FEEDBACK: The Never-Wonder Wood

edited October 2012 in The Toolbox
Here's where I swallow my pride and ask for feedback on my own script.  It's a little more "sophisticated" than the other things I've been working on, a bit of "historical fiction" I guess it would be called.  It's a 15-page story tentatively called "The Never-Wonder Wood", inspired by a real-life meeting of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan (or rather, the real people they were named after) as adults, with the real Christopher Robin thrown in for good measure.  Lots of talking heads in period dress.


  • I liked it.  A little depressing, but certainly sounded true to life - and period British!
  • edited October 2012
    Thanks.  It seems that behind every delightful classic children's story there's a personal tragedy lurking.  Just be glad I didn't delve further into the accidental(?) drowning of Peter's brother and his boyfriend. (That'll be its own story.)

    My main concern is the dialog... not as much the qualities of it, as the quantity of it. What do you think?
  • It's in the works. I downloaded the script last week, but I'm caught up in some deadlines.
  • That's lovely. 

    Will you incorporate the notes from the end into some sort of epilogue? 
  • edited October 2012
    I was figuring the end notes (as text) would be the last page of the story.  It could be embellished by portraits of Alice, Peter, and Christopher as adults.  I'd thought of also using the classic illustrations of the characters by John Tenniel (Alice), Arthur Rackham (Pan), and E.H. Shepard (Pooh), as contrasts, but Shepard's work is still under copyright... which is part of why my "cover" idea was to sample just bits from each of them (Cheshire grin, fairy dust, hunny pot) for a montage.
  • Hey look who's here... Me! :) 

    Anyway, read the story. It's really good. A little long though. If I could offer some feedback, I'd maybe dig out some of the middle stuff - where it's Alice and Peter talking about their lives. It gets a little maudlin (which is fine), but worse it loses any story momentum. My advice would be to trim out a lot of the stuff from pages 6-8. Keep the story on the sort of fallout, and effects, but leave out the things about the brothers; the stuff about Carroll disappearing (and the photos, which seems to be leading the story down a shadowy path - in my mind). Then jumping to asking Peter if he served in the war, and bringing in Christopher. 

    Also, it seemed a little strange to me, to ask a 12 year old to sit on your lap... Granted that could be a period thing. And Christopher, for the most part, sounded a little younger (which all-told makes the story run smoother if he's younger. Which I understand, is changing the reality of how old he would have been, but for dramatic effect and all.). This would especially be cute, if he's talking about how much older he is than the C. Robin in the books, if he's actually NOT that much older. 

    Otherwise, I agree, that the period and tone seems pretty spot-on. I like the inclusion of visual reference in the script. (It's been a while since I've looked at a comic script, so not used to that.) 

    And finally, I'd just say, that maybe getting rid of the "editor's note" in the story and having that be part of the epilogue would keep the story all in the "present" instead of then making it seem like a play or something. 
  • Good to see you here.  And good notes.  I'm a bit conflicted over how much information to try to squeeze in.  I think you could make a full-length feature film about these people's lives and still leave good stuff on the cutting room floor.  I'll see if I can excise more, for brevity.

    I put the photo ref in the script just because it was a easy way to keep it handy, rather than trying to find these photos again later or expect the artist to.

  • Agh, I thought I posted this a couple of days ago, but it was sitting here as a draft...

    Okay. I like the story--particularly the end--but I think it's too long and the dialogue is a bit too on-the-nose. The characters meet, they tell each other everything about their respective situations, they bond. 

    I think this would be a lot stronger if you leave more of the story unsaid. The references to the texts can be really oblique--readers who know them will get it; readers who don't won't. Just ow open would these people really be with each other at first meeting? I feel like they should be a bit more closed up... or, if they instantly have an understanding, that they can communicate a lot more easily without having to spell the situation out. 

    'Peter Pan Killed by Train' is, to me, the key thread of the story, but it's obfuscated here--it goes from dialogue to an editor's note caption to a footnote. In your shoes I would drop the caption (there aren't any others) and just let it play. 

  • I enjoyed reading it, Jason.  I disagree that much at all from pages 6-8 should be cut... maybe a few more sharper lines could punch it up, if that's a concern.  It felt right, period-wise.  

    I do think Peter and Alice may have, due to their shared unusual status, been this open with each other and the combination of formal, reserved British-ness and familiarity from recognized experience rings emotionally true.
    Milne(the father) might have been more developed (we get the better hints of his personality through the anti-war sentiment his son parrots), but it's not about him, but his son sharing something the father can't understand with Peter and Alice.
  • edited January 2013
    Aw, come on people... you're supposed to all give me the same advice, so I know without question what to do! :-S
    I am going to take another look and see if there's trimming that I can do.  Whether I end up illustrating it myself (I would not be my first choice) or hiring someone else to, shorter has its virtues.
  • If I always followed that rule, I wouldn't produce anything. :-?
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