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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    February, 2010 One Week Challenge  ›  OWC - The Dark Place *
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  Author    OWC - The Dark Place *  (currently 1659 views)
Don
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 9:30am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Dark Place by T. Joseph Fraser (blakkwolfe) - Short, Science Fiction - Surrounded by darkness, A young man struggles between compassion and commitment. - pdf, format


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Don  -  February 21st, 2010, 2:31pm
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Angry Bear
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 10:31am Report to Moderator
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I liked this one.

Maybe a little too descriptive in the beginning, but still good. I think you should trim it a little bit..

Nice touch with Jones! I LOVE Aliens.

When Robert was in the dark place I was confused, but I liked how you ended it with the spaceship.

I liked some of your descriptions. Like "covered with vines and draped in history".

Your slug ROB'S ROOM should be ROBERT'S ROOM.  IMO

I don't really have a lot to say as I liked it pretty much as it is.

Forgot to mention that as much as I loved Jones, we were not supposed to use children or animals.

Good job!  



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Angry Bear  -  February 14th, 2010, 10:50am
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bert
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 12:19pm Report to Moderator
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Maybe it is because I am still on my first cup of coffee, but I do not get this one.

It took so much time to get going, and once it got going, it just lost me.  I think the author was trying to be elusive, but went too far.  I was lost.  I pondered that final exchange of dialogue for probably a full minute, and I am still WTF.  

But most importantly, the central conflict, with the character of Robert, is abruptly overturned with a single sentence of dialogue.  You spent more than four pages developing this character's commitment to his vows, and then he turns on a dime.  He never considers the option that this is some sort of test?

I hope I am not just being grumpy with this one.  I see now that Pia likes it.  Perhaps I will revisit this one if other readers like it as well; see if I am missing something.

It is well-written and meets the challenge, but it is simply not for me.  C+ for now.


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Dreamscale
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 12:31pm Report to Moderator
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I sort of liked this also.  Actually, I really liked it up to page 4...that's where the problems started up.

As Pia mentioned, you not only mislabeled the Slug, by using "Rob" instead of "Robert", but you also started calling him "Rob", and then went back and forth with Rob and Robert.

The dialogue started out very good...very realistic, but then, again, after page 4, it got pretty bad.

Not sure what happened but maybe you started running out of time?

This came across as 2 completely different stories, and that's not all a bad thing.  Overall, I did like it, but the tone just changed so abruptly and I also don't think there was really anything very dark here.  I don't know, I guess teh opening was strong enough and written well enough, that I held on till the end.

Interesting take here and good effort.


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screenrider
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 7:13pm Report to Moderator
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Good to see a sci-fi.

I'm not sure if this is a Machinima vehcle, but it's pretty darn good writing, nonetheless.   Not my cup of tea for personal reasons, but that's not the point.

P.S. - I liked your clever nod to "Alien".  I.E., Jones the Cat; same name as Ripley's cat, if I remember correctly.

Strangely well-executed story, sorta speak.

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Angry Bear  -  February 14th, 2010, 8:20pm
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greg
Posted: February 14th, 2010, 7:52pm Report to Moderator
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Slow start, feel good ending, and a whole bunch of convolution in between...

...but I liked this for the most part.

The beginning can be chiseled.  There were six characters by page 2 and I don't think it was necessary in order to reveal Robert's beliefs.  

I also wasn't completely sold on "The Dark Place" and Maya and how Robert pretty quickly changed his mind.  Maybe it was love at first site or something.

Jones was an excellent addition!  Definitely made him a pivotal and enjoyable character even though he's just a cat.  Really liked that.

Overall I liked this in a strange sort of way.  I think it could be cleaned up, but you did a good job.  

Greg


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Trojan
Posted: February 15th, 2010, 8:58am Report to Moderator
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I don't understand this at all...WTF? This is totally bizarre and went from being a story about a priest set within a normal world to something completely different that I just didn't get. I was trying to follow your descriptions but could not work out what was actually happening or why. IMO there was no cohesion here at all.

The dialogue seemed off when Brie etc. were introduced but at least that was a storyline I could follow. Everything after that was lost on me.

It seemed a couple of people liked this so maybe I am just missing something, but this didn't work for me at all. Good luck with it though.

Cheers,
Tim.
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jwent6688
Posted: February 15th, 2010, 9:56am Report to Moderator
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I thought this was okay. Bit of a thought provoking piece here. Definitely not anything dark in it. Major missed opportunity IMO. Would have loved to see robert's discovery of aliens be the reason he questions the existence of god. Thereby giving him motif to break his vows. Or have maya be a temptress from Satan himself. Didn't like the "mate maya, mate maya" lines. That could of been better. Nice to see a sci-fi attempt here. Decent work for a weeks time. Could be a lot better IMO though....     James


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Posted: February 15th, 2010, 11:57pm Report to Moderator
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Too the writer...

This was alright but nothing stood out really other then a few to extra characters in the beginning and I'd re-locate your two wryly's to under the characters name.   I didn't really see no dark in this to be honest.  IMO.  For the most part the writing was good so congrats on the OWC.

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George Willson
Posted: February 16th, 2010, 1:43pm Report to Moderator
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Ok... It took me a couple of passes to figure this out. I know if I had just watched it, I would get it frist time, but man, that was weird. It feels like two separate stories that you stitched haphazrdly together. The beginning shows his life, but no part of that life plays into the second part with the exception of his vows. You could have started the short when he entered the his room and lost absolutely nothing. Seriously. Start at the top of page 4 and you lose no story at all. Even the Brie mention doesn't cloud the waters since his dialogue all but explains who she is.

A the end of the story, I'm kind of wondering what the point is. The character really doesn't grow at all in the course of the story.
There is a change, but not really measurable growth either forward or backward. It all just feels kind of pointless.

