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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February 2011 One Week Challenge  ›  Wisp - Feb 2011 OWC Moderators: Grandma Bear
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  Author    Wisp - Feb 2011 OWC  (currently 4054 views)
Don
Posted: February 24th, 2011, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
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Wisp by Harley G Wolfe Jr. (Hugh Hoyland) - Short - Don't follow the light. 8 pages

A February 2011 One Week Challenge script. - pdf, format


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-------------
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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  March 9th, 2011, 5:41pm
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bert
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:05am Report to Moderator
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I found the set-up here a little too cliché, with no cell phone service, expository dialogue, and a young couple that has run out of gas, of all things.

The bluish light in the woods might look kind of cool, but the dialogue for the goblin feels a bit tacked on, and for all their running about in the woods, the payoff for this story is not quite there.

You have some grammar errors scattered about, but this generally read fast and well enough, showing that you can do this, even if this particular script was not the best showcase for that talent.


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greg
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:21am Report to Moderator
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I don't think I've ever seen so many apostrophe errors.  The amount of misplaced punctuation is insane.  Even if this was written in 10 minutes I still wouldn't expect that volume of mistakes.  

That said, this read surprisingly fast.  Just know that every time I saw a phantom apostrophe-s I cringed and stopped for a split second.  Pretty basic setup but I actually liked the use of the voices as well as the goblin.  Maybe a little random sure, but also a bit ambitious.  

If you did indeed chug this out in 10 minutes then it shows.  I know 7 days isn't a lot of time to write a great short, but if you don't have time to even proof your own work then, well, these are the reviews you're gonna get.  But if you really don't know how to use an apostrophe then I would definitely look into rectifying that.

Greg


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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:32am Report to Moderator
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Your first slug says TWILIGHT - CONTINUOUS. Since thre is no scene that proceeds it (possibly taken out in a quick edit?) it reads incorrect. Nitpicks may say otherwise but TWILIGHT will suffice (better yet, DUSK)

I made note of grammar/spelling mistakes. Most of them deal with 's - keep a sharp eye on that. It's rampant from start to finish.touch’s =touches, shine's=shines and so on.

Quoted Text
Emily slump’s for a second, then in a panic start’s running
to. She’s quickly loosing site of Daniel in the darkness.
She yell’s at him.


Here's how it should look and read something like this:

Emily slumps for a second.  Panics.  Runs.
She  loses sight of Daniel in the darkness.
She yells at him.


You want to keep action in the present, "Then" is a word that can be cut and you lose nothing. When you show the action in a present and active form, the action happens "then" so "then" isn't needed. Also in other places, watch for 'begins' and 'tries'. Characters do. They don't begin to try.

Look at ths:


Quoted Text
Then from the darkness a hand grab’s her shoulder.


Now watch and compare:

From the darkness a hand grabs her shoulder.

and while I'm on p4:

Quoted Text
She almost jump’s out of her shoe’s.


Eh....no. She does or she doesn't. How about 'She gasps'?


Continued heads and foot should have been clicked off.


I tried really hard to get into this. I flunked. The script reads like it was written in an hour, caution thrown to the wind. The good news is that if you are new to screenwriting, you have a little bit here which you can clean up and work on.

I couldn't get into it.


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keaton01
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:51am Report to Moderator
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What they said.

For me it was too straight forward with no real foreshadowing beside what was crammed down our throats by cheesy cliche dialog. I would say rework etc, but honestly I would add this to the lessen pile and develop another story. The only way to get better is to write, write, and write some more.


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Baltis.
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 4:44am Report to Moderator
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Little known fact, as cool, calm and collected as I appear to be I suffer from Anxiety disorders in which bring on panic attacks.  They're not pleasant.  In fact, they're probably the scariest 10 to 30 min one can experience in their entire lives.

With that bit of information out of the way... This script almost brought me to one.  But not because it was scary or shocking.  Rather because it was frightfully bad.  Luckily I took my meds early tonight.

Problems:

Continued at the tops and bottoms of your pages -- Turn that useless feature off for your next script, please.

Your dialogue is a train wreck.  I pride myself on dialogue above and beyond anything.  If it's even a little off-brand tasting, I go back to the drawing board.  Yours is chock full of on the nose exchanges and over reaching. You're telling us too much of the story and not showing us.  And in the event you did show us (the car out of gas) you tell us that it is right afterwards.

