Writing Contest #112 - Dystopia
Hey everyone - time for the next Writing Contest/Challenge/Competition!
Thanks to first time winner jamesdcreviston for the theme for this one - "Dystopia"
So as per usual PJ rules:
*Nothing sexual in nature (romantic love scene is OK, but nothing graphic)
*Nothing Political (or at least real world politics)
*1-5 Pages in length
* No published/franchise characters that you haven't created and own the rights to (public domain characters should be OK - just make sure they're public domain)
* The winner of this contest gets to choose the topic of the next contest.
DEADLINE: Monday, April 10th 2017
Let’s get on it guys. I know there are some amazing writers out there. Let’s push each other and make each other’s writing better. Thank you all for supporting me. Hoping to read some amazing stuff!
Originally Posted by Chris2.0
Getting this in while I have the chance
Quick note on character designs: We will be aging some of the characters as we go through this. Some will age more than others. So it is worth thinking about their initial designs to make this a little easier as we go ( e.g. avoid bald characters, as showing a receding hairline might be a good way to demonstrate advancing age ).
Nice big panel of the Mayflower leaving orbit, with the Earth dominating the background.
The Mayflower is the first colony ship to leave Earth. It is automated and carries hundreds of colonists in stasis, along with lots of supplies to found the new colony when it gets to its destination.
It should be big, but with a limited living area and lots of storage – the name Mayflower should be visible along the side of the hull.
A few shuttles are seen flying nearby, they should look very small and the scene should be reminiscent of an old time liner being escorted out of port by lots of smaller ships.
Shuttle(radio): And there she goes folks. Earth’s first colony ship begins her 125 year journey to the Trappist 1 system. We’ve asked Professor Black Eagle of MIT to explain more about the stasis system that will keep the colonists asleep on the journey.
We’re in a studio, where “expert” Professor Black Eagle is giving his views on the journey. The Professor is an elderly native American with neatly tied back long grey hair and wearing a suit.
Black Eagle: Well for a start Bob the colonists are not asleep in the traditional sense. The stasis pods keep them frozen in time. It’s a much more efficient system allowing the colonists to be woken or frozen at a moment’s notice without any ill effects.
We’re zoomed in on the exterior of the Mayflower, where we can see a small exterior unit labelled Power Conduit 3. It appears to have taken some damage and sparks can be seen coming from the unit.
Black Eagle(oos): It’s a long journey so let’s hope nothing goes wrong.
The Mayflower in deep space. An explosion is occurring where we imagine the power conduit from the previous page to be. It’s pretty significant but not fatal for the ship overall.
Caption: 61 years later
We’re seeing Abner Cartwright. Early 30s, bushy/messy hair, slightly overweight and wearing maintenance overalls. Leaning over some equipment finishing a job. He looks fraught/tense. Behind him, although probably not in full view is Captain Dremmel. The Captain is early 40s, wears a uniform and has quite an impressive beard/moustache.
Abner: Well that’s it. We’ve 235 pods operational and no more.
Dremmel is speaking with his lieutenant, Bronson ( early 30s, very fit looking black man ) – ignoring Abner. Abner watching anxiously.
Bronson: We’ve 502 surviving passengers and crew sir.
Dremmel: We’ll have to convert one of the storage pods to living space and draw up a rotation for people to go in and out of stasis.
Abner watching as the two officers walk down the corridor away from him.
Abner(small): Well thanks Abner. Great job on saving as many pods as you could.
Dremmel: We’ll need to balance the rotation to include essential services.
Bronson: Sir this will be a long haul. The ship was never designed for this. We’ll need rationing of resources, laws, a government.
Abner in close watching as the two disappear.
Dremmel: Government? This is a Star ship and I’m the Captain. That’s all the government we need.
Bronson sitting behind a desk, looking very formal and flanked by two guards.
Bronson: Guilty of the charge of exceeding your water rations. The fine is two years of your stasis rotation.
Note: Bronson is the same age as we saw previously.
We can see now we’re in an office/courtroom, it is quite small and Spartan.
Abner before the desk, pleading. Bronson unmoved.
Abner: My wife was sick. She needed the water.
Bronson: Dismissed. Next case.
