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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Hannah's Demons Moderators: bert
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  Author    Hannah's Demons  (currently 4516 views)
Don
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 4:09pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Hannah's Demons by Warren Duncan - Short, Horror, Thriller - Hannah learns that running from her demons only makes things worse. 6 pages - pdf, format

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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  January 23rd, 2017, 12:46pm
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Warren
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 4:53pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for getting the corrected version of this up so soon. Love you're work, Don.


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StevenClark
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 6:41pm Report to Moderator
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Warren,

Not a bad effort here. You seem to have a pretty good handle on format, and I followed along pretty well. Good job with the writing. I do think that a few of your sentences can be combined to make for a slightly more seamless read, but no real big issues at all I don't think.

The story itself may need a little touch up. Personally, I'd lose the first call that Hannah makes to her mother. Don't think it's necessary and I feel this would work just as well without it. Next, I find it hard to believe that the hunter would force the pills into her throat right there on the spot. They're anti psychotic pills, not some life saving medication that she'd need on the spot or she'll die. Also, who was the first guy? The one she hit with the rock? Maybe - or maybe not - that needs explaining too. Maybe a line by the hunter in the house explaining maybe it was her brother or something. I don't know.

Overall not bad. Wasn't crazy about the story, but you did have some pretty good tension going on and, like I said, your writing and the formatting was pretty solid. Not to mention you provided a twist -- although I did see it coming. Hope this helps.

Steve


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Warren
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 10:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

Thanks for the read and comments, appreciated as always. Also thanks for the positive comments regarding formatting and the writing in general.

Did want to mention a few things, not in the interest of defending my work, but more so in trying to explain where I was coming from.

I preface this by saying I am a new to writing shorts and any advise is taken on board.

I will say that I find it to be a very thin line between being over expositional and giving too little for the reader to get the just of where I'm going with my story. I think I personally write on the side of giving too little away, potentially?

Because the story if obviously mine, it plays out perfectly in my head. I guess thatís where SS comes in. You get to see what you couldnít initially.

SPOILERS:

So here is my reasoning. I felt the call was necessary as it's part of a trend; Hannah is unwilling to do what is required to improve her situation.

I'll note here that it's not uncommon for sufferers of some mental health conditions to get to a point that they are feeling so well on medication that they cease completely, thinking they have it under control. Also it's not uncommon that because of the side affects of some medication (including a sedative effect, important for later), that they stop medication.

With the forcing of the pills down the throat, itís less about getting it done or else, and more about having to force Hannah to do something she really doesnít want to do. You might say that this was not her thinking as she thought see was being poisoned, but she was in a psychotic state, she wasnít thinking straight. Also the idea that some of these medications have a sedative effect could add with how important it is for her to take them as soon as possible.

Who the first guy is, is irrelevant. He is a guy that is helping Hannah's father to find her. What is important, in my mind, is that Hannah is willing to go to any lengths to get away. I know that is apparent in the ending but I wanted to highlight it earlier.

I didnít think I would be able to keep the ending a complete secret but I hoped that Hannahís actions were enough of a story.

I suppose no writer wants to have to explain their work and would prefer that their intention comes through clearly, but I explain it so that I can try to learn how to do it better.

Thanks again.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: June 24th, 2016, 9:35am Report to Moderator
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Hey Warren,

This flowed nicely and was easy to read. You kept the tension going and made it interesting. I worked out what was going on as soon as the hunter took out the pills but that doesnít necessarily mean it is obvious; Iím pretty good at spotting twists.

Thereís a few areas where the writing could be tightened were thereís a bit of telling instead of showing e.g. ďA desperate attempt to make the nightmare stopĒ but itís minor and I think it doesnít interrupt the flow at all.

Iím a bit with Steve on the overall story. In your attempt to make the viewer think Hannah is being hunted, there is a bit of a disbelief in the way her Father (and whoever the other guy is) treats his daughter throughout this chase. I think this can be easily explained if you somehow indicate Hannahís perception is warped. For example, you could demonise the hunters and make them look like monsters. The bottle of pills could be a bottle of poison. Then of course at the end when she comes out of her psychosis, she can see the monster is not a monster but her father and then reveal the bottle of pills.

