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Clearly an accomplished wordsmith. I'd hazard a guess at two writers, but of course I'll leave that till later.
So, you've got that bit down pretty much.
Tech wise, wouldn't you fade up out of that darkness, or is the EXT shot enough? Are all those 'moments later' correct? Shouldn't 'farmhouse living room' to 'bedroom' be a continuous shot? I'd go for mini slugs in the actual house. I dunno, you'll have to ask the slug master.
What I was getting at previously, more to the point, is that every scene should contribute meaningfully and as powerfully as it can, in terms of the story.
Your opening for example 'Pitch Black Darkness' - apart from the 'sound' first, (some will argue we won't be able to see anything at all btw), I think you should make that opening visual image tie in with the story straight away. It surely cries out for an image of Renee's reflection in that water well. C'mon, surely.
Helen's line: 'Is it at least enough to save the farm?' - ooh, not sure about that one considering she was just hysterically weeping at Simon's feet. It could come off as unintentionally funny, and not in a good way. Obviously it's deliberately placed, but I think it would be better if Simon says something like: We have no choice, Helen...
Anyway, I'll leave things things there. Everything's pretty darned good. Typo: missing 'have' - how long have you been standing there? And I loved this line:
Tell me, does your head ever catch a chill from all the air rushing through it?
The sudden gory ending surprised me effectively.
As for translating well to screen I think it would do well as part of an anthology of horror-themed fairy tales/fables, I'm just not totally convinced of the entertainment value of it as an independent piece, without something else added i.e., a Superimpose with a moral or quote.
Great writing on display here. I loved all of the dialogue and loved how you pitched the sisters jealousy against the other. I was sort of hoping that by Renee getting dolled up...she may step out or get seen by mistake and taken in stead of Claire.
What was their 'investment'? Just the two daughters?
And as stories go, this too is pretty good by OWC standard. Nice work!
It's interesting to dig into new stories, whether shorts or attempts at a new novel, and try to see what is working and not and why.
This is close. It has the elements. The pampered beautiful sister and the ugly, hard-worked sister protagonist creates the potential for the underdog hero.
A problem in this early draft is that I don't care at all what happens to Renee. Other than the fact that she has been dealt the bad hand in life, there is not much interesting about her. Or there is nothing shown about her character that makes us desperate for her to succeed.
In the Snow White and the Huntsman movie, when we first meet the adult Snow, she is practically a prisoner, but she is surrounded by animals that she has rescued. This gives us a sense that she isolated and that she has a heart. Huntsman is not a great movie, but the writer understood things like that need to be done.
Here it would take a minor tweak or two on a second draft. You don't have to make her a little saint. There are other ways to bond us to a character. For example, she could be very witty. We like witty people and want them to succeed. She could be a little girl that is the best wrestler among the other children...maybe she defeats her older brothers. Of you can just show her as kind to animals or something.
The twist is good, though we can all see it coming. I thought maybe Renee, now in makeup, would be the one taken, a version of the "be careful what you wish for!"
But all and all, a very sound effort here.
Not sure if peasant girls had their own bedroom in medieval times. The family tended to live in one room.
Excellent job. Probably my first Rec. Good writing, pace and flow. My ONLY nitpick is your ending. I feel Clair being taken away would have sufficed, didn't think it was necessary for Renee to do that to herself. Though, perhaps it added to the horror element that was lacking here. Still, worthy of a Rec IMO. Good job.
"The sound of heavy wood SCRAPING against stone reveals a long, round shaft lined with bricks."
How, when we're in pitch black darkness? Pitch black darkness means it's pitch black and you can't see a thing. Write what you really mean.
The dialogue felt stilted at times. A little on the nose.
It was quite slow to start with. You need to hint at the need for money a bit more I think. Everyone seems too relaxed about what's to happen.
Good story, overall. Will probably be the best. There's a slight disconnect between the ending, and the body of the story. Renee needs to learn to be grateful for what she has, not to overcome vanity, so the ending lacks a little on a professional level. It would be better if Clair somehow got her face ruined, and Renee gets taken away imo.
Very poor opening, as this is obviously not "pitch black darkness" - if we can see anything, it's not pitch black.
Writing starts off OK, but no need to use half a page to describe a girl pulling water from a well.
Missing some punctuation, which causes me to stop and reread the line.
