Sunday, September 20, 2009

Writing is rewriting is rewriting is rewriting is rewriting

Know what I did today?

(Not much now that I think about it. Church, cleaning, day dreaming what it would be like to have friends here, not watching the Emmys because somebody else was watching football and I knew they cared more about that than I did about the Emmys.)

Anyway, back to what I did do. I moved one of my progress bars back.

I went to Starbucks today and did some thinking. I wrote some stuff down to make my thinking look productive, but really all I did was try to figure out what wasn't working with Current Draft. Because it wasn't working. Even with my "look, I emotionally connected with Current Draft!" post, it wasn't working (that's because every Current Draft is from the devil and incapable of emotion or connecting). Here's some of what I figured out --

1. My secondary characters need help. They are like the ignored step children of Current Draft. Especially those ones that I knew weren't going to be getting a lot of pagination. I sort of just... threw them in there. The problem is, (well, one, that is completely unprofessional and just poor writing) that while these characters may not affect the story that much, they sure affect my protag. So if I want to get to know him, I have to spend time with the other characters.

2. My opening was weak, weaker than -- well, I won't get into politics. I tend to hurry through Act I. And as such, I wasn't giving my protag enough development. He didn't have a personal shining moment. He had a professional one, which was supposed to flesh out his character a little, but the audience needed something more intimate. Because work is great, but no one acts quite like themselves at work... right?

3. My theme needed refining. Yes, I felt like I had a personal break through last week when I delved into Act II and wrote that sentimental scene that finally spiritually connected me to the story... And then I realized what that scene was leading me to, the theme I needed all along. I need to write it out and stick it somewhere so I'll see it and write everything towards that theme now.

4. I need to be more patient with the story. I was super restless, mega ADD, sprint through Act I crazy writer. I couldn't focus at all. This is a a recurring problem for me. I write too quickly and too little. I don't spin out the story enough. (Which is why, with Keys to the Garden, I finished the story on page 75.) Most writers need to cut their ramblings. I need to elaborate a little more. You've got to be concise as a screenwriter, but I was doing a disservice to the story by sprinting to the end of Act I. I didn't give enough credit to audience attention span, and I wasn't exercising mine at all.

So I rewrote the opening to Current Draft. Six extra pages of just meandering around, getting to know the characters and the world. Part of me is pulling out my hair because we're not at the inciting incident yet. And I know some people would be of the opinion that the new opening is weaker because there's not a lot of plot, especially not connected to the overall plot. In one sense, nothing happens.

Except my main character's life. That happens. And that's what the story's all about anyway.

1 comment:

Devon Ellington said...

Good work! Sometimes the percolating process is so important.

One of the things I missed about the Prague trip was the lack of time to just sit and BE. I got the beginnings of ideas, I was good about writing up each day's activities, but I was itching to get back into my regular routine by the end of the week.