Just a suggestion of course but you seem to have the knack of this, so keep it up and keep writing more shorts!

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Dreamscale
Posted: June 24th, 2016, 12:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Warren, great to see you posting scripts and commenting on other peeps' stuff.

I read this all.  Not bad...not bad at all, in terms of what it is and what you were obviously going for.  As most horror stories/scripts/films go, it is a tad unbelievable, but who cares, right? It is what it is, and for me, it works.

However, you still have a bunch of writing issues you'll want to understand and do away with, as you progress in your skills.

Orphans - you have 9 (10, if you include a 2 word semi-orphan) in a script just over 5 pages - so basically, 2 per page.  That's 10 extra lines here and if you play it out over a 100 page script, you'd be looking at an extra 4 wasted pages.  Thee are usually very easy to edit out and it is something every writer should be on the lookout for.

Passages not broken up correctly - remember, do your best to only include a single thought, description, or shot in each passage.  As the shot or view changes, you need a new passage.

Slugs - Mini Slugs work once you've established the scene and you're using a tracking shot or not having any time passing.  Be careful of when and how you use them and make sure you're being consistent when and how you're using them.

A bigger issue with Slugs in this piece, is your opening scene(s) in the woods and in the kitchen when Hannah is under the table.  They're both tricky scenes to pull off correctly, in terms of writing them, but it's something to think about and try to get right.

In the woods, Hannah and the 2 dudes are not in the same place at first, yet, at times, you go back and forth between passages as if they're right next to each other. "Technically", what you have isn't "wrong", but it's a bit confusing and could read much smoother.

In the kitchen, you rally have 2 separate views going on when she's under the table, and IMO, you should show that through Mini Slugs - KITCHEN, KITCHEN - UNDER THE TABLE.  Most will probably not agree with me, but for me, it's all about clarity and writing the script so that it's basically ready to shoot as is.

You're getting there, bro.  Good work, here.


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eldave1
Posted: June 24th, 2016, 5:08pm Report to Moderator
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Warren: well done, dude. Solid piece for the most part. Just a few comments:


Quoted Text
Further back, two flashlights provide the only light.


I would add a little bit - maybe their bobbing in the dark.


Quoted Text
Two MEN, 40ís, one heavyset with a hunting jacket. The other,
bald, follow in hot pursuit.


You CAP MEN and then refer to the characters as HUNTER and BALD MAN. I would go with - two men (40s), one dressed as a HUNTER and the other BALD.

However, I don't think you need two men here at all. The story works just as effectively without the Bald dude.  


Quoted Text
She pulls out a chair, crawls under the table then replaces
the chair.


I didn't buy that she could pull this off without making a sound sufficient to the Hunter to no where she was hiding.

Just my thoughts - good job here.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

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Warren
Posted: June 24th, 2016, 9:13pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you so much for the reads.

Mark, I really like your idea about the pill bottle and demonizing the men. I think I have found a way to do this without 'breaking the budget'. Great idea.

Dreamscale,  not going to lie, when I learnt about orphans I kinda missed the idea. I get it now. I will start being more conscious of it straight away, thanks. I do have another two shorts currently floating around the SS universe, that have not made the boards yet, they will have the same issues.

Question though, in a short and particularly a short short like I tend to write, how much of an issue is it? I get how valuable the real estate on a page is in a feature but how bad is it to do this in a short?

As far as the breakdown of the passages, I have been trying to apply your advise from your read of my feature. I thought I had sorted that issue out, clearly not. Not sure if we are seeing the breakdown of the scene differently or if I just don't have a good enough idea of the filmmaking side of things, either way, I will continue try clean it up. Thanks for pointing it out.

Will have another look at the slugs.

Eldave, I did think about writing in the movement of the flashlights but in my mind decided it would be obvious, will take another look.

The caps is just habit of capping the moment the new characters are introduced. Will try clean it up a bit.

The hunter did know exactly where she was, he walks right up to the table and pulls her out from under it.

