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Exceedingly fun to write, though I’m sure there are a some historical inaccuracies. I did my best to keep true to historical events (ie Magellan was in fact injured at the battle of Cannanore in March of 1506, though I took liberties with the nature of the injury, and of course Columbus died on May 20, 1506). A cursory search also shows that a fair number of the words and terminology used emerged closer to the latter half of the 16th century.

I intend this to be a short graphic novel under the working title: The Myth of the Flat Earth. In the introductory pages below, I haven’t yet made any distinctions between panels, though I have added some description where I thought it was helpful or needed. The characters alternate between each line of dialogue.

Fantasy map of a flat earth

The workshop of an aged inventor and explorer, Portugal 1506. A conversation between Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan, age 25) and his uncle, Diogo.

Diogo: How is your leg fairing?

Magellan: As good as to be expected and no better, I fear.

Hmmm?

Magellan grimaces.

de Almeida does not seem to think I would be able to tether the rigging.

And could you?

In my sleep. I am young enough not to be bothered by an annoyance.

I would hardly call it such, but if you consider it so. Da Vinci’s work?

Diogo admires Magellan’s leg brace as his nephew observes the contents of the workshop.

His design, yes. He is quite enthralled with human anatomy. It is a bit disconcerting.

Quite ingenious. The cur!

Magellan grins.

Is there no modern mind with whom you hold no contempt?

Great minds are always set against the current beliefs and are often ridiculed because of it.

The inventor shuffles off between the shelves. Magellan follows.

I suppose that hinges on the distinction between belief and truth.

Empirical evidence, of course. Observational, first-hand accounts. There can be no doubt in that.

And yet your plans are still fixed?

Unwaveringly so.

Despite such evidence against it?

Misinterpretation.

And what of Aristotle? and of Bede?

Mistaken.

But surely the appearance of the New World…

Has proven nothing, but that Columbus is poor navigator and an even poorer mathematician. Next you will be convincing me that the sun and moon do not move across the sky!

Diogo distractedly rummages through the teetering shelves, picking out various maps and charts as he goes. For every paper he adds to his overflowing arms, another falls from them to the ground. Magellan picks them up as he follows.

Yes, but has it not shown that there are lands beyond the sea! It is every explorer’s ambition to finally discover the unknown world.  Ah, but I must see it for myself!

I am not so much concerned with the New World as I am with what lies beyond it and I shall not waste another moment on postulation!

Magellan looks at his uncle warily.

I suppose you have heard then?

Heard what? That the pompous wretch lies bedridden… I shall not let him die thinking for one moment that he has bested me!

Your plan is reckless. Columbus’ crew did not bear well and he has made four trips in his life.

I will do in one what he could not do in a hundred voyages!

In his eagerness, Diogo topples over the worn bust of a Viking warrior as well as the pile of papers precariously balanced on its head. The inventor takes no notice and simply steps over the mess, depositing the contents of his arms on his desk. Behind the desk is pinned a rough circular sketch of the known countries of the world; the sea stretches endlessly to the circumference of the Earth. Magellan sighs and begins to clean up.

It would do me a grievance to see anything happen to you Tio. I suppose my only solace is that you should not find a captain, let alone a crew, willing to indulge such foolish ideas.

I have already found such a captain and crew, and a good ship. I leave within a fortnight.

Magellan drops everything and stands abruptly.

What mad fool have you contrived into helping you?! Tio, only an unbalanced mind would agree to such absurd terms and I would not have you in their society for a moment!

Unbalanced! Absurd! Such slights am I used to, but never from my own blood!

Be reasonable Tio! You are an accomplished scholar, but in this you are wrong. Every evidence and rational thought of the last six centuries is against you. If you commit to this folly, then you will be infamous for it! Abandon this campaign and set this quarrel to rest!

You err in thinking that I am swayed only by the passion of a quarrel; though I would like to shred his smug face against a grindstone! Diogo sighs, turning to his nephew. The world is both spherical and flat, it is both self-contained and ever flowing. Until we can see for ourselves, it is both of these things and it is neither.

Diogo pauses for his words to take some effect.

So?

So the evidence that stands against me is equally contended by the words and accounts of human history!

Magellan laughs.

In myths you mean, don’t you?

In the old stories lie countless truths.

And countless fallacies. Would you set out to prove the existence of dragons?

Could you say, with empirical proof, that there are none in all of the world; a world that you just so justly put, has yet to be fully discovered?

It is not for me to prove, Tio, for you could say that of anything a man can imagine.

Exactly so! We have an opportunity, nephew, to find out for ourselves the true nature of this world!

