Writing Sample – Issue #2

Issue Two – Tephany Gore


Page One [full page]

This is a full-page image of Tephany Gore, 26, the heroine of our story. She is petite and muscular, like a dancer. Her face has a kind of delicate, doll-like beauty utterly at odds with her blazing eyes and tight jaw. One gathers that her prettiness is a constant source of annoyance to her. She is dressed in camo fatigues and combat boots. At the collar of her camo shirt, we can see that she is wearing a second layer underneath, a tight black top that covers the lower part of her neck. She’s taking a break from protesting outside the P.C.I. Factory, leaning against their chain link fence. There’s a sign on the fence above and behind her that says No Sitting or Leaning Against this Fence. You can tell she doesn’t care.

Also leaning against the fence next to her is the sign she’s been carrying during the protest. The sign is painted with the words Pure Concentrated Cruelty. The word ‘Concentrated’ is really too long to be painted on a sign; she had to squish the last few letters together when she made it. There is a little wet stain on the sign with a faint yellow tinge to it.

She is looking out at us with a challenging expression, which is pretty much her only expression.

Page Caption: This is Tephany Gore.


Page Two [5 panels]


[1/4 page high, half page wide, upper left]

A reflection in a mirror of Tephany’s nude right arm, flexed to show off her excellent bicep. Maybe a little slice of torso to the right side of the panel; the muscle of her shoulder, the strap of her black sports bra, the outer curve of her breast. The room is dark; the image in the mirror is a little dim and it is hard to make out anything behind the reflection of Tephany.

Caption: Tephany Gore is a warrior.


[1/4 page high, half page wide, upper right]

A group shot of a bunch of Pterodactyl Scouts, sepia-toned with age. There are a few Wing Leaders (like Scoutmasters, but with better uniforms) in the group, but mostly they are boys between 8 and 16 years old. The Wing Leaders and the tallest boys are standing the middle, with the shorter ones in front and in the wings. They are all dressed in various degrees of Pterodactyl uniform: shades of brown and beige, with crested helmets (mainly on the older boys, who have achieved higher degrees in the Scouts) and Wing Cloaks on nearly everyone. Most of the Scouts wear sashes over their uniforms, decorated with patches. They are standing in a campground; we can see the curve of a tent and large pine trees in the background.

Caption: When she was eight, she wanted to join the Pterodactyl Scouts.


[half page high, half page wide, center left]

Another sepia-toned image. A photograph taken by Tephany’s mother when Teph was eight. Her mother stood in the doorway of Teph’s bedroom and took this picture of the little girl posing in front of the full-length mirror on her wall. Tephany is dressed in a homemade version of the Pterodactyl Scout uniform, sans crested helmet. She has her Wing Cloak extended like she’s soaring through primeval canyons, and she is baring her teeth like a vampire in a cheesy horror film.

Caption: She borrowed her mother’s sewing machine and turned the guest bedroom drapes into the Regimental Wing-Cloak of the Pterodactyl Scouts.


[half page high, half page wide, center right]

A second photograph of Tephany, same angle and view. This time she is wearing a crested Pterodactyl helmet similar to the ones worn by the boys in Panel 1.2. She stands in front of the mirror, arms folded over her chest, head down a little. She looks very serious.

Caption: She made her own crested helmet from papier-mâché, in anticipation of the day when she would receive the coveted Order of the Winged Finger.


[1/4 page high, full page wide, bottom of page]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: her upper back and shoulders, muscles rippling, the straps of her bra. Her hair is done in a French braid.


Page Three [4 panels]


[1/3 page high, full page wide, top]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she’s made a fist with her right hand and smacked it into the open palm of her left, in the gesture used by warriors in bad kung-fu movies. Her hands meet at about the level of her sternum. In this panel we can see the taut cords of her neck, her shadowed cleavage, the fine muscles of her forearms straining as she presses her fist into her palm. This girl is seriously tough and seriously sexy.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center left]

A photograph of Tephany, age 8: she’s sitting on the floor of her mother’s living room, bent over her work. She wears the uniform and Wing Cloak she made. Her helmet lies on the floor beside her. The floor is littered with twigs, some with leaves still attached. Her back is turned to us; she’s deep in concentration and hasn’t noticed her mother entering the room with the camera.

Caption: She agonized over whether the basket weaving class she was taking as extra credit in school would count toward her Nest Building badge.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page high, center right]

A photograph of Tephany, age 8: she is seated on a bench in front of a single-story storefront in an office block. The wall behind her is painted in a mural showing a flock of Pterodactyls diving from a cliff, a rushing river below, prehistoric ferns on the cliff walls, bright sun and puffy white clouds behind. To the left of the mural is a plate glass window, dark. To the left of the window is a glass door, also dark. We can just make out the name on the door: Pterodactyl Scouts Local Recruitment Office.

