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To Kill Again

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  • To Kill Again

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the add. I've been a 'fan' of Jack for years now -- if that's the right word! -- and stumbled across this brilliant site while doing some research. In my limited spare time (kids, work, etc.!) I write TV and movie screenplays. I've had a couple of things optioned in the states, but nothing that's yet been produced. Anyway, I've recently finished a 12 part TV drama series based on the exploits of Jack, but am considering turning it into a novel, or a series of books, or even just floating it online as a script if it doesn't sell; which given the state and ferocity of the TV pilot market it probably won't. I'm just trying to gauge if you think Jack still sells, or has it been done to death now? Would the below logline interest you, intrigue you, and/or compel you to read/watch it? Does the self-made cover entice you? Additionally, if anyone fancies reading a couple of 'episodes,' you'd be more than welcome; I've attached the pilot to this post (I think!). Thanks for taking the time to read.

    A London detective is sent back in time by the US government to apprehend and return for trial the world’s most infamous serial killer: Jack the Ripper. When the Ripper escapes and the murders begin again, the detective must hunt him down and discover the real reason for his capture; and how Jack the Ripper is the only man on earth that can prevent a devastating global war.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I hadn't actually seen the post - I must admit, it sounds intriguing. I'd be fascinated to find out how JTR could be the saviour of the Earth...


    • #3
      With the sci-fi element, maybe make "Jack" an original character-- 21st scientist or doctor who fled to the past and is killing victims to isolate something that could be tied to the global catastrophe that threatens the present.

      Jack the Ripper is an enigma. He's bigger than the Whitchapel crimes, really. He's become a legendary symbol of pure evil... And also used to sell books and t-shirts. We don't know who he is, and are perhaps reluctant to admit he might have just been one of us.
      Pat D.
      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.


      • #4
        I wouldn't look too hard at people not responding quickly to your post. There is a market out there for Ripper-related television. The BBC is running a show called Ripper Street presently that follows Inspector Edmond Reid in the years after the murders took place, and in addition there is definitely a place for Victorian England representations given the success of various Sherlock Holmes titles that have been playing recently. I honestly wish you luck in your effort.

        I haven't finished reading your pilot. I'm at the bit just before Dyson goes back. Personally, I think it's been a worthy read thus far and intend to finish it.

        Thanks for posting the thread.


        • #5
          I think Jack still sells. So there is a chance your work will sell.

          Cheers John


          • #6
            Please allow me to offer you some comments, the kind I suspect any litterary agent would provide you with regarding the plot.

            For the moment, let's put aside the quantum mechanics time travelling theory and the 'grandfather paradox' which even if it could be possible would only work at the photon level and not at a higher one.

            The problem many would have with 'Time Travelling Ripper Hunting' is that knowing the murder locations, approximate times of death, any hunter would have waited for JTR and caught him before the first murder. Now Dyson arrives on the night Stride is geting killed and does nothing about it! No explanation of the bad time sync!

            If Dyson knows where the Ripper lives, why didn't he just get him and bring him back. What makes him sure the Ripper will still be at the same address? Instead, Dyson tries to convince Schwartz to inform the police, prefering to catch himself the Ripper but only after he would have killed Mary. Why alone, why wait til the end? No clue whatsoever!

            The POTUS calls upon Dyson because "there’s no one else more qualified on the subject within a police department anywhere in the world" although nothing leads us to valid that claim prior to that statement besides a short mention of the Ripper on page 5 ("You’re London’s leading authority on something nobody gives a **** about").

            One last question, even if the USA managed to invent the time machine, why the hell is the POTUS asking Dyson to catch the Ripper instead of informing the British police authorities? I think only Americans enjoy seeing movies where only Americans can resolve a problem. Investing in the myth of the American Heroe is a risky business!

            I maybe wrong but Edmund Reid was in charge of the investigation, Abberline coordinating things between Scotland Yard and H division.

