RJFS Writer's group!



I have feedback for @Exquisite_Corpse and @ReshaCaner,

@Exquisite_Corpse: Hot damn. I loved your pages this week. I especially liked the larger conflict in the story (Myrin striving for virtue as part of a sacred order originally meant to train kids to participate in bloodshed). This is a personal issue for Myrin, but also has tangible implications for the society at large. This also puts an interesting on how to strive for virtue within the world of your story, as well as in real life. You’ve got some emotional and thematic depth in these pages, which is very cool. Also enjoyed Fritz’s backstory about Rufus beating on him as a farm boy. And I appreciate that Fritz’s improved with relationship with Myrin feels earned; it doesn’t feel out of place or out of nowhere. Look forward to reading next week.

Also: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B92ANbTfQxhZYjJOLUJ2dndjekk/view?usp=sharing

Here’s my take on the battle between Myrin and Fritz against Violet and her crew. I incorporated minor action line changes that I think made the sequence more effective - I didn’t touch the dialogue. The changes I made varied the intensity of your fight scene a bit. Varying the dynamic of everything from personal interchanges to fight sequences often enhances the conflict and drama of the story in a positive way. Also, I gave characters time to respond to their surroundings, which tempers this quite intense, prolonged fight scene, and allows readers to become more emotionally involved.

Hopefully you’ll find the changes effective. As I’m an amateur, I expect that you’ll notice mistakes (a good thing, since we’re honing our instincts as writers). Hope you enjoy!

@ReshaCaner Thanks for sharing your screenplay with us! I really enjoyed the first part! I feel like I could get a sense of who Moss is, even though he hardly says a word, which points to some pretty effective writing. Have you ever seen any of Jeff Nichols’ films? The first part of your story really evoked a similar sense of place for me, that sleepy Southern atmosphere where magic and buried treasure could be found in the right swamp or grove. You know how to paint pictures with your words, for sure.

Based on this, the second half of the story was so different from the first that it was a little jarring. I feel like both the first half and the second half would work better as two separate stories, rather than as one coherent whole.

@LightStorm I’m looking forward to reading your screenplay this week too! Your German arthouse + Quentin Tarantino combo intrigued me for sure!


Thanks. I don’t know Jeff Nichols so I’ll have to check him out. [Correction. I have seen Mud. I just didn’t realize Nichols was the writer/director. That’s an interesting comparison. Something more to think about.]

I was concerned about exactly this problem. I wanted the change to be jarring, but was concerned I had overdone it. Jarring is OK as long as there is a logical connection and motivation for the character to cross that boundary, but based on your comments I will need to spend some time thinking of a better way to present it.

Thanks for the feedback.


And thanks for your reply.


I look forward to your inputs.


Mud’s great! If you liked that movie, you should check out Take Shelter, another film of his.


@ReshaCaner I suddenly realize that I read your script, but I forgot to leave feedback, so here it is:

Things I like

All of the tension: Your characters are always fencing with one another in conversation. It’s obvious that they care about each other…and it’s also obvious they don’t approve of each other’s decisions. The relationships feel real, and the scenes are a breeze to read because of it.

The setting: Your approach to world building is very ‘show don’t tell’, and that’s one of the most difficult problems with any kind of fantasy. We were just talking about the showing-to-telling ratio in my script. Generally speaking, you do a very good job of giving us enough information to go forward without overloading the audience, and the setting itself is colorful and different. You’re not carbon-copying any fantasy world from anywhere else. This feels like yours, and that’s excellent.

Things I don’t Like

Text chunks: I’ve given this note to a lot of people, but it’s always worth repeating - big blocks of text are really scary as a reader. They look imposing and complicated, and screenwriting - at its best- is a deeply economic form. I saw a lecture from a famous action writer who said that he makes a game out of trimming his text…he literally goes through the script line by line and cuts every piece of dialog by X words and every description by X lines. You don’t need to be that destructive (and the irony of this note appearing in a large text block is not lost), but economy matters, and you should aim to never write any text block longer than 3-4 lines.

First description: OK, I just blabbed on about the necessity of brevity, and now I’m going to say things should get longer, but you definitely need an expanded first description. I love the scene, I love the way it sets things up, but I was envisioning a Grapes of Wrath setting when it suddenly shifted to a fantasy. Make it more clear to the reader from this first sequence that we’re in a mythological world.

Don’t stop now: There’s easily enough to this story to make a feature. Echoing what Piano said earlier, the shift from the beginning to the end is really jarring, and it feels like you’re in a rush. I would definitely like to see this expanded to at least a 50 page TV pilot if not a feature! There’s a lot of great work in here that ended really abruptly, and I want more.

Also, I read part of the Elizabeth Heineman article, and it’s great. This socio-cultural nonsense about how we construct and re-tell identity myths is one of the weirdest and most important things we’re involved in as humans.


Yeah, I get that the soliloquy has fallen out of favor. Too bad IMO. But as I think back over some recent movies I’m pretty sure there are some speeches that would extend even beyond what I wrote. Maybe it’s just the way it’s intercut with character movement. I’ll think about it.

I definitely have enough material for a feature. However, in this case I was trying to sketch out a particular character (Moss). It was very helpful for me in that regard - helpful also in terms of getting a feeling for screenwriting. Also, I had thought about targeting this screenplay at some film festivals, and therefore need something that is short and sweet.

