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Bloodword by Peter Ingham - Short, Drama - On the night a city accident and emergency ward has to deal with a large car pileup, Dan Sadler, an intern of surgery is called into the operating room a teenage girl. During the surgery the attending surgeon is forced to leave and Dan has to continue the surgery by himself. After complications occur in the surgery, the girl dies. 15 pages - pdf, format
First off, you should know that I really did enjoy reading this. I feel that you have a legitimate story here to tell and I'm actually wondering if you based this on a true story, either friend of a friend or a personal essay and then you elaborated upon it. This is a good thing because the realness I feel that is coming through gives you high marks, at least from me.
Now, writing wise, in a technical sense, with the lot of present participles and sentences that are too long and a bit clunky: There you need to work a bit harder. BUT, and I really mean this: I would absolutely overlook all that for the sake of this story.
To get critical though and improve this, and that's always the name of the game:
I think you might work on the character of Dan specifically; after all, he's what makes this story work and tick in the way it does.
Let's look at the intro for him:
>DAN a man in his mid 20ís is standing over a hospital bed talking to an elderly woman.
Dan is not just a man. He's our protagonist and he's specifically an intern; so right from the get-go we need to know that and more:
His manner, his voice, his overall looks... Whatever it might be, but try and work in something that will help us picture him.
Margery wasn't introduced. Her dialogue just starts empty and given that she dies, you might also work in why she's at the hospital. However, note that her request had me hooked right away so kudos on that.
I had a little laugh here:
>After a beat the Sarah looks up at him quizzically.
I see that you too have become a victim of the "search, find and replace" feature. It works a little too well sometimes. No worry.
Pay attention to this kind of thing:
>and then Sarah opens the door flooding the room with sound startling Dan.
When I read that, I wondered what this "flooding of sound" really was only to realize it was only Sarah saying, "Wake up, you're needed in O.R."
Now I realize that what you meant was that when she opened the door, the noise of the E.R. blew into the On Call room, but tighten it up or breeze over it more. Also, any Emergency Room I've been in isn't really that noisy, unless you've got a lot of major calamities happening at one time; still, to create urgency, you could zoom in on individual patients, amp the sound effects and especially, if you did this from Dan's perspective, showing his stress as an intern-- now that would be interesting.
Note that here:
DAN One more time, come one!
SCRUB NURSE Sheís gone...youíll have to call it.
It felt sudden and a bit unbelievable that the Scrub Nurse would easily make the determination for the doctor. Even though he's just an intern. But I do know what you were going for. Show the fact that he doesn't want to give up. Show it as a longer amount of time and then have the nurse gently trying to get his attention.
When Dr. Stamp says, "I know what happened." At that point, nothing is explained yet. We, the audience are left to wonder. Later, we find out it was a continuation of bleeding, but it needs to be clarified here.
DR. STAMP This was something that was bound to happen, you knew this day was coming.
Shorten this dialogue to make it sound more natural. Eliminate the word "bound" in this case. Something like:
DR. STAMP You knew this day would come.
You really need to shorten this block of text:
>Dan approaches the hospitals waiting room and stops when heís notices Stamp talking to a middle-aged man and woman. Stamp puts his hand on the manís shoulder and the woman starts to breakdown. Dan stands outside with his mouth open in shock. Stamp looks towards a nearby man who is the hospitals grief councillor, who then walks over to them. Stamp exits the room and walks over to Dan when he sees him.
DR. STAMP No one ever is in these situations...you just have to do your best.
Paints Dr. Stamp with a more kind and gentle nature than his earlier dialogue when he says, "Stupid interns." Try and be consistent or write in that he's just unnaturally short on patience that day.
You don't need this:
There is a montage of Dan going about his hospital duties.
Just write MONTAGE
When Dan comes to the Chapel of Rest, it's also in the evening and I'm assuming it's only a little bit after he heads out for the night. I would write Moments Later in the slug.
I thought this was good dialogue here:
DR. STAMP You did confess to him that you think it was your fault. You gave him all the ammo he needed.
It is in essence what happened and to hear Dr. Stamp say it out loud, after the fact, just makes us go "Yeah. That's exactly what happened."
I'm realizing here that there was a mix up with the character:
JOHN She was planning on going to university after the summer. She was going to go all the way to London...she was going to become an artist.
In the beginning though, I thought the woman's name was Margery with the initial dialogue.
MARGERY Oh Iíll be fine, could you do me a favor and ask if the doctor will splash this on me before the operation?
And Dan saying,
DAN Some senile old woman who wanted me to christen her with holy water before her surgery tomorrow.
Later, it's a young girl named Claire that died. So some confusion there.
I feel that there is a whole story waiting to be explored that specifically involves Dan. We don't see him functioning outside the hospital at all and that's a shame. Well, we do, but it's only in bed when he's trying to sleep and hears the sound in his head of the monitor beeping and then flatlining.
Dan is interesting because we wonder about his faith in the story. After all, he does have a tendency to throw out holy water, crucifixes and question John regarding his beliefs on why Claire died. In my mind, this is the essence of the story.
Although I do feel that I like the mysterious ending, where nothing is really settled, I get the impression that it is somehow settled. I just think you need to figure out a way to show some kind of resolution in Dan's mind. Even if it's a resolution to accept the uncertainty.