In the background of the picture, the sun is low on the horizon. It is clearly not long after dawn, probably still hours before the Recruitment Office even opens.

Caption: The day of her eighth birthday (the youngest any would-be Scout could petition for membership), she was ready at the recruiter’s office when the doors opened.


[1/3 page high, full page wide, bottom]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: her nude left leg fully extended to the side in a powerful side-kick. A whisper of her plain black panties at the left side of the panel, but otherwise the image is dominated by the big muscles of her leg. Her toenails aren’t polished. She would probably be offended if you said something about it. She’s not the toenail polish type.

Caption: Where she learned that the Pterodactyl Scouts only accept boys.


Page Four [4 panels]


[a full-page, borderless image]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she stands on the ball of her right foot. Her left leg is folded in a neat 90 degree angle, sole of her left foot planted against the inner surface of her right thigh. This is all we can see; her torso is not visible in this close-up. She has excellent calves (and evidently excellent balance).


[a small square set in the upper right corner of Panel 4.1, just above the angle made by Tephany’s folded left leg]

A photograph of Tephany, age 8: standing in the Recruiter’s Office. She stands in front of a desk in her Pterodactyl Scout uniform, looking crestfallen. The outfit, lovingly made and fiercely defended by her own hand, is now more sad than cute. The Recruiter stands next to her, looking down at the top of her head. He is a short and round man, balding on top, wearing a short-sleeved button-up shirt and a necktie that’s a bit too short and clashes with his shirt (and his pants!) He looks kindly but stern. He is reaching toward her with one hand, as if to pat her on the head. He holds a lollipop in the other hand.

Caption: She was advised to join the Unicorn Princess Girls, which she was assured was ‘Just like the Pterodactyl Scouts, but pink.’ She was given a pat on the head and offered a lollipop.


[a small square set in Panel 4.1, just below the angle of Tephany’s bent left leg]

A photograph of Tephany, age 8: another view of the Recruitment Office, blurry and askew. We get the impression that Tephany’s mother shot this picture by accident as she was rushing forward to intervene. It appears that a very short and very fierce Pterodactyl is attempting to take a bite out of the Recruiter’s leg. The Recruiter is shaking his leg violently in an effort to dislodge her.

Caption: Which she disdained.


[a small square set in Panel 4.1, just below Panel 4.3]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a close-up of her mouth, tight but smiling. No lipstick.

Caption: The resulting flurry of litigation generated a groundswell of public support and lots of bad press for the Scouts; also restraining orders against Tephany and her mother and piles of legal debt. Within a year of the debacle, the Pterodactyl Scouts were accepting girls. Tephany never joined.


Page Five [4 panels]


[1/2 page high, full page wide, top]

The front page of a newspaper, dated about 15 years ago. The paper is called The Beacon Hill Beacon. The headline is Saving the Breadbasket. A photograph to the side of the article text shows a huge construction site, with cranes lifting big glass panels into place. They are building a greenhouse – a really, really big one.

Caption: When Tephany was twelve, the Department of Atmosphere Management completed construction on a massive project meant to glass in parts of the former states of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska, in an effort to revitalize the drought- and disease-ravaged Breadbasket of America.


[1/4 page high, full page wide, center]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a close-up of her abdomen. She’s got at least a six-pack, if not an eight- or ten-pack.


[1/4 page high, 1/2 page wide, lower left]

A photograph of the Wyocolbraska Greenhouse, taken from roughly the same position as the photo in the newspaper in Panel 5.1. The greenhouse is completed in this image. There is no way to adequately describe its scale – it’s just that huge. A front-end loader is working in the foreground of the image, pushing a huge pile of tiny bodies.

Caption: The Wyocolbraska Greenhouse proved to be a disaster for the local bird population. Within a year of the project’s completion, the D.A.M. was forced to deploy a fleet of front-end loaders working around the clock to clear away the heaps of dead birds accumulated around the perimeter of the greenhouse.


[1/4 page high, 1/2 page wide, lower right]

An aerial photograph, depicting a section of the Wyocolbraska Greenhouse and some of the surrounding land. The land surrounding the greenhouse is very flat and mostly dust, thanks to the famine gripping the Midwest. There are several outbuildings, probably housing the various services and controls for the greenhouse, storage, accommodations for the maintenance workers, etc.

A section of the greenhouse has collapsed into a heap of twisted, tangled girders and shattered glass. A broad swath of destruction curves first toward, then away from the damaged section of greenhouse. Outbuildings are damaged and police cars are overturned to the sides of the swath. At the end of the swath of destruction lies a bulldozer on its side, billowing smoke into the air.

Caption: Tephany staged her first official protest. The total damages were in the neighborhood of $1 billion. Because of her youth, her sentence was commuted to 1,000 hours of community service, which she served as a candy striper at the local hospital.


