reviewed by andrewkula on 08/03/2007
Credited Review
Like an ox Credited Review

I think the core of this story - "what would happen if two gangs tried to rob the same bank at the same time?" - is really funny. It's got potential, and that's a major plus. Also, Mum and Pop are both really entertaining. Pop is especially funny. Good work! I think you've got a good ear for dialogue, and there's a lot of strong humor throughout the story. That said, I have some suggestions for you when you revise...

1. Invest more in visuals. This reads really quickly, which is cool, but it shouldn't come at the expense of the story. I'm not sure if "Thick as Thieves" would stretch to 70 pages when the formatting problems get fixed. There's lots of room to work with here, so you can easily give us more to look at. A lot of scenes are essentially just characters talking with no real action. You've got some funny dialogue, and it'd be good if you can balance it out with funny images. A couple examples are what Pop looks like and when he shoots the guys over and over. Funny and visual. What happens in the bank that takes advantage of imagery?

2. Give us a little more time to get to know these Scottish bandits before the big turning point where they show up at a bank that's already getting robbed. We need to know these guys more before the twist so that we can actually care if they get away with it or not. Maybe it'd be good to show them rob something else to show us what these guys are like. An opening scene where the robbers go after something bizarre, like a sports bar or a cell phone store, could be funny. And given their love of movies, they'd be all about that because it's similar to Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction. In any case, your first act lasts for about 10-12 pages (until the other gang and the police show up) and it would work better as 20-25 pages. You have room to work with, so let's meet these characters more and get some more jokes before the big twist happens!

3. Rethink the climax. Pop is the one that solves the problem by killing Frank. It's funny, but it's unsatisfying because these five young guys who are the ones who have clear goals and motivation aren't responsible for solving their own problem. I'm all for letting Pop into the action, but he shouldn't be solely responsible for resolving the story.

4. Include bigger law enforcement obstacles. The cops pretty much just let them go every time they come near them. The scene where the cop stops the fleeing van could have a lot more tension (and humor) because of the situation. Try to play that up more. Let's see more details about the investigation. Does the detective find any clues in the bank? Does he miss anything obvious? He seems pretty inept because nobody gets the hostages out of the vault. That's funny, but if the cops pose no threat to the robbers, we're missing out on some good opportunities for comedy with close calls and plots to get around the cops. Try to give the cops some more power and make them a stronger force in the action.

5. Show some development in character. I can't really tell you how any of the three Scots change as a result of this story. Are any of them different in the end than they were in the beginning? Did anyone learn something? Alter their personality? Lose a belief? It didn't feel like anyone had an arc.

6. Reconsider all the "J" names. It can be hard to keep "Jack," "Joel" and "James" straight when we meet them all within a few pages of each other.

All in all, this was entertaining, but it can use some more substance. It's funny, but you can pack more laughs in there, so don't let yourself be satisfied with "good enough." The humor in "Thick as Thieves" is amusing, but it can still be more efficient and faster paced. I hope my suggestions are helpful for you, and I hope you continue to improve this with your next drafts. Please let me know if you have any questions or want to discuss anything further. Best of luck, and keep up the good work!

- Andy

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