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Here's an outro narrative I wrote for our movie we're working on and I was wondering whether someone could provide a critique. Anything what would help improve it before we pass it to the recording stage. Thanks in advance!

Everything that we think about, everything that we do every day, all the people we meet, all the places we go to, everything that happens to us, everything we feel, all of that is predicated on the idea that we can choose things and that the future isn't written yet.

We want to believe in free will, because otherwise everything we do would have no meaning, although according to the fundamental law of the universe, there doesn’t appear to be any reason why free will should really exist. We’d need to think higher than science, would need to get spiritual, introduce a higher power into our equation. God, for example.

Whether God exists or not, I don’t know, but I believe there is some force that runs through the universe. Some call it God, others call it fate, destiny. I don’t really feel like giving it a name. I’m not even sure what happened this morning, but as crazy as it sounds, I think I’ve seen what is supposed to happen.

Somehow I’ve seen the progress of my story and I don’t really like where it ends. So what are my options here? Does destiny want me to lose, or does God want me to win? Or is it neither, just me and my choices? What do I choose? Having the luxury of choice, I’d want life, freedom, time. A lot of time. Time to live. Time to think. Time to be free. Even if it means to be alone forever. But there’s one thing I know for sure - that now we’re both awake and now we’re both alone.

More info as requested in comments:

  • spoken by a 20-year-old person after he awakes from a dream where he dies
  • should be sad at first, but end with some hope to it
  • he also leaves her girlfriend, as he's afraid there's not much time to live and he wants to spend it with things he wants to do = he wants to be free = use all his remaining time for his own good = not share it with someone else
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our critique guidelines request that you provide specific criteria for what your ending is trying to achieve to help us help you better. –  justkt Mar 30 '11 at 12:37
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Who is speaking? No need for a big description, but age and natural parlance (skateboarder? cowboy? The Terminator?) would be good. –  gmoore Mar 30 '11 at 13:57
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the first paragraph, make the list stick to only one repetition, either "everything" or "all". The conflict really detracts from the message; the repetition is important style device but mixing the two words or phrases negates the benefit.

Your second paragraph has its sentences run too long. It would benefit from being chopped up, giving the paragraph more of a punch (if that's your goal).

Your third paragraph, the line about "Some call it God, others call it fate, destiny", could be rewritten. Since you reference destiny later -- and keeping with the repetition theme -- an alternative is "Some call it God, some call it destiny."

The last paragraph doesn't sound hopeful to me. A reorganization might solve that, but a whole rewrite might be better.

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It doesn't sound hopeful to me. Also, is there any reason why this has to be so universal and not more personal? It comes across as kind of preachy. Introspective might be both more powerful and moving.

The first sentence could benefit by the rule of threes. List three things, not six.

I find this statement confusing: "although according to the fundamental law of the universe, there doesn’t appear to be any reason why free will should really exist."

What's the fundamental law of the universe?

I'd delete this part of the sentence entirely, it accomplishes nothing: "Whether God exists or not, I don’t know, but"

Finally, punch up the last sentence. If it needs to be hopeful, maybe make it a resolution, not just a realization.

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I like it a lot, reminds me a little bit of what "Enter the Void" would be like if it was narrated. I also like the sadder aspects of it; I can imagine it'd be a really profound and impactful way to finish your story. However, it could possibly do with some polish on a few of the syntax and lexical choices.

One's obvious: in "We’d need to think higher than science, would need to get spiritual" you need to either put "we would need to get spirtual" or change the sentence, it's fragmented.

A lot of the issues I find with it are personal however, but if I were writing it I wouldn't choose the phrase "progress of my story" to describe the course of a life, although it's fine — to me it just sounds a bit shallow (as if he has a usual disaffection to it, not reverential enough — especially considering the regrets he has).

I think what you're trying to put across is the narrator's thought of "Is this really all there is? I don't think so, I think there's something more... (this is where you want to convey the optimism)". And I think it's pretty cool, I'd probably enjoy to see it, but I think, in places, the way you bring across these ideas could be slightly improved. (But as the comment somewhere above states, we don't have much indication about your narrative voice i.e. background, mannerisms etc., so once again it's a personal, slightly blind viewpoint I'm giving here... some of my gripes may be totally misjudged.)

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*unusual dissaffection –  Edward Rose May 21 '11 at 17:46
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