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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    April, 2009 One Week Challenge  ›  OWC - Guilt
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  Author    OWC - Guilt  (currently 3529 views)
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 9:42am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Guilt by C.S. James - Short, Drama - A guilt-ridden couple returns to the scene of the accident that changed their lives. - pdf, format

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Posted: April 11th, 2009, 11:07am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Sydney, Australia
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To whom it may concern!

Ok, I liked this one, but - the flashbacks? I think you can lose them. For me, they add absolutely nothing to the story but make it cliche. I am thinking you probably added them to set up the surprise that Jake is paralysed - when we had been anticipating he would be dead.  However, I still find them to be unnecessary, as we've seen it so many times before. The revelation that Will is not the father is a nice twist, and added a depth to this story.

There was just too much unnecessary description there I feel, particularly on page one. Do we really need to know about the grape? Do we need to know she wipes her hands in her jeans? I didn't particularly like this:

Quoted Text
A gentle, rocky creek encapsulates the park like a tiny trench.

It just felt bloated and not very vivid.

Having said all that, I did enjoy it, but feel like there was too much here that could be removed.


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Posted: April 11th, 2009, 11:41am Report to Moderator

London, England
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Meeting the competition criteria: definitely dramatic (to the point of melodramatic). Three generations of the same family, all on a picnic, and a secret revealed towards the end. Right on the money for me - 10/10
Characters: neither Will nor Michelle were particularly interesting. Jake, however, I did feel genuine sympathy for - 6/10
Dialogue: everything happened a bit to quickly, IMO. You had five more pages to play around with the relationship between Will and Michelle, try to lead us off in the wrong direction. At the moment it's all too intense, too crammed full of drama - 5/10
Story: I think you do need the flashbacks, and I was surprised when Jake turned up (although Michelle using the present tense about his paternity alerted me that something might be up). Again, though, it feels rushed. You did a decent job at misdirection, although the importance of the new signs was somewhat lost on me. The slightly more up-beat ending was nice - 6/10
Writing/format: you're guilty of over-writing, particularly on the first page. 'Michelle slowly pushing the grape into her mouth' was really the limit, for me. You just put too much detail in. Format was fine - 5/10

TOTAL: 33/50

Guess who's back? Back again?
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Posted: April 11th, 2009, 2:26pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Toronto Ont.
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I don't agree that it was rushed when we're speaking of a big story within a short. Shorts are just that. Short.

That being said, I didn't particularly like the minutiae in the beginning. I get that you were trying to set a oh hum marriage tone, but it was a bit... much.

This line: Will
looks up, follows the bird as it swoops down and lands on
the edge of the distant sidewalk

so their looking to bring bird trainers in then...?

And what's with descriptions like but even with her silky black hair and green eyes, are you seeking specific actors? Remember, this is not a novella.

Good twists. Nice ending.

Family Picnic 10 pages.

After the Trade 3 pages

by T. Jasmine Hylton
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Zombie Sean
Posted: April 11th, 2009, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

A boozer, a user, and a two-time loser

Anywhere there's a zombie...
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Along with Andrew here, the flashbacks were unnecessary. They seemed too quick to actually be considered flashbacks. If you don't know what's going on in them, then what's the point? You have a kid bending down to pick something up. Okay. You have a foot slipping on a rock, a kid's gasp, a man's scream. Better, but what's going on? Also, I did feel as though you were leading up to the fact that Jake was dead, but I actually liked that you didn't go that way. It's a bitter-sweet thing. I'm happy he's alive, but also really depressed that he's paralyzed.

Your descriptions were well written, but more like a novel than a script. A word or two I didn't know, but you did a good job with visuals.

This was a really dramatic piece, but it was really, really dramatic. Almost to the point where it was, like, cheesy dramatic (especially the whole "grabs face and lip quivers") part. I actually kind of shook my head and crack a tiny smile at that part.

But other than that stuffs, I thought this one was pretty good. I enjoyed it.



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Posted: April 11th, 2009, 6:58pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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This was pretty decent.  Like others haev said, too much description early on, for no reason.  Too dramatic. Way too short...why didn't you add more here?  I don't understand why it is so short.  Good twist, but again, a bit too depressing and over dramatic for my liking.

Decent overall though.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: April 12th, 2009, 12:32am Report to Moderator
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Not much to add here. Strong writing ability on display and met the challenge requirements easily.

