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After Minerva

Step One: Selecting Your Text

I have more than passing familiarity with the Spoon River Anthology, due to my college's theater putting on their own interpretation of the text in the spring of 2013. As a film student working on filming the production, I was fascinated by the poems in the story. Not a single one was boring, and the monologues were beautiful when spoken allowed. When I set out to write a screenplay based on one, however, I was faced with an unprecedented challenge.

The story of the sad end of Minerva Jones, the unattractive and much abused poetess of the village, had a particular appeal to me. I am always drawn to tragic figures in fiction, and she is a writer. I loved it when it was performed in the play. When I began to write the outline of her story, however, I felt as if I was treading the same old ground of "abused person meets tragic end," ground that I as a fearful optimist have generally regarded as about as pleasant as a swim in a lake of bees. To write about Minerva's death at the hands of a presumed maniac and a doctor driven to help a helpless situation would be to write a grim story of demise. Worse, it was needlessly violent and disturbing.

In the end, I decided to tell the story from the point of view of the people most affected by the murder: Minerva's isolated, similarly mocked father (a man known only as "Indignation"), the doctor whose life was ruined by his attempt to save her, and his suffering, God-fearing wife. As a result, I have only given glimpses into what Minerva's life and death was like, but I feel as if I have told a story that injects a bit more hope into what is a rather depressing situation for everyone involved.

The poems I adapted as follows:

Step Two: Drafting Your Screenplay

This is the final draft of my screenplay:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0-OMTJgQpv6ZzdrcVN4YlI4NGs/edit?usp=sharing

Step Three: Writing Your Logline

The death of a young village poetess forever changes the life of the girl's isolated father and the doctor who people believe caused her death.

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