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Araucaria by Martin Lancaster - Short, Thriller, Suspense - A detective races to decipher a cryptic message left by a serial bomber. He soon realizes that the message reveals not the killer's identity, but the identity oof his next victim. Written as an entry to the NYCMidnight screenplay contest. Genre: Suspense Subject: An Old Record - pdf, format
I was hoping some new stuff would go up today. This is the one I was waiting to read. An excellent piece of work for the time you had, Martin. You and Phil really veered off in different directions, with good stories from both of you. I think Phil's overall approach was more clever, but I'll still give you the nod because I did not like that we never got to "hear" the album in Phil's. But that has already been hashed out on his own thread. Back to yours.
Is the "board name"/"new story" thing going to be a continuing trend?
(Spoilers) * Right off the bat, I didn't much care for the super, mostly because I have no earthly idea what a monkey puzzle is, and I would bet most do not. * This next complaint might be silly, and might only be confusing for those giving the story a careful read. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the picture on Harry's desk -- of Maria and his son -- had been sent to him by the bomber. I was like, "what are you just sitting around for, moron!" And I was going to call you on it, too. It was not until page 7 or so that I realized it was just an ordinary photo on his desk, not from the bomber. So I'll just say that it confused me (maybe just me, tho), and leave it at that. * The lone typo: Page 8, Harry's dialogue: "...direct the to my..." * I really did not like the use of stand-alone "BANG!"s in the script when describing little collisions with the toy car. Twice you did this, and both times I thought something had blown up. I mean, you are doing a story about a mad bomber here, so you ought to save the "BANG!"s for when you really need them. * Phil's story stood alone, but this one feels "ongoing" -- there is clearly more to tell, both before and after the events of this story. I don't know if that is a strength or a weakness in this contest. Depends on the judge, probably. I'm just saying.
So I liked it, but I remain a little confused about the role of the tree. You did a fine job with your submission, and both you and Phil will have to keep us posted as these stories progress through the ranks.
Thanks for reading this guys. You're both right, the idea really needs to be feature length to realise its potential. I knew this while I was writing but given the timeframe I didn't have time think up something else.
Bert- about the BANGs, it's a cheap trick, I know, but you said you thought something had blown up so I guess it worked to an extent.
As for 'Araucaria', this is a name that the bomber has assumed. It is also an obscure reference that I doubt anyone will spot. 'Araucaria' is the pseudonym of a guy who's been setting cryptic crosswords for The Guardian newspaper for around 60 years.
This review falls into the category of “I read this but didn’t write a review at the time so I’m going back and doing it now.” It’s based on a slightly hazy memory.
I apologize for that.
Der Spieler, I have no doubt that you are one of the best writers at this site. It’s so nice to read material that is well written and without a slew of spelling and grammar errors.
I mean, I know there are a lot of early drafts here, but come on. For crying out loud, I can’t conceive of someone who calls himself a writer and doesn’t even proofread his logline.
Anyway, I’ll hop down off my soapbox and get back to business. (I had a couple tonight if you know what I mean).
It has very good dramatic beats. Good rhythm. Good balance between the suspense building and the just plain good ole storytelling.
Sometimes the endings where (*spoiler alert*) the main character (or in this case, pivotal supporting characters) get(s) killed off is kind of a copout. I don’t think that’s the case here really but it did sort of leave me with the feeling that…well, like maybe I wasn’t really at the end. Like maybe there should have been more.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay with me that the bomber didn’t get caught. But there was no reconciliation between the main character and the bomber, whose relationship to one another seemed to me to be the foundation of the story.
For my money, “The Universe Explained?” is one of the best shorts on this site. I still think about it occasionally, which is the true mark of good writing in my opinion. “Araucaria” seems to me to have aspiration plenty while the inspiration hasn’t been fully revealed.
If this was Part I of a larger story, it was great. As a work all on its own, it did sort of leave me saying to myself, “hey, what about….?”
Overall, it’s really good. It just left me wanting more, that‘s all. Hey, though, that’s a good thing really.