This is an entertaining story: The strongest aspects of it are the very enthralling characters you have created and the SP structure itself.
Page 1: It is acceptable to use present progressive tense in a scene description (Clanging, opening, closing, deafening) if that is the best way to write the action. However, it is overused in your opening paragraph in scene one. Also, you refer to a ‘normal person’ in line two. What is a normal person? Someone who is not incarcerated or someone with great hearing? In paragraph two you use the slang term ‘halls’ and then go onto to describe it in parenthesis. A simple, brief description without parenthesis will work. You need a strong, vibrant opening scene written strongly to catch the reader’s attention.
Page 1: EXT. VISITING ROOM - CONTINUOUS: This should be an interior shot. Continuous is used when action moves from one scene to another (EX – a character moves from the first location to the second.) creating a sequence. In this instance, you are simply showing a new scene so this should be changed to DAY. Same goes for the top of page eleven.
Page 3: JIMMY: “He asked if hate could truly be hate if you hated everyone equally.” – The idea behind this statement is great. If reworded with less redundancy (hate, hate, hated) it would be stronger and have a more profound quality.
Page 9: INCITING INCIDENT: Jimmy’s father is dead. This is a great inciting incident as it is going to have a negative effect on Jimmy’s psyche and asks the question ‘How is this going to change the boy?’ This would be much stronger if you presented Jimmy in the set-up as being a straight arrow good kid (appalled at Davey’s candy theft) and then immediately after his father’s death show him delving into petty crime. This would add some complexity to his character arc as he is now dealing with his own anger and the stress of his mom’s new husband.
Page 15: CATHY: “My husband just passed six months ago, so I’m not sure I’m ready for anyone yet.” – This is on the nose dialogue. Would be much stronger for her to visually show her reluctance at being asked out as she is still suffering the pain of her husband’s death.
Page 16: MONTAGE OF ANDY AND CATHY FALLING IN LOVE – This should be Gerry not Andy.
Page 16: Cat looks at her watch, like she’s late for an appointment. Is or was Jimmy important to her at all? Their interaction would be much stronger if she showed some interest in the story he is telling. If she doesn’t care why should we?
Page 25: CAT: “Why didn’t you tell her?” – I’m not sure what he was supposed to tell his mom: That Gerry is a jerk or that he got the engagement ring from a cop?
Page 27: JIMMY: “He’s supposed to be at home.” – There has to be a stronger motivation for Jimmy to investigate what his step dad is up to other than him walking into a bar with two guys to presumably have a beer and BS. He must see him doing something unusual to pique his curiosity. And why do Jimmy’s friends care what his dad is up to?
Page 49: CATHY: “Jimmy, what choice do I have? I’m in my 40’s. I need to make this work.” – Cathy’s reasoning for staying in the relationship with Gerald is weak: Basically she is saying that she afraid of not finding another man and as long as she has a man - any man - then it is better than being alone. If you gave Gerry’s character some complexity and added dimensions to his personality that she was actually attracted to, this would give her a reason to want to hang onto him specifically, not just because he is a man. On page 57 she states “If I divorce him, the whole town will hate me.” – Also not a strong enough reason to stay with him.
Page 77: JIMMY: “Mel, I have one more year in that hell hole, then I’m free.” – This statement rings false. Up to this point Jimmy’s goal has been to protect his mother. Now his only concern is escape.
Page 84: “Jimmy rushes toward Gerald, and like a batter taking a swing at a fast ball rips the fire poker through the air.” – Great image and nice tie-in to the baseball theme.
If you strengthened Cathy’s motivation for staying with Gerry all these years and tightened up a few of the scenes involving Jimmy and his friends this SP would be much more dynamic.
Review of: Beyond the Darknesss
reviewed by RJWIII on 01/11/2010
Other Reviews by RJWIII 103
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