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critique First 15 pages of Feature

Story is about a woman coming into her own after the death of her child, abandoning her responsibilities as a mother and confronting the man who led to her sons death. Looking for any critique that doesn't focus on errors of formatting.


  • The Burden.pdf
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Staff Member
Tighten the dialogue - too many wells ughs etc.

It didn't feel like a strong opening - nothing made me want to know what's happening next or get to know Carol.

Also, I was immediately put off by the phrase "abandoning her responsibilities as a mother" in your description, but read it anyway.

If you're a guy (can't tell for sure from your name), I'm not sure that a story about a woman coming into her own is a great choice.

Yeah, also formatting and especially punctuation.
Okay... I read it and I'm just going to be honest... It was a difficult read for me personally.


You said you didn't want anyone commenting on the formatting. Fine. What about typos? What about passive voice? What about punctuation and capitalization that you didn't use?

You see... It's all this kind of stuff that... When out of WHACK (not wack like in your script) all together makes it very difficult to read. Sure, if you give this to your Mom or a friend? They probably don't know much about formatting so they take it for granted that you know what you're doing but when you COMBINE bad formatting with typos, punctuation errors, misspellings, etc.? You make it difficult for me to want to keep reading. I went ahead and read it all the way through but ONLY because I wasn't doing anything.

Normally? I wouldn't have gotten through the first page without sending you an email telling you to get rid of all the problems FIRST and when those are gone? Send it back. That's the respectful thing to do.

I'm not trying to be an asshole but here's the thing... You're asking US for OUR HELP -- our feedback. The least you could do is proofread the thing... RIGHT? I would also recommend figuring out how to format correctly because really... Anyone that can actually give you some INFORMATIVE and HELPFUL feedback is going to be turned off and or taken OUT of your story because of all the problems I've mentioned above.

Now that I have all that out of the way? Here's what I read...

Carol and Douglas' son was apparently shot along with what... 13 other people? We know absolutely NOTHING about that incident except that Henry was shot and killed (apparently, at the beach) along with all the other people. Carol now attends meetings -- group meetings about the incident. You do not say if they are AA meetings but I tend to think they are... Maybe an AA group and a victim's family group of some kind.

I think what you did in 15 pages could have been done in 5 pages.

The dialogue is way overkill in my opinion... Way too much talking heads. But as a beginning to a feature narrative? This could work once you TIGHTEN IT UP.

We meet Carol... I assume she's your Protagonist. Her current ordinary world is this world of group therapy sessions and AA meetings along with her daughter, Annabelle pretty much being pissed at her and ignoring her. Her husband Douglas is just trying to keep it ALL together one day at a time.

I don't think you needed 15 pages of what you wrote to get all that across... The inciting incident would be the Man in the hoodie showing up at the end... i.e., the guy who shot her son and the other victims?

If this is what you wrote then sure... I think it could work. But before I would attempt to read this again? It would have to be cleaned up... Proofread. Clear of typos, punctuation errors, misspellings, etc. Now if you're going to shoot this yourself? Cool. Write it any way you want but in that same regard? You're not really asking hobbyists here to read it over... LOL. To me? All the stuff you said you did not want comments on (formatting) combined with all the other problems I see? Make it a difficult read... FOR ME. I do this for a living (screenwriting -- not reading scripts) and I know before I would EVER hand off something I wrote to ANYONE even just a friend? I would go through it and make sure all formatting problems were gone and all the misspellings were corrected along with typos and punctuation problems.

If you read through the yellow stickies I provided on the pdf I attached here? You'll see I mentioned other problems as well.

But as for just the story? It could work as a story... Depending on where you take it from here.

Good luck.


  • The-Burden-Unk-Comments.pdf
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