Note: Abner is about 10 years older.
A shady looking man, call him Nelson, is approaching Abner as he leaves the “courtroom”. ( put Nelson on his overall, its a medical overall )
Nelson: Abner my friend. I believe I can help you out with some meds for the wife.
Nelson whispering to Abner as the two walk down a corridor.
Nelson: It’ll cost though. Transfer three years’ stasis rotation to my account and they’re yours.
Nelson shushing Abner and looking stern. Abner is angry/distressed.
Nelson: Keep your voice down! And what’s three years against a lifetime without her?
Note: I was originally going to put this in a small state room but as its essentially talking heads, let’s put in on an observation deck with lots of stunning views of space. We can see other colonists – All of whom are noticeably older than any command staff we can see and pretty dejected. Abner and Enid have a bit of space to themselves tho.
Abner, despondent ignoring the view. His wife, Enid, later 30s black woman, is comforting him.
Abner: Between the Command crew and vultures like Nelson we’ll never make it.
They’re still talking. Abner looks really frustrated.
Abner: Nelson has things to trade and the command crew are stealing everyone’s rotation for themselves with their laws. I have nothing.
Enid: Abner I know you’ll solve this. You have to. I found out why I was sick.
Enid dropping the bomb(whispering), Abner shocked/delighted
Enid(quiet): I’m pregnant.
Abner looking around nervously, even more distressed.
Abner(whisper): Oh no. When the Command crew find out they’ll take all of our rotation.
Enid(whisper): Abner you must be able to do something. Nelson works in medical that’s how he does it.
Abner in close, having an idea.
Abner: Nelson works in medical. I’m only a Stasis tech.
Abner(burst): I’m a Stasis tech!
A much battered and bruised looking Mayflower pulling into orbit around an Earth like world.
Abner(oos from ship): Well we’re here.
Abner not looking much older than when we last saw him. Enid the same age.
Abner, his wife and their new baby watching out of a view window. There are a few others with them but noticeably no command crew. Another colonist is talking to Abner.
Abner: Never thought I’d see the day.
Colonist: None of us did. If it hadn’t been for that second accident with the stasis pods killing most of the command crew none of us would have.
Abner giving the colonist a startled look.
Abner: Yeah. Lucky I was able to fix them afterwards though.
Abner hugging his family as they look at their new world.
Abner: We made it.
Last edited by Zepster; 03-24-2017 at 05:55 AM.
First great story. I could see it very well as I read. I enjoyed it. The timeline was a bit hard to follow.
Originally Posted by Zepster
Would you consider giving a date caption to the panels? As a reader that was the hardest part to understand. How long had it been between Abner realizing he could do something and the ship returning? I understand wanting to make the time period ambigious however I think it would help the story (at least for me).
Giving me a run for my money this month!
This one is right in my wheelhouse! Here goes...
Panel 1. Wide view of Paris. The city is in ruins. Rubble and smoldering ashes everywhere. In the background we can see the Eifel tower crumbling. In the foreground we see CONNER and MARKUS, two men in their 30s, thin, wearing tattered rags, running. Conner has a satchel draped over his shoulder that hangs at his hip. He is looking back at Markus who is struggling to keep up. Markus is noticably thinner than Conner and struggles to keep up. They are being followed by a SENTINAL in a bulky power suit covered head to toe in armor and tech while brandishing a plasma rifle. The Sentinal has just emerged from the crumbling Arc De Triumph.
Conner: Hurry! We're almost there!
Markus: I... I can't make it... Conner... tell my son--
Panel 2. Small insert of the Sentinal's plasma rifle firing.
Panel 3. Small insert of the projectiles ripping though Marcus' chest from the back.
Panel 1. Conner looks down at Markus' bloody lifeless body in shock.
Conner: Marcus? Oh God...
Panel 2. The Sentinal marches toward Conner, pointing the rifle at him.
SFX by the feet: CRUNK CRUNK
Panel 3. Conner pulls a grenade out of his satchel. Lights glow indicating it is armed.
Conner: I will tell him, old friend.
Panel 4. Big explosion as Conner dives behind a pile of rubble.
Panel 5. Conner in a seated position on the ground looks over at the entrance to an old subway tunnel.
