Friday, 13 September 2013

Screenplay excerpt from FIDELIS IN AETERNUM

After basing READING THE DEAD on an original screenplay, I find the easiest method of organizing a lengthy body of work is to complete my first draft in a similarly scripted format. Both the second book, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM, and my newest book, currently in development, began as a hybrid of sorts. I thumb my nose at the rules of proper screenplay writing to incorporate additional thoughts and actions to be developed into the written version of my second draft. Like any revision, not everything I write in the script makes it to the final work. Changes are inevitable as new and (hopefully) better ideas occur to me during rewrites.

Presently, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM is still in the editing stages. It's on target for release later this year, or early next. For fun, I thought I'd offer up something a little different. Instead of providing a preview of a scene from the upcoming story itself, I thought I'd provide a glimpse of the work in its early stages, as a scene from the original screenplay. It's nothing too dramatic (sorry, but I'm trying to keep spoilers at a minimum), but it does give a little taste of Sarah and Anna hard at work on their latest mystery. I hope you enjoy it.

INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
SARAH places a laptop computer on her coffee table and sits down at the sofa to use it.

ANNA wanders into the room.

ANNA
Updating your Twitter?

SARAH
(while opening her web browser)
The warden said Sands received that amulet from a Reverend Corrivale. It's probably an alias, but just in case, I'm checking the database for any records on the name.

SARAH types the name CORRIVALE into the LAPD offenders database. ANNA sits down next to her to watch.

SARAH (CONT'D)
How are things going with Chelsea?

ANNA
Surprisingly dull. I think I might have caught her on an off day. She talked on the phone for a couple of hours, made some tea, watched some TV, and went to bed alone. Talk about a letdown.

The search comes back with No matches found.

SARAH
Hmm. Maybe nationwide?

She opens a connection to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) and tries her search again.

SARAH (CONT'D)
What did you think? That Chelsea's life was like her movies?

ANNA
Not necessarily. I just expected it to be more interesting than... well...

SARAH
Mine?

ANNA
You have to admit: you and Ryan haven't exactly been hitting your smooch quota lately. How can a ghost be expected to live vicariously around here?

SARAH
Are you sure that's it? See, I think you're just using me as an excuse to see another naked man. I saw how you were at the crime scene.

ANNA
First: eww! Second: I can see naked men any time I want. I hardly need to wait for you. If I wanted to, I could even visit your boyfriend in the shower and catch an eyeful.

SARAH
You wouldn't dare.

ANNA looks up with a knowing smile.

SARAH (CONT'D)
You already did, didn't you?

ANNA
I was just looking out for you, that's all. Making sure that everything is where it's supposed to be.

SARAH
(fumes)
You need to stop talking right now.

ANNA
Okay. Just one more word. Birthmark. Or is that two words?

SARAH
I am so warning you...

SFX: Beep from the computer.
The message No matches found displays again.


SARAH (CONT'D)
That was a colossal waste of time.
(BEAT)
And he's not my boyfriend. He's just a friend friend.

ANNA
I'm a friend friend. Does that mean you're having dirty thoughts about me too? Here, let me try something.

ANNA turns the laptop screen to face her and starts clicking and typing.

SARAH
What are you doing?

ANNA
I'm running a web search on this Corrivale guy.

SARAH

Oh. How do you know how to do that?

ANNA
What do you think? That I'm just watching TV all day while you're at work? To my online homies, I'm DEDGURL6357.
(BEAT)
There. That should do it.

SARAH
You found him?

ANNA
No. But the search did pick up something about his name. See?

ANNA turns the laptop so SARAH can read it again.

SARAH
You spelled his name wrong. It's Corrivale, with an E, not corrival. That means... hum...

SARAH reads the first entry on the search results. It is from a dictionary website, returning the literal meaning of the word: cor·ri·val - n. A rival or opponent. syn. competitor, challenger.

SARAH (CONT'D)
(muses)
Challenger.

ANNA
(reaches for the laptop)
My bad. Let me try again.

SARAH
Wait! It can't be...

SARAH types something into the search engine. One word: SEBASTIEN. After considering, she adds a second word: MEANING.
The first link on the list of results is a page labelled Meaning of the name Sebastien.


SARAH clicks on the link. It opens to a page with suggested baby names. The page contains the following information at the top: Sebastien - as a boy's name is a variant of Sebastian (Greek), and the meaning of Sebastien is "revered".


SARAH (CONT'D)
Revered... Reverend. Reverend Corrivale could be an alias for Sebastien Challenger.

ANNA
Friend of yours?

SARAH
From the Raithe investigation. Sebastien Challenger was the author of some obscure book that I found buried in Charlie Dobson's locker. I never really thought about it until now. What was it called again? Soul... something.

ANNA
That's pretty random. What makes you think that this same guy is in contact with the Fancy Dress Killer?

SARAH
The sigil on the amulet. We never did figure out how Raithe learned how to create them. We just assumed that one of the ghosts taught him. With everything that happened, I never really thought to follow up on it.

ANNA
You think this Challenger guy wrote a supernatural how-to book?

SARAH
I wouldn't mind reading it for myself to find out. Luckily, I know right where I can get my hands on a copy.



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