You harbor under the delusion that I should help you in this madness.

I have taken the liberty of putting you on the ship’s manifest. I trust you have no objections.

I have every objection imaginable!

You are unable to perform your duty in the regiment fleets and no other ship will bring you on in the interim with such an injury. The inventor grasps Magellan’s shoulders firmly. Fernão, you belong to the sea and she to you. We could chart the unknown ocean; we could be the first men to go to the edge of the world! No greater feat will you accomplish in life!

Magellan considers his uncle’s words, studying the maps and stellar charts pinned on the walls.

To the edge of the world and back, I hope. But I suppose at the very least I will be able to begin my exploration of the New World. Who could say they were offered such an opportunity at this stage in their career?

Precisely, though I will hear no more of this “New World”. It has nothing to do with us.

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III. Pretentiousness (PRIDE)

calvin-and-hobbes-the-purpose-of-writing

Ambiguity in writing; seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? Writing so much to say so little, hiding meaning in vagueness and sneering at those who can’t see it… if it’s even there. How much more impressive I find it when so much is said in few words!

So, what’s the point of this post, to which you’re about to commit five minutes of reading between all sorts of lines and not-so-witty remarks in order to decipher it. And after I’ve put so much effort in turning my words into obscure references to their meaning! How very inconsiderate of you. You’d like to pick my words apart and discover that there is little more rational thought than a house fly, that my reasoning is no more than needless sophistry (as you can tell I have a very broad vocabulary, unlike most writers I presume).

Well, you’re going to be disappointed, I’m afraid to say, for I am about to expound a most complex and thought-provoking observation on the art of writing.

There is no cunning or subtlety of mind in writing that is derived from ambiguous intentions; there is only the mundane  — Me

Confused? Good. I can only assume by your obvious lack of understanding, and of any cognitive function for that matter, that you were unable to keep up with my thought process. Don’t feel ashamed, I am assured by my colleagues that this afflicts most readers (not that I needed to be told!) I mean, how can anyone expect to understand what is written except for the author… that just wouldn’t make proper sense now would it?

What I meant to say is that you shouldn’t rely on subtlety to help gloss over what you can’t put into words, nor to make yourself appear talented or intelligent. If anything, it makes you boring, stale, and, unfortunately, just like the rest of us (and by “us” I mean you lot of course, didn’t want to single any one out!) Being long-winded is tedious; being long-winded with nothing to say is infuriating.

What? Why didn’t I just say so to begin with? Why, then we wouldn’t have had this inspiring conversation! Because I’m sure you’re inspired to read the rest of my blog now that you know exactly what to expect: a candid observation of my human condition.

7 Sins of Writing (Part II)

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More forays into the wonderful world of graphic novel writing! This is an idea a good friend of mine and I cooked up. I’ve noticed more an more how much I visualize panels as I’m writing for graphic novels, but I’m never able to capture the full scope of the panel’s visual in words. I have a specific angle, depth, emotion in mind when writing and that, I think, is the hardest to convey. But it’s great practice in keeping my verbosity in check!

***

INT. NEST – NIGHT

Panel One

Terri wakes up in a dim cavern, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dark.

Panel Two

There are shapes on the ground, lumps of cloth roughly the size of human bodies.

 Panel Three

Terri shakily gets to his feet, wincing as he puts pressure on his right arm. There is a limp hand protruding from the folds of a cloak nearby.

Panel Four

He staggers towards the wall, tripping over a human-shaped lump that collapses inward. He looks back at it and starts.

Panel Five

It is a man’s face, twisted into a painful scream. His features are charred, the corroded flesh clinging to the bone. The partially exposed jaw reveals an elongated and bloody canine tooth.

Panel Six

FLASH–The man’s face is burning in front of him, the flesh curling back and parting like paper. It seems as though he’s burning from within.

Panel Seven

Enraged, the man lunges at Terri’s throat, its teeth piercing his neck as the creature’s skin continues to burn.

Panel Eight

FLASH–Terri shuffles back against the wall, his hand protectively reaching for his throat.

Panel Nine

His fingers run over the wound on his neck. It’s covered in dry blood and seems to be healing.

Panel Ten

Terri looks down a narrow passage leading out of the room, he gets to his feet, still pressing his palm to his throat.

Panel Eleven

He uses his left hand to steady himself on the wall as he walks, his right dangling nearly useless at his side.

Panel Twelve

Terri enters the heart of the underground, a huge cave of overlapping rock and stone.