            I must however say I really enjoyed reading the pilot. The introduction of the characters is quite well done besides the point made above. The rythm is good although we only get to the beginning of the core on page 34. I'm aware it's the first episode, but I reccommand reviewing its time mapping allowing the eventual viewer to get a quicker idea of what might be going on, without falling into the 3 act quicksand pit.

            Please don't take it bad. I know quite well how demanding writing a fiction is. I'm only 'words' away from finishing a historical fiction involving JTR after having gone through 3 complete re-writes, beta-reading with the help of a couple of professionals and more to be done soon, etc. Don't worry, the plot has nothing to do with time-travelling.

            Never doubt about the need you have to write. Only you can make the decision to carry on or not. So trust yourself and keep doing it.

            Hercule Poirot


            • #7
              Hello DAH1968.

              Thanks for posting your screenplay on the forum. That takes some intestinal fortitude. Hercule Poirot is correct - if writing is what you desire to do best...

              You obviously know where you want to take your story, and you seem to have nailed down its direction. Opening on Polly Nicholl's murder is smart, and there seems to be some inspiration re: her dialogue.

              Unfortunately, my list of Moans & Groans runs deep. I offer them constructively even if they come across bitterly:

              1. not very big with the shades of race - "Japs", profiling your antagonist
              2. don't like your protagonist at all. He's a tool who has to one-up everybody & wins too many of the exchanges. He doesn't like anyone, so why would anyone like him? He doesn't have to like the President, but he shouldn't be able to get over on him. Much more effective if the exchange had occurred like this:

              Dyson: Can I call you Joe?
              President: (smiles curtly) No, you may not. (continues affably) blablabla

              3. There's no establishment of the story of Jack the Ripper prior to his arrival in London88. The audience has to know the details of Jack the Ripper to understand what's going on. Most people think of Jack the Ripper as a bogeyman who killed 1500 prostitutes during Charles Dickens time (an exaggeration). They wouldn't know Schwartz from Stride.
              4. The marvel of time travel is glossed over. There's no sense of amazement of what the East End is during the Victorian era. No gas lamps on Whitechapel Road or hawkers or intimidation by the population. He just shows up & gets stabbed.
              5. I'm guessing that the murders pick up again in modern day times. But the story rushes over the C5 without much regard (exception being, Polly Nicholls). It's putting you perilously close to Time After Time.

              A FEW SUGGESTIONS

              1. Make your protagonist a woman, like this Sara character. She could be a relative to someone familiar to the case. It could be part of the time travel aspect, like "We want to send you back in time because your great-aunt was a neighbor of Mary Kelly; and part of time travel permits you to take over the body of previous relatives."
              2. Increase the suspense of it being a one-way ticket. As in, "If you're not standing at Spot X on Nov 15th, 1888, your aunt will recover her body, and you'll be lost to time."
              3. I would keep the car blowing-up scene. That way, you could explain it as "If your lost to time in 1888, you'll just end up being a woman who died in a car explosion in modern times, who we altered time to save for the purpose of going back in time ."
              4. Give her an artifact as part of the time travel process. She has to be holding a gold watch on Nov 15th, 1888, and the watch just happens to be the same one Jack the Ripper has obtained 'somehow', and is wearing the night of Kelly's murder. Thus, her imperative need to apprehend him.
              5. Also, making her a woman has other advantages in that Jack the Ripper may be inclined to murder her because she is 'his type'. The story of Jack the Ripper has no knights in shining armor saving the day.
              6. Make the East End part of the story.
              there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


              • #8
                Originally posted by DAH1968
                Hi Robert and Hercule,

                Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for your kind words and input. There are a couple of things I have since addressed that cover a some of the points you both mentioned, and there are a few things that are resolved as the plot builds and grows from episode to episode.

                One question for you gents? Were you compelled and intrigued enough to read more? I mean, you're more than welcome if so, there's twelve parts of this beast! But as it stood, did it interest you enough to think 'Oh, I'd like to watch that/read more of it'?

                Very best wishes and thanks again,
                Hi Darren

                Compelled, not to sure, but intrigued to a point I'd like to see how the plot moves on, the obstacles Dyson will have to overcome, the eventual visual description of the murder territory.