I can't believe you put (') those behind pretty much anything you see fit to have one.  That's pimp.  I'm a musician well before I'm a screenwriter, but you write like I'd write lyrics to a song.  It's stop, touch and go with you.

Things like this --

Emily say’s nothing. She hears a twig snap from behind the
tree’s, like someone’s approaching.


Really bother me.  

A twig SNAPS within the trees -- Someone approaches.

Try that.  It works.

And what about this tasty little tid bit --

He act’s like he didn’t hear her criticism

No... Just no.

It just goes down hill from there too.  It just takes a left turn into a town I call absurd.  Anyways, you completed a script in a week... Within the challenge requirements.  That's tops.
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screenrider
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 7:22am Report to Moderator
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My first read...here we go.

I didn't think this was so bad.  I can see you were focusing on building suspsense.  Kinda had my heart racing a little.    Of course I was all alone in a dark room when I was reading it, so that kinda added to the creep factor.   Aside from the grammatical errors I give it a solid 5 1/2.   Lots a white space.  Kinda campy.  Easy to film.  Good job on that.

I'm not gonna pick it apart any further.  Congrats on completing the OWC.  They can be intense.

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  February 26th, 2011, 7:45am
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RayW
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 8:35am Report to Moderator
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Hi, Gregory

Rather than gripe and complain I'll help on some simple stuff.

If you're using Celtx get rid of the MORES and CONTINUEDS this way:
http://i879.photobucket.com/albums/ab352/rewriteitagain/Celtx-09cell.jpg?t=1289429393

Yeah, you should google "How to use an apostrophe". Really.
No. For REEEEEALLY!

When using the alternate of the word "very" or "also" the word is spelled with two "o"s = too.
- I’m to nervous. - or "very", should be - I’m too nervous.
- Gotta catch em before they get to far - or "very", should be - before they get too far
- in a panic start’s running to. - or "also", should be - start’s running, too. - with an comma before it!

Things like "Ok" shouldn't be acronymed or abbreviated.
You always have to write the entire word out = "Okay". Never "OK" or "WTH?". Okay?
While we're on it, numbers need to be spelled out, too. = "five" or "twenty-two".

Move the end-of page 2 cell phone bit up to where Emily says "You should have called an
ambulance". Makes more sense there.

The characters engage in several unreasonable or irrational actions.
Like children with the attention spans of small dogs, or dialog that sounds more like "Wizards of Waverly Place" than "CSI".

I'm going to hazard a guess you're young rather than non-native English speaker.
If some of these grumpy goblins around here haven't chased you off forever, concentrate on your dialog.
Don't worry about story structure, largely that will follow the conversation, and you can modify the conversation later to fit your story.
Work on your dialog - by reading something... I don't know. From imsdb.com:
http://www.imsdb.com/latest/

"Superbad" probably might be up your alley.
http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Superbad.html

GL





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dn061903
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I loved this line: "The light hoovers motionless."  Not sure why.

A lot of the grammar is off.  The number of " 's " is incredible.  Some advice: read a bunch of screenplays stat.  

On a positive note, you didn't get overly descriptive.  Lots of "white" on the page, which was good.  Keep writing!
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leitskev
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 10:42am Report to Moderator
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Needs a proof read next time. If it's a short, feel free to send it my way. I am new to formatting, but can help a little with the grammar.

As far as the story, two things: 1) it is not the kind of thing I prefer. No subtlety, no theme, no intellectual challenge, no real development of character;
2) my preferences are a very poor indicator. Lovers in the woods, blue lights, ugly goblins, the boyfriend irrationally charging a monster...this seems to be what works and is generally well received, both here and in the larger world of film. So fix the little format bugs and grammar, and you're well on your way hopefully to some success!
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khamanna
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 11:24am Report to Moderator
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I liked the end of it actually - she wakes up, sees Darren dead and follows her mother voice. It's like posing the question once again - who's dead, us or them...

the apostophe thing - is that a formatting thing, maybe transferring it to pdf did it to your script - you didn't got one right I think.

Continuous in the starting slug made me thing that you had it in expanded version maybe. I think the slugs shouldn't start with continuous.

