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Messages - c.e.abrams

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1
There should be more of a narrative structure to it, in my opinion. As it is now, it mostly reads like a blog post. The little tidbits you added were pretty charming and it seems like you could rework this into something, but you might have to come up with some kind of arc that you can narrate through instead of it being more like a reminiscent facebook post or something like that.

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Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« on: January 11, 2018, 11:43:27 AM »
Thanks so much! You're awesome ;D And I'm actually really excited that you explained the right way to think about scenes. I knew about the scene/sequel and action/reaction thing--I've been using it in my outline--but for some reason I guess I never actually had a good understanding of the concepts until now.

This is very inspiring. Thank you again.

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Writing Games & Challenges / Re: the last person to post here wins
« on: January 11, 2018, 11:11:01 AM »
Raise your hand if you love writing!

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Review My Work / Re: Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« on: January 11, 2018, 11:05:38 AM »
Thanks for the critique. I'll work on everything now! And don't worry, I don't think you were being overly critical at all. I understand the thing about modifiers, so I'll definitely have to go through and rewrite any weak sentences like that, and the invented word was mostly there to see if someone would say something about an invented word in a beginner's manuscript. I'll definitely take it out lol

But as you could probably guess, I've always had the biggest problems with writing internal reactions and settings. It's probably annoying of me to ask, but could you possibly give an example of where you might include a internal reaction or setting? If not that's fine. I'm probably going to study the topic for a few hours anyway.

And one last thing: did you have any opinion of the characters?

Thanks again for the critique. Very helpful :)

5
Review My Poetry / Re: Poem about depression
« on: January 10, 2018, 02:04:46 PM »
This is an interesting poem, but I didn't really get any feeling of insanity out of it. Perhaps it would be better to experiment using sentence fragments. I do enjoy the flow, though.

6
This was an interesting read, and the scene with the actual interrogation is really cool. However, it's very clear that this screenplay still needs a lot of TLC.

My first problem with this script is that you only barely described the setting. You do hint at a setting, which is good, but you have to remember that a script is not meant to be read for its literary genius. It's meant primarily as a way for directors, DPs, and actors to get the information they need about the story before and during filming. When you write a screenplay like a novel, it often ends up making everyone else's jobs harder--meaning no one will want to buy your script.

Something that you must always keep in mind is, when a scene ends with a character leaving a room, you typically should use the verb 'exists' (e.g. He opens the door to his right and exits; Morgan exists through the door; etc).

It's also really important that you don't leave important story elements in the action. The action should only be reserved for action and description.

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    Morgan's commander, a cold looking man,
    JOHN (50's), talks to a few surveillance
    workers, then walks over to greet Morgan.
I understand the urge to write that John is Morgan's commander, but this information has to be given some other way. Perhaps Morgan salutes John and John says "at ease, soldier" or John is wearing some sort of emblem that makes it clear that he ranks higher than Morgan. The viewer of the movie will not be reading the script, so it's important to stop yourself doing that early on.

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   They walk toward a screen monitor.

                           JOHN (CONT'D)
              You're the best negotiator
              we've ever had.
 
   They approach the monitor and MORGAN sees a
   weird, skinny arm twitch on the screen.
It's redundant to say they walked toward a monitor and then approached it. Redundancies up your word count and make your screenplay seem amateurish, but they're easy to cut out.

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                           JOHN
               Aliens... But we call
               them Ellipticans due to
               the shape of their heads.
This line feels a little contrived. It might be better to just cut out the "due to the shape of their heads" part and let the audience guess that that's what the name means.

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   Morgans eyes dart as he considers this.
It's okay to say "Morgans eyes dart back and forth", but "as he considers this" is redundant. The action and dialogue together already imply that his eyes are darting as a result of what he's just been told. The director, DP, and actors will know what you mean, so "as he considers this" and anything like that should always be cut from your screenplay.

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                          JOHN (CONT'D)
                No one has attempted to
                do this. So get your ass
                in there and get it done.
This is way too on the nose. Try reworking the dialogue to give the audience more to think about rather than just throwing all the information at them and telling them to absorb it. Instead of outright saying that no one has attempted it, you could have John say something that merely implies it. This would be more interesting dialogue, too, because it could add tension if done right.

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   He nods to John. A nod that says: "Yes, sir."
Another redundancy. It's very obvious that a nod means yes, so you can cut the entire second sentence.

You then go on to blend two scenes together, which makes sense why you would think to write it that way, but it's still important that in the beginning of each scene in a new location (including a new room) you have to write what the camera will see. If Morgan enters a room holding papers, you have to start with that.

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   He lays the paper that John gave him on the
   metal table, then sits down across from the
   ELLIPTICANS.

