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Nice characterization, and very good use of setting and its props. Dialogue flowed well and sounded natural. Scene by scene, you slowly built this up to let us know exactly what the situation was.
Damn. This is heartbreaking, and it's delivered in such a way that makes me feel the hopelessness of Adel, and the sweet innocence of Iza. I think it speaks volumes to the ways of parenting, as to how a parent always tries to protect their children. And what makes this story so affecting is the realization that the only thing Adel can do to protect her daughter is by telling, and making Iza believe, the story of the dragon.
Wonderful finale on the roundabout.
This feels more like Adel's story than Iza's. I only mention it because you seem to have consciously chosen the route of despair, which is more prevalent in an adult as opposed to a child. I wonder how this would read if it were reversed slightly.
I have nothing more to add, though. This is top notch work.
I think you know this by now, but I love your work and this is no exception.
Your writing is always so visual and emotive.
Itís a great story with a goosebump inducing ending.
SPOILERS Kind of
Really not the story you were telling but a part of me wanted this to be some post-apocalyptic world filled with dragons. They would never have to be seen, just like the planes. But you could play on the idea that itís the childís imagination and reveal it not to be the case.
Anyway... thats a complete side thought. I just got so excited at where I thought it might be heading.
This is extraordinary. Really great writing on display, visual and visceral.
My one beef about the writing is you go overboard with white space. Yes, white space is a great thing and the read certainly moves down the page, but the sentences are broken up so much it feels like white space for the sake of it. Not every sentence is important enough to warrant its own line.
I can't decide if you're pulling your punches or want to leave the ending open to interpretation. You do a great job with the undercurrent of tension and suspense, and when Iza goes outside that suspense turns to anticipation of dire consequences, but those consequences don't really materialize. Maybe Iza should have been killed. Maybe her actions should lead to their definite deaths. The last reactions are lacking something, this isn't just another fly-over, Iza's actions caused it and Adel should react accordingly. Again, what are the consequences other than Iza's loss of innocence that's really just her growing up a little bit?
It's close to perfect. For me, the ending just doesn't have the impact it deserves.
Apologies upfront for being the dissenting voice, but I feel this didn't hit me where it should have.
Shouldn't it be Adel's house in the opening Slugline?
Is the blood in the water from her scrubbing the potatoes? Symbolism?
I have no idea where we are, the time period, etc.
Is it The Blitz?
The line about the six-seater - meh.
I'm a fan of your writing too, Steve, but I found this somewhat underwhelming.
Bit repetitive the descriptions of crayons, drawing, dragons, and strangely some descriptions sucked out the suspense for me. The threat of the enemy also seemed diffused somehow.
Adel uses the game to distract Iza obviously, but I never sensed either character's real fear or alarm. Needs ramping up imh, especially at the point Iza has fled outside. Even changing two words: 'breathless with worry' to hyperventilating, panicked, or can't catch her breath, - and her running to get her daughter, Adel's POV from the house or running out the door, looking to the sky and back, would elicit more feeling from reading.
No doubt it would work better on screen but your written blueprint has to get the adrenaline pumping too and it just read a little played down for me.
Rene, Libby, thanks for the notes. Seems people are taking different things from this, which is no bad thing, the feedback is always welcome.
Thereís a degree of interpretation to the ending, which is deliberate. I felt for the most part people would infer that they were caught in the bombing, but it didnít feel right to make their deaths a certainty. I felt that too bleak an ending (which is perhaps pulling punches at the same time). The focus, for me, was revealing the situation they were in rather than the outcome.
I think Adel treating the raids like a game and trying not to alarm Iza is where some of that tension becomes dampened. Iíll have a rethink on Adelís reactions to ramp that up a notch.
Rene, I can see what youíre saying about the white space, particularly at the outset. I like the idea of form following content to a certain extent - kind of a way to set the tone and pacing, hence breaking up the passages a bit more here. Maybe it works; maybe it detracts? I donít know, I change my mind with every script.
Libby, fair enough on the timeframe; it never really occurred to me to make it overtly known. Thereís a few hints as to the era but I wanted this to be as universal as possible with the idea it could be used to illustrate a real situation or an entirely fictitious one.
The blood in the water was just to show how upset/distracted Adel was by her daughter that she nicks herself - really just to suggest something is very wrong here.
Thanks again to you both for taking the time. If I can return the read, let me know.
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