Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Peruke Maker, by Ruby Dominguez


Salem 17th century — a bizarre and deadly detour in history!

The witch hunt hits feverish peak! Fear of the devil is as real as God. Witchcraft is a heinous crime a person could commit and is punishable by death at Gallows Hill for the victims accused of sorcery.

River reflections of Bridget's scantily clad youthful beauty with long, wild, flowing, red hair, is frozen in fear amidst the overture of the Banshee’s foreboding and bloodcurdling wails of imminent death, that of her own.

THE PERUKE MAKER'S vengeful curse hastens chase for the innocent and is carried off by a whirl of ill-omened wind that transgresses all natural laws of time and space.

The Salem Witch Hunt Curse unearthed from necromancy, violates the course of natural events in a modern day world, relentlessly in quest for the avenger of innocent blood.

Sarah, a product of the 21st Century is inextricably caught in a fateful journey that comes full circle. But Michael's abiding love for her triumphs over evil, transcending the grave in a magical and symbolic act of rebirth at the stroke of midnight of the Autumnal Equinox.

The Author, Ruby Dominguez is challenged by the conflicting complexities of the past and future. Undeterred, she strokes with pen the somber and bright hues of her visions.

A screenplay THE PERUKE MAKER was professionally reviewed by Lejen Literary Consultants and has attained a GOOD SCRIPT COVERAGE ANALYSIS.

"Visually compelling, provocative, suspenseful, memorable characters, smooth pace with excellent twists and turns!" — By Lee Levinson

A Curse Trilogy, she also penned screenplays:
• ROMANCING THE CLADDAGH — The Curse of Macha —

She also exhibits a nifty double play of romance and comedy in the screenplay, "IT'S OVER MICHAEL, BUT..."

As I don't have much experience in evaluating screenplays I showed The Peruke Maker: The Salem Witch Hunt Curse to a screenwriting friend of mine who has just a little expertise in the field: he's won a handful of BAFTAs and a couple of Emmys, and although he hasn't yet managed to grab himself an Oscar I'm sure it's only a matter of time. You're very likely to recognise his name if I give it: but he only agreed to comment on this book if I would allow him to do so anonymously. Here's what he had to say:

This is a confused and confusing script. The prologue makes no sense, and what is it there for? I don't think it's a part of the script — it doesn't seem to be spoken by a narrator, and that last paragraph is stunningly bad. The "time period" page makes no sense either. The lists of characters and locations don't work. Does the movie's action began on page 6? It's not made clear. Is the paragraph which begins "legend has it" spoken by narrator? It isn't attributed to any character, but it can't be a stage direction either as it contains backstory. Two pages of this confusion then on page 8 we find the first real dialogue, and it's awful: "I sense it behind me! It hinders my escape!" A lot of the dialogue doesn't make sense: "Thou not let the devil take your soul away from your body!" The writer doesn't seem to know what "thou" actually means.

The problem with scripts like this is that if the dialogue isn't believable then the script has no chance of working when it’s filmed, or played on stage. I flicked through it and it's consistently dull, confusing, and wooden. There's a torture scene in it which reads like particularly badly thought-out porn, and God knows most porn is pretty badly thought out to begin with. I wouldn't have looked any further than the cover were I not reading it as a favour for you, and can only suggest that if this writer is determined to continue writing, she either treats writing as a hobby or finds herself some good, professional tuition. Because this just isn't good enough if she wants to get anywhere at all in the professional field.
I read up to page six before I found my fifteen errors, and I agree with all my friend has written: this is a dreadful book which contains misused words, clichés, misspellings, and errors in formatting, layout, grammar and logic.

What I don’t understand is how the Lejen Literary Consultants could have honestly given Ms Dominguez's screenplay such a glowing reference. A little investigation led me to this thread on Absolute Write: based on the comments I read there, and the yawning gap between the Lejen Literary Consultants’ glowing praise and the reality of this book, I cannot recommend that anyone uses their services. And if you are in any doubt, and are considering paying the Lejen Literary consultants to evaluate your work, here is a direct quote from this book to give you an idea of what they consider good. I can't reproduce the exact formatting so you're denied that particular pleasure, but the text alone should be enough to give you an idea of what this is like.


