Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blocked - Roots - Max Barnard

The Premise: Ever spent days, weeks, even MONTHS trying to come up with an original idea, only to come up against writer's block? That dreaded thing that stops you coming up with a story or concept that you so desperately need?

Arséne Langlinais knows what it's like. He's known it for years now. A former best-selling horror writer, Arséne hit his block after announcing he would write the quintessential horror story of the 21st century. Since then he's fallen apart, unable to even move his pen or type a word whenever he as much as thinks about writing. He's tried everything he can think of, from therapy to a relaxing holiday, but nothing's coming out. His career is on the verge on being in tatters and he only has one course of action left to take: going home to Thibodaux, Louisiana.

See, Arséne hates his roots but at the same time, in his desperation, he thinks connecting with them again, in an area with plenty of supernatural sightings under its belt will help him overcome his writer's block.

As we join the story in progress Arséne has settled into his new living space and is finally trying to write again.


Time has passed. It is a week later and Arséne has cleaned himself up some. Where there was once an unkempt beard and shaggy shoulder-length hair is now a clean-cut face with a neatly cropped haircut. He is sat at a typewriter in his Motel room, cigarette in mouth and fingers hovering at the keys.

Caption: A week passes...

Arséne(caption): I'm sat at old faithful again, ready to see what's changed.

Close-up on Arséne's fingers shaking above the typewriter keys.

Extreme close-up around Arséne's eyes, small beads of sweat forming.

Close-up on Arséne's mouth as he grits his teeth, biting through the cigarette.

Arséne(caption): Nothing.

Arséne roaring with anger as he throws his typewriter down onto the floor.


Arséne(caption): Nothing changes.

Arséne kicks his chair, breaking it in two. In the corner of the room, shadows rise up.

Arséne: STUPID! *&%#ING! AAARGH!

Arséne(caption): Why would anything change in this place?

The shadows form into a demonic shape, reaching towards Arséne as he crumples onto the floor, tears in his eyes.

Arséne: Why?

Arséne(caption): In this godforsaken town.

[for those interested the next page has him catch a glimpse of the demonic shape out the corner of his eye, as the first encounter he has with the horrors lurking in the city. As he more clearly encounters these phenomena he becomes a man obsessed, driven to madness by this one dark possibility for inspiration. But that's a tale for another time. Hope you enjoyed this and HERE'S TO OUR FIRST DAMN YEAR!


  1. I hate to be "that guy", but you just described Alan Wake. No joke. Take at look at this link and then scroll down to Plot...

  2. @danial Holy shit, that's spooky.

    Kinda wanna scrap this one and replace it with something less... exactly like something else.

  3. Well, it's not *EXACTLY* like it...but far too close, damn.

    Max, the page works well because a lot of those panels would be small, I assume. I don't like the first caption, "I'm sat at old faithful..." The 'I'm sat' part feels like awkward English to me. Otherwise, not bad.

  4. I agree with Ryan. Apart from the "I'm sat", the page reads really well. Does a great job setting up mood and atmosphere.

  5. Yeah, the "I'm sat" sounds off to me too.

  6. I have never read nor heard of Alan Wake, so this was a new premise to me. And I loved it Max. Really simple in decription, but could clearly picture it in my head. Very well done.

    As for the "I'm sat", I'm going to guess that it was simply a typo, and should read "I'm sitting"? I only summised this as it's the type of error I do all the freaking time.

  7. Alan Wake is one of my Top 5 Xbox games. It was also one of the reasons why I chose Xbox over PS3. It probably has the best story of any game I have ever played... ever.

  8. @benjum you're not far off the mark. It's more that I didn't have the common sense to look over it for basic errors like that, but I guess the key point is it wasn't intentionally like that.

    @danial I'm gonna find a way to take that as a compliment on me cutting close to it's plot.

    Anyway, thanks all for any compliments and criticisms, as always!

  9. Despite Danial's Alan Wake comparison (which I'm also unfamiliar with), I thought this had a strong, Stephen King-esque hook, Max... and returned to a recurring theme in your work. That damn block!


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