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Try thinning out the action blocks and be a bit leaner. As it is, this reads a bit chunky but nothing a polish won't sort out.
I could follow the story easily enough, the dialogue feels really expositional though - again another draft will sort all this easily.
What doesn't work for me is the son grabbing the gun and shooting it. He's supposed to have a phobia of guns! He's literally just pointed out that he can't even stand to be near them, never mind one going off!
I also sussed out that he'd shot someone and not the deer, so the twist didn't work for me. Well done for entering though and meeting the criteria of the OWC.
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The descriptive passages were way - way overwritten. I generally don't mind, but it read like a novel and I'm thinking - get on it with already.
I didn't understand how someone with a phobia of guns in an instant can pick one up and kill something. The boy has spent hours out there just taking pictures and out of the blue once the Dad leaves - bam. Didn't make sense to me at all.
Love the logline... irony there and conflict in a relationship like that. Good job.
Never heard a son call his dad by first name. Strange.
Super love the conflict here... and I work with a father/son sort of like this... the son has tons of guns and the Dad detests them.. once I said something about gun and the son shushed me saying "Dad hates hearing anyone even speak of guns".... I can relate to this
Oh calling him by first name pissed the dad off. LOVE that. GREAT writing on display here.
One thing... I think you need to maybe build up to the kid taking the gun and firing it. Like the insults need to escalate so that he is so run down he does it. At first when the kid shot the gun.. I thought he was shooting at something in the bushes cuz he was afraid and this would not work for me with his phobia..... but I realize... he did it because he was pushed into feeling bad about being such a let down to his father (maybe?). And for this reason I could see him being pushed into doing it. Him making a mistake in the process was icing on the cake even though I felt it coming.
Also one question.. at the very end "neither of them carrying the rifle" does that mean that it was left behind so that maybe they will get caught for this anyway?
Wow ... great story. Great descriptions. Real characters, not flat paper characters. Love this writing.
Too verbose for my tastes; to the extent it strays into prose in places. If this were a feature I doubt I’d make it past five pages. You could trim a couple of pages out of this and lose nothing from the story.
Another one where the phobia feels like an aside to the main idea; coming across as more of an ethical dilemma for Tim than an outright morbid fear of guns - one he all too easily overcomes. A great set-up with which to explore the phobia but it strayed from that idea with the killing of the old man. Between the writing and the execution it didn’t do much for me. What was the old man doing out there anyway?
Still, I guess nothing bonds a father and son like burying a body in the woods. Every cloud...
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I really like the story here. I wasn't a fan of dialog. Not that I think it's bad, by no means it is. I just thought there could be more to it. They essentially go around the same idea - Tim doesn't like guns, his Dad wants to teach him to hunt. I think they could bring more texture to the dialog. Why doesn't Tim like guns? I'd change it from phobia to a political view, and let him explain to his Dad what bad guns bring. Because it read to me as if it's Tim's view on life and guns policies.
I really liked the story though, like I said. It's very neat and well paced. I liked the kill at the end and that they have to work together with Dad on something. Good turn of events. Overall, very nice, thanks for entering!
Easy to read. Overwritten in places. A good challenge submission.
BUT: If this kid had a true phobia of guns. He'd be pee-ing in his pants way before entering the woods. It came off that he just didn't "like" guns and what they're capable of.
Predictable cause and effect ending. I actually thought, at first, that Tim was going to shoot Bill while he was "taking a sh...." Tying RIP into that ending may have created a more interesting/satisfying story?
So the old man took the hit instead. Um, Tim kills and Bill and Tim share a father-son moment or event burying this poor old man. If this kid wasn't screwed up before the hunt, he's gonna be a real psycho now.
Page 1 "it's butt" -> "its butt" Why the green moss? Variegated mushroom is more visual. "peppers the air" Nice! Would a 16yo boy say, "detest"? "test out" seems awkward here. Bills says "try out" "Call me Bill one more time. Try that." Your dialogue is 20% too wordy. Make it crisper.
Page 2 "seven foot buffer" -> what about "three paces"? Don't know what "framing up his boots means"? Two question marks. "Can’t you even attempt to keep quiet here?" Make crisper, such as: "Quiet the hell down. Try that for a while." Tim endeavors to hold" -> Tim holds his father gaze for as long as he can, but relents and stars at his dirty boots as they kick leaves" "Can we please head home now" -> "Can we just go?" "Tim says nothing" is obvious. Maybe "Silence" or (beat)? "So you can blow a hole.." Nice!