You could cut and make the dialog punchy, I think. The story flowed nicely - it's just too much of the same thing was said over and over and the dialog was a bit on the nose.
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JCShadow
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Wow... someone is apostrophe happy. I have to agree with Greg and I really just couldn't get past it. I may not be perfect but the amount of grammatical errors just shut me down as a reader.

This story may have been good but no reader would give it a chance. Learn your weaknesses and work on them. Bone up on your grammar and even think about having a proofreader.

At any rate, congrats on finishing the challenge. I unfortunately was unable to meet the deadline.

On a humorous side note, I bet Dreamscale's head probably exploded on this one and I mean "Scanners" style. Anyone heard from him since last night...


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bert
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 12:56pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JCShadow
On a humorous side note, I bet Dreamscale's head probably exploded on this one and I mean "Scanners" style. Anyone heard from him since last night...


Haha -- just giving props to a full-blown LOL, with a wonderful pop-culture reference to boot.

Us dreary mods need to read the reviews as well as whatever scripts we can -- it's a big job -- so thanks for cracking me up along the way.


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dogglebe
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 1:42pm Report to Moderator
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Normally, I wouldn't comment on grammar or spelling in a OWC, but your regular misspelling of words that end with the letter 'S' was driving me insane!  You seemed to have done it every time.

Examples:


Quoted Text
Daniel cup’s his hand’s over his mouth.


It should read:  "Daniel cups his hands over his mouth."  No apostrophes!

That aside, I thought the story flowed nicely.  Your characters had their own voices.  The suspense, however, stopped building after three or four pages.  You can do only so much with two people chasing a light.  Add something to raise the stakes a little.

The ending was nice.  It ended in a good spot without any super-surprise twists.


Phil  
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grademan
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 1:45pm Report to Moderator
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Wisp                    
                    
CRITERIA                    
Horror***     
Low budget     ***     
Powerful***     
Original >Predictable     
Celtic Myth     > Goblin     
Visually interesting***      
Memorable characters***     
Unique ending***     
Standout moments***     
                    
LIMITATIONS***     
                    
*** average impact/no specific comments                    
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 2:20pm Report to Moderator
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I like the title. Congratulations on completing the OWC.

Did you do some kind of weird find replace thing because there's all these apostrophe's where they don't belong:

Headlight’s
Start’s
Slump’s
Yell’s

Logline use of "find" is wrong. Should be "face" I think because finding makes me feel like they were searching for terror.

"Just" should be used with caution.

The very first line gives away a lack of attention.
You only needed one line to say that.

Sandra




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jwent6688
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 5:48pm Report to Moderator
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Didn't get the tie in with the title. Obviously, you've been berrated about the apostrophes. Sorry, rightly due.

I dunno how you can have EXT. ENGLISH COUNTRY ROAD as a slug. Show us something that tells us we're in England. To be honest, your dialogue was acutely American IMO.

I didn't read up on the goblin for this, don't know much of its folklore. The goblins motives need to be evident IMO. Maybe set-up that there's been some strange killings in those woods early on. And in a subtle way, hint at the legend of the goblin.

This one was pretty flat for me. Good job writing a script in a week.

James


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wonkavite
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
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While every OWC script is an accomplishment, this one just didn't work for me - for several reasons.  

The apostrophes after every word made this quite difficult to get through.  Interestingly enough, the punctuation in the rest of the dialogue was missing.  Where there should have been commas, there were none.

The dialogue and the characters also came across as flat, and somewhat horror-movie cliche (complete with the car breaking down, a character tripping over a tree root, and running aimlessly through the woods.)  The monster at the end seems tacked on, instead of organic to the story.

But there are a few passages where the visuals work (I particularly like the passage where the "swaying branches look like claws, ready to tear at her.")  So keep writing, and polish it up!
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 6:54pm Report to Moderator
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Pros

Good title.

Great use of the Will O the Wisp...visually think that would look great and easy to do. Cinematically it's a great device for building mystery and tension.

Woods at night with the luminescent Wisp floating around...that would look cool. No doubt.

Also nice little reversal at the end with the Wisp being protective.

Cons

Goblin is a bit tacked on. Would like to see that developed more in some way.

I agree with Bert about the set up being cliche. It's cliche because you've got to get them out there and that's a realistic way, but you need to do better.

They could be anything...naturists, bird-spotters, enviromental people...just pick something that gets them in the middle of nowhere.

