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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2013 One Week Challenge  ›  Blackwood - OWC
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  Author    Blackwood - OWC  (currently 2333 views)
Posted: October 19th, 2013, 9:31am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Blackwood by Edhughes60 - Horror - A young Warlock on a mission arrives at an abandoned Sanatorium, where he finds himself face to face with a demonic presence looking to make our world his new home. ( R ) - pdf, format

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 19th, 2013, 12:43pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

where's my simply scripts thong?

The Island of Jersey
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Hi their Ed,

Welcome to SS, hope you read and stick around. Don't be afraid to say what you think.


As we go...

Foundations creak?
Minor point but I'm not sure why you didn't just intro nath. Straight away rather than hooded
Then again?
Yellow - cap
Not sure the ... Ended sentences were all needed. I tend to use this when someone tails off, or a specific connection to the next item. These didn't seem to  apply.
Grimoire - not heard that one before, will have to look it up

And finished.

I liked your visuals, although almost too many to make sense, to follow etc
What I can't answer is, why he is there? What he does! Why he does it? Etc etc it's as if we are seeing a scene  in a longer script but which we don't have the pleasure of the beginning or indeed the conclusion.

For me, it needs more backbone, character and sense of what's at stake.

My grade c-/d+

My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link...
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Posted: October 19th, 2013, 6:04pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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Hey Ed, sorry, but I'm out after 3 pages.

Your writing isn't necessarily bad, but it's way overblown, which really slows the read to a crawl.  You have lots of unnecessary detail, as well as an abundance of unfolmable asides.

A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when characters talk out loud to themselves constantly and this got really old, really fast.

I just couldn't get into this, but don't think that means it's terrible, because it's definitely not.  I don't see the hook and as Reff said, it seems like we're thrown in the middle of something, not knowing why.

Good job entering the OWC.

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: October 19th, 2013, 6:59pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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A classic horror setting with a smartass Harry Potter.  Pretty clever setup.  Foundations creaking like a symphony, though?  That was laying it on a tad thick.  "Jaded" and "long-winded" are odd choices to use for your main character intro.  Let the reader determine if Nathaniel is long-winded.  Two pages later, yep you were right.

The novelty of the wisecracking young warlock going up against these supernatural forces started to wear thin toward the end.  I enjoyed a lot of the imagery, and it seems the writer put in his share of research.  But toward the end with the glowing crimson eyes and the "legion" we started to stray into familiar territory.  And what's with the ending?  I wonder if the writer just ran out of time.  Right before the climactic battle, we cut to black.  I want to know what happened to that jaded, long-winded little jerky!  Anyway, good effort.  
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Posted: October 19th, 2013, 9:56pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Some good visuals sabotaged by overprose and a sudden ending that implies that there's at least a page or two more to go. When it comes to horror, I myself get bored really fast when I see 'red glowing eyes' in the shadows.

The demons speak in the usual fashion, nothing interesting about them, even if 'Legion' takes the form of a (Catholic?) "school boy."

Not quite sure why Nathaniel is there, althogh it's implied he uses his witchcraft powers to fight/dispel bad spirits/demons.

Overall, I don't think it is a bad effort. It is however, lacking an ending.

"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
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Posted: October 20th, 2013, 5:09pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Let The Sky Fall

Various, exotic.
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Yeah - I quite enjoyed this overall, and felt a lot of it was well put together. Some bits a little difficult to make sense of, but it ditches some kudos on the ending - I feel I'm forgiving of some stuff, minors here and there, as it's working up to something worthwhile and boof! You bail without warning. Potential - but did you run out of ideas or time? Worth working on though.
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Posted: October 20th, 2013, 7:42pm Report to Moderator

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Hey Ed,

Some good stuff here. The writing is easy to follow and slowly captured some of my interest.

Something that might help stories like this is to create some stakes. I never really even figured out what the warlock wanted. Presumably he was mastering this beings to increase his power. Or possibly he was testing himself. Not sure.

And I guess the stakes were if he failed they would kill him.

If we knew why he was doing  this,other than he was a Blackwood and it was his heritage, it would really help. For example, let's suppose he needed these powers in order to perform some his wife, prevent a tragedy...something.

Picture a TV show where we always NEEED to see what happens next. How will they escape? Rescue his daughter? Defeat his enemy? That kind of thing.

Your writing is pretty solid, potential to be very strong actually. Hope you stick around, you'd make a good addition to the forum. Best of luck.
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 5:53am Report to Moderator

East Coast
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Some good humor and details throughout. Some distracting formatting issues though. For instance, after the Male Figure is revealed, I would leave out (disembodied male voice). You have smart readers on here, so we get it.

Sluglines need some attention. Shouldn't just say "entrance night". Also, a bit too much direction for a spec script like "Back to Nathaniel".

There's really not much detail about Legion. Why is he there and why should we be scared of him exactly? I'd like those details.

I felt Legion calling our hero "warlock" felt a bit contrived, as if Nathaniel using magic wouldn't be a clue enough for the contest that the author has met the parameters of using a warlock. He's using magic, we get it.

Overall, an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

“Every piece of writing... starts from what I call a grit... a sight or sound, a sentence or happening that does not pass away... but quite inexplicably lodges in the mind.” ~ Rumer Godden
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 8:04am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Going in there are some instances of telling instead of showing. Some of this can be defended as ‘voice’, but it was a little overdone for my taste. Especially when we get to “There is more to Nathaniel than meets the eye.” Just let the reader decide that.

On page 7 you didn’t really intro Legion and it confused me. I’m assuming it’s the same being as SMALL FIGURE/HANDSOME YOUNG BOY.

The phrase “a walking Grimoire” went right over my head. Once I Googled it I dug the idea of a man using his body as a spell book, but it probably shouldn’t depend on me Googling it.