Panel 1. Conner walking down the stairs to the subway platform. A small group of men in tattered rags are huddled in the shadows. BARKER, a well built man in his 40s wearing an old torn soldier's uniform angrily greets Conner.
Barker: You goddamn fool. You led them right to us.
Conner: The men won't survive another day. I had no choice.
Panel 2. YORIK, a 12-year-old boy, dirty and raggy clothing, steps forward witha troubled look on his face.
Yorik: My dad? Where is he?
Panel 3. Conner hands a loaf of bread to Yorik with a somber expression.
Conner: I'm sorry, son. He loved you.
Panel 4. Yorik holds the bread looking sad. Barker stands next to him, erupting in anger at Conner.
Barker: Love!? How dare you tell the boy of such things!
Panel 5. Barker pointing a stern finger at Yorik with intensity in his face.
Barker: We were stronger than those things up there. But it was our hearts and foolish compassion that proved to be our downfall.
Barker: Bury your love, boy. It is a weakness our enemy excels at exploiting.
Panel 1. Close in on Conner as he is filled with sorrow.
Conner: We cannot change what we are. If we did, we would be no different than the ones who are hunting us to extinction.
Panel 2. Conner speaking to Barker.
Conner: Take the men to Normandy. I will... buy you time.
Conner: Take care of the boy.
Barker: Yes, sir.
Panel 3. Conner emerging from the stairway and curiously looking around.
Panel 4. Low angle of Conner walking toward the Sentinal lying on the ground, face up. The armor suit is clearly damaged and still smoking from the grenade impact.
Sentinal: Help... please... I was only following orders...
Panel 5. Angle from the top, Conner looking down at the Sentinal. The helmet is removed and we see a beautiful woman's face with long dark hair looking up in desperation.
Sentinal: I... I can't feel my legs... help me... I don't want to die...
Panel 6. Close in on Conner's face looking very sympathetic.
Conner: It's okay. I won't hurt you. I--
Panel 1. Conner's head jerked back as a bullet has pierced striaght through his skull.
Panel 2. The Sentinal sits up. Her facial expression has shifted to a cold distain. Another FEMALE SOLDIER, 20s long blond hair in a ponytail, clean uniform equipped with high tech gear, stands over Conner's dead body with an equally cold expression on her face.
Female Soldier: Filthy mutant.
Sential: There's more. I detected at least seven Ys before this abomination threw a blast charge at me and damaged my sensors.
Female Soldier: Understood. I will send a team to sweep the area for survivors.
Panel 3. Close in on the Sentinal's face.
Sentinal: There will be no survivors. If you find any, slaughter them. Those creatures deserve no less.
The pitch for this would be... something happened to every woman in the world that made them incapable of feeling love, compassion, empathy, etc. They live a cold unforgiving existence of hatred and view men as some kind of mutation that needs to be exterminated. The women were brutal and efficient while the men sought to preserve peace. Eventually the women's ruthlessness allowed them to take over and now the last pockets of men struggle to survive while the women have built a new society based on cold science and devoid of emotion.
It's a little bit of a role reversal where the men are trying to keep love and compassion alive and the women are all death and business. Anyway, seeing as how I just dreamed this up this morning, it's still a little raw. So who wants in?
I have a lot of stuff to catch up on in these message boards, and that's a good thing!
@zepster I love the concept. Very sci fi, using time/life as a commodity. If I had to say anything, I'd think about maybe trying it without the first page. Maybe go right into the explosion and the dilemma. And I'm not sure the last panel fits or not. I do get it for the joke, but this guy just murdered a bunch of people. But they were slowly murdering him and his family. Grey area I guess. It's only the tone I'd be worried about. Otherwise this is great.
I'll throw my hat into the contest
Title: The Sword
Page 1 (5 Panels)
Panel 1 Establishing Shot. The small town of New Oregon at dusk. The town
is surrounded by a dense forest. The town looks
run down and dirty.
Caption New Oregon, 2037,
GOON 1 (OFF SCREEN)
Panel 2 A young weak looking teen is running from three
goons chasing him with sticks.
