Crazy Busy Writer Driven Crazy by Crazy Protag

The first weekend in April, I was one of the lucky “100 + ties” to participate in Round 2 of the CS Open.  I think a lot of people are curious about what the feedback and scores look like for this sort of contest (I know I was, especially in prior years when I didn’t make the cut).  So, if your spirit is kindred to mine, this is the feedback I got (with a total score of 94 [22 for structure, 24 each for style, dialog and originality]), and you can read my first round entry here.

“Great scene! Very fresh, original concept and setting, solid characterizations, and fun dialogue. The only downside to this scene is that it’s a little longer than it probably should be and a version that’s about a page shorter would probably pop more. Even so, great work here!”

{A note: I realize you might read my scene and wonder, “How the hell did that make the cut when my obviously superior scene didn’t?!”  My answer to that is I’ve found these short scene competitions to be really, really subjective, which I think is to be expected especially when dealing with such a small piece of work.  There’s less to judge, and I think a big part of it is whether or not a scene is lucky enough to grab the specific reader assigned to it.  So, if you didn’t make the cut, chalk it up to good creative practice and a spot of feedback for a mere $12, and keep on keeping on. I’ve been there, too, and will be again.}

Moving onto Round 2, I didn’t have a chance to check out the premise until late Friday night, and I will neither confirm or deny the rumor that some unsavory words came out of my mouth.  Here’s the premise:

“Your PROTAGONIST is desperate and mulling a risky proposition. Taking action could result in a personal gain to the protagonist, but at great potential cost in the form of a relationship(s). Write a scene either before or after the decision has been made, addressing it in whatever manner you like. You may use any number of additional characters you desire, and again, keep in mind SUBTEXT when writing dialogue.

One other thing: your protagonist is *crazy*.”

I might have been OK had it not been for the task of inventing and writing a compelling scene about an insane protagonist in the course of a weekend — a very fully socially obligated weekend in which I also was tasked with proofreading a 32-page magazine and having just come off a couple weeks of busting my arse to take advantage of BlueCat Fellini’s resubmission opportunity.  It wasn’t until Sunday that I actually had the time to sit down, hammer out an idea, and write it.  Luckily, when I did find that time, that all came relatively easily, which was an incredibly nice gift from the muses. No clue how my take on the term “crazy” will fly with the judges, but I was mostly just pleased that I didn’t have to kill myself coming up with the scene.

So, since I posted my first one, I figured I might as well post the second one, too.  Feel free to let me know your thoughts, and if you’ve posted yours (Round 1 or Round 2), feel free to link up in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “Crazy Busy Writer Driven Crazy by Crazy Protag

  1. Becs says:

    I don’t know much about screenwriting but I can say that after reading this, I definitely wanted to know more. It was easy to read and now I’m curious to know what happens next!

  2. spookymilk says:

    The *crazy* thing bugged the hell out of me for this premise. “Crazy” isn’t interesting…”crazy” suggests action without remorse or motive, and that’s not interesting to a viewer, much less a writer.

    What I’m saying, I guess, is that I’m glad I’m not the only one who made “crazy” something more interesting, even if there’s a risk that the judges won’t think it fits.

    I like this story quite a bit. My one piece of advice here would have been to work the dialogue on page 2; it’s pretty on the nose. It’s kind of a leap to assume that Ryan would open up so easily to someone as dangerous as Jean, and it’s certainly a leap to think he’d do it in such ordinary speech. Getting this information out in a subtler way and then letting us see how Jean inferred and utilized this information would have been powerful stuff.

    All that said, I did greatly enjoy this concept and saw no dialogue issues elsewhere.

    Waiting two weeks for the results of this one is much harder than waiting a couple of months for the first round, isn’t it? Argh.

    • Elizabeth Ditty says:

      Thanks for your feedback! This didn’t get my usual level of polish, so I think you’re definitely right, re: room for improvement in the dialog. For once I’m actually not stressing too much over the results. Of course, ask me again in a week and I may give you a different answer. 🙂 Thanks for reading & commenting!

    • Elizabeth Ditty says:

      I just export the PDF pages to JPEGs, crop them & post them that way. Some people use the Scrippets plug-in, but I haven’t explored if it’ll work in the free version of WordPress.

      • spookymilk says:

        Thanks…I look forward to screwing it up somehow.

        I think the only reason I never post scripts of this type is that I can’t stand to look at scripts that aren’t industry standard…

  3. spookymilk says:

    Thanks again for JPegging me, Paperboy (because Paperboy did a song called “Ditty,” you see, and…you know, never mind). I posted over at my blog, spookymilk.wordpress.com.

    In the meantime, I’ve bookmarked this one. I don’t know why I haven’t been following other screenwriter blogs, but in the past few weeks I’ve remedied that and it’s already been a blast.

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