Welcome to Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group and the first script extract on this blog. This 1454-word extract is by writer and artist Lesley Fletcher.
Please do comment in the section below telling us what you liked about this extract and, what if anything, the author could do to improve upon it. Thank you – it’s very much appreciated! I do have some feedback but I’ve just included it (below the story) as links to the scans of my handwritten-notes so I can let others comment here without being influenced by me. 🙂
Lesley says… the play is about a woman who crosses a strong moral line in order to suit her own (daughter`s) needs. Should this portion posted come at the beginning of the play and then each act work toward what happened to cause this scene or would it be better to lead to the end from the beginning which would show the mother`s cards gradually?
The Unwritten Rule © Lesley Fletcher, November 2012
Synopsis: A mother, experiencing behaviour difficulties with her teenage daughter comes up with a plan to save her her daughter, hence her own sanity, at the cost of another life. The story demonstrates at the same time, the similarities between generations within each family providing humour and realism against a dark backdrop of dysfunction, deceit and moral deviance.
- TARA – 14 year old, jean clad, attitude, witty, together, intelligent
- JULIA – Tara’s mother, 38 year old, divorced, mother of 3, father has the 2 boys – yoga master, Zen, fit, in control (Played by the same actor that plays Tara)
- TINA – 14 year old friend and neighbour of Tara – jean clad, typical, a bit messy, not too much attitude, quieter than most of her friends at school
- DEBBIE – Tina’s mother, widowed, 42 year old alcoholic, frail, ineffective, disheveled (Played by the same actor that plays Tina)
- ANDREA – Julia’s younger sister
The scene opens with Tara bounding into her home after school. Tara’s mother is in a lotus position facing the lit fireplace with her eyes shut, deep in concentration. Waterfall music plays throughout the speaker system within the home. Tara enters with a bang and calls out for her mother without bothering to notice her mother in the living room to her right as she races straight ahead to the kitchen.
Tara: Hey Ma! what’re ya doin’? calling out in a loud voice
When there is no answer she pops her head into the living room. Her mother does not respond. Tara performs an eye roll and a headshake
In a leading voice …
Tara: Well okay, well since you’re not answering I guess I’ll just have to tell you…
Tara glances again to see an unmoved figure.
She sighs and throws her arms up, letting them fall to her thighs with a slap.
Tara: You know Ma – stats show that a child who is virtually ignored by her mother seeks love elsewhere – mostly in dark and dirty alleys with drug addicts and pedophiles…
Tara pours and drinks a glass of juice leaving fridge door open, empty glass and juice container on the counter while she opens and closes the same cupboards 2-3 times. Each time slamming louder than the last.
Tara: There’s NOTHIN’ to eat! Gawd! There’s only RABBIT food – do you even GO grocery shopping??
Tara: that was a question ….
Tara: Ya know – I’d like to know one other kid who comes home to a freakin’ zulu-zombie-zen-head who listens to water falls all freakin’ day! – Tina’s Mom – you know Tina? Across the street- my best friend? Well she’s got it made. HER Mom listens to hip-hop – they dance together EVERYDAY – they IN-TER-ACT and I gotta come home to this crap –
Voice trails off at the end as she stuffs strawberries in her mouth. Tara’s cell phone rings. Tara pulls her i-phone out of her back pocket, taking a quick glance at the screen before answering with her mouth still full.
Tara: Talk to me Tina (mumbling due to strawberries)
Tara: No she can’t come over, she’s MEE-DE-TA-TING.
Tara: WHAT? OhMyGawd OhMyGawd – I’m comin, I’m comin – stay on the phone
Tara runs down the hallway leaving the fridge and cupboards open, glances with hesitation at her still, still mother and runs out the door and across the street where Tina’s mother is being taken away in a body bag.
Tara: (with slight hysteria) What happened? Did it happen while you guys were dancing?
Tina: I never told anyone. I never told anyone…
Tara: Told anyone what? Tell me. Tell me!
Tara put her arm around Tina’s shoulder and together they moved away from the ambulance to sit, huddled closely on the front step of Tina’s house. They watch it pull away.
Tina: I’m sorry I didn’t tell you …
Tina is crying
Tina: I kinda lied … My Mom was drunk everyday when I got home. She would be dancing like an idiot. She forced me to dance with her – drinkin’ from her bottle of peace – that what she called it. Her bottle of peace… her peace pills and her bottle of peace to wash ‘em down… I’m sorry I never told you …
Tina is crying to the point of sobbing now. Tara stares ahead and hugged her friend tighter, rubbing her back. Tara has a glazed look in her eyes.
Tara: It’s okay…
Pause, quiet voices follow
Tina: Ever since my Dad died she died too. I tried … (more tears)
Tara: (wisely) Believe me there is nothin’ you could’ve done …
Tina: I could have told someone – at least
Tara: (wisely) What could anyone do? My mom has been dead for years – ever since my Dad left with the boys. I should have gone with him.