We're getting closer to the edge of town
You don't have anywhere else to run---
Panel 3 One of the goons hits Barrett in the back of the
Panel 4 Barrett stops at the edge of the town in front of
the forest. The three goons are standing there
menacingly with their sticks and rocks.
I wonder how it would look if they found the
Sherrif's kids dead body at the edge of town.
We run this town, Barrett. Not you or your dad.
Panel 5 Barrett runs into the forest leaving the three
What the hell!
Holy shit he ran into the forest.
That saves us the trouble of kicking his ass.
He'll die from radiation.
Page 2 (6 Panels)
Panel 1 Barrett is running through the forest in a panic.
Night time is coming.
Caption The world needs you, Barrett.
Panel 2 Close on Barrett running.
Caption I am the lady, I am the bringer of
the sword and you are my chosen king.
Panel 3 The forest is now dark due to the night. Barrett
can barely see where he is running. A blue hue
out in the distance is all he can see.
Caption You are the hero I have been waiting for.
Panel 4 Barrett is running towards the blue light.
Caption Your name will be etched in time.
Panel 5 Barrett trips on a vine and lands flat on his
face. The blue hue is even stronger.
Panel 6 Barrett looks up and sees a woman standing in the
forest. The woman is angelic, like a painting of
an angel from the renaissance. The blue hue is
emitting from behind her. She is carrying a
Hello, Barrett-- may I have a word with you?
Page 3 (6 Panels)
Panel 1 The goons that were tormenting Barrett are now in
the market square of New Oregon. The square is
filled with people but they are harassing one
girl who is selling apples.
come on baby I know you like me.
Please leave me alone.
Hey! Don't talk to my friend like that were just
looking for some fun.
We'll I don't "want to have "fun" with you so
please leave me alone.
Panel 2 One of the goons knocks Apple crate out of her
hands and grabs her.
What I say about being rude--
Panel 3 Barrett is standing in the market behind the goons.
He is wearing armor and is holding
the same sword the Lady had. He also
looks slightly older and much bigger than he was.
I think she wants you to leave her alone.
GOON 1 (OFF SCREEN)
Barrett is that you?
Let her go.
Panel 4 The goon has let the apple selling girl go
and is now holding a knife.
I don't know what happened to you in that forest
but I know what's gonna happen to you if you
don't get out of here.
Panel 5 The goon with a knife lunges at Barrett. Barrett
impales him through the chest with his sword. The
crowd around his is stunned and afraid.
Panel 6 Barrett kneels beside The goons dead body as
people in the crowd look stunned and afraid.
It's okay everyone I am here to protect you.
RANDOM CROWD MEMBER
Oh my god, he killed him.
Page 4 (6 Panels)
Panel 1 Barrett stands up and raises his sword in victory
as the crowd has now circled him.
I am your champion, I will lead you all into the
Panel 2 Barrett is hit in the face with a tomato.
Panel 3 The crowd begins to throw food at Barrett.
Panel 4 Barrett is on his knees being pelted with food.
Panel 5 Barrett slams his sword into the ground and a
large wave of energy releases from the sword
wiping out the crowd of people in the market.
Panel 6 Close on Barrett amidst the rubble and skeletons.
I'm so sorry--
THE LADY (OFF PANEL)
Don't be sorry child---
Page 5 (3 Panels)
Panel 1 The Lady from the forest is standing over the
I failed. I'm not the champion.
Panel 2 The lady kneels down next to Barrett and caresses
No my child, sweet Barrett. You have not failed
me. This is the next step of humanity. You will
destroy all of the vile humans that cast a
shadow over this beautiful world, and I will
build a new one. Just for you
Panel 3 The Lady and Barrett are walking away from the
destruction together hand in hand.
Let's begin the cleansing, Barrett Penn.
Wow, a chilling ending (or beginning?) to this story. Well done. I suggest giving the goons more menacing weapons in the beginning like rusty jagged blades or spikey things. Is their intention to beat him up or kill him? Either way, we should see that Barrett's only option is to run into the forest which is implied to be certain death.
Back for a new round. I hope you all enjoy. Looks like everyone is bringing their A game! You guys rock.