   The two aliens, with small slinder bodies,
   oval-shaped heads, no mouths and vast grey
   eyes, sit in restraints.
It would be better if you wrote how many Ellipticans he sat across from as he's sitting down rather than in the next paragraph. Economical writing is very important in screenwriting.

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   Morgan gazes at them. Not intimidated.
How is he not intimidated? How will the camera see his lack of intimidation? It's not good enough to simply say he was not intimidated, especially since simply 'gazing' at the aliens doesn't really convey anything.

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   Morgan hears a trembling noise as their eye
   color change from grey, to a deep bright
   purple.

   He yells at the top of his lungs in agony.
   Then SLAMS his hands against the sides
   of the table while tears stream down his
   face.

   He then becomes calm, starts to speak,
   but it's not really him talking. It's the aliens
   talking through him.
Again, this is too much like prose, as another critique stated. It's very interesting prose and makes me actually interested in the story, but you have to find a way to write it as action.

The Ellipticans made a trembling sound as their irises shifted from gray to a deep purple.

Morgan screams and writhes in his chair, grabbing his face as tears poor from his eyes...


Something more like that is more fitting for a screenplay. Also remember not to filter the actions of other characters through the main character. So don't write that Morgan sees, hears, or feels something. Show us what he's seeing, hearing, or feeling.

Also, you should never end a scene with a line of dialogue. If you must have someone speak just before the cut, end the scene with the action "On Morgan." This conveys that the audience should be focused on whatever he just said and his reaction is important.


Overall, this is an interesting idea. It could even be a good screenplay if you finish the first draft, learn a ton about screenwriting, and then go back and rewrite everything with fresh eyes.

I hope what I said helps. Your screenplay doesn't suck, you just need to learn more about writing before it can become the polished and pretty finished manuscript that the other critics here were expecting, I guess.

7
Review My Work / Willed the Waste - Chapter 1 (1/2; 745 words)
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:46:37 PM »
      Penel’s heart nearly beat out of her chest as a crowd of thousands ovated her first performance. She stood at the edge of the stage and raised her fist high. “Do you guys want another one?” she asked.

       The audience cheered louder.

       “I have one more!” She moved her fist across her chest.

       The crowd’s cheers faded into a cloud of groans.

       A man with neon-red hair in the audience raised his fist. “For magicians!” he shouted. The audience rumbled with complaints.

       Penel’s stomach turned.

       As the music began, a stage officer rushed into the crowd. He tackled the red-haired man, disappearing in the crowd.

       Penel leaped off the stage, but her manager grabbed her arm from his seat before she ran into the crowd. “Get back up there,” he said.

       “I won’t let an ACO assault magicians at my show,” Penel said, pulling her arm back.

       “This is ridiculous.”

       The music stopped. “Don't hurt him!” she yelled into the crowd.

      The officer dragged the red-haired man kicking and screaming from the amphitheater by his shirt. One woman spit at Penel’s feet.

       Penel pushed past her manager.

       “You'll only make it worse,” he said.

       Penel scoffed and bolted for the front gate.

       Outside the amphitheater, Penel froze as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. The officer and red-haired man wrestled on the ground.

       “Dirty mage!” the officer shouted, punching him in the face repeatedly.

       “Hey!” Penel stomped her foot. The officer turned to her.

       “Get off him,” she said.

       The officer stood up. “Oh no,” he said. “Is the little story-teller gonna hit us with her pretty braids?”

       “I got this,” the red-haired man said, sitting up. The officer turned around and kicked him in the jaw, spraying blood everywhere.
       Penel glared at the officer and brought her fist across her chest.
       The red-haired man curled into a fetal position and whispered to himself.

       The officer smirked. “Get ready to rot in prison, mage-sympathizer.” He pulled a knife from his belt and charged.

       Penel braced herself, but when the officer got close to her he was launched back ten feet.

       “ACO under attack!” he shouted, stumbling to his feet. His voice echoed into the sky and through the trees.

       The red-haired man jumped in front of Penel, grabbing at a punch meant for her.

       “No hitting,” he said.

       The officer pulled his fist back. “Stop resisting!” he yelled. He swung at the red-haired man.

        “Good one.” The red-haired man shoved the officer. He pressed his palms together in front of his nose and looked down. “What’s up with your pants?” he asked, smirking.

       The officer looked down. His pants tore off his body, knocking him to the ground. The pants bound his legs together.

       “Requesting backup immediately!” he shouted.

       “Up,” the red-haired man said.

       The pants yanked the officer off the ground and dropped him on his head, knocking him out. The pants’ grip loosened and they fell to the ground.

       The red-haired man smiled at Penel. “I never met a waste before,” he said.

       “A what?” Penel crossed her arms and furrowed her brow.