Panel Thirteen

He walks to the edge of a chasm, peering down into the infinite depths of a cave that twists into passages and hollows. There are bodies everywhere, contorted as though they had died writhing in agony. There flesh is seared, some of their bones are crumbling into ash.

Panel Fourteen

At the center of the nest there is a spire cut from a large rock formation. At the top, is an alter carved with deep groves and trenches entwining around and down the spire, flowing like veins throughout the entire cave. Here and there, the blood gathers in dark pools. The whole thing seems to both ingenious and primal.

Panel Fifteen

FLASH–Terri is climbing the side of the spire, keeping to the shadows to avoid being seen. Blood now flows down the spire, through the trenches, and out into the tunnels.

Panel Sixteen

Terri reaches up towards the next handhold, revealing rows of vials sown into the inside of his coat. The vials contain a glowing yellow liquid.

Panel Seventeen

As Terri pulls himself up the next ledge, his foot slips against the rocks and he hits against the wall.

Panel Eighteen

FLASH–Terri is leaning too far over the ledge and the rock crumbles beneath his feet, causing him to slide down the shallow slope.

Panel Nineteen

Terri falls into a dried up trench, his face landing in a small pool of blood.

Panel Twenty

Terri straightens in a panic, instinctively spitting the blood out of his mouth and wiping his face with his hands, though smears of blood remain.

Panel Twenty-One

Terri stops wiping his face as he sees a faint light coming from a nearby passage.

Panel Twenty-Two

Terri licks his lower lip nervously and steps over the bodies towards the light.

EXT – NEST – NIGHT

Panel One

Terri emerges from the cave, stumbling on the rocky slope. It’s still night, but the sky is tinged with a faint purple glow. Soon the sun will rise.

Panel Two

He looks at the city below him. It’s an abandoned ruin.

Panel Three

Terri glances down at the sleeve of his brown coat. There is a small hand-drawn emblem on a hastily stitched patch.

Panel Four

He moves to rubs his fingers through his hair, now matted by the blood, but winces and lets his right arm drop. He begins to walk down towards the city.

EXT – CITY STREETS – NIGHT

warner-swasey-observatory-e

Panel One – Three

Terri walks slowly down the empty streets. Cars are abandoned or overturned, store windows are either smashed in or hastily boarded up.

Panel Four

There are bodies lying haphazardly in the alleyways, their gaunt faces drained of life and blood, their throats torn open as though by animals. A few rats gnaw on their fingers.

Panel Five

Exhausted, Terri reaches his destination: the city’s observatory. A single floor building, with a small dome at the center.

Panel Six

Terri turns away from the observatory, heading down the alley a few streets away.

Panel Seven

The alley is a dead end. There is graffiti scrawled in red paint on the wall next to him.

Panel Eight

Out of habit, he steals a glance around before bending down and lifting the heavy manhole cover awkwardly with his left hand, slipping into the sewer.

Panel Nine

The sky is a soft yellow glow.

INT- OBSERVATORY BASEMENT – DAY

Panel One

The observatory basement is dark. The tables have been pushed against the wall and covered with white sheets. There are chairs and stools in clusters. Some of the doors are barricaded. There are star charts and maps all over the walls.

Panel Two

Terri enters the room from a heavy metal door, sliding inside carefully.

Panel Three

He walks between the chairs and heads to the front of the room. There is a old poster of the solar system, the kind you would find in a high school lab. The emblem on his jacket sleeve is scrawled over top the sun with black permanent marker.

Panel Four

There is a clatter from another room above. Terri grabs a wooden stake from the table and heads for the stairwell door.

Panel Five

Terri emerges on the first floor. The sound is coming from the break room.

Panel Six

Terri grasps the stake tightly with his left hand as he slowly pushes the door open with his right, biting back a gasp of pain.

Panel Seven

A heavy wooden bolt flies at his head and he narrowly ducks to evade it.

Panel Eight

He brings the stake up towards his enemy, but his movement is awkward, and a hand shoots and grabs his left wrist.

Panel Nine

Terri is standing in front of a young boy. His brown hair is messy, his dark eyes focused and calm. He’s grasping Terri’s wrist tightly, holding a crossbow aloft in his other hand.

Panel Ten

Terri winces as the boy squeezes his wrist, but he doesn’t drop the stake.

TEAGAN

Whoa there boys. Let’s take it easy now.

Panel Eleven

An older punk girl, TEAGAN 26, walks from the back of the room, putting her stake into her belt next to a few daggers.

TEAGAN

We’re all on the same side.

Panel Twelve

The girl has blond streaks through her black hair which is tied in a messy bun at the back. She’s wearing baggy cargo pants and a snug t-shirt. There is blood splattered all over her cloths and a fresh scar on her lower lip. She grins at him.

