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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2015 One Week Challenge  ›  The Necro File - OWC
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  Author    The Necro File - OWC  (currently 6670 views)
Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 7th, 2015, 5:26am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Posts Per Day
Hi Kev,

"WADE, 19, stands as far away from the autopsy as possible.
Dressed in surgical outfit, he grimaces and avoids watching
when the saw cuts into the rib cage of the corpse."

Interesting opening. I'm going to concentrate on it a little bit to demonstrate some things that could help raise the standard of your writing.

The little scenario you have constructed is very professional. You've introduced a character, revealed a character flaw, introduced his profession, the setting, and hinted at a dramatic question...all in one short paragraph.

Like I say, it's Pro level in its concept.

It's not written to a professional standard, however. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant. I've been spending time improving the quality of my technical writing recently, so I've picked up a few things along the way.

Someone mentioned a book on here: Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. Having never even thought about the actual technical side of writing, I bought it.

Tool 2 in the book: Order words for emphasis. Place strong words at the beginning and at the end (of sentences).

Great, great advice for making your writing stronger. It also works with action. Place the strong action up front and centre.

Your script should open with:

"A saw cuts into the ribcage of a corpse".

BANG, straight in. The audience/reader is already hooked.

On film the camera would then TILT UP and there'd be a FOCUS PULL to Wade, we'd see him take a step backwards and reach the wall, or see him desperately PINNED or CLINGING to the wall.

In one shot, we'd know everything about your little scenario. The professional writer orders all the action and the description in the most powerful, and cinematic, way possible.

It's an idea we've discussed before...I intuitively realised it when we were reading Black Swan, but Writing Tools expresses the idea more definitively and succinctly.

Use that tool throughout your scripts, and they will start to shine.  Using just the words you wrote:

WADE, 19, stands as far away from the autopsy as possible.
Dressed in surgical outfit, he grimaces and avoids watching
when the saw cuts into the rib cage of the corpse

"A saw cuts into the rib cage of a corpse. WADE, 19, in surgical outfit, stands as far away from the autopsy as possible and grimaces."

A simple reordering makes it better.

Another tool: Avoid using words like "stands" (walks, runs...all the boring verbs that litter scripts) as much as possible, as well. Make it more kinetic. Have him "RETREAT" from the action, and "COLLIDE" with the wall, or perhaps some equipment. More cinematic, better for sound design, more interesting to read. Or, as mentioned above, have him "pinned" to the wall. Choose stronger action verbs.

Anyway, now I'll actually read the script! Report back later.


Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Scar Tissue Films  -  June 7th, 2015, 5:39am
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 7th, 2015, 6:14am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

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A cell phone in the ME�s pocket RINGTONES. His hands are
dirty with blood and gore though.

That's not well written. The reference to RINGTONES is very awkward. If a specific ringtone is in your mind, add the description. Otherwise, it should just be:

"A cell phone RINGS in the ME's pocket"

Page 2: The stuff with Wade answering the phone is really good.

Page 3: Obscure Tom Petty reference. Would annoy me if watching it, as I didn't get it. Just saying.

Page 4: Some of the writing irritated me a bit. The "After a long...........moment". It really didn't need the pause.

AND: After a while
...again the corpse draws his eye.

Start your sentences with subjects and verbs.

After a while...the corpse draws his eye again.

Is better.

The corpse draws his eye again. Better still...the after a while is implicit in the draws, imo.

Sorry for being pedantic, you're a good writer. These little things stick out more in a generally well written piece, than they do if the whole thing was written like that...if that makes sense. I'm only bringing it up to encourage you to get even tighter with your writing.

Good scenario with the lift. Well set up. Effective.

"Such a sexy pair of gams."

Hated that line.

"What lies beneath the wrapping?"   Unnecessary. Asides are fine, but they need to add something. That one is just too obvious.

I don't get why he pulled the emergency cord...I thought we were stopped????

If it's to try and delay the elevator even further it's not clear and even if it seems to get in the way of the tension. We'll see if it pays off.....

"Such an angel"

Just "An Angel" would be better. More impact.

Page 4-5 The whole progression in the erotic scene was well handled. Felt like you were in control of your writing and of the whole visual scenario. Good stuff.

Page 7...I liked the way you did the 3

Some of your earlier attempts at this kind of thing felt off. This one didn't. The intangibles of pro screen-writing, eh?

Overall: The ending let it down for me. Sticking with the zombie stuff...I would suggest making Wade more obviously weird and lonely in some way and perhaps play with the idea that it's his love/desire/need for an end to his loneliness that somehow brings her back. Maybe you'd have to give the girl more of a back story (she was murdered by her partner and Wade whilst stroking her hair, says he would never have done something like that before he kisses her...then the lift breaks down and she comes to life).

I know you said you didn't set out to write a story with a theme, but I think that's what's missing a little bit.

Alternatively, there's an interesting story to be told keeping it chained entirely to plausible reality. I was intrigued and wondering where it was all heading.

Potential either way.

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Posted: June 7th, 2015, 6:30am Report to Moderator

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Excellent notes, Rick, many thanks!

I'm not sure I would want to give the girl a backstory, but everything else you recommended I agree with wholeheartedly. I think if I was to rewrite this I would go with Dustin's idea of showing Wade carrying her corpse at the end, which would suggest the whole thing was in in his mind. I think that ties it up rather neatly.

One thing I was trying to do in the writing in the elevator part was convey a sense of the time. So for example I wanted a sense of long pause before the corpse finally draws his eye again. It makes for awkward prose, but I really wanted the pause clear in screen format. There are other ways to create that sense of pause in prose because I can do some POV inner thought stuff. So I still find it a little tricky as to what works best in screen.

Wade  hit the emergency stop so that when the power comes back on the elevator will not start moving. Now that he is going explore the corpse in more depth he doesn't want the elevator to start moving or the door to open, so he hits the stop.

Thanks again, man! Great stuff.
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Posted: June 7th, 2015, 7:31am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Action speaks louder...

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He not carrying her away at the end was actually the difference between a consider and recommend from me. I would have given it an 8. It's one of those quirky stories that everyone will get a little chuckle out of. It's gross in a very funny way.

Nice work.

Private Message Reply: 93 - 97
Posted: June 8th, 2015, 8:58am Report to Moderator

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If you guys are going to hang in this thread, I suggest you check out Ricks' reviews above. That's how it's done. He described my writing here us "not professional standard"...and he gave specific reasons and suggestions how to fix. It was done politely and constructively. It was not used as an excuse to stop reading a basically clearly written story(like the story or not).

I also suggest you guys review my comments on the first page of Jeff's OWC. The writing there is not of high quality. It's loaded with awkwardness and poor phrasings. Which is fine, we should be here to help each other. And there should be a dose of humility because none of us are F Scott Fitzgerald and our OWC entries did not garner a lot of positive response. Humility and helping each other, why should that be hard?
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: June 8th, 2015, 9:10am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

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Writers can be pretty funny when they start attacking each other.

There's probably a witty, intelligent sitcom to be made about it. A slightly darker version of Frasier.
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Posted: June 8th, 2015, 9:10am Report to Moderator
Old Timer


Over there.
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Okay Led

My last word, as this is definitely the wrong thread for this.

I meant play the ball, not the man. Dismissing all of someone's work because they made a smartass remark, which was about your partner, not you, was over harsh.

Pick on a script, pick on the guy, pick on his hat, but don't dismiss all his work. That isn't playing fair. And you usually do.


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Site Private Message Reply: 96 - 97
Posted: June 8th, 2015, 9:23am Report to Moderator

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Quoted Text
pick on his hat

Spilled my coffee, lol
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