       He shook his head and grabbed Penel's shoulders. “Name's Tavin,” he said.

       Penel reluctantly grabbed his shoulders back. “Penel,” she said.

       Tavin scratched his head. “I thought the show was great,” he said.

       Another more gangly officer ran from the amphitheater.

       “Race you to the forest,” Tavin said, darting for the trees a few hundred yards away. Penel made sure the officer on the ground still had a pulse then sprinted to catch up with Tavin.

       The sun had already begun to set, so the few rays that pierced through the red and yellow foliage just barely lit Tavin before he disappeared in shadow. Penel ran into the forest, but stopped when she couldn’t see anything in front of her.

       She was yanked over to a tree by Tavin. “You’re a magician too, aren’t you?” he asked.

       Penel nodded. “Just not by trade.”

       Tavin let her go and peeked back around the tree.

        Hundreds of people poured from the amphitheater in a roar of complaints, the officer Tavin knocked out was wrestling with his pants, and the gangly officer was nearing the forest.

        “I got daddy long legs,” Tavin said. “If you can't fight Officer Tighty-Whitey, just run.” Penel stared blankly.
       
       Tavin jumped out of the shadows and waved to the gangly officer. He picked up speed. Tavin pranced down a more lit path, leading the officer away from Penel.

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Review My Work / Re: Beggining of a fantasy epic reworked -896 words
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:06:26 PM »
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The Gates of Iron opened themselves before him, revealing a single iron road shrouded in shadows. This was the path to the Abyss.
Everything before this line can easily be deleted.

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No amount of darkness and shadows could scare him now, not anymore.
The main character overcoming a fear of darkness would be better conveyed through action and dialogue rather than saying basically "he's not scare anymore". What you could do is show him being reluctant, but ultimately standing his ground and going through the Gates of Iron (although it would be less awkward to read if you simply called it iron gates).


Quote
He felt his feet grow small, and his hairs fall from his head. His breathing grew shorter and harder, and then it didn’t. For a moment there was nothing. He did not breath, did not see, did not feel.
This is all 'telling' as well. You're using words like "feel" and "see" instead of just showing the reader. Here's an alternative:

His feet grew smaller. His hair fell from his head. He took a gasped, but his lungs rejected the thinning air.

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Then he was back, holding his torch in one hand, and his sword on the other.
Did the torch and sword just show up out of no where or did he come in with them? If he came in with them, you should mention that he's holding them as soon as he's introduced. Otherwise it feels like they just materialized in his hands.

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But then he looked beneath him, and realized the road was gone. Instead he stood on what seemed to be stone covered in a light liquid.
This again would be better if you would show rather than tell. It might do you some good to study the craft a little more and learn about "filter words". Here's an alternative to this line:

He looked down. The road was gone! He picked his foot up to reveal stone, but a strange liquid flowed over his footprint, covering the road again.

Also the way you describe the demon a little later is interesting, but awkward and could use a lot more work. You have something there for sure, though. But it does feel more disappointing when you immediately have the main character behead the demon. It makes it feel like the main character isn't actually in a difficult situation.

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He heard movement behind his back, and turned, with his sword ready to strike. There was another monster rising from the stone, and behind him another, and another. Four, five, six, one hundred. There were countless monsters rising around him from the shadows, all laughing that twisted laugh.
This is interesting. I like it.

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“Can’t we all just be friends?”
Who said this?

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And unlike them, his strikes were lethal.
Again you've immediately cut any tension and made the character too strong to have an interesting conflict.

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“No, I guess we can’t just be friends. After all, because of you, all of this will play out again. Once we die, we will wake anew in a different time, in a different land, but we will still be cursed to the same fate. You will lose everything again and again, for all eternity. And I will be there to watch. Is there anything more beautiful?”
Who said this?

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With a single strike he pierced the cold rock, and the Abyss itself began to die before his eyes. And as the monsters began dissolve into nothingness, they laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Until only echoes remained.
Show us what the Abyss looks like as it's dying. Does the darkness fade to light and reveal a cave of treasure? Is the whole place collapsing? What's happening around the characters?

This feels more like a writing exercise than a beginning to an epic fantasy novel. I'd suggest learning as much as you can about storytelling and then go back and try again. Or maybe it would help you to write the entire manuscript first and then come back and rewrite the beginning.

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Welcome Board - START HERE! / Hey Everyone a MWC!
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:16:30 AM »
I'm C.E. Abrams. My current WIP is a YA fantasy novel. Its working title is "Willed the Waste". I'm twenty-two years old, and I'm still a huge amateur, so I need as much criticism as I can get. I also hope to make some good writing buddies here. Maybe find some critique partners along the way.

Anyways, I will probably be posting the first few pages of my novel after I critique a few posts in the other forums.

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