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Author Topic: Dollars of the Damned.  (Read 481 times)

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Offline wrathborne

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Dollars of the Damned.
« on: August 13, 2021, 01:35:13 AM »
I write in screenplay format(short form) and had an idea for a story that might be a comic(might make an animated pilot, I'm also an animator) but I wanted to try something different here.

So here is the logline(synopsis)

A stubborn tomboyish reporter in 1930s Texas must to save her family's newspaper discovers gangsters have opened a door to Eldritch horrors in her town.

I started on this a few days back and got what is essentially episode 1. It's meant to be to the point and a little brisk (kind of simple too). But I had 3 areas I wanted to focus on: A fun protagonist who stands out from the crowd, an interesting mystery, and a bit of a slow build up in terms of the horror part. So I'm mostly looking for feedback on these 3 elements. Any feedback is appreciated.

I did my best to try to match the tone of a 1930s horror film as well as the dialogue. I used a fair amount of 1930s slang in this, if it gets confusing just ask. Not all the 30's slang is easy to understand.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rABBCwduCU9RJsZBscSvOjgZGXavXWep/view?usp=sharing

Oh, here's the protagonist character design. I'm still adjusting it some.

« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 02:31:26 AM by wrathborne »

Offline NO1SY

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Re: Untitled 1930s Lovecraftian mystery/horror/comedy story. ch1.
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2021, 08:35:20 PM »
Hey there wrathborne.

I just finished listening to an audiobook of the Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft on Thursday so your promise of a lovecraftian style story brought me here.

I gave the document you shared a read. I have made highlights with a few comments and proofreading notes here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WFuhwdpUYhw3pTouS5c4IumjuiAsQ176/view?usp=sharing

In response to the feedback you were looking for on the story, it's a little early to tell how successful you are with only 1 chapter, but I do have some first impressiosns:

Spoiler

1. I think some extra work needs to be done to flesh out Sheena as a character in this opening chapter if you want her to stand out as a protagonist. So far it has been hard to connect with her to that extent because we don't really experience anything that makes her extraordinary or extraordinarily endearing. This is fine for a lovecraftian-esque character, but doesn't sound like what you are going for. To make characters feel a cut above the rest, more real and alive, and then easy to connect with, there are two things to try: 1. write in some idiosyncracies at least one of which is charming; 2. write a scene that ingratiates the character to the reader.

2. Hard to comment on the mystery yet.

3. The slow build to the horror feels a bit more like a switch has been flipped than the pervasive and growing uneasiness of lovecraftian horror or the building suspense of Poe. This is not helped by the jokiness in the front half of the chapter, then the complete tonal shift when Sheena goes to visit the mansion. The only way that I can see to improve this is to weave in some small horror elements throughout the earlier parts - reports of an unnatural number of missing pets, upsurge in illness or sudden comas, people seeing movements in shadows or feeling constant paranoia, a drunk man raving, weird unsettling dreams, strange items or idols turning up or strange symbols graffitied onto walls, an influx of unfamiliar people to the small town other than just the gansters, unsettling sounds from dark alleys or from around corners, birds falling from the sky, etc... These types of things can be sprinkled tastefully in through the narrative via side characters' experiences, the newspaper, the radio and Sheena's story, and they could help build that atmosphere you are hoping for. So far the scene with the gangsters and the suitcase does way more work than the zombies in the well and the dark figure in the window....



To summarise my other thoughts on your writing:
Spoiler

Your writing got a bit sloppy towards the back half - I hope I caught all the issues but could probably do with another proof read...

I'm not a huge fan of screenplay scripts anymore because the narration always comes across as one dimensional, matter of fact and skewed towards only setting scenes visually without the depth that other sensory information brings.

On top of this, you do not use thoughts/internal monologuing at all, which is something that is used a lot in comics and literature but is left mostly to subtext, expression and visuals in screenplays - a lot of potential information for readers is missed here.




My comments may come across as critical, but I hope that you find them useful and perservere with writing your story. I wish you the best of luck!
« Last Edit: August 14, 2021, 08:45:05 PM by NO1SY »

Offline wrathborne

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Re: Untitled 1930s Lovecraftian mystery/horror/comedy story. ch1.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2021, 03:30:30 AM »
Sloppy in the back half how? Gotta elaborate a little further.