Oh and on the description: Rob or Robert. Pick one and stick with it.

In the end, it was ok. Nothing spectacular, but not the worst of the bunch.


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LC
Posted: February 17th, 2010, 1:52am Report to Moderator
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Lil bit of overdescription, (then again, sometimes I quite enjoyed that). And it's a little slow in the 'opener'. Other little probs with obvious exposition in one particular patch of dialogue - and some of your dialogue could do with a bit of a tweak.  

The story itself - the whole Adam & Eve/Genesis reference, giving into temptation – (the 'apple' was a little 'over-kill' for me) It's... what can I say, an interesting take on the challenge story-wise but it doesn't quite succeed in its delivery imo. Bit disjointed.

I like bizarre. I like 'out there' - this just seems to make an attempt at both things but doesn't quite gel, least for me. Some of your visuals were very nice though. And, I'd be interested in taking a look at a second draft if you get to that point. It's got a lot of potential I think if you're willing to be even a bit more adventurous with it.

LC



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LC  -  February 17th, 2010, 1:54am
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Blakkwolfe
Posted: February 17th, 2010, 4:48pm Report to Moderator
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No offense writer, but I just couldn't not do this...

Robert, Jones and Maya stand in the bubble, staring at the great expanse of space.

Robert: It never gets old, huh?
Jones: Nope.
Robert: It kinda makes you want to...
Jones: Claw the sofa?
Robert: No.
Jones: Hack up a chinchilla and then leave it on your pillow?
Robert: Now you are just being silly.
Maya: I know...break into song?
Jones & Robert : Yep.

Fist/paw bump.



  


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ajr
Posted: February 18th, 2010, 12:33pm Report to Moderator
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Well I see the Jonesy reference was sniffed out early...

I liked this one, and I was entertained by it, but as others have said, (i) it wasn't dark and (ii) there didn't seem to be much jeopardy going on.

Personally, I don't care if the biggest demon in hell is nipping at my heels - if I'm staring at a Maya, the day can't be all bad, can it?

Also I was confused by Macy's "special ops" dialogue - did I miss something there? Am I supposed to infer that Macy is the alien who radioed to the mother ship about Robert?

Again, entertaining and well-written, though I'm not sure about the dark, or the stakes.


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Andrew
Posted: February 18th, 2010, 1:07pm Report to Moderator
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Ummmm, what to make of this.

The major problem, for me, was that the action/description was too novelistic, and it felt at least double the length of the best OWC entries. It just felt a case of trying to tell too much, and failing to zoom in on what is important with the story.

I, too, found temptation and its perils to be the theme, but I didn't care for Robert at all, so had no reason to care. Having him speak aloud to voice his thoughts felt off, I think it's 'cos he said things that I don't think people would.

It's clear that you have given it some thought and that is commendable, but you really need to make your writing that much sharper, I think. I read Nick Hornby's 'An Education', and while it had that novelisitic touch as well, it did feel a little more focused than this one.

A decent enough effort, but would benefit from a clearer retelling.

Andrew


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Blakkwolfe
Posted: February 22nd, 2010, 4:18pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks to all for reading, and to those whom I unintentionally melted your brains; sorry, but stuff like that happens to me all the time.

Long and short; Rob is a guy who likes structure, rules and predictablity, all of which I should have made clearer in the exposition. These tendencies lead him to consider the priesthood, all though he's not really sold that this is exactly what he should be doing.

I remember reading in the Weekly World News (BatBoy, etc) that sometimes stray animals that show up at your door step are actually aliens sent to study us and, if possible, help us out.

This was Jones role. He didn't plan on his human entering the priesthood, so this screwed up his plans as well. See, Robert was chosen as an A.D.A.M, a perfect genetic match for the princess Maya, who had waited 10,000 years for this dude to show up...(She alludes to this in the ending...)

So the time comes for Robert to be swept away, so he and Jones get taken aboard the spaceship. It's dark and sort of creepy (Mainly for the contest requirement) and he starts to explore.

Maya enters, but she doesn't speak English, only enough to get her main purpose across, which would be golden if it weren't for the priesthood thing. He snubs her, even though she is unspeakably hot.

This pisses the hell out of Jones, cause this is his plan and Rob is screwing it up royally. He tries to communicate that by hissing at him and scratching at him...He hears the screams (Maya doesn't want to go back into the deep freeze)...He decides that he can not deal with some one else suffering on account of his beliefs, so he makes a deal...He'll mate, but will treat it as marriage...He freaks out, breaks the chair on the door...The other aliens (who aren't seen...seemed more sci-fi that way) get the hint and get Maya back in the room as quickly as possible, wet from almost being re-frozen...they land and live happily ever after on a new planet, along with Jones and his sweet little persian.

So, in a nutshell, that is the story I wanted to tell, but didn't succeed in doing so, mainly because I ran out of time and didn't have a clear enough grip on the story.

I don't think that Rob should have been a priest. That brings too much of the religious aspect in it, as several folks mentioned. (duh, on my part). A bet that he could be celibate for a week could be just as effective without bringing the whole 2000 years of spirituality into it.

I also considered having Jones talk...(Rob would have gotten a Babblefish) which would have allowed more exposition on the sci-fi side, as well as more spirited dialogue from Maya...(she's a bit dull being so mono syllabic).

As far as specific comments: Macy's special ops line meant nothing. She was just scoping out the single fellas. Jones, however, was exactly that.

Will keep the Rob/Robert thing in mind. Will work on that, as well as building more cohesion between the scenes, as well as ramping up the stakes for the character arc. What terrible cost will befall him if he loses the bet? Same with Maya...the audience needs to know this to build some better suspense...

Still trying to find the balance between too wordy/too sparse on descriptions.

Thanks very much.

Tjoe


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