critique Feedback - Plot Development for a Love Short Story

I suppose, but it is kind of discouraging to write something that's been done SO SIMILARLY before ... That said, I think the movie is more of a flat out rip off of the short story ... If it isn't, well that really is an amazing coincidence :)

The real lesson here (for me, at least) is to thoroughly research "original" ideas before putting pen to paper.
I think that's sensible but Mara is also correct, it's often better to stick to your guns if your story is "different enough".

A similar thing happened to me actually when I wrote a feature. In my case, I did actually do some research on existing films and was pretty confident the concept in my story was unique. Anyway, when I finished it, I came up with a cool sounding title that was not really anything to do with the concept but did feature as part of the story. I looked up the title on IMDB to see if anyone had used it before. I found an entry for a sc-fi series under that title that was in pre-production. I read the plot summary and could not believe it. The concept was identical to my story, not just similar, exactly the same!

I was gutted and as a result, I rewrote the whole thing to change the concept but keep the storyline the same. When I finished it, a reader pointed out the new concept bore a striking similarity to another movie that I'd never heard of. I watched the movie and they were right. In an effort to avoid being too similar to one story, I ended up making it like another. Again, I had to rewrite to cut out and change parts that were too similar.

The ironic thing is that the sci-fi series that was the same concept as mine got canned and the entry no longer appears on IMDB. I should have just stuck with my original idea.
 
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JKDS, I do remember pointing out some similarities with one of your scripts to the movie adaptation of Stephen Kings', The Dead Zone. I also recall you were upset at the time that you even wanted to rewrite a key scene you were fond of, because it was identical to one in the old movie...I think it was the part where the protagonist has a conversation about whether he would have killed Hitler if he knew IN ADVANCE the monster he would become ... So I now know how you feel..

On a side note, I have been researching the Readers Digest story and, although it is a stretch, it is written as though it was a true story that happened to the author. That would be something!
 
JKDS, I do remember pointing out some similarities with one of your scripts to the movie adaptation of Stephen Kings', The Dead Zone. I also recall you were upset at the time that you even wanted to rewrite a key scene you were fond of, because it was identical to one in the old movie...I think it was the part where the protagonist has a conversation about whether he would have killed Hitler if he knew IN ADVANCE the monster he would become ... So I now know how you feel..

On a side note, I have been researching the Readers Digest story and, although it is a stretch, it is written as though it was a true story that happened to the author. That would be something!
LOL. Oh yeah, that's right, it was you who told me about it. Hahahaha. :lol:
 
StoneJack, yeah ... I have shelved it for now and writing another for a fiverr customer who wants a short unique war story 15 - 20 pages showing how humanity can still exist, even when faced with the ugliness of war. The story needs a strong protagonist and an evil antagonist with battle scenes and could contain some elements of fantasy...

The idea I came up with is as follows:

A young boy in an unnamed African village is abducted by a rebel faction hoping to expand their ranks of of child soldiers. The ruthless leader makes an example of his mother (who was hiding the boy inside a covered hole under the house) by killing her in front of the villagers. The leader tells them this is what happens to traitors, and then turns to the boy and points out his younger sister will share a similar fate if he doesn't do his part also.

On their way back to camp (deep in the jungle), another child complains of hunger and is scolded by the leader that he is not allowed to show weakness. As they proceed further, the same boy notices some bright red berries and pulls a few, placing them in his mouth. A lieutenant slaps the boy, knocking them out of his mouth. "Stupid Boy, those are not berries...those seeds will kill you..." Our protagonist looks at the lethal red seeds with their distinctive red and black pattern ...

As they enter the camp, they discover death and carnage in their hidden camp. The national army conducted an unsuccessful raid on their compound but the rebels were able to repel the attack. The remaining nationals were forced to retreat. The leader orders his men to immediately pack up and relocate before the soldiers return.

Two rebels drag a wounded national guard to the leader and proceed to torture him. The leader asks the soldier how they discovered his rebel position. Under duress, the soldier tells them of informants inside the rebel 'friendly' village of Karpensi. The soldier's throat is immediately cut.

"Karpensi ..." The leader looks at one of his lieutenants... "That is your village, is it not?" ... The lieutenant tells the leader he has not been there since he was "recruited" by the rebels as a young boy. Seeing the leader is becoming suspicious, the lieutenant adds he will take them there at once so they can exact revenge ...

