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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Innocence Condemned - OWC
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  Author    Innocence Condemned - OWC  (currently 3805 views)
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 9:14am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Innocence Condemned by Dena Mckinnon - Short, Gothic Horror - During the dark times of Christianity, a young woman finds herself accused of witch craft, haunted by a disfigured spirit, and destined for persecution. During her trials and torment, she discovers that death may not be the only punishment that lies ahead. 10 pages, 9 characters, Hard R Rating - pdf, format

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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  October 29th, 2011, 4:59pm
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The boy who could fly
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 4:41pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

British Columbia, Canada
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I'm guessing this is from a begginer. First off congrats on finishing the OWC, they can be quite difficult so finishing one is an accomplishment. The paragraphs here are two long, they should be broken down a bit, almost looks like a novel. The dialog was a bit too on the nose for me, and some of it just doesn't work. Still it fits the challenge and you managed to finish it, so good job on that.

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 15th, 2011, 4:50pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Part time writer

The Island of Jersey
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Hello Phillipe

Yeah, as mentioned above the descriptions are too long. Read quality scripts to see the difference, which to be honest I have head to do.

A few comments

It starts with 1692 - how would we know that? There is no scene intro
Characters introduced for the first time need to be in CAPITALS
Try to avoid describing the obvious eg the pastor set them up. We need to work it out from the script and the action etc

Overall this is a dark tale. It has depth and I think with re working could be a powerful piece but they to be different from the witch hunt plays etc that already exist

All the best.

My scripts †HERE

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Posted: October 15th, 2011, 11:27pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Sorry, I'm out again in less than 3 passages.  Doesn't work as written at all, and this is so over written, as others have mentioned.

Congrats on completing an entry for the October OWC.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 8:40am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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I'm exhausted! Needs a big trim and touch up, the action blocks need serious editing.
Keep them punchy and crisp, you are not writing a novel and getting out of that habit is a hard trick to accomplish.
You obviously have a very good imagination and ideas, just need to streamline those ideas into swifter writing.

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 16th, 2011, 11:09am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

Los Angeles
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Your expository legend establishes a misunderstood ghost.
Novelistic prose is rarely a good thing in a screenplay.
It makes the read very thick and tends to make folks tune out.
Suggest, evoke, donít spill out lots of unrelated detail.
Itís a common problem most struggle with at some point.
The more you write, the less likely you are to overwrite.
Telling us a lot about a ghost doesnít engage a reader.
Show us your protag experiencing events, not talking about them.
The ending somewhat petered out for me, I was expecting more.
Pretty decent atmosphere. Thanks for playing OWC.



CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 2:06pm Report to Moderator
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Gave this one a try but stopped when you introe'd John Clevenger but Samual Wayman was what we got.

You also had two men on the wagon but never introe'd them at all.

The massive blocks were too much to get past as well.

Great try on the OWC.

Read some scripts and get a feel for how to tighten this up and you might have a decent enough story.

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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 2:18pm Report to Moderator
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Page 1, 2 and 7 were like pages ripped from a novel...

Lots of asides in this one or (prose)

The thing with this one is simple... It should be cut down dramatically, tightened up or extended and written more cohesively.  Either way it's a tough read as it is.  Very weighty.

I know I've been away from the site for some time and all, but I've been entering contest and interacting with consultants much of that time -- So since when do we not need Fade out or The End anymore?   I've seen this a slew of times in the 6 scripts I've read thus far.  Strange.
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Posted: October 16th, 2011, 2:23pm Report to Moderator
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Good to see you back Balt-

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Posted: October 17th, 2011, 7:38pm Report to Moderator
Guest User

Hey Philippe -

Read the script, and think you've got the germ of a really nice story here.  I get the idea that you're probably (relatively) new to writing, so throwing a few tips out for your consideration:

* The descriptions in the beginning are much too heavy.  Rule of thumb is, no more than three lines per paragraph.  If you really, really need more - chop it up into new paragraphs - each it's own set of actions.

