Jack Fahey

When I began writing Alone, it was just a premise. What would a story be like with no dialogue and only one character who himself has no name and no idea who he is. It’s become an exploration of colour, surrealist ideas and toying with the idea of descent in order to rise. Somewhat similar to the story of Dante’s Inferno, in that the way out of hell, or in this case purgatory, is to push deeper and come out the other side, rather than turn away.

Once I’d arrived on the idea that my main character wasn’t waking up in an abandoned city within reality, but really waking up in purgatory and suffering through the seven deadly sins, I decided that visual representation, imagery and symbolism would be key (as it is in any text that leans on religious icons and ideas). Focussing on his first impasse, Gluttony, I thought I’d need to begin strong and convey exactly what was going to happen as he delved further into the city.

Every sin would correspond to a certain colour, and some sort of natural element. For example, Gluttony in this instance, corresponded to orange and thunder/lightning. Orange has a historical precedent. It has often been associated with material wealth/possessions and worldly objectives in opposition to those spiritual ones in Christian culture/artwork. Secondly, the thunder/lightning was because the sound of rolling, loud thunder is all consuming and fills your ears.

Lastly, the snakes, rats and toads are present in the feast scene, because in catholicism, the punishment in hell for a life of gluttony is being force fed those very creatures. I also strongly linked Boars with gluttony because of the association between gluttony and pigs.

As a through line, which would continue in the other 6 deadly sins, I used gold to represent safety. It is often associated with purity, royalty, god and heaven so it made sense that every time there was something that could save him, it was resting upon something golden.


In terms of how my story reflects on the prompt of the Picture This! Studio, I think it achieves the initial goal I set for myself, namely, could I write a compelling story with zero dialogue. I had never attempted even a minimal dialogue story before, let alone one without a single word. Its certainly not as long as I would have hoped, but I think it captures the audiovisual style I was trying to get from my mind onto the page quite well. Striking differences scene to scene, sudden transitions from very quiet to very loud audio and very dim to very bright light and a changing colour palette that becomes unrecognisable start to finish.

As for what I could have done better, I think I should have focussed a bit more on the main character. He is used in the script as a vehicle for the surreal audiovisual elements to occur around him, but I think it gets a bit close to convenience rather than narrative structure at some points. If I was to do another re-write, I might flesh out the beginning are bit to get the audience more accustom and more invested in him surviving this gauntlet of sins. I also think it is perhaps too jarring. Even though the effect Im going for is that each sin is distinctly different from the rest, I think maybe it needed to have a longer, more drawn out descent into surrealism than what it has. Perhaps I could have brought back the photograph in the gluttony section, though that would play out more prominently in both Lust and Envy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *