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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2018 One Week Challenge  ›  Beneath The Surface - OWC Moderators: Administrator
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  Author    Beneath The Surface - OWC  (currently 442 views)
Don
Posted: October 20th, 2018, 10:29am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Beneath The Surface by ? - Short, Horror - Who knows what lurks beneath the surface of the deepest, darkest waters, or what lurks beneath the surface of the darkest waters of all, the Human Soul? - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Dustin
Posted: October 20th, 2018, 12:54pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Nothing worse than a writer that loves the sound of their own voice. Everything is so convoluted it's a bore to read.

Stuff like this:

The Leviathan lifts itself out of the water...

'itself' is redundant. Things like this are littered throughout the script. In all honesty, I was bored after the first action block. This story's attempts to be profound fall flat.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: October 20th, 2018, 1:20pm Report to Moderator
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Interesting story.

I like the ambiguity of whether there's an actual monster, or whether the kid is having a psychotic episode.

The visuals are great and the monster is also excellent.

I also like the little hidden clues: the locks on the door, the mother mentioning the father... Is she just an abusive mother, or is there more to the son than is first obvious?

I'm not sure the VO feels like it's from the kid. I think it needs to be adapted more to his age /circumstances.

Don't agree with big D on the 'itself' thing as without it the visual is of the monster levitating above the water, but the writer is certainly throwing the adjectives round trying to reach a tone.

Revision History (1 edits)
Scar Tissue Films  -  October 20th, 2018, 1:33pm
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Warren
Posted: October 20th, 2018, 4:07pm Report to Moderator
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I'm torn with this one. The writing feels pompous and bloated but the story still works for me.

I might give this another read later, but at the moment I'm on board for the ride.

All the best.


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JEStaats
Posted: October 21st, 2018, 1:48pm Report to Moderator
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Logline needs work.

"This is a place that has its own time, its own separate existence." Not sure how you would film/draw this. Quite a few descriptions that would be difficult to illustrate.

A bit overwritten. I think if it could be shortened by almost a page, it would come across much better. The mutilation of Mama may be a little much for PG-13.

Good effort, writer. With refinement it could be much better, I think.
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PKCardinal
Posted: October 21st, 2018, 9:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quite a bit to like here. Yes, it's overwritten, but I think that fits in with the comic book feel, so I wasn't bothered by it.

A quick sweep for typos would help make for a less distracting read.

Of all the ones I've read so far, this one feels most like it was written to be made into a comic. So, excellent job by the writer capturing the challenge.


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LC
Posted: October 22nd, 2018, 12:29am Report to Moderator
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My opinion is that you have to make that kid younger. Even just by a couple of years.

At fourteen he could probably put Mama in her place.
I was onboard mostly until Leviathan starts tearing into Mama's flesh and then you also add to it with the house on fire which seemed a little incongruous and over the top to me.

I like your monster idea but I'm not all that enamoured with abusive alcoholic Mama. I wish you'd made it more of a boy's own adventure.

Good job. You definitely kept me reading and your writing created a dark and foreboding atmosphere.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: October 22nd, 2018, 7:37am Report to Moderator
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I suspect this is a bit influenced by A Monster Calls.

A decent effort for sure. Always tricky trying to go symbolic and deep. As it stands it doesnít quite work for me. If you lose the VO and the imagery which telegraphs the ending, this could be much more powerful.  Also, him killing the mother (or himself) is the obvious ending. How else could this go? Try to think outside the box!



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Dreamscale
Posted: October 22nd, 2018, 10:37am Report to Moderator
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OK, check out your opening passage.  You're writing visually, so that's good, but 3 full lines is too much for what you're showing us.  You repeated your Slug at the end of the passage and that's something YOU NEVER WANT TO DO.

Next passage is something that should be left to prose writing.

New Slug and passage that follows - Although you didn't literally repeat your Slug, you used other words to say the exact same thing the Slug tells us...on a line standing along, meaning, you actually wasted 2 entire lines, while not showing a single new thing.

2 line passage describing Andy - way overwritten, and MAMA isn't properly intro'd with an age.

Just way too many adjectives being used.  Using descriptors can be good...visual, but using too many, ALL THE TIME, do the opposite, as your readers will start skipping over them, as they have lost their effect completely.

I don't know where the VO is coming from or who it's supposed to be going to, and that will most likely be a problem, but let's see.

OK, so we're in a dream now, and I'm not sure that works in such a short short, meant to be a comic.  IMO, naming the monster "Leviathan" is a mistake and having it speak with Andy is also a mistake.

I always recommend setting up Flashbacks and dreams properly, and you haven't done that here at all.  Putting it in the Slug itself "works", but starting a new Slug and including "END DREAMSCAPE" is a huge mistake.  If you had properly set this up, you'd simply be back in the Slug that the dream began in.

There are Slug problems throughout.  There seem to be multiple "CONTINUOUS" scenes going on, but you keep using "NIGHT, which is irritating.  Some Slugs are full, some are hybrid Minis.  They need work.

Page 5 - "The huge form of the Leviathan lumbers up path outside the house." - So, here, you're obviously missing "the" between "up" and "path, but you also end in an orphan, because the sentence itself is so overwritten.

If the Leviathan is so huge, like you keep saying, how does it fir through the front door?

Page 6 - We have a new Slug and a single passage, but that passage is 5 lines long because of the overwriting, and you include "we look back" for some reason.

This should be a very powerful last image...and it is, but you killed it with the overwriting.  It's still powerful and well thought out, but just too overly dramatic.

Sometimes less is more and you need to figure that out.  You've got strong story here, even if it's well trodden ground.  I think you probably should have ended this a little differently...as in a final scene, maybe in a phychologist's office, because that way, the VO's you used throughout would play back and make complete sense.

Overall, I still like it.  Good effort.

Grade - ***



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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irish eyes
Posted: October 22nd, 2018, 6:02pm Report to Moderator
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Visually this was a pretty cool script one of my favs.

I think this would be a great comic strip although the creature ripping Mama may not be PG but then again you didn't show it we just heard it. So it works for me.

Good job on entering


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Spqr
Posted: October 23rd, 2018, 11:42am Report to Moderator
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Excellent. Son of Sam talked to a dog who demanded the blood of pretty young girls. Andy, apparently, has a fine future as a serial killer because he talks to a Leviathan!
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 23rd, 2018, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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Not bad - I liked that

Bit heavy on the dialogue, which could be trimmed.

I liked the Ďplace I go toí aspect. That it is him, but also not.

Bit obvious it was never a true monster

I think I would prefer him fighting the monster at the end, not welcoming

All the best


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PrussianMosby
Posted: October 23rd, 2018, 8:12pm Report to Moderator
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An issue was, at first, that Andy felt too old with 14 to not fight her himself or solve his situation in another way. Of course he later does/did so if I get the ending right, but at this first point it hurts a bit the believability.

This is done with thoughts and structured expertly. Some dialogues in the first half felt a bit 'over the top-mysterious' that it almost felt cheesy there. You could cut a bit there imo.

Otherwise, it is pretty dark and very well crafted.


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Philostrate
Posted: October 24th, 2018, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Okay, not sure that this one is PG but I liked it.

It's overwritten, some action lines are way too long, and there are things that are difficult to film/draw without additional description, yes, but that's nothing a rewrite can't fix.

The story worked for me and some of the visuals were powerful. The ending was expected and not too original but did the job. The script reminded me a little of A Monster Calls, as Mark pointed out, and Sean's screenplay Where the Bad Kids Go.

A format suggestion, though. I would suggest to rewrite the Dreamscape sequence this way:

BEGIN DREAMSCAPE
EXT. POND - DUSK
[...]
END DREAMSCAPE
INT. RAMSHACKLE HOUSE, BEDROOM - DUSK

I think it would read cleaner. But that's probably just me being picky.

