View Full Version : Writing Challenge 8: Ends on 6/27

Steven Forbes
06-06-2015, 06:34 AM
It’s time for another writing contest!

This time, though I’ve decided to do this a little differently. There are going to be five of them.

These will all be no longer than five pages. Check the individual threads for what the particulars of those challenges will be.

Here’s the twist: if I can get five scripts in all five challenges, then I’ll write a script per challenge myself.

Why are you still here? Get to the others!

Challenge 5: Argument

A hose must be an object (take that as you will)
The argument must be over food (very broad subject)
The word “famine” cannot be used; the word “udder” must be uttered
There cannot be any physical violence between those involved in the argument

06-08-2015, 01:54 PM
Thought I'd practice writing some dialogue that wasn't so on the nose.


1. We are outside a mid-sized diner looking through the window at a profile view of MAN and WOMAN sitting in a booth opposite from each other. We probably aren't close enough to see their faces, but body language wise, the man looks kind of pissed off, and the woman looks embarrassed. I imagine it looking something like the diner from Pulp Fiction, and it's fairly busy inside. It's about afternoon outside. We also see that's it's in a small commercial district with single story stores flanking the diner. One of them is a clinic that reads “Healthy Futures for Women”.

MAN: Where the fuck is the waiter? She said she'd be back soon.
WOMAN: Look around, it's busy she said she'd get to us soon.
MAN: I just think when you say you going to do something you should actually fucking do it.

2. Switch to inside the diner from any angle. Their expressions remain fairly similar to the last panel.

WOMAN: Maybe we shouldn't have picked someplace with less people. They always get busy on Saturdays.
MAN: Well, maybe you should have mentioned something before we got a seat.
WOMAN: I just figured we were already close by.

3. The woman puts on a weak, fake smile.

WOMAN: Do you remember the first time we came here? Senior prom?
MAN: Ya, I remember spending more money than I probably should have. The tux and limo cost a fortune.

4. A female WAITER is now next to their booth. She is holding a pen and pad to take orders. She is smiling politely.

MAN: God, finally!
WAITER: Sorry, I had to get another table their order. We're a little short staffed today. One of our servers got sick.
WAITER: Are we ready to order?
M: Yes, I'd like--

5. WOMAN timidly looks at WAITER. MAN looks overly annoyed.

WOMAN: --Actually, I'm going to need another moment. I thought I wanted the halibut, but now I'm not sure.
MAN: Seriously? You had the last 15 minutes to decide.
WOMAN: It's okay...You can go ahead and order first.

6. MAN is pointing at his menu, but looking at at WAITER. WOMAN is looking down at her menu. She still looks awkward and embarrassed.

MAN: Fine. Can I get the Chicken Fried Steak with French Fries and a Ceaser Salad?
MAN: And don't forget to bring ketchup. You guys always forget.
WAITER: Alright. And do you still need a moment ma'am?
WOMAN: Yes, just give me a moment. Can you come back?
WAITER: Of course.


1. MAN is looking out the window with the back of his head towards the reader. His hand is clenched in a fist against the top of the table. WOMAN is looking down at her menu nervously.


2. MAN looks angrily at WOMAN.

MAN: Why can't you ever just make up your mind?
MAN: I take a day off work. We drive all the way down here.
MAN: What a fucking waste of time.

3. WOMAN looks up at man wearing a sad expression.


4. WOMAN has pulled up her menu so it is covering her face.

WOMAN: I just want to take sometime to think before--
MAN(OP): Ya, ya. I've heard it before.

5. A mother, father, and their two kids are walking into the diner. The man is holding the door open for his wife. His wife is holding a small boy who is about two-years-old. Their other son, about seven-years-old is running ahead of his mother, rather enthusiastically. The seven-year-old's clothes are slightly wet.

FATHER: Chris, don't run.
WIFE: I think he's just hungry.


1. The WAITER is standing in front of the family that just walked in. They are in the waiting area at the front of the diner. The father has grabbed his older son by the arm to stop him from running.

WIFE: Yes. And you wouldn't happen to have a small towel or anything would you?
WIFE: Our son, Tanner, decided to run through the hose while we were leaving the house.

2. The waiter is walking the family towards the booth next to MAN and WOMAN. TANNER now looks grumpy and upset.

WAITER: Are we going to need two kids menus?
WIFE: Yes.
TANNER(shout): No! I don't want the kid's menu.

3. The family is beginning to sit down at the booth. The waiter is grabbing a high chair for the younger son. TANNER still looks grumpy, and WIFE is looking crossly at him.

