Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter Script Frenzy fallout...

Right, well Easter was a bit of a washout in terms of Script Frenzy and writing.

Too much chocolate, not enough writing.

Still life, friends and family came first. They do sometimes.

What I did is lots of re-writing of those first 12, though. It was important stuff, but I'm not going forward.

Must do better...

I still feel as if I haven't quite worked out some of what drives my protag towards her goal (for she is, indeed, a she). I know what she has to learn, and how she has to learn it, and when. I've got the plot, the events, turning points, set pieces, blah, blah, blah. I'm just not sure if what I have as her reason for going on this adventure is enough. In that, if she learns everything she should by the end of they story, then she won't want the goal she set out to achieve at the beginning. But she kinda needs to, story-wise. Otherwise we don't have the big finish. She just walks away, which is not very satisfying for the audience. Now, that's fine if she makes that discovery as she carries out the final task. The prize isn't the prize any more and we love our hero for realizing that and being a better person, etc. But, if she already knows that before getting to the final task? Why even go through with it? She's doing it for herself. She'd just get there and say, "Hey, I'm not that person any more. These things don't matter to me." Great. Our hero's a better person. We love her.

And Act 3 is 2 minutes. With no conflict.

On the other hand, if I change her outward motivation at the beginning of the story, adding something in with much higher stakes, it could drive the story through much better in terms of her goal. She has to get the prize for external reasons. No matter what she learns, she still has to go through with it. Great. Big finish. The problem is, that will give her less choice at the end. If she has to follow the story/goal through, whether she wants the goal anymore or not, then she doesn't get to choose, when what she chooses is what defines the change she has made on the journey. So, maybe we don't love her the same.

I always have this issue. It's logline stuff basically. What does your character want and why? What's stopping them? What's it ABOUT??? That's what I always come back to when I'm writing. That's what I have to solve.

So, I'm faffing about re-writing.

Or I'm processing all this info, ready to charge forward when a spectacularly good idea has presented itself.

You decide.


  1. You're faffing. Get on with it.


  2. No, but, y9u see, I'm...

    Yeah, alright, then.

  3. Have you written the first draft yet? It may resolve itself as you're going along. Saying that, I'm on my fourth draft, and I'm still grappling with these character issues. But because it's my first screenplay, I'm going to allow myself to make big mistakes and see where they take me. At least there's something, even if it's plop, on the page.

  4. The return of the plop!! Oh, how we did miss the plop.

    First draft!!?? Er... no. Doing it now. Which is why all this stuff is doing my head in.

    Still, as you say, better to push on.

  5. Want to know what I think?

    I'm going to tell you anyway so you might as well say yes.

    I think stop worrying about it and just write the rubbish version.

    So what if we don't love her so much at the end.

    Or so what if there's no big bang finish.

    Just pick a version, flip a coin if you have to, and get it down on paper in all its rubbish first draft glory.

    Then fix it by taking one element at a time and working through it from start to finish. Look at each character, each sub-plot, each physical and emotional arc, and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until we do love her and there is a big bang finish.

    But all that stuff comes later.

    The point of this exercise is to produce pages. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    As soon as you accept the fact that it's ok to write a load of old rubbish you'll be knocking those pages out.

    And then when you go back and look at it again, I bet you my shiniest pound it won't be nearly as rubbish as you first thought.

  6. Take that bet, John Fox.

    And make sure you have a quid handy to pay Shel with.

  7. Michelle -I'm doing, I'm doing!!! Honest! And you're right, just need to get those pages down. I would like to see that shiny pound...

    Piers - What, you mean I'm going to win and the pages WILL be as rubbish as I first thought!!??

  8. She's bet you it won't be as rubbish as you think.

    So if it is as rubbish as you first thought, she has to pay you, and if it's not, you have to pay her.

    Clearly she expects to win your money.