Chris Martinez

Writer, Painter, Twitcher



Death Sentence (With Child)

Update: 7/24/2014 ---FINISHED PROJECT!

Step 1: Selecting Your Text

I will focus the plot on the “Amanda Barker” poem from the “Spoon River Anthology” and the lines that inspired me the most are: "Henry got me with child/Knowing that I could not bring forth life/Without losing my own.../But I proclaim from the dust/That he slew me to gratify his hatred”. I really want to tell the story of Amanda and Henry’s ill-fated relationship, she a young, trusting woman desperate to rekindle the love she thought Henry once had for her, and he an arrogant, man who is constantly on the hunt for “fresh adoration”. I want to explore a setting where the near future can oddly start mirroring the society and small-town tragedies of the past.


Step 2: Drafting Your Screenplay

Here is the final draft of my screenplay.


Step 3: Writing Your Logline

Here is my final drafted logline:

Amanda Barker is a young small town woman living in a post-dystopia America where modern society is reverted to old fashioned ways. When she senses the love of her new husband is fading, she hopes to win his love back with a new baby, even though she knows that pregnancy may take her life.


UPDATE: 7/11/2014


A young woman's pregnancy feels like a fatal time bomb inside her as she begins to see the truth about her philandering husband's affections.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the logline and on draft three, story, formatting, dialogue, anything :D thanks x

UPDATE: 7/9/2014

Draft three is complete:

I've explained the time period more clearly now. In my head it was always in a near future post-collapse of some sort, where people are living off the Earth, not destitute but pioneer-days simple. It's just an interesting backdrop for me. So i'd love to see in a finished product a mix of old and new. It also would free up casting to include any race of actor for any of these characters. I would love to see it multi-culturally casted.

Added more to Henry and Amanda's interaction. Henry is the sort who is in love with being adored and being "new" to a woman and having "new love". So When the glitter wears off he is prone to boredom.

UPDATE 6/25/14 Draft 2:

I have rewritten and trimmed dialogue, and I am trying to show more of Henry intending to get Amanda pregnant. Making it more clear that Amanda intended to get an abortion that Aner would not perform. I have taken a suggestion about making it more clear why Amanda would still continue with the pregnancy, and that she's hoping it will make him love her again.

I have A LOT of work to do still. This is still not properly formatted (I will be looking into software) but my main goal at this moment is getting a proper story down. As usual ALL THOUGHTS are appreciated and I will be happy to visit your story as well! :D

UPDATE!!! Here is the google-docs link for DRAFT ONE of the screenplay. It's 9 pages minus the title page so I probably still have to trim it. Any and all thoughts welcome!

I choose to adapt my project from Spoon River Anthology. My inspiration poems are:

Dorcas Gustine

Aner Clute

Nellie Clark

Serepta Moon

Amanda Barker

The main plot of the story will be Amanda Barker's poem:

"Henry got me with child

Knowing that I could not bring forth life

Without losing my own

In my therefore I entered the portals of dust

Traveler it is believed in the village where I lived

That Henry loved me with a husband’s love

But I proclaim from the dust

That he slew me to gratify his hatred"

The rest of the poems listed will only be quoted partially or referenced in the sense that they will appear as side characters.

Dorcas Gustine will be Amanda's fierce mother, Aner Clute will be Amanda's friend, and Serepta Moon will be the woman Amanda's husband really loves.

It's going to be a feat to keep this to eight minutes but I'm drafting the screenplay right now so here is the plot. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!


Amanda and Henry seem like a perfectly beautiful couple except there is strain. Their sexual relations can be awkward because Amanda has an inherited heart condition, and the danger of childbirth could kill her.

Henry also shows some irritation towards Amanda because everyone in town adores and in his eyes "babies" her. His own mother seems to prefer Amanda to him.

Amanda becomes pregnant but she seems to take it calmly when she tells Henry who seems initially worried and upset. She tells her mother who blames her shy/submissive nature for getting her into these "scrapes". In her anger she tells Amanda she's willing her land and money to the baby and not Amanda. Henry hears this from the other room.

Amanda finds evidence that Henry has been corresponding with the "ugly girl" in town Serepta Moon and their letters seem affectionate. He assures her there is nothing going on.

Amanda consults her friend Aner Clute about how to get an abortion. She ends up not having the abortion because the abortionist likes Amanda too much to let her do something she'll regret. (another sign that everyone in town babies and makes decisions for Amanda)

Amanda is panicky when her due date approaches. Henry reassures her of his love. A scene where Henry is also comforting his mistress Serepta Moon and telling her that he could never love another.

Amanda dies in childbirth.

A year later, Henry is walking down the street with Serepta and the baby. Dorcas is so enraged she runs into the street, punches Henry and takes the baby. No one inteferes.

Obviuosly I am going to CONDENSE this into eight minutes so there will be a lot of snipping and juggling. But there it is at any rate. Thoughts are welcome and appreciated! I am also happy to read and review your work!!!


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