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The Devil's Yardsale Ltd. by Steve Miles - Short, Action, Comedy - The Devil’s Yardsale offers the hottest deals in town. Yet for its duo of loyal hosts it’s anything but delivering a bargain; it’s a daily struggle against the forces of darkness. 10 pages - pdf, format
I actually really like what you were shooting for, but it did fall short for me, mostly because it was really difficult to get through due to so many clarity issues i had (but it could just be me, so don't fret quite yet.)
Parentheticals are not your enemy. Me not knowing what the heck your characters are talking about or what's going on, is. It's like when you speak to some one who doesn't like to finish their sentences or thoughts. They just expect you to know what they are talking about. It gets frustrating.
There are many times peppered throughout these 10 pages that I had no clue what Dunn and Juan where talking about or referring to, because what they were saying didn't mesh with the mood or flow of what's happening.
For instance... Juan plays the "I can't hear you" bit with Chester. But Is Juan just playing around? Or is he legitimately having difficulty with the phone line? I assumed he's just playing around, but little (easy fixes) things like that forced me, over and over again, to stop and reread what i just read, because you make no mention that Juan's just messing with him. Or what "Chin up, Pokes, Beechview, suburban paradise awaits. Maybe Iï¿½ll sniff you out some bored cougar action to compensate?" Has to do with anything.
And issues like that happen throughout. Anther example would be...
So do we see Chester blow up or just assume that's what happened because of the smoke and what Juan says?
And those types of clarity issues start off almost immediately with Dunn's intro. You intro her as MISSY DUNN give no heads up that you'll be only using her last name. And after you intro Dunn you intro Juan. But the proceding line of dialogue is for Dunn -- so I read Missy's intro, then Juan's, and then I'm reading a line of dialogue for Dunn. I had to stop to figure out who Dunn was. Oh, that's right, it's Missy's last name.
Overall, i really, really liked the idea/story and totally think it would make for a great, entertaining little short. But you need to make sure your writing is clean and clear to the reader so we know what is going on as well as you do in your head.
Anyhoo, that's just one loser's opinion, so do take it with a grain of salt. Thanks for sharing, and I'd love to take another look at it if you decide to do a rewrite.
PS. I liked the OWL line. I also thought it was funny how they sign Fan boy's head. Like i said. The story's there, you just need to iron out the clarity wrinkles. Good luck
Bjamin and Kirsten - thanks for reading, i appreciate the feedback. I'll try to clear up some of the clarity issues to smooth out the read. Yes, the explosion is meant to happen off screen - I should've clarified that in the action.
Cheers again, if I can return the read just point me in the right direction.
Cheers for the read Zack. I agree it could do with more action. It's a catch 22 with keeping a low budget approach yet making it more entertaining. This is more a dry run to see how readers react to the premise/concept - see if there's grounds to expand the idea.
A really unique premise here - kudos - not sure I have seen anything similar.
Not using MISSY is the character name in dialogue added a little confusion for me. Missy is memorable and actually clever given how benign the name is vs. the deeds. I would definitely go with MISSY rather than DUNN (not sure that her or Juan even need last names).
I got lost in the action a couple of places (e.g., when Chester comes out bouncing on the hood, etc). Once I reread I got it - but you might want to take a look to see if everything is clear in the action sequences.
Nice job. A fun little short, the writing matched your characters and the tone stayed steady but brisk throughout. Loved Fan Boy getting his forehead signed.
Early on, however, I had a bit of a rough go trying to figure out exactly where I was at times. You had a lot of characters off the bat, and I got a little lost because I wasn't sure exactly where I was at times. That, and the fact that you made Missy Dunn just DUNN in the dialogue, and that confused me as well. On the first read through I thought Dunn was male, and just read back now to see what I'd missed.
I'm assuming Juan and Dunn are demon hunters of some kind? I sure hope that's it, I'd feel bad (and foolish) if this went over my head and I find there's more I missed.
Otherwise, an enjoyable read that could, IMO, just use a little more clarity.
I’m working to clear up the clarity issues, something’s clearly missing there. The working title was originally Nate & Dunn: Demon Hunters (which had to go). Dunn was a leftover that didn’t occur to me to change - until now.
Yes, they’re demon hunters - using cheap ‘occulty’ style jewelry to lure bargain loving demons into revealing themselves.
Thanks for the offer Zack, I’ll let you know what I come up with.