Tina:(incredulous) Tahhhrah! I can’t believe you just said that! Your mother is alive! Mine’s dead!
Tara: I’m sorry , I’m sorry – I’m really sorry. That was a stupid thing to say. I just wanted you to know that I know how you feel. I can’t imagine how you feel. I’m sorry. (Tara is crying now as well)
(whining) (hysteria is creeping back into her voice)
Tina: What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna live? I don’t even know where my brother is! He could be dead too!
Tara: What about your grandparents?
Tina: I can’t stay with any of my Dad’s side of the family. Ever since the accident they are so mean to us.
Tara: Why? It was an accident. They should still love you.
Tina: Well they don’t! They blame my mother!
Tara: How ‘bout your uncle Theo? I know you hate your cousins but…
Tina: Tara. He’s a perv! I already told you that! OH MY GAWD. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? The social worker’s gonna come on Friday! What’ll they do to me?
Pause – both girls have their elbows on their knees and hands holding their chins.
Tara: (soothing) You can live with us. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. Don’t worry. You can live with us. My Mom’ll talk to the social worker. Don’t worry.
Tina is calming down quickly
Tina: ? Will your Mom say okay?
Tara: Yeah she will and she’ll talk to the social people. She’ll figure it out. She likes you. Now, don’t worry- please, please. I’m your best friend. I’ll take care of you.
Tara: My mother smokes pot ya know. She’s not perfect as you think…She’s a frikken space cadet. She doesn’t think I know.
Tina: (smiling) but what does she eat to cool the munchies?
Tara: (smiling) ha! A bag of carrots – we go through a LOT of carrots
They both giggle.
Tina: Remember when we smoked?
Tina: Then we bought that huge cookie-dough ice cream but had no spoons?
Tina: We ate it with our fingers…. Those were the good ole days…
Tina and Tara face each other holding hands and looking at each others eyes.
Tina: I can cook you know. I do it every day anyway.
Tara: I can grocery shop, so you can cook. We can shop together – with a list.
They smile slightly.
Tina: I’ll clean our room. I can stay in your room right? I don’t want to be alone. (whistfully)
Tara nods and smiles wide reassuringly.
Tara: I’ll do our laundry.
Tina: I’m never getting married.
Tara: Me either – look what happens…
Tina: Let’s promise right now to always be together.
They pinkie swear.
Tara catches Tina’s eye with a bit of a wink.
The girls smile wiping their tears at the same time.
It is morning, ambient music is piped through the house. Julia is alone in her modern kitchen, tidying up, washing dishes, dressed for the day when the home phone rings. Julia takes time to dry her hands and fold the towel before answering. It is Julia’s mother – Julia engages in a conversation. We don’t hear the caller.
Julia: Hi Ma. What’s up?
Julia: Okay, okay sorry…. How are you Mom?
Julia: No. Tara’s at school. Why?
Julia: I can’t believe Andrea told you. I asked her not to. Tara WAS suspended. Everything is fine now.
She replies in a clipped tone.
Julia: This is why… I just told you everything is fine. I’m handling it. Let’s leave it at that.
Julia: You took the oregano I left for Andrea? Why would you do that?
Julia: It IS oregano! I grew it in my garden!
Julia: Big Daddies!!!!!!
Julia is cracking up barely containing herself. Long pause as she listens.
Julia: Yeah – (with a laughing sigh)
Julia: Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.
Still laughing lightly.
Julia: Of course I won’t tell her! It’s NOT Andrea you’re talking to.(laughingly)
Julia’s i-phone rings. She glances at the screen.
Julia: Listen Ma I gotta go. Andrea’s calling my cell.
Julia: Love you too Mom. Bye.
Julia answers her cell phone.
Thank you, Lesley.
If you’d like to see my notes, click on the links below but please give your comments to Lesley here first. That way you won’t be influenced by my feedback, and we can see if we think alike. Thank you.
Lesley Fletcher is a Montreal artist and a writer, dividing her time between the two crafts while juggling the complexities involved with marketing and promotion for both her books and multiple art pieces.
As the owner of her own independent publishing company, Inspiration Import, she is working to develop a strategy to embrace outside titles in the future.
Lesley currently has four books published under Inspiration Import. Her latest release, 5 PILLARS OF THE GYPSY, a mix of art and poetry/prose has been very well received and continues to be a source of inspiration to both herself and her readers.
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words). Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 3,000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online on the Red Pen Critique posts, or posted for others to critique (up to 5,000 words) on the new Morgen’s Short Story Writing Group) then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry. My online writing blog / Facebook groups are:
- Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group (http://novelwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/508696639153189)
- Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group (http://poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/388850977875934)
- Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group (https://scriptwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/319941328108017)
- Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group (http://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/544072635605445)
We look forward to your comments!