Friday, May 24, 2013

Three Years - Influences - J.D. Coughlan

Panel 1: Establishing shot of an early 19th century London street. A row of terraced flats. It is rainy and gloomy.

CAPTION: The Strand, London

CAPTION: November 24th, 1823

BYRON: (from inside a flat) Mary! Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley!

Panel 2: Inside Mary Shelley's flat. It is meagre and rundown. Lord Byron (reference), looking flamboyantly Romantic, pushes open the door and regards the room with distaste. It is dark; the shutters closed on the windows.

BYRON: You cannot hide away forever, woman.

MARY (O.P.): But that is what they want...


Panel 3: We now see Mary sitting at a desk, facing away from Byron/us. She holds up a newspaper, the British Critic, for Byron to see.

MARY: "If the authoress can forgive the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment."

BYRON (O.P.): Oh, Mary, pay no attention to--

MARY: Gentleness?

Panel 4: Close on Mary as she turns to Byron. She is furious. (Reference.)

MARY: They all loved my story when first it was released anonymously but now that I reveal my "gentleness" they recoil from it and from their previous statements!

Panel 5: Mary stands, she is restraining her anger, Byron is almost afraid of her.

MARY: I have been outcast my whole life for my beliefs about social equality because there are those who prefer to live above others! I have lived in squalor as a pauper with no home to call my own! I lost my mother as a child, and have known the deaths of three of my own children! And now... my beloved Percy too...

Panel 6: Close on Mary again. She is welling up.

MARY: Where is the gentleness in my life?


As an 18-year-old girl in 1816, Mary Shelley wrote the short story that would one day become Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, one of the greatest works of fiction of all time. One hundred and eighty-eight years later, I read Frankenstein for the first time. It quickly became, and still is, one of my favourite stories ever. After reading a brief biography of Shelley that came with my copy of the book, I was inspired to unleash the ideas I had in my head and become a writer too. I figured, if she could produce an immortal classic with everything against her back then, what was my excuse?


  1. Wow J.D, I did not expect this at all. You normal hit us with great jokes or bold action and adventure. This script is mature, heart felt and full or raw emotion. This is may be my favourite ever script of yours man.

    Every panel here is bang on, your shot choices are masterful and the big speech in panel 5 shouldn't work, I normal hate huge chunks of dialogue, but here you played it so straight and passionately that I got caught up in it all.

    After this I am more excited than ever to read what you have to write next.

    1. Thank'ee. I knew this one had to be something special, and not just hijinks. Just revealing some of my hidden depths, hehe.

      Incidentally, the review Mary quotes here was real, taken from one of many horribly dismissives reviews from the time.

  2. Some good insight to what set your spark in motion as it were, as well as giving us a look into the life of hardship a writer often set themselves up for

  3. Fantastic post, really demonstrates your skill and depth John. It's a wonder the publishing bigwigs aren't knocking your door down!


  4. This is an amazing script. Frankenstein is one of my top three novels EVER, and her personal story only endears the book to me even more. You say it so well in these few brief panels, and if there was a 6th star, I'd give it.

    A great way to cap off an amazing year, sir...

  5. Hi JD,

    Great page. A well chosen moment to dramatise and really well executed. There is palpable gravity to the final panel.


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