I received my first feedback on the script Come Ups and it seems to be a mixed bag at best. The reader is a close friend and very experienced writer in his own right. The feeling I got from his comments was that he was being polite, critical without being harsh. Not a particularly good sign.
He did say the genre is not his favorite. He doesn’t care stories where everyone dies in violent fashion. Oops! That’s okay, as long as the story still flows and I’ve hit all the right dramatic points. Unfortunately, it seems I may have missed some of those as well.
He was a little conflicted over who was the protagonist. He thought it was Shep. I did too until fairly recently. I’ve tried to make changes that pointed up Reydel as the protagonist, but I may not have made that clear enough. There is a problem though in that Reydel is not the hero. Most of the time we equate protagonist and hero, but there not always the same character. This is one of the things that will make this script different from most Hollywood stories, but it may also be the thing that makes the script difficult to sell.
More importantly, and to my disappointment, my reader did not find the characters likable. Not even Shep. He did find it a great tragedy in that everyone makes bad decisions and gets in over their heads, but the characters didn’t resonate with him well enough that he cared about their comeuppance. He seemed to feel more like good riddance. This is a big issue for me, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ll need to think about this.
He really didn’t like the fact that Reydel kills Ramon after asking for the man’s help. It made Reydel very cold and very unlikable. The scene is there in part to add some action to the first half of the second act. Without it, the story goes a long ways before the action ramps up again. But it’s just one man’s opinion, one I respect greatly, but maybe other readers will have a different take.