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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October 2017 One Week Challenge  ›  Alone - OWC - Optioned Moderators: khamanna
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  Author    Alone - OWC - Optioned  (currently 1370 views)
Posted: October 21st, 2017, 9:31am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Alone by Christopher Brown writing as Anonymous2 (Cacutshaw) - Short, Horror - After an elderly man's wife dies, he must live alone for the first time in his life despite his monophobia. 8 pages - pdf format

Monophobia - Fear of being alone

Writer interested in feedback on this work[/b]

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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  August 12th, 2019, 11:21am
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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 11:41am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Yes, that is my real hair...

Cave Creek, AZ
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All characters need to be CAPPED when first intro'd, including unnamed ones.

"CUT TO" - No reason for this at all.

Lots and lots of mistakes all over the place.  Don't repeat your Slug line in the description that follows.  Orphan attack!

This is going absolutely nowhere so far.  Very, very dull.

So many repetitions over and over, same words, not gong anywhere.

I skimmed to the end and the mistakes never cease.  I don't see "rest in peace" near the end either.

Writing is very poor, downright boring.  Not for me, sorry to say.

Grade - *

To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Cam Gray
Posted: October 21st, 2017, 11:51am Report to Moderator

Laaaaannnndddaaaan (London)
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First one down, open it up, what 'ave we got?? Something sadly a little bit lacking, alas.

So there's huge chunks of text with very little dialogue, that in itself is a challenge to attempt so kudos for having the proverbials to go for it. It's all a bit messy and all over the place, not the descriptions, they're good, but the timeline of it all.

You've got to nail down and format in a clear/concise manner the flashbacks. It could just be me here, but given the rate that they intersect at in the piece, you need to absolutely clarify them, which IMO I think you've failed to do.

Now for the phobia. I'm not sure if it's all there. A change and being slightly afraid of something ain't gonna cut it, we need vomit inducing irrational paranoia, and I don't believe it's here.

Look, it's a good attempt, but in embarking on a story with a wavy timeline and not much talky talky you need to make it an easy, clear read. Not sure that's been achieved here.

Well done on entering,


23 Mu Muís in an ice cream van...
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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 1:01pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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When someone loses their partner, they are going to feel lonely. This doesn't constitute a phobia. I think in you showing us the funeral and him typing that he's afraid of being alone you tried to get us to buy into that he had this phobia and it didn't work for me.

You could have gotten this across with his actions and left the funeral scene out. Cut out the CUT TO's as they are not needed and flashbacks need to be marked as such or give us some indication that he is reliving memories.

Clumsy descriptions and repetitions didn't help but I think you are onto something. If you can just immerse the reader in the soul crushing loneliness this guy feels and show us his desperate attempts to avoid being lonely, then this could work. I like the twist at the end. There's certainly the beginning of something here but it needs a lot of work.


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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 1:34pm Report to Moderator

Tucson, AZ
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That was a difficult read. There were so many 'cut to' and 'flashback' transitions that I lost when and where I was. I wouldn't really call his being lonely a phobia either. Half of us will be there someday (while the other half is lucky to go first?). IDK. Regardless, not a phobia. He should be more scared of his wife haunting him more than anything. Was there a huge sense of guilt as well? It was really quite overwritten too. Remember: Two to three lines of action! But you probably knew that.

Good job on entering.
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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 2:32pm Report to Moderator
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Hey writer.
Thanks for entering the challenge.
Interesting fear you've chosen - a fear of being alone. It would work better if Helen had to leave. For a hospital maybe? Because when a person looses his better half he's supposed to feel lonely and possibly even loose his mind. Loosing his mind wasn't so weird in this scenario.
I'd also like to see Helen. Maybe she was mean toward him or something - more of their relationship. Because it's the images of her that he keeps seeing and I would like them to be a pay off to something that occurred in the past.
I guess I just want more.
But clear easy to understand and well written entry.
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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 4:28pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Southern California
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Not sure not wanting to be alone after the passing of a loved one is a phobia or a rational response.

The formatting did not lend clarity to some otherwise very confusing scenes. I finally figured out that they were flashbacks as much as they were Henry seeing apparitions - but boy it took a long time to get that. Clarity is king and this script lacked in that area.

There is a story here - it needs some clean up in the execution.

Good on ya for entering

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: October 21st, 2017, 10:14pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Kinda read like you had an idea for a script, sat down, and just started typing.  I think there's a better story inside of your idea; your script.

I had a bit of a hard time following it.  There was an "in the story"  and then "out of the story" feeling for me.

Never felt the phobia; the fear and didn't buy the rat feast ending.

Good Luck.

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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: October 22nd, 2017, 3:06am Report to Moderator
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Slow stories never fare well in the OWC.

People are in such a rush to read them, that only fast moving scripts tend to be well liked. The standard winner is usually a fast moving script with a twist at the end.

I thought this was excellent. You set up the sense of isolation very well, both in terms of tone and cinematically... Showing Henry's isolation against the large house.

The revenge ghost story was well presented. It's nice how you take the flashbacks of their pleasant time together... His memories... Then subvert them with her memories/the truth. And the dramatic irony of the sculpture being used as the cause of his death was superior.

It does lack clarity slightly... This is caused by the mix of his memories, combined with new information... Victoria's present day actions.. Appearing into the flashbacks. It requires a small, but complex correction.

I think heightening his monophobic reactions would add tension and horror beats and set up the back end of the story better.  The rats at the end were unnecessary, Imo. The story is about being alone, not about being eaten by rats.

