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"Old Wounds" by Pia Cook ~ Honorable Mention

Rewrite: 11/15/2007 12:00 AM

Logline: A lonely man's old wounds continues to hurt until one day he cannot stand it any more and decides to end the pain once and for all.

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 1

Production Status: In Production

Contest: One is the Loneliest Number (Sep. 2007)

Contest Scores
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Comments Made During the Contest

Alex Hollister (Level 4)

An interesting read. Quite liked the 'reunion' reveal. There's a clear build-up of, if not tension, then certainly intrigue and though that dissipates as we learn the nature of what's in the box early, there's enough there to wonder just how and why he's doing it. Dodgy subject matter, but a good read nevertheless.

Austin Jones (Level 4)

Very bold topic to tackle. Well done. And I hope this isn't a cry for help...cause I don't want to be talking to CNN about how you seemed like a very nice person in our screenwriting forum!

Barbara Lewis (Level 4)

This is really good...and oddly very much like something that happened in Florida last week! (the guy was caught before carrying it out)

I had to read the more technical aspects a couple of times but you made clear what was going on very quickly. Nice twist at the end.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was pretty enjoyable. It seemed like you weren't going to get around to revealing the contents of the letter, so I was glad to see that you did. Nice little tale of revenge. Good work.

Bryan Mora (Level 4)

You have nearly two pages with no dialogue. I'm not mad, not mad at all, just thought i'd point that out. That you had two pages where i read and read and read your descriptions...with no dialogue.

im kidding, im such a drama queen. But if you want to keep a reader interested, especially one with A.D.D, like me...i dont know, maybe add some dialogue.

It was a great story with the high school reunion thing and i'm glad i finished it. But by the time i knew what he was doing, i wasn't interested because it just took me awhile to get there. And, i have to be honest, if i wasn't required to read all that, i probably wouldn't have.

i'd sugest to take some of what he does out. Only the things that don't HAVE TO BE placed in there. I hope my comments were suggestive, even though they were filled with hate. (i kid, i kid)

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

I liked this a lot. I had to race through it to find out what was going to happen. The ending was excellent in revealing Stuart's shocking plans.

Best to avoid the parentheticals. Stuart's actions and speech should tell us how he's feeling.

Sometimes his speech was a little on the nose, but you got away (as many others haven't!) with him talking to himself and it not being too far-fetched.

Good stuff.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I thought this was very good.

Revenge is always a great emotion to explore. Your craft is excellent and this was a good read.

In a way though, I was hoping for something different at the end. A long suffering high school student, feels a little obvious. It didn't make it bad. I certainly believe it. I just wanted to be surprised by the ending.

I think if you could do that it would be excellent.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

I thought this was excellent! It was written well enough to keep me in the story the whole time.

Then when I realized he was making some kind of a bomb it got my attention. I didn't know what or where it was going but when we got to the ending it was satisfying.

I liked the cat, you made him human by having a cat.

The diaglouge wasn't too much and the action was just right!

I think this might be the highest score I gave so far. I have read 31 one and yours got to the top of my heap.

Good luck!

DW Pollard (Level 4)

It started off slow - it seemed like you could have started on Page 2 and not lost anything in the story.

Once Stuart got to making his bombs, the pace was quick and interesting, his dialogue giving us a good clue as to his mindset.

Jacob Schantz (Level 3)

Good build up and premise, but ultimately, it lead nowhere.
Stuart was pretty interesting as a lead, and I would’ve like to see him pontificating more than talking to himself about those who have it coming.
He’s obviously put a lot of though and energy into this, it would’ve been nice to see that realization that he has no choice but do this, some type of crazy moment of acceptance.
But when we enter his life, he’s already come to this conclusion, so there’s no real conflict, despite the body count he hopes to inflict.
The narratives have a nice flow to them, and the moments where he constructs the bombs have a nice understated menace to them.
Good work, just needs a little more characterization.

Jay Knisely (Level 4)

Raised score for a good level of detail was knocked down a little by starting most of the action with - He.

Pacing bogs down a little as we learn how to make a pipe bomb.

Title fits well.

John Foley (Level 4)

Well paced. There was good set up here for the ending.

Kirk White (Level 5)

twisted and awesome! loved this.

Margaret Avnet (Level 4)

You do a good job at describing what is going on and even illustrating why Stuart is making the bomb. But I think it would have served the script better if Stuart showed more emotion. He seems to robotic. Listing the grivences isn't cutting it we need to see some emotion from Stuart.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

Nicely done. Clever approach to the challenge and a great twist.

