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by phleggers 

Posted: 05 August 2009
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Summary: A tongue-in-cheek twisty turny thriller with murder, revenge, lies and the return of an old friend from the past...

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Bazz at 15:05 on 08 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Matt, read this a couple of days ago and have been giving it a little thought. I like the plot, there's a good pace, and throws a twist just when you've got a handle on things (of course, ironically, the more something starts to twist, the more you expect it to twist, I sort of expected Mark to come out on top at the end!). But the characters are good, and you keep turning things around and just the right point.

I do think, however, that the dialogue lets you down a bit, it's a bit flat, a bit rigid. I'd like it to be more naturalistic, there's a good few melodramatic turns of phrase/speeches that take you out of the moment. There's a good element of black comedy here, with the twists piling up, so I don't mean that the dialogue should be more "realistic" or anything, just a bit tighter.

Also, at the end, you have the referance to the Grufallo, which feels ike it's meant to be important, but if you've got someone who hasn't read it (like myself!) then it can seem a bit odd or out of place.

Anyway, thought it was a good read, hope to read more from you!

phleggers at 23:32 on 08 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Bazz. Thanks for your very considered reply. You've clearly taken a lot of time to look at the piece and you've highlighted some useful points for me. I'm extremely grateful and I will offer the same for your work.

It's a better review than I expected! I'll be honest and tell you the Gruffalo thing never came into my plans ... I was struggling to come up with an ending until about a week ago when I was reading my children their bedtime story and 'hey presto' the Gruffalo ending occurred to me. I see your point in that most people wouldn't get it - I forget that not everybody has 3 year old kids. I did give Ursula a line about 10 lines from her 'polising off' where she describes the essence of the story - the protagonst invents the Gruffalo as a monster to scare off it's predators, only for the thing to become a real life monster. I was hoping this line would be enough. I'll have a think about it and see it I can sort it out.

Your comments about the dialogue being flat and rigid in places - again, very helpful and i'm grateful for your honesty. Could I ask you one thing ... could you just give me a couple of examples of what you consider to be flat and rigid. As I say i'm new to this medium of writing and not used to sustaining dialogue for this length of time. An example of where I need to be more naturalistic would benefit me enormously.

Thanks again and I promise you i'll read your work!

Bazz at 15:32 on 09 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Matt, tried to find an exchange the sums up what i meant, perhaps the following :

DAN: Your crimes relied upon the chaos and confusion whipped up by sudden illness. You played with the feelings and confused emotions of people, decent people, just so you could furnish yourself with a Ferrari. You’re a disgrace. Scum. An example of all that is wrong with humanity.

MARK: Well, try taking me to your precious justice. Where’s your evidence? Where’s your witnesses? Ursula? What can she prove? Alesha? A dizzy medical student’s word against my clinical judgment? A bugged telephone? Entrapment? Assault? I’ll have you up in court. You’ve got nothing, Dan. Absolutely nothing.

Just a small example of what I mean. I think it's far too wordy, people saying far more than you'd expect them to or need them to. Dan's outrage can be expressed much more economically, and Mark's line about "precious justice" just sounded artificial. Also in the beginning of this exchange Dan talks to Ursula about her "getting her vengenace" , I understand you're setting things up for later with this line, but it just doesn't sound like something someone would naturally say. Vengenace is a rather hokey, overly dramatic word. Do you see what I mean?

I suppose I'm talking about overly dramatic, somewhat artificial seeming exchanges. If the dialogue doesn't ring true, then you don't really believe it, do you?

Anyway, I hope that's of some help!

phleggers at 23:34 on 09 August 2009  Report this post
That's really helpful. Thanks. I see exactly what you mean.

vanessa rigg at 20:44 on 13 August 2009  Report this post


I loved this story! Great twists. Fun to read. You really need to run with this.

A couple of biggies:

I agree with Bazz about the dialogue and suggest you read the script out loud, you'll soon hear what works. It needs to sound realistic: the fine art of contrived realism.

The most fun an audience/listener can have is to work out what's NOT being said.

As some writing coach once said, writing each piece of dialogue, you need to know 1) what the character thinks s/he wants, 2) what s/he really wants 3) what s/he doesn't know s/he needs.

As humans, we get our kicks from connecting the undercurrents. And that's what radio dialogue is all about. And that's the "aha!" pay off the audience gets. If you give it all to them, it's like shouting out the answers when someone's doing the crossword. Most irritating. I would stab you with my ballpoint.

I know the characters are card cut-outs because this is a Three Card Trick and, after the third twist,I know I am going to lose all my money, but I need graciousness - more empathy. He WOULDN'T not recognise his best man - no way?! etc. I need more belief in them as individuals.

Well, I think the story's worth getting right.

Hope some of this helps. Please disregard anything you don't like.



phleggers at 12:56 on 15 August 2009  Report this post
Thanks Vanessa. Very helpful comments. I have just one question with the dialgue issue ... is this a problem that runs through the whole piece or something that crops up now and again? IE what proportion of the script is unrealistic?

Thanks again. Good to know the story works. I just need to buff it up a little!

vanessa rigg at 10:13 on 16 August 2009  Report this post
Hum. Gosh, Matt. Dunno. Don't do reviewing with a calculator. To answer it honestly: a high enough proportion to make me emphasize it in my post. ANY unrealistic dialogue will ruin a play - by catapulting the listener out of your carefully created world.

Hope that helps ...


Jubbly at 17:25 on 18 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Matt,

A great read, simply whizzed by but I agree with Vanessa you need to get it right. Yes though the Gruffalo reference makes perfect sense to those who know it for others it is lost so perhaps you can think of a more general comparison? Wasn't the character in Wall st called Gecko? Might be a bit confusing all round then. I love the twists and I had a feeling at the start we were going to see quite a few, so I wasn't disappointed, though you do have to be careful there aren't too many or the listener might get a bit fed up and feel they are being lead a merry dance. I feel you need to pay more attention to sound effects and general radioness of the play, e.g you have several flashbacks and we need a way of knowing aurally that we have gone back in time, maybe a fade and an echoey sound to the scene, if you see what I mean? All in all it is certainly a very good piece but I agree the dialogue is a bit clunky which makes it slightly unbelievable, so just a few rewrites in order and I think you've got it. All the very best and if you do another version please post it up.


phleggers at 02:16 on 26 August 2009  Report this post
Thanks very much Jubbly. Again, supber advice. I'm leaving it alone for a couple of weeks in order to 'freshen' it up a bit ... hopefully i'll come back to it and be able to find the clunkiness and sort it out.

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