Page 2 - Where is Claire? Inside the house? Make this clear,because as written, it's not.
The wrylie "(to Helen)" goes with out saying and is completely necessary, because Helen is the only other person in the scene.
"That stings." - These kinds of unnecessary asides sting my arse, as well!
Page 3/4 - Dialogue is very good and works perfectly here.
Page 6 - "can see", "can be heard" - the writing was going so well...no reason at all to interrupt it with these novice phrasings.
Well done...very well done.
I think the story you've told fits the source material nicely and this is what the vast majority lack.
The only issue here, other than some writing mishaps, here and there, is an overall lack of horror, although one could easily say the subject matter was horrific in ways. I wish there was more horror, but it's a very solid effort!
Challenge Parameters - A-
Script/Story/Execution - B+
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Yep, very little I can say here apart from you've nailed the challenge.
Very well written throughout. In contrast to the comment above, I really liked the opening movements. You can get as technical as you want, but if something draws the reader's attention and sets the scene, like it does here, then for me it serves an exceptionally important purpose.
From start to finish I liked it, and also I wasn't aware of the original piece so didn't know exactly where it was heading.
This is solid stuff. I'm gonna nitpick a lot but only cuz this could be great with a rewrite or two.
The opening -- I think it starts too slow. It's half a page to get across that she has to do the hard work. Then there's two scenes almost in a row that are basically identical - mom and dad staring off into space. We don't know why, which is fine, it builds a sense of unease... but just one scene of that is enough.
I'd suggest you cut out the father's staring session. Instead, once Renee drags up the bucket at the beginning she stops and sees the father off in the distance talking with the procurer - he catches her glance and hurries into the house.
The sister conversation -- IMO, by far the most crucial scene. Right now, it's solid but I think you can take it to another level. I'd like a tiny moment where it's not just nonstop vitriol thrown back and forth. Find a moment where they stumble into a shared memory or a shared joke or something like that. And for a tiny moment there's that sisterly bond and sisterly love - then it's right back to the insults. If you can fit that in, then what happens after will hit so much harder.
And a few specific dialogue things...
CLAIR Sister, must you be so confrontational?
RENEE Is it confrontational to state plainly the fact that you get everything handed to you? Itís bad enough you continue to get full meals while the rest of us subsist on half-portions. But now powders and perfumes? Itís gone from unfair to indecent.
**Maybe lose that first line.
RENEE Tell me, does your head ever catch a chill from all the air rushing through it?
CLAIR Just because youíre clever doesnít mean youíre not pathetic. Today is very important to me.
**I think you could get a better rhythm here with something like "Does your tongue ever tire of clever remarks?"
Okay, overall this is very solid. So you get a CONSIDER.
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Large chunks of dialogue (One even taking up eight lines!)
Other than that, I loved it. Being the "Renee" in my own household, I could totally relate to her and the oppressive chores that weigh her down. Story of my fucking life. But unlike Renee, I don't have a Clair(e) to envy; I strive to be Clair... anything to get out of my oppressive life. Luckily for me, Renee has it worse off than I do, since she (I assume) lives in a technologically primitive era (like most fairy tales)... and I live in the here and now.
I wasn't sure where this was going, but you certainly satisfied the horror criteria.
Well written and easy to follow but forgive my bluntness, the first three pages were quite dull. I point this out because three minutes of screen time is a very long time for a bored audience and they can switch off before you get to the good parts.
As it was, when the action finally got going I started to enjoy this just as it ended!
I couldn't understand the motivations of the farmer. A husband and a father of two daughters who is so heartless he sells off one (and hints at potentially selling the other) came too far out of left field for me. Nothing he did previously even hinted at such evil and selfish intentions.
I'll point out that I haven't read the original story this is based on so if this aspect was in the original fairy tale, so be it. However, I think modern audiences need more to buy into such things.In my mind, such a beauty would be married off to a rich man, so if you are going to do the extreme opposite you need to convince me why.
Renee's reaction was great, in fact she was a good all rounded character. A lovely, gory twist at the end.
This did meet all the OWC criteria (barely, the only horror is in the final shot) as far as I can tell but the dull beginning and unsatisfactory feeling I had regarding the parent's motivations makes this a consider for me.
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I admire the steady hand in the writing. No hesitations in laying out the story and very few missteps other than showing us something in Pitch Blackness (I was wearing night-vision goggles, so it didn't bother me).