Review of: Toy Soldiers 

reviewed by Lanceeliot on 09/14/2009
Credited Review
Lanceeliot
Lost in the Jungle Credited Review
What works:

The pacing moves at a decent pace. Plot development is interesting, telling the story from two viewpoints. The script deals with a lot of important issues that are often glossed over. The problems in Africa seem insurmountable.

How the script could be improved?

We learn early on what Sabu's goals are and those goals are pretty clear throughout. With Kaufman, it's uncertain why he does the things he does. I can understand Kaufman wanted to escape Makanga, only it would seem that escape would be more dangerous than playing along. Shortly after Kaufman escapes, he's caught by the children; why doesn't he try to escape their camp? Why doesn't he try to get home?

P. 86 When Sabu asks Kaufman, "Why are you still in this hell hole?" Kaufman, "doesn't know."

This may be a realistic attitude, but it leaves the reader wondering what Kaufman's goals are.

Give Kaufman clear goals and send him on the journey to reach them.

NOTES / some thoughts for rewrite:

I'm uncertain who your protagonist is, unless you see Sabu and Kaufman as co-protagonists.

Hi, how are you? - minimize AB dialogue, dialogue that anyone could say. Dialogue should be a window to the characters.
Walks - I suggest looking through the script and seeing where you can exchange walks for swaggers, tip-toes, saunters, etc.
Formatting issues - I noticed a lot of font changes. The whole script should be in one font. It is a simple thing, but readers look for any excuse to reject a script.
TO BE - a lot of your action lines use to be (i.e. is, are, etc.). I highly recommend giving your action lines more action by removing the passive To Be. I.E. Page 4. The wall is covered with maps and contemporary paintings could become "Maps and contemporary paintings cover the walls." Again a simple note, but something that would be glaring to a reader.

What if Commander Moses was in his late teens instead of twenties?

Good luck with the rewrite! Good stuff!


Other Reviews by Lanceeliot 11

  • A review of Do You Smell That?
    by Lanceeliot on 09/11/2011
    Thank you for sharing your short story. I hope these notes are helpful. If any of them ring true consider them for your next rewrite. Page 1. Second sentence, “Depressed and wanting to get out of bed.” is a sentence fragment. You may want to combine with the first sentence. Liked the twist at the end, it had a twilight zone or outer limits feel. What does the main... read
  • A review of To Change the Channel
    by Lanceeliot on 09/11/2011
    Thank you for sharing your short story. I have a couple notes and suggestions. If any of this rings true, I hope it’s helpful for your next rewrite. Opening paragraph seems to be a critique of morning radio shows. It summarizes the narrator’s feelings about radio shows. In the second paragraph we get more detail in talking about Travis T. Hipp. You may want to open... read
  • A review of Labor's Day
    by Lanceeliot on 09/11/2011
    Thank you for sharing your short story. I have a couple notes and suggestions. If any of this rings true, I hope it’s helpful for your next rewrite. Overall, I enjoyed the voice and writing of Labor’s Day. I felt there were a number of stories at play and that any one of them could be visited or expanded upon. The paragraph about the union riots could be turned into... read
+ more reviews