Overall with a little bit of a strengthening here and there I think this would make for an enjoyable romp.
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wannabe
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 7:15pm Report to Moderator
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Holy apostrophe catastrophe!!  Yikes.  

Not sure how your opening slug can be "CONTINUOUS".  Continuous from what??  You just started.

This needs some work.  There isn't much actual story and your characters come off as a bit annoying rather than sympathetic.  I should have cared about Emily and her panic attacks and the voices in her head, but I didn't feel anything.  We just watched her freak out.  You need to make us really care about her.  I liked the light following them.  That was interesting.  But the rest just fell flat.  Add dimension...to your story and characters.  
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 26th, 2011, 8:31pm Report to Moderator
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I won't throw any more gasoline on the format bonfire in this thread.
The setup was overlong and the nervous breakdown didn't add much.
If you're going for the super cliche in the woods for fun, make them go skinny dipping.
Glowing blue lights are more interesting with wet naked women.
I didn't feel any suspense, kinda felt one note all the way through.
The goblin wasn't foreshadowed, it didn't add much for me.
Congrats on submitting for the OWC.

E.D.


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Ryan1
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Well, too many technical errors to count here.  So I'll leave that to the other reviewers.  The story just didn't work for me.  I understand the basic Will O' The Wisp legend is that it's a light that strays people deeper into the woods, where they become hopelessly lost.  I think you should have stuck closer to that instead of bringing in the disembodied voice of the mother.  You were never able to convey the growing dread someone feels as they come to realize they have no idea where they are.  

In the last scene, you tell us Emily is lifeless.  Then, she comes back from the dead somehow.  

The  Goblin dude felt out of place here.  You had a ghostly vibe going until that little bastard showed up.  
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c m hall
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I like the story, it is simple and moves along at a good pace.  I would suggest that you try to let the audience view things more from Emily's perspective of intense anxiety, as that could provide greater drama for the viewer.  Although you never want the audience to be overcome by anxiety in such a short piece because sympathy for the characters will be lost.  
We the readers only had to contend with an attack of apostrophes and some of us are still punctuation shy... !
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pwhitcroft
Posted: February 27th, 2011, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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The story in this is an effective, low budget scary story. It uses a classic people lost in the woods storyline, but that stuff works, and your version of it is solid.

The writing technique is letting this down a bit and perhaps some of the dialogue is a little on-the-nose, but that stuff can be fixed up.

These are notes I made as I read:

Pg 1 – “CONTINUOUS” – This doesn’t make sense on the opening slug.

Your first sentence is an example of description that can be tightened up, say “A flicker of the sun glimmers over the horizon.”

“shine#s”

“good looking”, “pretty” – Unless it says otherwise people assume everyone in movies is good looking, so these descriptions might not add much.

“She look’s agitated. Her attractive face is pale.” – This could be tightened to, say “She’s agitated, her face pale.”

I’ll stop being picky and get on with reading!

Pg 2 – You got them in a good tense situation.

Pg 4 – Lost in the woods and hearing voices makes for a good scary situation.

Pg 8 – Moving along well.

Pg 10 – The ending with its twists works okay, although I’m a little confused about the outcome.


For this OWC if I was the producer looking for a movie to make this would be one I'd consider. It's not hard to make and many of the script's problems could be fixed easily.

Philip


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Dreamscale
Posted: February 27th, 2011, 6:59pm Report to Moderator
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Sorry, but this will be the first OWC script this go around that I won't get past Page 1.

So many errors of every kind imaginable on every single line of every single page.  Just downright horrific how poorly this is written.  Whether or not this is an example of someone throwing something together at the deadline, doesn't matter, as these mistakes shouldn't be made in the first place, on a first draft of a rough idea.

I'm sorry, but that's the deal and any full reads you do get, you should be very, VERY thankful for.

Really poorly done...


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reuel51
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I add my sentiments to what was said above.

I read the entire script, and it felt somewhat juvenile. The dialog did. The action did. The tension did. I don't know if that was what you were going for; perhaps. There is a market for young horror. This could be fairly strong for that demographic, just clean up grammar and spelling issues.


