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Condemned Sanctuary by Malcom Bowman (scoob) - Short, Gothic Horror - A mother's candlelight vigil on the fifth anniversary of her son's death is interrupted by an unexpected guest. 11 pages, 5 characters, PG-13 Rating - pdf, format
Halfway in, I'm curious on how "frail" Liz gotten; on intro they are in thier 60s. The photo shows them in thier 50s.
I must say that there is a nice little capture of some goth emo here, although Tom's VOs on p4 got a bit drained. (and the diary ends on Halloween!) The conversation between Liz and Ghost had some nice moments in it, but I felt it went on a bit long. The ghost, at least, should speak fewer words. (That's my view) I'm also not into CAPS when a character shouts or italics.
Some grammar problems, ("The gang look at Christopher") on occasion but nothing too distracting, easy fixer ups.
Overall, not a bad read, but I was curious as to the time period. Some of it suggests that it takes place present day, which is fine (a gothic setting need not be in a previous century or two, 'southern gothic' and 'urban gothic' exist in some forms too) but then there's the youths ready to burn down the house...and I was with you there. I was kind of hoping that they WOULD attempt to burn it down, while not knowing Liz was inside, but that they thought the ghost (or the ghost of the deformed child) haunted the place.
There were times were I thought the ghost was the dead son, but surprisingly, you didn't go there. (It should have been though)
While it is a biy talky, I think this is decent effort for a OWC.
I enjoyed the story, the doalogue was ok, needs tightening, there is a hell of a lot that could be lost without taking the atmosphere away - the ghost's long, dramatic speaches became tiresome after a few pages. I too was confused as to the era this was set in, the youths spoke modern "chill gramps" yet Liz uses a candle lamp? Good work for a week.
Very good effort, for a OWC, I think. This story is complex and sustains the atmosphere needed to show layers of sadness in ruined lives. Too much of the dialogue might be "scene setting" rather than genuinely interactive between characters (especially the scene between Liz and the ghost, Liz has emotional changes but mostly she seems to just vent). Good effort, though.
I think this one's got a lot of promise. Granted, it was written quickly for the OWC. But with a revamp, and polish - it could be something special. And from what I've seen of the writing in this one, the guy (or gal's) got the chops to do it.
One of the bigger issues - IMO - is that the ghost is much too expository. The tale needs to be much more subtle. Establish in a flashback (or some other way) that Liz's has made a custom of visiting the house, and Tom's bedroom.
Show more of her pain and guilt (without her saying - "I have so much pain and guilt") that she didn't help Tom, while he was alive. Show that she's developed a friendship of some sort with the ghost over time herself (ie: history's repeating itself. First Tom, now Liz.) Then - once she dies - there's the opportunity to start the cycle all over again, this time with Christopher.)
There's a ton to work with here. Guilt, Liz's pain of loss, Tom's pain of being labeled a freak, shared loneliness with the ghost... Add some layers and subtlety, and this could be veerrry nice.
This one subscribes to the literal interpretation of the OWC. You started page one and two with the same “October leaves” deal. Consider changing up your adjectives a bit more. You’ve put a lot of effort into the atmosphere, too much for me. The novelistic prose chunks my read. I struggle with it too. Tom’s V.O. feels overly mature for a sheltered boy of 15. The ghost’s dialogue is almost exclusively expository. It’s talking heads syndrome, but only one is corporeal. Thanks for playing OWC.
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Liked the premise, though I have to agree it's a little too talky. Perhaps some way of showing how the characters feel, rather than having them proclaim it might work better, especially in the case of the ghost. There also seems to be a bit too much description for a screenplay. Shorter paragraphs, fewer adjectives might help to tighten this up, as well as working for more subtext in the dialog. What if they said something other than what they felt sometimes, but the way it was said revealed what they felt.
What I liked about this was the depth, the agony and the potential for conflict.
Over worded descriptions Too many set up or exposure scenes for my taste-lots of blowing leaves! The boy and the ghost had too much exposition I thought Christopher could play more of a part, the conflict within Arenas and how they cope, and we were left with him stabbed at the end which didn't seem to serve a purpose.
The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
I have to say I'm not a big fan of talkative ghosts. One or two words, okay. But, when ghosts sit down for an extended chat, things get decidedly less spooky. I started losing interest in the story as the dialogue between Liz and the Ghost went on and on.
Really went hard for the pathos in the ending, and I suppose this did fit into the owc guidelines. Not bad, but I'd trim the ghost's dialogue...a lot.
I like the tone, the pace is good, the action lines are descriptive and engaging. The dialogue needs a lot of work, it's on-the-nose and more like dialogue from a novel where everyone's speech is highly educated and verbose. There was no characterization in the dialogue, but tons of characterization in the action lines. There was too much exposition, some of it redundant such as Liz saying out loud that she misses Tom when it's been made painfully clear. This could be tightened into six wonderful pages, especially if you consider dropping the teenagers since they do nothing for the story at all.
You write well, you have a good sense of setting and tone, just work on the dialogue and saying more with visuals and less with dialogue.
I’ve grown to hate descriptions that use words like varying, various, etc. It just sounds so easy and vague. Other than that little nit, the description is pretty good, although a little excessive. Closes an open window, for example, could just be closes the window.
All of the description leading up to a photo of Tom and all you can write is facially deformed? How about a better description? I know you’re capable of it.
A few grammar issues like it’s where it should be its. Not too many, though.
How can he give her a heart massage without opening her chest? Do you mean he pumps her chest?
I like the existentialism of the ghost’s exposition, but while it makes it interesting on one level, it’s frustrating on another since we don’t really learn anything about him.
Overall, I’m kind of on the fence about it. There were things I liked but as a whole it seemed a bit sedated. I think you should focus on trimming down general descriptions and flesh the ghost character out a bit more to make it more dynamic.
I liked this one okay, but I think it has the potential to be a lot better.
My main thoughts:
The action (and sometimes the dialogue) is just too overwritten. You could easily shave pages off without losing any of the substance.
The conversation with the ghost was a bit drawn out. Combine that with the fact that the sequence goes from all action to all dialogue and it just feels like you missed the target.
I did like how you used the mother's love for her son to fuel the story, though I think you could do that a little more effectively. I imagine how I would feel if I lost one of my sons and then Liz's actions and dialogue seem a little too soft.