Despite the above I really enjoyed the process you layed out for the ‘summoning’. You put a lot of great detail into the build up and most of it works really well. It felt like you left out the finale, though. I was getting a “Van Helsing” vibe from this, but that doesn’t seem like the type of story to withhold a climax on. And with almost two full pages to work with, it left me a little disappointed.

Congrats on completing for the challenge though!
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 10:51am Report to Moderator

Los Angeles, California
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The opening paragraph goes on just a little too long.

"Unnecessary chatter".  Exactly.

"big yellows eyes"?

"Nathaniel uses his foot to clear an area of the floor, beneath the moon’s light, of glass and debris."  Reads awkwardly.

"The Female Figures moans in delight"?

Ah...good ol' Mark 5:9.

That's it? 8 pages of build up and then...nothing?  Damn you time limit!  

I'm sure there is more to this story but it seems like we'll never know who wins.


Read my scripts here:
THE BRIDGE 8pg-Horror
SCHEISSE 6pg-Horror/Comedy
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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 3:29pm Report to Moderator

Vancouver, BC
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I love the Constantine-like character, and you show some great creativity with his magic. I'd like to see more about him.

I agree about characters talking to themselves, and I could almost buy it because he's so used to having one-sided conversations with his familiar, but it happens a couple times too many. Love the visuals, the tone, most of the dialogue (a bit on-the-nose and cliché in places), but what killed it is the lack of an ending. This isn't even a prologue, it's just a taste of something longer. It isn't a story.

Great job writing it and I'd happily keep reading.

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Posted: October 21st, 2013, 10:43pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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I liked Nathaniel and Luna and I was getting quite into this until:

A ghastly face enveloped in shadow. yellow eyes, piercing and demonic.

Who is this disembodied voice talking to? What direction is it facing? Is it looking at Nathaniel and saying that? It took me from the read and that is not a good thing.

I also don’t think all of the description of the Atrium on page 3 are necessary – we already get the gist of how old the place is in the initial exterior description.  

I enjoyed page 4 but then got lost on page 5 with the female voice – I think this needs a little clean up when it comes to describing this scene and exactly what’s happening here. That said - I think you have a way with description that really works for the most part.

Oh, page 8……come on page 8….I wanted more – which is a good thing. I quite liked this story and where it was headed, I just wish it could have had a proper all out clash/fight ending to tie everything up and I wanted to see more of Luna in the ending and where she really came into things.

Maybe this is where you intended it to end or maybe it’s more, as in headed for a feature? Or maybe just rushed to get it in? Anyhow, I liked it.

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James McClung
Posted: October 21st, 2013, 11:24pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Washington, D.C.
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Well, I will give you kudos on the location. I think a haunted asylum (or in this case sanatorium) always starts a story on a high note.

Anyway, I liked elements of this. The writer seems to have an appreciation for atmosphere and an understanding of its power and importance in stories like this. I think a little restraint would've enhanced the atmosphere here though. A lot of the spooky sounds and apparitions start off on a quiet note than get noisy. I think a lot of them would've been more effective if they'd been quieter/subtler. The demonic face, for example. Would've dropped the "Blackwood" because I read it as "Blaaaaackwooood," which comes off corny.

Still, the attempt at atmosphere wasn't an all out failure and I appreciate the attempt.

The character of Blackwood could've been better. I think a lot of his dialogue fell flat. He seemed sort of like a Spiderman-type character slinging lame one-liners than a dark, cynical warlock who mocks demons and the like with confidence/indifference. Luna helped make it so he wasn't out and out talking to himself but still... he's talking to himself. This tends to irk me and as his dialogue didn't really pack the punch it should have, a lot of the time it detracted from the atmosphere.

Then again, if he weren't talking to himself, this would've been a dense read. Very, very dense indeed. I'm afraid this might be something of a "go back to the drawing board type" situation.

The ending left me with a WTF feel. Clearly, this was just the beginning of something to come like a martial arts/CGI magic battle in a Blade/Van Helsing-type flick. In that sense, it feels like a piece of something better and thus not necessarily self contained. I also never understood why Blackwood was here in the first place or what the significance of Legion's presence is either. At the end, I sort of wondered what the point was.

Writing was okay. Some typos here and there. You also do the ever annoying double introduction of a character (first as HOODED FIGURE then as BLACKWOOD). I can't stand this. I think you'd certainly benefit from a second sweep.

Anyway, overall, a decent effort but the execution falls short. A more cohesive story and elements for the character to react to as well as a more complete, definite ending would help, for sure.

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Posted: October 22nd, 2013, 5:59pm Report to Moderator
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I see glimpses of a promising writer in here.  Yes, there are problems: typos, descriptions that were too overwritten.  And the ending... just kinda fell off the cliff!

That said, the visuals did invoke atmosphere effectively, Nathaniel was himself an intriguing character... and there were occasional verbal gems that I really enjoyed.  Little stuff like "Luna... she felt it, too."  Tiny poetic things, that hint at promise for future scripts.

So - congrats on the submission!  I'd just like to see where it was planning to go from there!  
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Posted: October 23rd, 2013, 3:34am Report to Moderator

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First paragraph reads like a novel, I can already tell it might be a slog to get through this one.

The cat dialogue reads poorly, hopefully there’s a point to her than rather revealing exposition, which I’m not really sure I understood either.

This felt like the teaser to a mainstream horror-action film. Even though there wasn’t a real resolution, I liked this. The writing bordered on overwriting but I can see you put a lot of effort into it which is great. This was a fun ride, hard to judge without seeing a proper ending. It’s all a setup I suppose, which may be the script’s biggest problem. Good job.

Grade: B-
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