TEAGAN

Hullo there Terri.

Panel Thirteen

The boy releases Terri, who jerks back.

TERRI

Teagan? Fuck, what are you two playing at?!

Panel Fourteen

The boy walks past him, pulling the wooden crossbow bolt from the door where it was stuck. Terri eyes him suspiciously.

Panel Fifteen

Teagan smiles broadly.

TEAGAN

Christ, I thought you were dead! How’d you make out?

Panel Sixteen

Terri rubs his head, sitting one of the plastic chairs.

TERRI

What?

Panel Seventeen

A mousy faced boy is sitting at the back of the room. His face is partially hidden in his hoodie.

DAVID

By the looks of him, my guess is not so good.

Panel Eighteen

TEAGAN

Don’t mind David. He’s an ass.

Panel Nineteen

DAVID, 23, shoots Teagan a disgusted and angry look, but says nothing.

Panel Nineteen

The pale boy walks past him and begins to reset his crossbow.

VINCE

Did you complete your objective?

Panel Twenty

Terri unconsciously rubs his neck.

TERRI

Yeah. Yeah, I did. How many more made it back?

Panel Twenty-One

TEAGAN

Near as I can tell, the five of us are the only ones.

Panel Twenty-Two

TERRI

Five of us?

GEN

Terri?

Panel Twenty-Three

Terri turns to see GEN, a 23-year old girl with brown curly hair tied back into a low pony tail.

TERRI

Gen?

Panel Twenty-Four

Terri stands up and she takes a step back.

GEN

Terri, I can explain. I just couldn’t sit around and…

Panel Twenty-Five

Terri quickly walks up to her and hugs her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Threads of Fate

EXT. Universe
Panel One
The dizzying array of the cosmos.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
The universe is in constant motion, hurtling towards an indeterminable future.

Panel Two
Drawing back, the galaxies begin to form glowing fault lines as though part of the aurora.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
Indeterminable to those who cannot see the threads of Fate, weaving infinite futures into a single path, a single purpose.

Panel Three
Even further still, the galaxies look like they are part of a web of glowing white filament.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
And through this, the delicate balance of all universes is created. So fine, that even the slightest fray could unravel the very fabric of our world.

INT. Wayne Manor – Thomas Wayne’s Office – Night
Panel Four
Still pulling back, the thread is part of a necklace of pearls.

Panel Five
The necklace is on the neck of a beautiful woman in a portrait.

Panel Six
The portrait is of the Wayne family, the pearl necklace resting around Mrs. Wayne’s pale neck. Bruce is in his late teens.

WORKING TITLE  Batman: Worlds Apart

Panel Seven
Wide shot. The portrait hangs on the wall behind Bruce Wayne’s desk, which once belonged to his father. The chair is vacant. Bruce (35) is standing at the window.

Panel Eight
Alfred enters, remaining at the door.

ALFRED
Master Wayne, nearly all the delegates have arrived.

Panel Nine
The two are standing at opposite ends of the room, Bruce with his back to Alfred.

BRUCE
It’s Bruce, Alfred.

Panel Ten
Alfred bows his head, reserved.

ALFRED
Of course Sir. Shall I introduce you?

Panel Eleven
Bruce’s fingers rest on the rim of a glass of scotch. Inside the glass, the reflection of the Wayne’s family portrait is almost indiscernible.

BRUCE
I’m sure they already know who I am.

Panel Twelve
Wide. The two stand in silence.

Panel Thirteen

BRUCE
…I’d rather not go out there.

ALFRED
You are the face of Wayne Enterprises, Sir. The title comes with certain responsibilities, as tiresome as you may find them.

Panel Fourteen
Beat. Bruce takes a swig of his glass.

BRUCE
Shall we then?

BATS AND BRUCE

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Where have I been? I’m not sure.

Wandering a forgotten city. Dozing by a traveler’s shrine. Mourning the loss of a friend. Falling through endless space.

Writing takes you all kinds of places, but some things can’t be put into words. Have you ever tried to write something indescribable? Sometimes, I feel everything is… indescribable, unfathomable, unattainable.

Where Have I Been

Words are such cumbersome things… drawing isn’t easy either.

 

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This is the opening to a graphic novel I’ve had on the back burner for about a year. I’m working on getting some art done for it, it’s actually the reason I’ve held off on posting it. If ever I get around to getting this illustrated, I’ll definitely be posting it here! I’ve written descriptions of each panel so, until then, imagination will have to do!

