish we’d thought of that at my old school.

Theseus: They do seem to get around, don’t they?
Heracles: I guess when you’re immortal, there’s only so many ways to pass the time.
Theseus: And you can only turn a guy into a rooster so many times before it stops being funny.

Heracles: Someone got turned into a rooster?
Theseus: Oh, it gets weirder than that. When you meet Mr. Pygmalion the art teacher, ask him how he met his wife.
Heracles: I’m not sure I want to.
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Re: Looking for writing critique

Postby Forsakenstars on Wed May 19, 2010 3:04 am

Wow! These are packed with information. And even if you're drawing them yourself, it's a good idea to put in more description and blocking. Thumbnail these and see how much you enjoy cramming all that dialogue into each panel. You've got some funny stuff here, and you're giving your audience a great deal of credit on their knowledge of history, which I'm sure most will appreciate. It makes me want to run out and grab a few ancient literature texts, or at least rent Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum. The first few strips start pretty heavy, but then it looks like #4 you hit your stride, and by the last couple, I was getting some pretty good chuckles going.

Good luck and thumbnail, thumbnail, thumbnail! Start a blog detailing your art progress too, it's a great way to get feedback!
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Re: Looking for writing critique

Postby meticulator on Wed May 19, 2010 3:50 am

Thanks for the compliments. It's really really encouraging.
The advice about the dialogue gives me stuff to think about. I guess I could either cut down on the lines, increase the number of panels, or do really big panels like Questionable Content.
I'm gonna buy an art book asap and start practising like crazy. Learning to draw is uno imperative at this stage.
Thanks again, man. Good to know I'm not the only one who thinks it's funny.

PS: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a masterpiece.
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