When the enter the village of Karpensi, villagers scatter as they are hacked and shot by the rebels. An older woman about to be shot pleads for her life telling the leader she remembers him and even offered her only son to the rebel's cause. He asks her his son's name .. "Kwame" ... The lieutenant turns his head at the sound of his name ... The leader signals him closer ... The woman instantly recognizes her son and leaps to his feet, begging him to help her.. "This woman is a liar..." ... The leader orders his lieutenant to shoot her .... Slowly...painfully he raises his gun to shoot... At that moment, our young protagonist jumps in front of the woman ... The leader, furious .... violently backhands the boy into the ground ... "Finish it" he demands of his lieutenant...He raises his gun, tears in his eyes ...hand shaking ....He is unable to do it .. A single shot is fired ... by the leader ...

Looking at his lieutenant and the boy, the leader says "The only reason your lives are spared is because I have lost too many of my men today" They round up more child soldiers and return back into the jungle as the rebels torch the village ablaze ....

Later, in a makeshift camp, the leader goes to the young boy trying to calm him, explaining their cause and offering him chocolate. He asks the boy if he will help him. The boy, tears in eyes, nods. He pats the boy on the head and asks him to prepare him a coffee.

In secret, the boy retrieves jequirity beans from his pocket, placing them between folded leaves, crushing them with a stone. He uses a spoon to scrape the crushed seeds into a mug of coffee, proceeding to spoon out the visible red husks when the lieutenant grabs the boys wrist... The lieutenant remembers the boy as the one trying to save his mother hours earlier ....

"Take this drink to the commander, and tell him you need to relieve yourself .. .Once you are out of sight, run towards the ransacked village and wait for a humanitarian convoy to arrive ... "

The boy says "But Its getting dark .... "

"The town has been torched .... follow the flames and stay hidden until you get help ... "

The boy follows the plan and gets a good head start towards the village that was attacked hours earlier ...

Meanwhile, the leader is drinking his coffee ... he removes a red husk from his mouth and identifies the poisonous seed reminiscent of its red and black lady bug pattern...He staggers backwards ... "The BOY...BRING ME THE BOY .... " At an instant, the lieutenant gets up ..."YOU STAY THERE...", the leader commands... A couple of rebels get up to retrieve the boy.... The lieutenant slowly reaches for his AK-47 ...

The boy, now quite a distance away from the makeshift camp, hears the faint sound of gunfire ... he looks back for a moment but then runs forward...the jungle is totally dark except for the moonlight and faint glow of a massive fire in the far distance

He eventually reaches the fire lit village ... death and carnage everywhere...After a few long minutes, he hears the sounds of men in the distance...He removes the bloody clothes of a murdered victim and tosses his camouflaged clothes in a nearby fire .... He positions himself beside a large man who has been hacked to death, and, wearing a baseball cap, face down, he pretends to be dead...

After some tense moments, a rebel who is searching for him, pokes his back with the muzzle of his gun without any reaction from the boy...The rebel, convinced he is dead ... moves on..

The story ends as in the morning, a UN convoy arrives and helps the boy to safety ... He asks about his sister who will be killed by the rebels in retaliation for what he has done ... They bring the boy to the camp where he finds her safe ...

END
 

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Here is part of the script for the above story ... I thought a cool twist would be for the young Bidi to recognize his own shoes but stay quiet to allow his friend to escape ... I think it adds some emotional impact and works well with the short's title...
 
Hi i read the war story (not the pdf, just your description). It is quite a strong story (although there are probably some similar war stories out there). I like the protagonist and the villain, they are well written.
1. I wish however that you should add closure to the villain's story. It would good if it is clear if that poison killed the villain - maybe not momentarily but later - so in a way, boy gets his revenge for killed mother. That will be real closure of the story.
2. Sister is somewhat forgotten here maybe a bit more story development contrasting with boy's plot. For example, saved by missionaries, hidden somewhere. I understand that the tension building doesn't allow revealing her whereabout earlier, but still.
3. Villain is too bad (cartoonish) and we don't understand logic behind his sadism. There should be more development of his story and background. Maybe his squad was a part of freedom movement originally but the movement was harshly oppressed and now his squad is trying to get revenge on civilians?
 
well, the lieutenant sacrifices himself to allow the boy to escape by using his ak-47 ... he shoots the major ... i guess i can make that abit more obvious in the script

i think i will need to add something about his sister, you're right ... gotta think about that

as for the villain being too cartoonish, i tried to make him ruthless as to be feared by the other soldiers. I really have to think about his motivation though, you're right on that point...I don't want to create too much of a back story on him though...need to think of something on that

thanks
 
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