I'll admit you had me fooled into thinking Jake was dead though Will didn't dwell on the fact that it wasn't his kid very long. Since that was the big secret I would build on that a little more before the big reveal.

Like I said, most of my thoughts have already been said on here. A decent script for one week... good luck with this.
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Posted: April 12th, 2009, 4:46am Report to Moderator

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I liked this one. I think it met the challenge nicely. The dialogue could be tweaked a bit but it worked well within the confines of your story.

I really thought Jake was dead -- you fooled me. It is a sad thing that he's on a chair, but I guess it's better than him not being alive. I suggest you give us even more hints that he is truly dead, so it comes as more of a surprise when we finally see him.

Also, I think you should expand at least a little bit more on the relationship between Michelle and Will.  But I think, for what little time we spend with them on this short, you did a good job of conveying their situation through non-verbal actions and gestures.  

It met the challenge and the Drama was heavy enough, I'd give this a 7/10

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Brian M
Posted: April 12th, 2009, 6:33am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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You got me with the twist about Jake, it's good that he's still alive. The flashbacks were short but helped build up towards the ending so I wouldn't lose them.

Michelle's revelation comes out of nowhere. I think for her to say that, Will would have to snap at her when she tries comforting him about his guilt forcing her to reveal he's not the father.

Otherwise, pretty impressive.
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George Willson
Posted: April 13th, 2009, 11:36am Report to Moderator

Doctor who? Yes, quite right.

Broken Arrow
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Well, I'll have to say I thought I knew what was coming with the flashbacks, but I was fooled. Not that Jake has a happy twist, but hey, he's not dead. It had a nice build to it, and everything unfolded little by little. Nicely done there. I didn't have a big problem with the over-descriptiveness at the beginning, except for the river trench part. That read weird. I saw the pacing in the description as you lead the reader little by little into the story. You were setting up a sort of tense moment, and it worked for me.

Where the problem came in was that pesky secret. It came out of no where, and got a quick explanation to it, but it seemed almost unnecessary. He's having a big problem with the incident to begin with, and it feels like Michelle is giving Will a chance to leave or something. Someone bringing up that kind of thing is just crappy. If he leaves, he's a heel. So he has to stay but now, with the secret out, he's just got to live with and deal with it. She might as well have kept it to herself.

Sure, the guilt thing fits, but it's just too much for the moment. He's dealing with enough to have that laid on him too. I can see him putting on a fine face now, but we'll find him hanging from the rafters later.

It was well written, but the secret itself (the point of the challenge) killed it.

Revision History (1 edits)
George Willson  -  April 13th, 2009, 11:50am
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Posted: April 14th, 2009, 5:28pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Cut to three weeks earlier

London, UK
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I enjoyed this one.  Good descriptions that perfectly painted a picture.  The flashbacks are fine, I can see no problems with them.  The secret was a great one as this was by far not what I was expecting.

I have no complaints overall.  Met the challenge head-on and passed.

This one's in my top three.

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jayrex  -  April 19th, 2009, 2:42pm
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Posted: April 15th, 2009, 9:03pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this one a lot too. Lots of layers. beautiful : )

Loved the ending.

Hate ta complain about any thing, but one thing that I found a little distracting (not a big deal) was the adverbs. Most of them weren't necessary.

Great job!

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Posted: April 17th, 2009, 5:54am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

--> Over There
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To whom it may concern

I thought this was gonna be the standard "tortured past" piece with a big confrontation at the end, a lot of shouting, crying, etc...but it took a nice twist with the emergence of Jake over the hill as the reader is led to believe he died at this particular site. The opening dialogue was on the money when Michelle talks about boring, meningless stuff as a desperate attempt to ellicit some reaction out of Will or  make him feel comfortable when he clearly isn't.

The "secret" revealed is a little hackneyed but at the same time I never saw it coming, all credit to Will for keeping is head but you can imagine things are gonna erupt somewhere in the not too distant future.

The writing was good and the twist was there, you ticked all the boxes with this one.

Nice job

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Posted: April 17th, 2009, 12:30pm Report to Moderator

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Not bad for a OWC script.  Sure it coulda been longer and some trimming done but it met the challenge. Nice ending.
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Posted: April 17th, 2009, 4:50pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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A quite heart rending story. It doesnt' need to be longer, though I think little Jake's accident should be more spectacular (or erased). Also, Will's reaction top Michelle's secret has to be more underlined.

One more thing, psychologically, I can't see how it could help Will to come back where the accident took place.


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