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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Critique my Play > First draft complete! Who want's to read?

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First draft complete! Who want's to read?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 01:46 am
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towen094
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Mana: 
Hi everyone! I just joined today and finished my new first draft a couple weeks ago. I've been looking for people to read and give me feedback, yours you would be much appreciated!!

Here are the first 12 pages of the script, comprising of the first scene of the play: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a4sXdZ-Pv83a7LRLOjgUH1AU-kQIzss0hlVlV3ANnZY/edit?usp=sharing

It's a two act relationship drama, with 4 women, 4 men, & 1 flexible character.

It's called, Apocalypse Dreams

It's about the complicated relationship between Alex and Rebecca, who have a history but share very deep feelings for each other. It deals with them moving into college, struggling to remain friends as lies, secrets, and the hard hitting truth finally comes to light, threatening their relationship & sanity. Throughout the play, the action is interwoven with scenes of Rebecca and her therapist three years after the events we witness.

The play is based on true events, only with names and circumstances changed. It's a very personal play and was the hardest thing I've ever written, it took 11 months to complete. Obviously there will be typos, grammatical errors, etc, if you spot any please feel free to tell me. If you have any questions on structure/plot/character things, please message me!

Here is the full script: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U7BK5h2UlI_VciMR7QlazhIx44GgRjXUFCOT305pYEk/edit

Thank you!! :)

Last edited on Fri Aug 7th, 2015 01:49 am by towen094

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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 02:54 am
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RTurco
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Mana: 
Hello Towen!

Thank you for posting. If I may just reiterate a common sentiment around here: if you'd like others to look at your work, it's best to first make headway into the community by posting and contributing to other discussions. It'll give us a sense of who you are as a writer and will inform us maybe on the things you're looking for us to critique. We appreciate you posting this, but frankly, we don't know you. We'd like to know you, but to do that, it would be better if you spent some time posting around the site, trying first perhaps the introduction section.

We'd love to look at your work one day. But you must make yourself known first. No ill will was meant here, just a friendly encouragement.

Best to you!

RTurco

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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2015 05:31 am
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in media res
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Mana: 
towen,

Yes, Welcome.

We are very generous here, as Turco has said.

But, if you post the first ten pages and a brief synopsis you would be better off.

Interesting thought came to me reading your synopsis: Are Alex and Rebecca male and female or are they both female? I am not saying you have to tell us. It could be either. (I know two women name Alex.) And that could be part of the intrigue of reading it. Maybe for awhile the reader is not sure which. And then the reveal comes to be one or the other…or others.

Also, YOU should make sure as best you can that the first ten pages are spelled correctly, etc. BEFORE you post. No reader should have to do the work for the writer. Yes, an occasional error is understandable, but if you rely solely on Checkspell, you will have more problems than you can imagine! Theatres do not like to see careless, cavalier submissions.

I have read scripts for contests and honorariums and the hurried, careless and sloppy submisssions stand out like a sore thumb.

So, to you and all, a brief synopsis and the first Ten-Twelve page sample is best way to get response.

Have you had anyone else read the play? Any responses?

Good for People to read who are intersted in the site:

http://www.stageplays-forum.com/forum4/2827.html


Again, Welcome.

Best

IMR

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 Posted: Fri Aug 7th, 2015 01:47 am
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towen094
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Mana: 
You all are right, I should've posted more about myself and who I am and what I'm looking for in terms of critique.

I have spelled checked the play, and it's been proofread by one of my friends. But only one person has read it so far. I haven't receive a response about it yet.

I edited my first post so it now contains the first 12 pages of the script, the first scene.

Thank you all so much! :)

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 Posted: Fri Aug 7th, 2015 09:59 pm
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Mr Dee O
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Mana: 
Hi, I can't really give you specific critique, all I can offer is I wasn't particularly 'hooked' by the first page, so I stopped reading.

I think I would be much more interested in what Dan was saying if he didn't blather on so much while getting to the point.