* Also with descriptions - limit them drastically, to only what you really need (to define the action, and establish basic atmosphere.)  One small example of where you did too much: One stuffs a rag into her pretty mouth squelching her pleas.  No need to mention her mouth is pretty.  Not a big thing, but the adjectives add up, and drag down the story.

As for the story - I think you've got a great premise to start with: a woman wrongfully killed as a witch, who chooses to remain in limbo to help others like her.  That's some potentially great, rich material to work with.  Your writing is solid - I think once you streamline this a bit, it could be quite good.

BTW: the priest - IMHO - was overdone.  Fine, have them torture and attempt to kill her.  But raping her too?  That makes it much too cartoony...and actually takes away from the impact.

All that aside, congrats on the OWC - and thanks for the submission!
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Posted: October 18th, 2011, 8:31am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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So, if you take all the above advice and ask "would that improve the story" the simple answwer is yes. You can make action more active, get rid of uneeded stuff, and breaking up some of those blocks...and if you had done any of that to start this would be a good short script.

I liked this - but only in terms of setting and story. It falls short due to the mess. Here - let me show you something.

Quoted Text
When Bea looks up, the lady is gone and a man is unshackling her. He puts a dark bag over her head and her world goes black that instant.

She is dragged.

A short distance away he stops dragging her. The bag is
pulled from her face. Candles adorn the room all around.
There is a big cross hanging on one wall. In front of the
cross is a large stone table. She is again dragged. Once
reaching the table, the man hoists her up on the table
binding her hands and feet at opposite ends of the cold stone table. She lays on her back bound.

In walks the Pastor himself of the Church. The very Pastor
that accused her of witchcraft! He is followed by two other
men dressed in dark coats and facial masks resembling those
from an old masquerade ball.

Now, cut this :

Quoted Text
When Bea looks up, the lady is gone and a man is unshackling her. He puts a dark bag over her head and her world goes black that instant.

She is dragged.

A short distance away he stops dragging her.
The bag is
pulled from her face. Candles adorn the room all around.
There is a big cross hanging on one wall. In front of the
cross is a large stone table. She is again dragged. Once
reaching the table,
the man hoists her up on the table
binding her hands and feet at opposite ends of the cold stone table. She lays on her back bound.

In walks the Pastor himself of the Church. The very Pastor
that accused her of witchcraft!
He is followed by two other
men dressed in dark coats and facial masks resembling those
from an old masquerade ball.

Now, the grammar, some CAPS and one minor adjustment or two and you might end up with something close to this:

Quoted Text
When Bea looks up, the lady is gone and a CREEPY MAN unshackles her. He puts a bag over her head.


Creepyman rips the bag off an unconcious Bea. Candles adorn the room all around. A big cross hangs on one wall. Before them : a large stone table.

Creepyman hoists her up on the table.
Binds her hands and feet at opposite ends of the table.

Pastor Cunningham walks in. Two other men, dressed in dark coats and masquerade ball masks, follow him.

Note that if you really wanted to, Creepyman can also take off the bag AFTER he puts Bea on the table. Bea does not struggle; therefore she must be knocked out.

So you might be wondering why cut out what I suggest. Good questions. Here's answers.

- Once Creepyman puts the bag over her head, it is safe to assume that "her world goes black". Therefore, you don't need it.

- What is a "short distance away"? Next room? Next house? Since there was no slug, "short distance" means what? But it is clearly a new location, or an old one redecorated. If it is "a short distance" why bother with the bag? Creepyman (that's what I call him not to be confused with the other two that show up) can simply knock her out and carry her.

So the description sounds like a new room/place. WE, the readers can safely guess how Bea got there. The specifics aren't too important; we know she was brought there by the Creepyman.

- It isn't needed to write that Bea "lays on the cold table". Creepyman has already tied her up on the table. It is thus assumed that Bea is lying down on the table. You can't show us the table is cold either. We also already know it's stone.

- About the names. "Bea Clevanger" should just be Bea; Pastor Cunningham should be Pastor Cunninham or simply Cunningham. This elimates the line "the same Pastor that accused her of witchcraft!" - we already know it's the same person.

