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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2K16 One Week Challenge  ›  The Howling Boy - OWC
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  Author    The Howling Boy - OWC  (currently 1779 views)
Posted: October 15th, 2016, 12:18pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Howling Boy by Yours Truly Howling Boy

A Boy struggles to survive on his own when abandoned by his family

Short Natural Horror based on The Boy And The Wolves

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Posted: October 15th, 2016, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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what I liked:

The writing is pretty good in the early going, though as is often the case with OWC's, as the writer rushed to complete on time, there are action descriptions that become a little confusing.

It's a new take on the wolf boy legend, that's good. Having the pack turn on the brother was good, some justice served...though perhaps a fate more harsh than deserved.

Very solid for an OWC.

what needs work:
- not sure if the scene with the father is even needed, or the promise. Maybe could just show them at the funeral. The older brother's responsibility to his kid brother is understood.
- not sure I bought into the actions of the aunt or Kate. Not completely. I think, however, with tweaking it could feel more believable...just minor tweaking.
- the biggest issue is the wolf boy transition. He was a little older than when this typically happens, so it feels forced and sudden. In the writer's defense, it would be very difficult to do this in a few pages. I mean if the boy was only say three years old and was left behind, when the wolfs found him we could let or imaginations do the rest. But then when he reappears in civilization 10 or 15 years later, his ability to speak would be much more limited than is the case here, where he talks like an adult human.

Being pet peevish:

Gary shuffles to his beat up old sedan and pulls away.

We all do this. But we have to be careful not insert weird words in order to avoid using simple words like walks, or even goes. I mean did Gary really shuffle? Like the two step? Just wanted to point this out, I see it a lot, and I'm sure I am guilty of it too.

Norman dashes to the pup, covers it and the snake with his body.

Need to reword this scene so clearer.

Question: Where are that there are wild wolves in 1990?

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
leitskev  -  October 16th, 2016, 6:42am
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Posted: October 15th, 2016, 2:15pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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And away we 1st read.

Not off to a good start, as the very first passages ends in a completely unnecessary orphan.

2nd passage not good either, and when you have a severe weather situation, it needs to be the first description given, as it's tenh 1st thing that would stand out.

Is "NORMAN'S HOUSE" the same place as "HOUSE"?  If so, this is another mistake.

His bones protrude through the blanket?  WTF?

the 7 year old Norman, owns the house?  WTF?

"ready to hear their father's last will..." - Nope...mistake.

OK, the writing is not good at all, so let's forget the detailed notes, and just read on and comment at the end.

Page 5 and nothing happening of any interest.  Dialogue is bad.  No action whatsoever and many, many mistakes throughout.  Normally, I'd be long gone by now, but I'm seriously going to try and read every script in its entirety.

Page 6 - It's 1990?  WTF?  Oh boy.  Where is this taking place?

Page 7 - I'm sorry to say this if I'm incorrect, but I'm now guessing English is your first language?  Just so many errors in grammar, tone and structure.

Page 8 and not a single drop of horror so far!

Page 9 - Again, I have to ask where in the Hell is this supposed to be taking place?

Wow...we jump...what 6, 7 years in the future?  Oh man...

I'm not sure if my favorite character is "Kid" or Aunt Polina.  Unreal...

A small bit of horror on Page 11, but this was a 10 Page limit and it's extremely important to not go over the Page limit.


Meeting the challenge parameters -  F

Script/story/execution - D

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Posted: October 15th, 2016, 3:48pm Report to Moderator
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First scene heading says HOUSE, descrip then says shack, and next slug says NORMAN'S HOUSE... are these all the same place.

ready to hear their father’s last will -  that threw me, will reading is usually a lawyer and days after death.

The Father signals for the oldest boy to lean over.  - then he talks to Norman who's the youngest son.

ruffle - rustle?

Norma seems to stagger a lot, is this meant to be a physical character trait?

I found this a bit of a slog and I didn't really understand what Norman did to warrant their abuse.

Think this would work better with a couple of pages cut and a tighter story.


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pale yellow
Posted: October 15th, 2016, 4:16pm Report to Moderator
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Jacksonville FL
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I like the idea of a kid being raised by a pack of wolves. I liked Norman. I did not like Garry or his wife! I feel like they should’ve had a better reason for leaving him. I feel like this could be shortened by five pages. I’d like it if we get to the point faster in this story but you would have to concentrate on one part and I think by letting the boy age so much(so many years) it takes us out of the story and out of the character we cared about.

The action needs work and needs trimming unnecessary words. The dialogue needs work IMO.

The revenge at the end is a nice thing but it’s easy to see it coming.

Good job.

