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CRITERIA Horror > Hell, yeah! Low budget > A warehouse dock, an axe, and a house Powerful *** Original > Betrayal never gets old. Celtic Myth > Hand of Glory Visually interesting > The licking scene. The house occupants. Memorable characters > Tophet Unique ending > Good twist, ties into VO at beginning Standout moments > When Beau thought about cutting the homeowner
This opened up nice an clean looking on the page and I appreciate that.
What I didn't like was that the dialogue felt far too cryptic for me and it was only sandwiched in between a lot of gore which didn't work for me because I didn't really care about the characters. Basically, they were bad people doing bad things. In the end, bad guy Beau, gets his reward from a guy named Tophet in cahoots with the witch, but it's not really clear who he is or how he fits in.
In the dialogue I noticed this:
On your knees. Interlock your fingers.
*That stopped me in my tracks. I would change interlock to lock.
I really do like the title. The story might better be told if we know the reason behind Jenifer's actions.
I liked that you used the hand thing. I was wondering if anyone would do that. To me it almost felt like Natural Born Killers but with voodoo. I liked that. Just evil. Yum. But I think it could be trimmed a bit to help the pace. It became a bit monotonous after a while.
This was very visual while also being very lean. Your choice of words is really precise and really brought out a haunting tale. From the get go this grabbed me and I was curious to see where things would go.
I think around page nine i started to lose interest though..I didn't quite catch why Jennifer was doing the thigns she did. Why was she there?
Also, why introduce Tophet so late in the game? He sort of discombobulated the story from then on.
I think with another rewrite this story could be taken to another level. Great job with it though! Overall i liked it a bunch.
P.S. LOVED the title!
Shorts: Good Golly Miss Molly No Place Like Home New Moon Rising Yuno - BRAND-*SPANKIN*-NEW! The Ballad of Uncle Sam: An Anarchists Melody Toy Soldier This Modern Love A Virgin State of Mind
Good mix of witchcraft, the supernatural, and some creative blood. Creeping the dismembered hand down Jennifer's back was one of the more memorable images I've seen thus far. Bringing in Tophet at the end was, IMO, a little off key. It reminded me of all of those horror flicks where, in the middle of the movie, it looks like everyone is about to die a painful death and then some random new characters comes out of nowhere to save them. I would consider going over that ending again.
There's a lot that I really liked about this story. Good, strong characters - engaging story line. And the writer clearly researched the Hand of Glory mythos for the script (one example being the Scalp/Wick detail.) The details of the frozen homeowners (the dribbling teacup and the toothpaste) also worked well for me visually.
Although the twist at the end works on a basic level, I'm not sure why it was needed (by Jennifer, that is.) Isn't the arrangement with Beaumont giving her what she needs? You probably need to show some level of friction between the two, to make this kind of a double-cross logical.
I just reread this story, even though I basically liked it the first time. I think the writer could definitely take the suggestions above, use an extra couple of pages, and make this story really kick ass, especially with the writer's obvious skill. As suggested above, foreshadow Tophet a little, explain Jennifer's motivation a bit more.
I will never be thrilled with the time freezing, but that's me. I hated when ET made the bikes fly after a grueling chase. Come on!
But I hope this story is considered for production, because most of it looks great and can easily be tweaked.
There is potential here and even talent on display, but overall, it didn't work for me, and your writing style is a problem for me.
I'm pretty sure I know who wrote this and I have the same problems with all your works (assuming I'm right, of course). You have a tendency to omit simple words like "a" and "the", making the read very cryptic and unnatural for me. You also also "tell" us alot, as opposed to showing it with good clean writing. And, as others have commented, there are many instances where you tell us things that aren't even onscreen, or don't need to be mentioned.
A quick gripe...you're opening action/description line contains an orphan. No big deal, I know, especially if time came into play, but I don't think that's the case. The reason this orphan rears his ugly head is because of the way you wrote the line (and the way you write most of your lines). Let's look at it real quick...
"A fire axe, fresh blood on the blade, rests on planks of oak." - "fire" totally unnecessary. "on the blade" also unnecessary...if the axe is bloody, chances are pretty good that the blood is on the blade. "planks of oak" again, detail that we don't need to know...your Slug reads "WOODEN DOCK"...do we care that the wood happens to be oak?
Why am I being such a prick about this? It's your opening line and it's a red flag that started waving for me immediately. Most won't catch this kind of stuff or even care, but some like me will, and you just don't want to piss off your readers if you can help it.
Story-wise, I was enjoying this quite a bit until they get to the O'Mallory house, and it turns into some kind of crime drama. Also didn't like or get the Tophet character. The twist? Not much of one, as far as I'm concerned.
What I did really appreciate was the fact that this started out as "real" horror. It's played for reals and for keeps and you succeeded with flying colors on that. It was brutal, graphic, unflinching, and as others have mentioned, even erotic in a creepy way.
But you abandoned all that and lost all the speed you had generated, and that's too bad.
If any of this stuff is do to time constraint, then I understand completely, but I don't think that's the case. I have a feeling this was written quickly, soon after the challenge info was released and I doubt you went back and thought much about what you had put together, and again, that's too bad if that's true.
Great beginning, poor middle and end. Solid writing, but your style doesn't appeal to me at all, and I think there are numerous examples of where you made mistakes that could have so easily been fixed up with a few edits and more thought.
Solid OWC entry though. Congrats!
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I was into this until the time freeze robbery. I liked that aspect, but what pulled me out of it was the man's tea was spilling onto him and the water was still running? For whatever reason, that pulled me out of the story to think about why the people were frozen in time, but nothing else was.
The introduction of Tophet took this a different direction, and I'm not sure if this was intended. With his appearance and the circularness with the opening scene, my thinking is that pretty soon, Tophet will fill the role of Beau, who filled the role of Kent (I think that was the first dead guy's name). This witch will repeatedly use one fellow to get what she needs, then double cross him and use another fellow to do her bidding, only to then double cross him, etc etc. I kind of liked this, but it didn't quite seem to fit with the earlier stuff between her and Beau.
I very much liked the beginning. But there was such a drastic shift in tone from the opening sequence to the robbery. And it happened so quickly, without build up or transition. The whole robbery really felt uninspired. It was like a different story. Beau was so inexplicably different from one scene to the next, yet it wasn't a character arc because there was no progression, no reason. I think if you had more time, you could've come up with a better direction for this story to go from such a strong visual opening, because the way it is written now, I don't think it flows very well.