WIFE: Tanner, don't yell.
WIFE: And you don't need the grown-up menu, you never finish all your food.
FATHER: Tanner, listen to your mom and we'll get you a milkshake alright?

4. MAN now has his elbow against the back of his seat and is sneering over at the family. WOMAN looks saddened by MAN's reaction.

MAN: Oh, just fucking fantastic.

5. The family is now fully seated, except for the younger son. The waiter is helping him into the high chair. FATHER is chuckling and WIFE looks a little embarrassed.

WAITER: Okay, what kind of shake do you want?
FATHER: Let's get Oreo.
FATHER: On second thought, let's get two. I may want an udder one for myself.


1. The waiter is struggling to get the younger son into the high chair, and the younger son starts wailing.


2. MAN looks very angry and has both of his fists clenched.

MAN: Fucking kids.

3. WOMAN puts her hand on his arm and looks like she is trying to calm him down.

WOMAN: It looks like he may have just bumped his foot, he'll stop in a moment.


4. MAN jerks his hand away from WOMAN and is beginning to stand up. WOMAN is finely starting to sit up a bit straighter and look a bit angry herself.

MAN: No! I'm fucking done. I've lost my appetite. Let's go.
WOMAN: No. I'm still hungry. I'm staying.
MAN: Well, I'm not.

5. WOMAN is looking more confident and indignant.

WOMAN: Fine. Go.
MAN(OP): Well, how are you planning on getting home?
WOMAN: I think I can make it on my own. I'll find a way.

6. MAN has stood up all the way, and is sneering down at woman.



1. From outside the diner. MAN is walking out of the diner angrily, running one hand hand through his hair and pushing open the front door with the other.

MAN(whisper): Fine. Whatever. I don't care. She made up her own mind.
MAN(whisper): It's not my problem.

2. The waiter, looking a little flustered, has walked back up to WOMAN. WOMAN is smiling

WAITER: Sorry about that. Are we ready?
WOMAN: Oh don't worry about it.
WOMAN: And yes, I'm ready. I think I'll have your single prime rib. It's been a while since I last had it.
WAITER: Alright. You sure?

3. From outside close up on the window where WOMAN is sitting. WOMAN looks very relaxed with a smile on her face. She has her hand softly against her belly.

WOMAN: Yes, I'm sure.

06-10-2015, 10:48 PM
I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the norms here: would you like crits now or after the deadline?

06-11-2015, 01:32 AM
I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the norms here: would you like crits now or after the deadline?

Any crits are welcome. It's a first draft after all...If there's nothing wrong, then you missed something.

06-11-2015, 05:13 AM
Character descriptions: age can change this story significantly. The older of this man is, the poorer this behaviour reflects on him; an older woman and a younger woman will approach this issue with fundamentally different practical calculus.

Plot & Dialogue: this was very clear and the events followed in a logical sequence, so the ending felt earned.

That said, I would have liked to have seen some positive interactions between the couple to suggest that the woman was staying for reasons other than the child and her nostalgic perception of their relationship. Something to heighten her internal emotional conflict: we can infer what her practical calculation is, but her emotional calculation is more interesting.

The dialogue was still a little bit on the nose: it did help to clarify the ending, but there were a few points where it felt slightly unnatural or else an overly direct expression of the characters feelings. I haven't heard a mother name her child to a waitress or any kind stranger. Having the man expresses irritation would have been sufficient, though showing that just through his body language probably would've been more effective. If he comes out and says he hates kids, even if that's natural, it just reads as too direct: we are not getting enough of his specific personality in that line.

Little things: points for dad humour. Was the halibut (mercury) and rib (iron) intentional?

06-11-2015, 09:49 AM
Good points. I should definitely take out the line where the guy directly says he hates kids.

I imagine them to be fairly young, like early 20s. It makes more sense for the woman to be staying in the relationship when the guy is clearly a douche. Especially if they have been together since high school she really hasn't had a chance to be on her own. Only reason it's not in the script is because it would be in the character descriptions.

Also, I think I would move the reveal of the clinic to the final panel. And yes the food choice is intentional. The Mercury, iron thing and the word choice on single.

06-13-2015, 01:06 AM
Should I be writing these out in Word and sending them to TPG@comixtribe.com or posting them here?

Steven Forbes
06-18-2015, 12:25 AM
If you want them to be posted here, then post them here.

If you want your script to go up on TPG, then you have to follow the rules of TPG.