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Posted: October 15th, 2016, 6:46pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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I struggled to imagine this in the 1990s.  I think there needs to be a reason why he ended up killing Garry, as of now I wasn't convinced that he would have done that.  The writing seemed alright to me, there were a few spelling errors which I'm sure you'll notice when you go over it.  Overall, it wasn't bad.  
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Abe from LA
Posted: October 16th, 2016, 4:45am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Downey, California
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I gagged on large chunks of this script. It seemed wordy and some phrases/descriptions were awkward. As pointed out, it might be a language thing.
I'd also say there is too much story here. Takes forever to get to the meat. Cut the excess so it reads faster. Once Norman unites with the wolf pack, the energy level and my interest increases. I like that you took a flier on this theme, but rework the story to make it work.
A decent effort for one week.
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Posted: October 16th, 2016, 4:46pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Sydney, Australia
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It was a struggle to get through at 10 pages. Seemed over written in parts.

I did quite enjoy the story though so that kept me going.

Some of the writing is a bit awkward.

All in all in wasn’t bad, it’s a consider from me.

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Reef Dreamer
Posted: October 17th, 2016, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

The effects of writing again....

The Island of Jersey
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Gosh, this one needs some tidying up.

It's not the fault of the script, and this is not the only script to use this tale, but I really struggle to accept the basis. They just bugger off and leave a kid. End of. then return x years later.

Because of that I think it could do with stressing the emotional damage that does

Anyway, whilst this has all sorts of writing and format issues etc I was interested and intrigued as to what would happen

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Posted: October 18th, 2016, 6:08pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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“And leave Norman behind. He’s ten, not three.”

It's kind of hilarious that Kate thinks this distinction matters. Between this and announcing her pregnancy before Father was even cold, I'm getting the impression that Kate is self-centered to a degree she's not even aware of.

“They are in heat. Why don’t you feed Norman to them once and for all and that would be it.”

Did I miss something? What's with the unreasonable amount of Norman hate? So far all I've got is that he sucks at taking care of babies, which isn't something ten year olds should really be expected to do anyway.

You should probably set the time period early. Because of the farm and Kate doing laundry on the line (and the overeagerness to abandon a ten year old) I was thinking this was peasant times. Then Garry drove away in a sedan and I had to rethink some things.

“Garry turns to the Priest.
GARRY: Never mind.”

Unfortunately, that about sums up that whole scene. You could just have Garry catch Norman at the house and yell at him there.

I think we need a better explanation of why Garry would return 7 years later. Seems this would be the last place you'd want go. Considering it's 1997 and Child Protective Services exists, Mexico might be a better bet.

Needs a fair amount of work, but my one big note would be to set this further in the past. It's hard to read the scene where Norman is eating raw goat for the first time and not think that if he just started walking down the road he'd eventually find someone willing to take him to a Chucky Cheese and then the police.
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Posted: October 19th, 2016, 7:43am Report to Moderator
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Cast Your Fate To The Wind

Upstate NY
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With a few changes, you stuck pretty much to the source material. Too close, IMO, and I think it stunted the creativity you could've used to build this tale. I was very confused by your opening. I don't recall if Gary or Norman were mentioned as the dying man's sons, and I'm only guessing to say Kate was Garry's wife. I don't think any of this is clearly spelled out, leaving a very muddled story.


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Cam Gray
Posted: October 19th, 2016, 3:05pm Report to Moderator

Laaaaannnndddaaaan (London)
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I'm not going to lay into you for the obvious one page over the limit miatake. The piece was overly written, and trying to cut through all of it was pretty tough.

It dragged for me, a pass I'm afraid.

23 Mu Mu’s in an ice cream van...
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Posted: October 19th, 2016, 5:27pm Report to Moderator

North Carolina
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One positive: You did not go over the 10-page limit. I'm guessing you used Celtx
on iPad, which counts the title page as Page 1. (I finally figured out how to fix that).

This has the air of a script started at the eleventh hour, with the writer hoping to discover the story by the time he or she finished and had to submit. If this is not the case, my apologies. If it is the case, you undoubtedly know what needs to be done.

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Stumpzian  -  October 19th, 2016, 7:25pm
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Posted: October 19th, 2016, 7:21pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Decent title, boring logline, wrong page numbers.

Sedan?? The first act felt as if we're in earlier times.

Bad things first: Work on format and presentation. You're a good storyteller imo, don't give a false impression by using wrong page numbers, lazy sluglines and breaking other common screenwriting conventions.

Otherwise, for another time it's a completely different atmosphere here that I enjoyed throughout.

One last point: This is definitely a very good short story but not a short film to me. It's just so super cgi heavy and it reads perfectly fine as a story on paper. Good job writer. To me, it's a pretty strong entry.

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Posted: October 20th, 2016, 9:19am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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It's tough to cover a family abandoning a child, that child establishing a relationship with wolves and becoming part of the pack, and then the pack exacting revenge - all in a ten page script and written in a week.

For me it didn't work but I'm sure given time and more pages you could accomplish this. The scene with the snake, goat and wolves was great, as was the following scenes as he became part of the pack. This was the script's strength and I think if you focus on this aspect it would be stronger and more coherent.

The rest felt rushed, disjointed and confusing.

This script also suffered from something which I've seen often in this OWC, in that there's no horror until the end. If you think of any horror film, the horror is an integral element of the whole story. Sure some start off light and build up but it is a constant factor. In quite a few of the entries in this OWC the story is not horror and then someone gets killed horribly at the end.  

A pass from me.


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