                Why? For three basic reasons:
                1. I'm a Victorian era freak,
                2. Novelists tend to stay updated on the manner the JTR is treated by other writers allowing them to compare the 'new' project with their own project and avoid redundance,
                3. Every aspect of novel writing techniques, structure, character definition and evolution, handling of plot, phraseology, vocabulary.

                Regarding the two later elements, phraseology and vocabulary, I became aware my English was basically the American language. Since my novel covers the British late-victorian era, I felt the need to read as much 19th century British novels as possible in order to write as they would have.

                Hercule Poirot


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DAH1968
                  Hi Hercule,

                  Well I'm more than happy to share a couple more episodes if your interested, completely up to you. I can ever mail or post them here.

                  An email would be the best option. It wold allow you to protect your copyright. I would easily sign a non-disclosure agreement to provide you with the maximum protection you would require. In exchange, I could send you a couple of chapters of my novel project.
                  Hercule Poirot


                  • #10

                    Originally posted by DAH1968
                    Hi Robert and Hercule,

                    Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for your kind words and input. There are a couple of things I have since addressed that cover a some of the points you both mentioned, and there are a few things that are resolved as the plot builds and grows from episode to episode.

                    One question for you gents? Were you compelled and intrigued enough to read more? I mean, you're more than welcome if so, there's twelve parts of this beast! But as it stood, did it interest you enough to think 'Oh, I'd like to watch that/read more of it'?

                    Very best wishes and thanks again,

                    Compelled? Yes, most definitely. Your script has pace, darren, and there are some visuals that I haven't been able to shake out of my mind since I first read it. Changing London from a bird's eye view during the time travel is excellent because it's basically saying, "I am immersing you in London88." That was why I wanted more of a feel for Whitechapel when Dyson arrives. Also, you could pick up on the modularity of the Englishman during this era, amplifying why it may have been so difficult to apprehend him - the commonality of facial and dress appearances. Every smart alec thought he could catch Jack the Ripper until they actually stepped foot in the East End, not so easy. Everywhere Dyson may look are crowds of black hats and cutaway jackets, and rows of back alleys off of back alleys. And, a good opportunity to highlight the fabulous biker-moustache fashions of that era. It may be something to have Dyson arrive as a violent row between two men is spilling out of the Ten Bells while an approaching, aging, (possibly drunk!) constable 'frank drebins' it - "Move along. Nothing to see here." Another insinuation as to why the Whitechapel murderer may have never been caught, and under-highlighting why Adderline was probably an officer ahead of his time. A chance to bring out the brutal sailor-like language that was expected to come out of the women on the street, like when Frances Cole tells the man to "Mind your own business!'" when he asks her to leave. (That was obviously the response J Best expected.)

                    I think you are doing yourself a disservice by skipping over Annie Chapman's murder. Opening on Polly Nicholl's murder is a masterstroke, but it's Annie's murder that, IMO, makes 'the story' salacious. Up until that point, the murders were more crimes of the blotter report type. Uncommon for that era, true; but mostly the type where you were expecting to read in The Times about an eventual apprehension of some loon who had gone on a bender. Chapman's murder put Whitechapel on notice that a monster was on the loose in their midst; it brings the horror to the case, and provides the doubt & desperation that Jack the Ripper may never be caught.
                    But also because... you miss some of the best lines of 'the story' by murdering Elizabeth off so fast. There is real drama of the comedic type when J Best confront "Jack the Ripper" & Elizabeth(if it is indeed him) when he tells her: "You have Leather Apron around your waist." {of course, you would have to fudge history here a bit , and change it to "You have Saucy Jack around your waist" bc you wouldn't want to confuse the audience with different serial killer names}. However, you are missing out on an even better line a little later. It's possible Jack the Ripper had loads of charisma and wit, so it's a shame not to place this line somewhere in the dialogue: "You'd say anything but your prayers." That line is simply diabolical, especially if it's spoken with a grin.