Later on, Cunningham says Bea has the Mark Of The Beast. Instead of 666, she only has "witch" carved into her (presumably by Cunningham)

I would like to see/ read this again when you cleaned it up a bit.

Best of luck,

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss :
The Art!
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 9:38pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Iím seeing itís and its mixed up in probably more than half the scripts Iíve read.

This is way over described. Iím usually one of the more lenient in that regard but you devote three or four lines just to dust coming off horses.

You need to break up your description and work on ways to infer things rather than tell us every little move that characters make.

For all the opening description, you donít describe your characters in any way.

I see potential here. I think the writer will write something pretty good one day. For now, this script needs some work. Not a bad effort, though.

I like that youíre willing to go to uncomfortable places. A little more character development is needed to balance it out, though.

Good luck with rewrites.


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Posted: October 18th, 2011, 10:07pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Oh Hi

San Diego, California
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I really liked this, but the format makes it really hard to read.  Most of these bulky paragraphs can be condensed down into a line or two.  I skimmed over most of them and still got the gist of what was going on.  

I would have liked to see more initial tension between Bea and Orillia.  I just think the whole "ghost appears out of nowhere and they become fast friends" thing is played out beyond belief.  I'd like to see some more conflict between those two.

But I did like the story.  Just clean it up.

Nice job.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: October 19th, 2011, 7:20pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

Bowden, Alberta
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This was quite a stunning read for me. I saw and felt everything. And, despite any lashing you may get for being out of "form", I still say, this was stunning. And, I must say, in my life, as a teen, (and as an adult) I have had a couple of close brushes with individuals, one, (in Vancouver when I was 16) who could have taken my life. But for some reason, I was let go. Jordon? You around? Do you or your parents remember the Clifford Olsen cases?

I was picked up by him on Marine Drive. I was waiting at the bus stop, but as a kid, I was never afraid; so I got in the car. I now know he had probably rented it from the airport rentals in Richmond. It was a big car. I remember hearing the locks click. He took me close to where I (had lived at my Grandma's on Fraser St. close to Moberly school) and parked. He reached his hand over and placed it on my thigh and slid it upwards to the unmentionable place.

I was really really scared, but as cool as a cucumber. I said something to the affect, "Why don't we get together. And something like, "What do you see in a girl like me?" Because I had braces at the time. Anyways, I did not try and fend him off. I think I talked, but I can't remember what exactly. I don't know, but about something. And I think we kissed. And he knew one of my "missions" for that day was to go to the unemployment office. And he let me go.

When I got out of the car, and walked down the street towards Fraser and then to my Grandma's, I spit! And I was so overcome. I still can't believe what happened. Wow. This is getting long, but it's on my chest. And I still think of it. How I was spared.

So when I read a script like this, although my experience wasn't as graphic, I can feel that "element of evil". Perhaps, that's why when I write, I struggle with that. Trying to loosen out that which has occurred and find meaning in it. I think Clifford Olsen wanted a "struggle" and because I wasn't struggling, that's why he let me go.

So, with that...

I say, keep writing.



On this script...

Wow, this makes my hard "R" rating look like Family Entertainment.

A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Posted: October 20th, 2011, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Not too sure if anybody mentioned it, but this one's a little bit overwritten.  :-)

Not too pound a point home, but the descriptions could use a little separation.  It's all cluttered.  Breaking it up some and cutting the excess off, would help you tell your story a little better.

For instance, when you say 'Not far from the tree, hanging on a black iron poll along a deserted road, a sign reading ďWelcome to BarwickĒ swings back and forth.  The only sounds are the wind and the creaking of the old metal sign swinging in the windy night.'  Whoowhee that's a large mouth full.  Plus you say the same thing in the two sentences.  You can simplify it into one.  All you really had to say was 'The wind clangs a metal 'Welcome to Barwick' sign back and forth.'  It's the same exact thing, except in 12 words instead of 44 words.  And there's a lot of examples in the story that do that.

The story isn't bad, but the huge blocks of repetition kept on taking me out of the story.  

It was still pretty decent work given a week.  It just needs brushed up a bit.

- Mark

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