Thanks again. Love the comments, I hope you all know I take everything on board and have already started to change my style of writing based on the great advise I have been given from SS members.

Thanks for all the possitive and encouraging comments aswell.


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Dustin
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 5:10am Report to Moderator
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Code

The flashlights come closer.

HANNAH
Shit.



A muffled sob would serve better here. She's bruised, beaten, on the run, tired and terrified. 'Shit' comes across as comic-booky. IMO, characters talking to themselves is always something we should avoid.

Code

Hannah crawls towards a large tree, hides herself.



Crawls behind a large tree and hides... don't need herself or towards. To crawl behind the tree she would naturally have to crawl towards it first. These are things that we pick up on edits, but can be missed.

Code

BALD MAN (O.S.)
Where did she go?



They're in the woods. This strikes me as an unrealistic question. They kinda know where she's gone.

Code

HUNTER (O.S.)
Split up. You check round there.



Wouldn't they do this with hand signals rather than dialogue?

Now she's making a phone call when they're almost on her. Makes no sense. Why call her mom and not the police? I suppose this may be answered later.

Code

Hannah lets the rock fall.



Why? She just took out one of them with it, why drop your only weapon? A set up so she can use another weapon later on? The rock can't be too heavy to carry because she she managed to swing it with enough force to knock a fully grown man unconscious.

Code

Hannah pulls open the kitchen draws, arms herself with a
large knife.



Ta-da!

Now would be the time to drop the rock.

Code

Hannah drops to the floor, hides herself.



herself... tut-tut-tut.

Yeah, I like these type of stories and this one has been done well. The trick is in misleading the reader/viewer as much as we can until the reveal and you've mostly managed to pull that off. Another edit or two and this will be a very good story. Easy to make. My only worry with it is that I've read a story exactly like this before. Not sure if it was you that wrote it.. but I have read this at least once before.

Good luck with it.


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Warren
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:04am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, Dustin.

Will reply to all your comments more extensively when I have time just wanted to make a quick comment on one thing.

This is my story and not a copy/rip off of anything I have read or seen, atleast in the sence that I have not copied someone's work. To use the words "exactly like this before" comes off a bit misleading. I highly doubt it was exactly the same. Close maybe, it draws on a lot of common horror elements.

To me, when the word exactly is used, the word plagiarism is close behind.

Just wanted to clear that up.


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Dustin
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:13am Report to Moderator
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No, it was exactly the same as this... girl in the woods being chased, reader led to believe she is the victim, she kills her attacker and then we find out it was a family member chasing her because she's psychotic and has missed her meds.

I didn't say that you did copy it. You've just come up with the same idea. I've definitely read this concept before, at least once.


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Warren
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:19am Report to Moderator
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Okay, well hopefully mine is better in some way


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Warren
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:42am Report to Moderator
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Dustin, thanks again for the read and comments.

Will look at the sentences you suggested tidying up, I can definitely cut some of the unnecessary words out of them. I agree it will read better that way.

Have been several comments about Hannah doing 'stupid things', I keep pointing out that she wasn't in the best frame of mind. Maybe that's not enough of an excuse and I can try make it more believable.

Cheers


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Dustin
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:45am Report to Moderator
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I can only remember the specifics. Unfortunately as writers we'll come up against this all the time. It's impossible not to write the same stories from time to time. I don't believe for one second that you copied it. It's just one of those coincidences.


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Dustin
Posted: June 25th, 2016, 6:52am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren
Dustin, thanks again for the read and comments.

Will look at the sentences you suggested tidying up, I can definitely cut some of the unnecessary words out of them. I agree it will read better that way.


No worries mate, these little things just make our writing crisper and, as I said, we usually pick them up on later edits. We all do the same things in our early drafts.


Quoted from Warren

Have been several comments about Hannah doing 'stupid things', I keep pointing out that she wasn't in the best frame of mind. Maybe that's not enough of an excuse and I can try make it more believable.


Well, you want the viewer along for the ride... believing that she is the victim running from her assailants. To do that, she needs to act like a normal victim until you're ready for the reveal.


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