'I’m tellin you. Okay so:'

etc.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 12th, 2015 08:38 am
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Allan_West
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Mana: 
Okay dokey smokey, I gave it a snoop.

First thing off the start, make your dialogue more dynamic early, more realistic. No way Dan's spitting out the first chunk with no interruptions in that setting. Just what I first spotted.

Next, I was grasping for action, something to happen in the midst of the conversations at the start. We learn about the characters but nothing exciting happens. Sometimes when we base it off true life, things can get boring for a general audience. Time to throw in some poetic licence up in this! I would make someone drop the bong, or sploof. Maybe a pizza arrives without anyone ordering it. Maybe someone cracks a tooth on a jawbreaker, something.

You have a good start, but make it more fluid. Too many lines of dialogue without breaks and action. Cut and cut until it's lean.

I like the transition to the therapy session, but same thing, lots of good dialogue, but too many words and back-and-forth blab. Makes it seem stale.

To me, you have a good start, but you're just starting this. Cut and trim, add action and structure, give it life with time and effort. You can do eet!

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 Posted: Thu Aug 20th, 2015 03:26 pm
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in media res
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towen,

Age/sex. As I mentioned before in my previous post, it could be interesting to have androgynous names, Alex, Jordan, and Chris. Even your name is Androgynous! And when you posted it I saw that you do use androgynous names! But, in my first read, I found it confusing in this particular sample. So let me qualify what I said in my previous post: Unless there is a Surprise about the name/relationship where we say at one point to ourselves while reading the play, “OH, YOU GOT ME! WHAT A SURPRISE!” it is better to clarify upfront for the reader. Every reader LOVES a surprise! But not confusion.



So…help THE FIRST READER OUT! If you don’t get by The First Reader, you are doomed.

First, you can give us a minimal idea of who the characters are in a character page. Age/Sex at least. Give us a Location as well Geographical Location. (After several pages, I started to assume it is Texas.) The reason to tell us upfront is: Midwest is different from the Northeast. Seattle is different form Chicago. Los Angeles is different from NYC. And god knows the South is different from…well, anywhere (I lived in Tennessee for a year.) And Texas is…well Texas. Location/Geography is usually a “Character” of every play.

There is a great line from Lanford Wison’s “Talley’s Folly” that I saw in NYC.

“There is New York and a few small Neighborhoods in Boston…the rest is The South.”

So, particular place is important.

Your Title is fantastic! Apocalypse catches one as does your opening the play with a Dental story.

And you START the play out with…a Dental story! Fantastic! Everyone hates going to the Dentist. You had me.

BUT, you TELL us it is a dream right away! You blow the SURPRISE!

I would CUT your opening line: “last night I had this dream.” Again…You blow the surprise! Let him tell the horrible story…then he says, “I woke up.”
You have this great surprise and you blow it!

“I was at the dentist, the worst dentist in the world. She wasn’t my normal dentist, SHE WAS SOMEONE ELSE I'D NEVER SEEN IN MY LIFE” To most people, this is a very SCARY thought! Now you have some Suspense. You have them from the get-go. Not only from the other characters listening to the story, but from the reader/audience!.

Some Conflict/’tude begins on “You never pay me back.”

Nice ‘tude from Rebecca on Starbuck’s. We know how she feels. By bringing in Starbucks you bring a familiar experience most of us can relate to at one time or another. This helps us get involved, whether one likes Starbucks or not. And it is very funny.

We learn by page 3 Rebecca quits jobs. She does not like to work. Makes me wonder what else there is about her…other than drugs/booze. Which is good…making the reader wonder.

Below line says a lot about the group.

SARAH. (Laughs) They forced a detox on me. Robin wouldn’t let me drink or go out. I had to stay in her old house where she grew up with Bitch Grandma. For two weeks!!