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The story felt rushed, yet it dragged.  There wasn't enough of anything going on.  If the couple was looking for help, why would they not go to the goblin's light.  They saw it, called out, didn't get a response and just said F it let's go back to the car which we already know is useless.  The storyline made no sense, the goblin came so far from left field that you couldn't call it a twist, it was more of an accessory.  If you're going to spend the whole script following two people as they walk down a road, give us a reason to care about those people.  Make them interesting.  I think you tried to do that (the girl hearing her mother's voice) but that seemed like another unnecessary add-on, rather than being something of interest or importance.  The voice of her mother was basically used as a plot device to draw her into the woods...  Why would she chase her mother's voice into the woods when she knows the voice is in her head?  She acknowledges that the voice is not real and then follows it anyway.  For this script to work, the story's basic logic needs a major clean up.
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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: March 5th, 2011, 10:17pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you all for reading that, warts and all. lol I'll have a rewrite up as soon as I can. Am still trying to make my way through the rest of the scripts as well. What a great job everyone did. I'll attempt to eventually make my way through the comments here and respond.


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Hugh Hoyland
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Ok I rewrite on this story. I Changed it to a form a little bit more readable... I hope lol. If you get the chance, give it a read! Tell me what you think. I'm all ears here and am willing to learn. With practice I think anyone can learn the basics of screenplay writting. But If you think its waisting your time in some way, please skip it! lol Thanks


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leitskev
Posted: March 9th, 2011, 7:38pm Report to Moderator
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Wow, that really is night and day as far as the writing. I remember the first version being full of grammatical errors. This was very well written. Easy to read, the dialogue was much, much better. Good even. And it made a huge difference in the story too, just the improved writing alone. It had a nice spooky feeling to it.

I think if I have any problem with the story it is just the new beginning. When you start out with a character at the gates of Hell with the Devil, I kind of can't take it seriously. All I can see is an episode of the Simpsons.

But I understand what you are trying to do. And after that opening scene, I think the rest of the story really works well.

In my opinion, if you want to stick with the legend of Stingy Jack as you have developed it, maybe just have the guys tell the story in the car. Or better yet, after the car breaks down.

I also think it will be hard for a small production company to create the gates of Hell and Satan.

So maybe the car breaks down, establishing some tension, since they are in the woods, and the girl hears voices. Then one of the guys tells the story of Jack. Just an idea.

I think the story is pretty good now, and anyone reading it will be surprised by how much the writing improved. Nice work Hugh!


Bloody hell, their gone

Daniel notices shes in distress
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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: March 9th, 2011, 9:30pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the review Leitskev! Yes I had to correct those things for sure. The idea of Stingy Jack was my original idea, but it didnt seem very Celtic. The opening scene is indeed supposed to be generic, its basically John  reading the legend out of the book of folklore. So the whole scene is generic, including the devil. Dunno about how difficult it would be to do that scene. Find something like an old cemetary Gate somewhere, ask if you can film there. Dress up someone in a traditional devils costume (horns, goatee, pitchfork) add a lot of flashing red light (or real fire if brave) and smoke. Could work, dunno. But either again way thanks for the review!


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rc1107
Posted: May 24th, 2011, 8:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Hugh, or Harley.  Not sure which you prefer

Welp, I just gave this a read.  I saw this was a second draft and I have to say, there were still quite a few typos and apostrophe esses that aren't supposed to be there.  I didn't take note of them while I was reading, but if you'd like me to, I can go back and edit them for you so you have an idea of where they're at.

As for the story, I'm gathering from other people's posts that this has gone through quite a rewrite, as there weren't even any goblins in the version I read.

One thing that I can say about this is that it is suspenseful and I kept on reading, trying to figure out what was going to happen.  I breezed through it, so good job on that aspect of the story.

However, I don't think I liked John, Jason's and Tracy's involvement of the story.  They seemed kind of like just filler to get the backstory of Stingy Jack across.  I wonder if you can find some way to work it into Daniel's and Emily's dialogue before their 'car accident'.  It'll just cut out some useless pages and unnecessary characters that seemed out of place.  I kept on expecting Daniel and Emily to run into them or something.

As for the ending, I'm not too sure I understand it.  Why did Stingy Jack seem to terrorize them, but then at the end, just walk off?  At least, I think that's what happened.  I'll have to go back and read that again, but it seemed a little anti-climactic to me.

But like I said, the suspense leading up to that point was great.  I was turning the pages fast to see what would happen.  I just think it needs kind of a bigger ending.

I hope this helps some.

- Mark


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