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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Horror  ›  Under The Stairs
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  Author    Under The Stairs  (currently 56 views)
Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 3:11pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Under The Stairs by Steven Sallie - Short, Horror - A woman begins hearing troubling things in her new home. 8 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

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Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 7:00am Report to Moderator

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Hi Steven.

A good many simple grammar issues. (As if you wrote in a hurry)

ONE or MANY?  CHILD or KID? Don't jump between them.  

. It sounded like a child. They wanted help.
. Locked a kid in the closet, left them alive.
. There's a child in there. His parents... (You've never mentioned BOY child nor have we seen the child. Don't indicate his sex till then)  

The title; Under the stairs. Told me I was going to read yet ANOTHER story of a dead person crying in a closet. You did not let me down.

Your story from page 1 was predictable. It's conclusion more so.. The in between was just a means to an end.

- Nikki to Heath - I hear voice's.   Heath to Nikki - Yeah, what ever you say, good night..
- Next day they Blaa.. Blaa.. about the closet, instead of just breaking the lock.
- Nikki again hears the voices and is SCARED. Yet, then she...
- ..Nikki sits at the closet and has a CALM full on conversation with the child.. I will help you..
- The child go's all on soppy about his SHITTY upbringing.
- Heath - OK, I'll now smash down the door so you can shut the hell up woman.
- The child, THUD. THUD.. Scraping on door.. Help me.. Will you be my mommy?
  Then it's.. SHoooo (Close the door bitch and leave me alone.)

This concept story has been told many times over. It's not new to us, nor to you. You simply wrote this for the sake of writing something. As such, there is no passion in your writing.

PASSION.. Is a very important element in writing (The elders will concur). Throw yourself into your story, be every character as you write them  - BE NIKKI! She's scared/afraid. Feel her racing hart pounding, hear it beating. Taste her sweat.

THUD.. THUD.. Coming from down stairs. Nikki FREEZERS in her tracks. Then hears the noise again...  Nikki sighs rolling her eyes. Grabs the BASEBALL BAT in the corner. Nikki stands on the landing, hands gripping firmly on the bat. Cautiously she tiptoes down the stairs, peering over the banister. She reaches the bottom.

Nikki, standing on top of the landing, looking down the MILE long stairway. Frozen in fear it runs down her forehead. Below, the deafening THUD. THUD echo's her hart beat.

THUD! THUD! She jolts. Tightens her grip on the baseball bat. Cautiously she put one foot forward.. another..  She turns her head, looks up to see a mile long stairway behind her.
- - - - -
* An exercise if you wish? Consider doing a rewrite.. a PASSION rewrite. See / compare the difference between the then two scripts.

Hope this helps.

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Posted: May 23rd, 2020, 7:07am Report to Moderator
Been around a while


Down the lane
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Hey, Steven,

When I read the logline I thought it was inspired by a creepypasta. An old (sorta) famous creepypasta, where an old lady lives under the staircase of a house and the family moved in, they don't realize her presence. But I was wrong, you took a different route.

The story is nice but I think if it were a bit longer it would have been much better( for me). The ending was unexpected as I thought it had to do something with Heath and Nikki's dead child but you pulled the strings in a different way. Although for me, the ending was kinda decent but was also kinda lame since nothing really happens. It's just that Nikki sees the child and Heath doesn't for no good reason. Maybe because the child needs a mother and thus only wants to be seen by the mother. Still, this doesn't suffice me. Also, the real tension begins right when Nikki sees the dead child. It raises anticipation as to what might happen next but sadly the story ends right there and thus leaving a feeling of unsatisfaction.

One more thing, why would she just keep hearing the sounds in the first place until Heath smashes the closet? It's not like she doesn't know how to use tools and break the closet herself. Maybe the story would have ended right then and there if were like this. You needed scene fillers to enlongate the script, I understand that.

Some things that I noticed:

Quoted Text


Not a real problem but I see a dash used throughout the slugline rather than a comma. Maybe how you wrote the slugline is right, it's a new way.

Quoted Text


Nikki stands on the landing, hands gripped firmly on the bat. Cautiously, she tiptoes down the stairs, peering over the banister.

She reaches the bottom. Flicks on the lights.

Everything is in order. No signs of a break-in.

Nikki checks the front door. It�s still locked. She glances into the living room -- nothing in there either.

She turns. Starts for the kitchen. As she passes the closet --


First you mentioned in the slugline that she's on the upstairs hallway and then goes downstairs. Going down where?  She's neither in living room nor kitchen, she's where?

You need a slugline indicating her position.

Overall, nice story. But somewhat unfinished, might want to see the ending somewhat different.

Good luck.

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