Scriptwriting in the Timberline Review

Cover Art for the Timberline review Issue 11

For the past two years, Willamette Writers has had the privilege of working with Grant Rosenberg as our script editor for the Timberline Review. Grant is a novelist, screenwriter, and producer with a range of experience in film and television. During his time with Willamette Writers, Rosenberg has reviewed scripts and plays that were submitted to us for the Timberline Review and the Kay Snow Awards.

When asked for comment about his time working as an editor for the Timberline Review, Grant said “I’ve been working with Kate Ristau, Maren Anderson and many of the wonderful volunteers at Willamette Writers to broaden the interest in writing for the screen, and the addition of screenplays in the Timberline Review has tremendously helped to expand awareness of that discipline.”

Scriptwriting Submissions

This year, while we had many excellent submissions, two in particular stood out and were chosen to be printed in the Timberline Review. The former is a short screenplay written by Eleanor Campbell, entitled Game Night, a family dramedy about a thirty-something brother and sister who are supporting a mother who is slowly losing her memory. The latter is a dramatic play entitled Learning To Run about a mother who wants to clear the air with her lawyer daughter about traumatic family events that happened in the past, written by Lisa Lee.

What follows is an excerpt from Game Night in which a brother and sister commiserate, and a scene from Learning to Run in which a daughter expresses to her mother all she never said:

From Game Night, by Eleanor Campbell, Pages 91-103 of the Timberline Review Issue #11

Pete slowly squeezes both hands into tight fists. Runs his fingers through his hair. Mouths profanities.
Leaning against the wall, Pete slides to the floor, pinching the bridge of his nose, eyes closed.
A hand offers him a glass of red wine.
Pete looks up at Jess standing over him.
He takes the glass. Sips as she slides down next to him. Spits the wine back into the glass.
PETE: That is not what I brought.
JESS: You always bring GOOD wine. I take it home and save it for important guests. This is the cheap stuff.
PETE: Seriously?
JESS: Drink it. It has a higher alcohol content anyway.
PETE: Fair enough.

From Learning To Run, by Lisa Lee, Pages 54-70 of the Timberline Review Issue #11

JULIA: Do you know what happens when another animal threatens a cub? The mother bear…she goes into a fit of rage. She’ll do anything to protect her child.
EVELYN: (Softly) I didn’t know what to do.
JULIA: We could have left. We could have started a new life.
EVELYN: Left to where? Where would we go?
JULIA: We could have lived with Grandma Kate.
EVELYN: I couldn’t burden her. She was struggling back then.
JULIA: She would have helped us if she knew.
EVELYN: I was too ashamed and I thought things would get better. (Beat.) You turned out so well – despite what happened. You’re beautiful…and successful…and strong.
JULIA: No mom, I’m not strong. I throw myself into work. I haven’t had a relationship in ten years. The thought terrifies me. (Beat.) You want me to date, to meet a man. For what? The law is the only institution that I trust and even the law lets me down sometimes. (Pause.) I tried to run away. Did you know that? The night of that fight in the kitchen, when he tried to make you drink the dirty mop water you accidentally spilled. But I got as far as Ginny’s house, and I realized that I couldn’t leave you. Not with him. So instead, every night, I prayed that he would die. And it was the only good thing that man ever did in his life!

Emotion and context

Both of these are poignant and emotional scripts, but in the words of Grant Rosenberg, “…scripts need to be read with some degree of context to make much of an impact.” So get the full context by reading the full scripts in the 11th issue of the Timberline Review. You can get your copy here.

Submitting to the Timberline Review

Should you be interested in submitting something yourself to next year’s issue, please check out our website to learn more about how to submit your work. If you’re nervous about whatever you plan to submit, try joining one of our critique groups to polish your story into the gem it truly is.

Thank you for supporting the work of these writers!

The Timberline Review Launch 2022 The Timberline Review Launch – Photo Credit Catherine Trevison