But your comment is valid. I have too much going on for the length, so I need to rework this somehow. I’m pondering what I might be able to do. First of all, the goddesses aren’t really goddesses. They are ordinary people who have taken on that title. I tried to drop in a few hints of that, but I don’t think it’s enough. There is a subtext here commenting on people’s ideas about “magic” and “science”. Moss believes in magic, but everything he does is just a conman’s trick. The goddesses believe what they are doing is “science”, but it is mixed with practices that border on witchcraft. In the larger story those tensions explode.

So, I understand I’ve got some work to do. But my question would be: once your screen play is “perfect”, what are the next steps? Maybe that question deserves a new thread.


Unfortunately, I have not seen any Woody Allen movies. I have to see them sometime. Do you have a recommendation?

PS. Just noticed you already have: Annie Hall.


Just read through your re-write: from 42 through to 78. Really liked it, so far. Some lines in your screenplay seem Tarantinian to me. Does your hero’s name have anything to do with Dr. Schultz’ horse? :wink:


I’m a bit late, but I came with feedback!

@ReshaCaner as others said I feel like you should write a longer story, you could tell a lot about that universe. It ended abruptly.
Also you wrote “Days have passed” but it seems a bit lazy, you can’t let the director find how to show that.
You can write the passage of time easily with on-screen text at a scene beginning like in NEW YORK 1970 at the first scene’s beginning and then NEW YORK 2043 for the second one for exemple. 73 years have passed.
You can also use a montage to show that Bird worked for months between the two scenes.
Or a match-cut transition…
You have plenty of solutions.
I’m waiting for what you may write next!

@PianolasonMars we have some interesting conflict appearing in your last pages! We may now see in what direction your story is aimed. Sweet.
Also I liked to Paladin rewrite, I think the scene felt more dynamic and natural.

Speaking of @Exquisite_Corpse’s Paladin the new pages were great!
The evolution of Fritz and Myrin relationship works well in my opinion.
I liked learning more about Fritz past. We realize that he’s not that much of a bad person and it’s a good thing for the story.

And @LightStorm, I’ve not read your story yet but I’ll try to do it during the week-end.

Keep writing and have a good day!


Glad to hear that!


[quote=“Spica, post:152, topic:5476”]Also you wrote “Days have passed” but it seems a bit lazy, you can’t let the director find how to show that.You can write the passage of time easily with on-screen text at a scene beginning like in NEW YORK 1970 at the first scene’s beginning and then NEW YORK 2043 for the second one for exemple. 73 years have passed.
You can also use a montage to show that Bird worked for months between the two scenes.
Or a match-cut transition…
You have plenty of solutions.[/quote]

It wasn’t laziness so much as I didn’t know how to handle the transition. I was trying to avoid leading the director, as current convention seems to say that is a bad idea. I do like the idea of a form cut, though. Maybe I’ll add that in.

[quote=“Spica, post:152, topic:5476”]I’m waiting for what you may write next!



Hello! My name is Joseph. A friend recommended the group to me knowing I enjoy writing and I have written a few scripts I’d love to share. I’m a very amateur writer, having only started a year ago and never really followed a format. I’ve only written as a hobby and would love opinions.


My Script:



Thank you, Lucas!


@LightStorm I read something like 40 pages of German Angst so I think I can deliver an opinion.
The story is really dialog-driven and in fact really lies in those dialogs. I didn’t had the feeling of reading the MAN and WOMAN’s story (they don’t even have a name) but a German story. And that’s what it is right?

And I felt like it was an essay somehow turned into a movie script. Interesting, don’t get me wrong! But not natural in the way it’s presented.

Those characters are interesting too, but they are just tools to express a message, and that’s kind of a waste.

I think you should rewrite it. Not because it sucks. But because it may be better, much more.
Maybe in two different pieces: an essay about the German angst, and a movie script with a real story for those two characters.
OR rewrite by adding some sort of conflict, something to make the characters be more than tools. Have for them a reason to talk about German angst which is not just that it came in the conversation.

Hope it’ll help! Keep writing!

I also read your script @Joe_Casarez, it was pretty fun!
I would just say that actions should not be described in parentheticals (as in motions “that’s it” at the end). Make sure to write those in action lines.
Parentheticals are for what is said only, and you’ll avoid to write in those as much as possible.
I’d be happy to write something else from you, so don’t hesitate to post again!


A re-write is literally out of the question. What I wrote is exactly what I had in mind for this story. Whether you think it sucks or it can be much better is really up to you.


Wait, so why are you posting your script here then? It seems weird to ask for feedback when you’re apparently not interested in improving.

@Spica is giving you real feedback here, yet you’re simply disagreeing with him. Sure, it may seem like that to you, but apparently someone read it and interpreted in a different way (as an essay). Your audience is not going to be exact copies of you, most likely, but real people that all have different opinions about your work. I’m just saying that using feedback to improve your writing is essential to being a successful writer.


I did not post here. I posted on a different forum. It was Resha that linked my work here. I really could do without feedback.


Because you posted in ‘Critique Me’. You gon’ get critiqued if you post in Critique Me.


And I responded to you and your buddy’s critique. What part of the response did you not get?