Randy Bigger (Level 4)

Written well. Story does not grab me. I've read several of these types along the way here about someone getting revenge in some way, so it's not new. Guy is definitely deranged. It was hard for me to believe that the 10-year reunion would trigger this kind of thing. A little closer to high school would have been better, maybe.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Wow. Dark but very compelling. I thought it was very impressive to show him petting the cat and living humbly. I think you brilliantly led us down a path, revealing more and more of the character while Stuart lamented the wrongdoings he endured in his past. This was powerful and well constructed. I must admit, the whole vest thing had me thinking of the Virginia Tech incident and it made me cringe a bit at the events that lead people to do things like this. Still, a nicely written piece.

Rob Gross (Level 4)

A very good story. I enjoyed it.

Good job with the opening setting. I could really picture his trailer life.

I liked how you took your time to describe things. It kept me turning the page.

Good ending also.

Robin Williams (Level 3)

Liked the ending. But I thought the pacing needed improvement ad the writing could be tighter. This would work way better at 3 pages.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

What starts out as an interesting character study quickly makes way for a fairly mediocre plot about high school nerd (probably) wanting revenge by explosive pipe bomb means.

You set this up quite well and the suspense about the letter was quite good. The pipe bomb making seemed too movie like, if that is a valid criticism.

Is there something in his background that involved making bombs or dealing with explosives? If you have seen Gus Van Sant's "Elephant" about the columbine shootings then you know the drab process that showed the boys firing their rifles in the garage.

Maybe Stuart tries the bomb on his cat, to see if it works. Maybe he blows himself up. I want more tension because currently you move from plot point to plot point, except at the beginning. Something prevents him from getting the bombs made.

Maybe the literature that he ordered was actually a con and when he tries one bomb it goes "pfft."

You have the skills to write a good story and great characters, then why not go for some off the track drama?

Technically you are fine.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

You kept me guessing until the end. This is a sad tale of revenge though. I wish he'd been packing something else in the box. Maybe letters of forgiveness. Yeah I'm a sap. But I really think if the world would forgive more it would be a better place. I realize this guy had wounds, but to take out all those who hurt him, only hurts himself more. Like I said, sad tale.
I think the script would be helped if you added an element of mystery to it. Eliminate his dialogue. Maybe have him just cross names off a list as he makes the bombs. Or have him putting x's on pictures in an old yearbook. This way you can make the reveal even more powerful, as we don't know what he is doing until the very end.

Stephenie Ruffin (Level 4)

This is a nicely written script, the descriptions were written well. I picked up early on it was a high school reunion. This story is so true that sometimes in school, kids can be so cruel and mean. Some pick up and move on, but some harbor the pain. (which may not be their choice) A story like this is a reminder that we should be nice or at least courteous to one another. Nice job.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

Sinster. Chilling. Fine character study.

T. Joseph Fraser (Level 3)

I was liking Stuart until he became a crazed, suicide bomber. Good set up and a solid finish.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

It's very obvious from the begining what is happening. Having said that, I don't know how I feel about it?? Does it detract from the story? I don't know.

The descriptions of Stuart and his life were superb, from the trailer to his cat. Well done.

William Coleman (Level 5)

This is a great premise. We all look back to those people who screwed us over, but Stuart has even better reasons to be angry. There is nice detail and a director and cameraman would have a field day shooting this - the entrances, exits, making bombs, etc.

I do think you waste your first page. I wish you'd plunge right into the bomb making and grab us right off. You ease us into your story. It needs a little punch and drama. Right now it is a sequential narrative, story telling - rather than drama. It needs the ebb and flow of a series of conflicts. Maybe he relents, then gets angry again or let's someone off the hook. The material is there. It needs more dramatic sequencing.

Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/1/2007 9:09 AM

I love that you are so willing to go to those "dark places" when you write. I think this would make a great little film.

Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2007 11:01 AM

I'm fascinated by the darker side of man. We all have one wether we want to or not. I'm always amazed what humans are capable of doing to each other and what we can be pushed to do.

I have tried to write lighter happier things, but people seem to like my darker fare better.

Thanks for all the great comments.


Rick Hansberry (Moderator) ~ 11/1/2007 6:48 PM

Pia, Your darker fare are certainly fine by me. I really enjoyed this script and I agree with Chris - this would make a great short film.

Kirk White (Level 5) ~ 11/26/2007 7:00 PM

I wish I could make all your scripts, Pia! We should write something together!

Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 11/28/2007 3:47 PM

What a compliment Kirk!

If we wrote something it would probably scare people, haha.


Charles Thompson (Level 0) ~ 2/5/2011 4:05 PM

Fantastic! I absolutely loved it! Great pacing and nice visuals.

Steve Lewis (Level 3) ~ 2/6/2011 12:59 AM

The logline and the script didn't quite gel for me I'm afraid, and I figured out quite quickly that it was likely to be a Reunion of some kind. There didn't seem to be any particular incident that turned him from bitter-and-twisted into a potentially suicidal murderer, other than the letter in the mail...I would have thought something stronger was needed to make a man a killer.

I did like the level of detail though, and do appreciate that a screenplay with only one character isn't always easy.

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