Great line:
SARAH. It’s just like what Mia said, they’re just fake friends. Some of them are great people - don’t me wrong, but the ones she parties with, the ones I party with, they’re only there for that. I don’t mean anything to them. That sounds horrible, but it’s true. They’re all so self-centered- they wouldn’t help me if I passed out or hurt myself. (Beat) And honestly- I wouldn’t help them either.

Great exchange: LOL for me.

SARAH. But there are always two stories.
ALEX. I never know who I should believe.
SARAH. Well, they’re both always gonna lie to you.

So, here is my general feeling: I like what I see... very much. The only problem I had was with the androgynous names. When I read it the second time, I did not have that problem. But you may not get a Second read if it is found confusing by a reader.…so be clear for the reader.

Obviously this is a painful play. Makes me wonder where the story is going. Which is the point of the opening of a play.You make the young people interesting, and I had some laughs, as we should around young people. They are shooting the shit but little “reveals” slip out about them, and it makes me want to see more. I don’t see these types of characters in plays, that is why I really liked it. And they are from The South…

Summary: I LIKED IT VERY MUCH. I had some sympathy for the characters and wondered what could/will happen to them. After I read it the SECOND TIME.

I have had personal experience with a friend's daughter who is in this situation. Been in major rehab twice. Unsuccessfully. Still struggling. And heroin killed many of her teeth. And I have a dear friend whose nephew was found 8 hours after being freed from long drug rehab for just one day to have Christmas with his family : found dead from an overdose of heroin in a Fast Food restaurant...on Christmas Day. Joyeux Noel. When the family went to the Florist for flowers for the Funeral, the florist said this was the 8th drug death funeral she knew of in the last two months.

Final bit of Advice: a Quotation at the beginning of a play is not recommended. Maybe if you get it published, but seldom to never is there a new play in manuscript that has a “Quotation” upfront. Let it be your guide, but not OUR guide. Let your story tell itself.

If a character quotes an author WITHIN the play, that is okay.

Welcome to the Forum.

Best,

IMR

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 Posted: Fri Aug 21st, 2015 09:24 pm
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privateer
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Mana: 
Maybe consider making "And the clean coming will hurt" the title? Nothing wrong with lifting a line from a quote for a title. I think that would be a beauty!

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 Posted: Fri Aug 21st, 2015 10:27 pm
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privateer
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Mana: 
I think the dialogue was cool and rang true. There were moments where the characters seemed to be giving information to the audience rather than talking to each other...and sometimes it was superfluous because you'd already nicely got the message in there. For example:

MIA. Oh. (Beat). Well- I love my job at the pool. Being a lifeguard is so much fun, I just get to chill up there on the chair. Its even better when I get to stare at hot guys all day, there are so many.

"Being a lifeguard is so much fun" feels like it's for OUR benefit more than something she'd feel the need to say. And if you trim that out, it's still clear to us that she's a lifeguard. You could MAYBE even risk cutting out "at the pool". Her friends know where she works. So, perhaps...

MIA. Oh. (Beat). Well- I love my job. I just get to chill up there on the chair. Its even better when I get to stare at hot guys all day, there are so many.

I think actors would have fun with these characters too, which is crucial. They are vivid and real. It's a very promising first draft. Maybe just trust the audience more to read between the lines, so you can cut a few unnatural ones out.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 2nd, 2016 06:17 pm
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D.R.Garland
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Mana: 
Hardly and expert, so take my 2 cents with a grain of salt. Overall, good. I enjoyed the dialogue with two exceptions.
1. Dan’s opening. I can’t say why exactly, except to say it seemed oddly placed. More precisely, opening the scene that way was odd, to me anyway.
2. It came across to me as a bit too wordy. Not your word choice which for the most part did seem authentic enough, just would have liked to have ‘seen’ more. Action can convey better than words sometimes, and in my minds eye the scene was terribly still. I like your premise, and believe that there is strong potential here. Keep working on it, and thank you for posting, as I enjoyed reading it.

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