Yeah, in regards to the slow build I need a little more work on that. I realized that when I finished page 10. Might have an answer or two regarding that so there's a little more to it.

As for Sheena, I think she stands out a bit more than that (this is all I'll push back on.) and in 1936 a woman going off to a mansion to snag a gangsters photo solo is pretty extraordinary.  But I suspect you mean an extraordinary trait, like high intelligence or will power as per the standard "best of humanity against the unknown in order to show how insignificant humanity is" theme. I'll see what I can do. Part of the screenwriting approach is building someone up and show this side of them as things gradually get worse.

As for an Idiosyncrasy, great idea. So I barely have 9 and a quarter pages written and purposely made sure everything was brisk and too the point in order to have some space to add in a little something later.

A big part of why things are the way they are here is my respecting the era the story takes place in and what's mild too us now, would have been pretty big back then.  I'm having to write this story with the usual screenwriting craft in mind, following 1930s horror film tone/society/slang/rules, and then mixing in Cosmic horror.

There IS a method to my madness though. Hell, theres even a reason the story takes place in Cross Plains if you know your history.

Thanks for the criticism, I'll see what I can do and you may be right entirely about making Sheena stand out more.

Online KatDeMilo

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Re: Untitled 1930s Lovecraftian mystery/horror/comedy story. ch1.
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2021, 09:04:44 AM »
I'm not a big reader. So I won't do a script review. Many others for that here who are good at that.
When, you get to the art stage I'll be keen.

However at first glance of the post itself, I'd definitely give this a shot if it was a description for a comic/manga.

Also kinda dig the art direction.

Hope you progress further. Got my interest with this one.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2021, 09:08:17 AM by KatDeMilo »
MissKatMilo

Offline NO1SY

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Re: Untitled 1930s Lovecraftian mystery/horror/comedy story. ch1.
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2021, 03:42:34 PM »

Sloppy in the back half how? Gotta elaborate a little further.


Just in regards to spelling and grammar. Nothing major.



As for Sheena, I think she stands out a bit more than that (this is all I'll push back on.) and in 1936 a woman going off to a mansion to snag a gangsters photo solo is pretty extraordinary.  But I suspect you mean an extraordinary trait, like high intelligence or will power as per the standard "best of humanity against the unknown in order to show how insignificant humanity is" theme. I'll see what I can do. Part of the screenwriting approach is building someone up and show this side of them as things gradually get worse.


I agree that a woman in 1930s America aspiring to be anything other than a nuclear family housewife would be pretty extraordinary in the literal sense of the word, but I think you have to go further in showing Sheena's drive to do what she wants, and her struggle to overcome prejudices, in this case. I don't think that she necessarily has to be "gifted" in any way, but her characterisation just needs to be stronger than it currently is for her to be a more memorable/standout protagonist when compared to other similar protagonists across comics/literature.


Good start overall though.

Offline wrathborne

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Re: Untitled 1930s Lovecraftian mystery/horror/comedy story. ch1.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2021, 02:38:09 AM »
I'll see what I can do about the grammar, dyslexia sneaks up on me sometimes.

I'm opting to create an original evil for the story so I can have some of my own rules to play with. That way I have a little more control over what happens, how it happens, and how the evil god operates. Rather than have a great evil like Cthulhu, Dagon, or the Yellow King I've doing a lesser evil. Even a lesser god can cause the catastrophes all over the world and crush humanity.

But a god that takes time to influence people, instead of the instant subjugation of the Yellow King after seeing his symbol, gives me time to transform characters slowly. Rather than focus on madness outright this one causes greed, addiction, paranoia and finally drains the believers sanity and leaves them as husks of dead meat.

I call this one the "Bronze Baron". Baron Harkonnen was a partial inspiration for the name and concept. But its a background evil, the foreground is the cult and mafia who I'm still working on properly sorting out.


Offline wrathborne

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Re: Dollars of the Damned.
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2021, 02:32:55 AM »
Updated the draft. Other  than typos and grammar errors I think this is it for Chapter 1. Took all the feedback and put out something stronger that has a little more character in it as well as more weirdness in the end.

This series has a name now "Dollars of the damned".


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PjoG0J1qceYi-YDb7Bn_BhnLK2fLzzf5/view?usp=sharing