                    I would try to avoid exposition as much as possible, less you have all of your characters becoming talking heads of the reporter type. Dyson has his flaws which is good; and as long as he doesn't win every exchange, I'm better with him. He has to have his foils too. Khan could be his foil - a calm, collected, suave type who can turn on a witty impudence towards authority at the drop of a hat, a quality that gets under Dyson's skin. This could obviously lead to the interrogation room cliché of Khan's lawyer complaining to Dyson's superior that Dyson's questioning is out of line, and Dyson's superior reprimanding Dyson for losing his temper - all while Khan sits back, grinning and maybe flashes a smirking wink at Dyson, sending him over the top. You have to give the actor's something to bite onto.

                    I've also thought about the Sara character. Not to rewrite everything, but I like the idea of the actress portraying her ALSO portraying Mary Jane Kelly. It could link the two timelines, and indirectly provide character development; so when Dyson comes back to the present, we haven't abandoned an entire cast. Have you considered making Sara a reformed prostitute that Dyson may have helped out and sees from time to time, a "man of the street" character?

                    I would like to read Episode 3 next. I like the 13-part series because I never watch television, and if I did, it would probably only be about 13 episodes. If there is a formula for the 13-part series, Episode 3 should be the episode that would be the cinematic one, the one that could be shown in a movie theatre. Also, by jumping ahead, I could see if your story is keeping continuity, is the show sensible to anybody who may have missed Ep1 and 2.

                    - - - - - - - - -

                    If it was me:

                    Ep1 - Nicholls murder, Dyson intro, time travel, Mary Jane Kelly intro
                    Ep2 - Baxter's Polly Nicholl inquest (courtroom drama), Adderline intro, dramatic scene of Wm. Nicholls and her father/his son at the morgue (Ep2 is usually the boring episode, or the one that lulls)
                    Ep3 - Annie Chapman's murder
                    Ep4&5 (2-parter) - Stride & Chapman murders ("Good night old ****")
                    Ep6 - Whitehall torso mystery and/or Mary Jane Kelly murder
                    Ep7 to 13 - Time travel return, the rest of your story

                    there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                    • #11
                      Got it. I reread ep1 over the weekend. Ill read them tonite. Thanks.

                      there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                      • #12
                        Just read Episode 2. Man, does it ever ,,pick up,,! After rereading Ep1, i,m finally on-board with the story you are trying to tell. I thought it was a historical at first, but now i ,get, how you are using the major characters. So you can eliminate some of my prior notes.

                        The dialogue has gotten better from Ep1. I like that you,ve added some comedic elements, a good way of engaging the audience. The part about> Dyson: I,m looking for a man... Woman: So am I. < He,s lost a lot of qualities that annoyed me in Ep1, and he,s more approachable. Also, enjoyed the line ,,follow that cab,,. Not expecting it to ever be used on hansoms, but it works.

                        You might consider reaching out to DJA. I haven,t seen him on the board much lately, but he,s looking for someone who can write a script along the lines of The Departed, which seems like something you can handle.

                        Ill email you my suggestions. After reading Hercule Poirots comment about non-disclosures, i don,t want to create any ,,sticky dave,, situations.

                        Still, i,m finding it an addictive read. After a decade of vampires and zombies, about time the supernatural villain be the divil himself

                        St. Devil
                        there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                        • #13
                          So I finally took the plunge and stuck the first episode up on and the Kindle Store. Let's see what happens...



                          • #14
                            Hi there,
                            Did you make any serious changes in the final compared to the version we read?

                            P.S. I couldn't send you a chapter or two of my novel. The hard drive where it was located crashed and is currently being hopefully restored by Best Buy's geek squad. Back up copies I had didn't include my latest corrections!!!


                            • #15
                              Hi Hercule,

                              I made a couple of changes, but nothing too drastic as that would've impacted on the story as it develops. Sorry to hear about your computer woes -- they're great when they work! I did add my email above and would love to read the chapters when you're ready to share. If you want another couple of episodes of To Kill Again, I can mail them over to you if you let me know your email.

                              All the vest best,