I tend to prioritize story over writing and this one definitely jumped into my shortlist.


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jayrex
Posted: October 24th, 2018, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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Cut to three weeks earlier

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This one wasn't for me.  It started off as if Andy was using a metaphor to mentally escape his mother's beatings.  Then it sounded like a daydream that transformed into life.  It would be good if deep down the mother who was trying to beat out the father's imprint/DNA.  Was in fact evil and that the beast that was summoned (I guess it was summoned), was the evil from within Andy, imagined to remove the pain that his mother was inflicting upon him.

Congrats for submitting this one for the OWC.


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coldsnap
Posted: October 24th, 2018, 10:23pm Report to Moderator
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Story wise it feels familiar, not treading new ground here, but still there's always a certain gratification in seeing bad people get their just desserts. Some passages do border on prose, which is fine, but they could do with a polish. I was a little confused - does Andy "summon" the Leviathan? What exactly does he do to bring the creature out of the water? Wasn't very clear there. While the subject matter is not really my thing, there's plenty of imagery though that would work well in comic format.


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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: October 24th, 2018, 11:05pm Report to Moderator
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Getting drunk on cough medicine...
or maybe lemon extract.

Opening shows me a (wooden) house. Lots of description regarding anything but the house. I don't even know it's decaying until I get inside. uite a few "then this happens" kind of stuff. Heavy on prose. This I suspect is going to turn a lot of people off. And yes, I am one of them. I dig me some swampmonsters, I do not dig me LSD trips. Yes, yes, no character dropped acid. I know. I know.

But somebody sure did, and it wasn't me.
I'm outta here.


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stevemiles
Posted: October 25th, 2018, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Unnecessary repetition in the scene headers and action lines.  We know weíre inside the house, itís established in the slug.

The series of images seems only half thought out and then interrupted by the dialogue.  Where are we when Andy and the Leviathan first talk?

The idea feels familiar, but I liked that you thought to throw in a hint as to why she beats him.  Thereís a history here.

On the fence about Andyís age - 14 seem a little old, but then again a lifetime of abuse could destroy a personís confidence.

For what it is the concept isnít bad.  Itís simple enough and could land with a degree of impact.  You got my sympathy for the character with the beating so I was invested to a degree.  The writing needs a clean-up, itís not helping the read.  Descriptions are overdone in places but I could see this working in comic form.


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leitskev
Posted: November 12th, 2018, 9:51am Report to Moderator
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Great job, Rick!

Very Lovecraftian.

Perfect for a 6 pager! And I find 5 or 6 pages very hard to craft a complete a story within, but it's done just right here.

I believe at the end you want the audience to wonder if the monster inhabited the body of the child and empowered him to kill the mother. He of course would have a different subjective experience of that killing, because of the shock involved, so he might imagine the actual monster doing it. Or then again maybe the monster did. Good to keep the audience guessing!

The subjective part of the story leads to some questions of the voiceover. Not at all saying it was a problem, just maybe a topic for consideration here.


"For a second I regret what I have
done. I try to send it back where it
came from. I try to stop it. But it's
too strong..."

Nothing at all wrong with that! But in this style, the boy is a distant narrator of events happing live. "For a second..."

An alternative...and not a better one, just a different choice...would be to connect more closely to the consciousness of the boy instead of using him as a distant narrator.

For example: "What have I done! Go back, fiend! I take it back!"

What I just wrote stinks, but it's just to demonstrate another possible way.

"And it's getting stronger and
closer. The darkness. Closer and
closer. Oh God...It's here."

A simple  deletion makes it feel more live. "Stronger, closer, the darkness, closer and closer...oh God!"

By removing a few words it feels less like distant narration.

But as I said, these are choices from a range of them. I actually like the narrative filter! It feels like we are along for the ride with the narrator, all of us witnesses to the story. The narrator becomes a companion on the journey. It leaves us less close to events, but I don't mind that at all.\

Great work!
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