Page Six [4 panels]


[full page high, 1/2 page wide, left]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: her back is turned to the mirror and she is looking back over her left shoulder. We can see the profile of her face, but it is still too dark in the room to make out her features clearly. The light is just sufficient to bring out the hard isolated muscles of her shoulder, her back, her left buttock, her leg. The line of her jaw is tight. Her left hand hangs at her side in a loose fist.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, upper right]

Another front page story from the Beacon Hill Beacon: the headline is 4-H Pageant Prank. Next to the article is a photograph, taken inside a large barn. A pair of uniformed Sheriff’s Deputies stand facing the camera looking very awkward. Each deputy holds a rope in his hand, to which is tethered a cow. The cows are wearing sparkly, flouncy dresses with lots of ruffles and sequins, curly blond wigs, and positively oodles of makeup. The fronts of the dresses are stuffed with beach balls.

Caption: At age fourteen she was protesting the objectification of cattle and sheep in 4-H shows.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center right]

Another headline: Panty Pirate Burns Booty, Smoke Chokes Council Scoundrels. A photograph of a huge flaming pile of ladies’ dainties in front of the Beacon Hill City Hall.

Caption: At age sixteen she stole a pallet of ladies’ dainties from a delivery truck and burned it to protest a new public decency law passed by the Beacon Hill City Council.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, lower right]

A photograph of Tephany, age 17: she’s posing for a mug shot at the local police station. The mug shot card has all the usual info: Beacon Hill Police Dept., inmate number, and so on. Her name appears on the card as Tephany ‘Keep the Lights On’ Gore. She looks bored.

Caption: By age seventeen she had a police record long enough to wrap a mummy in.

Page Seven [5 panels]


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, upper left]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she slides her right foot into a pair of black tights.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, upper right]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she slides her left foot into the tights.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center left]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a front view of her lower body, waist to knee. She pulls the tights up to mid-thigh.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center right]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a back view of her lower body, waist to knee. She pulls the tights up over her buttocks.


[1/3 page high, full page wide, bottom]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she’s lying on the floor, propped up on her elbows (although we cannot see her torso or head; only her legs). One leg is bent, foot planted on the floor, the other is extended. It’s pretty clear she is admiring the way her legs look in the tights.

Page Caption: Tephany is a crusader for social justice. Corporations cower at the sound of her name.


Page Eight [5 panels]


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, upper left]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she slides her right hand into the sleeve of a clingy black shirt.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, upper right]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: she slides her left hand into the shirt.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center left]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a back view of Tephany’s torso, waist to head. Her head is bent forward as she pulls the shirt over it. We can see the strap of her sports bra, just about to disappear under the shirt. The department store tag is still attached; there is a bright red SALE! printed across the price.


[1/3 page high, 1/2 page wide, center right]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a front view of Tephany’s torso, waist to head. She has just pulled the shirt down; now only a thin slice of bare midriff is visible. Her hands are still bunched in the fabric.


[1/3 page high, full page wide, bottom]

A reflection of Tephany, age 26: a front view of Tephany’s torso, waist to neck. She poses in front of her mirror, both arms curled to flex her biceps, the skin-tight black shirt clinging to every curve. We can’t see her face, but it’s a safe bet she’s smiling that same tight smile we saw before.

Page Caption: Tephany is a righteous avenger. Governments grovel when they see her coming.


Page Nine [full page]

At last (after eight pages of teasing!) we see Tephany, full-length, in the mirror. She is tall, gorgeous, imposing, dressed neck to ankle in a jet-black costume as tight as her own skin. Her posture is easy but ready, like a cat that could decide to pounce at any second. A faint smile on her lips.

Page Caption: She is Tephany Gore. And she is invincible. She is –


Page Ten [5 panels]


[a little rectangle of dialogue in the upper left corner of the page, interrupting the building momentum of Page Nine]
Wilhelmina: You’d look a little less silly if you took the tags off.


[3/4 page high, full page wide, except for the cutouts of Panels 10.1 and 10.3 in the upper left and lower right corners respectively]

The angle shifts slightly and now we can see the door into Tephany’s bedroom reflected in the mirror, just behind where Tephany was standing on Page Nine. Tephany’s mother Wilhelmina Gore is standing the door frame. She is about sixty, very frumpily dressed, sort of stooped and grumpy-looking – in essence, exactly the opposite of the image on Page Nine. Astute readers will notice that this image is very similar to Panel 2.3, the photograph Wilhelmina Gore took of Tephany posing in her Wing Cloak.


[a small square cut out of the lower right corner of Panel 10.2]

A close-up of Tephany’s face. Her eyes are closed and she appears to be sighing.

Tephany: Thanks, Mom.

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