While I was at NYCC ’15, I managed to look at some scripts. Not a lot of them, but there were enough. At conventions, it’s generally all about the art. It doesn’t take long to look at art and immediately see if there are things that are wrong with it. It’s easy to spot wrong anatomy, line weights, perspective, planes, storytelling, and the like. What’s more challenging is the writing because it takes time. You have to really concentrate and read and visualize and make sure things make sense…all while there’s noise around you and you may be trying to sell your own wares. It can be a challenge.
Writers can do themselves very simple favors that will raise their game considerably and make the editor’s life that much easier. If you don’t want to get the look that says “why the hell didn’t you do the smallest part of your job”, then follow these basic instructions.
First and foremost, learn punctuation. Simple punctuation. By simple punctuation, I mean learn how to use the period. Two different writers handed me scripts, and both of them had problems with missing periods. If you think a script is ready for submission, check to make sure you’ve used periods correctly. It’s a simple thing that will go a long, long way, because editors are then actually reading the story instead of hunting for more simple mistakes.
Kill the word “and”. Usually, this word is used to connect two actions. “John gets up and crosses the room.” Two actions in a single panel. This action cannot be drawn. This is considered a moving panel, and the artist can’t use it, or they’ll make a decision as to what would work best for the story. This may not line up with your vision as a writer.
Finally, if you have inexcusable mistakes (like missing periods), don’t try to make excuses. Editors aren’t interested in your excuses. They’re interested in the work: whether it is of quality, whether it can be replicated, whether they can use you.
Just take the advice with grace, go home, and work harder.