PAGE ONE (TWO PANELS)
SINGLE ROW WIDE - A Lone Man stands on a cliff over looking a western looking town. He is wearing a cowboy hat and duster coat. The area looks like Utah or Nevada with red rock mountains and canyons in the background. Smoke is rising from the chimneys of some of the buildings.
WIDE - The area is in fact a giant carter and the lone man is on the edge of the crater looking down.
CAPTION: THE WASTELANDS, 2075
PAGE TWO (FIVE PANELS)
WIDE - The Lone Man is riding into the town on a motorcycle with off road tires and and horns on the handle bars.His jacket is flapping in the wind. A futuristic rifle is slung across his back. The street is a mix of old time western and junkyard style architecture.
Wooden sign entering town:
WELCOME IRRADIATED SPRINGS
LOW ANGLE - The LONE MAN enters an old style saloon through swinging doors. The sun from behind him shadows him.
WIDE - The saloon is full of people gambling, drinking, and carrying on. The people are various colors shapes and sizes however all of them look deformed in one way or another. Some even have ration burned faces and enlarged heads.
The LONE MAN sits at the bar. The Bartender is also mutated and burned. He is heavy set and looks more like a pig than an man. A mirrored wall with bottles are behind the bartender.
Bartender: WHAT WILL IT BE MARSHAL?
We see the Marshals face dark from the hat shading. His badge is a five point star and reads LAW.
Marshal Law: WATER, PURE. NOT THE CHEAP STUFF YOU SELL THE WASTERS.
PAGE THREE (SIX PANELS)
Three men are sitting a a table. They are deformed and dressed in dark clothing.
EXTREME CLOSE UP - Hand of one of the men at the table with a PISTOL.
WIDE - Marshal Law sitting at the bar with his back to the group. His trench coat is dark and dirty. The Bartender is cleaning a glass with a rag.
CLOSE UP - The head of the one holding the gun explodes.
WIDE - Marshal Law holding a smoking pistol in his right hand shot around his left side all while still sitting at the bar.
TWO SHOT - The other two mean from the table are standing. Blood is spattered across them and they have drawn pistols as well.
PAGE FOUR (FOUR PANELS)
WIDE - Marshal Law is standing across from the two men, his pistol is hanging in his right hand. The two men have guns drawn on him.
Marshal Law 1: LUKE AND DUKE YOU DON'T HAVE TO END UP LIKE YOUR BROTHER.
Marshal Law 2(connected): I RATHER TAKE YOU IN THAN KILL YA.
Luke and Duke look at each other. Both have looks of anger and revenge on their faces.
Luke: YOU KILLED OUR KIN, MARSHALL.
Duke: CAN'T LET THAT GO.
Small Black panel
SFX: BANG! BANG!
Marshal Law is standing over all three of the bodies. One is missing a head, the other tow have smoke rising from their chests.
Marshal Law: DAMN, SHAME.
PAGE 5 (FIVE PANELS)
WIDE - Marshal Law is talking to a holo-screen from his wrist watch. The holo-screen displays a droid.
Marshal Law 1: I NEED A CLEAN UP CREW SENT TO IRRADIATED SPRINGS.
Marshal Law 2 (connected): THE VIPER TRIPLETS HAVE BEEN HANDLED.
DROID: AFFIRMATIVE MARSHALL, CLEAN TEAM HAS BEEN DEPLOYED.
WIDE - The other people in the Saloon go back to what they were doing. They are gambling, drinking, and one is passed out on a table.
CLOSE UP - Bartender's face.
Bartender: ANOTHER ONE FOR THE ROAD, MARSHAL?
Marshal Law is walking out the saloon doors. He is again shadowed due to the light from the sun.
Marshal Law 1: NO THANKS, SORRY FOR THE MESS.
Marshal Law 2 (not connected): YOU'LL BE REIMBURSED FOR THE DAMAGE.
Marshall Law is riding out of town.
Wooden sign entering town:
LEAVING IRRADIATED SPRINGS, COME BACK SOON!
@ Jaycy Great story. I loved the flow. I agree that the goons need to be big and menacing so we can see how afraid Barrett is at the beginning of the story. Also is there a physical change in Barrett once he has the sword and armor?
The twist at the end was good as he seems to be on the side of death and not life (i.e. humanity).
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