Overall, really very good. Easy to film, and a powerful ghost story about domestic abuse. A good production team would make a fine film of this.
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Posted: October 22nd, 2017, 6:22am Report to Moderator

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The shift in tone took this somewhere unexpected, so kudos for that.  The mixture of flashbacks and seeing Ďmemoriesí made it tricky to follow the chronology - there's a better way to present this, but I got the gist of what you were aiming for.  The ending saves it to an extent but I could see the first 6 pages being a slog on screen.

Is this an irrational phobia of being alone?  Or a fear of being lonely following the loss of a loved one?  In some respects Iím not sure having someone Ďaloneí is really the best way to show this.  It could be better explored through the lengths theyíll go to to remain in the company of others.

There's a decent idea in here, one to come back to.

My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:
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Posted: October 23rd, 2017, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Sydney, Australia
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Lots of passive writing.

You can lose all the CUT TO's.

This is quite overwritten. You literally say everything that happens.

Try keeping your action blocks to four lines or less.

Quoted Text
The door opens and a much younger Henry (30s) enters holding
a shopping bag. He smiles as his wife VICTORIA (30s) comes to
greet him. He places the bag on the floor as he gives her a

It's not essential but a little clarity never hurt anyone. If you are going to use a flashback I would write the slug as:

INT. HALLWAY - DAY - FLASHBACK, then use BACK TO SCENE or BACK TO PRESENT when coming out of it.

The constant CUT TO is very distracting and pulls you right out of the read.

RIP x 4, definitely got that covered. I donít think the phobia really worked, most elderly people have a genuine, rational sense of loneliness after losing a life partner.

Story wasnít anything too original.

It really needs to be trimmed down a lot.

All the best.

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pale yellow
Posted: October 23rd, 2017, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Jacksonville FL
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I like your title.

Like your logline.

When this opens up.. I do like the grave thing ... starts right into the phobia as well but I do not think you let this play out. So it becomes more like he's sad cuz his wife isn't there anymore so does not want to go home. A phobia is something irrational ... a fear that takes people overboard... you start off with him parked in the drive. Then he's at the diner ... but then he enters the house... so if this is his big obstacle.. then maybe it's not a phobia. Not trying to examine it too much but I was thinking how good this may be if his phobia of going back into the house where his wife died... what if he died because he could not go back in the house.. maybe he died of hyperthermia in the cold snow ... because he could not go into the well heated house that he once lived in like a normal person?

But instead you go the revenge route I assume that Victoria's ghost came back and scared Henry to death? Is this right?

I found myself skimming through the mid section ...seemed overwritten.

Good job entering... with some work this could be nice.

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Posted: October 24th, 2017, 5:29pm Report to Moderator

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Make sure all characters are capped. Your very first character intro, the MAIN character, isn't capped. The Cut To's really weren't needed and overused. Any time there is a cut to, it stops the action so a good many make the reading feel choppy. FLASHBACK was used once but there were more than one. When a reader reads through, you don't want them to stop reading for any reason. It should have a continuous flow. Trying to figure out whether a shot was a flashback or present day takes the reader momentarily out of the story and reminds them that it is a script when they shouldn't feel that way. By eliminating at least most of the Cut To's (except for maybe the ones leading into a flashback and then back to present day) will cut length and show how short the script really is. It could be made better by adding more characterization and interaction.

I don't know if it was meant to be this way or not, but it feels like the first few scenes all take place in one day. The funeral, then Henry showing how lonely he is right away. It moves too fast until he realizes he has a problem. Do they have a grown child? Maybe he could interact with her a bit right after the funeral. She needs to leave for a long drive home, or a flight but he tries to keep her at his house because he doesn't want to be alone. The only dialogue was extremely scant. It's fine to go for mostly visuals. Too many people overdo dialogue, which you definitely didn't do, but I feel like more than what you have could be beneficial if done properly. It could be an interesting premise if it is fine tuned better.
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Posted: October 24th, 2017, 5:54pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

London, Ontario
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Good title, the log line is great.

I actually liked this story a lot, I went from feeling bad for Henry, to feeling really bad for him, and at the end I still kind of felt bad for him but at the same time didn't really care of what his wife's ghost was going to do to him ... which I assume was scaring him to death. I loved the back flashes in this, especially the ones involving his wife's suicide and  his treatment of her.

Didn't really see a problem with the writing other than maybe trim it down a bit?

Not too sure two RIP's are needed at the end though.

As for the phobia, don't get the feeling there is one, like others have said it just seems like a natural human reaction to the loss of a loved one.

Good work.
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Posted: October 25th, 2017, 7:17am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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On the floor lies the item that made the sound. -- this threw me for a sec until: It is a wooden sculpture of a cat with a kitten snuggled up to it. This could have been written into the one line to be cleaner, but I'm guessing you probably know that as most of what I've read so far (except capping Henry's intro and the cut to's) would make it seem like you know how to write. Although the big chunk of description following that could leave me thing otherwise.

After this, I'm starting to lose track with the story - the next lot of scenes needs to delivered as flashbacks. Otherwise we finish with Victoria and Henry in their 30's then move on to the living room scene where - it would read - that Henry is again 78. I had to reread this again - is he 78 in the living room? Was this a memory and then back to scene, then memory again? It needs some work.

I'm getting lost and confused by all the supposedly back and forth scenes - they are really not working for me.

I liked where you were going with the ending, but didn't think the initial set up worked to make this feel like the authentic way to go with the story. In other words, for me, the twist didn't work - Henry came off as a kind old gentleman who had spent 53 years (exceptionally long time for an abusive relationship to withstand, if so) with a woman he genuinely loved.

Sorry to say, but I didn't think the phobia worked in this one too well either.

The read was kind of tedious due to numerous formatting issues, but clean these up and choose which way to take a story that seems authentic and you could have a good thing here.

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