***

Clock

Panel 1
A man running down a narrow alleyway faintly lit by the glow of neon lights. There is something bundled in brown cloth tucked underneath his arm. His dusty cloak billows behind him, his face hidden in a the depths of his hood.

I can’t really say why I’m here, running for my life, trying to stop the end of the world.

Panel 2
The man exits the alley into a futuristic steampunk inspired cityscape. The city is dank, the tall brass skyscrapers lit up by flashing neon signs. The gutters are lined with garbage, shop windows are broken and boarded up.

Panel 3
There are few people on the streets, but those that can be seen are disheveled, their clothing torn with grime, holding worn cloaks tightly around themselves. There is a woman in tattered robes sitting in the gutter, with a sign propped up beside her that reads “The end is here”. Others are starring transfixed at something in the center of the plaza.

Panel 4
The people are starring at a large clock tower illuminated in the heart of the square. It’s face has many concentric circles layered atop brass gears, turning in different directions.

But I do know how it all began.

Panel 5
Close up on the minute hand of the clock.

It was decades before I was born, when they determined the exact date and time the world would end.

Panel 5
A young man meditating, draped in a Tibetan monk’s robes.

Some Precog in Tibet; he’d never been wrong.

Panel 6
Close up on the monks eyes, open in terror.

I’m sure they wish he’d be wrong about this one.

Panel 7
The man turns towards the clock tower and begins to run through the thin crowd.

Point is, now the world’s gone to shit.

Panel 8
He runs past a mural with the words “Believe in God” scrawled in faded paint. The word God is scratched out and the words “the end” replace them in black spray paint.

Fear has torn this world apart.

Panel 9
Close up: a puddle on the cobblestones as the man steps in it, disturbing the reflection of the skyscrapers against the inky night sky.

Now there are only a few dozen cities left.

Panel 10
The cloaked man continues to run through the crowd of transfixed onlookers, looking back at his indiscernible pursuer.

People stopped fighting each other once they realized it might be the cause of our own predestined destruction.

Panel 11
High angle on a few onlookers in the crowd, starring blankly upwards at the massive clock.

Actually they’ve stopped doing anything at all.

Panel 12
The man reaches the side of the support structure for the clock tower, and looks up the tall shaft where an old brass ladder is attached.

Clocks don’t tell time anymore; they only count down the minutes till the end.

Panel 13
The man begins to climb up the ladder, cradling the bundle with one arm.

But no one knows how its all going to go down. Me, I’d like to find out.

Panel 14
Side profile of the man’s face, though his hood still partial covers his features.

Maybe that’s why I’m here.

Panel 15
Wide shot of the clock tower from behind the sparse crowd of onlookers. The outline of the man climbing the side of the tower is followed by another.

There is a main clock in every city square, not that we need them.

Panel 16
A man’s wrist watch.

Panel 17
A woman holding a young girls hand. The young girl has a locket with a small clock inside, the woman is wearing a watch on her upper arm.

Panel 18
The tattered woman in the gutter has an alarm clock next to her, sheltered by a newspaper.

Most people carry one on them at all times.

Panel 19
The man continues to climb up the ladder, his cloak flaring out in the wind. He has a chain connected to a watch in his front pocket. He also has two hand guns strapped to either side.

Including me.

Panel 20
Close up on the pocket watch, half exposed in his breast pocket.

The only thing is that mine stopped working a long time ago, on the exact moment my world ended.

Panel 21
The end of a narrow grate bridge at the top of the ladder, the man’s hand grasps the edge.

Since that day, I’ve tried to do what I can for people…

Panel 22
The man pulls himself up.

… because it seems most people can’t do anything for themselves anymore.

It’s not their fault though, they’re scared.

Panel 23
The man begins to run across the walkway, silhouetted against the massive clock face.

Anyways, like I said, I don’t really know how I got here, on this bridge, minutes before the end of it all…

Panel 24
He reaches the end of the slippery walkway, only just stopping himself from falling as his hood slides off.

… trying to save the world.

Panel 25
Close up on his hand as he tightens his grip on the bundle.

Maybe I’m scared too,

Panel 26
The cloaked man is in the forefront, his head just out of frame. One of his revolvers gleams in the moonlight. Over his shoulder, a dark indiscernible figure approaches.

Maybe I’m going insane.

Panel 27
The man has turned around, his gun aimed at his assailant who is out of frame. His face is  illuminated by the glow of the clock face. He looks to be in his mid-30’s, with vivid green eyes and shaggy dark hair. He has a monocle type lens attached to a mechanism over his left eye.

But I like to think that I’m just a nice fucking guy.

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A Glimpse of Reality

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