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Really Smart or Really Lazy?:

I need a drink
I was minding my own business today, the keys on my keyboard clapping furiously away, when one of my class-mates in English asked what I was doing. Cautiously, I explained I was working on the script for my comic. She seemed interested enough and asked me about it.

I explained as best as I could (I never really had to discuss comics in real life) and she seemed to have enjoyed what she heard...till I get to one character:

"Ok, then there's The Rumour, he's kind of the Batman of the story, except it's a father/son thing"

"That sounds cool! So what's there story?"

"Well the son Jack, used to be his dad's sidekick, then he inherited the job"

"Ok. What about the Dad?"

"...What about him"

"Well, what's his story? How'd he get started?"

"I...don't know"

"What?"

"Well, er...he doesn't really have one"

"Well that's kinda lazy"

What preceded was a failed attempt to explain the idea before she lost interest and got on with her work. Thinking back, I don't know if I agree with her.

The original intention was to play the Mysterious Past to the Nth degree and see if, by simply alluding to a dark past or shocking event, I could keep the audience caring about the character. Needless to say, my ego has been nicked a bit and I find myself questioning my idea.

Is it laziness? Is it clever? What are your thoughts?

edited 30th Mar '11 4:30:23 AM by AtomJames

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 2 d Roy, Wed, 30th Mar '11 4:20:52 AM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] I have currently too little context to judge. Is his father alive or around the hero? If he is, then I guess that it might sound too...I wouldn't say lazy, but underdeveloped plot-wise.

Btw, how do you write script for comic? Just wondering.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
I need a drink
Oh right! Sorry bout that. Yes, the father Neil is still alive though due to age and a lifetime of crime-fighting he is effectively retired. He advises his son from their hideout, the Haunt...its their cellar. We also see him in action during flashbacks. His pretty much The Cowl.

Its the same as you would a movie, except you include stuff like number of boxes, size of boxes, sound effects etc. Of course, it really depends on the writer. Alan Moore, writes his scripts like a book with the level of detail he put in.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 4 d Roy, Wed, 30th Mar '11 5:01:52 AM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] I see. Even still, there's so many narrating techniques and I have no idea how you will utilize that. There's many factors, like how mysterious his past is, how is his reputation in your verse, what kind of (more specific) relationship The Hero has with his father and how it influences him.... I think my comprehension ability is too low to assume that from the amount of the context I have right now. (shrugs) Just write what you think is good. Judging by the posts, you are probably better of a writer than me anyway.

Ah, so that's how it works. I always wanted to create a Manga but just took up writing instead because drawing just isn't my thing. Guess there's still hope.

What is that quote at the bottom of your page? You know, city with grime, coin, trains, and such? Sounds like moody work and I like that.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
I need a drink
Well, his past is mysterious. The audience never really learns any of the details at all. They are given clues and it's alluded to , but they get nothing. Kinda if the Noodle Incident from Calvin and Hobbes was a hundred times more er...mysterious. :S The character's reputation is pretty notorious, so everybody save for the older heroes gives him a pretty wide berth. Most people say that he has two expressions: Angry and Angrier. He's well respected though.

Outsiders would consider Jack and Neil's relationship unhealthy, like that of a demanding drill sergeant and a soldier. The truth is quite the opposite. Both care for each other, they just have difficulty expressing it, especially Neil, who based his entire career around being in control. Jack is following in his footsteps, but hasn't quite mastered stoicism yet due to his age and his own beliefs on how to do the job.

I'd go for it! Funny really. I started focusing on writing cause my own skills weren't living up to my ambitions either.

That? Oh thats just a lyric from The Vicious Cabaret. It's a song that features in V for Vendetta by Alan Moore funnily enough. It's actually some of the best foreshadowing I've ever seen. Check it out it's really good! :D
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
My teacher's a panda
I wouldn't say it's lazy. It's a bit much to expect a writer to have EVERY aspect of his world and characters fully developed. If the character is a supporting character, it would simply be enough to say "This is the character as the way he is now, the role he plays in the story, and how he will change during the course of the story", without necessarily going into background.

I wouldn't be too bothered by the comment. Critics exist everywhere. She has no idea what type of story you're trying to tell. She has no idea what plans you have for the character. She has no idea how you plan on playing with the mysterious background of the character. Only you know what's going inside your head and the wonderful things you're going to do with this character. If it were me, I would go back to this person, and explain to her just how wonderful you're concept is, that the whole unknown backstory is the whole point of the character.