Page 3 A 45yo man would never utter "lovely" to his son. A macho father would never end a command to his son with "okay?". "Tim's shoulders fall at the news" -> "Tim's shoulders fall." Tim should do something dramatic after the backpack falls. Sit on it? Kick it? Hurl it? "...with all the excitement" is completely unnecessary.
Tim hears his own breathing rate increase as Bill places the crosshairs just to the right of the buck’s left shoulder, aiming for the magnificent beast’s heart. -> "Tim's breaths faster as Bill reverently aligns the scope's crosshairs at the bucks heart, a fist-sized muscle just behind the shoulder."
"liberal rant" -> "childish outburst" or "justice warrior shit" or "PITA BS" The second half was much, much better. But make the victim a bit more sympathetic. Why so old? What was he wearing? Was his dog nearby, sniffing? Expression on his face. More details will make it more poignant (a good thing).
I thought Bill may have been Tim's stepdad at first and then there was this:
Call me ï¿¿Billï¿¿ one more time and Iï¿¿m going to bury you in these woods.
It felt really off for me - I thought, no, maybe his Tim's real dad, but even then, IMO, it's really harsh. I can understand the parent angle on it, but still... If anything, instead of that comment, I could picture Bill saying "give me that" and grabbing his phone - the real distraction.
At this point I'm not feeling any real fear/phobia, just a disinterest in what Bill is doing and Tim having to be there
.EXT. WOODS - LATER -- Page 3 - huge gap needs fixing.
He regards his vigilant father; like a loyal sentry protecting his beloved king and queen from outside invaders. -- Hold on a minute - not but an hour before Tim couldn't give two shite's about being out there with Bill.
I think Tim picks the rifle up a bit too abruptly - If he was going to touch the rifle I think he would need a lot more taunting along the way - it would be a momentary thing after being verbally abused for a long time on that single day. I got a gist of small squabbling, but nothing that major in your story.
TIM At least you wonï¿¿t complain about video games anymore. Thatï¿¿s something. -- that's a bit redundant seeing as Bill was just praising the games for Tim's aim.
Altogether I like your story; it's well written, good dialogue, everything flows and the ending has meaning. If it wasn't for the constraints of the OWC, i'd say you have a nice little tale, with slight things that need to be fixed of course, but given the criteria of the challenge - not what I would call a phobia in any state. If Tim had a phobia the fight would be to get him to even sit in the car with the gun in the first place - even the sight of it or thought of being near one at all would terrify him.
It didn't take much for Tim to snap out of his gun-fear. He seems to have a bigger phobia about disappointing his father, which leads him to kill a man and then cover it up. But it's a good story. The only thing I have a problem with is his father's immediately believing his son managed to kill the deer, especially when there's no dead animal visible.
Maybe just me, but I believe the first bit of action can be trimmed down quite a bit, as is it's very overwritten ... good writing, but too much of it. It's just slowing down the read.
wow, he sees a bush moving and that's enough or him to grab a gun? Sorry if that seems harsh but it just isn't believable at all. Would've been better having him desperately trying to impress his father, or maybe he is and it's just not evident. Another option here would be self-defense, perhaps a bear or cougar attacks him or his father, this would force Tim to make a choice .... pick up the gun and shoot or risk losing his own life or that of his father.
Was a bit predictable that it would be a human being that Tim shot, I was thinking another hunter, but it seems like he shot the land owner?
I'd say this would be a good story if you take out the phobia aspect, the conflict with him and his father was great throughout.
I really liked the father/son dynamic. It seemed, despite all the criticising of each other, you could sense the love they felt.
The story moved along well too. Good dialogue and an intriguing setup. I was disappointed that the result wasn't something less predictable, but it was a great idea to have a father and son bond over the accidental murder of someone. I just wish there was a little more conflict at least.
I see you suffer from the same disease as me, overwrtitinginthesis. Reign it in, believe me it'll help.
The father/son dynamic was nice, the story went on and on though, and I'm not sure the phobia was there. He basically didn't like guns, then was scared of guns, then shot some old guy in a bush. Didn't really buy it.
Overall, completely over written (I feel your pain), and whilst you've got some writing style, the plot didn't really have to be done over the 11 pages, and could have been significantly taken down in length.