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Soulslingers by Marc Bloom - Short, Western - An ancient relic is stolen by two juveniles, releasing its three hellbent guardians who will stop at nothing to reclaim it. It's up to a couragous sheriff and his townsfolf to destroy the guardians and return the relic to its righhtful owner. - Entry for the January '06 One Week Writing Exercise Thing - doc, format
I am finding it easier to just make notes as I read - I've pointed out the errors I've come across along the way for you.
You wrote - "The MCONNEL brothers, ADAM AND LEROY snigger and applaud solcastically" - do you mean sarcastically?
Spelling - "Adam is hansom" - change to handsome
Typo - "Samuel, may You reap in its glory" - change to lower case 'Y'
Format - Put "ACROSS THE ROAD" and "Sit Adam and Leroy" on the same line. No need to be disjointed.
Note - When you first introduce Princess, be sure to make it all uppercase in the description.
Note - "Actually a church, but for now it’s an emergency town hall." - If we can't see this, then don't write it.
Note - The Merriman's order speach needs a ? at the end.
Note - "Leroy and his gal are at it like two rabbits on heat" - change this to in heat.
After the jail roof scene and down below, your description is too long and too spaced out. You'd save a ton of space by merging them together and making the action more concise.
Overall this was an interesting read. It struck me as a western ghost story, but the general store part was brief. However, you have an interesting concept to work with here. I think it could be polished up and given a bit more depth. Cut back on the spacing of your descriptions and make them more concise, and you'd have plenty of more pages to give this short a more solid story.
Ok, first off you need a slugline to tell us where we are. It's required.
Adam and Leroy...need to know how old they are. The age will determine almost EVERYTHING about their character. As I go through it, their ages in my mind get older and older.
Solcastically? I've got a pretty big vocabulary, and I don't know this word.
The transition from the theft to Samuel is badly done. There should be sonething to indicate that we aren't going in just as the boys run out. The overall description in the scene where Samuel enters his shop and rummages around is very confusing. Not sure what is going on there beyond the obvious.
One of your guardians started as Elai and then his name changed to Eliah. Something to watch for.
The ending was ok, but I didn't really understand it. I think I can piece it together, but I shouldn't have to. And according to your logline, the relic has to go the the owner for the guardians to be stopped, and yet they stopped without it going back to Samuel.
Overall, I think the concept was good, but it would need a lot of work to flesh it out for the execution to live up to the hype.
...and the anonymity seems to be gone on this one. Welcome to the boards, Herb. Hope you hang out and write more. You might be able to flesh this one out into a full-lenght script, or at least give it some more meat on its bones.
This one is a little different. A good title, with a unique horror approach and a few scenes of nice mayhem. But the potential here is not fully realized.
* The formatting is off, with weird spacing and missing sluglines. * Why does Samuel stop and say "Sh*t"? There seems to be no reason for this. * Intestines in her hair? I am not sure this would work -- or would even occur -- but it is fun to think about. * On the jail roof, what is the large "BOOM"? Unexplained noises -- without a source and included purely for effect -- are a big peeve of mine. Particularly in horror scripts, where you most often find them.
We don't really get enough from our characters here to care much about what happens to them. That's tough in a short, sure, but it can be done with careful selection of dialogue, and the actions you give to that character. Princess kind of disappears, the guardians will occasionally attack with the wrong weapon, and I don't recall seeing Jakob at all after his initial appearance.
I have yet to see your comments on any of these stories, Herb. I think you would benefit from having a look at a few of the other submissions -- look for comments that mention good formatting and pop those open for a read. Study their format, and how they have constructed their stories, then apply that to your own work. And don't be shy about leaving a few words for the author -- everybody likes that
Thanks Bert for the tips. I have to admit i did experiment with the format, obviously didn't work. Because it is a horror i often feel the supporting players should be disposable, that's why they come and go. Anyhow, i'm learning all the time about pacing and dialogue, i appreciate you giving it a Read.
Unless someone is a complete extra, you should avoid making them disposable. We need to relate to what's going on in the story, or we don't care. The best way we can relate to what i sgoing on is by making the characters as real as possible. Try to figure out what they were doing beore they entered your script, why they are there, and where they're going later (or at least intended to go). That makes for a good start. Beyond this, figure out why they act how they do, and that will only improve upon your writing.
Bonus points for doing something different than anyone else, but I didn't like this one too much. It felt like the horror was a little too standard, and the idea of stealing a relic and releasing demons is hardly original. I also didn't think there was a place for names like Malachai and Eliah, if you are going for a Western feeling.
That said, and problems mentioned above aside, this was moderately well written, and for what it was, it was solid. I think you might look at giving it a little more of a kick somehow though...or at least creating more sympathy for the characters. Character sympathy goes a long way, especially in a horror.
Mixing western and horror is a great idea which isn't used enough. In fact, I was thinking about doing a western/horror film...
Edit: Don't recall if anyone mentioned it, but that's a great title.