A naked young and enchanting lass by the name of BRIDGET CANE (SEVENTEEN), is with a married couple in bed, seemingly intoxicated.

They engage and indulge in forbidden lusty sexual desires and positions.

MOANS of pleasure reverberate the room.

Hmmmm... Drops of pleasure between your mounds drive me wild!

(teasingly TIPSY)

Such explicit bliss is hard to forget?

(excitedly to husband)
Thy kiss is much sweeter and every thrust much harder since Bridget! I am encouraged by such performance! I crave for more!


A feast fit for a king! Grasps my throbbing manhood as it gorges towards deep chasms of ecstasy!
I hope that makes it quite clear why I strongly suggest that writers avoid using the services of the Lejen Literary Consultancy, which praised this dreadful book.  


Leslie said...

What's a Peruke?

wealhtheow said...

@Leslie -- it's a type of wig, I think. Also known as a periwig. One of those big fancy ones made of horsehair and glue. (En français, perruque.)

Which strikes me as odd in a colony settled by Puritans ... but my knowledge of the period is sketchy; the juxtaposition possibly isn't as wrong as it sounds.

The screenplay itself, OTOH, is so wrong that after reading the excerpts Jane posted I began frantically ransacking my desk drawer for a spork to stick in my eyes...

Jane Smith said...

I don't usually put up extracts as part of my reviews, as I know only too well how hard it must be for some of the authors concerned to read my opinions here: because despite how difficult I am to please, I really don't want this to become a place where writers are made fun of: that really wouldn't be appropriate.

But on this occasion, I wanted anyone who comes along to be able to see what the Lejen Literary Consultants say is good. Because this just isn't it, and I'd hate for anyoen else to waste their money.

Nicola Morgan said...

Jane, I think my question would be: was this written on planet Earth? I think you have unearthed proof of extra-terrestrial life.

I occupied myself for a couple of minutes in trying to discover whether there were more clichés or more poorly-written "sentences". I gave up - too close to call.

Clare said...

How does Lee Levinson sleep at night?

Jane Smith said...

What's really sad is that the author of this book sent me her second book, which is just the same: and which (I think) received the same glowing endorsement from Lejen as this one did.

I join Clare in wondering how the people behind Lejen have the audacity to charge for these reports because if this book is any indication of the standards they adhere to, then they really should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Sally Zigmond said...

Reading the blurb and the extract was like watching a car-crash. You know you shouldn't and you want to turn away but it's so unbelievably awful that you can't.

But in the end, my emotion is one of sadness. I have no objection to anyone writing for their own enjoyment, if that's what they want to do. But when that person has no inkling of their lack of ability that they pay a shoddy outfit like Lejun for the privilege of being patronised and ripped off and then pay (presumably) to be published (when they shouldn't even think of it) and not only that, they submit it to this blog for a review--well, as I said, it's sad.

Jane, you have done a great service in pointing out the horrors of Lejun. They deserve to be named and shamed.

Jane Smith said...

I thought very carefully before I included the quote from the book: but it's important that people realise what Lejen considers to be good. Because with all due respect to the author concerned, she has a way to go before she's good.

And you're right, Sally: it is sad that she's been stiffed like this. I don't know how people have the gall to do it: it would make me feel sick if I tried.

Juliet Boyd said...

Even without taking into consideration the text itself and recognising the limitations of transcribing this into Blogger, there are so many formatting/style errors in this extract which could easily have been avoided by a very quick internet search on screenwriting format.

For example:

All the characters should have been introduced in the action with names, ages and description (not a random age after the name in the dialogue).

Telling an actor how to say a line is bad form and should be used rarely, if ever, and certainly not before every line of dialogue.

All unnecessary words should be omitted from the action, such as 'by the name of'.

Not good. Any book or blog you read about screenwriting will tell you formatting really does matter.

Jane Smith said...

Juliet, I'm with you there.

Sadly, formatting isn't this author's only problem.

Bethany said...

I have visited your blog numerous times and - on virtually every occasion - laughed to the point of tears. Today. You have reset the bar. Magnificent.
@Nicola: ... Precisely.

Hodmandod said...

I think the protagonists need a great deal more perukes to cover their modestly. I really enjoyed the extract in all its authentic 17th century glory. Thank you for sharing.