I, personally, like that idea of playing with the mysterious character. I always enjoy the character that doesn't appear to have a backstory, but just seems to have always been there, exactly the way we see him now. The idea of playing this for laughs, or even for drama, could be very fascinating. I think it would especially be fun if the son tries to follow in his father's footsteps, but fails, because he has no idea where his father's footsteps have been.

As for the lazy comment, I wouldn't ignore it completely. There's a reason she said it, and if she said it, chances are, your readers will too. Now you're challenge now is to figure out a way to keep your character's lack of a backstory from sounding lazy. As I said before, if the point of the character is that his past is mysterious and that you intentionally plan on playing with the idea, than there is no problem. Your lack of backstory isn't due to laziness, but design. So now the challenge is to make that point clear to the reader.

I need a drink
Thanks Whacky! :D Funny you should mention his son not knowing how to proceed, because that's actually in there. There's one storyline where Jack finds out what happened to his father's first sidekick and...it doesn't really end too well. As for ways to keep the readers in the loop, but still guessing, do you mind if I were to give an extract?

Fingers planted to the communication device wedged in his ear, Neil briskly strolls through the door of the cellar and casually starts booting up The Haunt's computer systems. By the looks of the news report, things could be getting messy fast.

Neil: Jack? [Sitting at his computer terminal, the glow from the screen illuminating his face. He waits as the system loads itself]

Jack: I heard. I'm on my way. [Over the communication device]

Neil: What have you got so far?

Jack: Police Scanners are talking about a couple robots breaking into the First Bank. What do you think?

Neil: Sounds like Dr. Killham.

Jack:That's what I thought.

Neil: He must have had a satellite lab in the city. After your done, check out the docks and see if you can find it. I'll see what I can find from here [As the system finally boots, Neil begins his work, fingers deftly clicking and clacking , the sounds of the keys fill the silence.]

Jack: Got it!

Time passes as Neil glares at the screen. A file shows that Killham has recently made a number of purchases around the industrial district. "It might take hours to find the new lab at this rate." The sound of a cardboard box dropping breaks Neil's attention from the screen. Turning his chair around, Neil stands confronting the darkness, habit dictating his actions.

A black cat steps towards the light. "So that's where you got to". Neil types in a command to bring up a list of the properties in order from oldest to newest before turning his attention to the cat. A stray. Might be nice to have some company. He picks up the bundle of fur and strokes it, the flashing light from the screen making his movement seem incredibly slow. By chance he catches a glimpse of a shadow of the wall. It's moving. A trick of the light, but it'sthe same old story.

Three figures quickly change into four before changing back. They're circling a fifth, or is it a fourth?. The fifth/fourth shadow is falling, rising, falling trying to get up. The illusion of calm cracks on Neil's face. The shrill screaming growing louder with each flash. He closes his eyes tightly, vainly attempting to bury the scream. He drops into the chair, trying to catch his breathe. The cat is still in his hands. It's soft. The screen finally stops flashing.

Yeah kinda like that.

edited 30th Mar '11 7:31:24 AM by AtomJames

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 8 d Roy, Wed, 30th Mar '11 6:45:17 AM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] Wait, what's going on in the last paragraph/scene? Is Jack and the cat seeing the figures doing something disturbing on the screen?
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
I need a drink
shadows are being disturbing on a wall illuminated by the screen. My bad.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 10 d Roy, Wed, 30th Mar '11 6:52:33 AM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] Sorry...still don't get what's going on. So...there's shadow of the cat and Jack on the wall because of the computer screen but because the monitor flashes a lot the shadow is being...distrubed or disturbing? Oh, and why is the cat screaming?

Sorry, not good at understanding that kind of descriptions...
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
I need a drink
Er no.. while Neil is holding the cat he is staring at the shadows on the wall that are constantly morphing back and forth as the computer flashes with each new purchase that shows up in the file. The cat isn't screaming. It's in his head...it made more sense in my head. and visually.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 12 d Roy, Wed, 30th Mar '11 7:09:45 AM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] Well, don't take my words at all because I'm just not good at picturing things.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
My teacher's a panda
So....Neil is insane? Or haunted by demon shadows? It's really hard to tell exactly what is going on, which is good, for the most part, because it will cause people to want to keep reading. But you need to be careful, because if you set up too much mystery, and not provide enough answers, the readers will eventually get bored of it. People do expect a pay off at some point.

I need a drink
Hmm, so tone it down just enough to keep them from getting over excited? Ok, sounds doable. I'll see what I can work on. Would it perhaps be a better idea to make the reveal an unreveal? And instead make the event Neil is so worked up about Jack's origin? That in itself isn't the most pleasant memory. Not even Jack knows it.

edited 30th Mar '11 6:36:57 PM by AtomJames

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
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Total posts: 14
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